Groceries - $301.70
HBA - $74.32
Misc. - $575.55
Restaurant - $114.09
Gas - $316.39
Groceries - well, looking back, we seem to be getting better at grocery shopping. From $536 in month 1, $460, then $383, now $301, we seem to be making progress in trimming the grocery budget.
HBA - this category is on it's way out. More and more I'm lumping it in with either "grocery" or "misc". So we're going to label it "Health" from here on out and just use it for medical stuff.
Misc - This was a big one this month. Between the almost-$400 repair of our cooktop, garage sale finds, and other little wallet-leaks, this has and has not been a bad month for us in this department.
Restaurant - A little higher than I'd prefer, but perfectly understandable considering the lack of a cooktop for almost 2 weeks.
Gas - Hoo, boy! Talk about choking! When hubby crashed his car, he got a "guzzler" from Enterprise...to the tune of $95 in gas in 2 weeks. Yowza! We won't be buying a Saturn sedan anytime soon!
Overall, the biggest disappointment here is the sheer amount of spending we did this month. Hubby or I broke out the wallet 49 times this month. You know how they say they just have to get you through the doors, and their marketing department will do the rest? Well, my goal for next month is to NOT cross their thresholds as often. Also, we're going to continue to cut back on groceries. And, hopefully, next month our "misc" category will also reflect the usage of the library as a form of entertainment (seriously, guys, I can't get over how unbelievably COOL it is!).
So I'm trying an experiment. I'm fortunate in having a manual transmission, compact car that I bought new a few years ago. So I'm paying more attention to my RPMs, coasting whenever possible, controlling stops and starts, and not driving over 55mph on the highway. Sidenote: that last one makes me a little nervous. I started highway driving 55mph probably a year ago, and was a victim of road rage with a semi. Nothing happened, except to my undies (LOL), but it's important to be aware of the drivers around you while you do that. Also, a pleasant surprise, lately it's rare that I don't actually have someone travel behind me (willingly!) at that speed. Sign of the times?
We'd been without a second car for about a week. So, while hubby took the car to work, I was riding on his bike with Andrew safely tucked in the carrier. We don't live in the most non-vehicle-friendly spot (check your address on this website to see how you fare - we got a 9 out of 100 - www.walkscore.com/), but more and more people are spotted walking the mile to the grocery store lately. Our location isn't conducive to biking to the post office or library, but whittling down to one car was something we were seriously toying with. And I say "were", because we bought another car this weekend. Doesn't matter, I'm still keeping the bike at the ready, and parking the car at the curb.
You know, a few days ago there was a story on the news about two girls protesting the gas increases....because the higher prices caused their parents to axe cable TV. If you've read my blog before, you know how I feel about TV. And, while I'm not thrilled about their means of motivation, I'm tickled with the amount of PR they got. Do you think it got a mention in the Oval Office?
So what are you doing today to offset gas prices/consumption?
6 cups strawberries or red/black raspberries
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 cup water
2 tbsp butter
If using a regular pie crust, blind bake and cool completely. Puree 2 cups of berries. In asaucepan, mix together sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Whisk in water, pureed berries, and butter. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Cook for 1 minute, until nicely thickened. Layer fresh berries and pureed mixture into pie crust. Let set 4 hours before serving. Best served that day.
And, if you really want to make this legit, you'll make some fresh whipped cream. Believe me, ReddiWhip is a bad word in David's house.
In our home, we've adopted the Operation Christmas Child tradition for our gifting. That is, I'd purchased plastic storage boxes a few years ago. We have them labelled for each recipient, and I keep my eyes open for items to put in them all year long. When they're empty I just request them returned for the next filling. It helps me focus on the clearance racks, so I can in turn say it saves us money (it probably doesn't, but I can dream a little). And we can relax during the Christmas shopping season and focus on the Miracle that is Jesus.
What about you? It's not too late to start now, so you can sit back and enjoy the eggnog later.
