Saturday, September 27, 2008

Yippeee! First room is booked :)

For the first time ever, I used Hotwire to buy a hotel room for our precruise night. I was having serious sticker shock while hunting for a room in Ft Lauderdale. Since we'd be using it about 10 hours I just didn't want to pay $200 for it!

Soooo I read a lot online and it seemed that one choice in a particular area with a particular rating was 100% a particular Hyatt. And it was $73 and a non-smoking property. Sold!

"Our spacious guest room features contemporary decor with stylish furnishings including two double plush Hyatt Grand Beds™, state-of-the-art media and work center with a 42" flat-panel high-definition television that easily integrates with laptops and other electronic devices, an oversized Cozy Corner sofa-sleeper, wet bar and bathroom vanity upgraded with granite countertops. Enjoy complimentary hotel-wide Wi-Fi and continental breakfast buffet."


See I do have a budget for this trip, 3K. That is the most I've ever spent on a vacation and I am considering this our first family vacation after the awful beach trip last May (trying to block that out!). So what does 3K buy you in the cruising world?

$401 RT tickets on Allegiant air, non stop 2 hour flight (baby on my lap)
$1710 3 passages on Carnival's Freedom for 8 days visiting San Juan, St Thomas, Tortola, Antigua and Nassau. AND we got upgraded :) We paid for a 4A and was bumped up to a 4F :) That is the best upgrade I've ever had :)
$86 one night at the Hyatt (darn taxes)
$10 a drink in San Juan, I am just jumping off the ship to say Hi to someone
$60 in St Thomas for cabs and lunch
$60 in Antigua for cabs and lunch
$60 in Tortola for cabs and lunch
$60 in Nassau for buses and lunch

So that leaves a little over $500 for two beach days in Ft Lauderdale. Plus Dad paid for his own airline ticket so I can add another $200 to the kitty. Yiipppee!

Now if you wanted, you could run up another 2K on the tab doing excursions and buying crap on the ship. There aren't many excursions for under $50. But it is so easy to go to and research all your ports. For all our beach ports, we are just going to the different beaches. We'll take a couple of canned drinks and some snacks, our own floats and our own snorkel gear. It sounds like a lot but I am use to being the pack mule and I'd rather know I had my stuff than to hope others sold the stuff I needed once I got there (did that make sense?). Cabs run from $20-40 for the day to get to the beaches. Food like burgers are $10 a pop (and at this point in the cruise you are looking forward to NOT eating!). So it is pretty easy to stay within the $60 estimate I put on there.

On the ship, I'll buy a couple of pictures of the baby ($40), 6 fancy drinks (there are two nights of free drinks) ($36) and a picture of the ship ($4). I am over buying tshirts and promo stuff on the ship. I prefer to go, save my $ by not buying junk so I can cruise again. Soon :)

So now I am looking for a beach front (or near) hotel in Ft Lauderdale that isn't icky or $200 a night. Add in some post cruise food (very little post cruise food haha) and a taxi and our trip is over. Now the great question is, can I stay at or under 3K? I guess we'll see :)

Friday, September 26, 2008

Freakishly Fast Service!

Um ok, I know Zappos is in KY and KY touches TN.

But I didn't expect to order Natalie boots at 10:37 PM LAST NIGHT and get them this afternoon!


This is from yesterday, she loves her hardeebows!

(jab jab)

Pretty little thing ready for school. See the shadow? Stupid camera.

