Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Call the Lawyers

So, I'll be getting a lawyer soon.  Allstate, the insurance of the person who caused the wreck I was in wants to give me $500 (which includes the $212 it cost me to go to the doctor and get medicine) and wants me to release them from any future responsibility.

Oh hellllllllllllll no.

My neck still hurts. I don't know that I might not need some serious treatment later on- or not so later on.  $288 is not going to cover anything if I have to get more medicines or start physical therapy.

So, I'm in the process of seeking a lawyer and we'll see how it plays out from here.  I have definitely learned a lot about what to do after a car accident.  I can't wait until later on when I can fully blog about all of this!


Saturday, January 28, 2012


No one will ever get out of this world alive.

Tim's Granny Drum isn't doing well.  She was admitted to the hospital on Thursday with almost no kidney function.  His uncle chose to ignore her Living Will, which forbids the use of any machines to keep her alive and asked the doctors to put her on dialysis. Friday she was unresponsive and Tim's Mom (Sharon) and Uncle (Steve) were faced with a tough decision- deciding whether or not to take her off of dialysis.  They had pretty much decided to keep her on pain medication and leave her feeding tube in, but discontinue any other life saving measures because of her wishes stated in the Living Will.

We were trying to plan when we might need to go to Atlanta, I was trying to find funeral clothes and Tim has been informed he will "get" to do the funeral.  When you are a preacher, you don't get a chance to be grieving grandson/son/cousin/in-law/whatever.

Today, Tim's Granny is responsive.  In fact, she was sitting up and speaking with everyone at last update.  The doctors aren't sure whether or not she will make it- she has some health issues and some early-stage dementia.

Right now, we're in a holding pattern.  We don't know if Granny Irene will pull through or pass away.  She may make it through this scare and pass away a month later- or a year later.  Or ten years later.

We just don't know.


Thursday, January 26, 2012


                                                                                    1/18: $20.00 dumped in to my paypal thanks to a
                                                                                     concept-study I did. 
1/21: $50.00 Walmart giftcard earned through a survey site.
1/23: $20.00 check from one of my survey sites.

I am able to use the giftcard in place of $50 of "real money", so I can move that real money over to the savings account

I have also made $65.00 in Amazon.com credits this month, but I'm not going to count those, since I use that as "fun money".

This morning I received an email telling me I had won a $10 amazon.com credit in a drawing.  The best part was- I got paid to do the surveys and was entered in the drawing when I completed all of the surveys (all 4).   I never win anything, so Yay!


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

I miss Netflix

I didn't think I would...but I do.  I miss Netflix.

I cancelled it a few months ago because we just didn't have time to watch the movies. What is the purpose of spending $15 a month if the movies are just going to sit there? Not to mention they decided to be complete asses by cutting the service in half and charging the same price for it.

I have a blue-million shows on the DVR and we have quite the DVD collection, even if we have watched them all a few times, so I figured cutting it out would be no big deal, but we do miss getting the newest movies.

Tim & I considered getting the streaming-online version of Netflix, which made my skin crawl a little.  After all, part of the reason I dropped Netflix was that I thought it was so crappy of them to make us pay $8.00 for the streaming service when it had been included before.   I gave it a chance though-  I went online and viewed their "new releases".  Iron Man 2.  Really? From 2010? That's considered a "new release" for streaming? I hope this one doesn't have sound problems.  Last time we tried to watch Iron Man 2 on their streaming service, the main sound didn't work.  After reporting the problem, it still wasn't fixed nearly a month later, right before I cancelled our service.

I tried searching some new movies that we had been interested in watching that have been released to DVD already.  None of the movies came up. I read in an article that Netflix Streaming has only 5 of the top movies from 2011.  Yet streaming is what they wanted us to all switch over to? Really?

So what do you want me to do Netflix? Pay you to watch 10 year old movies when I can catch them on TBS or AMC whenever I want?  No- what you'd really prefer is for me to start up our subscription, pay you $8+ a month and never use the service, because there is never anything good on.

I miss the convenience of having movies come to my door, getting to see everything I wanted to without paying $20 and having to drive to a theater.  However, thanks to cancelling the service, I have $20 extra in my budget every month.   I don't feel guilty or angry when we let a DVD sit on the TV stand for 3 weeks before we get around to watching it.

