Monday, October 31, 2011

Number crunching

Since we've been married, Nathan and I have been pretty careful with our money.  We both have cars we paid cash for, and we don't carry credit card balances month to month and we have paid off a couple of our student loans.

But we've been noticing lately that we could probably be saving more money each month.  Therefore, starting in November, we are going to be on a monthly budget.  I sat down and tried to work out budgeting for myself and didn't really do too well.

So, I turned to my mom, Queen of Budgets, and asked for help.  She taught me how to estimate what all our expenses will be, give myself a monthly allowance for groceries and try to guess how much each of us will spend on gas.  Hopefully the grocery budget will also lead to other things I've been meaning to do, like using coupons.  Beyond that, we are each going to have a monthly allowance for what Nathan calls "random fun money."  That will be for things like eating out, movies, yarn and books, or snacks.

It's going to take a while to get in the swing of it and figure out just how much we need to hang on to for each category, but hopefully it will help us put more money into savings each month.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Same old...

I know that every year it seems I do a post about Halloween decorations.  I'm sure this is getting boring for some people, but I keep getting new decorations that are so much fun I can't help but wanting to share them.  So here we go...again:

I found this at Crimson Ridge this fall and I love it.  I believe the design on the pumpkin is a witch flying against the moon over a cemetery and haunted house.

This was at Crimson Ridge last year and I practically had to be dragged out of the store without it.  Fortunately, my mother noticed how much I wanted it and made sure it appeared under her Christmas tree.  It's resin and the writing on it is from Macbeth:
"Eye of newt and toe of frog
Wool of bat and tongue of dog
Adder's fork, and blind-worm's sting
Lizard's leg and howlet's wing
For a charm of powerful trouble
Like a hell-broth boil and bubble
Double, double toil and trouble
Fire burn and cauldron bubble"
The books underneath it were given to us by Nathan's dad and they are just about the same size and color as the decoration.

Most of this is new.  The wall applique says "Be Afraid of things that go bump in the night."  I found it at Michaels and love it.  That's also where the bats came from.  The spider web basket and pumpkin, which is black and has silver spiderwebs on it both came from my mom and dad for Christmas by way of Crimson Ridge.  (Seriously, I love that place.)

Here's a close up of the spider web basket and pumpkin.

...And that's just about all the new stuff.  Not a single black cat to be seen this year.

1,000 Little things

Lately, every time I think to myself, I should write a post about that, I realize it would only last a paragraph or two.  There just isn't that much going on around here:

I've been on vacation since the 18th and go back Saturday.  It has been very nice.  Mostly, I've stayed home and relaxed.

Nathan and I celebrated our 5th anniversary on the 21st with a dinner at JMK Nippon in Rockford, the restaurant we went to for our first "official" date and also where we went the night we got engaged.

On the 22nd, my cousin got married and we all got to spend time with the family, one of my favorite things.

Because of some strange symptoms and goings on with my health, I am now wearing a 4-week event monitor, which I began on Monday.  I have to say, I'm not a fan.  Hopefully, this will tell the doctors what they want to know.

For Christmas last year, Elizabeth gave me fall colored yarn and I just finished knitting it into a blanket.  The blanket itself isn't very big, but it's more decorative than anything.

Fall is a very busy time for Nathan.  He pitched in again this year at the apple orchard close to home.  He does this every year because the people who own it are friends of his parents.  Now that that's over it will be time to help out with harvest soon.

We just had one of our biannual visits with our social worker.  It seemed to go well and she was very encouraging.

That's about all we've got going on here.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


Now, to boost my spirits more than anything else...I love the movie Gnomeo and Juliet.  Seriously, I love it more than almost any other movie I have seen in the last year or two.  To make it even better, Elton John (whom I think is awesome) does the music for it.  This is my favorite song from the whole movie.


So, I have been doing my best lately to keep the adoption process out of the blog.  Partially because it was all I wrote about for a while and nothing new was happening, but also for myself.  I get tired of having nothing new to say.  But this month is our one year followup with our social worker, so I thought I'd do a quick update.

Nothing new is happening really, we haven't heard from anyone.  Our agency has decided they are going to start updating families monthly with how many people have looked at their profile.  I'm not sure I want that.  I don't know if I can handle knowing how many birthfamilies look at our profile every month and still don't choose us.  Nathan said he would like to know, though, so I assume we'll say we'd like to get the e-mail.

As you can probably tell, I'm starting to get a little down-hearted about it all.  In June, our two-year contract is up and we haven't really decided where we're going to go from there.  I've stopped buying new things because I didn't want to get too much accumulated.

We've been trying to think of new ways to make the profile more attractive to birthfamilies.  When we signed our contract with the agency they asked us if there was a specific dollar amount we would be willing to contribute monthly to a birthmother's living and medical expenses.  This is a common practice in adoption, but we didn't have a number picked out so we just left it blank.  We've been revisiting that idea and also wondering if there is something we can do to make the house look more appealing.  The picture of it in our profile is not so great.

Okay, I have to stop writing about this now and go dry my eyes.