Friday, August 29, 2008


Budget: Since I'm buying all the things I need for Will's party, I've cut it close. I think dipping into savings will have to do or not buy any food until payday. I'm making it sound horrible, but I do have plenty of food at home (a bunch of frozen meats and plenty of pasta/rice). The only thing I need to buy is chicken for Will's (and my) weekly soup. I did splurge and ate lunch out three times this week, but that's because I woke up too late to prepare lunch. We also bought Will his birthday outfit, sneakers, a little hoody, and a winter coat. Oh well, at least gas prices are going down.

Job: I guess the hiring gods decided to hold off on getting me a job. I went on an interview a few weeks ago that looked very promising. In fact, they found me. On Monday, the dreadful call came in that the position had been filled, but they would keep me in mind if anything else comes up. So in four months that I've been looking, I've had one interview. This doesn't do much for my moral.

Weight: My pants' size has shrunk again! I have now, officially, dropped four sizes. I am doing the usual of walking 10,000 steps a day. Whenever I can, I walk. For instance, today I got off the bus on whole 1 1/2 avenues before I had to. I walked from 10th Avenue all the way to Broadway. New York City is a haven for walking.

My dinners have also become light. I'll eat, but really I'm not that hungry. Last night, I had hummus with pita chips (a good amount). Lunch was big for me (cheeseburger with fries from a diner). When it came down to dinner, I was still slightly full from lunch. Tonight has been a repeat of last night. My lunch was heavy so dinner doesn't have to be. I also became busy cleaning around the apartment, which keeps my mind not occupied on food. Now, if I could only tone up...

I think it's time for me to hit my bed. Tomorrow will be a busy day for us because we're going apple picking. I promise to take plenty of pictures!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Clean, Clean, Clean

That's what I did this weekend. I feel bad that the baby didn't go out, but we have gone out the entire week. On Saturday, I spent almost the entire day shredding. Dan and I have a bad habit that we don't open our mail. When we do, if something needs to be shredded, we put it in the "shred" pile. The problem was for quite some time Will was afraid of the shredder. He would cry and have such a frightened face that we would not shred. The pile became a bag. Throughout the day, I sat there and shredded. I did so much that I filled up a garbage bag. I didn't get to finish it all, but it is manageable.

The next thing I need to attack is Will's drawers and closet. He has stuff in there that no longer fits him and I need to make room for new clothes. It's really a 15 minute job that I plan on attacking tomorrow. After I'm done with that, I'm attacking my yarn stash. I'm not aloud to buy any new yarn until I finish using what I have. Fair enough.

I'm almost clutter free! It has been a nonstop process, but I feel good about it. To be honest, I've been so busy that I haven't been able to focus on much negativity (well for the most part; there were some exceptions this weekend). I like the way I feel and I expect it to bring a lot of good my way.

Well, I'm off to bed. I can't keep my eyes open.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Clutter Free (almost)

A house filled with clutter makes it difficult to remain positive. You can only focus on that clutter, which I believe makes it easy to focus on the negative aspects of your life. It's like when you're thinking of way too many things, you can't concentrate and you loose focus of what's important. By getting rid of stuff you don't need, you're getting rid of the bad baggage.

I am the type of person that holds on to clothes (unless they're really outdated). For instance, I have the terrycloth hoody jacket I bought the day I got engage. I'll never get rid of it because it reminds me of that wonderful day. But, I think it's alright to hold on to that. My drawers and closet are filled with close that no longer fit me. My underwear drawer; forget about it! I have all range of sizes of bras and undies in there. It's ridiculous and there's no room to add new stuff.

That being said, I went on a rampage yesterday. The first thing I attacked was my underwear drawer. Wow! I could actually fit stuff in there now! I may even have to get rid of the bras I have in there now because if I measured correctly, I dropped a size. The next thing I attacked was my closet. I pulled out all the pants and jeans I have in there. Out of all the bottoms that didn't fit, I believe I could get three of them tailored (thanks Lindrea!). They fit me fine from the hips down, but the waist is too big. My dresser drawers are free of outdated and big tops. You could actually see what's inside.

