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Guess What I Ate..

March 2nd, 2007 at 08:00 pm

I caved. I saw a sign, and I fell for it hook, line, and sinker.

Krispy Kreme in my area is now offering whole wheat doughnuts. Yes, you heard me right. Whole. Wheat. Doughnuts.

Deep Fried Health Food!!!

We drove through Krispy Kreme intending to get a decaf and a free hot'n'now using our Valentine's Day Krispy Kreme card. We left with the coffee and a mixed dozen of regular and whole wheat doughnuts.

And you know what? They're GOOOOOOODDD!!! Have kind of a brown sugar flavor to them. Wonder if they're whole grain? Any idea of the fiber content of a whole wheat doughnut?

February Sales Book Review

February 28th, 2007 at 12:32 pm

So I've been keeping my sales 'book' for one fiscal month and found the results rather interesting, so thought I would share.

Bear in mind, this only accounts for 'things' the house buys like groceries, speakers for the computer, paper goods, toiletries, etc. It doesn't include either of our allowances, major planned or arranged purchases such as the TV, or money spent at restaurants (which I'm also keeping track of, and can I just say dang we gotta work on that!).

Here's the overview of the spending:

Food is the biggest expense category, which is expected. If all goes according to budget, food should account for 70% of the spending I track, but this month we were over in the household category and under in the food category. Medical was also below budget (even though I took advantage of a great Claritin sale).

Next is the breakdown of the type of spending. 'Regular' items that are bought on a fairly regular schedule regardless of price (milk, OJ, coffee, Claratin, etc.). 'Planned' items are those planned around current sales or events (i.e. Coke is on sale let's stock up, Mom asked me to bring a dessert for Valentine's day dinner, we want chili for Super Bowl Sunday, etc.). 'Impulse' items are the things bought on one whim or another. Tax should be fairly explanatory, although I must point out we have a different rate for food and non-food items.

Items of note

* this was a really good month for sales for me, over 70% of my regularly purchased items were on some sort of sale. Woohoo! With the way sales cycle, I should have another month like that in April or May.

* there's a LOT more impulse purchases there than I'd like. the main culprit is grocery shopping with DH. items he has weaseled into the cart this month include rice pudding, canned chicken and tuna, and hungry man dinners.

* not all the impulse purchases are a bad thing, believe it or not. it includes things like the reduced for quick sale chicken i found, not to mention unadvertised specials that i stumble upon in the store (like frangelico coffee, softsoap body wash, and my favorite chai tea all on special). even a lot of DH's 'impulse' buys were on sale

Looking over the items purchased, most of the household items are once in a blue moon kinda thing. If those weren't in the picture, 'household' would have been in budget. Medical was well within budget, and anything that is 'leftover' gets put into the little medical savings fund online (I figure that'll be where I go if I ever have to come up with a deductible).

Even though groceries are within budget, I'm interested to see how far I can take it. Especially when paired with the amount spent on eating out... BAH! That's OK, DH will get a financial statement tonight and I'll wait for him to freak out about the amount spent at restaurants. Sadly, he's more likely to do something about it if he's the one freaking out instead of me...

Bought My First TV

February 28th, 2007 at 07:30 am

Here I am, 29 years old (OK, 28 and 360 days, whatever), and I just paid for my first TV. Seriously, I've never once bought a TV in my life, not new, not used. Mind you, I've had TVs for the past 10 years, but each and every one of them was either given to me or brought in by a significant other. Not too shabby!

The most recent freebie, a 48" 10 year old Hitachi, was on it's last legs. The filter had gone bad and from what we could tell just the part would cost $300 if we could find it. The picture was pretty much unviewable: offset so the bottom was at the top and vice-versa, rolling all the time, etc. Sound was fine, but if all I wanted was to listen to TV I'd be using the radio, right?

Plus, with all the rumblings about the switchover to HD, I knew we were going to have to bite the bullet. And, you see, there was this sale... Drats...

So last Wednesday we walked into HH Gregg on the last day of the sale, found a salesman, and asked if they still had the 51" Hitachi. The man tried to shaft us on the price saying the sale had ended the day before. Tina doesn't play nice like that, so we got the price we intended to pay gave the man a check, and DH went the Thursday to pick it up.

