Wednesday, July 30, 2014

She's got the world at her feet

DD went on a hike recently and one of her friends snapped this photo of her. I think it sums up her and her bright future to a T! She's on top of the world with wonderful and amazing opportunities ahead of her.  I'm glad I got to be a part of shaping the wonderful young woman she has become and even though DH and I have had some tough times emotionally and financially, we were able to raise this strong, smart and beautiful person!

So far, at almost 19 years old, she just seems to have breezed through life easily. Don't get me wrong. She works hard. Hard at school, hard at tennis, hard at work. But it all just seems to come easy for her. Now, shortly, she will be off to college and all the new experiences that will come into her life. I have no doubt she will breeze through that too :-)

I think she's found one of the keys to success.....planning ahead! She knew when she was 7 or 8 what kind of car she would get at 16 (and she did). She knew when she was in 8th grade she would get her AA degree while in high school (and she did). She's known for several years which college she would attend (and she is). Her most recent "planning ahead" is to live and work in her college town after she gets her degree.  Most likely she will, too.  It's a wonderful town and would be a great place to live and have a family.

This morning I dropped her off at the airport for her first "on her own" trip. So grown up now....but I think she still needs her mom just a bit.....first she had to run back in the house because she forgot her boarding pass and then as we are getting out of the car at the airport I see her wallet in the console.
I dropped her off at security checkpoint and then waited in my car until she texted me that she made it through :)

Friday, July 25, 2014

Master bath done!

Here are pics of the master bath before:

See - I told you it SCREAMED 1980's manufactured home bathroom!! I think since most of the time I am in the bathroom first thing in the morning without my glasses on I can barely see anything so I was able to ignore if for all these years. LOL

So, here is the *almost finished master bath:

The carpeting left on the front facing of the garden tub is supposed to be replaced with tile and a plastic "access" door.  Also, the caps on the short walls coming out next to the shower and toilet are supposed to be capped with oak, instead of the old countertop material it still has on it. Excuse the little white spot next to the picture above the toilet.......dh had an oops hanging the picture and I haven't touched it up with paint yet.

But, other than what still needs to be finished we are thrilled with how it turned out! I didn't get a good before picture of the flooring, but half of the room (in front of the sinks and tub) was carpet and the other half was a light colored vinyl flooring, way past it's prime.

Thursday, July 24, 2014


Yesterday was no fun. I had my dentist appointment to deep clean one side of my mouth and do the crown prep work on the lower molar. I was so numbed up, since they had to do both top and bottom that my nose and ear was numb! When she was done with the deep cleaning I went into another room to have the crown work done and got some more Novocain. At least that helped numb the pain for most of the afternoon, but by evening, even after taking 3 ibuprofen I was really hurting.  Finally at 8:30 I was able to take 3 more. It was hurting so bad I almost took one of the pain pills leftover from DD's wisdom teeth surgery. They have expired, but I googled whether recently expired meds are really ok to take (according to the articles I read, 90% of meds are really good for years).  I decided to wait a bit longer and see if the ibuprofen kicked in and apparently it did, as I fell asleep. It's a lot better this morning. More just ache-y.

I go back in a month for the other side deep cleaning and to have the permanent crown put on. I think my out of pocket is going to be like $700-800. I had $456 left on my dental benefits for the year, $458 left on my FSA account and put $562 on my Care Credit account (that thing has been a lifesaver!). I told her to add on the second half of the cleaning and charge it now, so that I'd be offered the best terms on the no interest financing.  The larger the amount, the longer the terms and I would have rather had one charge that I can spread out over 12 months than end up with 2 smaller charges that would only be 6 months to pay. I still don't think she charged me enough, because in looking at my "estimate" paperwork when I got home, I will still owe them another $250 or so.  She was apparently a "fill-in" receptionist, as their regular one was on vacation, so probably not quite up to speed.  I looked at the Care Credit paperwork when I got home and it will be 18 months financing at no interest. Works for me - that will make it about $31 a month, which can easily fit into my budget, though I'm sure I'll pay it off  earlier than 18 months, but it's nice to have the option.  I'm trying not to complain too is my fault for neglecting my teeth for years, but I'm back in the game now and must pay the piper.  I'm just praying the crown work doesn't end up turning into needing a root canal, which happened to me years ago on a cracked bottom molar (don't eat corn nuts!) on the other side of my mouth. I was in more pain after they put on the crown then before and ended up needing a root canal.

