Sunday, April 17, 2011

My NBA playoff bracket 2011

Here are my picks. It's a nice combination of wishful thinking and logic in terms of teams I favor and teams that have been undenyably solid this year.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Eat from home Challenge mid-point update

Our family is at the halfway point of out eat from home challenge and it has been virtually painless. Yay!! With the exception of a peach snowcone purchased by my husband(what was he thinking? I think he forgot), we have not eaten or drank out since April 1st. That is a huge accomlishment for us.
My observations thus far:
  • less trash by at least 50%=just in time for earth day!
  • more dirty dishes
  • +$200 saved, I actually saw the balance on Monday and was shocked to see that we had $200 more than what we usually have at this point in the month
  • I may have lost some belly fat from the somewhat healthier food
  • Sonic hasn't called yet to see if I am alive-which is a little insulting considering how much money I spend there.
I can't believe how easy it has been. It's like I made up my mind and a switch flipped in my brain.Confession: Knowing that I have that extra cash makes it easier to spend in other areas-like art supplies! This defeats the purpose so I may have to have a NO SPEND MONTH  or just deposit our eating out budget directly in to savings on a certain day of each month. I don't want to be deprived of take out treats and have no stack-o-cash to show for it!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Eat from home challenge-the rules!

April is here and you know what that means....My Eat from Home Challenge mentioned in my March blog.
The rules are as follows:
  1. no take out
  2. no deli prepared grocery items(This will eliminate the Kroger chicken and sides loophole that already entered my mind)
  3. no eating from the sandwich shop at my work
  4. no Sonic drinks on my way to work
  5. no dining in at sit-down restaurants
I did not start until Saturday because we were out of town on Friday and I knew we would be eating out(turns out we had Arby's for lunch and that was it).  But still that means I have to add a day onto the end of the month. So our family will be living by these rules until May 2nd. At that point we will be used to eating from home and hopefully have broken our take-out habit.

My first temptation was a dinner with two great friends who I rarely see on Saturday evening. I joined them for a short visit but did not order a dish for myself. Misty-1, eating out monster-0!

Anyone brave enough to join me in this challenge?

Sunday, April 3, 2011

living in a material world

I wish this post was about my love for labels and my need to buy expensive handbags and jeans, but that was all squelched 10 years ago when I had my first child. It is so easy to spoil kids these days. We have tried to keep it in check from the get go. We don't buy toys unless it's a holiday and clothes are bought on an as-needed basis. Even still with our daughter being the first grandchild on either side combined with 2 friends who think our children are theirs to spoil, it can be difficult to keep our little angels from becoming little spoiled devils.
I was raised not to ask for things. My dad made good money when I was young but I had shoes from payless and clothes from Sears. When I started working I could buy the labels my teenage heart desired. My parents were both raised poor , plus they were older and very conservative so they just couldn't justify paying for the nikes I thought I needed to fit in. I buy my kids name brand shoes probably just because of this. And truth is they aren't even old enough to care.
It is really important to me that THINGS don't become important to them. And after this year's Christmas I realized they were loosing the appreciation they once had. Mostly my 6 year old son. He has always been hyper appreciative. He would thank you for lunch or a hug as if he had never had them. It was his most endearing quality. But I noticed gifts would get broken within days of being opened and he began constantly asking for things. Where did we go wrong? We literally never buy them anything!

And so when they started asking for an Xbox 360 with a Kinect, I knew this was our chance to teach them the value of things,that they cost money and money had to be earned. Also that in life we give up things to get things because otherwise we are owned by things.
I told them we would purge our home of all "extras" and have a yard sale. Also we would sell our Wii because we don't need 2 gaming systems. My kids have never kept their rooms clean and I take complete responsibility for that. I don't live that way myself and have not instilled that in them(that will be addressed in a future imaginary blog where I start keeping a neat house). My hope was that getting rid of our excess would help them keep their rooms in order.
So I went through our room and all the common rooms and they helped me in their rooms. My son set a goal for himself to get rid of 100 items. He actually easily had 120 items. Not to be out done, my daughter set her goal at 120 items and ended up with 130. YAY. 250 toys we would never have to pick up again. I sold her Barbie items including a year old $150 rv on facebook for $50. It was heart wrenching. She is only 9 and completely over barbies. But they went to a good home and will hopefully be enjoyed. That left us $250 shy of our $300 goal. We earned $148 at our yard sale and sold our Wii for $125. So this weekend I purchased their gaming system with money that they had had earned and given things up for.
I hope this is a step towards raising them to appreciate things and not be owned my them.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Celtics trip 2011

One of my goals this year was to see the Celtics play. One of my other goals was to save money, therefore we had to see them when they were in Texas. I bought the tickets(cheap seats) and planned to leave work early the day of the game. My husband and I never exchange gifts at Christmas so we wanted to take a shopping trip as well. We have been booked every weekend since then so we decided to stay out of town overnight and go shopping with what we would have spent on gifts. I ordered a green baseball style shirt from our local tshirt shop to iron my design on. I bought Devin and green hanes shirt and we both created iron-on with our custom designs. Mine said'"I'm built like this."(pounds chest) Kevin Garnett. That is a quote from my favorite celtic from his days in Minnesota with the Timberwolves. Celtics great Bill Russell asked him about his intensity and drive and he said,"I'm built like this." I found it very profound. Devin put a quote from Pulp Fiction and inserted a photo of KG in Samuel L. Jackson's role. Our shirts looked great and we ordered green NBA sweatbands to match.

