Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Cutting back

My sister and I talked and we decided that we would cut back on the gift giving next year. They are having a hard time since her husband lost his job. He was lucky enough to get a part time job working at game stop and he is getting unemployment so they are holding their heads above water. But it is just getting to be too much for us too. I'm panicking over our being unable to fill all the funds for next year. So this should help us both. We decide to spend just $20 per family. So I will spend $10 on each of them and they will spend $5 on each of us. That's better. We can make or buy anything we want, so it should be an adventure. I didn't ask about anniversaries but I'm think a card will do. So the good news is I can shave $55 off of the birthday and anniversary fund. Anything helps. Some better news is that I scrimped and saved and managed to pay off the credit card minus the $569 for the computer. SO luckily the billing cycle ended and the computer went on the next month. But Den and I decided that we are going to use some Christmas money and pay it off. I'll just make another payment after Christmas to the credit card company and hopefully I won't get stuck with any interest charges.
Thanks for Reading,
SonyaAnn

Monday, December 29, 2008

It's my Birthday



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This is the picture of my birthday dinner from last year. And I asked for the same thing this year. We each get to choose what we have for dinner on our birthday. Den and the kids like to get fast food or Cracker Barrel, I love when Den cooks Chinese food. It's my favorite thing. I'm very lucky that Den was a chef in a french restaurant for a few years and that he loves to cook. All the dishes are a Christmas gift from a few years ago. I bought the dishes and accessories and put them in a box. So when we have Chinese night we pull out the box and decorate. We also have a Mexican restaurant in a box too. Complete with music and a mariachi band(poster), this has saved us so much money through the years and its fun. I hope that when the kids are grown they look back and have a few good memories. And the good thing is this whole meal doesn't cost more than $25 and we get lunches the next day out of it. It's a costly meal by our normal dinner standard but it's still cheaper than take out.
Thanks for reading,
SonyaAnn

Friday, December 26, 2008

Dissipate





I'm so excited. I know that this looks like bragging but I can't help it. I feel like jumping up and down. And honestly, no one except for the kids and Den have even noticed about my book. I guess that everyone else has their own things going on. But anyways, I signed the contract a while ago but the publishing company can back out at any time. When they finally send you the $1 advance it's a done deal. So for sure, it will be published. Den bought me a frame for it from Walmart for $3. So we've spent three times the amount I've made on the frame alone.HAHA! But it still feels like a dream, I just don't believe the blessing that I have been given. I'm sure that my dad is smiling down on me.
Thank you for reading,
SonyaAnn

