Wednesday, April 27, 2011
What it really stands for is:
This is my first time participating, so here goes nothing!
I'm loving that despite the financial strain of the situation, I only have a four day work week for the next ten weeks! But shhhh, don't tell Dave ;-)
I'm loving that my youngest sister, Erin, has decided to go to college at the same school that both my sister, Kelly, and I attended!
I'm loving that our local drive-in opens this weekend! $6 to view two newly released films that I can enjoy in the comfort of my car, eating my own food and can even bring Gromit along? Yes, please!
I'm loving that my birthday is this weekend and I get to spend some more quality time with Dave!
And I'm LOVING my wonderful husband!
Sunday, April 24, 2011
Happy 30th Birthday to my wonderful husband!! We have had an awesome time celebrating his 30 years of life this weekend. We put all of our stressors aside and just decided to kick back and enjoy life! It was kind of a weird to be celebrating such a milestone birthday on such a major holiday but we still managed to celebrate both and have a great time.
The celebration began on Saturday night when we invited some of our best friends (who also live near by) out to dinner and gelato to celebrate Dave’s birthday. We were all meeting over at our place to “carpool” to dinner and dessert but instead of carpooling I surprised Dave with a limo to take us around town! In his 30 years he has never been in a limo so I thought this would be an extra special treat! Everyone got an 80’s goodie bag with Ferris Bueler style sunglasses, Pop Rocks, a yo-yo, a twisty straw and a whistle. Even baby Kyla joined in on the fun!
We listened to 80’s music in the limo and enjoyed a yummy dinner and dessert. We are so blessed to have such awesome friends who are crazy like us and agree to wear silly sunglasses and hang out with us in public. We love you guys!
Sorry for the blurry pictures - it is hard to keep the camera still when you’re having so much fun! Haha…
Today was Dave’s actual birthday and we got up early so that he could open all of his birthday cards before church. After church we packed a picnic lunch and headed to the foothills for a picnic. In the last month I sent out special note cards to Dave’s family and long time friends with instructions to fill out the note cards with a special memory and mail it back to me before his birthday along with a picture of Dave from years past. I compiled all of the note cards and pictures sent back to me and hid them all in a geocache at the picnic spot for Dave to find. All I gave him was the GPS coordinates of where the geocache was. It was soooooo special for Dave to get all of these notes and photos from people who mean so much to him!
We ended up enjoying our picnic lunch on the car because it was raining, but we still had a fantastic time reading all of the note cards, talking about past memories and spending time together. Dave said this weekend was better than he could have imagined. Thank you so much to everyone who made it so special for him! Happy 30th Birthday, Lovey! I love you so much!
Friday, April 22, 2011
So far I have had no luck finding a second job. Even Starbucks hasn’t called me back. And to further complicate things, while my office will now be closed on Fridays I will still be required to follow through and be at events previously scheduled on Fridays - which means that I’m now not available every Friday to work a second job which makes it harder to find a second job with a super flexible schedule. Plus, it will take a couple of weeks to be interviewed and hired anywhere and my pay cut starts Monday, so I need to come up with another plan to start saving money now.
My first way to save money is to start using coupons more. After watching Extreme Couponing on TLC I am motivated to save some money while I shop for groceries. No, I don’t plan to stockpile tons and tons of groceries but I would like to take some of their tips and apply then to smaller orders. For example, use a coupon to buy things that are already on sale so you increase your savings. I tried that last week and ended up paying $0.97 for a bottle of body wash. I also know that King Soopers (Kroger) will double manufacturer coupons up to $1.00. I’m still trying to figure this all out, but I guess I will get the hang of it now since I have an extra day in my week to work on it.
The second thing I am going to do is challenge myself to spend no more than $5 on dinners for Dave and me. Instead of planning my meals for the week then buying ingredients, I am going to plan my meals around what is on sale, what I have coupons for, what I can buy in bulk and what is just plain cheap. I think we’ll end up having bulk items multiple times in a week and dressing them up in different ways so it looks new. For example, having hot dogs one night, hot dogs with mac & cheese another night then maybe hot dogs in chili another night.
So that’s what I’ve come up with for now. What do you do to save money? Do you coupon? If so, how do you do it, where do you get coupons and what are your favorite tips & tricks? Please share any insight you have in the comments. I’m sure that many of us would love to save some extra money, even if we’re not going through pay cuts so share away! I’m open to any new ideas and I will try the ones that sound doable then share the results on the blog. Let’s all save some money!
Monday, April 18, 2011
The small nonprofit I work for has lost four of its largest funding grants in the past few months due to budget cuts and changes in priority funding from foundations and granting organizations. That equates to a huge budget shortfall for my organization. I hear and see all the time how the bad economy has impacted businesses and individuals. Heck, I meet people every day who have been impacted by the economy and I have always been silently (maybe too much so) grateful that I wasn't in a position where I was impacted in any way other than meeting these people who needed help from my organization.
But today all of that changed. Pardon my French, but $h!t just got real.
All of the staff at my organization have to take a 20% pay cut and reduction in hours starting next Monday to help make up for the budget shortfall. We will be closed every Friday from now through June. That means that I lose one pay day a week, which is 20% of my income, for at least the next two months. That's 20% of my income that I can't afford to lose right now.