Now when you look at my drawers and closet, you see everything neatly folded and put away. You also see that I'm in desperate need of clothes! Well desperate is a bit of an exaggeration, but some new outfits wouldn't hurt. Dan was ecstatic when he saw what I did. He even suggested to put his bulky sweaters into my drawers since there is space now. I stopped him right there. There is space for me to fill up not him! Lol! He got the picture.

I feel very good getting rid of clothes that are just sitting there taking up space. I should have done this a long time ago. I'm hoping as I make my apartment clutter-free that I'll be able to move forward. I feel as if my state of mind, which is reflected in the clutter is holding me back on finding a better paying job. Now, I don't want you to think that my apartment is so full of stuff that you can't walk through it, but it does need some tlc. So, I'm off to cleaning before Will wakes up for breakfast.



Is this the look of happiness or what?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Evening at the Park

Since I didn't have to pick up Will at my mother's today, I got home rather quickly. Dan was going to the movies with his buddies to see Tropic Thunder. I decided I was going to take Will to the park. What an awesome idea!

When we got to the park, I put him in the swing. He was laughing and watching all of the other kids around him. I think I had more fun than he did. Seeing him happy melts my heart. Once we were done swinging, I took him by the lake and fed him (he ate all of his food today; no food strike). He again was watching everyone around him and just having fun.

I then decided to walk him around the lake. I contemplated doing so because it was getting chilly, but I saw so many kids in shorts and tee shirts that I figured he would be fine. Well, I figured right! I was kind of speed walking (I need to get my exercise in). On his food tray, he had some cereal puffs that he kept on grabbing to by the fistfuls. He would raise his arms with the cereal puffs still in his hands and start screaming with joy. He was laughing so hard that I couldn't help but laugh with him. Mind you, he never lost a cereal puff on the floor.

We got home and I gave him a bottle of milk. Right when that bottle was done, so was he. Hopefully, he'll sleep the night through like last night. Now, I get some me time! Well, I'm making a macaroni salad. So, I'll be doing stuff. But anyway, if I could spend every evening like this one, I would. I love being outside at parks. I swear, I must have been a ranger in a past life. Being surrounded by nature invigorates me. I love it!!

I'll leave you with a mobile picture of Will on the swing. It's not the best, but he looks cute.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Tough Day for Mommy and Baby

Today was the first time Will was taken care by someone else other than his grand parents (on a work day basis; he's been watched by family before). The lady that watched is family and a wonderful person, but Will doesn't get to see her often. She's Dan's Aunt's mother-in-law. She's like a grandmother to Dan because he's known her since he was a little kid. My parents are down in Florida on a much needed vacation with my niece and nephew. This is a big trip for my father because he's seeing his brother for the first time in 37 years. I won't touch on this story because it's really his to tell, but you could imagine how big this trip is.

Back to Will. He saw her on Saturday at his cousin's birthday party. He loved her. He threw his arms at her, laughed, and was just adorable with her. Yesterday, we went over her place to bring the playard, stroller, and food. She wanted him to get use to her and the surroundings. We hung out for probably a good hour and everything went well. Will crawled and walked (cruised) around her place.

I knew he was going to feel strange because since he's been a month old, my mother has watched him. In fact, he eats better with her than me. So when I started walking over a different building, Will had a serious look on his face. He wasn't sure what was going on. I was talking to him letting him know that he was spending the day with Titi (that's what we call her). I went in her apartment and his serious face did not go away. He did, however, smile at her at one point and threw his arms to her. I was relieved. So, off to work I went.

I didn't want to pester her with my phone calls. So, I waited until 11 to call her. Breakfast was due at around 8-8:30. I didn't want to catch her while she was feeding the baby. And feeding the baby was the problem. He was asleep when I called her and she told me that he refused to eat breakfast or drink milk (that's when I sort of panicked). I kind of expected the food, but not the milk. We left it at that she would try and feed him again when he woke up.