I'll have a dental appointment to pay for DD just before she goes off to college, but she won't need x-rays on this visit, so I think it will only be around $160. I dropped the dental insurance I had through work for her. It was costing me $725 a year - for $2000 in benefits and 2 teeth cleanings a year cost about $400 total. She takes good care of her teeth, so I figured it was worth the risk to give up the $1275 a year in potential coverage, which would really be $950 a year, if you factor in the cost of the annual premiums vs. the cost of the annual cleanings ($725 - $400).

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Before and After

Here are a few before and after pics of the small bathroom we re-did.


And here's a close up of the awful sink!

The little bit of the cabinet you can see on the left was there before, we had just taken it down before I took the "before" picture, so looked like a bare wall.  I found the mirror at Bed Bath & Beyond. DD loves it.

Floor before:
Floor after:

I also ordered a double curved shower curtain rod (like I've seen in hotel rooms) and that should give DD a bit more "room" in the shower.I still need to touch up the cabinets with the wood "Restore a finish". It helped a little when I used in on our master bath cabinets, but not much. I might get brave one of these days and just paint them!   But for now I'm happy with the changes and updates - especially to get rid of that ugly "wallpaper" pattern I have looked at for 25 years!

I'll do some before and after pics soon of the master's still not quite done.

Sunday stuff

I stopped in Target yesterday for a few things.  Mainly for cat and dog food. Target was having a deal where if I bought 2 bags of Purina One cat food at $11 each, I would get a $5 Target gift card back. Plus, we needed dog food for our older dog and I had a $2 off coupon for that. When we got to the register the cashier leaned over and quietly said "do you have a smart phone?" and DD told her she did. She gave her a code to text and said if we had $50 in pet food we'd get $15 off. I said I didn't think I had $50, so we added it up and it was $42. I quickly did math in my head.......if I bought another $20 bag of dog food, I'd get $15 off.  No brainer. So DD ran back and got another bag. Then that second bag also triggered another $5 Target gift card! Free bag of dog food! I was thanking the cashier profusely and she was happy I was so happy, LOL.  I've been so busy this past week with work and the bathroom remodel, I hadn't had much time to scope out the deals, so I am grateful the cashier was awesome.

DH and I went to Home Depot yesterday and got most of the cedar lumber purchased so he can start on the garden arbor. Of course, where last year I had shown him a picture of a basic arbor, he wants to build a fancier one, at probably double the cost. When he did up the list of lumber sizes we'd need I realized with some 12 ft boards we couldn't use DD's little truck. We'd need to take his big pick up and neither DD or I were going to attempt to drive that huge thing and back it in with all the other trucks being loaded up. DH's pickup is like perfect and one little mishap and we'd be dead. So, that got him out of the house for the long 5 mile drive to Home Depot :)  DD and I found a Home Depot that is about the same distance from our house, in the other direction, as the one we usually went to, but it's all back roads to get there (instead of a traffic jammed main road with lights at every block) and takes half the time to get there and back and it's not nearly as crowded as the other store. Plus, I knew he'd want to be able to pick out the boards, which of course he did......some we picked up weren't straight enough, etc, so they got put back.  $375 later we got it home and unloaded.  Thanks to my purchase of discounted e-gift cards and, we really only paid $330. Now he's decided with all the holes he has to drill for the bolts he needs a drill press......sigh.....of course I should have known this simple request last year to buy a small cedar garden arbor from craigslist would turn into a major deal.  He found a used one for $125 on craigslist, but the guy never called him back. I told DH I am out of any extra money for the time being, so he'll have to use his "allowance" money to buy one.  Knowing him he'll want to get started today and end up buying a new one!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Disounted gift cards love

I gotta say I am really liking these discounted gift cards I have been purchasing.  Especially the ones for Home Depot that I am getting through  They have printable gift cards, that you can pretty much get instantly and print out immediately.  Super handy vs. waiting 5-7 days for a plastic gift card to come in the mail and I have had no problems using my printable gift cards at Home Depot. We have spent a lot with all the bathroom remodel materials and now DH is going to start on our garden arbor.

My first online order through was done on 4th of July and within minutes I had the email with a link to print out the info or use the code online.  My second purchase was done on a Saturday morning, right as I was heading out the door to the home improvement store. I thought I'd have that giftcard info to print out right away. No, it didn't happen. I got a message that this order had to be human verified and if it was a weekend, I'd have to wait until Monday. Dang! That didn't work out like I had planned. Shoot....I was heading to the store to spend like $150 and I just paid $150 for a gift card I didn't have. Luckily I had enough money in my checking/savings to be able to still get what I needed at the store, while I waited until I could use the gift card....and I knew we would be purchasing more from there soon, so I wouldn't be sitting there with a gift card I couldn't use.  The Giftcardzen website says that they sometimes do human verifications and I guess when/if that pops up it's just due to their "algorithms" in their program.