My initial thought is that I need a second job. I NEVER thought I'd have to do that, EVER. It is scary and frustrating and part of me wants to just stomp my feet and complain about how unfair this is. But I can't. I have got to find a way to make up for the income that will be missing from my paycheck starting next week. I've been completely unfocused at work and browsed through Craigslist throughout the day to see what is out there. Only a few things posted offer hours on only Friday/Saturday/Sunday and the ones with that availability pay somewhere between $7.50 and $9 an hour. Yikes! I can see that it is going to be hard to balance my "career job" with one to supplement my income.
So, why am I sharing all of this with you? Well, the first reason is kind of selfish; I want to be able to look back on this and remember how I felt, what I did and how I got through it. Because I WILL get through it, eventually. I want to be even more grateful for what I have after this time has passed. Second, I want anyone out there in a similar situation to know that I not only understand what you're going through, but I also feel your pain... and frustration, and fear, and stress, and anxiety and sadness. You no longer have just my sympathy, you have my empathy. Third, this is real life. Not everything in this life is all beer and skittles and I would be a big liar to pretend that everything going on with me is happy and fun all of the time by only posting the fun things.
After nearly twelve hours of
Sunday, April 17, 2011
Every year we celebrate the day that we adopted Gromit from our nearby Humane Society. Since he was a stray and we don’t have any history or background on him we also celebrate his adoption day as his birthday! This year we celebrated Gromit turning four and being a part of our lives for two years!
I made a dog-friendly beef jerky cake for the occasion which Gromit loved. Of course, he only got a very small piece of cake so he wouldn’t get sick - especially since he really doesn’t get “people food” any other time of the year. If you are a little crazy like we are and you want to make your dog a cake, you can find this and other dog-friendly cake recipes at www.DogBirthdaysAndParties.com.
We also got Gromit a couple of birthday presents, just for fun. He loved his cinnamon roll shaped bone and he tolerates his ducky hooded towel. We’ll see how that goes over the next time I give him a bath!
We are so lucky to have Gromit as a part of our lives. He is so sweet and snuggly and is a joy to come home to after a long day. We enjoy taking him for walks, hikes, camping and bike rides and we think he likes those activities too. Gromit is truly our first child, our fur baby (or baby doggy) and we love him very much! Happy Birthday, Gromit!
Thursday, April 7, 2011
We are finally home! Actually, we got back on Sunday night but it has taken us a while to recover from the trip. I’m still not completely unpacked, there are piles of laundry waiting for me and as crazy as it seems, I am still getting back in the habit of working. Haha! It was a good trip, a fun trip, but I am so glad to be home with my husband and pup.
Sunday was a fun day with my family - before heading to the airport to catch our flight out of Tennessee we decided to visit the actual Chattanooga Choo Choo. There wasn’t much to it, the train is parked at what used to be the main train station, but it has since been converted into a hotel. The train cars have been converted into hotel rooms and you can stay in them overnight. The only thing you can do as a tourist though is climb into the engine and take some pictures. Oh, and visit the gift shop. It was pretty neat to see the train, but if we are ever in Tennessee again, we would like to stay inside the train for the full experience ;-)
Have you ever had a Moon Pie? The gift shop at the Choo Choo had tons of them and my family went nuts. I think we all bought a Moon Pie of each flavor - chocolate, vanilla, banana and orange. I had never had one before and they were pretty good!
After our train adventure we headed to the airport to catch our flight home. We saw some very cool clouds during the flight and it was nice to be able to sleep on the plane, until our stopover in Kansas City where there were thunderstorms and our flight back to Denver was delayed. It was no big deal, especially after my last experience having flights delayed, and I knew I would get home eventually.
We had a great time on the trip, but we are also glad to be home and really glad to have Gromit back from puppy camp! Now to go and tackle all of that laundry…
Saturday, April 2, 2011
And my favorite picture of the day…
I can’t believe my little brother is married! Congratulations Curtis & Daché!
Friday, April 1, 2011
The girls all met up this morning to get manicures and pedicures before the big day. We had a lot of fun sipping Starbucks drinks and chatting about the wedding and honeymoon plans while enjoying the leg and hand massages included with our mani/pedis. Ahhhh, it was wonderful. While we were enjoying the spa the boys all went out to breakfast together and then went to pick up their tuxedos and do a little “man shopping”. Whatever that is…
Later in the afternoon we all met back up for the wedding rehearsal at this very beautiful chapel on a huge backcountry property. See the picture of it below. They did an almost full practice of the wedding ceremony and Daché started crying, which made Curt cry, which made just about everyone else in the chapel cry. I think we’re all going to need to bring the Kleenex tomorrow for the real deal.
After the rehearsal we all caravanned to the rehearsal dinner and a local hotel. FYI, in my opinion, Tennessee drivers are terrible. Hardly anyone here uses a turn signal and I and other members of my family were cut off numerous times on the drive to the dinner. Mix that with the heavy fog on the roads and it makes for one panicked me. I think Dave is considering drugging me the next time we have to drive anywhere.
Tomorrow is the big day! We have early hair appointments and then pictures scheduled before the wedding so I had better get to bed so I don’t have bags under my eyes. Be sure to check back for wedding pictures! I’ll also do my best to tweet some pictures during/after the ceremony at 4:00 ET. Feel free to follow along at www.twitter.com/FireBug501!