Thursday, December 25, 2008

A Kind Word for me

Well, I'm not doing so well. I'm still missing my father and I've been trying to do things to pick myself up. I started to think about what I would say to someone in my position. I'm never as kind to myself as others are to me. I usually tear myself down and never try to be kind to myself. And I would never say the same things that I say about myself to anyone because that would just be cruel. So I'm going to do something nice for myself for Christmas. Something that I would never do, I'm going to give myself a kind word. I'm going to write about one of the kindest things that I've ever done. I'm sure that some will think that I'm just being narcissistic but I have never given myself any credit and I feel so low that I think I need something. This moment in my life makes me feel better about being me and makes me believe that God still wants me here. So here it is......
I had to drive to my parents house and on the way there I stopped for gas. It was Christmas time and very, very cold. It was early evening and the sun had set and the wind had an icy bite. So I slowly got out of the car and pumped my gas. I filled it up and went inside to pay. What I didn't realize was there were two police cars on the other side of the gas station. They were walking back and forth between a woman in a very old car and the irate store owner. So being me I had to ease drop. Well, what had happened was the woman didn't have very much money and tried to pay for her gas with change that she had in a jar. She wasn't trying to skip out. It's just that she was poor and change was all that she had. The store manager was trying to get the police to arrest her. Of course, they wouldn't. It was just a very sad situation. The woman hung her head in shame. It was a Sunday so there were no banks open and no where to exchange the change. I looked at this woman with her dirty well worn coat. And then in the car with tattered plastic for a side window, sat her crying teenage daughter. The girl had her head hung in the same defeated manner.
I went and paid for my gas and asked the owner how much she owed. He said it was $7.00 the exact change he had just handed me. I told him that I was going to pay her bill but only in front of the officers so that they would know that the matter was settled. So I called the officer over and told him what I was doing. He smiled and thanked me.
I walked back outside and over to the woman. I told her what I had just done and told her not to worry. She wasn't in trouble and she could leave. She thanked me and asked for my name and number so that she could pay me back. I told her Merry Christmas, it was a gift. She stood there with tears flowing down her face thanking me. I walked over to her and hugged her tight. She told me that she never thought that her life would come to this, how low she felt. I told her that I had walked in her shoes and that I was so proud of her. She cried even harder and I continued to tell her how I considered her a very lucky person because she had such a wonderful daughter. She continued to cry and shook her head in agreement. And I promised her that it would get easier just not to give up the fight. I held her for a while in the parking lot giving her words of encouragement and letting her cry. When she stopped crying, I let her go and I told her Merry Christmas. And then we both left. I pray that life is better for her and her daughter. I've never seen her again.
That was one of the best moments of my life and it happened just by chance. So SonyaAnn, Merry Christmas and don't forget that you should save a kind word for yourself as well as others.
Thanks for reading,
SonyaAnn

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

A job?

Well after all of my bellyaching about being broke and having to work on the 2009 budget, I've had a small job fall into my lap. My sister in laws best friend just had a baby and needs a sitter. The money would be nice but I would hate to give up writing. I know that sounds selfish but I can't help it. She is unemployed and looking for a job after the first of the year. So it will probably take a while for her to find something stable. That extra money would help pay for Anna's college too. I know that I will end up taking it but I'm sad about it too. I would have to postpone my dream of being a full time writer. I guess I will just see where life takes me. I just wonder how much to charge. She said that it would cost her anywhere from$300 to $400 a week for a sitter. That's crazy and I wouldn't charge any where near that. The other thing too is that she is notorious for not keeping a job. She is just one of those people that never can stick with anything. I don't know, I guess it will just work it's self out. Den said that I shouldn't do it because I still have obligations for the book. I have book signings and anything else they can come up with. But I doubt that it will be that much and my mother in law said that she would watch the baby too. So I still might be able to work things out. I'm nervous too because I haven't been in charge of a little one for a very long time and it is so draining. With my thyroid being under active, it might be too much. So many reasons not to do it and only one as to why I should, the money. I'll see what happens and I'll keep you posted.
Thanks for reading,
SonyaAnn

Monday, December 22, 2008

My $4.30 meal



-->I was looking for a cheap meal and here it is. We were all so surprised that it tasted so good. I always see on other blogs and web sites cheap meals and I decided to come up with my own. Not to bad for someone that can't cook. And I'm going to save this for one of the nights that it gets crazy around here. It took about 10 minutes to make and is much better and cheaper than fast food. And you could make this cheaper, if you can get the ingredients on sale. This made enough for all of us and there were left overs for lunch the next day. All you need is about 3 tablespoons of olive oil($.33), 6 packages of Ramen noodles($.99) and 2 bags of frozen stir fry vegetables($2.98).
Cook all of the noodles and then drain. Add the olive oil and stir(to keep the noodles from sticking). Microwave vegetables until warm and add to noodles. Sprinkle seasoning packet from soup on the noodles and vegetables. Done! I only added 4 packets and I thought that was enough. But just experiment and see what you get.
Thanks for reading,
SonyaAnn

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Still trying to get the 2009 budget lower

