Friday, January 23, 2015

Suggestions?

Help! I need something to watch on TV! I finished my latest watch of 6 seasons of Friday Night Lights and now I have no idea what to watch.  I'm looking for suggestions.  Preferably a show that has several seasons that will keep me busy watching for awhile. I'm not picky on the genre - I pretty much like most types of shows, but I do seem to prefer the hour long type of shows versus the 1/2 hour sitcoms.  I have Netflix and Amazon Prime Instant Video libraries to choose from.  Give me some ideas.  There really has been nothing on (except Downton Abbey) to watch on regular tv.

I think I'm going to have to spend a few dollars and get some new gadget to stream Netflix and Amazon on our tv. The Sony blu-ray dvd player we have had for a year is just not streaming. It shows it's connected to the internet and with a good connection. I keep resetting over and over and finally after a half hour of trying (maybe) it will finally log on. After about 5 minutes of trying I usually just give up and watch on my ipad mini. Looks like my choices are the Google Chromecast or the new Amazon Firestick. Anyone have one of those and are they reliable? Basically, I want something that I can turn on, choose my streaming service and pick a show or movie to watch. Not sit there and keep trying to log in.....I had thought the $50 blu-ray player would be a good choice for the streaming, as we could also watch a dvd (which that part still works), but apparently not :/


Thursday, January 22, 2015

Thursday this and that

My poor co-workers.  The flu is really starting to make it's way through everyone. I did get a flu shot last October, but I guess you never know what strains are really out there at this time, so to be safe, my sweet boss told me to work from home today. Most people at work are really good about staying home if they are sick (or at least working from home) but I guess if you are contagious before you really start to feel the symptoms it doesn't help much. When the flu goes through our office, it always seems to hit a good portion of it at once.
 
DH hasn't felt well all week, either. Almost like the flu but no throwing up.  Most likely just a bad episode with his normal problems. So far, at school, DD has been ok - she just had that little flu bug early on near the start of school.


So, I'm taking a tiny break. I started at 6:30 this morning (thinking I was going to have an hour drive into work as part of my day), so if I work 8 hours straight (I rarely take a lunch break) I'd be done at 2:30.  While that sounds very appealing, there are usually emails and things to take care of between then and the office actually closing at 5, so I'll take a little 15 minute break now and maybe a little lunch break and finish my day up around 3:30 or 4. The postal carrier should be pulling up any minute now to deliver a package I am expecting: the work tote bag I ordered. If it won't fit into our parcel box she will drop it off, but if our gate is closed she will stop and give a honk, but I can never hear it from the back of the house, but I realized if I open the gate she will drive in and then I (and the dogs) hear her and I get my package and don't have to make a trip to the post office to pick it up!  Oh! it just got delivered :) It's super cute. A little smaller than my current bag, but it will work.  The files still fit in there.

I haven't ordered the duvet set I have been eyeing. One of my DIY projects I have been wanting to try for over a month now is to try and make this arm-knit blanket for the end of my bed:

http://www.simplymaggie.com/arm-knit-a-blanket-in-45-minutes

But, I cannot find the yarn anywhere online. Everywhere is sold out, still, and I have been checking for a month. If I could make this, in this same color, I think I'd be happy with my current cream colored duvet and some similar shades of throw pillows and pillow cases. The yarn will cost about the same as the duvet set, but I just really want to try to see if I can make one! I've never knitted in my life. DD recently made some very cute boot cuffs using finger knitting.

I told DD her little love story that is unfolding reminds me of a sweet romance book that everyone loves to read :-) Her guy couldn't be more thoughtful or kind to her. It probably helps with him being older. Like I told her, most guys in her age group (and sadly even older guys) are still in that "it's all about me" stage of their life. I think he's even surprised himself at how much he's fallen for her. His friends and family that have met her have all told him he picked a keeper. It's also kind of sweet that they actually met each other a couple of years ago (he was with someone else and she was too young, really), but now is just the right time for them :)

Wow - just got an email via work that our major competitor in our market is closing it's business after almost 20 years. I know we have really taken a lot of their market share the past few years, along with the poor economy, but it's still never a good thing to not have competition and I feel for all of their employees (many probably long time employees) who will be loosing their jobs.   (Ok, I don't feel too bad for the short term employee we had who left us to go work for this company 2-3 months ago....that was a pretty stupid decision on her part and obviously she's kicking herself now!)

Ok, break's up. Back to the work day.




Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Weddings

I have a friend who's daughter just got engaged and is in the planning stages of the wedding.  I have to say, at this point, I am not envying my friend at all! While she and her SO (not the daughter's father) can afford to and will give her a very nice wedding, she still wants to have a budget! My friend makes a very good salary but she's also very smart with her money. She drove her old car almost 15 years. Her new car is nothing fancy or showy. Friend is not into showing off her money.

Daughter (who is 26 and makes a very modest salary) has very champagne tastes and friend is quickly seeing how this can all get out of hand quite easily and has had to put the brakes on once she started adding this all up. They went to a bridal show recently and she saw a dress she liked.......price tag (on sale) was $8500.  The venues she is looking at are pricey and many make you pick from their list of approved caterer's, etc.  Daughter and her fiance have a guest list already at 200, so I can imagine how much that would cost to cater a reception that includes wine and beer.

Then throw in a future MIL who is ALL about designer labels and what a fiasco I see this turning out to be. They took her with them over the weekend to look at venues. Daughter complimented her on her cute rain boots..."oh, they are Michael Kors...." (seriously?) At one venue they walked in and daughter commented "well, this wasn't what I expected it to be" and future MIL says "it's just gross" (seriously?). My friend (who at this point can still laugh) said she just had to turn her head and walk away to keep from laughing out loud! MIL has also told daughter she really should hire a wedding planner, too.  Well, there's probably another $5000. And then she made a comment when they were comparing prices of venues "well, that place is only $500 more than the other place, so I'd just go with that place".  Daughter did at least have enough sense to say back "well, $500 here and $500 there really starts to add up".

After this weekend my friend just sat her daughter down and said "ok, here is your budget (I don't know what the amount is, but I'm sure it's very generous). If you want to spend more, you and your fiance will have to pay the difference. If you want a wedding planner, it will have to come out of this budget amount".  Future in-laws (who have lots of money for $200 rain boots) are not contributing a dime (not even for a traditional rehearsal dinner) but apparently are having no trouble spending my friends money! What I also find very sad is friends ex (daughter's father) is also not contributing a dime. This is a guy who, as long as I have known him, makes very good money (usually in the 6 figures) and says he is flat broke and can't help.

I'm sure my friend is glad she only had one child, LOL.  I told my DD about all this and I said "sorry Charlie, but when you get married, unless you are older and can afford to pay for most of it yourself, you will have a very low budget/DIY type of wedding!".  DD said she has never wanted a big fancy showy wedding and wouldn't even know 200 people to invite.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

A nice surprise

Yesterday turned into a partial holiday/day off from work after all. I got into work and one of the company owners had just sent out an email saying we were closing at noon and starting next year MLK Day will be a paid holiday for us all.  Nice! Just another reason why I love where I work so much. They are just always giving us nice little perks. So I left at noon, got home at 1pm and got to spend the afternoon with my DD before she went back to college after dinner.  A local friend had asked if she could give a ride back up to school to a friend of hers that was also returning to same school. It worked out great. They didn't know each other but got along well and DD got some gas money out of it :)

DD won't be home for my birthday (later in the month) so she gave me my gifts - a book to read, a Target gift card and the new Ed Sheeran CD. I looove Ed Sheeran's music :-)  Plus, I have a thing for redheads......(my first love was a redhead!)

Misty over at Digging Out from Our Mess does not like gift cards! And even though I didn't get a chance to comment on her post yesterday, I have to say I love getting gift cards :-) There is always something I either need or can find to buy. I received a very nice $100 Target giftcard from my boss for Christmas. As of Sunday it was all spent except for .40 cents. I bough the new sheets (a MUST have - I had ripped sheets and no replacement) and with the $36 left on the card I ordered this new work tote bag:
I've had my current one at least a couple of years, but it's getting out of shape with all the daily use and stuffing with files and my lunch bag. I'm sure if I bought a more expensive one to begin with it would last a lot longer, but since a Michael Kors bag isn't in my budget, this will do and it's not costing me any out of pocket money. I think this will be a great color for spring/summer.  See how easy that was to use a $100 gift card? LOL.

