Saturday, January 29, 2011

Book Review: Lady in Waiting by Susan Meissner

Lady in Waiting by Susan Meissner is like two novels in one!  The book takes you through the life of Jane Lindsay, a wife and mother who is being forced to wait for her troubled husband to decide if he wants to be with her or move away from their marriage.  The other (Lady Jane Grey) is a teenager in the 16th century who is being married off at an extremely young age. Lady Jane Grey’s story is told through her dressmaker and friend, Lucy, where the book goes back and forth from modern-day Jane to Lucy, telling stories of two different women.

Jane Linday finds an item of Lady Jane Grey in the most peculiar way; in a binding of an old book.  The mysteries begin as to who the owner of this item really was, what the inscription on the inside meant, why and from whom did Lady Jane receive this beautiful gift?   gift and did love prevail?

The book has a lot of love and heart-break throughout, as well as mystery to keep you turning the pages in wonder.  Lady in Waiting is a great book with incredible detail, and mystery to the last page. 


Disclosure:
I received this book free from WaterBrook Press as part of their Blogging for Books program.  I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

How Low Can You Go : Roaster Chicken!

Last week, our local store had roaster chickens on sale for $0.69/lb.  They are normally $0.89/lb at Aldi’s, so I asked Todd to pick up a couple.

They are so easy to prepare.  Todd put one in our crockpot with some water, potatoes, carrots and celery and let them simmer on low all day. 

When we got home, the chicken was so moist and falling off the bone.  And the best part…it makes more than one meal!

Let’s assume the roaster chicken was 4 lbs - $2.76
Potatoes (at $1.99/ 10 lbs: assume 2 lbs) – $0.40
Baby Carrots (at $0.99/lb: assume ½ lb) - $0.50
Celery (at $1.49 per bag: 2 stalks used out of approximately 8) - $0.37
Total for the meal: $4.03

And these roaster chickens easily provide 3 meals for us (only 2 if we are really hungry). 
2 meals = $2.02/meal (or $1.01/person)
3 meals = $1.34/meal (or $0.67/person)

Really…you cant beat it.
Or…can YOU?  If so, I want to know your least expensive recipe(s).

Friday, January 28, 2011

Fun Evening Together

Lately, I have been feeling like Todd and I are drifting apart.  We get into a routine, and it gets to the point that in the evenings, we talk at dinner for 10 minutes and then we are on our own.  Having 6 animals doesn’t help.  It is like I have to divide my time amongst everything, everybody, and every furry creature.

One night last week, I texted Todd while at work asking if we could spend some time together.  I wouldn’t get on the computer or go into the bedroom to read a book, I preferred that he didn’t find a show he had TiVo’d on the DV-R, and we spend some quality time together.  I didn’t care if we meditated together (recommended by his doctor to help his bad back,) practiced yoga together (again, to help his back,) worked out together, played a board game, or played Wii together.  I was up for anything.

After dinner, Todd got his shower while I played with Lana.  After the shower, we decided we were going to play the Wii together.  We played a couple of games of darts (to which I miserably lost all 3 games.)  This opened up to conversation between us, got us laughing together, and a little bit of competitiveness.  We then played shuffleboard (he won again! DOH!)  After shuffleboard, we played some weird table-hockey-type game (to which he won twice,) and then we played cow racing to which I won twice!  HA!  Lastly, we played 3 games of pool.  I won once, he won twice.

We played the wii for 2 ½ hours, and we had such a blast.  Within the 2 ½ hours, we made some popcorn to munch on, and then let the kittens out to play with us.  We were laughing and having a good time.

It is days like these that make me fall in love with my husband all over again.  We had a blast doing nothing but playing games together.  I may ask him if we can do it more often.  It was nice not being connected to the outer world through the internet (because the puppy chewed through the DSL lines AGAIN!) and focusing on what really matters.  Our family of 2 … and 6 fur-babies.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

J-O-B

Lately, I have been pretty unhappy with my job.  I drive an hour each way to work.  The hours are 9 – 5:30.  I am out of the house 10 ½ hours a day between traveling and work.  In the past, it didn’t bother me, but my position does not give me any type of enjoyment.  To be honest, it hasn’t in many years.  Lately, I have been very passive about my job.  I don’t care about some things that I probably SHOULD care about.  I am DEFINITELY not giving my job my all.  After all, how could I say I did when I sit and type blogs instead of getting work done?

To me, I’m not going to go around angry at everyone because I don’t like my job (as some here at work have done before actually leaving.)  My thing is, it doesn’t make any sense to be grumpy about it…DO SOMETHING about it.