Alright I'm still working on the budget for all the funds that need to be replenished. The total that I came to was $9020. Not cool! But I think I might be able to knock it down to $8500. That is still a lot but I have a plan. The kids have already agreed to put their Christmas money towards the FL trip. They weren't real happy about it but it was donate to the trip or not go. I just wish that we didn't have to take from the kids but we discussed it and they happily agreed in the end.
And of course, what I get for my birthday will go to the funds. Also, the money that I get for cleaning will help knock it down some. We seem to get the majority of the money in the beginning of the year and then have to dole it out throughout the rest of the year. I think between everything, I can come up with close to $8000. I just hope that since Dennis' income didn't change that much from last year we will get almost the same tax refund as last year.
What's the old saying, "wish in one hand and s*** in the other and see which one fills up first."
Gotta love it!
Thanks for reading,
SonyaAnn

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Our plates of cookies/bread

This is the plate of cookies, banana bread and cinnamon bread that we are giving out this year. It takes us about a month to make everything. We made 15 loaves of cinnamon bread. And 14 loaves of banana bread and 265 cookies. It wasn't cheap but it is something that we love to give out. I think that it's sad that we have moved so far away from giving out a simple gift as a plate of cookies. Everyone loves it and asks for it year round. The plates were $1 from the Dollar Tree. And it cost almost $100 for all the ingredients but I would rather spend our money on something like this than to go out to dinner. We will make up 20 plates and about 3 large platters (for Den's work and Christmas). I just figure this into the cost of Christmas. I know that this money could probably be better spent but it makes me feel good to give it to people I care about.
Thanks for Reading,
SonyaAnn

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Trimming the 2009 budget

For a recap.......

Car Fund $1000
Pool Fund $200
Flowers & Garden $200
School Registrations $325
Vet Fund $300
School supplies $100
School picture $ $200
Christmas $1400
Trip in Oct to FL $2500
Dr, ER & dentist $500
Computer $100
Glasses and contacts $1000
Car stickers $240
WI fee $65
Bdays $600
All other holidays $400
2nd mortgage fee $90
Tax Prep. $25
Clothes $200
Haircuts $200
4th July fund $75
Thanksgiving $200
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For a disgusting sum of $9920
I'm kind of thinking about this revised budget

Car Fund $800
Pool Fund $175
Flowers & Garden $125
School Registrations $325
Vet Fund $250
School supplies $100
School picture $ $200
Christmas $1200
Trip in Oct to FL $2500
Dr, ER & dentist $400
Computer $100
Glasses and contacts $1000
Car stickers $240
WI fee $65
Bdays $500
All other holidays $400
2nd mortgage fee $90
Tax Prep. $25
Clothes $200
Haircuts $100
4th July fund $75
Thanksgiving $150
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For a slightly less disgusting sum of $9020
Still that's a lot of money.
I'm going to keep working on it. Hey, maybe I can get it down to $0. HAHA! I know this makes me look obsessive but this is as many of the extras that I can think of. These are the things that I never set aside for and why we kept credit card debt. Please let me know if I forget anything.
Thanks for reading,
SonyaAnn

Monday, December 15, 2008

My 2009 problem continued

So I was looking at the total from my 2009 budget. And I've got to cut it down, gee that wasn't too hard to figure out. The problem is some of the things just can't be trimmed. Like the stickers for the cars, I could try to send them less but I bet they wouldn't go along with it. And I really feel as if the car fund is too low. Anna's car the Lumina will be 10 years old. Den's car the 2001 focus only has about 20,000 miles on the motor but the transmission has about 150,000 on it. And my car the 2004 Kia will hopefully hold strong. I've kind of been thinking about swapping cars around. Giving Den the Kia and me the Focus. The only problem is he smokes and has burned holes in all of the seats and he has a tendency to total vehicles. The focus gets really good gas milage and this worked really well to save us money when prices were high. But now that gas prices are falling it might be a good idea to try and put the miles on the Kia. I don't know though, I still feel as if its a risk, either way. If he is going to total a car than it's better if its the focus. But if he continues to put the high miles on it we will end up having to put a new transmission in it. I really need some help with this one. Any ideas?
Thanks for reading,
SonyaAnn

