Thursday, December 30, 2010

Christmas 2010, Animals Spayed, finances

Christmas sure did come and go fast!  We work so hard towards getting everything right and then, boom, within minutes it's over and done with.  Then it's on to the next holiday, preparations, then boom, that's over and done with, too.  As a kid, it just seemed so long before Christmas day would arrive and the excitment and anticipation was so much fun.  But, I suppose, it's only as fun as you make it, right? 

Our Christmas was an itty, bitty Christmas.  I really thought the kids would complain as they are used to getting lots of goods, but we all are feeling the recession or whatever you want to call our financial state.  And so we all did itty bitty, but it was just fine.  We got what we asked for and a little bit more and we weren't so overwhelmed with 'where do I put this' syndrome.

I had bought a spiral ham and rolls, with potato salad and other stuff.  That was our Christmas dinner...just easy.  It was really laid back. 

So now that brings me to the New Year.  Our son has to work (he's a police officer) so he probably won't be here to help us ring in the New Year.  I think I mentioned that last year my daughter went on a ride along with him last New Year's Eve so that was the first time we weren't together to ring in the "new year."

Well, as I'm trying to adjust to the empty nest, I try not to hang onto the kids, either.  It's hard, though.  But I'm realizing that sometimes, they throw me a bone and actually want to call me or visit me.  I'm not saying we aren't a close family, just that they are learning to live their lives now as I'm adjusting to living mine without children under my wing, young or older.   It's an adjustment, just like it was when I brought them home as a newborn. 

During inbetween preparing and celebrating we had our dog spayed.  She still have stitches and goes back to the vets in a week.  One of our 10 cats had pyrometra (uterine infection) which wouldn't clear up.  I had been treating her for it, but really she needed to be spayed, but the doctors I had been taking her to said she need the infection to be gone before they would spay her because if the uterus broke open and all that infection went into her system she might die.  So, we treated her but the infection just kept getting worse and worse.  Finally, I took her to another vet who said the uterus needed to come out and that there was not way the infection would clear up because it was very bad.  When we picked Velvet up after surgery, the vet showed me her uterus and they said it was the biggest and most infected uterus  they had ever seen.  She saved it so we could see and I just couldn't believe my little cat was not sicker than she was.  A vet tech that was helping in surgery said she actually stepped back when she saw the uterus and hit her head because she was expecting to see a small infection and it turned out that they had to cut most of my cat's stomach to get the uterus out.  It was bigger than my cat.  I'm so thankful to get this done and it was just a weight off my shoulders, as I wanted to help my cat, but I didn't feel like I was getting anywhere until this vet helped me.  For that I'm grateful.

I also worked on our checking account as it's been messed up for years.  It's hard knowing how much money you have when you don't know how much money you have., I finally got the checkbook balanced!  Yea.  I was so happy. 

My next project is creating a household budget and getting our insurance and tax papers straight.  I was beginning to work on that when husband came home from work and daughter called.  We agreed to meet at Chick-fil-a for dinner.  Love spending time with my kids!

Now, I'll probably go watch some tv, read and think about working on the budget tomorrow. 

Thursday, December 23, 2010

On my Quest to Cook More at Home---

On my quest to cook more at home I made a pot of chilli today.  I can still remember the day, a long time ago, when my mom stood in my kitchen and showed me how to make chilli.  I was so impressed at how she just browned the ground beef, added onions, showed me how many cans of stuff to add.  She told me to get the one pot cooking while I was browning the beef and onions.  I don't know why.  I suppose that's the way she always made it, so who was I to question her? LOL  Then I add chilli powder to taste.  I usually serve chilli with saltine crackers, but I looked in my cabinet and I don't have any!  So I gotta come up with a plan b.  I don't know what it is yet.  Now that I think about it, I have Ritz crackers; that might have to do.  I thought about cornbread, but I don't have any of that either!  Stocking the pantry is gonna have to be another thing to keep up with in the new year. 

I went to the store last night to get all the Christmas dinner stuff.  We just have ham sandwiches, potato salad, chips, etc.  Nothing fancy.  Again, that's my mom's tradition.  I don't know how or when she started it; I don't remember my grandmother doing that.  I remember always big meals at grandmas, never sandwiches, so I guess maybe mom wanted to make things easy on herself.  That's okay. 

This will be the first year my kids won't be here sleeping on Christmas Eve.  Our son has lived in our basement and our daughter would usually come over Christmas Eve to spend the night, but this year she is sleeping at her brothers (he moved out in May) which is okay.  They will be coming Christmas morning.  Last New Year's Eve was the first time I didn't have my kids home.  Our son, who is a police officer had to go to work and he took his sister on a ride along with him.  Just as the new year was ringing in our daughter called to say they were on their way to the hospital to check out a dead body.  Crazy.  So that's how my kids rung in the new year.  And it was the first time husband and I had been alone for New Year's in over 30 years.  Awkward is a good word to describe how it felt.  A mother duck lost with her ducklings.

