Sunday, February 28, 2016

February Numbers Are In

I can't believe it's actually happening. February is finally ending... right? I mean, only one more day!!!

These last two weeks have been considerably better then the first two. There is no denying that. The fourteen goals to redeem February helped me to power through. But I've still been in a bit of a winter daze. Not quite so down but definitely dazed. Spring is rapidly approaching. We've been finding fresh (un-frozen) air through sporadic bits of stubborn late winter blizzards. Sunshine has begun to re-emerge from hibernation. Ahhh, signs of life are returning to planet earth and February, dear February is finally about to close.

I way overspent in January. The February budget was set at $436.18. I went over budget this month as well but I did more stocking too. In January I stocked up on about four months worth of toilet paper, dish washer detergent, and laundry detergent. This month I stocked up on at least six months worth of shampoo and conditioner. Thus, I'm once again not fretting so much about the overage even though I could have done better. The average is still up for the year but considering that my goal is to come in under $17 a day for 2016 I came pretty close for the month of February itself.

And our grocery budget that hovers really close to $12 a day is a little under this month. I'll take little wins anywhere I can get them!

Average daily spending for February: $17.13

February averages and spending categories
Groceries $322.74: that's an average of $11.13 a day
Food out $59.20: that's an average of $2.05 a day
Stuff $14.51: that's an average of 50 cents a day
Toiletries $36.50: that's an average of $1.26 a day
Gifts $29.70: that's an average of $1.03 a day
Cleaning $20.49: that's an average of 71 cents a day
Garden $13.75: that's an average of 45 cents a day
Average daily spending for 2016: $19.51


February 2016 Total: $496.90                                        $436.18 Feb. budget
Seeds $13.75    2.28
Food after museum $15.00    2.27
Groceries $33.44    2.26
Carpet spray $7.62    2.25
NO SPEND day 20    2.24
NO SPEND day 19    2.23
Groceries $29.28    2.22
NO SPEND day 18    2.21
Arby's $19.35    2.20
Frozen yogurt with Abe $6    2.20
Groceries $54.41    2.19
Two furnace filters $12.87    2.19
Groceries $9.01    2.18
Coffee and lunch $5.44    2.17
Coffee $1.90    2.16
Groceries $9.57    2.16
Shampoo and Conditioner $18.57    2.15
Groceries $28.64    2.15
NO SPEND day 17    2.14
Groceries $2.36    2.13
NO SPEND day 16    2.12
Groceries $13.85    2.11
McD's $3.26    2.11
Groceries $13.69    2.10
Birthday gift $16.68    2.10
NO SPEND day 15    2.9
Groceries $10.47    2.8
Toiletries $2.65    2.8
NO SPEND day 14    2.7
Groceries $51.39    2.6
Shampoo, Cond. & Deodorant $15.28    2.6
Stuff $10.52
B-day gift $8.03    2.6
NO SPEND day 13    2.5
Groceries $19.75    2.4
Valentines gift for Abe $4.99    2.4
Groceries $11.77    2.3
A book for my boy $3.99    2.2
Groceries $17.79    2.2  
Grocery store sub $4.99    2.2
Groceries $17.32    2.1
McD's $3.26    2.1

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Winter is a Beautiful Ferocious People Eating Monster

Today I accomplished another goal on the list:

11. Go on a special outing with little Abe

It was still in the single digits here temperature wise on Thursday. Our 9F degrees is -12C for you folks in other parts of the world. Today and yesterday however it was in the 50s (10C). It's been AMAZING! Virtually all of the snow melted yesterday.

Today I knew that we must venture out for a walk and then I decided to turn it into a special outing by driving to the beach for our walk. We only live a few miles away but the beach is always so special (especially during the off season). We both thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and I was very happy to see that the "snow mountains" as I call them hadn't completely melted yet. I love how the beach transforms in the winter. It was great to venture out there today and still see magnificent signs of winter despite the wonderful warmth.

The enormous lake Michigan is actually beneath those mounds of snow.
Where my little Abe is standing is the shoreline.
The people standing on top of the snow are looking out onto the lake.

As we were driving through downtown the get to the beach I couldn't help but find myself slightly startled at the signs of life everywhere. People, real live people weren't huddled in their homes straining to keep warm but were standing on street corners conversing. Shoppers were strolling throughout all of downtown on both sides of the street. I saw bicyclists and skate boarders and kids just playing out of doors. There were people everywhere. The beach that only two days ago would have been virtually barren was covered in visitors climbing the (dangerous) mounds of snow at the shore, walking along the sandy beach, playing at the playground and strolling the pier.