Thursday, December 11, 2008

My 2009 problem


2009 Budget for our funds

Car Fund $1000
Pool Fund $200
Flowers & Garden $200
School Registrations $325
Vet Fund $300
School supplies $100
School picture $ $200
Christmas $1400
Trip in Oct to FL $2500
Dr, ER & dentist $500
Computer $100
Glasses and contacts $1000
Car stickers $240
WI fee $65
Bdays $600
All other holidays $400
2nd mortgage fee $90
Tax Prep. $25
Clothes $200
Haircuts $200
4th July fund $75
Thanksgiving $200
------------
For a disgusting sum of $9920

Yeah we suck! I think that I will of course have to trim this A LOT! But this is what I would feel comfortable with but it's not going to happen.
Thanks for reading,
SonyaAnn

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Credit Cards

I have to be one of the few people that think credit cards are a good thing. But it's just like anything else, moderation is the key. I love to use them. We have two primary cards and about 5 others. I have a Kohl's card and a Victoria Secrets card. I only use those and the Discover cards for great discounts. Our two primary cards are our Points Mastercard and our Marathon Mastercard. Up until now, I've always paid them off every month(still keeping my fingers crossed about this month). And we save the points for a small party for the kids birthday parties in January or Febuary. The Marathon card sends us a $25 Marathon gift card when we collect enough points. So I see credit cards as a bonus. We don't pay anual fees on them so they only benefit us. I have every bill that I can paid on our credit card for the extra points. And we save on postage and checks. I'm sure that one day the companies will take the points away from people like me but until then YEAH credit cards.
I won't lie either and say that I haven't had some serious issues with them in the past. But I try to learn from those mistakes and turn negatives into positives. So far it's working but you never know. Just when I think I've figured something out something changes and I'm behind the eightball again. Only time will tell.
Thanks for reading,
SonyaAnn

Well, Crap

So much for the whole credit card speech. I suck. I am now typing to you on a brand new computer. A very expensive $569 computer. When I said that the other computer hated me well I wasn't kidding, it committed suicide. It was an ugly painful death, the mother board fried out. SO I'm sure that I won't be singing the praises of the credit card when I get that next statement. I have gone so far over now that only a miracle could save me now. I can't believe that I'm going to say this but I'm at the point that I don't even want to look. Yeah credit cards, my ass! Just kidding, I got myself into this and I'll dig out. It just sucks is all. I've used up all the reservoirs and have nothing left to rob. I guess that I'll just keep plugging away. But the only good thing that has come out of this is that if I hadn't gone and gotten the new computer, I would have missed my book deadline. So I guess that it all worked out. We'll see.
Thanks for reading,
SonyaAnn

Monday, December 8, 2008

My Gingerbread House!

This is the gingerbread house that I made on Thanksgiving. I bought one for every family that came over. So I had 11 but I gave one to my friends so we used 9 kits and kept one. I really wanted a project to do to keep everything moving. I knew that it would be hard because this is the first holiday without my dad. But we did really good, we laughed until we couldn't breathe. The gingerbread kit only cost $3.50 so in other words you get what you pay for. All the walls were uneven and the frosting was like water. So we ended up using my $1 hot glue gun. We all had blisters and ended up having to nibble the walls down to get them to fit together. And if someone bumped the table they all came tumbling down. It was a really good time anyways. I think next year maybe we will do another project.
Thanks for reading,
SonyaAnn
PS. Den said it was way to small to be a gingerbread house. He said it was more like an outhouse.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Our Tree