Eh, maybe I don't miss Netflix as much as I thought.  After all- we still have Redbox!  Even if they have gone up to $1.25 a rental.


Monday, January 23, 2012

I love shopping

I love shopping when I have good coupons!

I went to Target today.

I bought:
4- 3.5lb bags of Purina One Beyond Dog Food
6- Lean Cuisine 100% Natural Meals
2- Boxes of Skinny Cow Candy
2- single roll Up 7 Up brand paper towels

And I only spent a little over $13 on all of it!

I also gave a lady in front of me a $2/1 Charmin Mega Rolls coupon I wasn't going to use before it's expiration date.  Her son was wearing a UNC-Chapel Hill hoodie, so I grinned and told him it was only because he pulled for the right school.  He then embarrassed me by begging her for some kind of treat he had already been told he couldn't have, because YOU GOT A COUPON MOM...MOM.  BUT MOM...YOU GOT A COUPON!



Sunday, January 22, 2012

Side Effects May Include...

I'm a little disappointed in my doctor.

He put me on two medications to help me recover from the car wreck, the first being a muscle relaxer and the second being a pain reliever.  I asked a few questions- should I take them on an empty or full stomach, things like that.   He answered my questions, then added that the muscle relaxer may make me sleepy.

It didn't, but that's ok.

However, he completely neglected to mention any other side effects that might occur.

I've been feeling weird lately.  Elevated heart rate, dizzy, shortness of breath- that kind of thing.  Unfortunately (well, no, make that fortunately..for the most part), I am completely unused to taking medicines and it never occurred to me to look up side effects until Tim mentioned I should.  I blame it on the brain fog this medication had me in.

I forgot my meds yesterday and while we were out all day, I felt pretty ok, other than a bit of pain.  I got home, popped my pills and almost immediately here came the fluttery heart feeling.  Oh yeah- I was supposed to look up side effects.

Both medications list a racing heart and shortness of breath as a severe side effect.  One of those "stop taking immediately and call your doctor" side effects.  I had one or two other problems that were just the normal "this might happen to you" type things, but it bugs me that he never even mentioned "Oh yeah.  If you feel like you are on the verge of your heart exploding, that's a side effect.  Stop taking your medicine and call me."

Is that really too much to ask?


Thursday, January 19, 2012


I seem to very much have a one-track-mind.

For instance- when I am crocheting, I only want to spend my spare time crocheting.  I have a project (the scarf) and by-God, I want to finish that scarf.

Or let's say I'm reading and get very involved in a story/series.  I only want to spend my spare time reading.

You would think there would be an easy way for me to juggle what I want to do in my spare time (ie. read, crochet, play the wii, work on my story).  Instead, I find myself going whole hog down one way or the other.

I wonder if this is why I seem to flit from hobby to hobby? This week feeding my insatiable lust for books, next week cooking, baking, canning like crazy, then spending a few days working out plot issues, which quickly is abandoned to spend time with my coin collection.

I think I burn myself out too quickly.  That may be why the closet is full of half completed crafting projects or tons of crafting supplies.  Why my stories have gone unfinished, why I have countless skeins of yarn and why I blow through books like they are going out of style.

Is it too late to make New Years Resolutions?  If it is, too bad! I resolve to work on spreading my time around, not concentrating with iron focus on just one thing. 

Maybe I can keep from burning out on everything and returning to the trusty old internet to fritter my time away second by second until bed time. 

We shall see!


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

While the Tim is away, the cats will play...

Tim is out of town for a few days, which means I basically get to do whatever I want.

Watch whatever I want.

Eat whatever I want.


Yesterday I ate a can of Chef Boyardee mini ravioli (hardly the dinner of champions, but I don't cook when I am by myself- I don't feel like dealing with the dishes.

Anyway, I cooked up a bowl of mini raviolis, plopped down in the living room and enjoyed Toy Story 3.  I'm a wild woman, I know.

The cats are the ones that most benefit from Tim being away from home.  Usually they are confined to their room at night, otherwise they try to open our door all night long, have epic cat battles and generally expend 1000% more energy than they do at their most frisky point during the day.

When it's just me at home, I leave them out and even leave the bedroom door cracked so they can come visit.  It's nice to have that added warmth and presence there when Tim is gone. 