(baby was styling in Gymboree and has a princess lunch box. Mama was stylin in her yardsale top and a Kmart bag for her lunch. How is that fair? :)

Bye for now!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Thursday Update

Look at me, I am almost back in my posting groove :)

Change of plans for December, I just booked three RT tickets on Allegiant Air for $401. Let's hope they are still in business on Dec 5th! We'll leave for FT Lauderdale after work and arrive in plenty of time to catch a cab to a to be determined hotel. We won't get to wander around Orlando but the costs difference was just $80 if you added up gas and parking. That didn't include our little adventure to Orlando either. Add in $40 for food, $50 (or more) worth of junk I didn't need from the Disney outlet and it really ads up and we are even. We are also now coming back on a Tuesday so we'll have all day Sunday and Monday to spend at the beach. The avg weather for December is 77 degrees :)

I once again have to weigh my bags for a trip! We can take 2 50 pound cases, I wasn't going to pay for us to each have 2 bags at $30 each. We can also take on carry on and a personal item. So I'll pack up two diaper bags for our personals and we'll take the little rollers that attach to the big ones. It will be a change for me, I am used to packing a car full on every trip I go on. I keep telling myself there are laundry rooms on the ship, doing a load of laundry will not kill me! lol

And in true frugal mode, Natalie is going to sit on my lap for a savings of $200. I figure it is 4 hours in the air, $50 an hour..uh ya, she can hang out with me.

But then I broke down and bought her THE boots (I really need to stop reading other people's blogs).

Luckily the little size was half the price of the big size. Her winter coat is too big so I am going to try to find her a little black pea coat to go with these. Won't that be cute?

Bye for now!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Wednesday Update

I made $109 from the kid's consignment sale. Pretty much anything over a 2T sold (note to self, keep a lookout for gently used bigger kid clothes!). I still have a lot of teeny sleepers (size 3-6 months..who was I kidding?) that I'll yard sale in a couple of weeks. But I sold almost 50 of my clothing items (I mostly had PJs and separates) and I think 3 (I didn't make a master list this time) toys. See, I told you I priced my stuff really low. But it's out of the house and I bet I recovered all the money I spent (plus a little).

I added up the adult consignment drop off stuff, it came out to $435! I get half of that if it sells before Nov 1. Now I know it won't all sell, but if just some of it will, then hooray!

So with my yard sale presale and my kid's consignment $, I am up to $169.05 :) I was halfway thinking of boxing up some of the kid's yardsale stuff that I had bought to just buy (ok I was bored) into $20 "lots" and putting them on craigslist. They would be items that I'd normally tag for 50 cents to $1. Do you think they'd sell? Would be much easier than tagging everything for the 4th.

I am putting the extra money into my savings account (which is so empty you can hear an echo!) and I am going to buy a nice furniture item with it. I am leaning towards a Pottery Barn grooved wood knock off type bed (maybe bunks?) for the kiddo. I want to see all the clutter go bye bye and look at one item and see where all the junk $$ went you know? I am anxious to recreate her red bedroom in another house. This time I want to do the wood outlines on the wall, the picture frame looking decos.

Scooter is improving every day. I missed two days of work (I had to take out a FMLA claim to convert vacation time to sick time) and I am quickly running out of time period. We need a minimum of 6 days in Dec for the cruise, 7 would be better because Dad wants to head to Orlando on the way down. We'll drive past the old house and eat dinner at Boston's Fish House (fried oysters....yum!). Then depending on how tired I am (since I'll probably drive the bulk of the trip) we might hit the Disney outlet which is on the other side of town. This little side trek will add a couple hundred miles and 5-6 hours to our trip, but once you hit mid FL, Ft Lauderdale isn't that far at all. But anyway, I have two days left that aren't tagged for anything and I have day 7 for the cruise and Dec 26th planned. So if she can stay healthy until year end I won't have to take any unpaid days (I mean worse case, I take the 25th and 26th off unpaid, no biggie in the grand scheme).