I put off booking a room because I was waiting for the best deal. We usually spend alot to stay out of town with the kids. You know, we try to stay in a good area and have to pay for 4 people so it can get costly. When it's just us we usually are just there to sleep so we stay someplace cheap and The day before we left I was thinking how nice a private hot tub would be for my husband's ailing back. He has been in pain for about a month now and he really deserved some relief. So I was ready to spend the extra money for that luxury. Problem was these types of rooms really aren't advertised. None of the online search engines let me plug "in-room hot tub" into the criteria. Luckily with help from a couple of friends who are familiar with the area I was able to book a "honeymoon suite" at a major chain discount hotel . The concept of a honeymoon sweet is hilarious to me because we are so not those people. We don't even celebrate Valentine's day in any romantic way. When we got there I had a good laugh at the heart shaped hot tub(with mirrors all around and even above it!). But Devin ended up fitting 3 good soaks in our short time there so it was very worth it.

We arrived about an hour before the game and immediately enjoyed the camaraderie between all of our friends in green. After we found our seats we grabbed some pizza and soda, and saw the funniest/creepiest looking guy in his late twenties or early thirties. He was thin with a goatee and wore a tie, a pea type coat, and a fedora. The sleeves on his coat where shoved up to his elbow and he sooo looked like a detective from an old movie.We both noticed him and commented on his creep factor. Guess who was sitting in the seat next to Devin......creepy guy! He turned out to be a very interesting and nice guy. Plus he was a Celtic fan! To my right there were 3 middle aged Hispanic women who were lusting over the Spurs for most of the game.

I was so excited to pick out each player and coach. "I am looking at Ray Allen." It's always crazy when you get see someone you admire in person-even if it's from way up high, I still laid eyes on Doc Rivers. So cool. All the fans were well behaved except when Devin told one Celtics fan that yelling "18 banners" was too far. Sorry bro, I was really excited.The score was tied up at the half.For those of you who don't follow the NBA-the Spur have lead their conference all year and are a very solid team. We(the Celtics) have lead our conference up until about a week ago. So it was a competitive game. We usually beat playoff contending teams and lose to the nobodys. This game was no different. WE WON! And thank goodness because that would have been quite the walk of shame in our custom shirts.
We walked out of the arena on top of the world. The camaraderie was out of the closet at this point and high fives between strangers were in order. I heard music from the band they had advertised during the game. We headed toward the good time on a whim. It was totally unlike us but I am soooo glad we stayed. This cover band,Blue Finger Disco, was amazing. I love a good cover band. I mean what's better than knowing all the songs at a concert. They rocked the Blackeyed Peas, Lady Gaga, Kid Rock, Michael Jackson and many other artists' songs. We hung out near the stage singing and dancing and occasionally mingling with our new green cult. It was the most fun time ever. We took a cab back to our suite and hit up the hot tub. Then Devin was hungry and insisted on leaving after midnight to go get the Burger King he spends his life jonesing for.  I tried to convince him to just wait for breakfast but the man was hungry. This isn't my story to tell but I will tell you this:he ended up driving through a military check point AND not having a delicious grilled treat.

This guy did one armed push ups while singing for a considerable amount of time!

Friday morning we drove to the Round Rock outlets to shop. I found jeans at the FIRST store we went to. You ladies know how difficult the search for jeans can be and I was really hard up for some new denim since that is what I wear to work and I haven't shopped for jeans in 3 years. We were not browsing as we both had specific list building for this trip for sometime. I needed jeans, a white button down, several belts, comfy black non-tennis shoes, and sunglasses. I got jeans at Tommy Hilfiger, a white top at NY&co, 2 belts at gap, and sunglasses at Fossil. SCORE. Devin needed a certain color fitness clothes and some new khaki shorts since he has lost so much weight. We found every thing he needed at the nike store for a great price. We picked up clothes for the kiddos at childrens place and got gifts for the family who kept them so we could go on this trip. It was so nice to find everything we needed and to not go off the list. We stayed way under our shopping budget so as soon as we got home I ordered the Tom's shoes I have been eyeing-the gold glitters.
The Celtics were great. The band was great. The shopping was a success. We need those days away from everything like oxygen and now are glad to be back to our kids, jobs, and life in general.