July 13, 2017

Just a little (link) love: pre-SDCC edition

LinkLove

Grace Park and Daniel Dae Kim leave Hawaii Five-0 in season 8 because CBS wouldn’t pay them fairly, leaving me with absolutely no reason to watch beyond Season 7. Pay disparity based on race and gender continue, and the road, as Daniel says, to equality is rarely easy. This is so true, and a long fight remains.

Tiara Caldwell started a doula and lactation consultancy called Crowned and Cradled and that’s just pure genius.

It looks like we may need a Batsuit in a few years for JuggerBaby’s development. I seem to recall being perseverant as young as first or second grade when I chose to do homework, or even ask for it the total dork that I was, first when I came home from school. It felt like a way of giving myself structure, and I enjoyed the feeling of accomplishment that completing a worksheet gave me.

Even if I don’t hit financial independence at age 40, which is less than likely with our mega mortgage now, Mrs. BITA is right – I’m not going to be a failure! I will have tried and made the most of our resources, saved as well as we could, and invested to the best of our abilities. However we end this effort, it will have been after doing our best.

A second wolf family in California!! How exciting.

July 12, 2017

My kid and notes from Year 2.4

Books, books, everywhere

Did you know that some daycares let kids take books with them to their napping cots? Ours does and now JuggerBaby has to take a book, or five, to bed with zir every night.

We’ve had to set a hard limit of 2 small books for the bed lest ze fall asleep perched atop a mountain of all the books ze can carry.

Helper monkey

Amidst a really hard weekend of meltdowns, JuggerBaby turned into a most helpful creature. Once summer rolls in, Seamus’s allergies flare up, every single year and he requires twice daily feet wraps to ward off infection, calm his hot spots, and relieve his itching. It’s pathetic. This summer, though, his human sibling didn’t just try to horn in on the foot wrapping “fun” like last year when ze demanded I “yap feet!” for zir to look just like Brother. This year, ze is more advanced and less self centered. When ze spotted me closely examining his feet, ze loudly announced that Brother had “ows!” and ran to bring me the first aid kit, his treats, and generally made zirself useful by hovering closely and giving him treats as I worked. 

I wouldn’t go so far as to say he appreciated it but he didn’t hate the treats. 

Just one bite

JuggerBaby still has terrible table manners – frequently trying to steal off PiC’s plate; depositing rinds, peels and cobs on my plate like it’s zir mobile compost bin; randomly overstuffing zir mouth with one food only to chew it and spit it out because you stupidly offered zir something else to eat next. Next can’t come too soon for this toddler. We’ve learned our lesson – never ever offer zir anything new when that mouth is full.

The one thing that’s gone well is ze is still open to new foods and tastes. Even if ze doesn’t think ze will like it at first, occasionally refusing foods on the basis of I don’t wanna, ze is still willing to give anything a single bite trial. We tell zir often: just try one bite. If you don’t like it, then swallow that bite but you don’t have to eat any more.

I’m positive that wouldn’t have worked on me, but it’s perfect for zir. Ze has often rejected food out of hand, mostly out of pique. The dawning realization that this pancake/salmon/pickle is awesome is followed by a delighted “I LIKE it!!!”

Success.

Perhaps my proudest moment was serving a totally new dinner of grilled salmon, rice with mixed veggies, and broccolini the other night. Ze has eaten all these food types before but I’ve never served this meal. With zero fuss over the food, ze cleaned zir plate and asked to try the arugula quinoa salad too. Though ze returned a half chewed arugula leaf to me, “I don’t like it”, I can’t blame zir. Peppery leaves? Why??

Ze has come around on the notion of cake, too. Last year, cake was strange and distasteful. This year, we can’t get enough of it!

I wonder if this will be consistent into zir older years. I recall being very adventurous when I didn’t know better, eating fertilized eggs and jellyfish and other interesting native culture foods. Never durian, though, that stuff is a taunt from hell. As an adult, though, I’ve had to actively push myself to try new things like beets and kale and parsnips, or give previously despised foods a chance like yogurt and tomatoes. 