Natalie has become an Elmo junkie. I have two DVDs for her which is just a collection of 6 episodes from Sesame Street. She loves it! I missed her singing "na na na ELMOS orld! ELMO ELMO ELMO" with the video camera tonight (she can't say "w" yet, is that normal?). Now normally I wouldn't just plop her in from of the TV, but since she's been sick, she is sort of plop-able. Poor little thing starts sitting up on the sofa and towards the end starts to lean really bad. She is on an antibiotic for the strep and benedryll for the spots which are clearing up really well. I am keeping her skin all greased up in the hopes she won't scratch and scar, her skin is prone to scaring it seems. When I give her the benedryll, she'll run around in circles for about 30 minutes then she'll be snoring on the floor. She was so pitiful at school today. I picked her u p early and instead of running around on the playground she was sitting on a little bench next to her teacher waving at cars going by (there was like one car every 10 minutes, was a big deal lol). You could just tell she wasn't running full speed. And boy was she the superstar getting picked up from the other side of the building at the playground. I rolled down the window so she could tell the others lined up at the fence bye bye and she was so smug about it lol.

Daycare is doing something I really like! They are taking pictures of all the kids every day and as a fund raiser, selling a $5 CD to parents. I will totally pay an extra $5 a month to have at least 20 pictures of Natalie at school when I can't see her. Knowing my little ham, there will be a lot more than 20 :)

Rose & Marie are proud owners of monkey costumes. I can totally see this in Natalie's future hehe

And check these out! New Croc boots, I love them (yes they are a little ugly but she'd love them. I need a deal!)

I am finally sleepy so bye for now!

Sunday, September 21, 2008


No, not on me (which happens quite a bit, darn allergies) they are on the baby!

Yesterday she had three small spots on her shoulder. By the evening she had a crescent shaped band of them across half her back. This morning they had spread to her feet and legs. She even had them in her belly button. So first thing, I thought ok here is the chicken pox that every kids gets eventually, it's just her time. So we go to the doc.

Listen to this, Scooter has strep and that caused eruptions! And if shes the type to erupt once, she'll continue to do it. The doctor today said her throat was a little red but it wouldn't hurt to swab it and see what it picked up. I really didn't think she was sick like that because she was so perky today. So now she is on antibiotic and benedryll for the spots. I have to keep them itch free so she won't pick at them. Poor thing.

Chugging juice. She was running a low fever and was drinking lots (as yes, I cropped the mess out of the picture!).

Dad's little shadow.

Getting ready to leave...Tickled that PaPaw put her in the seat not Mama (mama is old news).

4 seconds later

If your kid breaks out like this, it could be strep!

Aren't they awful? She has more everywhere except her face. They are even all over her scalp :(

Self portrait, she is very interested in my camera. I am going to get her a Fisher price one very soon.
Son, you got a panty on your head.

She left it on for 30 minutes and cackled the whole time.

Dancing in her undies in the middle of the mess she made. My kid is so skinny!

Bye for now!

Ike Pictures

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Money Money Money (and things I bought with that money)

(she is rushing the camera!)

It feels really weird..I have money again.

Bought Citi stock last week during all the lows, got it for 15.44 on average.

Sold it on Friday for 20.75.

I didn't get it at the low of 12ish or sell it at the high of 22ish but I am tickled.


Because I had a lot of it. Drumroll please...I have recovered my stock account and I am 9K ahead. Remember that at the low, I was 33K in the hole. Made me SICK! The Carnival rebounded and has been very steady for two months. Then the Citi thing just kind of happened. I still have a batch of stock that is 23K in the hole (blah!) that I can take as a tax deduction for 2009 after I use up my adoption credit this year.

What am I going to use it for? Why retirement phase one! High overview - don't work for corporate America anymore, but find a job with health insurance. Actually go to work and help people, make the world a better place.

They took 50 pieces this morning at the store (some were too light. I have to take them back in the spring) and I picked up several items from their dollar racks. After 90 days if you don't pick up your stuff the store keeps it and marks it $1. Note to self - don't forget to pick up my stuff! I got several things to resell. I got two black dresses that are designed for nursing, a motherhood cotton outfit in a 3x, a pair of gap jeans, motherhood khakis and a motherhood denim shirt. They all look brand new and they were just $1 (I can take maternity items to the kids sale in the spring).