All was well with the world, and if this one lasts 10 years like the freebie one did, I'll be perfectly content.

But hark, what light through yonder window breaks? It's money karma, and the canoe is the sun!!! That's right, the canoe was listed for less than a week and POOF it was gone! Not just the canoe, either: both paddles and my slightly too small life jacket too. DH and I each took $20 out of the cut, bought new RGB cables for the TV, and the rest pays the house back for most of the TV purchase.

And you want to hear something ironic? I mean REALLY ironic? The day after we bought the new Hitachi, my dad calls and says he's found someone with a part for the old TV. It's all OK, though, because this guy has someone who wants to buy it. He's willing to fix the TV, sell it for us, and split the profits after the cost of the part. SWEEEEEEET!

So, between selling the canoe, selling the old TV, and maybe taking a little from our vacation fund, we have a bright shiney new TV for basically nothing!

Jane of All Trades

February 27th, 2007 at 08:59 pm

Frequent readers have likely noted my admittedly short bio to the right stating I am a Jane of All Trades. I wish I could say this was an exaggeration, but truth be told I have been paid for a wider variety of job activities than almost anyone I know. My job duties over the past 10 years have included (but were not limited to):

* working with autistic children
* irradiating clear-nose skates
* dressing up in a bee costume
* talking to homicidal and suicidal people on the phone for a crisis line
* talking to the italian police about a russian mafia credit card scam

Good grief...

I bring this up not to ensure everyone thinks I'm one odd chica (which, honestly, I can understand if that's what you're thinking).

I bring it up to explain the point of this blog entry: I'm waiting for an order of incense oils.

All trades, remember?

It all started with the soap. Remember the blog post about the soapmaker's perspective on changing a drain pipe? If not, here's the moral of the story: I can and occasionally do make soap. And in case you're wondering, yes I have made money selling soap before. I got started into soap because I'm allergic to most popular sunscreens. Makes no sense, right? Well, in '99 I started researching how to make my own sunscreen, which led to homemade cosmetics, which led to homemade soap. This was a good thing, because I have really dry skin and I can make soap to exactly my personal specifications.

Buying soap ingredients online led to a sampling of fragrance oils and some smelly good soap. Smelly good soap led to a few folks asking to buy smelly good soap from me. This snowballed into body powder, linen spray, lotion, and (here's the connection) incense. Eventually I decided to can most of it. There were a lot of ingredients to keep on hand, contamination issues to consider, and the time involved made it hard to make it really worth my while. I kept dipping incense because it's pretty much a hands-off process. Plus, I had 40,000 blank sticks and about a thousand bags... It was either keep making incense or get into some really weird modern art.

All of this brings us to the present day. I really thought I was done with incense. I haven't made any in a while so supplies were starting to dwindle, and I was cool with that. The blanks can be used as firestarters, so it wasn't like they were going to waste.

But, it turns out I've got some customers I just can't shake! There's a lady who used to live in the area who is now in Costa Rica. Once every 3 months when she's in town, she heads to my dad's store to see if there's incense. She's offered to buy it in bulk and have a friend pick it up and ship it to her, so I don't even have to worry about am extra trip to the Post Office. How could I say no?

And thus, I had to go online and order the specific oil used for her incense. While I was there, well, I caved. I ordered a couple of sample sizes just for me. The good news? I can make DH some cologne now for $2, and perfume for me too...

So here I am: technical administrator by day, website designer by night, photographer by weekend, and incense dipper by... Well, I'm working on when that'll happen...

Nifty OT Blurbies

February 25th, 2007 at 03:00 pm

Website's almost there, I promise. I've started to realize that I'm pretty much never going to be fully satisfied with it. Not really a bad thing, just the realization that perfection isn't possible and my options are to take forever getting as close as possible or get it good enough for now and work on it as an ongoing project once it's up...

Anyways, back to the blurbies...