It used to be that all the cats slept with us at night.  That wasn't a problem when it was just Gypsy- well other than the time I woke up to find her settling down to sleep across my face in an attempt to smother me to death.   Even Toby wasn't a problem- he would settle down at the foot of the bed with Gypsy and we'd all snuggle up and sleep wonderfully.

However, the addition of Boo was too much.  Two grown adults and three cats was a bit more than our Full size bed could handle.  It was also around this time that Toby and Boo figured out how much fun it is to snuggle. 

It's very sweet to snuggle the kitties normally- like when watching TV or curled up on the couch reading a book. When it comes to bedtime, they wanted to be as close as humanly, er kitterly possible.  Tim has no problem kicking them off the bed.  I feel bad about doing that and since I sleep curled up in to a ball, they quickly learned they could steal half of my side of the bed with no fear of repercussions.

Anyway, the only time they get to spend the night roaming free is when Tim is gone.  I sat up a little while in bed reading a book, Toby purring contentedly beside of me.  Then here comes Boo.  He waits until I turn off the light and snuggle in the covers to decide to climb over me so he's being spooned.  Then he decides he wants under the covers.  Then he wants to be partially out of the covers, laying across my arm.  Then he leaves.

Toby is disgruntled by all this moving and eventually he too jumps out of bed.  I take this opportunity to finally get comfortable in bed.  I settle down, ready to fall asleep in an instant when I hear it.

"Guuuurrr, ruuuuuuuughh, guuuurrrrr, uuurrrrggggh."  The odd "I'm too fat for life" purr of Toby.  He's not in the bed, but he hasn't left the room. This is a bit unsettling.  I spend the next 15 minutes laying in bed, eyes wide open, hoping I get at least a hint before he suddenly attacks.  For a super fat cat, he alternates between being quiet as a shadow or stamping around like an elephant.

I drifted off to sleep and when I woke sometime in the night I was wedged in on either side by the two boy cats. Majorly uncomfortable. Even with an entire bed, minus the little corner I curl up in, both cats had to press themselves up as tightly as they could against me.  Warmth whores!  I passed a fairly uncomfortable night, while the boys were as happy as clams.

Hmm- I think tonight I'll lock the cats back up and treat myself to a good sleep.  I don't think I'm so lonely that I want to spend another night trying to sleep in a cat-kneaded pretzel.


Monday, January 16, 2012

Vacation Plans

Well, I promised Tim a big vacation this year and we are certainly going to have one.  We are headed to San Diego!

This means I'm going to be couponing in overdrive until May, when we hope to go (actually, when am I not couponing in overdrive?)

The biggest expense by far is going to be the airplane tickets out to California. $388 a person is the best we've been able to find and believe me when I say we have looked everywhere.  Taking a train seems to be out of the question, because Amtrak doesn't run to San Diego and I am sure not sitting on a bus for three days!

I am excited.  There is so much to do and see, just in the San Diego area.  We are going to swing up to Anaheim and go to Disneyland for a day and hopefully we can squeeze in a little Hollywood sight-seeing as well.  If only we could go now and if only we didn't have to fly.


Saturday, January 14, 2012

Saving Challenge

On January 9th, I decided on a savings challenge.

I want to save $1,000 by December 31, 2012.  Not just save $1,000, do it in "found money".

That means I don't budget for it.  I want to do it by surveys, rebates, finding pennies on the ground, cashing in loose change, selling excess items, etc.

So, here is an updated post, since I didn't get this announced in time.

Cash for Gold: $380
Lysol Rebate: $4.95
Survey Cashout: $60.00

Total: $444.95/$1000

I am almost HALFWAY THERE! Already! Eeek!  I am planning on posting updates at least monthly, maybe more often if I "find" a significant amount of money to add to the plan.


Friday, January 13, 2012

I'm not normal

I went to the Doctor today about my neck and back pain from the wreck. 

After an hour with the Doctor (who I liked a lot...though he was a UNC grad, what do you expect?), it was determined that I tore my trapezius muscle.  Yeah, tore it.  Apparently during my whiplash reaction to the wreck, I managed to tear the muscle in my neck, which explains the lump that appeared in my neck.  Whew, I thought it was a bone.

He prescribed two medications, one is a muscle relaxer and one is a pain manager.   Apparently the muscle relaxer is supposed to make me very drowsy.

It hasn't.

