Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Hump Day!

I've made it halfway through the week! When a week starts with a headache, it's always a bit of a gamble. We didn't get much done this week, but at least my headache is totally gone now. Due to the high winds, the kids took down their tent today. Unfortunately I think one of the poles broke, so I don't know if e can put it up again. It's where they like to go to read, play and chill since there's room in there to spread out. Not sure we can buy any of the poles to replace what broke. Hoping business picks up for hubby, but with the temps at a nice 60/70 range, people don't need heat or their air running. Luckily they have some business accounts with scheduled maintenance. The one new guy keeps being sent home early, I'm just glad hubby isn't losing too many hours right now! This is the perfect time for people to schedule cleanings and routine maintenance on their systems. Before the harsh weather hits and you have to wait. Found out the one direct sales company I was with has me as inactive until I pay $99 to re-up. Since I can start a business for that in direct sales, I think I'll pass. It wasn't a good fit for me anyway, so I'll move on. Looking into some other options right now. My email really piled up when we were without internet for a week! I had just cleared out my inbox right before that, and managed to spend some time last night weeding out some outdated contests. Hoping i can finish the click to earns and surveys this week, so I'll just have daily mail to deal with every day. Looks like the hubs is home. Have to figure out supper! What direct sales companies do you think do the best business? Which do you think would do well as an online business a well as in person? Does anyone here do any direct sales?

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

I've decided!

I think I may be certifiable, but I've decided to jump in and join other bloggers with giveaways! Now I really need to learn how to pretty up my page, add pictures and all of that good stuff.

I was planning on doing posts this weekend, then Saturday we ended up at the laundromat longer than planned and Sunday was a headache kind of day. *sigh* So nothing I planned to do actually got done. In an rv that tends to be problematic. We still need to sort the clothes we have put away, then sort the clothes we just washed.
One thing I've managed to do is work on a list of blog topics. If I'm going to be blogging daily (or close to it), I need to have things to talk about. For people who know me, it's shocking that I would need a list! lol I can pretty much talk any one's ear off, but I don't want to bore people and chase them away!
Today is such a windy day here! Being on the beach makes it a bit worse, and this rv is rocking! Otherwise it would be a gorgeous south Texas day! Almost 70 out, but these winds will knock over a person!
If anyone has a book or product they'd like me to review, just let me know! I won a bunch of books I'd like to read and review (for the site I won them from), but I will put my friends goodies ahead of them. :)
One of my future posts will be about going to the laundromat as opposed to wash at home. Which is more cost effective? I really can't say right now since I can't do wash here, so I can't take the bills and see if there's a change in electric and water. Of course, there's also the time issue. If you get to the laundromat and have to wait on machines, that cuts into your time. We had 2 weeks worth of clothes to wash, and had to wait on machines, so our trip took a bit longer than usual. Normally we can be in and out in under 3 hours. Then we drive around and see if there's any yard sales or stop at the store if we need to pick up something.
Is there anything you'd like me to talk about? Nothing political or religious please!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

What day is it?