I got a surprise yesterday: $25 from my inlaws for my upcoming birthday. WOOHOO!!! BTW, the big day is March 5th, in case you have any spare chocolate or coffee you'd like to send my way Big Grin In all honesty, I didn't realize my birthday was right around the corner until Friday anyways... It's weird, 'cause to be so young I have ask "What year is it?" when someone asks how old I am. This year is 29, next year 30. I decided a while ago that on the 30th I was going to scrub my face good, braid my hair into pigtails, put on baggie overalls and a pair of cons, and go try to get carded.

Something else OT yet super cool (IMO). We all know my dad owns a cigar store, right? Well, he has a private label that is really exceptional, and I found out last night that one of those found its way to Michael Jordan and he loved it and might be try to come around for a box. TOO COOL!!!! The mental picture of my dad (5'6") standing next to Michael Jordan is just too funny for words, BTW...

Weather, Website, and Want Some Help!

February 22nd, 2007 at 01:05 pm

Yes, these are 'blurbies' (like my compromise between quickies and blurbs?)

OMG it's 74 right now and I'm going nuts!!!! Last place I want to be is at work. Interestingly, it's going to be in the low 30s/high 20s tonight. Nothing like a 40-50 degree temperature shift to get the blood going.

Bah!!! Here's my problem. OK, I'll be honest, I have multiple problems... I have a general idea for the site, but I can't decide if I want to go 'artsy' or 'businessy'. And I have a really nifty PHP driven Open Source image gallery that works on it's own perfectly, but isn't quite embedding into my pages the way I want. And finally, since this is something all my own and I can do it however I want, I'm creating text files that get marked up by PHP and then stich it all together with CSS for design and layout. This is cool because, when I want to change how everything looks, it'll take a few minutes tops. This is not cool, because right now I'm banging my head against a wall trying to make everything layout properly in both IE and Firefox. Forget the other browsers, I just want these two to work! I'm having to slide in some unfortunate hacks to get IE to cooperate...

And Finally: I Want Some Help!
I have been cordially invited to write some articles for SavingAdvice on computers, technology, and saving money. I'm flabbergasted, not to mention honored! Here's where I need help: what kind of articles would ya'll like to see? Are there any questions you'd like to see addressed, resources you've not been able to find, etc? I want to make sure these articles are worthwhile for Jeffrey, so any and all suggestions are more than welcome. Please, Help ME! Big Grin

Blurbs: I'm a Toasty Photo Handyman

February 15th, 2007 at 07:23 pm

Sorry, BA, but I just can't bring myself to call 'em quickies Big Grin

* We're in a cold spell right now. I'm holed up in the den with a hot fire and three kitties. Leftovers for dinner since DH is out at pool night. Thursday's are my leftover night, completely cook free. Unless I want to, of course.

* Along those lines, our January was unusually cold for this area. I've had both space heaters on more than expected. The electric bill was still only $100, so I'm feeling pretty comfortable with the current system.

* I got a weird offer in the mail today. I have been invited to join the "Handyman Club of America". A direct quote from the letter:

Why you?

Well, it's no secret among your friends and family that you are an outstanding handyman.

I'm pretty sure my friends and family would find it a HUGE secret if it turned out I were a handyman. HAAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAaaahhaha! Reminds me of spam I used to for Viagra and home equity loans when I had neither a penis nor a house...

* I am taking the picture plunge. I found a great deal of a webhost (details later) and got an OK domain (not great, not crap). I'm working on getting a site thrown together as we speak. Well, obviously not this very instant, but you know what I mean. When I get it moderately presentable, I'll post a link here to get some feedback from everyone (if you don't mind!). This way, I'll have a place I can point prospects and realtors, not to mention a slightly more professional email address than tina.p.beana

OK, enough procrastination, back to the grindstone I go!

Boring Stuff

February 12th, 2007 at 05:12 am

As I have nothing much else to say, I will now begin wasting space and time by catching everyone up on yesterday's 'thrilling' adventures in food and married life. Are you excited yet Rolleyes

Let's see.... DH woke up ornery. His sciatic nerve was acting up (has already had one surgery for this), so he didn't sleep well and couldn't get very comfortable when awake. Around noon he started saying he was hungry.

>> ratle off list of breakfast food
>> begin

He said "But I was thinking more lunch, not breakfast". No problem.

>> rattle off lunch list
>> begin

"Want to go to Jack in the Box? Or Waffle House?" he asked.

