5 Things Friday- COVID 19 Edition

Did you ever think to yourself- why might could happen if you decided to buy a new car on Friday the 13th 2020?    I am so glad I am not the only one and I do have the definitive answer- COVID!

  1.  We decided to go ahead and trade the 2016 Honda CVR that I have been driving in for a 2017 Chevy Equinox on Friday November 13th.   We actually were going to shop on Friday night and planned to purchase on Saturday but we ended up finishing up all the paperwork and driving away in the new to us car around 9pm.
  2. I am going to share the reasons we decided to trade cars just for future reference and so I can prove to myself that we did think this through and not regret the purchase. First- neither Matt nor I really enjoyed driving the Honda CVR, it was not a car that we would have purchased. It was under powered and although the gas mileage was better than the van, not enjoyable to drive. Next- the payment was extremely high. I actually had to split the payment in half in order to make it fit our budget.  After doing the research, I realized that we could likely reduce our payment by trading even with our upside down status. Finally- Matt has been employed at his job for over a year. Which allowed us to improve both of our credit scores at the same time. By trading and placing the new Equinox in Matt’s name, we reduced my debt ratio and improved his rating with consistent payments.  We have accomplished all we set out to do. Car payment is $100 less, Equinox is a car we both enjoy driving and credit will improve in the next six months.
  3. Sunday, the kids arrived home from spending the weekend with Haley and we took them for a drive in the new car. We ended up eating outside at the Salisbury Cracker Barrel. Matt and I had skipped church that morning because he was not feeling well and we did not want to expose any one to our germs. After eating on Sunday, Zach became sick and threw up.  It was a one time thing so I did not worry about it as this can happen.
  4. Monday- Matt says he is staying home from work so I decided to take Zach to school. He does not have a fever at home or at school. I honestly thought he had a case of the “Mondays”.  I dropped him off at school and headed to work where I was schedule to see 3 kids back to back a 30 minute break and another 5 kids back to back.  I get a call from Matt that his boss suggest he go test for Covid, because he is positive and has exposed the whole office all week. I finish the third kid and as I am checking my phone to call Matt back, Zach school is calling he threw up!
  5. Matt did test positive. By Friday (today) his symptoms are very light and he is only taking medicine at night.  We suspect that Zach had food poisoning – I ate some of the spinach dip that he had on Sunday and it was bad. I threw it out after one bite and had a horrible stomach ache.  By Friday, Zach is completely better! I have had what feels like sinus stuff to me. I have not had a fever, but runny nose and wet cough.   Lily has had a sore throat but feels much better today. Kendall ended up with a headache. Everyone is currently on quarantine. We have not left the house since Monday.  We are praying for two specific things- no one else get COVID and we can have a small family Thanksgiving. We have been told that 3-4 days without symptoms can end Matt’s quarantine and if no one else has symptoms especially a fever before then. We should be safe. the health department is suppose to call  on either Thursday or Wednesday to officially release us as well.

Thursday Thoughts

  • Today is a remote learning day for both myself, Zach and Kendall. We are expecting serve weather from tropical storm Zeta to move through this afternoon. Zach is already enjoying watching the wind and rain bands move through. It is very different based on the fact that we are all working on school related task but at home. I will admit it takes the fun out of missing school but should make the schedule much easier to manage.
  • Following the storm today, it is suppose to turn much cooler.  With freezing temperatures on Sunday night and Monday night. We still have not turned on heat or air so I am hopefully to make it to at least Monday or Tuesday before needing to turn the heat on.  We are also going to have to harvest the remaining peppers and tomato from the garden. This is actually the longest that I can remember having items still growing.
  • November is a very expensive month for us. We have car insurance ($408.27), Microsoft renewal ($100), my web site renewal ($30) and the rest of Christmas presents.   Thankfully I have a ton of hours in Guam this month. I am hoping to cover most of our December Disney trip. A sad realization is that I receive a paycheck this Friday but will not receive another check until after Thanksgiving.
  • We survived our busiest week so far this year!!  I even have a list on the board of task to complete on Saturday.
  • Budget wise October has been a great month. We are at $250 for gas and $550 for groceries.  I am planning to hit my goal of paying of one credit card by the end of December.  We also should not use most of the grocery budget for November and December as our freezers are full. I am now looking a small holes such as soups for lunch and other convenient items. I have also restocked the paper supplies as well.

Saving On Saturday

Today we focused on using what we had.  Kendall has been spending ALOT of time in her room lately. Literally staring at the walls. She decided this week she wanted to remove a couple of shelves and make it more decorative. Here is the before picture

Matt was able to cut out the round holders for her “Minnie Ears” using a drill bit that was purchased to help place lights in the ceiling. The wood was from some plywood, he salvaged from cleaning out my Dad’s shed several years ago. The current debate is to paint the circles white or black. I will update once this is finished.

Of course we re-purposed the shelf to use in the kitchen.

