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Archive for December, 2011

2012 goals - not very firm yet but progressing

December 31st, 2011 at 07:55 pm

I've never been good at goal setting. No, that isn't true. I'm good at setting goals but the achieving of them seems to trip me up. I'm pretty sure it's because I make goals then just kind of wait for them to happen. Umm, that hasn't worked out well for me yet so I'm going to try to set up some steps to achieve the goals I have for 2012 and see if that makes a difference. ;-)

Although tomorrow is January 1st, my plans are still pretty vague - you know, I want to do things like 'save money', and 'waste less' but don't have a lot of ideas on how to succeed.

I do have a few steps in mind, though, and here they are:

Start a $1 bill challenge for 2012. Thanks to Be A Wealthy Warrior for the idea. I'm not sure it will work for me but I'm happy to give it a good try.

Continue to take snacks, meals, and drinks to work. Doing this with leftovers really helps reduce food waste and is just an all around win!

Stay with my beautiful quit! Not spending $240 or so a month on cigarettes is pretty awesome. I'm going to split the money I don't spend on cigarettes between the local charity that needs help and my vacation/cruise fund.

Make consistent use of You Need A Budget and my Dave Ramsey envelope system. I know that the two of those work beautifully to keep me on the straight and narrow path but I have to be more faithful with them.

Work hard to have two no spend days a week. I know I can do it.

So, that's all I really have in mind right now. I'll ponder all this awhile longer and will come up with a more firm plan.

As usual, suggestions and ideas are welcome!

I did it, I bought one ounce of Flowerbomb!

December 30th, 2011 at 09:14 am

It's absolutely incredible. I love it. It was $75, more than I normally spend on good smellin' stuff but as a reward for two weeks of not smoking, it's perfect! I won't reward myself like this often but wow, just wow. Smile

14 days, 119 pennies, and the new year is upon us

December 30th, 2011 at 06:55 am

Look, you can't see the bottom of the jar now! Smile

It's been 14 days since I've had a cigarette. I haven't cheated, haven't bummed one off someone, I simply haven't had the taste of a cigarette though a few nights ago I came close and could have smoked one. I was sorely tempted, too, but I got through it.

There are 119 pennies in my jar and later today $119 will be transferred from my checking to savings account. I've decided to split the money I don't spend on buying cigarettes. Half of it will go to a local charitable organization I've found that needs it and the other half will be saved to take myself on a cruise. I think it's fair to give away at least half the money I'd normally waste. Also, I've wanted some Flower Bomb perfume for well over a year now (and I can't even tell you how much I want it!) but it's way out of my price range and I think I might take some of the money I haven't blown on cigarettes and buy myself a tiny bottle of that before I start saving for a cruise. Wink

I feel great. I'm sleeping better (not remembering any dreams again), have no coughing, my mood has stabilized, and I certainly smell better! I haven't gained weight...yet. I have to really keep an eye on that. All in all, it's going beautifully.

Today I must pay my rent and water bill. The electric bill isn't due for two weeks and since I need to put my not smoking money into savings I'll pay it on the next pay day. I have to prioritize that not smoking money because if I don't, I'll blow it on something stupid!
Before I head to work today I'm going to re-work my irregular income planning sheet, too. It needs to have a few changes made to it.

Anyway, Happy New Year to me. And you!

10 days, 76 pennies, and still counting!

December 26th, 2011 at 04:00 am

10 days, 76 pennies, and counting. Yesterday held a bit of temptation as I went outside with my sisters a couple of times when they smoked. I couldn't stay out long because I was feeling a little stressed, a cigarette would have been awesome (for about 15 seconds) ,and they'd have given me one if I begged enough. I didn't cave, though. I went back inside and got busy doing something.

76 pennies are in the jar (it doesn't look like so many but trust me, it is), each one representing $1 I haven't spent on cigarettes.

Go, me. Smile

7 days, 59 pennies (dollars) and counting!

December 23rd, 2011 at 04:46 am

Today makes 1 week since I've bought or had a cigarette. Whew! I've survived the first week! However, I know from past experience that I can never let my guard down. Not a month from now, not a year from now, not ever. And that part is a little tough to deal with. Meh, it is what it is, though.

