Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Where did the time go???

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In the past two weeks both of my boys have started school. The Little One had his first day of preschool last Tuesday:

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And yesterday the Kid started his first day of 2nd grade (don't mind the hair...it's his signature look...):

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Where did the time go? I swear, just yesterday I was rocking them to sleep tightly swaddled.... They do grow too fast. Before long, they will be talking proms, cars and girlfriends. What a scary thought...

It's kind of weird to have a couple of hours all for myself a few times a week. I'm going to enjoy it while it lasts :) Today I went to Walmart and then chit-chatted with my sister over the phone :) Not much productivity but I'm OK with that :) Once in a while... I will be working a lot for the rest of the week, so a little break means a lot... I do miss their little faces already... When the older one is not here, the little guy seems so lonely... He only has preschool three times a week for two hours and in between he just waits for his brother to come home... I'm grateful that my boys are such good friends... Even though there is almost a 7 year difference between me and my sister, we were always extremely close, and I'm happy to see that both hers and my kids are following the same trend. I hope they will stay friends for the rest of their lives...

So are you excited or sad about kids being back to school (whether you send them to public or private schools or home-school and even away to college)?

Saturday, August 23, 2014

30 things in 30 days, update #3.

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Hello, hello, my lovelies!

How have you been? How is your Saturday? Ours was busy. We painted the baby room (almost)! It still needs some touch ups but I'm so glad to scratch it off my list. We want to deep-clean the carpets there too and then I can start decorating :) I'm pretty excited about it!! We are trying to tackle quite a few projects here in the next few weeks while I'm still capable and useful...

I mentioned in my last update that I have already reached my goal of getting rid of 30 things. I also challenged myself to make $100 before the end of the month. A week ago I did not have a set plan on what I was going to do with this money but after crunching the numbers yesterday, we decided that we will use it to buy a second car seat. It would be nice not to spend anything extra out of pocket for it. I sold a few more things this week and so far "the car seat fund" sits nicely at $94. I'm very close to my goal :) There is also a $25 rebate for Graco car seats out there, and I looked at Target, and it seems like I can easily stay within the budget if I reach my goal. The other car seat that my friend gave me is a Graco too. I used this company for both of my boys' seats and was pretty pleased with their products.

I also got another bag of donations ready to go which brings my total so far this month to 56!! Now I just have to double my original goal, no excuses. I feel very accomplished this week :)

Update #3: 56 instead of 30

And how did you do on your decluttering goals?

Friday, August 22, 2014

The Frugal Fridays. Sigh...

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I had to retype the word "frugal" in the post name three times! No wonder, since August life was anything but frugal for us. In fact, it was so expensive, we are way off the charts... First, it was an unexpected medical bill. We tried to fight it but there is not much we could do. It's all about the agreement between the hospital (or hospital system that also includes small clinics in our case) and the insurance company. They did give us a 15% discount for paying it right away but it was still $686. Ugh!!

Then, our dog... Our poor little puppy... When we went out of town before, a family member would usually take Toby but she couldn't this time, so we had to rely on a boarding place when we went to Bear Lake. Never again! To make a long story short, we came to pick him up early and he was covered with pee as if he spent days sitting in it, his bed was soaked and he was visibly miserable. I felt like the worst Mom in the world! We are still fighting with them to get our money back but so far it's one excuse after another. They do offer a complimentary bath before you pick your dog up but we hit the road earlier and didn't warn them we were coming. I guess I'm glad we didn't because we found out in what condition our dog lived in for 5 days... I was and still am heartbroken. We left all kinds of nasty reviews and are considering a complaint with animal control department...

And two days before we left, our puppy had some issues breathing so we had to take him to the vet. It turned out to be nothing serious. But add the vet bill to the picture plus a new bed that we had to purchase for him (because even the wash couldn't save the old one. It was that nasty!!), and we paid almost $300 this month. That's almost $1000 in unexpected bills alone! I'm grateful that we have money set aside for things like this but it still hurts...

