Monday, March 28, 2011


There is so much more I would like to blog about this month but I am out of time for today! I am trying my hardest to get into bed earlier each night in order to keep up with my book a week resolution. Seems only fair since I am assigning the kids two books a week.

So perhaps next month I will fill you in on our progress of our current renovation home that hopefully will be rentable come early summer.

You know the drill keep reading and scrolling down till you see the January/February headline then stop!

My Birthday!!!

As usual I had more of a birthday Long weekend than just a birthday day! Here are some pics. of some gifts and events I enjoyed.

I belong to a tonne of Birthday clubs so for the week before my birthday and the week after I enjoyed...... A free stir-fry on my birthday date with jack! A free bowl of noodles on a outing with Thomas. Free blizzard which I got through drive thru and brought home and shared . Free starbucks on an outing with Courtney. Free pasta on another outing with Jack, followed by a free strawberry ice drink. On my night out with the gals I enjoyed a FREE burritto, and on the birthday date with Jack we enjoyed dinner using my FREE burrito coupon at another burrito joint. Oh and also one afternoon a free birthday scone from one of my favorite bakeries!

But sigh I could not enjoy all my birthday free, a sundae, and a pancake meal went to waste, but one can only eat out so much in a two week span! Maybe next year with a bit of better planning I will squeeze them in along with the new FREE BIRTHDAY treat sites I have discovered already in the weeks since my birthday!!! OH HOW I LOVE BIRTHDAY FREE!!! At my gal's birthday night I was spoiled! with Starbucks cards, and chocolate, ginger delights and i-tune cards and knitting supplies!!! I love my girlfriends! We hung out at the restuarant till we were the only ones left. Laughing and sharing the whole time.
Me teasing the gals with Ginger! recieved as a gift from a friend. LOVE this stuff. I made a great chocolate bark out of it, 2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips, 2 tablespoons shortening, put in microwave and melt (stiring every 30 seconds) then add in ginger and almonds, and smooth out on a waxed lined cookie sheet and allow to harden. If you don't like ginger try a cup of whatever you do like, I often do half cup crushed pretzel sticks, and half cup dried cranberries, or I do a whole cup crushed oreo's! The variations are endless!
My Birthday treats to myself. I saved some of my birthday cash to start a new bussiness venture of sorts once the current renovation home becomes a rental. The rest of my cash I used to buy this sign for the dinning room popout window and the plants beside it. Oh and I also bought a new strength workout dvd "kettle bells" by Bob Harper! Love it!
One of my favorite gifts to open was the box full of art by Courtney, and she made me a necklace too! She may have meant "Best" but I will take "Beast" makes me feel more alive!! and sort of Hot Mama like!
Yes I know you saw this photo last month, but while I was buying my Bob Harper DVD at target on my birthday date with Jack, he whipped over to the instore starbucks and bought us another set! So now we have 2 each! and we sit and drink our hot tea together in the morning and catch up!
My Birthday Day food! I wanted to make an easy day for myself on my actual day. Jack had to work and Courtney was at a birthday party of her best friend who has a birthday on my day! So after I swung by to pick courtney up (and enjoyed cake and ice-cream with my birthday twin) , I picked up pizza's (with a coupon of course but it wasn't a birthday coupon) the deal came with pop and bread sticks. Then I spent the day reading and lounging. Oh and the Birthday cupcakes Jack bought for me before he left for work.

So as you can see I had a very yummy! 3 day celebration. Friday was date day with Jack. Saturday was hanging with the kids and eating pizza and taking in some birthday time with my birthday twin (courtney's best friend). Sunday evening I concluded the 3 days with a dinner out with the girl friends and in conclusion I will say I am blessed by all those who love me.
Spring has Arrived

I am not ashamed to admit it, I have become my mother in the fact that I hate winter. Oh I think snow is pretty for about 2 or 3 days, but then I am bored of it: and the cold, and the ice. And as for the piles of gloves and hats and bulky jackets and scarfs and snow pants that start to gather in my little boot room area well as for those I get quickly sick of them.