Here's my Not Smoking jar this morning. It has 59 pennies in it! It's absolutely ridiculous that I've spent $60 a week, give or take, on cigarettes for however long! Oh well, moving on is the ticket, right? Next Friday I should be able to move about $120 from checking to savings. Not bad for two weeks of not smoking!

Anyway, I was off yesterday, am off today, and close tomorrow. I haven't spent much money at all in the last three days and that's a very good thing, indeed.

Today I have to run to the dollar store for eggs and more cleaner for the walls. Other than that I shouldn't have any spending. I love these no/low spend days. Smile

It's almost over...

December 21st, 2011 at 08:59 pm

Zeus in a feather boa, it's almost christmas which means the insanity is almost over! I can't even begin to say just how happy that will make me. Work will slow down and be much less stressful. In fact, it will slow down enough that some folks will whine because they aren't getting enough hours! I might be a tiny bit whiny over that but not too much. I hope. Wink

I just know that it's time for it to be over. Past time....

I won a pair of earrings! And here they are. :)

December 21st, 2011 at 10:12 am

A blogger I read recently gave away a pair of pyramid earrings she made and I won! I got the earrings today and am very excited about them.

Here's a picture:

They look like they might be a bit heavy but they're not. She used sterling silver wires, too, so hopefully they won't bother my ears.

I tried to get a decent picture of me wearing them but meh, the picture didn't turn out too great. However, here I am with the earrings. Smile

Anyway, that's my excitement for today. I work this evening but am off tomorrow.

I received a call from the local imaging center reminding me that I have an appointment in the morning for a mammogram and bone density scan. The mammogram is 100% covered by my insurance but because I'm under 65 the scan will cost $75. I hadn't planned on that expense but I do try to make medical issues a priority and bone density is an issue with the women in my family so I'll do it. But I won't have another one done for at least 5 years, Doctor SoAndSo!

Didn't spend much today - cleaning walls and other fun stuff

December 20th, 2011 at 06:23 pm

I remembered to take my lunch and snacks to work today but forgot my breakfast so I spent $2.42 for a breakfast burrito and after I got off I bought a Trenta Iced Coffee for $3.40. That's all I've spent today. I imagine the folks at the place where I got my cigarettes are wondering if I'm sick or dead or what as they're accustomed to me stopping by every couple of days! Meh.

After I got home I cleaned some more of the walls. I'm almost finished with the bathroom and kitchen. Wow, it's amazing just how disgusting smoking makes them! I'm using hot water and some great smelling variety of Mr. Clean with Febreeze and it really makes a huge difference in how the walls look and how the entire place smells! I know from past experience that in a few weeks, with more cleaning and no smoking in here, it will smell almost as though it was never smoked in. Almost. I'll be content with that.

Next on the list is washing every fabric item in the place. I'm taking my time doing all this. No need to rush but the sooner it gets done, the better off I'll be!

Almost 4 days in and $34 not spent! Rockin' on :)

December 20th, 2011 at 04:48 am

As of right now, I've not spent somewhere around $34.00 on cigarettes. It's hard to say exactly how much I've not spent since my smoking habits varied so much day to day, hour to hour, and stress to stress, but it's certain that I've not spent anything at all on cigarettes since I bought them on Tuesday last, two packs for $9.50. Not only have I not spent any money on them, I haven't bummed a cigarette from anyone, either. So, I've not smoked at all since around 1 PM Friday.

It really doesn't seem to bother me much, the not smoking. Yes, I think of smoking now and then but I wouldn't say I often truly crave a cigarette. Part of that might be that work is keeping me so busy I just don't have much time when I'm there to think about it. But I think most of it is the use of the Nicotine patch.

I'm not getting anywhere near the nicotine I did by smoking yet I seem content with things so far. When I quit for almost a year, I used the patch for only 2 weeks then stopped and was fine. For a year. I've decided to use the patch longer this time, most likely according to the directions, which is 10 weeks and three steps.

In preparation for that, I bought a box of 14 Step 1 patches yesterday for about $20. I'll stay on Step 1 for 6 weeks then go to Step 2 and we'll see how it's going.

So far, I'm fine, though. A little edgy at times, a little snappy with folks once in awhile but not a rip roarin' B*$#@. Yet. Wink

In addition to the patches I bought yesterday I spent $36 on a prescription and that's it for the day's spending.