I also got a nwt george rumba skirt, a CUTE limited two short floral skirt, a pair of gymboree cargo shorts, an adorable old navy baby hippie top, a pair of justice shorts, a gymboree beach hat, a gymboree beachy romper, and a Gap wrap around skirt. All this is too big for the baby or I'd keep it, so it's tagged and ready for the sale next spring too.

I got a super cute skirt that she can wear with a white tshirt. Too bad they didn't have any dollar things in my size (I am totally ok with used clothing for myself, I just rarely find it). At a yard sale on the way home I got her a old navy zip up jacket, an oshkosh skirt, the kind with stars on it (they had that whole star theme going awhile back) and a yellow summer top.
(the other three things are in the wash, I love taking pictures of baby loot!)

Also went back to the big baby consignment sale and things had thinned enough so you could see new stuff. I got the baby this cute blue hooded dress for winter that I'll probably put over jeans ($1.50!). I also got three bows from my favorite local bow maker, $4.10 for all three, it was buy two get one free day :)

And here it is, the best thing I got today! I spent 20 minutes scrubbing off the crayons and markers from the previous owner and that little stink took apink and green crayons and scribbled all over it lol. THIS is why I don't spend $50 (or even a $120 for a white set I was going to buy) for things she'll be using while holding crayons :) $5 :)

She also got a pair of used fake crocs in periwinkle for a buck, a new pair of hot pink fake crocs for $4 and REAL crocs too! Paid $30 for 2 pair and I have bids in on brown and dark pink mammoths.

So what did mama get? Zero zilch nada! How is that fair? :)

Bye for now!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Bargains Galore!

Well I managed to drop off 99 clothing items (crazy huh? yes I counted!) and several misc toys/blankets to the first consignment sale today. I managed to only buy three things at the presale too!

Our community yard sale is Oct 4th! I have so much to do in two weeks! Everyone loads up their covered parking space with all kinds of things. I am going to beg and borrow the neighbor's spot too and also use the uncovered spot next to it lol.

I am primed to take in the adult clothes on Sat too. You'd think that 200 pieces of clothing leaving my house would of made a dent...nope not a bit. I keep wondering where it all came from BUT a few months ago I was keeping a lot more stuff. Now? I'm keeping just a teeny tiny amount :)

I got to see the solid black boy kitten that I gave away yesterday! He's so pretty, he's an indoor spoiled kitten. He is getting really big and his fur is so shiny he practically glows in the dark. He's squishy and a little fat. I tell myself he remembered me (ok, I know he didn't remember me), but when I grabbed him by the scruff and laid him on my arm and petted his belly like I did when he was a kitten, he purred :) That's my boy!

New swim suit, the other one from the yard sale was too little. This was marked down to $3 at Dollar General if anyone needs one.

WAGON! She loves it, just $30 at the consignment sale. It retails for $75 on Amazon so I got a great deal. You can tell by the white wheels and logo, it is in really good condition. I pulled her around in the parking lot tonight, she had a lot of fun :)

This is the face I got when I begged her to smile!

Don't you love it when you buy something a year in advance and they fit at the right time? These were 75% off last year and I guessed the size and for ONCE I was right! Every baby girl needs pompom boots!
2 shirts, the top one is velour and was $2, the bottom one was $1 :) I think I picked out the two least expensive items there!
Look at how cute the dollar shirt is!

I saw my stuff mixed in with everyone else's and I was pretty happy with my quality and prices compared. If 10 is perfect, my worse stuff was a 5 and was priced half of everyone else's (the two tops I bought were an exception!). The bulk of my loot was a 7 at 3 prices and my 10's were like 5 prices (did you follow that?). I am hopeful that very little comes back to the house. But if it does, I'll just stick it in the yard sale for half off the marked price.

Someone is sitting on a ton of Citi stock that recovered nicely today (ok it's me! I am going to make a ton!....wait..did I just jinx myself?). Bye for now!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Chevy Volt: The future is electrifying

The extended-range electric vehicle that is redefining the automotive world is no longer just a rumor. In fact, its propulsion system is so revolutionary, it's unlike any other vehicle or electric car that's ever been introduced. And we're making this remarkable vision a reality, so that one day you'll have the freedom to drive gas-free.