I haven't met a medication yet that can make me drowsy.  Not Codeine, not Nyquil, not Benadryl and sure not "Cyclobenzaprine".

I am not feeling particularly "loosey goosey" yet either.

I never seem to react the way "normal" people do to things.  Might make you drowsy?  Nope, not me.  Won't make you feel sick? Yeah I'm gonna be nauseated for fun.

Ahhh well, I guess in this case it's a good thing.  Here's hoping the meds help me heal faster.  If I don't feel better by Monday (better, not perfect) I'm supposed to call for Physical Therapy.

Happy Friday the 13th!


Thursday, January 12, 2012

Cash for Gold Part 3.

Catch up on the original Cash for Gold post and Cash for Gold Part 2.

This is becoming something of an addiction for me.  I had tiny pair of dolphin earrings, a pair of "pink ice" earrings and a lone sand-dollar earring.  All from when I was younger, of course.

Then we had the old engagement ring. I found it and I remembered that Tim paid $200 for it (it was on clearance).  So, my goal was to make $201.  Then I would feel like we "won" ya know?

We head to the shop that I visited the last two times.  We ring in and I hand over the "goods".  He takes a look at the ring, separates it in to two pieces (it was one of those interlocking wedding band/engagement ring deals) and puts it on the scale.  Then he checks each of the earrings- I was so happy they were all gold, because I wasn't entirely sure about the dolphins. Apparently they were all 14k too.

I hear him mumble "$260" to his partner.  I was a little disappointed.  I mean really, $260 is awesome and totally in the "win" category, but you can't help but to hope for more, ya know?  Then he surprises me by pulling off the engagement ring and looking more closely at the diamonds.  He uses a little hand-held device to check to see if they are real (they are of course) and then he checks the quality again.

Next thing I know he murmurs "Add $120".  Add $120?  YES!  That brings their offer up to $380.  I happily take the money and run :).

So off my two visits I've made around $751 on old gold that I don't wear and had forgotten about, including turning a profit on that ring.

Now I just wish I could find more to sell!


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Hamburger Steak with Creamy Onion Gravy

This is a delicious recipe, but it messes up a lot of dishes and takes up a little time. However, it's great as leftovers too!

1 pound of ground chuck (feel free to substitute ground deer)
3/4 cup of onion, chopped
1 egg
1 teaspoon hot sauce
1 teaspoon of season-all
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
20 turns of the pepper grinder (or shakes of the pepper container)
About 1/3 cup of flour, for dipping the patties in
2 tablespoons of canola oil

For the Gravy:
1 large onion, halved and sliced
1 cup of beef broth (I make mine with a beef bullion cube)
1 cup of water
1/4 teaspoon of seasoned salt
10 turns of the pepper grinder (or shakes of the pepper container)
1/4 cup of flour

Heat the oil over medium high in a large heavy bottomed stainless skillet.

Meanwhile, put the ground chuck in a medium size bowl add the chopped onion, egg, hot sauce, season-all, garlic powder and pepper and combine. I prefer to make lots of small patties, rather than just 4 large ones, but do whatever floats your boat.
Dip each patty into the flour and then place them into the hot oil, cooking until well browned on both sides. Remove and set aside.

Whisk together the beef broth and water with 1/4 cup of flour, 1/2 teaspoon of season-all, 1/2 teaspoon salt and about 10 turns of the pepper grinder until well combined.

Reduce the heat to about medium and add the sliced onions to the skillet. Cook until lightly caramelized. This doesn't take very long at all, which is why I have you make your beef broth first.

Pour your beef broth into the skillet with the onions and stir constantly, until mixture begins to thicken.

Return the hamburger steaks to the skillet, turn to coat and reduce heat to simmer; cook, covered, for about 20 minutes longer.

*If using pre-made hamburger steak patties, omit the onion, egg and hot sauce, and sprinkle both sides of the patties with the season-all, garlic powder and pepper, pressing in the seasoning a bit. Then dip each patty in the flour and proceed with the remaining recipe.

**If you use deer instead of beef, make extra gravy. Trust me :).

I love to serve this with mashed potatoes. The gravy is fantastic on them!


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Car Wreck Update

Well, the car is fixed, looks wonderful, drives wonderful- but I'm hurting.

My back and neck are paining me almost constantly, I have limited mobility in my neck and at least mild headaches almost daily.

