Saturday, January 30, 2010

Summertime and The Livin' Is Easy......

It has been SOOOO freakin' cold here again that I thought today would be a great day to talk about VACATIONS!!

Those of you that have followed my blog for a while know that 1) I LOVE my vacations 2) We usually vacation in Colorado because we LOVE it there and our youngest son, Matt lives there and 3) We only get to take a vacation if we get a refund on our income taxes.

Our taxes went to our tax guy yesterday. If all goes well, he will call me in a week or so and say, "Kathy, you get to go on vacation this year!" and that is what makes this time of year tolerable. I can sit on the internet and figure out where I want to go spend my well earned days off.

This year instead of going to the mountains of Colorado, I think we might take a couple of long weekends and spend some time by the lake....the big in Michigan. Matt will be coming home for a few days in October to run the Chicago Marathon, so we thought this would be a good year to try something different. If he wasn't coming home....I would be headed to Colorado!

We have looked at a couple of places including the New Buffalo area of Michigan. Lots of cute restaurants, parks, beaches, kayaking and antique shops.

We also LOVE Door County in Wisconsin and have been there a couple of times. It's also on the water, really cute little towns, very artsy craftsy, good food, nice hiking and beautiful scenery.

Closer to home is Starved Rock. We've never stayed overnight there, but have gone there to see the Bald Eagles that hang out along the shores of the Illinois River. We've also kayaked down there a couple of times.

Photo from the Starved Rock Website
All great options and just the thought of sunshine, blue skies and sparkling water warms my heart and will help me get throught this miserably cold weather. So, be kind Mr. Tax Man....and give me some of my money back. I need a break! :)

What kind of vacations do you like?

Friday, January 29, 2010

Our First "Oops"

Last Sunday when Irv and I were finishing up our grocery shopping and headed to the checkout....I looked in our carts and thought, "Oh man, this is going to be the best week yet. The carts are very empty. We are going to have so much money left out of our $150!! I even had $4.75 in coupons! Chee Hoo!!"

Imagine my shock and dismay, when the checker finished tallying up our groceries and the bill was $146.06 PLUS we had already spent a little over $5.00 for bagels at the bagel shop!!! WE WENT OVER OUR BUDGET!!!!

For those of you who are new to my blog....we are trying to stay on a budget. We are allowed $150 a week for all food and household items. IF we have any money left of the $150, we get to use that for carry out on Friday night.

I kept looking at the receipt on the way home, because I was so sure there was a mistake. I even added everything up in my head and unfortunately, it was right. We didn't really buy a lot, but some of the things we did buy were a bit more money. Irv was out of meat so he purchased quite a few things, and I was trying a couple new recipes this week and needed some things I wouldn't ordinarily buy. It wasn't that we bought lots of junk, we didn't, we just spent more than normal.

Now, I could cheat and take money out of our "surplus" envelope and get carry out tonight, but I'm not going to do that. What we are going to do is cook dinner at home tonight, and then use one of our restaurant gift cards that we have been hoarding and go out to dinner Saturday night.

No harm done....but in all honesty, I'm still a bit upset that we spent that much.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

There Is A Virus In The House

and isn't me or Irv. It was my computer on Tuesday! I got home from work, sat down at the computer and things started popping up warning me that my computer was unprotected, that my computer was infected, that I needed to immediately download this, and then I needed to click here and do this and on and on and was awful.

I didn't touch anything and called a friend of mine that understands this stuff. She turned me over to her hubby and he had me do a complete scan of my entire computer which took 3 hours and still didn't get rid of it...but first I had to reactivated my anti-virus which it had apparently deactivated. It was called Internet Security 2010....ever heard of them or it or whatever it was?

My computer would barely move so trying to do anything was almost impossible. It had Task Manager Blocked as well as other sites. Once I was able to google it I started reading what everyone else had to say about "it". It didn't sound very good so I knew I needed to do something. I kept reading people's suggestions and many of them were in computer lingo and I had no idea what they were talking about. Then I came across one that said they used Windows Defender. I decided to give that a try.

I downloaded Defender, had it do another scan and presto!!!!! Gone!!!! Chee Hoo!

Let me tell you I was sweating bullets all evening. It's hard when you don't understand computers in the first place and then to have something like this happen.....I had visions of running out and charging that new computer the next day. Thank goodness I did not have to do that!

All is well right now, but I still don't get how you get infected by something like that when you have virus protection so that doesn't happen. Can anyone explain that to me?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Scheduling Family Time

We have a wonderful relationship with all of our kids. I talk to my daughter every day and my son at least a couple of times a week through e-mail, text or phone. Tresa and her husband Chris live in Chicago, about an hour from us...Michael and Bernadette live about 35 minutes from us. I even talk to Matt out in Colorado a few times a week.