Yes, it's been one of those weeks, and according to the computer it's only Tuesday! Since I'm using a prepay hot spot, one of the issues is running our of GB. It happened Friday before I realized it and didn't get a new card until late Saturday. We went out as a family Saturday (for the first time in forever!). Stopped at the "Trade Market" which is basically a large indoor flea market similar to one back home. Tried to find the 2 craft stores (craft consignment stores, not Michael's or the like). Turns out one must have closed it's doors and the other one we missed it being open by minutes. *sigh* Story of my life! By this time we're getting hungry, so we decide to go out for supper. While Corpus has a lot of options, most are the chain restaurants, and quite frankly, not impressive. So I talk hubs into a place I took our oldest for her birthday. They don't have a great selection of food, but their burger was good and it's on the beach, so the view is amazing! We get seated and have to split up between 2 tables separated by a pole (they called the tables surfboards). Ok, no problem. We get menus and our drink order was taken fine. Get our drinks. Waiting...waiting...waiting. Like I said, they have maybe 15 or so supper entrees. The waiter who took our drink order is standing right over there, looks STRAIGHT at us, goes and starts to clear a table. Not in the mood people! I go to the hostess and ask for our check for drinks since we can't get anyone to take our order. We're leaving. I show her who our server was and she told me we don't have to pay for drinks since we didn't eat. Ok. The hubs tells me in the truck that the table was actually separated by servers as well. The girl who had my side (me and the oldest little on one side, hubs and the rest on the other), was having a fit cuz she didn't want to wait on us. WTF? We tip according to the check. Yes, we may have 6 in our party, but we've never stiffed a tip. After leaving Corpus, we went to the diner the hubs wanted. I thought it looked closed since there were signs in the windows, but he said they were adding a patio. All righty then. Turns out they had a fire. Yes, our luck doesn't change people! lol We finally decided on the one Mexican place up the road. It was a nice surprise to have a *good* meal, with good service. There's another restaurant (same name) up closer to us, but the one time we went in there, we couldn't get seated! Stood around while the waitresses passed by, some saying hi, some ignoring us. We left after 5 minutes. We have to say we're not impressed with what is offered in the way of places to dine around here. For a college town that also attracts winter residents, spring breakers and vacationers, I would expect more. I know we had more options (of the non chain variety) back home. Just another reason we're anxious to get our own place so we can eat in and have control over our meals!
I went to bed Saturday with a headache that lasted all day Sunday and lingered Monday. This wasn't my usual migraine that knocks me out, this was at my right temple and just did me in. Not good when we could actually do stuff since hubs didn't have the on call phone!
Managed to get to my friends house and get our mail. Since my truck was acting up for awhile, then died and it sat for over a month, my mail has really piled up. I've been winning book contests, so they've been arriving as well. It didn't take me long to do the actual mail portion of what we brought home - credit card statements, bank statements, junk - but the books? Opened each one, then on to the website so I can mark they arrived. Had a problem since I have some I can't mark off yet, but turns out I won 2 other contests! One was a book, the other was 2 CD's. Not sure I'll listen to the CD's, but they were free! lol Just glad I didn't win any big stuff like the washer/dryer, fridge, grill, etc! Next time I'll give her more warning that we're on our way. Might have other stuff that got put elsewhere.
Last night Jim and I took a walk while the kids watched a movie. Went to the fishing pier and talked to some of the people there fishing - yes, at night. There was a dolphin! I wasn't sure if they'd come in where we are (not sure of water depth here), but there it was just swimming around, looking for some food. It got one while we were there too. I don't care what anyone says, being able to see a dolphin in the wild like that makes a day better. Wouldn't be able to see that back in PA, that's for sure!
Since we were out most of yesterday I figured today we'd stay home and try to get stuff done. I had the littlest do some school on here, but I'm still hoping to get a bit more cleaning done in here. At least we could open windows today to air things out a bit. With the pets and gassy people, it was starting to get unpleasant in here, and we can't do candles due to the animals. Nice bay breeze will clears things out nicely!
I've started the process for a new source of income. Not sure it'll happen, but I can always hope! I have more work to do, but I think it's looking pretty good so far. I'm not going to talk about it just yet, but I'm hoping soon I'll have some good news to share! Part is to help fund retirement, part is my fear something will happen to hubs and I'll have no income and end up out on the street with the kids.
Hope your week is starting off better than mine! Anything exciting going on for you? Any plans? Maybe a field trip?