Precious #parenting moments

  • JB: I want yoom.
    Me: Broom?
    JB: Ya. Yooom.
  • Me: Did you just suck the butter off the green bean, then give it back???
    JB: Yes!
    Me: …… just … go.
    JB: JUST GOOOOO!!!
  • From across the room: *thunk* Ow. *thunk* Ow. *thunk* Ow. *thunk* Ow. *thunk* Ow. *thunk* Ow.
    Me: JB?
    JB: Mama?
    Me: Stop hitting yourself?
    JB: *thunk*
  • PiC: Want to share a banana?
    JB: Yes!
    PiC: Here. Have a bite.
    JB: My ‘nana. Dadda get own ‘nana.
  • Me: Go wash your hands.
    JB: I wait my toon.
    Me: ? It is your turn.
    JB: MAMA WASH, I WAIT TURN!

:: How was your palate as a kid? Is it better or worse in adulthood? 

Swagbucks: Walmart Summer Savings

We haven’t got a Wal-mart within a stone’s throw of us so that means I have no earthly clue where to find one here in the Bay, but for those of you who do shop them, Swagbucks is giving 6% SB back for all spending through Sunday.

Bonus: if you sign up and spend $25 or more using Swagbucks Shop before the first of next month, you’ll get a 200 SB bonus.

Here’s a handy tutorial if you’d like to join Swagbucks and earn. I track my earnings here.

July 10, 2017

Net Worth & Life Report: June 2017

Money and Life Report: June 2017

On Money

Income

Our normal income comes from two full time day jobs.

We experiment with earning money on the side, including minimal cash flow that we don’t touch from an investment property and investing in dividend stocks.

Some side income comes from Swagbucks, selling clothes on Poshmark which is hit or miss, and Achievemint (my introduction to it). Any purchases you make going through my Amazon links keep these blog lights on.

The long term goal is to replace our day job income before my health declines and prevents me from working.

***   ***   ***

Chase bonus money: Our checking account bonuses came in! +$500! And I FINALLY got our coupon for the mortgage rebate so that’s been submitted. Now I’m just impatiently waiting for my $150 from the savings account and $595 to come in.

Poshmark sale! Woot! I sold a nice wallet I have no use for. It was a lovely gift but I don’t tend to change wallets often, just the bags they go in, so after seven years of it sitting idle, it was time to part ways.

Cell phone credit: A short chat with T-Mobile about our terrible cell phone reception this month resulted in a $30 credit.

Yes, this is all small change in comparison to our home-related spending but I’ve always paid attention to my pennies AND dollars and it does all add up.

A raise for you, and a raise for me! PiC’s company and mine apparently put their heads together to let the first half of the year go out with a bang – we both got raises which was great news in light of our increased expenses. Best of all, mine was just enough to hit a Major Milestone in salary! This was HUGE. We celebrated with a high-five, two bags of rawhides for Seamus the Ever-patient Pup, and a $71 pair of sneakers to replace my 12 year old shoes that are absolutely killing my feet, knees, and hips.

Spending

Our normal spending includes the living expenses for two households so this update ignores those ordinary living expenses. When buying anything online, I always check Mr. Rebates and Ebates for cashback.

A hemorrhaging of money

Obviously we’re not trying to spend every penny we make between now and the time we sell our current residence, but the sheer amount of work that has to be done means we’re carrying the costs of two households for a few months. The spreadsheets have been worked double time to make sure we won’t get in debt but things are going to be TIGHT.

Slippery slope spending

Frustratingly, there’s also a sense of “just add it to the bill” cropping up with all the money that we’re already spending. I don’t especially want to battle that feeling as well, in order to keep other non-house spending in check! Send help! I need the new shoes, that I’ll concede. But I also feel like I “need” to send various people gifts for happy life events and that one’s hard to fight back without feeling like Scrooge.