I finally called AllState to find out the procedure for medical claims and the adjustor informed me in the bitchiest manner possible that it had been more than 30 days since the accident (it happened December 8th, I called January 9th. Wow.) they weren't sure if they would pay my bills.

Newsflash. In the state of NC, I have a year to make any medical claims. Suck it, insurance.

Anyway, I have a doctor's appointment on Friday. They want my medical history. What medical history? I don't have one! I avoid the doctor's office like the plague. I went to the minute clinic at CVS for my acute bronchitis. The previous time I had been to a doctor? Five years earlier when I had chronic bronchitis. I don't go to the doctor unless it is 100% unavoidable.

I have to figure out what in the world I'm going to do as far as a medical history- and I've got to have it by Friday. Perfect.  Because I don't have enough stress already.

I guess we'll start jotting down the numbers of those TV lawyers, in case we have to get ugly with AllState.


Monday, January 9, 2012

Offsetting Vacation Costs

I posted here that I like to try to offset our vacation costs as much as possible.  I wanted to share how I do that.

Cook in the room- This one is a biggie for us.  We are lucky in that we have a nice time share. If we use it, it has a full kitchen.  If we trade it in to go elsewhere, we can choose places that have full kitchens in the rooms.  A quick trip to the grocery store (with coupons, of course) and we can at least toss in a frozen pizza one night, or make sandwiches one day!  Plus it's a nice break from eating out every.single.day.  It's also healthier and really can make the difference on a week-long trip financially.

Take photos of things I want- This one is a lot of fun and way cheaper than simply buying everything you see.  I also don't end up with buyer's remorse when I get home, nor do I have to figure out how to cram it on the plane/in the car.  I did a big write up on this idea here.

Frugal car rentals-
This is one where Tim and I really differ.  Sometimes, we take trips that involve rental cars. He'd much rather pay the extra $20 a day and upgrade to a super cool car that he never gets to drive in real life.  He'd love to get a Challenger to drive around.  I'd rather get the cheapest thing possible- it probably also has the best gas mileage!  Just think, on a 7 day trip, that extra $20 turns in to $140.  Not to mention the gas costs.  Stick to a regular car.  After all, no one knows you in your vacation spot anyway.  If you really want to pretend you had a cool car, run by a car dealership and snap a few free photos.  Or just get over it,

Groupon- Once we figure out where we are headed, I go to Groupon and start checking out the deals in that city or the surrounding area.  Why not? You can end up with half off of something you really wanted to do anyway! Living Social is also a site I like to keep an eye on.

Transport- I offer transport for the bunnies!  Obviously this doesn't work out unless we are driving, but rabbit transport goes from $15-$35 depending on the person doing it. If you don't mind making a small pit-stop or two, it can really help out.  You can also transport other things- just use your imagination.  I do recommend only meaning in public areas though.

Coupon- I take my coupons on vacation with me! Not only that, I actively search out coupons for things I know we want to do or places we want to eat.  A few years ago I got my family week-long tickets to Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure for $99 a person.  My aunt went just two weeks before us and paid $150 for 2 days worth of tickets per member of her family. A little planning really does go a very, very long way.

Ebates- Ebates is my favorite way to save money on vacation.  It's a shopping portal.  Basically you sign up and then when you want to purchase something online, you go to ebates.com. You search for your store and it will tell you what % cashback you get when you click their link to open the store's website.  That's it!  The best part?  Groupon works with it.  All of your travel sites work with it.  That's right.  You could book your hotel through ebates- get money back.  Book your car through ebates- get money back.  You are being paid to plan the exact same vacation you were going to plan anyway! Why would you not? I've used ebates for several years now and have always been paid- I love it.

So there we have it.  Some of the ways I take the sting out of paying for vacation!


This post contains a ton of referral links! If you sign up for anything shared here, please use my referral link and thank you very much!

Sunday, January 8, 2012


I'm working on crocheting.  This isn't a new venture, I've been "working" on crocheting off and on since middle school.  Somehow, it always falls by the wayside, then I completely forget what in the world I was doing.  I have to relearn how to do it.  The same thing happened with knitting, though luckily I can only loom knit, which is considerably easier than "real knitting".

