Tuesday, April 30, 2013

My trip to Canada

It's been quiet on my blog, which is not unusual around here, but there was actually a reason for it.  I was in Canada visiting friends and family!  I was lucky enough to be able to attend my friends Stag and Doe, and then the next weekend celebrate a very special little girls birthday (My neice turned one!).
 I also got in some small-ish shopping trips.  I was trying to find some books for my friends little girl, and my sister always says that kids don't need more toys, but you can never have enough books.  Well, books are expensive new, and I remembered something.  My friends is awesome, and loves vintage, she wouldn't mind if I headed to a thrift store (she would be proud) and found some books.  After I left the mall I headed to the Value Village across the street, and memories of highschool came flooding back to me.  I cannot believe I forgot how much I actually liked going to thrift stores.  Well, I found a lot of books, both for myself and for my friends daughter.  Then I head to the toy section, that was a bad idea, I found a New - My little Pony, and some Megablocks.  I kept the pony for my kids, and the blocks are staying at my moms house for every grandchild to enjoy.

It didn't end there, a few days later while visiting the same friends, we went to another Value Village, we bought more books, and I bought a few more toys for my kids.

Just when I thought it was safe, I stopped at ANOTHER Value Village while visiting my sister.  More books, more toys.

No I don't have a sickness, but it was highly addictive to walk into these stores, and not pay insane amounts of money for toys.  I would never get that kind of deal online, or even via Once upon a child (damn them and their markups).
I won't speak about the markups that thrift stores seem to have going on with clothing, but their toys and books with only $1 a piece, plus they had a buy 4 get one free there, so....score!

Anyway, I just wanted to share a bit of my haul, of some of the things I brought home
Those were some of my books, I ended up with 2 of the same books, with different covers, weird! The two disney books (beside the dora book at the top) were C's choice.  They were normally $15.00, but they were used, and $1 each.  He is a thrifter at heart that boy.  I found what I also hope were some good books for my friend, for her daughter, but alas no pictures of those.
In return, my super awesome friend bought me this (and also the 2 Disney Books that C found)
 YEAAAA.  I'm not sure how she found it, but it is awesome and covers my love of all things Alice in Wonderland.
It's hard to tell from this picture, but I also got quite a bit of Duplo while in Canada.  There were some Megablocks in the mix but the price was right and it was still better than buying new.
Also, I cleaned them up in the washing machine, but don't tell my husband :D

While some of the trip was stressful (travelling with my little ones by myself always unnerves me a little), it was awesome to see everyone.  I always had a huge pang of sadness hit me whenever I would have to walk out the door and leave.  I know I will see everyone again in August, but all of our babies are growing up, and not being able to just see them whenever I want really hurts.  You get used to your way of life, and when it changes it reminds you that life continues to go on, even when you aren't always there to see it.
I am looking forward to my next visit to see everyone, which I hope involves more visits with friends, and maybe some pre-wedding drinking with a few of my girls, before our lovely girl Karen gets married!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Tackling a budget!

When I was a single girl I never had a problem keeping control of my bills.  I tracked them online, opened the letters as soon as I received them and paid them on time (there were a few slips here and there, but I didn't make a habit of it).  I had complete control over everything, I knew my account numbers off the top of my head, and even though I was terrible at saving money, I made sure I took care of my bills. 
Since getting married and having kids, I have been slacking, hardcore.  I have been letting the hubby take care of all of this, and to be honest, it stressed me out.
I never knew the bank balance, still don't know ALL of our account information (scary I know) and had no idea what bills were paid and what ones weren't (so many damn LATE FEES).  The hubby finally asked me to start doing the budget and I agreed.  He joked that I was going to get to know all of our financial information and then leave him, but I assured him that it wasn't going to happen I just like knowing what's going on.
The reason I don't want to feel helpless is, I had an old co-worker whose husband took care of EVERYTHING!  Bills, car payments, even filling the car with gas.  As a 40 year old woman, she had no idea how to pump gas into her car.  We all expressed concern over this, but she assured us that it was nothing to worry about.  I really hope she knows what she is doing, or she is screwed!

I started doing the budgeting last week and am still getting used to it.  There are so many factors in America that I have to get used to, like -getting bills from the hospital or doctor-.  I never had to deal with that before so it's a little stressful, you never know when, or who you will be getting a bill from, and then you have to remember what you even got a treatment for.  We have great insurance, but I still dread opening those bills.. 

Then I had to start using a program.  Before I used Quicken (which I liked, and still do like to this day), but Hubby suggested I use YNAB (you need a budget).  I use it, but I am still not sure what it's purpose is, or if I'm even using it correctly.  I need to sign up for one of their webinars.

I'm hoping eventually I will have a complete handle on what each and every bill that comes in is for, as well as knowing how much we have coming in and going out.  For now, I am the keeper of receipts and bank balances, and I am becoming a hardass when we start talking about buying things (Hubby has to be the hardass when it comes to going out for dinner, I love going to restaurants....). 
Hubby has become obsessed with coupons, he watched a few couponing shows, and instead of making fun of the extreme couponers, now he gets tips and tricks from them.  He was so excited when he got dental floss for free because he had a coupon, I told him this was "the start of it all".  Maybe we will become as good as those people on the show, with the exception of buying stuff we don't need in mass quantities.

For now, a tip for all of you Ladies out there (single or not), get to know your bills, accounts, and start budgeting, you will be happy you did.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The Goop Shame

I was thinking about renaming my challenge, I haven't come up with a better name, but knowing that Gwenyth Paltrow is out there somewhere in the world, hawking her "GOOP" website, really makes me want to rename it so this blog somehow doesn't come up in search results for her crap....

Anyway, I took some pictures today, finally, to show everyone just how much crap I am working with.
The follow pictures are of all of the lotions of bodywashes (and some perfumes) that I could round up in the house, I know there are a few running loose but I haven't managed to find them yet.

The first picture shows you how much bodywash I have to use (I'm going to smell SOOOOO GOOD), it's on the left and there are 5 big bottles and 2 small sample bottles.
 The second pictures is from a different angle and shows you all the perfumes and lotions I have to go through (I will still smell SOOOOO good and my skin will be soooo soft, ha).  It's hard to tell but there are about 5 different perfume bottles in various stages of "empty-ness".  There are also about 10 various sized bottles of lotions, also in various stages of empty-ness.  I left my almost empty tube of Malibu heat, to show you my progress (also to show the ridiculous names).  It doesn't smell like the beach, or like any sort of temperature, it smells like straight up sugary goodness, so it's real name should say "Don't eat this".
 Just when you thought to yourself, ah, that's not so bad, there is more.  Thankfully this is all kids lotions, but chances are I'm still going to have to use it (hopefully on the kids, not me, can't stand the smell of that pink Johnson and Johnson stuff).  Not to mention there are 2 more tubes of Aveeno kicking around in the kids room.  Thankfully, there is 1 bottle left of baby wash, and that little red bottle in the bottom of the picture is the last of the body wash.
While I'm not particularily "shamed" by this pictures, I feel like it is a shame.  It's a shame that I have all these lotions and bodywashes and fantastic smelling smelly things when I don't need them.  It seems really wasteful to have such a huge quantity of stuff for 1 person.  I am hoping in 6 months time to take a new picture of near-empty cabinets, with only a few products kicking around.