I'm once again going to jinx myself but we are really ahead on the whole Christmas thing. We even got our tree up on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Now all we need to do is wrap. I even sent the Christmas cards out the day before Thanksgiving. I really try to be organized but I'm even surprising myself at this point. And Den got all the outside lights up. After all the trouble we have had in the past few months, I think we all feel like we can't procrastinate. Because we really don't know what is next. It's just a nice feeling to be getting things done. Even DJ is done Christmas shopping.(Grandma Donna took him) Den went with DJ and got the tree this time. Usually we make this a family affair but I was busy cleaning up after Thanksgiving and Anna had a basketball tournament so we decided just to get it. Two years ago the tree started to slide off the top of the car and then the police pulled us over. It's truly an adventure with us. Nothing happened, we didn't get a ticket or anything, he was real sweet and just wanted to know if we needed any help. Only my family would need to get the police involved when getting a tree.
Now all that is left is Christmas cookies and wrapping. I think that if we can keep this pace up maybe we can go driving around and looking at all the lights. That was one of my favorite things to do but we never really have time for it. So, I'll keep my fingers crossed. I think that the reason we are pushing to get things done so quickly is that our weekends are full all of December. Between Christmas parties and baby showers, we won't be able to get any of it done. I still don't know when we will find time to squeeze in the cookies but I'm not letting go of the momentum.
Thanks for reading,
SonyaAnn

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Christmas Presents

Yeah! I'm so happy. All of my Christmas shopping is done, yeah SonyaAnn. So I did charge the rest of the presents and I don't have the cash to pay for it yet. I'm about $300 short at this point. I had forgotten about a couple of presents and had to go out and finish but this time I'm really done. So I spent more than I thought I would and I'm not real happy about it. I kind of have an uneasy feeling about the debt but either way I needed to finish it. I'm not used to carrying a credit card balance. We have not carried a balance in about 4 years. Our only real bills are the mortgage and the second mortgage. I'm really going to work hard and see if I can't find a few creative ways to knock it down. It's just that the payment will be due on the 16th. It would have been nice if it was due after Christmas and I could use some of our Christmas money to pay it off but oh well. Anyways I hate to start the new year worrying about last years debt. And I am planning on using the Christmas money to replenish our funds for the next year so either way I'm still behind. I plan on getting creative so we will see how I do in the next 2 weeks.
Thanks for reading,
SonyaAnn

Monday, December 1, 2008

The Good, The Bad, and The What The ****

Alright as you know I really try to be upbeat but I'm really struggling with it. For the good news, I'm completely done Christmas shopping, right down to the stocking stuffers. The Bad, Den and I did something that we haven't done in years, we charged the last of the Christmas presents and don't have the cash for it. Between the washer going out midyear and having to dip into the Christmas fund to pay for that. And then my cousin's daughter and my dad passing away, we just don't have it. And for the What The ****, my computer hates me. And I'm not kidding, I thought I had a virus or something. I ran every virus program and did everything I could think of to get it to run properly and nothing. My computer guy moved. So I ended up calling through the phone book and found someone local but he wanted $55 an hour and it would be a few days before he got to it. This wouldn't work because I have deadlines with the book. So, I kept looking and really didn't come up with much. My husband collects Magic cards and thought maybe someone at the collectible shop might know someone. So he brought the computer to the card shop. Eight people at once volunteered to work on it. Pretty cool. So they did everything that they could think of to it and there conclusion was.......... it's fine. There were a couple of computer programmers there and they couldn't find anything. So for $45 worth of pizza we got a clean bill of health on the computer. It only freezes up when I use it. Go Figure! SO the computer hates me and I'm broke. I try to be somewhat upbeat but I kind of feel like crying. My dad's gone and I'm so careful with our money but too many really expensive things have happened this year and i feel like I blew. I know that it's my fault about the Christmas shopping but after I put my money from cleaning towards the credit card, I think that I'm about $185 short. So I'll work on it. As far as the computer hating me, I figure it's got to be my Karma. But i think the real reason that all the little things are bothering me so much is because I miss my dad. I'm sure that things will start to get better, even my mood.
Thanks for reading,
SonyaAnn