I have spent the last few days rolling yarn in to balls. It's simultaneously very satisfying to see how quickly it transforms and very boring.  I used a particularly ugly ball of yarn to single and double crochet to reacquaint myself with the stitches.

Anyway, last night I decided to go ahead and start working on what everyone starts out doing- a scarf.

Unfortunately, I used a yarn I liked.  I say unfortunately because this sucker is way too wide. It also has some fun random holes in the side of it.  I absolutely despise turning the project to start a new row.  Hate it.

So now I'm torn.  Do I start over and unravel my "scarf" which is roughly the size of a dish cloth right now?  Do I just accept it's going to be goofy and recognize I can always go buy more fun yarn?  Mostly, I don't want to waste all that work, but this thing is seriously going to be super bulky. 

Maybe it can be a baby rabbit blanket or something instead.


Friday, January 6, 2012

The Book

I wrote before about my books.  The plan had been to read it as objectively as possible, then start editing and writing more. 

That completely fell by the wayside.  After the month from Hell I dealt with in December, I figured it would be smarter to just wait and make a fresh start in January.

After reading the Hunger Games, it really slowed down my inspiration to iron out some plot wrinkles. It's hard to concentrate on writing your own story after just having finished someone else's.

I pulled out a pad at work yesterday and started a general sketch of another story that has been bouncing around my head.  Suddenly the ideas began to flow for the one I most want to work on and get finished.  It figures that it was time to head home as these ideas spewed out of my pen, so I was trying to write trigger words on a pad, in my lap, at stoplights.   Of course, it also figures this is the one time I don't get stopped by any stoplights on the way home.

So, I'm re-energized and excited about this project! My goal is to work for a month and in February, print the book out and hand it to Tim to get some feed back.  Then I want to edit it again and start bugging friends to take a critical look at it.

I'm excited! Finally, I'm excited again about writing.


Thursday, January 5, 2012

Soap Challenge

This is what I'm going to try to explain in awkward words.
Yesterday, I filled up our soap dispensers with my special foaming-mixture. Basically, a long, long time ago I got tired of paying for hand soap refills.  I bought a foaming soap dispenser (one of the cheap plastic throw-away ones that you just push the top on and it squirts out foamed soap- nothing fancy) and started diluting regular hand soap to work with the dispenser.  I could have sworn I wrote up a post about this but I sure can't find it.

Anyway, as Tim says we finally ran out of soap from the last time I made my own.  So, I ran out to Walmart and bought the 64oz. Equate bottle.
I had to buy this kind because they were out of the just regular old soap.  Sigh.
Anyway, my goal is to spend just $3.88 on hand soap this year.  Yep, that's the cost of big old bottle.  It's cheaper than the Softsoap brand and bigger!

I mixed up some soap, using a lot of water to dilute it (it has to be very diluted to work in the foamer- see how ridiculous those things are? If the soap isn't watered down enough it won't go through the dispenser.)  I was able to fill up three different dispensers and the old empty 64oz. jug with barely a dent made in the new bottle!

So, I am hoping to see how long a huge bottle of soap truly lasts if you use the foaming dispensers.  I plan on keeping the foaming soap as thick as I can get it and still have it work.

Unfortunately, I don't have exact measurements on how much your soap to water ratio should be.   I'd tentatively say use 2 tablespoons of soap in the dispenser, then fill it up with warm water, leaving a little room at the top of the dispenser.  Shake it up and let it settle, then pump it a few times to get it working!


Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Unique Rewards

Unique Rewards is one of the sites I use to make extra money.  Basically, you can do "click cash" which is clicking on a link every 30 seconds to take you to a page.  You get paid 1 cent per click.  Or, you can do their offers- some of which are free, some of which cost you money in the form of subscriptions- to earn rewards.

I mostly do the click cash.  I run it in the background while I do other things.  In fact, I'm doing the click cash now as I blog.

You won't get rich, but to date I have cashed out $100.  You can take a check or paypal- I've used both and both work.  Yes, you honestly get paid.  They start you out with $5.00 when you do any activity (click cash doesn't count, but you can sign up for a stupid joke-a-day email then unsubscribe, earning you the $5.00).

I have posted a referral link in this post, if you feel like checking it out!


Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The Hunger Games

I finished The Hunger Games Trilogy. Actually- I finished the entire thing in less than 24 hours.  Because I get like that sometimes.  It's not real, but I think I read so quickly so that I don't prolong the pain of the characters.