Plus I love to run OUTSIDE. In winter the darkness first draws me indoors and then the freezing temperatures and ice dangers keep me there. I start referring the the treadmill as the Dread Tread. I start staring out the window of the gym longing for the challenge of real hills again. Wanting to just wander, to roam.

Around mid-February the teasing starts, off and on warmer temps. causing the dangers of ice to melt away. Then by early March the mornings are getting lighter. But still the weather can be cruel and one day it will turn and go cold again, leaving you wondering, when will I consistently get outside.

And that brings me to the daffodils, I know once my daughter rips one of these delicate flowers out of the ground and brings it into me, that I have my answer. Its outside runs from now on! Spring has sprung, the dread tread hasn't won! I am back outside running those hills and breaking speed records. Did 6 miles in just over 53 minutes the other day, and that is a record for me. Sure its a long stretch from those Olympic guys, but I am not one of them nope I prefer to compare myself to myself, and if I am improving over time, then I am heading in the right direction!!!

Now just one more month and the morning air should be warm enough to break out that bike! Record was 3 hrs last year, going to try for a 4hr ride this year!
Murphy takes My Silver Bullet
I took this picture last month. I had plans to write a post that told about my faithful silver bullet how even though it had 170,000+ miles on it, it was still going strong. I was going to write how it was outlasting the family van, and how I was going to keep it and let Jack trade in the family van for the truck he wanted for his 40th. That all it really needed was a new bumper since my hubby had ruined this one in some snow play! (a man never really leaves his boyhood behind) But I didn't get to it that day, and then in the next couple of weeks, Murphy (Murphy's law that is) got to my silver bullet. First it developed a problem with its parking brake. Then whenever you stepped on the gas trunk flew open. Got the brake fixed and bungee cordered the back (cause the machanic had yet to figure out what would have caused that to happen). Then one warm Thursday afternoon, Murphy gave my silver bullet the final blow...... (see post below to read on, there are 4 posts in all)
to continue.... That is when the Terrible Day began! I got all the way to our destination, and we had a great time there. Loaded the kids back in the car. Adjusted the bungee cord. Got in and started the engine. And that is when the death of my little sliver bullet occured. Oh it started just fine, but the gear box would not move out of park. I wiggled, I jiggled, I prayed, I pleaded. Then I phoned my husband. Who was at work. His idea call triple A and get it towed. So I did, BUT have I ever told you Jack is not the best with paper work. Turns out he left my name off the card, so the lady said they couldn't send the truck out to get me. Called back my hubby, who appoligized, and suggested I start calling my friends to get me. So I tried, and in no time found one to come to my rescue. I left a note on the car, and jumped in her van, and off we went. The whole way home, I had that sick feeling, knowing this was it, the grim reeper was coming for my silver bullet and I was unperpared to replace it. Got home and looked it up on kelly blue, and yep my little beut was worth 1200 running and with a great body shape, and mine wasn't running and its body was in need of some work!
Part 2 of the Excitingly Scary News

(this is the photo I shared on facebook the nightbefore we picked up my dead car. I had a preminition the title would become true)

So after I finally came to the conclusion that my car was worth nothing. I started thinking about the family Van. Now I never really have liked our van much, it always felt to me like a mini bus more than fun to drive vehicle. But I figured well if my car is dead, I am stuck with the Van.

Then I started thinking about the problems the van had developed over the last few months.

1. It overheats in cold weather, and to stop it requires a glove and a turn of the radiator cap, then jumping back and hoping the hot stuff doesn't splatter on yourself.

2. The doors were randomly locking and unlocking both as you drove and when it was parked so it really was not a safe place to store anything.

3. The alarm had started to go off while driving, and did not like turning off, (very embarrassing)

4. The air conditioner didn't work

5. The heater no longer worked.

6. The cup holder sometimes fell out of the dash (and sometimes it didn't)

7. It had a huge dent in the back due to a parking lot, dent and run.

8. You could take the key out and it would still be running. (kind of scary to me)

9. The back wiper no longer worked and it got really muddy fast on a wet snow day making it hard to see.

10. Well numbers 1 through 9 were enough to convince me that perhaps the idea of holding on to the van and using my now busted car for a trade in for Jack's truck might no be the best idea for family safety and harmony. Oh and it also had the same miles as when our last van hit the dust.