Thursday, January 17, 2013

After Christmas

By now most everyone has put away their Christmas decorations. No more traveling or visiting family. Things are settling back to a normal routine. What a better time to talk about planning Christmas 2013! No, really!
Take a look back. Did you like your decorations? Do you need to replace anything? Lights, garland, outdoor decor? Do you have a wrap station? It could be a laundry basket that holds all of your wrapping supplies. How about the traveling/visiting? Is it time to review how you're going to deal with it this year? Maybe now you have small children and  trying to visit multiple houses in one day is just too overwhelming for all involved.
Sit down and write it out. Make your master plan. Make your list of who you get gifts for - including the mailman, paper carrier, etc. Travel plans. Can you visit someone after the holiday rush when you're more relaxed and able to enjoy your visit more? Don't forget your menu! Do you host a get together or have any parties over the holidays? Did you get any raves over a certain dish? Make note to make it again now.
Breaking down your tasks to more manageable options over the course of the year will make this holiday season more relaxed. Maybe by a gift or two a month and put them away. I personally have a tote for gifts I keep with my Christmas decor. Since I'm the one who digs the totes out, I'm the only one going through them. Nobody sneaks a peek! Start with the points programs to earn gift cards in time for the holidays. I do send earnings, Inbox Dollars, swagbucks, and MyPoints (I can email you a link for that one). Not only can you get emails to click through (a few a day, maybe 10 minutes max), surveys to earn points, but if you make an online purchase you can earn points. You can also print out coupons! You get paid per coupon used with a bonus of using 10 or so a month. Start checking out clearance sections of the stores. That's our first stop when shopping now.
Back when we had littles, we decided it got to be too much to try to visit everyone in one day. We did my maternal grandparents on Christmas Eve for the Polish celebration, then Christmas day was ours. Sleep in (and yes, my kids were trained! lol), eat a good breakfast, then presents. Once we had a bunch of kids, hubby came up with a new game plan. Each child opens a present an hour. So, whenever we were done eating, we'd hand each child a present  to open. Once opened and the trash was dealt with, the microwave timer was set. I tried to make it so they'd each get a toy or movie or something interactive for the first one. Since we'd usually start presents about 10 am, we'd end up with a bunch by supper still waiting to be opened. It was decided that after a certain time (supper or shortly after), we'd allow them to open the rest, but they had to show us the present and throw away the trash so no gifts got lost in the paper. I also started using "code" names on packages. This cut down on the kids trying to sneak a peek or shaking of presents. Some groups I've used are Scooby Doo cast, Brady Bunch cast, elf names, reindeer names, and more. I didn't get to use code names this year as we're in a motor home and I was wrapping presents in the back of my Expedition, but my son back in PA carried on out tradition!
Planning meals is a time saver no matter what time of year. If you start now with a basic menu, you can add on dishes later. In November, before the madness hits, you can see which dishes you can make ahead to freeze. Cookie dough freezes well, either in balls or logs. Mashed potatoes freeze well, but there is a trick to reheating them. They tend to get runny, so you add some instant potato flakes.Most desserts are freezable, but iced cakes don't do well when defrosting.
We're now 1800 miles away from most family and friends, so we're making our own traditions now. We didn't do any decorations since I wasn't dealing with digging in storage for them. No code names, but they did open a present an hour. Unfortunately we didn't get to drive around looking at lights. My truck wasn't running, plus when hubby asked, he was told there weren't many places that decorated. How sad!
Do you have any traditions? How do you think pre-planning some of the holidays would help you this year?

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

More being prepared...

After I posted yesterday, I realized we probably have less support than most people. We're not religious, so we don't have church support. We're new to Texas, and most of my time has been spent without a truck, so I don't know many people here. Ok, honestly? I know my girlfriend from way back (before kids, way back!), and there's another lady I talk to on facebook from the area. Then we have people at his work that I've met. That's about all! So, if something would happen, we'd truly be all alone. Makes my planning more important than ever!
Once we move and I have daily access to my mail, I'll order our credit reports and social security statements. You can find our from Social Security how much you're slated to receive should something happen. They tell you retirement income, disability, and survivor benefits along with your income for the past 10 or so years. Hubby would be out of luck if I would die or get hurt first as I've been a stay at home mom most of our marriage. I really need to work on our savings and passive income.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Are you prepared?

