Saturday, November 20, 2010

My Plentiful Bags Experience

I ventured out into the unknown to see what Plentiful Bags had to offer and I was pretty happy with the results!  Who knows what you will get and I was pretty surprised at how organized and pleasant the whole experience was.  In our bags we received a large bag of seedless grapes, 5 pears, 6 green apples, 6 oranges, 4 grapefruits, 1 whole pineapple, celery, 1lb bag of carrots, 5 lg cucumbers, 4 yellow onions, 8 sm Mexican squash, and 8 yams!  I can see some great dinners in our future this week. 

I will definitely do this again!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Is Bartering Back?

 If you work in a financial area of business like I do in bookkeeping, my central activities are not connected in any real way to the basic “stuff” of living.  We would have to say I lack in basic skills that could really help out in case of emergency.  I can creatively cook, take care of my family, and do basic things...but if asked to barter for something of value when needed...that might be tough.  I've been thinking, that with the economic downturn in Vegas, many people have shifted to an "if you can do this for me then maybe I can do this for you" mentality.  It's actually kind of cool that I have a VERY handy man around that can fix almost anything and knows a lot about a lot of things.  We actually have acquantances who ask him to fix things for them rather than calling businesses because 1. they know he is basically unemployed and 2.  he's really a guy that will do it right or it will drive him crazy! 

We have a really great orthodontist.  I was talking to him (we gave him a good chunk of the insurance money) and he told me that he's been able to barter services for other services so that everyone gets what they need.  He definitely has a skill set that is valuable so he is able to get things done!  We did talk then about getting a sound system better set up in his office and home and such (I am not above bartering for our service and neither was he) and we might actually be able to work something out there to get Sarah's teeth done....we'll see about that.  But I guess it got me thinking that we all have to be open to some changes if things continue out here like they are now.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Getting back to normal

We received a check from the insurance company and are starting to buy our "stuff" back. It's a strange process. You have to buy everything and get reimbursed back for a portion of it.  It's a fine line because for instance, we have to buy another TV for $1780 in order to get $355 but of course they only give you  $1400...which we could do but since we have decided not to replace the TV we give up the $355. We have decided that it is better to pay down some "debt" rather than us it where it is not needed but I sure would have liked to have the extra money to pay down more! Oh well, somethings just aren't that important in the end.
We have so far replaced the laptops with some upgrades (justifying this by not replacing the ipods and using the money here instead :) Tracy was able to get our universal remote so he's happy....also an upgrade in his opinion (I'm simple so whatever makes him happy is good!) I also went out and bought a purse/wallet and ordered all my Mary Kay makeup back. It's rather funny that although I don't really wear makeup that often, I missed a few things when they weren't there! I have been blessed with a lovely friend who replaced the makeup at almost cost plus shipping so in effect, I was able to get double and keep 1/2 in my purse and 1/2 at home. I think this will make life much easier! We also made sure Sarah got all her allowance money back so she is a happy girl!

There is more to do...more to deal with, but it has been fairly simple considering. I'm thinking a camera/security system is in our future if we can cost it into the deal.  Somehow, feeling safe is now a consideration!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Our Staycation

I was kind of funny this year.  I only work a 6 1/2 hour day M-F so that I can pickup Sarah after school everyday.  With the folks around the corner, summer vacations are spent traveling in the RV and finding new places to roam.  I think it's worked out beautifully for Sarah in that she can have the relationship with her grandparents that we wanted for her as well as two parents at home when she needs.  Tray has worked it so that he is always able to take her to school in the a.m. so the days are pretty set.  This schedule has worked out pretty well except for school holidays and teacher days.  My folks aren't always home during the school season since this is generally the time they spend traveling around on their own.  I don't like to ask them to break into their retirement to be around for those unless they don't have something planned!  They didn't retire to be our daycare :)  So....last week came up and there were teacher "in service" days and I took a couple of vacation days.  It turns out that surprisingly, Sarah hasn't gotten sick this year so I have some extra days to use up by the end of the year(still 7 more to use!).  Due to the economy and such we don't have the extra to go somewhere else so we decided to hang out around Vegas for a bit of a "staycation"!

If it were up to Sarah we would stay home and do nothing!  Who knew that we would have a kid that really wants nothing more than to hang out with her friends instead of doing something...anything else.  She could read, draw, write, talk on the phone, play games, watch TV rather than go somewhere.  I suppose I "get it".  She likes her down time more than most people I know and she has no guilt in taking it!  I decided to go with it this time and let her hang out with friends and such and just do one family activity....we went to the Titanic Exhibit at the Luxor.

The Titanic Exhibit was really nice.  I don't know if I would have paid full price for the experience based on our current finances, but I definitely enjoyed the free tickets Tracy's customer gave us.  We were handed a "ticket" of someone who was on the ship.  You are able to walk through all the cases of artifacts with all the information they have on them.  There was a really wonderful man who worked there that kindly kept track of us during our walk through and told us some additional information and stories he had learned while working for the exhibit.  It was really quite extraordinary.  At the end you can look on the wall and try to find out if your passenger survived the disaster.  Mine survived and I think I might look up what happened to her and her family. 

In the end, the long weekend was really nice.  Tracy, Sarah and I were able to spend some time just hanging out with the lessened pressure of schedules and life.  I'd have to say this was a successful "staycation".

Monday, November 1, 2010


Yes, I really did let her dye her hair black.  It was the most asked question this Halloween as people began to realize that Sarah's hair was not a wig.  I have decided to not worry about the "little wars" when undoubtedly there will be more important issues in our future.  It's a semi permanent dye and should wash down in about a month...we'll push that a bit with good old prell shampoo but it definitely grabbed her dark blonde hair so I'm guessing variations of it will be around for awhile!  In the end, I'll call this a "win" since she calmly announced she will be happy when it is out and she is back to normal.  She even assured me she won't be wanting to dye it again for at least 2 years now that she knows what it's about.  She has about the same reaction to having to put the makeup for her "goth" character on every day for the last 3 days!  She says makeup is too much work :)  Still, I have to admit she looked rather cute with her darkened hair.  It gives us a glimpse into the future since I'm guessing it will go naturally much darker than it is now.  For now, she will be happy to run toward that simpler life of no makeup and lighter hair!