Chevy Volt is designed to move more than 75 percent of America's daily commuters without a single drop of gas.(1) That means for someone who drives less than 40 miles a day, Chevy Volt will use zero gasoline and produce zero emissions.(2)

Unlike traditional electric cars, Chevy Volt has a revolutionary propulsion system that takes you beyond the power of the battery. It will use a lithium-ion battery with a variety of range-extending onboard power sources, including gas and, in some vehicles, E85 ethanol(3) to recharge the battery while you drive beyond the 40-mile battery range. And when it comes to being plugged in, Chevy Volt will be designed to use a common household plug.

Chevy Volt. Fully Charged 2010.

(cool huh? and I didn't even get paid for posting this. My commute is 16 miles RT including taking the baby to school. All my stores are 10 miles or less from the condo. My house is about 14 miles from the condo. So basically if I give up my sports car urges, this would be a fantastic replacement considering our area has extremely low electric prices.)

Monday, September 15, 2008

What did you have for dinner?

We had leftovers and beans = YUM YUM! :) (this is her "my mommy is a moron look)

then we had yogurt

and maybe this is why my camera only works part of the time - jab jab

Wookie is here in the condo with us now, that makes me happy. He stayed under the bed for about a week but now he is better. He mostly lives in our room and creeps out to say hi in the evenings. He of course sleeps on my head at night (sigh)

The bi-annual children's' consignment sale is this weekend, I have to drop off my stuff on Thursday. I hope to take 100 things; toys, movies, clothes, etc. Also, Saturday is my consignment for adult clothes drop off appointment. I can only take 75 things and I have 90 ready to go. Once I get my account set up with them I can drop off extras every Monday morning. I want to have it all there by the end of Oct.

THEN maybe I'll have enough free space at the house to really start tackling the junk. I have moved 75% of the things that will be sold to my house from here. I think I have missed the yard sale window for this year so I am going to price everything and split it into three piles; spring consignment, yard sale and craigs list. Normally Ebay would be in that mix but I feel like their fees are just too high. Maybe I'll have an indoor yardsale? Everything for sale - house too! :)

Had lots of fun on Friday in Knoxville!

Gas prices are at $4.09 here - eeck!

Carnival stock is really high right now for some reason, I'm not buying it. Why? Every time i buy it over 38.50 I get stuck with it for a long time! Broke down and got some Citi stock today as it tanked. I am optimistic that in the next 2 weeks it will recover $2 more than what I paid for it and I'll meet my goal. If I make 5% every month and roll it into the next month, I'll get to go into semi retirement when I am 38 (Oct 28, 2012!). I say semi because we'll need health insurance. But maybe I'll get a job where I help people. Anyway, I did over 10% for July and then again for August. I've only done 2% for Sept so far, so go Citi stock - go!

Bye for now!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Well Baby Visit and House Hunting

Today was Natalie's 18 month check up, we were a month behind! She now weighs a whole 23 pounds and is 33.5 inches tall. She is basically a 9 month width and an 18-24 month in length. I call her my skinny minnie :)

A blurry action shot of her running around in my shoes!

Yesterday we went to look at another house. Tri level on 2.6 acres. Mountain views and in a great neighborhood. Enough land for fruit trees and a big garden. Cute on the outside but a dump inside. Like 30K easy to fix dump. For about an hour today Dad was willing to put in an offer for their tax assessment but I think he has changed his mind again. I can easily buy the place myself but I don't want to do that if he doesn't want it. But I found his view and I had my hardwood....for just a fleeting moment. Oh well, I guess I'll just rot away in this condo (hate it).

Tomorrow is Amy's birthday and I'm headed to Knoxville for a girl night out sort of thing. Scooter butt is going to Nana's house.

Bye for now!