There's been quite a few incidents lately that have people questioning their preparedness. From nature fighting back to crazed maniacs shooting up buildings to long term job loss. I've thought about those myself, but there's not much I can do to really prepare except stock up and hope some maniac doesn't snap. My biggest fear right now is what would happen to us if something would happen to the hubs? I'm not working outside of the home, and just starting the blog, so I don't have income flowing in here regularly yet. While I do have some direct sales companies I rep for, I haven't been able to market like I'd like due to no local mailing address (for tax purposes), and I was without a vehicle for over a month.
Would you be okay (financially) if something were to happen to the main bread winner? Savings, income, food? It's not something people want to dwell on, but you need to be prepared. Thanks to my insomnia, I get to dwell on these things in the early morning hours. We'd be pretty much broke. We are living in our motorhome, so we'd have a roof over our heads, but would I be able to pay storage? Would I be able to buy food? Would I be able to pay rent somewhere so we could hook up to electric and water?
Since we just started a new year, and we're in a new state, I figure it's time to start. I've started putting some money into savings. Not much. I'm following the 52 weeks of savings. Basically you save the dollar amount of the week of the year. Week 1 - $1, week 26- $26. At the end of the year you'll have almost $1400 saved. If you work it backwards and have an interest bearing account, you'll have even more saved! It's a great way to save for the holidays or even a vacation. I'm hoping to save more and use it as our emergency fund. We were without a truck for a month when the alternator died. It wasn't a huge cost, but I had other bills planned, so it had to wait. If we would have had an emergency fund, the kids and I could have explored our new city a bit.
I need to find my accounts and see just how much life insurance we have on the hubs. Not enough, I'm sure! While we don't make a ton of money, it's enough to keep us fed, clothed and housed. I have no additional schooling or training, and I'd prefer to stay home with my kids. Adding life insurance is high on my priorities!
We're doing all right money wise right now. Just the car loan, and 2 small credit cards. We can't refinance our truck due to it's age - according to the credit union. I'd prefer not getting a new (to us) vehicle quite yet. I'm hoping to have the money to by one with cash when we're ready. The credit cards should be at $0 before June.
That leaves our food situation. Normally I'd like to have our chest freezer and fridge freezer full plus a pantry stocked with canned goods, but we're in a motorhome with limited storage space. I may buy some gift cards to local stores and restaurants to have on hand. I'm working on clearing out my email with all of my surveys and click to earns so I can earn some gift cards as well.
If you have any questions or if I forgot anything, please let me know!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Trying again

Let's see if I can keep internet with my new hotspot while at the state park. We do know it didn't get reception in the wooded area, but we're now bayside and seem to do pretty well, so far. I do get some breaks in service, but usually at night when I'm doing some contests or pinning.
I'm trying to restart my blog as a way to share ideas on crafts (for kids and adults), recipes, reviews of books/products, homeschooling sites/ideas and more! Right now we're still in the motorhome, but I do have a few emails out (they didn't leave a number on their ad) to see a few rentals. Crossing fingers we get to move this weekend! Living in a motorhome when it's in the 40's and there's no heat isn't the most fun we've had since we've moved!
We managed to get my truck running again - after about a month of it sitting. Hubby and a co-worker had changed out a pulley and something, but said the alternator tested fine. Turns out the car place didn't properly test the alternator! So, we were able to pick one up Saturday and get it in, and I even got to drive to get my papers on Sunday! Woot!
Anyone else getting free kindle books? I get a bunch of pages on my facebook feed, and a few have links for free kindle books. While I don't get all of them, I do have over 200 books on my pc kindle now. Add in the books I've managed to win in the contests, and I could really use and extra few hours a day to spend reading!
Since we're mobile again, I'd like to do a field trip. The kids and I didn't get to do too much before the truck died, and we're still new to the area. I'll be checking into a few places this week to see what we can do for free/cheap. Maybe we'll take a drive to the beach (because, well, we can! lol), but I would like to do something a little more school related. Maybe an historic tour or something.
I know making money while staying at home is an issue for a lot of my friends, so I'll be posting some ideas/ places that hire home workers. I'll also share links I've gathered from magazine articles and books on career changes, what you should be doing (personality tests), etc. Try and help someone get into a job they actually like instead of something they drag themselves to everyday.
This week I hope to work on a schedule for posting - and post daily. I will be talking about long distance moves, living in an RV/motorhome, state park living and more. If you would like to see anything, please ask! I'll do my best to work it into a post. My oldest little and I have been talking about her blogging as well. Maybe let her do one post a week on different topics.
I would leave you with a picture, but for some reason I can't access my photos on my laptop.
Thanks for stopping by, and hope to see you again soon! Once I get more followers I plan to do a giveaway. Not sure what yet, but I'll let you know when I get that organized.