So, I am in the process of an action plan.
It is very difficult for me to just quit.  I have been here for over 8 ½ years now.  Everyone here is like family.  My boss (the President of the company) gave me this job straight out of college in 2002.  I have quit once in the past, received a large raise to stay, and decided to stay.  Well, lately, it’s not about the money.  That may be because our debts are ALMOST paid off.  Though I love most of the people here, I am bored out of my mind.  I miss being home and spending time with Todd and the animals.  I’m tired of being exhausted from the time I go to sleep and then again when I wake up in the morning.  I’m tired of the “TGIF’s” and “Oh my goodness, I cant believe it’s Monday again.”

I have been thinking of a game plan.  This is what I’m going to do:

  • Get everything caught up at work (this will be a huge undertaking, but I’m going to do it.)
  • Organize & file everything in my area
  • Make a manual on how to do my job – step-by-step
  • Pay off our last debt (Todd’s American Express: $7,350)
  • Save up at least 3 months of my wages (approximately $6500)
  • Figure out how much we need to earn to live without having to worry
  • Find ways to save money to make all of this possible
  • Brainstorm on how to get all of the three businesses up and running and create cash flow
    • Books being sold on Amazon.com
    • SimplyGiftastic – consignment shops? Flea markets? Craft Shows? Etsy.com?
    • Home Inventory Business – how to market effectively? How to obtain customers? How many “audits” do I need to perform a week/month in order to meet our bills.

Luckily, I can work on two or three of these bullets at a time in order to get everything rolling.  I can pay off debts while making money selling on Etsy or Amazon.com and doing what I need to do at work. 

One requirement that I have for any position is that I need health insurance.  I don’t have a very good track record over the past 6 years between a stroke and getting a severe case of H1N1.  Because of these two things, I am afraid of not only getting sick, but of not being able to get health insurance on my own.  So either Todd or I will have to have a job with insurance.  No ifs, ands or buts about it.

Is there anything else I should prepare for when I decide to take this leap?

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Entertainment Fund

Every month, Todd and I get $100 to spend on “fun things” to do together or to go out to eat.  In the past, I felt I was robbing us because we would be UNDER BUDGET most months, but when Todd wanted to do something that was a little expensive, I would put the ki-bosh on it.

So, starting in January, I started taking $100 in cash out of the bank for our “fun money.” 
Right now, we are nearing the end of January, and we still have over $25 in “fun money” available.  I am pretty pleased with that, considering we went out to lunch once, dinner once, got ice cream as a treat from Handles (not very inexpensive) and then ate at the hospital last week when we found out Natalie was admitted.  We both rushed there after work and were starving, so we ate in the cafeteria.  As a side note, that cafeteria meal was nearly $30 for the two of us, and it wasn’t even that much food.  We both had a fajita, we shared one drink, got a slush and some jello for Natalie. Oh, and we paid for parking in the parking deck out of the “fun money.” 

At any rate, I think we’ve done really well with the entertainment fund/fun money. 

I already bought something for a later month.  It is for a place called “Fun ‘n Stuff.”  They have laser tag, climbing walls, putt putt, go-cart track, water-park games, arcarde, etc.  I got 2 – all day wrist-bands for Todd and I to go and play some day when it warms up a little bit.  That is coming out of February’s “fun money,” but I think it will be well worth it when we go.  I will probably take a Friday off when Todd has a Friday off, and we can go and have a blast.  Probably have a cheap lunch, or pack a lunch, and have a great ‘ole time.

Do you budget “fun money” every month for you and your spouse or the family?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

6th Book Sold on Amazon!

I sold my 6th book on Amazon.com.  Again, this is one that I got for FREE and sold it for $12 on Amazon.com.  Todd mentioned that this is a nice little “side business” to do.  I’m glad he is realizing that.  Because I’d like to do it much more!

I want to purge 2 items a day, and I will admit, I have only sold the books online.  That means I have to get to it and start going through the closets and start getting rid of items I no longer want/need.  My closet is a complete mess.  There is a lot of items I could get rid of in there.  Lets see if I do it by the end of the month.
Wish me luck!

Online Time

It seems that I have been online less and less lately...and the blog shows it.  There have been days that I have not posted.  I have plenty of content on USB drives, but havent put them on the blog.  I'm sorry, everyone.  The thing is, it's kind of nice not being sucked into the computer-world for hours on end.  I'm actually on time to work in the mornings, and I get to spend time with my husband.

So, I will try to be better about having a post every day.  I have enough to last a couple of weeks, I just need to sit down and do it. 

Monday, January 24, 2011

Natalie

It's hard to believe that Tuesday of last week, this little girl had complications in surgery and was held overnight at the hospital.  Todd and I went to see her after work, and she was just so miserable looking.  So tiny in that little bed and so miserable.  No child should have to be in the hospital and sick.

I went to see Natalie yesterday, and she was back to normal.  Here is a video of her jumping around dancing.  Apparently, this was the most she's been up all week since she got home from the hospital.

video


video

I love this girl so very much.  She really is the light of my life.