I work a long shift today and am taking breakfast, lunch, and snacks.

Thanks, LuckyRobin! Here's my jar :)

December 19th, 2011 at 06:48 am

LuckyRobin had a good suggestion for a visual reminder of how much money I haven't spent on cigarettes. I have a pretty glass container from Ikea (heart pound!) and right now it has one penny for each dollar I haven't spent on cigarettes.

One of my sisters has some pretty stones she's bringing me this weekend and when I get those I'll replace the pennies with stones but for now, this is awesome!

Oh yes, I realized the widget I have isn't calculating correctly so I'll just keep track mentally of the money I haven't spent on cigarettes. As of right now it's $25!!!

Here are a couple of observations on the days since quitting smoking:

I no longer feel the need to get to work 30 to 45 minutes early to make sure I have time for that last smoke or two or three or....

When I'm at work if I don't get a break, it isn't quite as big a deal as it used to be. Yes, I should still get them and I need them so I can sit down, have a snack, etc. but the need to smoke is gone so it isn't quite so important.

Very interesting....

Spent $18.40 today and still no smoking!

December 18th, 2011 at 09:26 pm

I was scheduled to work a pretty long shift today but this evening the place was very, very slow so I got to leave an hour and a half early. On the one hand, I like that because I was tired and ready to go but on the other hand those are hours I won't be paid for!

It's now been 58 hours since I've had a cigarette and I estimate I've saved a little over $17 at this point!

I mentioned in another entry that I'd love to have a visual reminder of the money I haven't spent on cigarettes and LuckyRobin made this suggestion:

"If you want a visual reminder try something like using an old mayonaise jar and for every dollar you save put in something like a marble. If you don't have marbles, something cheap like beans or unpopped popcorn kernals. You'll be able to see your daily progress as the jar fills without running to the bank for money."

I just love this idea! Isn't it great?

After work tonight I did a little shopping for a few things I really needed. I spent $18.40 but should be good for a few days. I'm pooped and headed to bed. I hope you all have a marvelous and productive Monday.

Whew! Still going strong and suggestions needed

December 18th, 2011 at 05:22 am

So I went to my friend's house last night. We had roasted chicken, broccoli, and macaroni & cheese. I usually don't eat macaroni & cheese because of the carb count but I was starved and decided to have a small amount. I bolused for it and it was delicious, even if it was just the boxed stuff. Wink

After dinner we watched the football game. My friend went to his den and smoked a cigarette but I wasn't at all tempted to follow. I was too into the game at that point and wasn't about to miss even a few seconds. It appears that the Cowboys might have broken their December 'curse' but time will tell about that, huh?

This morning I put a widget on my dashboard. It's just a little no smoking sign that shows how long it's been since I've had a cigarette and how much money I haven't spent on cigarettes. It's nice to have it there if I need a little resolve booster. I also started washing the walls. What a job that is! It really does help to get rid of the cigarette smell, though, and I have a Scentsy burner going with Hazelnut Latte in it. It smells so good and does a decent job of masking the cigarette odor.

Anyway, so far so good. I figure I've not spent somewhere between $9 and $13 on cigarettes since Friday. It's hard to know just how much I haven't spent since some days I'd smoke less than a pack and other days I'd smoke two or more. In light of that, I estimate that I've not spent $12 on cigarettes! Because I used my debit card for cigarettes and putting the money not spent on those in a jar would mean a trip to the bank to get the money out, I'm going to just keep a running tab and next Friday I'll transfer that amount from checking to savings. If someone has a better idea, I'd love to know it. I'd really like some kind of visual reminder but going to the bank every couple of days to get cash for a jar seems a little counterproductive to me.

I work tonight and need to get busy now coming up with something to take for my meal. I'm thinking leftover cornish hen will make great chicken salad to have with some fresh vegetables and dip. Smile

28 and counting!! :)

December 17th, 2011 at 03:08 pm

No, that isn't my age though don't I wish it was? It's also not the number of thousands of dollars I have in savings! Wink

It is, however, the number of hours I've gone without a cigarette!