Well, he has to eat when he wakes up? Right? Not so much. I called her again around 2 confident that he had eaten. She again told me that he didn't eat (only half a jar of food) and refused to drink milk. He had fallen asleep again. She was going to try again when he woke up. The funny part of this story is that he never cried and was having loads of fun playing.

At this point, I decided I would give it another hour and if he hadn't eaten by then, I would go pick him up. Do you know how horrible I felt that my little guy was on a food strike? I was panicking. She felt horrible too. She kept on telling me that she just wanted him to eat.

Luckily for all of us involved, the food strike ended at 3 pm. He ate the yummy soup I made him the night before, which by the way I had for lunch today, and drank about 6 ounces of milk. What a relief! She was even able to give him another 6 ounces of milk before I got there. Poor baby!

The rest of the week, he's hanging out with us. Dan is taking off tomorrow and Wednesday and I'm taking off Thursday and Friday. Monday he's back with Grandma (and Grandpa).

On a totally different subject, I am no longer pumping. My milk supply has dwindle to the point that it's not worth dragging my electric pump all over Manhattan. I'm still nursing him in the mornings, but I have to give him the bottle afterwards. I have been giving him whole milk (I know I'm suppose to wait until he's one, but I wasn't about to start him off on formula to then switch him to whole milk in a few weeks). He's reacted very well to the whole milk. So what I do is mix half breast milk and half whole milk. He hasn't even noticed the difference. Today was very liberating in the sense that I no longer have to pump at work. My load has gotten easier. Carrying that thing around is a pain in the ass.

Well, I must go. My kitchen is a mess (like always) and I want to go to bed very soon.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

So Far....

I've only spent $11 for lunch this month (instead of $70 by now). I'm so proud of myself for that! I don't count the $.75 I spend on my coffee because that's my treat. Although, Dan and I did splurge on Starbucks on Friday. We did however get only one drink and shared it (actually we always do that because the amount of calories in one drink is too much for one person to have--in my opinion). This next week coming up I'm only working three days and I'm bringing lunch on those days. Probably next week I'll eat out for lunch.

Doesn't spending $16 a month for lunch sound a lot better than $140? That's a savings of $124 in one month! Now mind you, Dan is doing the same thing on his end. Our savings doubled. You know, I'm a little embarrassed that we were actually spending that much money on just lunch. The good thing is that we learned from our mistakes and we've changed our habits.

Another good thing about bringing lunch in is that we're eating healthier (well, in a sense). Eating crappy fast food stuff is not good at all (especially if you do it all the time). Since I make chicken soup for Will every week, I end up having it for most of the week. I change up what I put in it weekly, but the staples are chicken, potatoes, carrots, and brown rice. The soup I made this past week was phenomenal. I added sweet potatoes (which melt in your mouth), onions, and green peas. Needless to say, this is a very healthy lunch. I swear I bring it in Monday though Wednesday. Luckily for me, I don't get easily bored with food. This past week, I made an excellent macaroni salad. Obviously, this is not as healthy, but it yields a lot.

I will leave you with my typing partner this morning. He looks so serious in this picture and I look like I just woke up (because I did).

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

My Budget Works!

Cutting out here and there is working out. And you ask,why shouldn't it? Even though it's obvious that becoming frugal will save you money. It's not that obvious until you actually see results. Except for my car insurance and cable bill, which get paid automatically at the end of the month, my bills are paid and I have money left over. There won't be any dipping into our savings account this pay period.

We really haven't been seriously budgeting until a few weeks ago, but I'm seeing a major difference already. Bringing lunch to work is making a huge impact on how much money we're saving. I'm still buying lunch once a week. Well, I had to do it today because I overslept and didn't have time to prepare lunch. I did, however, cut out my buying breakfast once a week. I would spend only $4.50, but that's still $18 a month that I don't need to spend.

Next month will be a bit tough because it is Will's first birthday. We're planning on a picnic, which I feel is the best option so far. I will be making most of the food. It will keep me busy, but it will also save me money.

One of my other concerns is that fall is fast approaching and I need to shop for new clothing. I have a dilemna (a good one). I've lost enough weight that only a pair of jeans and a pair of pants fit me properly and that's because I bought those last month. The rest of the clothes I own are big on me. So, I'll have to invest on some new outfits in the next couple of weeks.