My mom also gave me my birthday gift really early - a nice little chunk of money. You know those ads that show up on the side of your facebook page....maybe from all the sheets I was looking at online a duvet set popped up and caught my eye. I'm getting ready to put my winter/xmas duvet set away and put back on my old cream colored duvet cover. I've been putting it off because it's pretty boring! It was very cheap ($35 on Amazon) and basically just like a soft sheet material and a light cream color. I bought it because it was what I could afford and I wanted something that the yellow dog hair wouldn't show up too badly between washings. But I don't love it at all! So, I clicked on the link on my FB page and eventually got to this duvet set  $99 and then I thought Hey! I can use some of the money my mom gave me to buy this. Then noticed my handy dandy "PriceBlink" price comparison gadget on the top of my screen said Walmart has this for $78! I went there and found the exact same thing (though under a bit of a different name). I haven't bought it yet, but I think I will. The rest of the money she gave me will be used to pay off the final couple hundred I have left owing on my CareCredit account (my no interest promotion is up next month and that is my last payment due.)

This is my dream bedspread!
But since I don't have $500 to spend on a King size one, I don't know how to knit, and my yellow lab, who practically lives on our bed, would snag it to shred's, it will have to remain in my dreams. It looks sooo cozy though!  Maybe I could just get the throw pillow..........

Monday, January 19, 2015

Just Me...

Janelle over at Facets of My Rich Life posted a question on her blog asking readers why they blog. My comment was that this is something I have been thinking quite a bit about the past month or so.

I have realized I very much miss just writing about my random (good or bad) day to day experiences! Not doing it has left me feeling a bit restless and like I've lost something I liked and enjoyed.  I am missing the more personal experience of blogging, which I realize is why I started blogging in the first place. When I made the decision a few weeks ago to just blog about less personal topics it wasn't a knee jerk/that day reaction. It was something I though about over a couple week period. A favorite holiday time with a detached (I can't think of a good word to use!) loved one was probably not the best time to be trying to think rationally, even if I did take a couple weeks to mull it over.

So, here's ME again - flaws and all! Good days and bad days. My life consists of an odd DH (ha! he can't be any weirder than my step-brothers wife....I think she has been to only one of our annual family get-togethers in the past 10 years! I don't even know her, really!), a missing son, a perfect daughter (ok, I know she's not really perfect, but darn close to it!), 2 dogs, 3 cats (somewhere out there are the 2 barn cats - at least I put food out for them), 2 parakeets, along with drug dealing neighbors and a great job.

So, what's been going on the past couple of weeks? DD has a boyfriend now! And quite honestly, Miss Perfect couldn't have picked a more perfect guy! I'm sure he has his flaws (who doesn't) but overall he is awesome. He is 5 years older than her, but I have always expected that out of her, when she finally decided she was ready to be in a relationship. He's mature and responsible, he has a good job with a major employer in our area, oodles of room for advancement and he's also trying to finish up his Bachelor's degree. He has a nice vehicle and still lives at home with his family (he's saving to buy himself a house.)  Oh, and he used a discount coupon on their first date! He is perfect, isn't he? LOL. He lives in our town, so with her away at school a majority of the time it will be a long distance thing.  I'm kind of glad it's not a boy at school that she'd see day in and day out, taking away from her studying. Dad approves, too :)

One night while she and I were texting, before Christmas break, she said that she and M had been texting each other quite a bit lately and I asked her if they were going to go out while she was home on break. She said he had mentioned getting together....."but Mom, he is like 24..." I replied "So? You are like 19 going on 30, so what's the problem?".  They started going out on some dates a couple of days after she got home, spent most of the month long break together and the day she went back to school they made it an official relationship. I couldn't be happier and more joyous for her!  He is soooo sweet to her. Who wouldn't want to wake up to a text every morning telling you (a different quality each day) what he likes about you? :-)

We haven't quite figured out what is going on with our drug dealer neighbors. We had (naively) hoped that the big drug bust on the house behind us (which has been dead quiet since that great day) would scare the crap out of them. It did for about 3 days and then the traffic to their house started doubling, as apparently all the other house's customers needed a new place to buy. Great. Not sure what has happened, but about Wednesday of this week it got very quiet. Little to none visiting this house and then Friday morning 2 cop cars showed to that house and stayed 45 minutes! From what limited view we have of their place/front door it appeared the cops went inside the house. We aren't sure why they were there or if they took anyone with them, but it has remained dead quiet over there and basically no one coming to their house. First quiet weekend we've had in ages.  One of the pre-bust arrests that was made of a car that had been at the house behind us, and resulted in drugs and a gun being found, has resulted in that car's driver being sentenced to 1 year in prison, so that was good news. Of the two dealers who were arrested from the house behind us during the bust - one, with the lesser charge, is out on bail.  The other, with a higher bail is still in jail, though the charge for distribution of drugs was already dropped! WTH?! But he's still in jail on the felon with a firearm charge as well as another lesser charge. I think their court date is next month some time. I guess the parents were able to bail out the son with the $7500 bail, but apparently the other one with $50,000 bail is staying in.