I was so very tempted to buy a pack this afternoon on the way home from my very long and very, very busy day. I thought, "Well, I can smoke one or two then stop" but I know myself. If I buy a pack, I'll feel guilty for 'wasting' them and I'll smoke them all. Then I'll buy another pack. I'm better off simply not going there. No matter how much stress I'm under or how good one sounds at the moment.

I took my lunch and enjoyed it and didn't even really want a cigarette after eating. The day was so busy and stressful that I did break down and give into temptation eventually. I bought a Trenta iced coffee with plenty of cream after my shift was over. I spent $3.40 on that and part of me really didn't want to spend the money but the biggest part of me desperately wanted that iced coffee!

I work again tomorrow and have decided I'll not buy coffee, tea, or anything else at work. I'll be happy with my lunch and diet pepsi or water.

But yeah, 28 hours without a cigarette. Yaaaay me! Smile

And although I'm beat, a friend has asked me over for dinner and the Cowboys game, I said I'd go, and I'm going. He smokes occasionally so this might be a bit of a temptation but we'll see how it goes.

Thank you for the continued good thoughts and support. I very much appreciate y'all!

Basically a no spend day

December 16th, 2011 at 09:16 pm

I forgot to take my check book to Target so I couldn't pay the $84 on the Visa that I'd used to pay for my Novolog. I put the check book in my purse so I'll remember to do that tomorrow. I did take my lunch to work and didn't buy a single drink during my shift today.

To top that off, I didn't stop anywhere for cigarettes on the way in or on the way home and am now eating the garlic chicken I prepared and am about to go to bed since I have to get up at 5 AM.

My lunch and snacks for tomorrow are packed and I'm determined to not smoke tomorrow.

One day at a time.

One more time - smoking cessation!

December 16th, 2011 at 11:56 am

Holy cow. I bought a box of patches a few weeks ago, thinking I'd quit smoking. I didn't quit. Well, I was sitting here a few minutes ago and realized I'd just run out of cigarettes. Strangely enough, my first inclination wasn't to run to the store for more but to dig out the box of patches and put one on. I did that. So, I guess I'm going to quit smoking. Again.

I've been down this road a couple of times and "quit" once for almost a year. Starting again was one of the more stupid moves in my life. Meh.

But I spend entirely too much on cigarettes. Hell, $.01 is too much, right? But the amount of money I spend on them per month is enough to pay my electric bill, cable bill, and water bill! Or almost half my rent. Enough is enough!

So here's to smoking cessation. Again. Keep me in your thoughts, please!

Payday - envelopes funded and $10 free money :)

December 16th, 2011 at 11:06 am

My pay hit my checking out last night so I went to the bank and took out $175. I put $125 in the food envelope, $30 in the gas envelope, and $20 in the entertainment envelope. Food includes eating out, something I rarely do, and I usually don't need $175 for two weeks of food but with the family get together next week I want to make sure I have enough cash to buy what I need to buy.

I paid for my mail order Novolog, $84, with my Target Visa and will go to Target today and pay that amount on the bill.

My serve.com account was credited with $10 so that's some free money. Smile I still haven't gotten the $10 for signing up but hope it shows up soon. My sisters have both signed up and I'm hoping to get others to sign up. Hey, $20 for a couple of minutes of time is pretty good and I don't mind making an extra $5 when someone else signs up. Smile

Anyway, so far so good. I still have some money in the checking account. After funding the envelopes and paying bills plus the $84 on the Target Visa there isn't much but it's all good.

Rock on, rock on. Smile

A somewhat brutal day - parents and dementia

December 15th, 2011 at 05:17 pm

My Dr's office called yesterday to remind me of an appointment for a cholesterol check this morning. I'm glad they called as I'd totally forgotten about it. I got that tended to and spent $10 on my co-pay (there's some confusion about that but I'll post about it separately) then headed to Target to get some things for my mother.

Most purchases I make at Target are bought with either the Target Visa or my Target debit card so I can take advantage of my team member discount and the 5% card discount. So today I spent $2.50 for breakfast at Target Cafe and $1.45 for a nice cup of Starbucks Christmas Blend coffee. The lab work was fasting and I was famished and the blood sugar was rapidly dropping so food was a priority! I got $33 worth of stuff for Mom and put that on the Target Visa. I also got $14 worth of stuff for myself and used my Target debit card.