You know, you guys may get a charge out of toeing the line, but I'M the one having to explain to my 4-year-old what that is and why some irresponsible, likely immature, and obviously low-class individual thinks it's appropriate to hang gonads on their transportation for the world to see. And, perdon my francaise here, but that pisses me off. Please, my life is complicated enough. There's not enough hours in the day for my 4-year-old's nonstop stream of questions, without having to tack that one on.
Now, let's just for argument's sake say that I'd stoop (crawl) down to that level and slap a pair of breasts onto the front of my compact car. How long do you think I'd drive around before the first policeman decided I needed a little sense pounded into my head by way of a fine? Here in Troy, there's probably more patrolman per capita than anywhere else on earth...so I'd wager 20 minutes. And that's being generous. Even if I modestly placed them under the bra that already protects my front end paint job.
As for as I see it, this is just another sign of the times. We live in a morally-corrupt world. Why shouldn't people display genitalia on their vehicles? These days, it's maybe one of the more innocent things you can see. And in my thinking, that's pretty sad.
It's been an incredible thing, seeing Yasar with a light in his eyes again. It's been 13 years since he emmigrated from his homeland! 13 years since he's seen his 2 brothers, 1 sister, and his cousins, neices, nephews, uncles, aunts, old friends. 3 years since he's seen his parents. I can't imagine how that eats at his soul. But Rami, you couldn't have shown up at a better time!
So here's a shout-out to all of our family in the Middle East and around the world. We miss you, and we think about you often, and we pray that someday soon we'll be able to see you and give you a giant hug!
Rami, from the bottom of my heart, shukrain.
So I dug out a credit card, dusted it off (it's been awhile since I've had the pleasure/pain/guilt of using one of these), and paid the bill. She then put me on hold for a bit, came back, and asked if my service had been restored. I said I didn't know, I was upstairs and not close to any TV's.
She was dumbstruck. What? A cut-off customer NOT desperate for reconnection????
I had to chuckle.
Hope you did, too.
Anyway, OT, prayers for Beth and Gianni, they'll be travelling from Eastern PA to Western OH late tonight. Can't wait to see you guys!
Summertime in the pizza industry must be something like winter for the ice vendors of old. Not to say we don't get any business, we do. But it's never enough to hit that mystical "break even point". And, as business owners, the first person to feel the sacrifice is ourselves, usually with the forfeiture of our paychecks.
So here we are, just looking down our third pay period without a check. And that gets a little frustrating. I mean, we have bills to pay, too. Mortgage, utilities, groceries, credit cards, that all doesn't just stop when business isn't panning out. And, as you've probably already figured out, the inevitable happened this week.
Yes, our cable was turned off.
Hey, we're grateful it wasn't something vital, like the electric or gas.
And I refuse to look on this as a negative thing. I had blogged a few months ago that, when our DirecTV contract was up, we were going TV-free. And we're just a month from that time. So instead of moping and bemoaning my fate (noHell'sKitchennoBachelorettenoPeople'sCourt), I'm embracing the fact that I now have HOURS of my life back! Yes, yesterday morning I was at the gym at 6:30am, rather than lying on the couch and trying to catch up on grown-up DVR before Andrew woke up. I'll tell you, it was a liberating experience!
So I guess I'll be seeing alot more of you guys now, since I actually have time to blog more. And maybe I'll lose those 15lbs I've been struggling with this last year. I know I'll be working at the nursing home more, if only to pay off DirecTV once and for all. And, you know what? I might actually develop a terrific relationship with my little guy.
Aren't you jealous?
Now, I had no idea this was going to turn into anything more than a "normal" well check-up. I mean, the last time Andrew got shots was a few years ago, a distant, yet still-painful memory. I guess the next round is between 4 and 6 years old, and we decided to bite the bullet and get it started. I mean, when I agreed, I was under the impression it was one, maybe two vaccinations.
In the arms.
Make that seven, since he wiggled right out of the first two.
I cried as much as Andrew did. And I'm still so proud of him, he's such a little trooper. He still thinks he only got one shot (and should I tell him otherwise?). And he's still reaping the benefits...popsicles-of-choice and a camp-out in the backyard with mommy and daddy last night. Top that with the way-cool bandaids from the doctor's office, and the street cred he earned, and maybe he'll come out ahead in the end.