I don't care how old I get or my children get they are my children, my babies and I will always feel that way about them.  I will always see the little boy and little girl in them.  Some days I just want to squeeze them and pick them up like I did when they were small enough to do that and just show them how much I love them, but they really aren't into all that kind of love anymore.  They allow me to hug them and give them a kiss, but they have outgrown the playfulness of all that tickling and stuff.  *sigh*

The dog went to be spayed today and the cat is having female problems and she had to go to the vets.  She is scheduled to be spayed next Wednesday.  I wish I was rich. 

I keep putting off cleaning the house.  I don't know why.  I never used to be this way.  The husband used to have a saying, 'just do it' and we were good about getting our chores done, but honestly as we've gotten older we just don't commit to chores like we should.  I believe I totally understand older people now that I've become one myself!

Now I need to go stir my chilli.  Until next time..

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Ledos Free Pizza

The other day in the mail I received a customer appreciation coupon from Ledos Pizza.  It was a coupon for a free small cheese pizza!  It's a $5.49 value.  Cha-ching, again!  Tonight, I was feeling a hankering for pizza, so off we went to Ledos.  I will be starting a coupon savings jar..the money I save will be going into that jar for our vacation.  I want to watch the savings grow....8-). 

I was searching the internet the other night for a menu planner I could print out.  I found a couple I could use, but decided to make my own.  I know, it's in color and uses ink to print, but I thought it was kinda neat:

My Menu Planner ©
That's an avatar of me and my husband...hehehe.  I didn't want my menu planning be boring to I jived it.  Not only am going to try to plan the meals, I'm also trying to get a budget set up.  Somehow, the finances have got to get straighted out!  I have to be honest here, we have gotten lazy about the finances after our children got older.  I honestly believe that I got burnt out; there for awhile I just didn't care about anything.  Some days I'm still that way, but little by little I think I'm getting better about it.  It's much like depression for which I suffer.  Unless you have or had depression it's almost impossible to explain other to say that you feeling like a living dead person.  Or maybe it's a resemblence to a ghost now that I think about it.  You know how on haunted ghost shows the ghost hunters say the ghost hasn't left this world and still thinks they are living here, but in truth, they aren't.  Maybe that's how depression is.  It feels as if you are alive, but you cannot connect with anything around you.  You are totally disconnected, but it's not as if you don't know what's going on around you, you just don't feel it.  I know it's strange, but that's why depression hurts not only you, but all those around you.  Well, anyway, that's my plan. 

Losing weight-yes, I have been trying to lose some weight.  The last two years I have lost 12 lbs, but I've got 50 more to go.  That's another goal I really have to work at.  The other day I was on the Food Lion website where I found some nutrutional pages which I think might help me out.  Food Lion has also implemented a new program in their stores called the Guiding Stars.  I don't know how well it will work for me, but it's something to look into.

Christmas will be here in a week.  I am done shopping, almost.  Just a few more things and ta-da...I'll be done.  Oh, and I'll still have to get our Christmas breakfast and dinner foods.  Time to get out my coupons, again!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Surprise Gift card and..

Yesterday was interesting.  I had to take a present back to the store because what was in the box wasn't what was suppose to be.  Go figure.  The time I was out running errands was around the time the husband got off work, so I c-phoned him and told him to meet me at Chick-fil-a. When we got our food and sat down to eat he was telling me that he won a $25 gift card to Target during his lunch.  His company has some kinda of holiday lunch and husband took it out of his pocket and gave it to me.  Funny, I was heading to Target after I had some free money!  Then, while walking into Target I looked down and found a brand new shiny penny.  It's not beyond me to pick up pennies.  I love finding pennies.  There's something exciting about finding free money on the ground (at least for me it is)...oh, and not only that, husband reached into his pocket and must have brought out about 50 pennies.  I asked him where he got the pennies and he said around the vending machines at work!  He said, "I guess people don't like pennies."  How sad, I think.  Money is money to me.  So yesterday, you could say we were blessed with about $25.51 of free money.  Cha-ching.....what's another savings! 

Today I baked some chocolate chips cookies. 
I bought this from my niece last April.  Her school was having a fun raiser...I had bought pizza in the past, but thought I'd try something different this time around.  With this cookie dough, it says on the instructions that you can thaw and refreeze which I've done a couple of times.  The cookies come out tasting the same.  We also got our tree up, but don't have it decorated yet.  We're getting there slow, but sure.  Tonight I'll be wrapping presents. 