I couldn't help but realize how for the past few months there's been no movement, no signs of life outside apart from cars carrying half frozen bodies to and from their destinations. I thought to myself while looking at these recently absent signs of life on planet earth, "winter is a beautiful ferocious people eating monster." Seeing people outside today, having escaped the monster of winter, enjoying fresh air, warmth, and sunshine was, well, it was a fabulous change from what the world has been for the past several months. It was incredible!

Our beach is magnificent!

Friday, February 19, 2016

Perfume and Pretty Pink Nail Polish

The nail polish is a very pretty light pink and is named Riga. For anyone who may not know Riga is the capital city of the country Latvia. Latvia can be found between Lithuania and Estonia. It just so happens that during my sophomore year of high school there was a Latvian exchange student in our school. It's also fact that after only one year of friendship, like face to face, lets me up at the coffee shop and go for long drives with the music blaring friendship, she still remains one of my very closest friends. Funny how thousands of miles of separation can't ruin a friendship.

Last year for my birthday I received this little pretty pink bottle of nail polish from thousands of miles away and yesterday (or the day before) I very happily accomplished goal number five of my fourteen February goals.

5. Paint my nails

The pink nails are special for several reasons. I hardly ever paint my nails. I am one of the least girly girls you could ever meet. Pink is the farthest from any color I'd ever choose for anything. And for all of these reasons it's all the more special to have pink nails. I'm reminded of my dear friend every single time I look at my hands, a friend I never see, a friend I couldn't just meet up with at the coffee shop if I wanted to, a friend who means the world to me but lives worlds away. The pink and the polish are 100% a gift from her.

I decided to add a bonus goal to my list in honor of my friend and my pink nails and to add a little more out of the ordinary to my day (this month needs as much good out of ordinary as I can squeeze in).

15. Stop at the mall just to smell the Escada limited edition perfume

This same friend wrote to me a few weeks back saying how happy she was to have indulged with some money she'd been given as a gift; that she recently purchased the Escada limited edition perfume and how much she loved it. She said that it smelled like "pineapples and like being happy and carefree." I thought then and there as I read that line, "she may be oceans away but I could easily go to the mall and smell pineapples and happiness and this fragrance of being carefree." What a neat idea, a minute, tiny, itty bitty way for us to connect. How odd that I could smell the pinapply, happy fragrance of my friend whose 4165 miles (6702 km) away?

And today, mission accomplished. I had to go to two stores to find it but I did find it. Fortunately they had a tester and I sprayed it several times on my wrist. Now I fully intend to turn off the computer and listen to the sound of the very powerful WARM wind outside while I read a book from the library, look at my pretty pink nails, and smell wafts of Pineapple and happiness. Free, yet priceless. Just like the very best friendships.
Pink nails at the beach

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Library Outing

Moving along with the Fourteen February goals. Today we marked off another one.

  1. Read 19 books with little Abe. (to get to 500 in our 1000 books before Kindergarten book log)
In June we picked up a book log from our local library so that we could take part in their "1000 Books Before Kindergarten" program. Every time we've read 100 books we bring the book log into the library and little Abe get's to place a gold sticker in the book log. Then the librarian hands him a big bin of books to choose from as a reward for having read 100 books.

This program is really neat. In the first place it's free and in the second place it's fun. (It just so happens that I apparently say "and in second place" a lot. I hear my kiddo starting many a sentence with this phrase) 

We enjoy reading together but logging each book we've read and working towards the goal of reading 1000 books absolutely encourages more reading, at least for us. I also like the fact that the program gets us to the library more often then we were usually going. And a free book for keeps here and there is a neat reward. (you know I like free)

This is his favorite part of going to the library (although, drinking from the drinking fountain took a close second place today). He is always thrilled to stand on the ledge by the windows and look down at the street. The main part of the library is on the second story. He thinks the road is "SO FAR DOWN!" I love how utterly fascinating certain things are to him. I was very tempted to rush him along (and am each time we go) but as usual I took a seat in the cushy chair they have placed right next to the window, smiled to myself at how much my boy was enjoying himself, and kept repeating in my head, "be patient. be patient. just let him be."

Once again, he had to pull all the Star Wars books from the shelf and look through each. We only brought home two but I'm pretty sure we'll read both of them 100 times. (We brought home several other books too, not Star Wars related) This was a very good goal for the month. I really enjoy our little library outings.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

The Sun is Shining

On a local news station this morning they were joking about the weather report today: sunshine.
Apparently the incredible dark feeling of this month has not been all in my head. The news reporter said that out of the first sixteen days of February there were six entire days with zero sunshine. And as far as the other ten days were concerned they said we've only had 16% sun this month. Basically, us folks in West Michigan have been living under cloud cover for the past two weeks straight. Add snow, cold, and horrible roads to that... Hooray for sunshine right now!