Phone calls and texts and e-mails are a great way to stay in touch, but it isn't the same as seeing people in person....and that we don't do enough. So, right before Christmas I e-mailed the kids and told them that I would like to start having some regular, scheduled family get togethers. I knew they would think I was nuts, but I'm not. We all work full time and the time we have on the weekends is used for the usual cleaning, shopping, laundry and other errands. Who has time to get together?

I thought the best way to do it would be for us to schedule it! It's ridiculous that we have to do that, but I really felt it was the only way.

So, this coming Sunday, Irv and I are hosting breakfast at our house and I can't wait! The plan is that every 4 or 5 weeks one us will play host. We can just meet at one of our houses for a meal, we can go out, we can do whatever the hosts want to do. I envision visits to the city (Chicago), some museums, some great dinners, walks along the lake front, movies and maybe even some kayaking this summer.

Do you find it hard to find time to get together with your adult children or extended family? How do you manage it?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

New Phones and New Totes

Well we did it. We went and got new phones. Our contracts were up and our phones were acting badly so we decided it was time. I love it when you tell people you got a new phone and they can't wait to hear what awesome technological wizardry you purchased. Nope, nothing fancy here. I just want to be able to make and receive calls and text. That's it.

Here is my very plain and simple cute little inexpensive GREEN Samsung slide. It does exactly what I need it to do.

I had first choice of colors and I really debated between the blue one and this funky green. Since I'm all about saving money and living a simpler more peaceful life right now, I thought the green was just perfect! Irv took the blue. Now I just have to learn how to use it and I'll be good to go!

I got a couple more Itsy Bitsies listed in my etsy shop, FourDogDay. This teal one is made using fabric I had left from the skirts for my craft show booth and an old button necklace I had in my basket of old jewelry. I just love it!

The musical note one was also made with things I had on hand. I really have to make myself one of these when I have some time!

Make it a really great Tuesday and be sure to do something nice for yourself today!

Monday, January 25, 2010


I admit it...I am addicted to Stacy's Simply Naked Pita Chips. If you have never tried them....all I can say is....DON'T!! I could easily sit and eat an entire bag in one sitting if it weren't for the fact that a one ounce serving is 5 grams of fat and 130 calories. Still I eat one small bag every week...sometimes within a few days. That means 40 grams of fat and 1040 calories and I really don't care...sort of.

A week ago Sunday I opened the cabinet to grab my brand new bag and it wasn't there. I thought maybe Irv had put them in a different cabinet, so I checked a couple more and no pita chips. Did I forget to buy them? No way! Did the store forget to bag them? Probably not.

I checked a couple other cabinets and then it hit me. WOW! Could it be that my normally pretty unfunny, non-joke playing husband HID my Stacy's Simply Naked Pita Chips????

I checked a couple of places where I thought he might put them and BINGO!! There they were in the little useless cabinet above the fridge!

To add to the little joke...each time I was craving some pita chips this week, I would open the cabinet, take down the bag, help myself to a handful of chips and put the bag back in the cabinet! I hope he didn't think I went all week without my chips! :)

Do you have a jokester in your house? What kind of jokes get played?

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Who You Gonna Call? Fur Buster!!

My Saturday started with the Andrew, the Dish Network dude at our house at 8:00 a.m. Wow! What an awesome picture we have now. We've never had digital so it is quite an improvement and for $30 less per month than we were paying for cable I might add!

We went to run some errands after the Dish dude left. I needed a few little things at the fabric store so I can finish up more of my Itsy Bitsy Tote Bags. I get into the store with my list in hand and realize that I left all of my fabric scraps that I needed to match at home. UGH!

Can you tell me how a dog's hair gets IN the bathtub when the shower curtain is closed and so is the bathroom door??? Is it waiting in the hallway like a little army of hair, so when you open the bathroom door it can ride the air currents up and into the tub? Irv brushes Maggie regularly, so we decided he isn't using the right kind of brush. The girl where we buy our dog food told us that the Fur Buster is the best, so of course we went and bought a Fur Buster. For $22 this thing better work really, really well! I do NOT like the hairy bathtub!

Our envelope system is working well so far. We added envelopes for some things we had not thought of, and we are also being very careful with what we spend. We are going to get the newspaper today and check for other coupons we might be able to use too. I'm actually finding this to be kind of fun, and Irv is playing along nicely.

Today is my mom's birthday. She passed away in May of 1998. I still miss her a lot. There are times even 11 years later when something awesome will happen and I will think, "I have to call mom!" I just think it will always be that way. This is one of my favorite pictures of her. She really didn't like her picture taken, but this is so "her". Cigarette in hand, those lovely fingernails, everything she wore matched, hair the easiest style she could get away with...and I can almost hear her saying, "Oh, Katrina do you have to take my picture?" I love you mom....Happy Birthday!

What's on your agenda for this wonderful January Sunday? Anything exciting? For me it's grocery shopping and then everything I didn't do yesterday! :)

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