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Savings on Christmas shopping

It's been snowing here all day (Maryland).  It's quite chilly in the house as I've had to turn down the thermostat due to high electric bills.  I'd love to have a fireplace going, but all's I have is a fake one.  I love this little blinkie of the Christmas tree, fireplace with stockings and a nice comfy chair.  The perfect thing to do on a day like today.  The only thing missing in the blinkie is a nice thick blanket to snuggle up in and a really good book!  But, Christmas is gonna be here in the blink of an eye and I still haven't gotten the house decorated.  It's almost a waste at this point, I'm feeling.  I will put up the tree and since it's gonna be in a room this year that has a door on it, away from the cats, I think I can actually put my presents under it instead of bringing them out Christmas morning.  When one has pets, it's very hard to have a Christmas tree with presents under it.  The pets either pee on them or tear them up.  And it's almost needless to mention the things pets do to the ornaments on the tree and eating icicles.  I can't tell you how many years I've spent pulling icicles out of cats throats.  Even when we don't use them, somehow, somewhere, the cats find an icicle.  Strange. 

I went out to do a bit more Christmas shopping last night and I had my coupons with me.  It's always such a great feeling when the total price on the register goes down, down, down.  So here's my savings:

1)  Bed, Bath, Beyond I used a $5 off coupon and a 20% off coupon saving $7.60.
2)  At Pac Sun it was buy one get one half off so I saved $22.25.
3)  At the Family Christian Bookstore I had a 25%  off coupon for the entire purchase plus George Bush's book was listed for $35.00 but was 20% off, another savings so total savings there was $62.66.
4)  For dinner we stopped at Longhorn where I had a coupon for a free appetizer which was worth $6.99.
Total savings:  $99.50

This Christmas is gonna be an itty bitty Christmas as finances aren't nearly as good as they used to be.  I'm hoping in 2011, I'll have a better handle on them, although we did pay off two loans which is a great relief. 

I still have Christmas cookies to bake and next week I will probably go get the Christmas dinner fix'ins. I usually have ham, rolls, potato salad, chips; we just have sandwiches all day long.  It was a tradition of my mom's and I've just done the same. 

I'm already thinking about things I want to accomplish next year.  I'll have to make a list to publish. 

Always so much to do!

Sunday, December 12, 2010


Today we went to our daughter's and my parent's gravesites to put Christmas deocorations on them.  We do this every year.  Since our daughter, Katrina, passed away in 1992 (18 years ago--oh where does the time go?) we haven't missed a year where we don't do this.  Sometimes it's so emotionally draining to be there where my parents and daughter lay.  I believe in broken hearts.  I believe happiness is but a fleeing moment here and there, but the rest of the time life is negative and sometimes even evil.  The excitment young people feel when they are starting out (I'm talking about people in their early twenties) can be so exciting because they have their whole life ahead of them.  Dreams, goals,'s wonderful.  I had that too, for a short time. 

Donald at Katrina's gravesite
Me at Katrina's gravesite

Me at my parent's gravesite "Spaar"
It was rainy and cold when we were there.  Lots of times it is freezing cold with the wind blowing.  I didn't really feel like going today, but it's suppose to get colder as the week goes on and better to do it now than not be able to later.  I did not get to decorating the house today.  Maybe I will put some decorations out tomorrow. I still need to get some shopping done! 

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Niece's school Christmas Concert

Friday night we were invited to my niece's Christmas concert at her school.  She had a solo violin part and she was very good.  She is also in the dance group for which they performed, too.  My niece says she wants to study dance and her violin is her ticket to a scholarship.  Wow...I hope she still holds onto that when she graduates high school.  For my own daughter, I wish I had money so she wouldn't have to take out student loans and be in debt when she graduates.  When people are young, they think they have things figured out, but when they are old they realize they don't have a clue!  (I'm talking about myself.)  One of the boys dressed up as Santa Claus and was sitting next to a fack fireplace.  They have a person there to take pictures, so since the family was together I asked them all if we could take a picture with Santa and reluctantly they agreed.  My cousin was there, but she got up and left immediately after the program was over.  She has a hard time driving in the dark and I think she just wanted to get home.  Here is our picture.  Starting from the left is my sister-in law married to my oldest brother, my sister-in-law married to my youngest brother, my youngest brother, my niece who happens to be a little over three months pregnant (and is the daughter of my oldest brother), my husband, my older brother (in the back hiding), my niece (my younger brother's daughter), and me.  What was kinda funny was that my sil (older brother's wife) is a special ed teacher and she realized that the music teacher that teaches our neice was in her class quite a few years ago.  The guy must have been in his late 20's or early 30's.  He has four children, too.  I just see how we can be so old now. 