Andrew, you're definitely today's hero.
Oh, and the previews for next week promise something to do with guns.
I'm going back to PBS....
For those of you who didn't major in preschool TV, this is a cartoon version of The Cosby Show. It's based on the books by Bill Cosby. Set in a Philly suburb, Little Bill is a charmingly wholesome little kindergartener who loves to imbue moral lessons on my son. And it's usually very relevant, with lessons on teasing, making friends, honesty, etc. Think "Little House on the Prairie" meets the year 2007. 4.5 Stars
The Magic School Bus
This is one of those cartoons that has spanned the generations, at least in the Wasouf household. The Magic School Bus is still the same as it was when I was a kid. Andrew really seems to like it, and learns from it. Would you believe the other day he gave me a lecture on the digestive system, complete with graphics? I'm all in favor of him enjoying and learning from this show, even if it is a little advanced for his age. 4 Stars.
America's Funniest Home Videos
Now, I insist on having some "transitional" TV loaded and ready to go. I mean, really, there's only so much animation a grown-up should have to take, right? Andrew and I both get a kick out of watching men getting whapped in the jewels, and teenagers taking nosedives off trampolines. But our favorites are hands-down the animal bloopers. Nothing puts a smile on your face quite like a cat freaking itself out with a mirror! 4.5 Stars.
Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares
This one's for after Andrew's bedtime. Gordon cusses way too much for this to be seen during daylight hours. But the man fascinates me, he's such a driving force in the restaurant industry. And he's hot! 3 Stars.
This is a great little cartoon on PBS, where everyday objects are made up of the letters that spell them. Like the Bear's home is actually made of the letters C-A-V-E. Andrew's really learning to spell now, and we credit this show for much of that. 5 Stars.
I consider this to be educational TV for grow-ups. You'd be surprised the applicable lessons packed into 30 minutes. But I still say the only thing scarier than Judge Judy on a rampage is Judge Judy smiling. 3.5 Stars.
The old classic, another that spans the generations. Andrew loves Elmo (what kid doesn't?) and all the little skits they do. For me, there's more of a dark side to Sesame Street. I was in the heart of my impressionable years when Mr. Hooper died. Though I haven't sought therapy (yet), it's still a little disturbing to watch the show. That and whatever happened to Big Bird's voice? Is it me, or is it different? 4 Stars.
I look forward to this half-hour of entertainment! It's like a variety show, probably alot like the old Muppet Shows, but the humor is on both child and adult levels. What really tickles my funnybone is Pinky Pinkerton, the sportscaster who covers events like potato sack races and piggyback marathons. A total hoot! 5 Stars.
You know, I used to watch this show with an air of superiority. That "well, at least we're not THAT bad" attitude. Now we just watch for tips. Pretty soon, we'll be calling "Help Us Jo!!!" 4 Stars.
You know you're getting old when whatever's on PBS is worth precious DVR space. Either that, or PBS is getting more interesting. Either way, we pay attention to what's on the Independent Lens. One that's held court on my DVR since January is an episode about a 21-year-old diagnosed with Aspberger's Syndrome. Fascinating, how someone with social disabilities integrates into the adult world. But they've always got some different topics on, and it's rare that it's something uninteresting. 5 Stars.
And in the end, you'd think I'd be ripping my hair out, right? You know, through all this my faith in my God gets stronger. I got a little message from Him this morning, as I'd been getting little messages for the last week. I was pulling white wash out of the dryer to fold, and there was $30 rolled up, right front and center. Did I mention it was white wash, and there was no pants in there for that money to hide in? Father, I trust you. You are going to pull us through this. And as much as this hurts us, we are going to focus our attentions not on the problems, but on You.
Last night Yasar, Andrew, and I went for a bike ride, as a family. And we didn't spent the time obsessing about the curveballs that life has thrown us. I guess we know that life will always be testing, but our God will always be faithful. And we rest easy.