I got to Mom's around noon and we had a good visit, including lunch of hot dogs and salad. Before I left she asked if we could go to Fred's so of course I took her. Smile I spent $4 there then took her home and came back to my place.

So what makes all that brutal? Nothing. It's the fact that my stepfather's dementia is progressing rapidly and Mom is just about at the point where she can't do it all alone anymore. That hit me like a ton of bricks today. I don't know what more I can do besides quit my job and move in with them but it's too big for that, even. I'm at a loss. They don't have the money for a facility and he isn't quite to that point, anyway.

I talked to one of my sisters this evening and the only thing we can think of is for me to quit my job and give up my place, put Mom's house on the market (she bought it only 6 weeks ago!) and the three of us move to an apartment near my sisters so more help will be available. That isn't the ideal solution but it might be the only one.

Do any of you have experience with a loved one and dementia? If so, I could really use your input.....

Using up the odds and ends

December 14th, 2011 at 08:27 am

I have a cornish hen thawing and will prepare that later today. Some will go to work with me tonight and the rest will be eaten later this week.

I also had an opened tiny bottle of white wine and some chicken stock leftover from when I made the saucy chicken a few days ago. In the fridge I found some woody asparagus stalks (I save those for soups and purees) and onion that needed to be used so I tossed the wine, broth, garlic and a bit of Glory beef base in a pan and let it boil then simmer and cook down a bit. I added the languishing vegetables and threw in some mushroom, green pepper, carrots, and mukimame. It's now simmering on the stove and smells absolutely great. I love soup on a cold day and since I work a long shift tonight and will be at Mom's tomorrow, having this soup ready will keep me out of drive thrus and/or eating turkey bacon and eggs again for dinner! It also uses up a few things that would have ended up being thrown out soon.

Carol Hardie - are you out there?

December 14th, 2011 at 05:24 am

Carol Hardie used to be pretty active among the bloggers but apparently her blog isn't around anymore. She last posted on someone else's blog in October. Does anyone know how to reach her or how she is? Just wondering how she is....

What kind of challenges with tangible outcome do you give yourself?

December 13th, 2011 at 11:29 pm

I see some of you are still doing the $20 challenge. I never did quite figure that one out. What I mean is I couldn't figure out what the $20 meant, exactly, since some of you are waaaaay over $20 nor could I figure out just what you did with the challenge money. I like the idea of challenging myself, though, and here's where I need your help.

I can easily challenge myself to cook and eat at home, take lunch and snacks to work, and have no/low spend days. I might not succeed every time but I generally do or at least the challenge leads to improvement and progress is progress! But those things don't generally lead to anything tangible for me. What I mean is this - I might not spend $10 eating out on a given day but I more than likely will spend that $10 on something else. Probably not that day but another. That doesn't get me anywhere, you know?

So my question to all of you is this: what kind of challenges with tangible outcome do you give yourself?

General December stuff - budget and holiday and work, oh my!

December 13th, 2011 at 05:47 pm

So I had another low spend day today. I took lunch, snacks and a drink to work but bought an iced coffee on my break. I worked alone from 7:30 to 5:00 so trust me when I say I needed that coffee! Other than that, I didn't spend and I'm okay with that.

I need to buy gas tomorrow so I'll spend about $50 on that but that should be all for tomorrow. The next day I go to my mother's house but unless she wants to go out for lunch or do a bit of shopping, I shouldn't spend much, if anything.

When I got in from work tonight I was starved but nothing on my menu sounded good so I had two beef hot dogs, no bun, with low sugar ketchup and some mustard. Not thrilling and not nutritious but meh, it was food.

Mom and I finalized the christmas dinner plans tonight. I don't celebrate this holiday - in fact, I generally run, screaming, as far as I can get from it. I don't participate in the gift thing, I don't send cards. I don't have a tree or a single ornament or christmas decoration. I simply don't participate. However, I do enjoy seeing my family on any day, including that one, and this year we're gathering at Mom's house. I doubt that my sons will be there since they came up for Thanksgiving. And one of my nephews has to work. I'm not sure about the other folks yet. But since we're going to have a small group and Mom hasn't been feeling very well, we decided to keep it very simple. One of my nieces hosted Thanksgiving. It was her first time and everyone went all out! There was a huge crowd and way too much food. We don't want or need to do that again so we're having Tex-Mex for dinner. Smile

Mom is going to buy enchiladas from a local place that makes awesome ones and the rest of us will make and bring the sides of rice, beans, sopa, chips and tortillas, salsa, queso, guacamole, and perhaps even a Tres Leches cake. Hopefully, doing it this way will save on her stress level so she can rest. And we'll have more time to just sit and enjoy the gathering. I really like this idea! I close at work on the night before and the night after and I'm going to be exhausted so this works well all the way around.