Fast forward to today and the bolts DH ordered through ebay for the arbor (cuz he was a good boy and did some price searching!) came in the mail today. So, now he is ready for me to purchase the cedar lumber. I wanted to purchase discounted gift cards again, since I am going to be spending over $300 for this lumber. By the time I got around to getting online to make the purchase it was about 3:30pm my time and I worried that I wouldn't get the order emailed right away again, so I called first and she said if I got the order in before they closed in an hour and called back, they'd make sure it was released so I could print it out. Otherwise I'd have to wait again until Monday (they aren't open weekends). I placed the order and as my luck would have it,  it had to be human verified again. I waited about 10 minutes, called them back and in less then a minute had my email! They have great customer service and the girl was super friendly.

So far, I have saved $81.24 (the discounts have been 10.5% and 11%) by purchasing the discounted Home Depot cards. About $30 saved on the first 2 purchases and almost $50 saved on today's purchase - which covers the $50 we spent on the bolts! Win! 

Found Money

That never happens to me!  But, the other day I found $12.70 I didn't know I had. Whoop! LOL

Back in "pre-economy crash" days my bank offered a rewards type debit card. I could earn cash back (I think it was about 1%, maybe a little less, per dollar spent). I used it for as much as I could and earned about $25 a month in cash back that I could deposit straight back into my checking or savings (or take other types of rewards, gift cards, etc) and it cost me $25 annually to have the card, so I netted about $275 a year for doing nothing.  When they discontinued the program I had 1270 points earned, which from what I remember how the program worked I needed 2000 points in order "cash in" to transfer $20 into my checking. I had 1270 points left I couldn't do anything with........or so I have thought the last 4 or 5 years.

The link to the rewards has always still been on my online banking, underneath my account balances. I recall clicking on it several months after the program was stopped and got some message that my card didn't have rewards or something to that effect. I have always wondered why then those stupid 1270 points have still been there all these years later.

I guess I was bored or something over the weekend and clicked on it again and it went to a screen with options and one was "pay yourself back" so I clicked on it just for giggles and it took me to a screen that said 1270 points = $12.70. I clicked again and it let me cash it out! I put it in my savings account and then took a look around the rewards site. I found a section that said 2000 points is the minimum needed to cash out for $20, unless you have a debit card, then there is no minimum.

Then I clicked on "earn rewards", thinking, well there is no way for me to earn them, when my card doesn't give me points for using it anymore.  I was "kind of" wrong. If I shop online and go through that rewards site portal I can earn points per dollar spent that I can in turn get cash back.  Like Target is 2 pts/$1 and Lowes is 3 pts/$, JCP 5pt/$ and 4pts/$ (great for DD's college textbook rentals!)  There are a few, like Walmart that are only 1pt/$, which is the same as I earn using my Paypal cash back debit card (but that one I can earn on any purchase, not just online).  It will definitely pay to start using that portal for times when I do online shopping, especially at Christmas, when I usually do most of my shopping online. I can be earning double and triple the rewards I am earning now with my Paypal debit card.  Like I always say: Every little bit helps.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Open wide

I had a dentist appointment this morning for a cleaning. Just a cleaning, or so I thought.  Apparently I am destined to keep up with the teeth problems. This is kind of a large dental office and they have several dentists that work there. This time it was a different one from my previous visits. First thing she finds is a crack in one of my bottom molars (on the other side of my mouth from the root canal/crown I just had done in February).  I will need a crown (and probably a build up, since the original old filling is so large) done. I didn't need xrays this time, but she wanted to take a look at the ones I had done in January. Hmmm.....she notices that I really really should have a deep gum cleaning done. The hygienist shows me all my previous xrays and why they recommend this must be done. She said she is honestly not sure why this was not noticed when the took the xrays in January!

Crap! I only have $500 left on my dental benefits for the year. The front desk person started to do a cost report for me but was saying my benefits are $1000 max. I said no, they are $2000 a year max and I have $500 left (I just checked online this morning). So then she took her paperwork back, after showing it to me for a split second. She said my out of pocket will probably be like $1100 but she wanted to get back online with my insurance and re-do it.  So, I left there with an appointment for next Wednesday to do one half of my mouth and the crown and no paperwork as to the exact costs. Well, it all has to be done, so I know I can put whatever I am out of pocket on my care credit account and make no interest payments over the next 6 months to a year.