"If given the option, no, I'd rather not go out. I've got stuff to do around here." was my reply.

DH relented and ate 2 pieces of left-over pizza for lunch. Don't know why he made a fuss, I know for a fact that he enjoys leftover pizza as much as I do.

About an hour later, he says he's bored and wants to go somewhere. I look at him and say "You're bored?". Yup.

>> rattle off list of household duties
>> begin

"But I don't want to do anything too physical, my back's acting up."

OK, I can agree to that. Last thing I want is to get my wood chopped to the tune of another $1500 my portion hospital bill.

"So, instead of sitting around here, you want to go sit around somewhere else?" I ask.

"Yeah, I guess."

>> stiffle urge to throttle husband
>> begin

"Well, you could go to the cigar store to watch the NASCAR qualifying. The library. Or a bookstore, or coffee shop. But, if you're at a bookstore you might as well go to the library..." I replied, as our main library branch also has a coffee shop in it.

"Wait, I've got library books checked out, right? I can read those. Do you know where I put them?"

>> stiffle urge to throttle husband
>> begin

>> sigh inwardly
>> wonder when I became a single mom
>> begin

"They're on the table. Where you put them, when you were 'cleaning up'".

So I'm puttering in the kitchen, and DH askes if we have the bits to make rice pudding. He thinks it'll make his back feel better, which is a very obvious ruse. But it's cheap, easy, and warm, so I happily commence.

>> stuff self silly on rice pudding
>> begin

A load of dishes and laundry later, I ask DH if he's decided what he would like for dinner. I ask because usually I have absolutely no preference, whereas DH tends to change appetites on a whim. When he replied "I don't care" I jumped on the chance and said I'd make grilled chicken alfredo. Quick, tasty, and always generates leftovers because it's not one of DH's favorites. Sneaky, I know, but I take those leftovers to work. Last time I made something expecting leftovers (crockpot chili on Super Bowl Sunday), it disappeared with a frightening quickness.

I'm getting bits together, and DH shuffles into the kitchen.

"You know, spaghetti actually does sound better."

>> stiffle urge to throttle husband
>> begin

"I wish you'd mentioned that earilier. It's 4 now, and the sauce always tastes better when it simmers longer."

"It'll be ready by 7 right? Plenty of time to simmer...."

>> deep, calming breaths
>> begin

So I make spaghetti sauce. Sautee one chopped onion. Brown a pound of sausage and use half for the sauce (package up the rest to make dirty rice later this week). One 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes, one 15 oz can of diced tomatoes (drained), onions, sausage and seasoning. Add one drained can of mushrooms halfway through (8 oz after draining).

Since I'd already gotten a taste for alfredo, I made a half batch of that during the 3 hour simmer-a-thon and packaged it up for lunch.

Then, I made a box of

Text is Jiffy's and Link is http://www.jiffymix.com/
Jiffy's blueberry muffin mix, except I make it as a small cake rather than muffins. BTW, I love Jiffy mix. One box is 39 cents, fills the little tray for my toaster oven perfectly, and results in eight 2x4 inch cake bars. Two of these equals breakfast, so almost a week's worth of breakfast for 39 cents plus milk, egg, and tax.

DH smelled the baking, and came in and sampled a piece (as I had done). "Interesting" he said. This translates into "Wow, this is foul, how can you eat this?!?" Doesn't hurt my feelings a bit, because now I know DH won't be bogarting my breakfast cakes because he thinks they taste funny.

I'm chilling in the kitchen to occasionally stir the sauce, so I decide to clean out the fridge. Oh boy, I have GOT to get better about left-overs. On the plus side, I now know that pineapple makes an excellant substitute for a petri dish.

Another load of laundry and dishes later, and the sauce is as done as it's gonna get. This translates to "I was hungry and didn't want to wait any more!". When it was all said and done, there were maybe 2 cups of sauce left. Out of 2 quarts... Good thing I made the alfredo, I guess!

DH finally broke down and took something for his back, which made him much more agreeable. This in turn made me much more agreeable, and the rest of the evening was spent taking turns playing computer games on my laptop and drinking hot tea.