Plus, no one will be out much money at all.

Ole! Wink

Really low spending today - yaaay!

December 12th, 2011 at 04:53 pm

I worked a long and very arduous in ways shift today. I ate the lunch I took but didn't get around to eating on breaks so the snacks I took will go back with me tomorrow.

I just made some scrumptious chicken salad to take for tomorrow's lunch. I'll have it with roasted asparagus and a low carb yogurt. I'm also taking an avocado in case I need something extra.

When I got off today I was exhausted and just wanted to come home. But I was also very thirsty so I bought a Trenta iced tea and headed home. No stops, no more money spent. Smile

I get paid Friday and will fund my envelopes, though there won't be a whole lot of funding going on since I have some medical bills I need to pay. Oh well, it's all good and I'm beginning to get that motivation back, thanks to y'all!!

The paycheck after that should be pretty good since I'll have two weeks at 40 hours on it. Woot! That will come in handy in January!

Menu plan for December 11th - December 17th

December 12th, 2011 at 04:49 am

Hopefully putting my menu plan here will help me remember to follow it! It worked before and surely it can work again.

I don't break the meals down by day since I know I might not want this dish or that one on any given day. I just have a rough idea of what's in the fridge and I prepare what sounds good to me at that time and if there are leftovers and I work the next day, they go with me.

Last night I had the Saucy Chicken with asparagus. The leftovers will go to work with me today. I also have packed a low carb breakfast sandwich just in case I get hungry around 10 AM, low carb pudding and an avocado, half a lime and some homemade pico de gallo. On one break I'll have the pudding and on the other, I'll mash the avocado and mix it with the lime and pico. Voila, guacamole on the fly. I don't need chips with it - a spoon will do. Smile

Thursday I'll be at Mom's house most of the day and will probably have eggs and turkey bacon for dinner.

The rest of the week I'll have:

Broiled portobello mushroom, bacon, and cheese "burger" with 1/2 a small sweet potato or a green vegetable of some kind

Asparagus and bacon roll ups with a salad

Alice Springs Chicken - http://www.genaw.com/lowcarb/alice_springs_chicken.html, green beans, and salad

Leftover Alice Springs Chicken and mukimame salad

Southwestern Chicken and Corn chowder - http://www.bitchincamero.com/2011/04/southwestern-chicken-corn-chowder/ with adaptations made so that it's lower in carbs

And that's it for this week's menu. Hopefully this will help me stay on track with the budget and encourage me to eat the healthy food I need and not junk.

Holy cow, this is delicious! And pretty cheap ;)

December 11th, 2011 at 01:57 pm

I asked a group of online folks today for ideas on how to use 4 chicken thighs. I got some helpful responses and saved them for the next time I wonder what to do with chicken. I opted for trying the suggestion of a particular person because it used a novel, to me anyway, technique.

Well, that novelty didn't work out too well but I punted and the result is absolutely delicious! My plating and photography skills are sorely lacking but trust me, if you haven't tried something like this with chicken, you should.

Here's the recipe just as he shared it with me and my changes are below it.

Preheat your oven to 400 deg.

Season the the chicken thighs with salt and pepper. Rub a few drops of lemon juice into them. Next, take a frying pan, with a lid. Cut your wax paper into a circle just bigger than the pan. Butter one side of the paper. Next put 3-4 tbs butter in your pan, heat it over med-high heat until it just stops foaming. Place chicken, skin-side down, into butter. Place wax paper on top of pan, butter-side down, and place lid on top. (paper should not be touching chicken)

Place in oven. Cook for 6 minutes. Test chicken with fingers. If the flesh is springy, and an indention made with the finger pops immediately back out, it is done, otherwise, put it back for a couple more minutes.