I was taking a look at my FSA account last week, realizing because I am no longer buying DH's medicines, I am going to end up having probably $300 left in the account unused at the end of the year. I wasn't sure how I was going to use it up. No eye doctor visits needed, DH has no more planned doctor visits this year. DD will need a menengitis vaccine for college. Not sure if insurance covers that or not, so maybe I'd get that towards it. Well, I guess now I know I can use that for my dental and take some of the sting out of my out of pocket cost on all this dental work.

And with all that I still need the 2 root canals, and either bleaching or crowns, done on my front tooth and the one next to it! GAH! I have been putting that off until January, when I'd have $2000 in dental benefits to use again. The good news on that procedure is they told me I can have that done at their office and not have to go to the specialist/endodontist. Much cheaper than what the endodontist would charge me. She said they hired a dentist that can do root canals for their patients now and front teeth are pretty easy, since they have only one root and they can do both in one visit. I wish I didn't have to wait until January to have this done (for cosmetic reasons) but financially, it's the smart thing to do.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Back at the bathroom makeover

Bathroom #2 makeover begins today.  Wonder how long this one will take, HAHA! Remodel guy is here working, but back in the master bath, as still quite a few things to finish there first.  Maybe at some point I'll actually get to post complete "AFTER" pictures of the master bath.  Both of the bathroom (and our kitchen) just scream "1980'S MANUFACTURED HOME!!!". LOL.

Of course, now I am jonesing to make over the kitchen.  Maybe next year that will be in the budget to at least texture and paint the walls and put in new countertops. It already has new flooring and stainless steel appliances.  I found this blog where a couple painted their mobile home kitchen cabinets

Very similar walls and cabinets in my home.  Scroll down 4 pics to the close up of the cabinets and that is exactly the type I have. The only thing that is real wood on them is the trim on the front of the cabinets and the fronts of the drawers. But, apparently it can all be painted pretty easily! Just some primer and paint over.  I really like how she added the molding and I think using beadboard on the sides of my island would look nice.....though I also saw a few blogs where people used faux stone panels on the island and that looks amazing. Plus, if I re-did our little island I would take off the damn wheels! I don't know why it was made with wheels. It's not like the kitchen is big enough to roll it around to a different spot. I'm just going to take those puppies off and let it sit there - where it's always sat anyway!  That island was always good for a little laugh though in our younger, pre-kid, have parties days......guests congregated in the kitchen and some inebriated person always leaned up against it at some point and went for a little ride :)  (thankfully since others were standing around on all sides, they never went too far)

Then I came across this blog for painting your countertops to look like granite. OMG! I think she did an amazing job  I would love to try this, but I think I would find a scrap piece or a sample piece of laminate and practice first.  I just love this look and it only cost her about $30 in craft paints.  People are so darn creative.

I think I'm off to order these little prints of watercolor paintings I found on Etsy of hummingbirds. I just have a love of hummingbirds the past year and they would look so cute hanging on a little side wall, next to the door, in my bathroom

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Mid week update

This week is just flying by for some reason. I enjoyed a nice 4 day weekend.  Saturday morning DD's breakfast plans with a friend got canceled, so we went down the the Saturday Farmer's Market in town and walked around. I ended up buying this cute "bridge" to put out in our yard, as well as a bouquet of sweet pea flowers. They smell soooo good! I just wish they lasted longer than a few days.

We were at the Farmer's Market for about an hour. I didn't buy any fresh fruit because we has just gone grocery shopping the day before and bought what we needed and at the time I didn't know we'd be going to the Farmer's Market.  Then we drove to the next town over (literally about a 5 mile drive) and checked out all the cute little antique shops on their Main Street. I didn't buy anything, though I was kind of on the look out for corn cob dishes. There was one kitchen store, that wasn't an antique store, had new stuff,  but they were like $10 each and I wasn't paying that much for them.

I took naps every day and we had splendid weather.  It was hard going back to work on Monday and I was wishing I had taken some vacation days to add to the weekend.  Not sure why I didn't......I have several weeks to use up and I earn almost 2 days each month!

Of course our bathroom is still not completely finished. Geez... The guy said he was going to be busy with another job last week and since we want him to come back and do our small bathroom, he'd just finish up our master bath at that time. So, now I guess he will be here at the end of this week on Friday.........which means he will get part way done, leave it for the weekend and not come back until next week. Sigh....

DD is enjoying being out of school and is working about 5 days a week, though usually 2 of the shifts are evening shifts where she only works 3-4 hours. The morning shifts she gets anywhere from 6-9 hours.  She has been busy trying new activities.  A hike up in the mountains, an adventure trying out kayaking and a trip to a wildlife park.  In a few weeks we have scheduled our glass blowing deal we bought on Amazon local for 1/2 price. At the end of the month she is flying all by herself to visit her college roommate and get to know each other some more. They hit it off so well the weekend she and her mom came here, that DD is super excited to visit a new state and take a trip all on her lonesome (though I think she's a bit nervous, too!). At the end of summer she is going to see Florida Georgia Line in concert. She bought 2 tickets when they went on sale and if none of her friends snags up the extra ticket to go with her, I am going to go with her.