Another huge saving today is by re-using a device instead of purchasing a new one. This will take a little explaining but hold on. Zach is currently using the family phone. It is a Iphone 6 plus and the battery life is bad like less than 2 hours.  When we flew to Disney in August, he used the iPad to watch movies and play games on the plane.  Braxton is going with us in December and we have been trying to work out what device both he and Zach could use for entertainment. I have been looking at just replacing Zach’s phone.  But today, I spotted Lily’s old IPad mini.  It is probably close to 10 years old.  We ended up charging it cleaning off everything that we could and loaded around 10 toddler appropriate games for Braxton to use. We are working on figuring out how we could download at least one movie for him to watch. This device is so old that Disney plus nor Amazon prime will run on it.  We are looking into an Itunes gift card that would be the easiest way and cost less than $25 vs $1000 for a new phone.

So today has been a really good saving day!

September in Review

September was interesting to say the least. I did make one huge adjustment this month. We are now using budgets more strictly and I have being very diligent about extra money. My goal is to save the $896 for our remaining Disney tickets in December from extra money or from saving money. This means that I also much cover any overages.  So far we have $200 toward our goal.

Gardening- We ended up digging up the sweet potatoes this week and probably have around 25 pounds which should last us through the winter. We are still getting a few tomatoes and green peppers. Pimentos are still producing strongly. I am planning to start some lettuce and celery to see if we can supplement some food for the winter.

Goal #1 Grocery Budget of $550- The total for the month is $501.  I did also make a huge grocery trip to Costco this week but will move that $450 out of the October budget.  We are completely stocked up and I anticipate both November and December being lower spend months in order to bring down our yearly total and monthly average

Goal #2 – Record and keep up with gas/ auto purchase- $642.18  We had to replace the windshield in the van a second time this year, which pushed out monthly total way up.  I am going to anticipate around $300 for gas in the month of October.

Goal #3-Use a cash envelope system for everything possible!. This is a struggle but has become even more important as we attempt to save ticket money.  We managed 6 no spend days this month. I am going to plan on 10 next month as our needs should be much less!

Goal #4- Blogging- 15 post per month. This is post number 15 for the month! This is thanks to Disney pictures!

Goal # 5- Fitness- Goal is to walk 3 times a week. ummm no comment

Goal #6 – Bible study- Goal- 3x a week –Yikes!

Goal #7-Attempt at least 52 new recipes this year.-  We have met this goal! I am very happy and plan to just focus on what we know for October.

Earnings_ $50. Swagbucks are really really limiting our earning so I don’t anticipate this to improve significantly before the end of the year.

October is a long month with no real breaks. I am ready so bring it on!

5 Things Friday

  1. My COVID test came back negative. This has been so stressful.  One thing that has really bothered me is the fact that we have mandated mask yet when completing contact tracing and talking about exposure, Mask DONT matter. Yeap the question is “Who have you been in closer than 6 feet contact with, with or without a mask?”
  2. Lily made another new recipe today #53 Chicken Florentine Mac and Cheese. We had to make several changes to it because we could not find the specific cheese she used but it was good!  Even Matt who does not like mac and cheese cleaned his plate.
  3. The weather has continued to be fall like which means a HUGE saving on our electric bill. If we can last a month without heat or air, it will reduce our electric bill by $100!  That is the current goal.
  4. I have focused this month on sticking to a budget and moving all excess money to our Disney Ticket fund. We need approximately  $600 to finish purchasing tickets.  My goal is to use all found money for this. Which means that if I forget to budget something like say the Amazon Prime membership. I either have to take money out of it or find it in other places.  Currently I am also trying to cover our second windshield of the year. As of today, we have $200 or 1/3 of what we need for ticket in the fund.  Which means if I can do the same we will be able to purchase these without using my Guam money! Even better both of these expenses have been covered. We are eating out less and purchasing less groceries. The fact that I am not driving to work for two weeks is also helping lower expenses.
  5. The square foot garden is hanging on. This week I have harvested green peppers, a orange pepper, pimentos and tomatoes.  I  can tell we are close to the end of the season as the tomatoes are small but still every little bit helps. I am also noticing that my sweet potato plants are starting to die out. My plan is to wait at least another week before digging them up!

5 Things Friday

  1. The weather has finally turned cooler this week. I turned off the air on Monday. The temperatures are going to take another cooler turn with highs on Sunday expected to be 63.
  2. Square foot garden- I pulled up 8 basil plants and hung in the building to start drying. I also bagged the ones that had been hanging since last fall.  I am not sure if we will use but for right now I want to save as much as possible. I am still getting a few tomato a week from the garden which is highly unusual for this late in September. Pimentos and peppers of several varieties are still growing. But by far the most exciting news of all is that we have sweet potato flowers!  I am going to leave these in the ground at least another couple of weeks before pulling up in hopes of even more flowers.
  3. Honesty disclaimer- I really debated sharing this so that is my reason for trying to hide it in number 3.  A coworker who I work in the same room with on a daily basis has tested positive for Covid-19. She texted me early this morning to let me know. I have been tested and will likely have results between Sunday and Tuesday. In the mean time, I have been advised to quarantine. The fear and stigma associated with this along with unreliable information is 100 times worse than even waiting to get my results. An example, when I spoke to my supervisor this morning, she stated that I did not need to get tested and did not need to quarantine. I chose to go ahead and get tested because of my Humira dose is due. By this afternoon, the story had changed to my co-worker could chose to get tested or just quarantine for 10 days while continuing to work remotely. But on the bright side, I will not be spending any money this weekend as I am stuck at home.
  4. My second job in Guam is starting to pick up. My goal is to work around 35 hours a week. So far I have been successful on scheduling around Zach’s baseball games.
  5. Lily will start Driver’s Education in 2 weeks!