So I spent sometime cruising craigs list, thinking perhaps I would take the money we had saved for a new to us camping trailer and spend on a new to us car, figuring we could save it back again since it would save us from getting a payment.

That's when I and found out the rumor I heard about the "cash for clunkers " government program making older secondhand vehicles sky rocket in price wasn't a rumor.

Now I am not a pick second hand buyer, but I do have a few things I want. I want the vehicle to have less miles than my own broken down one! and I want the add to at least say its in full working order! and nothing in my cash range meet any of those criteria not even in the small car section, and I searched the whole State.

So as I went to bed and prayed, I was coming to the conclusion, that the morning was going to hold some numbers that were going to be a bit frightening to this debt frugal gal.

Our New to Us and Barely Used Vehicles

So the next morning, I drag my husband out of bed very early for his late working self, to drive an hour in our barely holding together van, to pick up our on it's way to junkyard heaven car.

Now if you are not the praying type you may find this funny, heck if you are the praying type you might find this funny. But after arriving to the parking lot where my car was, and unsuccessfully getting it out of park, my hubby and I took time to lay hands on the car and pray. Well can't really remember if we had hands on the car, but we were certainly close to it. After asking for direction and guidance, we called one of the two only car repairs shops in the little college town my car was stuck in.

And that is when they brought it to our attention that a car stuck in park cannot be towed, it has to be lifted! Ughh one more thing against my little silver bullet. The owner also told us that he was booked up for the next week and that it did not sound like an easy fix. So we tried the next shop, they were closed, so we got in our van and drove there to wait till it opened.

Turns out the shop was right next door to the only car dealership in the little college town. And on its lot a bright red truck caught my hubbies eye. Since we had been looking for a truck for a few months, we decide to go look. The price was better than all the trucks we had been looking at, in fact the prices on the lot for most vehicles were better than most dealers we had been looking at. Next thing we know we are going on several test drives and opening and closing doors to view the interior on almost every vehicle they had on their lot.

Never did make it to the repair shop, but it turned out okay. They took my little silver bullet off my hands, and gave me what it would have been worth if it had been fixed (equaled the taxes of my choice). They gave us a good sum for the van too! and according to kelly blue we saved a combined $6000 to $8000 on the combined total of our vehicles, so we felt okay with our choices. (although secretly I got to tell you I will like mine even better once it is paid in full, I am like that)

So here they are!!!!!

This is Jack's baby! room for the whole family for when we take the soon new to us bought with cash larger and air conditioned pop up (tent trailer). Now this is the vehicle we were planning to purchase sometime before Jack's 40Th, we were just hoping one of our two vehicles would make it a year or two longer till we could get enough cash saved or 100% down or at least 50% down, so as to avoid two full price car payments. Oh well, thanks to two special women we have no mortgage so we are still have less payments than most regular families. My new wheels. Definitely not a station wagon (although I still love them to pieces). Nope this time I thought of my growing kids, one being almost 6 feet, and their need to all be comfortable when we go some where as a family of 5. This baby, has a wide back row, plenty of room for growing behinds, and growing legs. It doesn't have a third row, but I love the trunk room, for all my yard sale treasures. It is also plenty of metal to wrap around my babies when they all learn to drive, cause if I keep this trailblazer as long as we kept the van, all three of the kids will be learning to drive in it (scary!) .

AND IT IS NOT A MINI VAN which to me is the most important thing, I cried the day we had to buy a mini van, and I can truthfully say, I didn't feel a bit of sorrow letting them have the keys to it (but I did feel sorrow over my little silver bullet, giving up the ghost). Oh and for my birthday, Jack bought me the hitch I need so I can attach my bike rack and drive out to the biking trail near us! can't wait.

Oh and one last thing, as I was driving off the lot, the car salesman was kind enough to show me all the features the trailblazer had that I never noticed, being to pre-occupied with things such as, is the back seat cramped, where can I put my yard sale finds, does it have a cup holder for everyone, how does the stereo work, does it have easy to wipe leather seats, and of course, does the heat and airconditioning work. Anyways, I didn't notice but the man pointed out, I have a sunroof and heated seats!! both are very cool!