No news on when my job/salary review will be yet. I know my boss has been busy with a major contract issue, but I don't know if any other department managers have done theirs yet either. I haven't looked through payroll yet so see if anyone has gotten increases (we have a company that actually processes our payroll, so my boss doesn't usually pass that kind of stuff through me first). I just handle the timesheets and getting everyone's sick and vacation time reported. Good Lord it was an ugly payroll to do last time! I think just about everyone had some time off during the holidays that I had to record.

I made a bit of a change on my blog comment settings, to the same as I find when I comment on most other's blogs - I have to be signed in. Maybe I'll change it to moderation approval, if I find that necessary. If someone wants to be mean spirited, I guess they'll have to find some other blog.

Well, I have to work today - this is not one of our paid holidays, but at least traffic should be a little lighter. DD was home for the 3 day weekend and not leaving until after dinner, so I'll get to see her a little bit today before she leaves and then we probably won't see her again for about a month.




Saturday, January 17, 2015

Shoe shopping

DH is really in need of some new everyday shoes. He has fairly flat feet to begin with, which causes problems, and add in his all over body/muscle pain and he could really use something with good cushion and support. Problem is he HATES to go shopping, and the last thing I want to do is try to go shoe shopping with him, so I always just end up buying him a regular pair of tennis shoes with as much arch support as I can find.

So, I decided to bite the bullet money wise and find him some better, orthopedic tennis shoes. Did some online searching and New Balance shoes came up quite often. He does wear that brand, but I've always just bought the cheaper models...usually $40 (on sale) to $60 range.  They are ok for awhile, but wear down the inside sole quickly and then aren't comfortable to him. I showed him some pairs online at a "foot store" that were $130- $200 range. He found a pair he liked the looks of that were $160. Of course I did some googling to find a cheaper price and found the shoes for $120.  $40 saved.  He also has an old pair of "boat shoes" he likes, because when he's walking around out in the wet grass scooping dog poops they tend to keep his feet drier,  and wanted a new pair of those. I have bought him a couple of pairs over the years. First pair was from Sperry Topsider and the second pair was a Kohl's version, that was cheaper.  Kohl's apparently doesn't carry this style of shoe anymore, so back to Sperry I went. The shoe was $60, as I figured it would be. Again, did some google searching and found the same shoe at 6pm.com for $35.

I was planning/expecting to fork out about $220 total for new shoes for him, but a few minutes of searching and I was able to save $65.  Unfortunately, I couldn't find any coupon codes to go with the purchases, but both were free shipping.  Hopefully these new shoes will help ease his aching feet a bit.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Price comparisons

While grocery shopping yesterday morning I did some store brand vs. name brand price comparisons on some items I was buying. While looking at a 5# bag of flour the name brand was $2.48 and the store brand was $1.78. At first glance that doesn't seem like much of a difference, but it comes out to a 28% savings in price! And, while I am usually very conscious of pricing per unit, I was really surprised at the difference in price between the small 2# bag and the 5# bag. The 2# bag was 1.22 compared to $1.78 for the 5# bag. That's 2 1/2 times more flour for only 46% more price.

Here are a few others:
Sugar: $2.08 vs $2.58.  20% savings. Also interesting was the store brand was $2.38. But on the very bottom shelf was a very generic looking bag with really nothing on it except "Sugar". There was no price tag below it. I decided to buy it and it rang up at $2.08. Looks exactly the same as the sugar I added it to in my canister.......

Boil in a bag rice: $1.66 vs. 2.12.  27% savings
Small can of sliced olives: $1.22 vs $1.38. 11% savings
4 pack Greet yogurt: $3.38 vs. $3.78. 10% savings
Milk: $2.98 vs $3.38. 12% savings


While looking at the small picture, I only saved $2.62 total on these items, but doing this on items each week can add up over a year.  I also saved buying a store brand gallon jug of drinking water, but neglected to compare prices.

I haven't tried the store brand yogurt yet, so the jury is still out on whether that will pass the taste test! But it's worth a try.