I originally resisted the urge to read these books because of the hype.  I did the same thing with Harry Potter.  I continue to do this with Twilight, but because I actually picked up a book once and read 3 sentences in it...and couldn't handle the mental torture of truly terrible writing.  I digress.

I resisted reading the books because they didn't sound like "my thing."  I like Fantasy.  Dragons, elves, magic- not post-apocalyptic worlds.   However, because Tim got a Kindle Fire, we have a free month of Amazon Prime.  With Prime comes the Kindle Lending Library and Hunger Games were some of the books I could borrow.  I have been out of new books to read for a while now, so I thought what the heck- we'll give it a shot.

I sometimes delve too deeply in to books.  I get too caught up in the books, I identify too much with one particular character.  I found one of those characters in The Hunger Games- so I became sucked into a dark trilogy full of pain and death.  Not too many fun moments, but I did find myself giggling out loud once or twice.  These moments were rare.

I am always a little at a loss after I finish a novel or series that I've become deeply involved in.  I find myself running over parts in my mind, analyzing motives, delving for more meaning.  It's hard to break out of the world.  In a dark book, it can sometimes be problematic.   Another symptom of my tendency towards seasonal depression, I guess.  Perhaps I should save the dark books for the summer months?  Going to see a movie helps throw me out of that post-book depression. After all, I don't lose myself in movies the way I do books.

The books are worth the hype they've received.  The writing style is a little odd- it occasionally throws me off, but the story is captivating.  I much preferred the first book to the other two, though I've heard others prefer the second or third.

Has anyone else read The Hunger Games?  What did you think?

Monday, January 2, 2012

Couponing Awesomeness

Here lately, the coupons have been flying fast and furious!

Royal Canin sent me an email coupon for $4.00 off a bag of their cat food or a box of 3 small samples of different kinds of food.  The samples cost $3.99 a box- free cat food!

Science Diet Ideal Balance Dog Food has a rebate out. So we paid $9.99 for a bag and will get that badk in a few weeks- free bag of dog food!

Arm & Hammer Cat Litter has a rebate out on their 20lb boxes of the new baking soda coated cat litter.  $8.23 at Walmart, we'll get that back- free cat litter!

We also got a $10/$10 purchase coupon from Staples!  I scored an 8 pack of Bounty paper towels, a box of 100 paper clips (filler item), a box of 100 bandages and a package of 2 personal size hand sanitizers for $0.54.  We could have made this deal better, but the Bounty came up cheaper than it was supposed to be, so I had to get more filler items, rather than a reasonable priced second item.  Still... $0.54 for all of that!  I have no idea what we did to deserve that coupon, it came in the mail, so don't ask me- just be sure to read everything that comes in!

This isn't including the smaller couponing I've been doing- the non-free item kind. It amazes me what stores and companies will give away- just to try to hook you on their products.

I really need to learn how the Staples Rewards program works.  If I know that, I could have rolled that free $10 in to more free money.  Once I figure it out, I'll be sure to share :).


Sunday, January 1, 2012


New Years Resolutions.

Is there any more scoffed at idea? We all know what we resolve to do.  Be a better person.  Be more patient, be more kind.  Get in shape (HA).  Eat better.  Cook more at home. Save more money.  Do more volunteer work.

The list goes on and on and on.

We all start out with the best intentions, but it can be hard to stick with, especially since we are trying to change habits about ourselves that are often based on the path of least resistance.  It's easier to choose sit on the couch eating cheetos, rather than to choose to run on a treadmill and eat steamed broccoli.

So my New Years Resolutions?  Save Money, Be Healthier.

Saving money is a high priority on my resolutions list because my ultimate goal is to be able to retire early and do fun stuff forever and ever until I die.  To do this, I have to be even smarter about how I spend my money- which means less randomly frittering it away on junk.  2012- I will save more!

Be healthier means a lot of things- lose some weight (I have gained back 5lbs over the past 2 weeks.  BLAH).  I also mean mentally healthier, which I've already started working on.  I'm taking my Vitamin D3 to help with the seasonal depression, I'm trying my best to soak up as much sunlight and I'm distancing myself from things that may cause me drama.  I want to be stress free this winter!

Do you have any New Years Resolutions?  What are they?