Stupid tax

At the worst possible time, I overlooked the fact that we didn’t get our car registration renewals in the mail and the first I was reminded of it was when they sent the late notices with $142 in late fees at the end of May. ARGH. I spent 40 minutes at the DMV to plead my case and they reduced the late fees by half. I’m still grumpy but better than nothing.

#GivingCards and Charitable Giving

I don’t believe in tooting our horn for every donation we make. The point of giving isn’t to brag, it’s to help someone in need. The exception is when the cause is sound and could use help. I’m delighted to be taking part in the Rockstar Forums’ giving project where they send out a $20 gift card each month to forum participants who sign up.

June Giving Card! We were working a ton this month and were running errands like madpeople.

In the middle of that, I heard that a friend of a friend’s unreliable car had given out one more time and they weren’t sure how they were going to pay for the replacement. I remember being there. I remember being a little kid, sitting in the backseat, while my parents struggled to make ends meet, not knowing that we had to eke out another twenty thousand miles on that car because there just wasn’t enough extra room in the budget to save enough for a new-to-us old car that year, or the year after.

Our expenses are sky high right now so I couldn’t double it this month but I’ve got a line item in our budget for next year when things even out to send a bit of money to the Giving Card program next year.

Saving and investing

We max out a 401(k) and IRA every year. We normally save 20% of cash of our net salaries but that’s on hold while we get ourselves sorted out.

Rebuilding the emergency fund

The down payment depleted our liquid assets and they’ll stay depleted until we sell our current place. It’s going to take months before that happens. I’m not making any assumptions on the kind of … wait, no, I’m making LOTS of projections based on a range of possible sale prices that we might reasonably expect, but I’m not banking on any one of them as a certain outcome. The only thing I’m absolutely counting on is that the first thing this sale money goes to after paying our broker, and the loans, is to refill our emergency fund so I can sleep at night.

Links from this month

On Health

My steps this month: 102,367 steps or 46 miles.

Viral load. If I can go two (or even three!) monthly updates without having to mention a cold, or a flu, or both, I’d be EVER so grateful! This is not that day, though.

On Life

July is FULL FULL FULL. It’s the Month of San Diego Comic Con, of course, the whole month tends to revolve around that. We’ll take a day to see family and friends but mostly this is the Time of the Geek. YAY!

Wedding bells! We have a wedding to attend! The gift has been sent. Our accommodations are booked with points, thankfully saving our embattled pocketbook. We just have to pay for food and gas to drive to the Secret Location. Seamus can come with us, so we won’t have to pay for dogsitting. Now I just have to panic about what we’re all wearing. I don’t know how formal this thing is and it’s going to be the middle of summer in Hotter than Heck California. What on earth will be appropriate and not lead to a literal meltdown? Stay tuned!

:: How was your June? What do you have planned for July and the heat waves?

Read past monthly updates here!

July 6, 2017

Just a little (link) love: Independence week edition

LinkLove

How was everyone’s 4th of July weekend, at least in the US? We spent it in the hot hot hot and still feel crispy around our edges.

Mark your calendars for July 11: Amazon Prime Day 2017 – 30 Hours of Deals

Not that you need the warning but, obviously, spend responsibly. That said, you might find some useful deals on July 11th.

I’m considering this one for myself if my old as rocks Kindle is eligible: Get up to $35 off Trade in your Kindle off a new one

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A lot of flight attendants feel uncomfortable performing essential job functions and responsibilities because one angry person can change our employment status” – this is a natural result of the recent events gone viral. But at the same time, wouldn’t you argue there’s got to be a midpoint between physically assaulting passengers and not doing your jobs?

A useful guide to the best use of Ultimate Rewards points, if you have been stockpiling them like we did.

A nuanced look into the privilege of pretty and complications of being pretty in a society that focuses so much on a specific spectrum defining”pretty”

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