2. Try out Cream Cheese Mints recipe

One of the fourteen "attempt to redeem February" goals has been marked off. Last night little Abe and I whipped up a very tiny batch of Cream Cheese Mints. I have had this recipe pinned for quite sometime so it's nice to have given it a go. I had the four ingredients on hand so I didn't have to purchase anything special for this (although we're out of powdered sugar now). And this recipe is super quick. Okay, mine look horrible but the flavor is great! This is a recipe I will definitely make again. They are super sweet, like almost too sweet. The couple of hours to set is more like overnight. But only four ingredients, fun little candy, no baking, very yummy. Yep, this was worth a try. 

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Fourteen days

I guess we're half way; there are now fourteen days left in this never ending month.
Here are my fourteen "attempt to redeem February" goals:

  1. Read 19 books with little Abe. (to get to 500 in our 1000 books before Kindergarten book log) DONE
  2. Try out Cream Cheese Mints recipe DONE
  3. Get rid of 28 things/ clutter donated 2 books to library
  4. Write and mail a letter DONE mailed a card? (I play by my rules)
  5. Paint my nails DONE
  6. Read 2 books One read, currently reading two others
  7. Go on a date with my hubby
  8. Finish the paper mache toy shelf
  9. Draw something
  10. Add 1400 words to my book (the one I wrote for my niece for Christmas. I'm still working on it.)
  11. Go on a special outing with little Abe DONE
  12. Make a new dinner
  13. Do a fun art project/ craft with my boy DONE; I'm going to consider our trip to the children's museum a fun project
  14. Clean my room
  15. BONUS GOAL Stop at the mall just to smell the Escada limited edition perfume DONE

Average daily spending for 2016: $19.11

Monday, February 15, 2016

February Spending Update

I was not being over-dramatic in my last post. I was actually being quite under-dramatic. This month has been torture BUT the average daily spending has finally started to come down. (it's a darn good thing I don't include medical/ medicine in our average daily spending budget) At present I've decided to try and salvage what's left of this frigid cold germ laden month. I need goals, light-hearted, not arduous goals to help me snap out of survival mode and navigate what's left of this awful February.

As far as spending goals, I set the spending budget this month at $436.18. I really want to hit that goal so from here on out I need to buckle down and focus. (I have not been putting much thought towards money for most of the month).

Current spending is at $262.57.
That leaves $173.61 for the next fourteen days.
That is very do-able I just need to focus and plan out purchases.

One goal I made for 2016 was to take at least one photo each day (I started doing so in the middle of January). I've heard of and seen others do a one photo a day challenge before but for some reason I'd never though to do it. I have a folder on the computer where I've placed one photo a day since the middle of January (and sporadically before that because I do take quite a lot of random pictures). Each picture is dated and most I've written a comment under. It's like a photo journal and I really REALLY like it. It's neat already to take a quick glance back at our year so far.

A sneak peak at our photo journal:

January 27: Needs no caption.

January 29: Playdough; a fun time on a cold boring day.

February 7: Superbowl Sunday. Just me, little Abe,
a small bit of football watching and the puppy bowl.

Average daily spending for 2016: $19.11

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Oh February

It's like I'm stuck in an episode of Bill Murray's Groundhog's Day. It's only the 13th of February and I feel like this month has been going on for years. There's no escaping it. February will never end. Winter will last forever. We're living in the Witch's frozen world of Narnia, without the mythical creatures. Oh February, cold, long (yet shortest month of the year), never ending February I do not like you.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Family Time

Yesterday's outing to see my mom, sister, and little Abe's cousins was really fun and uplifting. As you can see from the photos these guys had a blast playing together, as usual (and yes they spent a significant amount of time playing in the box that my mom keeps some toys for her grandkids in).

Today's it certainly isn't sunny but it's a few degrees above freezing so the kiddo and I are going to head out of doors for awhile. Yay for outside time!

Those bright red cheeks; he gets that from me.
Anytime I'm the least bit active my entire face turns bright red.
That's my boy!

Saturday, February 6, 2016

February thus far

The temporary thaw was wonderful. The cold and snow have both returned. We are certainly in the midst of winter and I find myself often dreaming of spring, of longer days, and warmth.

Today we're keeping busy though. As much as I just want to sit on my bum and keep on sitting and sitting, and... actually hibernation sounds like a very nice thing right about now. I think it will be good to just go, go, go. Thus far today we've been to the post office, the library, and the grocery store. We'll be heading to visit my mom and sister in a little bit where my kiddo will get to run around for a few hours with his cousins.

Warm Saturday wishes to you all!

The lack of posting from my part of the blogosphere has been due to the persistent cold, heavy thoughts, and lack of motivation to do much other than survive. But, I am surviving and winter will soon be at it's end. Ahh, a new spring...