Of course, I could use my credit card to buy myself a new wardrobe, but the point is not to bury myself in debt. Cash is my only option to use. I've mentioned this in the past, Dan and I are usually good with credit cards, but it's very tempting to use.

I hope that in the next couple of months, our budgeting will continue and we'll have more in our savings. A new job that pays more would be great at this moment. Will the hiring gods please hear me out?

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Ahhhh....Getting Away

Whenever the opportunity presents itself of taking a day trip, we do it. Our Mondays through Fridays allow us very little time to do much of anything. Our weekends are sometimes jammed packed with things to do (especially when Dan works). Summer is almost over and we haven't gone too many places (definitely not the beach and I don't think it'll happen).

This Saturday turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Dan was suppose to work, which saddened me because I knew it was going to be a gorgeous day. From around Thursday, I kept on wishing for him to stay home. On Friday night, we found out that the party he was going to work was canceled. He would have to confirm with the party coordinator Saturday morning.

As it turned out, it was canceled. I immediately told Dan that we needed to spend the day out and he agreed. The prior night, we had gone to his aunt's house where she told us about her camping trip. This camping trip took place in Bushkill Falls. She and her husband went on and on about how beautiful this place is. They even said they thought of us immediately when they saw the hiking trails available. So, can you guess where we went?


The place is gorgeous! We had such a nice time. Of course, it took us an hour from when we got there to actually start hiking (we fed the baby and I pumped). But once we started, it was absolutely great. The hikes are challenging because you are pretty much walking up and down stairs. If you notice the wooden railing next to us in the picture, the entire hike is made up of those wooden walkways. You start off at the top, end up walking all the way down, and then have to make it back up.

There are also different trails that you could take. Some last about 15 minutes and the longest one is 2 1/2 hours. We took a trail that was 45 minutes. It really took us 1 1/2 hours because we kept on stopping to take pictures and take in the beauty of the place. It was wonderful!


Will was great throughout the hike. He kept on laughing, smiling, and yelling. He would try to grab on to the leaves or anything he could get his hands on. Whenever we got close to the railing, he would look down at the water. He was so cute about it.


Next time we go, I would like to get there very early to take our time and do the red trail (the most challenging of all). Also, I think we'll wait until it's a bit cooler. We were hot! It's also quite tasking to carry the baby throughout the hike. I could have switched with Dan, but then I would have ended up with the book bag.

Besides the breathtaking views this place offers, it's very family and pet friendly park. There were dogs going up and down the trails. Little kids were also hiking along. Outside of the hiking area, you could bbq and picnic. There is also a campsite you could stay at. I'm sure there are more things to do, but we didn't have the time to do so. I would love to camp there (I've never been camping). We had a blast. If you're ever by the Delaware Water Gap, go there. You'll love it.


Thursday, August 07, 2008

We Saw Him!

Will has taken his first steps! He was sooooo cute about it, too. He cruises along his playard. Dan and I went crazy when we saw him. And Will? He laughed. He must think we're the goofiest people in the world. My little boy is growing so fast. Next month is his birthday. What a year!

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Will Standing

There! We got a picture of him standing. My parents told me that he even took his first steps today. It doesn't count unless Dan or I see him do it!!

Monday, August 04, 2008

He Knows I'm Mama!

He's in his playard calling out mama and looking straight at me!!!! I love him!


Saturday, August 02, 2008

Trying to Save Some Cash

I know everyone shares my sentiments on this one. Where's all of our money going? Well for us, it's going to groceries. Luckily, we don't really drive all that much. Our gas tank has to be filled up about once every three weeks (and that all depends on whether we go out on the weekends). But groceries are killing us. I'm spending more money and bringing home less.

This is frustrating for obvious reasons, but more so because with Dan's new job we shouldn't be seeing our money disappear so quickly. On top of the fact that he bartends a few times a month, we really shouldn't feel this strapped. I've had to cut down on how much money we're putting away into our savings and this month I had to dip into it. This is really scary because I hope we don't have to do it again next month or do it continuously. We'll run out of money and then what?