5 Things Friday

  1. Zach starts his fall baseball season tomorrow with a pre-season tournament. This is a new team for him and lots of opportunity for growth.
  2. My personal saving challenge for the month is to save/find $369 to add one day to each of the kids tickets for December. So far I have $146 toward this goal.
  3. I am exhausted. I managed to work both of my jobs this week and I am starting to feel it. I am trying to keep my schedule a little bit flexible for Guam until getting a baseball schedule which means that I have schedule only 2 kids most night starting at 9pm.
  4. Zach and Kendall will start in person school next week on Monday and Tuesday. This will be an adventure for all. I am hopefully it will be easier to adjust than anticipated.
  5. The garden is continuing to produce just enough. We are harvesting basil, tomatoes, pimentos and peppers. I am excited to see more pepper flowers so maybe we can actually freeze some this year!

Five things Friday

  1. I survived my first full week back at work full-time (in office) and working my second job (GUAM). Guam is slowly starting to pick up and I am beginning to realize that it may be Christmas before I return to a full schedule there. I am exhausted as expected but no worse for the wear. All three kids begin some form of school next week as well. This Sunday will look alot different as we get things prepared for the week. I am so glad to have a sense of normal returning if only for 1-2 days a week.
  2. The garden is continuing to surprise me with a few tomatoes, cucumbers, and even green peppers. I honestly expected it to stop all together so this is a nice surprise and treat.
  3. In less than two weeks we will be at DISNEY!!!!! After many emails and phone calls, we were given back all the money that was stolen from our gift cards. I am super excited!!! But fully anticipate that the next two weeks will be the slowest two weeks of my life.
  4. I had anticipated spending most of tomorrow and Sunday at the pool however the weather appears to be rain rain and more rain so it may be a quiet weekend at home instead.
  5. We enjoyed a meal at home every night this week and I am enjoying the fruits of my labor from the past couple of months!

5 Things Friday

  1. Today is a happy and sad day. I return to work full time onsite starting Monday. I worked from home from March 13th until June 15th. Since June 15th, I have been on summer break. I am definitely ready for a normal routine to began but I really like my 5 minute commute from the dinning room to the office. I also have enjoyed not being dressed prior to work each day! The kids and I have stay busy this summer but all good things must come to an end.
  2. I have debated how much information to share during our COVID-19 but decided that hopefully ten years from now I will want to remember what we decided and how we coupe.
  3. School is going to look alot different this year especially to start with. Lily officially starts on August 17th with her online charter school NCVA. This will be her last year in high school as the plan is for dual enrollment starting next fall. Kendall and Zach both will attend an orientation day on August 17th. The rest of the week they will not have much work. Starting August 24th, they will complete 3 weeks of total remote learning. Then September 14th, they will begin attending school Monday and Tuesdays each week. This may or may not change depending on any decisions made by our state governor. Because I will be working onsite 5 days a week in my school system, the current plan is for Matt work from home 2.5 days a week until the kid return full-time to school.
  4. Our garden is dying. We are still getting a few tomato each day but otherwise I need to spend a good couple of hours out getting rid of anything dead. We had a garden of just enough this year. I am pleased with the extra tomatoes but everything else has just been enough to eat.
  5. I was saving money for our August Disney trip via gift cards. I had been storing the gift card numbers and combining so I would only need to carry one card. Unfortunately, the day after vacation July 27th, someone access my account, changed by password and moved $1140 to another gift card they have. I have spent several hours on the phone and multiple email later, it does not appear we will be able to recover that money. We are blessed that with some budget changes and cut backs we should still enjoy our trip but it just sucks!

  1. The garden is not producing as much as I had anticipated but it is producing just enough for us to eat! For example on Wednesday, I picked 2 cucumbers, a squash, a zucchini and couple of tomatoes. For dinner on Thursday, I combined the zucchini, squash and grilled chicken packs from the school for dinner. For lunch on Friday, four of us ate tomato sandwich! I think this is the right size garden for the future as well!
  2. We are heading to the beach in one week! I am so excited to have some really downtime with minimal expectation of effort from me! The ocean is my favorite place so there is no bad time there.
  3. We have washed 10 loads of clothes today. This includes everyone sheets and comforters! I am most excited because everything but Lily’s was hung out to dry so that we did not waste money! Bonus the sunshine smell should last a few days.
  4. Zach has had 4 baseball games this week and three are scheduled for next week. This makes for some very busy evenings! So far we have tolerated the heat ok!
  5. Sad news- I have exactly 4 weeks or one month left of my summer break! I am really enjoying sleeping late, reading books and keeping ahead of my task! I do look forward to going back to work and getting a normal routine in place if this is even possible.