What month is it? Whew...I swear I've been near the computer but my brain loses track of the days and I forget how long it's been since I last wrote. We had a tummy bug sweep through and way-lay certain people (not me but I got to take care of the sicky). It lasted a little longer than what I think is reasonable for a tummy bug so, on day TEN I finally broke down and took the sicky to the doctor...who then promptly told me that 10 days is NOT an unreasonable amount of time for a tummy bug (I beg to differ, especially when *I* am the one stuck at home with the sicky). Of course, the day I finally take the sicky TO the doctor is the day things start to improve.
We've been up to our eyeballs in school. I'm still stuck in the mindset that we are BEHIND due to the fact that we started a month late this year. Mind you, we are not 4+ months into our school year and we caught up with where we *should* be several weeks ago. But I can't break the mindset that we are still behind. So we push and, by the end of the week, the last thing I want to do is put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard). Hopefully, once the weather warms up, my "go go go" mentality will ease up and I'll relax.
MacGyver is flying often and I am grateful. Makes for long, lonely days and nights but it's not that big of a deal. I love hearing the occasional sound of Chinooks flying over the house. We're not as close to the flight path here as we were in Hawaii so it doesn't happen as often but it's still nice to hear them flying over head. The FRG here doesn't seem to be too active which is kind of nice - keeps me from having to decline invitations.
In the meantime, I've been having fun tracking down steals and deals and building a little stockpile in our pantry. Tonight I hit Target and made off with $46.00 worth of merchandise for $21.00 thanks to coupons and Target's sale prices.
They had a nice sale on shelves two weeks ago so I snagged one and it fits nicely in our laundry room. I had been storing our stockpile in the garage but the temperatures were too extreme and I didn't want to lose any food because of the cold (and the upcoming heat this summer). Our Target is currently remodeling so they have had a ton of stuff on clearance which has been nice. And I'm learning what items are cheaper at Target than at the commissary (bread...for instance. $2.59 at the commi and less than $2.50 at Target. Chicken noodle and tomato soup is often $0.59 at Target, whereas at the commi it's normally $1.35). So I'm learning.
And, I'm proud to report, the envelope-method for spending and food monies went really, really well in January (and the first part of February). The only action my debit card saw was the cash withdrawals and two items that I had forgotten to pull cash out for. And the credit cards both saw only decreases in the balances (we have 3 or 4 recurring payments on the credit card that I budget in and then add that amount to my monthly payment). I am so stoked! The excess from the food and spending envelopes went into our cash savings so that was nice as well! And the excess money that I had set aside for educational expenses is being stockpiled to purchase next year's textbooks and supplemental items. So far, so good!
When we moved, we took an advance on MacGyver's pay. When you PCS, you can elect to take an advance equal to one month's base pay. It's a zero-interest loan and the Army takes the payment (1/12th of the balance) out of his paycheck automatically each month. So right now, that's a fair chunk of change coming out each month. However, we were able to pay off a pretty big chunk of a bill that had been earning 10.74% interest each month so the savings is worth the slight imposition it places on our monthly budget. Once that loan is repaid, we will have already become accustomed to living on the tighter budget so I have already planned to set a small portion of that 'extra' money aside for car expenses (like my new water pump, tires, oil and fluids, other unexpected repairs, registration, etc.) and the rest will go into our snowball that we are working on to pay down our credit card debt. I love our bank's online banking that allows me to set stuff like this up ahead of time so I won't be tempted to splurge when that extra money hits our checking account. It's already set up to divert the money into the appropriate accounts/bills.
And I'm getting ready to order seeds and whatnot for spring planting. The weather is supposed to be nice late this week so the kids and I are going to map out the yard and plan where we want to plant and WHAT we want to plant. It's going to be a fun math lesson for all of us - geometry, budgeting, mapping skills - and some botany as well. I do not have audacious plans - I'll be happy if we can produce enough to cover our salads for the summer. We buy a lot of lettuce, spinach, bell peppers, carrots, and herbs and I will be thrilled if I can grow the majority of that here rather than buying it at the store. We're also hoping to grow broccoli, cauliflower, maybe some pumpkins, some garlic, onions, and maybe a few potatoes. Oh, and strawberries. We'll see if anything else strikes our fancy.
It's time for bed. My brain is fried. I have visions of fractions and lists of helping verbs dancing in my head.
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