So now the music teacher is teaching our niece.  You just never the circle in which life brings you around. 

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Christmas 2009

Last Christmas was fun.  Daughter came down to help bake cookies.  She makes the best chocolate chips cookies..she definitely has a talent for that!  She rolls the dough in balls, puts them on the cookie sheet and bakes them just right.  Me, well, my cookies come out too hard sometimes.  I guess I'm just in a rush to get 'em done.  The son hates holidays.  He thinks he always has other places to be or other stuff to do, which he doesn't, but I just think he doesn't like the fact that he is expected to participate.  LOL---but he does anyway.  I got him to decorate the tree a little last year.
I don't think I'll get him to do it this year, though.  Considering last year he lived in our basement apartment and this year he moved out to live with two other police officers.  This time last year I was painting the living room.  I bought this blue paint which I had custom made, but when I got it on the walls it looked awful.  I had three gallons of it and didn't want to waste the money, so I used it anyway.  A year later I still haven't gotten my pictures on the walls.  Which only makes me wonder, what have I done this past year?  I was hoping that I'd get life in order, but I think after my son moved out of the house, it was another emotional hit and I fell short of my goals.  I think I'm better now and am determined to get stuff done.  My #1 goal right now is
to get menus made up for the following year.  We eat out way too much and I believe it's because my table is empty; no children.  I remember when husband and I were married I would look at our table anticipating the day when we had children around it.  It's hard to believe those days are behind us.  It's very sad.  But I am also happy for them as they are hard workers, have good jobs, nice places to live.  That is what I want for my children.  It's just I want them with me, too.  I haven't gotten out the decorations yet.  We are planning to do that Sunday as we'll be going to our daughter's gravesite and my parent's gravesite to decorate. 

The Canters Christmas 2009

Monday, December 6, 2010

Little Drummer Boy

When my brother and I used to watch Little Drummer Boy I dreaded the part where the lamb got hit and almosted died because I would cry.  Then my brother would laugh at me.  I was a teenager and still I cried.   The same scenero happened with Frosty the Snowman.  Oh, when that mean old man opened the greenhouse door and melted Frosty I would cry.  My brother would make fun of me.  And you know what, I still cry when I watch these shows. 

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Mountain Man

Here's the master and the 'goat'...I mean dog.

And what he does with one he must do with the other as not to show favortism!

Thanksgiving 2010 and Black Friday

Here is our Thanksgiving of 2010.  The kids are secretly clowns; every holiday picture they are always making funny faces or doing something odd.  Memories...that's what they are making. LOL  Usually we go to my brother's house for Thanksgiving, but this year we decided to stay home.  Our daughter did go to her uncle's, then came to our house.  Our son had to work and didn't get off until 4pm, then came to our house.  My turkey did not cooperate this year and still was not thawed when it was time to cook it, but I worked with it (or fought with it) and it came out just fine.  I cheated this year as I did not make anything really homemade.  Stuffing came out of the box as did the gravy came out of the jar.  The potatoes were peeled, cooked and mashed; rolls were
baked and pumpkin pie with whipped cream for dessert was great! But, really, no holiday is the same anymore.  I remember back to when I lived at home with my parents everything just seemed so magical.  Maybe that's the spirit of being a child.  When the husband and I were young parents, it was so much fun making the magic happen for our children; to see the sparkle in their eyes on Christmas morning; the excitement, the Christmas breakfast...well, getting back to Thanksgiving, we just always so looked forward to it.  Now with the children being grown-ups, having their own jobs and time restraints, it's just not the same as it used to be.  That's why I need to learn to re-adjust to this way of life now

Black Friday:
I have never been to a Black Friday in my life, but this year was different.  Daughter has been wanting to get a tv for her room, but they have been so expensive she just couldn't afford it.  Walmart had 32" tv on sale for $198.  Can't beat that deal, so off we went to Walmart at 3am to stand in line.  Honestly, I didn't know what to expect because in years past, I have seen horror stories on tv of people getting trampled on rushing in the doors of stores to be the first to get their item.  I had visions of pushing and shoving and getting yelled out as I pushed and shoved my way to get my daughter the tv she wanted.  However, when we arrived at the store, there were no lines outside.  The line was inside and it zigzagged down the aisles in a very well organized manner.  I was very impressed at how everyone stayed in line when the tvs were being handed out.  There was no pushing or shoving or name calling.  There was only one incident of someone accusing another of butting in line, but that was all! daughter got the tv she's been wanting at a very good, low price and all was happy.