The other day while I was at the supermarket freaking out about how much everything had gone up, this little old lady stopped and asked me about the different types of canned tuna. I don't eat tuna fish so I really wasn't that helpful, but I tried anyway. She was telling me that she wanted chunky light in water. She wanted the tuna fish so that she could eat with noodles. I showed her a can of what she wanted, but she told me that she couldn't spend the $3 on the can. So, she opted for a smaller can and grabbed one. She also told me that rice had gone up too much for her from $4 to $10.

This poor old woman on fixed income is eating tuna fish (not that tuna fish is horrible) over noodles because she can't afford anything else. Can you imagine getting to the age of 70 and not be able to buy food? You have to settle for canned tuna because that's the cheapest thing around. How sad is that? I wanted to bring her home and cook her dinner. I believe that day I spent about $180 and didn't really bring much home. I know there wasn't any meat in my cart so I can't blame it on that.

Since there doesn't seem to be any significant change in prices in the near future. Dan and I are changing our spending habits (not that we really have bad habits; seriously, we're very conservative on what we spend our money on). Dan will continue bartending a few nights a month. In October, hockey season begins so he'll be working a few games a month. As you can see, he's doing more than his fair share.

Both Dan and I are bringing lunch to work. About once a week we'll eat out, but I think I'm even going to cut that out. I make enough food throughout the week to bring in leftovers. This will save us a lot of money. I had notice that the money I was spending at lunch had gone up too. It's ridiculous. I only spend money in the morning by purchasing a small cup of coffee at my favorite cart for $.75 (no Starbucks here). Even that adds up to $15 a month. Maybe, I'll bring in a coffeemaker to work and brew my own cup. We'll see.

Another thing that we changed is where we buy our meats. This past weekend Dan went to the butcher shop (Extra Supermarket for all of you locals; great meat and cheap). I'm going to get all Cuban on you right now, so bare with me. Dan got una bola, which is a big chunk of beef and had it divided evenly into carne molida (ground beef) and bistec (thin steaks). The "bola" was $32 and it gave us about 4 lbs of ground beef and 24 steaks. Then he purchased 2 lbs of chicken breasts, which he had them slice into cutlets for less than $5. When he came home with them, we were able to slice them up some more and came out with about 6 or 7 big slices of chicken cutlets.

If we would have purchased the same amount of meat at the supermarket, there is no way in hell we would have only spent $37. No way. He also got cold cuts there, but they were priced like everywhere else. So, for all of you locals go to 55th st on Palisade Avenue in West New York. You'll be saving loads of cash and have your freezer stocked up. Or if you don't live around the area, try out your local butcher shop. I'm sure the prices are better than in the supermarket. Dan also bought vegetables there. In total, he spent about $65 and came home with many bags of food. I was impressed and relieved that we were able to save some cash and have enough meat that will last us a bit.

I can't think of anywhere else we could save some more cash. It's not like we eat out all the time (last time was a week after Father's Day when we went to New Hope, PA). We do order in about once or twice a month. So I guess, I could cut that out, too. We're definitely not spending money on clothes (only on a need basis) or anything else for that matter. The good thing is that we're not charging anything we buy. We do have some credit card debt, but nothing out of this world. Although, with the way things are going that may be a problem. But hopefully, it won't get to that.

Last but not least, I've been job hunting. The only other way we'll relieve some of this crunch is if I make more money. I won't make more money at my job. They've closed down more than half of their offices around the country. There were massive layoffs in our office a few months ago and sales are down. I'm sure there won't be any raises this year, which they have been known to put freezes on raises in the past. And of course they don't pay us market value even though the president believes he does. He also thinks we're not in a recession and it's all in our heads (seriously, he said this in a meeting). I guess he doesn't have to worry about where his money is going.

Well that's that. Let's see how this cookie crumbles.

Friday, August 01, 2008

I'm Having a Mommy Moment

Will is right now in his playard trying to stand-up on his own. The only problem is that he can't reach the top of the playard to pull himself up! Sigh...I love him.