Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Spring Gardening

Y and I have been busy this spring with both planting and making improvements.  Y put up a metal cage around my two apple trees.  They were a gift 2 years ago for Mother's Day and the deer love them.  The Sweet 16 apple tree is budding out nicely but the Honeycrisp has not done anything yet.  I hope it comes back.  Our mulberry trees are still little but look to be coming back.  I only have three mulberry trees left because the deer ate one last summer.  We had hardly any snow this past winter so the trees and shrubs didn't get the snow cover they needed.

Y built me two raised beds.  One is for raspberries and we got 18 plants from our friend's dad who wanted to be done with them.  I also ordered another 12 plants.  The other bed is for asparagus.  We put it right over my existing asparagus bed which had 4 plants last year.  We planted another 32 roots.  Asparagus is a hard plant to establish but we love it so we struggle along.  We have our fingers crossed that many of the roots take.  I planted 16 roots a couple years ago to get the 4 plants to take.  After its established, it is super easy to maintain.

Y is also going to build me two smaller beds for strawberries and herbs.  I ordered 50 strawberry plants so we need to get moving on that bed.

I planted garlic last fall and its coming up nicely.  We also planted lots of onions, potatoes, peas, radishes, carrots, beets, spinach and arugula.  The soil isn't warm enough to plant the other things we have planned:  corn, beans, tomatoes, ground cherries, cabbage, eggplant and the vines.  I will probably keep adding to my list.  I have 5 different types of pumpkins and at least 6 types of cucumbers.

What am I forgetting?  Anybody have any good veggies to grow for a northern climate that I'm forgetting?

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Saturday Cooking

I feel like we've been so busy during the week lately that we have not been eating as well as we could be.  We have been eating easier meals with more precooked components.  The key to eating better during the week for us is making more meals on the weekend or having a meal ready to throw in the crockpot.

Last night I made stuffed shells with ricotta and beef.  I made corn chili for lunch.  I am defrosting T-bones streaks for tonight and I will make an asparagus pasta salad to go with it.  I have a whole chicken thawing for tomorrow.  I will make a delicious lemon and butter chicken with mashed potatoes and veggies.  I need to plan for another crockpot meal this week and we should be set between leftovers and meals made with the leftover chicken.

I feel so much better when we eat meals made from scratch.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Payday Happenings

It was payday for Y and myself today.  I paid another $1000 to the pick-up loan bringing the balance down to $5000.  I also transferred money into our savings account bringing it to $14,500.  I have thought about paying off the pick-up but I'm holding off for a few things.  We are building our front covered deck.  I have $2000 in gift cards for Lowe's for the decking.  The gift cards are from my bonuses for 2014 and 2013.  I don't know how much more the deck will cost and I don't want to cut ourselves short.  We are also still debating buying the living room furniture that I talked about a few months back.

I also set up an automatic transfer for $500 starting next month into our retail investment account.  Speaking of investments, the energy stocks I bought in December are up over $1000.  Woohoo!  My goal was to have $50,000 in retail investments by the end of the year.  We have just over $21,000 right now so there is a long ways to go.  Since I've been putting a lot of our funds into our savings and the vehicle loan, I need to focus on the investments next.

Paydays are the best!  I wish we weren't paid on the same day.  Lol

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

A Sober Tale

My best friend is an incredible person.  We met in 4-H when I was 12 and she was 11.  We bonded instantly.  We both showed horses, lived on farms, were interested in boys and liked having fun.  But we really liked having fun!  More than our other girlfriends and most of our boyfriends.  We realized in our mid teens that we could easily get whatever alcohol we wanted.  We partied and drank and had good times.  Then, we needed more.  That progressed to doing drugs to keep the partying going.

We grew up.  She joined the army and I moved away and went to college eventually.  When we got together, the partying was a whole new level.  We drank Coronas for breakfast, had Redbull/vodkas all afternoon, had wine with dinner and headed to the bar where we took shots, I drank beer and she drank vodka.  We woke up drunk and drank away our hangovers.  We had so much fun.

Until we didn't.  She continued drinking and I drank less because I was in college.  She would call me and be hysterically crying.  She quickly spiralled out of control.  To make a long story short, she sobered up...for the first time.  I tried to support her because I loved her.  I didn't want her to hurt the way she was at the end of her drinking.

Sobering up our friendship was very hard.  She relapsed with my help.  I would buy her shots and slip them to her.  We had to completely redefine our friendship if we wanted ton remain friends.  I needed to support her 100% in her sobriety 100% of the time.  It was kind of awkward and very hard.

Today she is sober and an addiction counselor.  Sobriety is and always will be a topic of our friendship.  We recognize that it is there and always needs to be there.  We are having our annual girls weekend in Minneapolis this weekend.  We might go out or we might stay in.  Either way, I'm so grateful I have put in 100% to our friendship because I get 100% back.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Increased Retirement Contributions

I want to max our my 401k this year.  I was contributing 13% and I just increased it to 16%.  I'm having a better than expected year so far.  Compared to last year at this time, I've doubled my income.  I need to watch this carefully but I want to put $18,000 in my 401k this year.  I also get a 5% match from my company but I must be contributing at least 5% to get that so I can't max it out early.  It won't hurt to bump down my contributions to 5% later if I'm close to the limit.

I don't want to work forever and I'm thankful that I can do this now because my circumstances might change later.  You just never know.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Changing My Attitude

I had a mini epiphany last Friday at work.  I was super busy and received a phone call from another coworker.  I was so crabby that I snapped at him over the phone.  I do pride myself on being professional at work so this was especially embarrassing and a wake up call.  This past month I've felt like nothing was going my way at work.  I was having support issues and a host of other work related problems.  This had even contributed to insomnia.

After losing it on Friday, I did email a quick apology and decided I needed to change my entire attitude.  My job doesn't suck.  I like it.  I probably need to handle the stress better but if I put my best attitude forward, only good things can happen because of it.  That's not to say that I won't still have the typical work issues of being in a high stress work environment but I don't have to let that ruin my attitude.

I will have a better attitude moving forward!!

Friday, April 3, 2015

Good Friday

Happy Good Friday!  I'm at work today and expect a very busy day.  The kids are withh my Mother-in-law per Lil Punk's request.  Y and I will go get them after work but we are going to go out for dinner first.  I'm excited to have a date night.  We had lunch together this week and I realized how much I miss spending one on one time with him.

Have a wonderful Good Friday!