But there are blessings too... Today my sweet friend gave me all of her baby girl clothes, a bounce seat, a car seat and an exersaucer. It's huge for us and saves us a lot of money on necessities. We are almost ready to buy a second car seat too (more on it tomorrow).

But yes, August was extremely expensive for us and I'm ready for it to be over....

And how was August for you? Was it full of blessings, nasty surprises or somewhere in between?

Thursday, August 21, 2014

A busy day...

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As the weeks pass by, it's getting harder and harder for me to keep up with the usual housework. So on the days when I feel a little extra energy, I try to take full advantage of it. I know, it might be a little boring to read my to-do list but I feel so accomplished today I had to boast a bit :)

1. I finally caught up with the laundry and ironing! I try to fold things right after they come out of the dryer. And yes, I love my dryer with the amount of stuff that I have to wash every week. Not frugal but keeps me sane... So about 80% of the stuff gets put away right away (which kids help me with as part of his chores) but the other 20% usually need to be ironed - mostly, skirts, dresses, dress shirts and khakis. Did I ever mention before how much I hate ironing khakis?? Ugh... But what can I do, that's the price for my love of Hubby looking all sharp for work... It took me weeks but I finally tackled the whole pile and I'm so proud of myself.

2. Cleaned the half-bath and a toilet in a full bath. Yes, just the toilet. Still pretty happy about it. That's the type of cleaning that's really getting harder and harder to do. But somebody has to do it. I asked Hubby yesterday to help me with scrubbing the tub... Sigh... Guess who will have to re-do it all? No, not me :) I will still keep trying to teach him how to do it :) I take bathroom cleaning one thing at a time right now and it works... most of the time...

3. Dishes and dinner. Well, that's one thing that I'm pretty good with but I had to mention it because I tried a new recipe and it was delish!! A bit time-consuming but so worth it. The kids actually ate all the mushrooms on their plates and that's a first for us...

4. Finished some work assignments and edited. I work a lot right now. Even more than I used to before. I try to pick up as many assignments as I can because my paycheck is what pays for all the babies' stuff we need. August was insanely expensive for us therefore I'm extremely grateful for any work that comes my way. I don't know how long I would be able to do it and even whether or not I will have the job after the babies arrive but I will keep working as long as I can.

5. Saved a box of strawberries from it's food waste destiny. I went through the fridge and cleaned it. The only thing that really needed to be dealt with was a box of strawberries. I cut them all up and froze for future snacks and smoothies. We've been doing quite a few smoothies (trying to use up stuff in the freezer) lately so they won't hang in there for long.

6. Dusted and washed the living room window. I haven't washed that window in so long, and the amount of sticky fingers all over were totally showing. It was screaming my name for weeks, and I finally got to it. Feeling so accomplished today :)

I've done a ton of other things but this list is getting a little too long :) I really want to lay down on the couch and stretch my legs right now but it feels good. Now keeping fingers crossed that I have the same energy back tomorrow :)

And how was your day??? What were you up to today?

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Simple people...

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Last week I met a girl from my neighborhood who I've never met before. She wanted to be part of our yard sale but showed up a little too late for the bigger crowds. But we had plenty of time to chit chat. As we started talking, she told me how she struggled with her daughter (who is now 16 months old) the first year of her life due to multiple health complications. She then proceeded to tell me a little more about herself - how she was working two jobs to pay off debt, and her husband was working 6 days a week, sometimes up to 12 hours per shift. And in a week, she was going back to school in the evenings... Not for a second did she complain about her life. In fact, she was telling me all of this more as a matter of fact, even with a smile on her face, and I couldn't help but admire this very determined and strong young woman, barely 5 feet tall...

Almost every day we hear stories about courageous, powerful, amazing inspirational figures. But sometimes the most influential are the "simple" people around us, those who just quietly live their lives, unknown to most of the world. We all have superpowers within us, and we can change the lives of others one little step at a time. Often, simply by being ourselves... I've been blessed by so many people in my life who left their light touch or deep impression without knowing it. Just like my cute little neighbor...

Who inspired you recently? Who are those "simple" influential people in your every day life who might've left a much bigger impact than they could ever imagine?

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