She and I have started walking/running.  Well, she is walking and running (with the goal to end up running a 5k) and so far I am just walking. We've only done it twice so far and our goal is 3x a week. We go over to the junior high track that is about a mile away from our house.  The first time I walked 3x around the track and this morning I did 4x.  I hope we can stick with it and since I am just walking, I am going to start taking our older dog with us and he can walk with me, as he still needs to lose pounds.

I've been trying to just make some cheap dinners this week.  BBQ hamburgers, homemade pizza, then Monday we ended up having McD's for dinner, and last night I just heated DH up some frozen chicken pot pies, some bread and jello. I was stuffed from a big lunch I had at work and didn't need a big dinner.  Tonight's plan is chili dogs and corn bread.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Good deals

See that memory foam bath mat in front of the shower door?  I just paid a whopping 43 cents for it! I was scanning through my emails yesterday to delete all the ads and almost deleted an email from    JC Penney that had a $10 off any purchase coupon.  Plus I had a 15% off coupon.  Apparently JCP takes the 15% off before the $10 off (unlike Kohl's).  The mat was regularly $22 and on sale for $12.99, less $2.60 for the 15% off and then $10 off.  I love those kinds of deals!

                                            (you'll have to excuse the unfinished base board area.........)

Yesterday DD and I went to a couple of second hand stores and came up with this picture.  It will be hung on the same wall, above the tub.  I thought it was very pretty and had a nice frame.....even better was the price:  $11!

I ended up adding a second coat of paint to the bathroom walls yesterday and doing a lot of little touch ups at the ceiling and at the top of the backsplash.  Bathroom remodel guy apparently isn't that great of a painter and I didn't want to wait another week or two for it to get since we kind of know him (brother in law of a friend) I didn't feel comfortable saying "hey, the paint job kind of sucked".  I really like how he textured the walls, he did a great job on that.  You wouldn't know the walls aren't real drywall with tape and texture. But with all the texture, it really needed a 2nd coat of paint to cover up all the little missed spots of white undereath.   DD was supposed to be off work fairly early yesterday, since she had to open at 5:30. I had expected to have her to help me do half of the work.  Finally at 12:30 I went in and got started on all the areas around trim, etc and when I got that done she still wasn't home. So then I started with the rolling.... when she finally got off work all I had left was these 2 walls you are looking at now. I was one sore and tired lady yesterday, but I love the wall color I picked out. Usually I am terrible and always unhappy with my paint choices, but this one I am very happy with. On a good note, DD put in a 9 hour shift at work and made $250 in tips! With her $9 something an hour, she made $37 an hour - more than I make LOL!

DH is going to get started on the cedar garden arbor I've been wanting the past year and he also decided he's going to make a little covered area off of our back french doors, just to go out a few feet and cover the stone steps he put in.  I don't have enough money right now (since we decided to also update DD's bathroom) to buy all the supplies for both projects and first DH said he needs anchor posts for the arbor and porch cover, anyway. Those came to over $200 at Home Depot.  I sure have been spending a lot there, but this time I finally got smart and bought a discounted online giftcard first! Plus, it was a type of gift card they emailed me, I didn't have to wait for it to come in the mail. I could print it out and take to the store or use to order online. Perfect.  I was able to get a 10.5 % discount on a $238 card, for $213.  I bought it with my PayPal debit card, where I will earn another 1% cash back and then when I went to place the order on Home Depot online, I first went through MyPoints, where I will earn another 3.4% cash back, for a total of 15% saved or $35 for this project purchase.  Sure wish I had done that on all the bathroom materials I just bought! I could have saved $150.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

DIY success

Thanks to Lena and her always creative DIY ideas, I bought a $5 can of brushed nickel spray paint.  I removed all the gold door pulls, cleaned them, and scrubbed them a bit with a scrub pad. I was looking out in our garage for 220 grit sandpaper, where DH had everything but, so I googled an alternative and came up with a basic scrub pad I already had underneath my sink.

This is the result:

Not bad and better than they were! $50 saved in not having to purchase drawer pulls, not to mention what I have (at least for the time being) saved on 2 new vanity light fixtures, that would probably have been at least $100 each.  At some time down the road, I will probably buy new ones, but for now the spray paint fix will do the trick.