Remove chicken to a plate.

Add one 1/4th cup chicken or vegetable stock, and 1/4th cup wine to pan. Place over high heat, stirring until it reduces to nearly the consistency of syrup. Add 1 cup of heavy cream, and a few drops of lemon juice. Simmer to desired thickness. Remove from heat and stir in 1-2 tsp of parsely. Serve on top of chicken.

I'm not a fan of lemon so I used fresh lime juice on the chicken. I also chopped up about 1/3 of a portobello mushroom and cooked it with the chicken then removed it when it was done. I rocked along until I couldn't get the wax paper to cooperate. It curled and fell into the pan. Repeatedly. I finally gave up and found a very flat lid that would fit the pan and just buttered the under side of it. Then I realized my oven wasn't heating properly so I continued with the chicken cooking on the stove top. At the end, I added the cooked mushrooms to the sauce.

Really, this chicken is absolutely scrumptious. I ate it with fresh asparagus sauteed in butter and there's enough of both for my lunch tomorrow so I won't be tempted to buy lunch.

Cha ching!

Chicken thighs and motivation - a strange sort of process

December 11th, 2011 at 10:29 am

I'm stressing a little because it's December 11th and I have no financial goals in mind for the coming year. Or the month. Or even the week! I feel so stuck right now as far as finances go and I really need to get motivated.

This might sound odd but two ways I find motivation are making my menu plan for the week and cooking. Yeah, I said making a menu plan and cooking. Both of those activities remind me that I need to use what I have on hand. And that leads to a reminder that I don't need to go to the grocery store for things I don't have on hand. And that leads to a reminder that I don't need to go out and willy nilly spend, though I really don't do that, anyway. And that leads to a reminder that I need to find ways to cut back on this or that to help me save more. And that, eventually, leads me to coming up with ways to do that. Voila, I'm motivated. Wink It's a strange sort of process but it generally works for me.

In light of that, I'm about to work on this week's menu and I'm pondering just what to do with the chicken thighs in my fridge.

So tell me - how do YOU get and stay motivated to stay on track and save?

Here's to starting anew!

December 10th, 2011 at 12:59 pm

Most of us get excited over starting new things. Starting a new job or a new relationship can be very exciting and very nerve-racking. I've done both of those several times and was a bundle of nerves, albeit happy nerves! But now I'm starting something else that's new. A new life.

It actually started almost 18 months ago with the traumatic but not unexpected breakup with the man I'd been with for 15 years. Although it was heart wrenching and agonizing at the time, I can now honestly say it was the right thing and it was the best thing. I don't know that I could have said that 18 months ago and I'm so very grateful I can say that, and mean it, now.

I started this blog on December 29, 2006 and really enjoyed keeping it. I appreciated the input from all the finance savvy folks here and said more than once that I want to be like Ima Saver when I grow up. That stands. Smile

But now it's just me and Sammy, my cat. I'm still at the same job I had when I last posted here. I'm a barista in a licensed Starbucks. I clean houses now and then on the side. And I now have a small apartment furnished with things I love. I have good friends and a supportive family. It's a good life but I'm rejuvenating my commitment to my personal finances which are drastically reduced since the breakup. I'm a lot better off than many people - I don't owe on my vehicle, I don't have a mortgage, I know how to shop wisely, I seldom eat out, and the debt I have is very small and can be paid off quickly.

My mother and stepfather have had a lot of health issues in the last couple of years and depending on how things go with them, I might have to quit my job early in 2012 and move in to help care for them. That isn't what I want to do but it is what it is.

In the meantime, I'm ready to live again and part of that is preparing for the future.

I need to re-write the information on goals and such because most of those have changed.

Anyway, that's it in a nutshell. I'm back and ready to start anew! And I'm so excited so many of y'all are still here and active!

I'm back after almost two years!

December 10th, 2011 at 04:38 am

I haven't posted on this blog for almost two years but I'm back. I hope.

I've had a major change in my life - I'm now on my own. I won't go into detail but will simply say the last 18 months have been an enlightening and educational experience.

I have to head to work in a few so this will be very short. I don't know how many of the 'old ones' are still around but I'll try to get caught up this afternoon when I get home.