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Ravings of a VA
On Tuesday March 3. you can come and hang out in your PJ's and learn all about the new Spring-Summer Products.  There is a new TS Eat Well collection in addition to many other goodies.  Just join the Facebook event below!  You could even win a chance to be the host of the party!


There are new party options as well.  If someone books a party, the host will get an item for 50% off.  That could be you!

So stop by on March 3, beginning around 7 PM!  I look forward to seeing you!
Where to start.

If I had to give myself a report card right now, I'd probably have a D. I was well meaning at the beginning of the year. All set to declutter, sell stuff, keep up on cleaning the house. So forth and so on. Every weekend has been read. Sew or knit. Play on the computer. So. no decluttering. Not much cleaning. Okay. I lie about cleaning. My kitchen got cleaned today, my bathroom was cleaned last weekend. And the living room/dining room a couple of weeks ago. And every time I clean, I try to stretch my boundaries a little and clean something that hasn't been cleaned in a while.

No Spend challenge. This week was a HUGE bust. We ate out Thursday night since I finally went to league. I had a work Happy Hour on Friday night. But I spent cash that's been in my wallet for a couple of weeks for that. And I loaded my work card again. However, meal planning is still working fairly well. I can't remember what all I had last week, but we're using stuff.

I did finish a UFO. I'm still debating about borders. But that's a trip to the quilt shop, so it got set aside for now. I'm also trying to finish up some block swaps and need to decide what color I want the sashings to be between the blocks. And I have to make about 5 blocks between the two quilts that I want to get done.

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This week is going to be hectic, so I hope to stick to a budget and to my to-do list.  We'll see how successful I am.

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It's been a hectic week. Work has been...crazy, to say the least. There's a lot going on. Stay tuned. And I've been busy outside of work as well.

I haven't gotten as much done around the house and on my to do list as I would like, but I should have some time this weekend to catch up. Or at least I hope I do.

The no spend challenge. I was a little more successful this week. If I remember right. LOL. I have not been to a grocery store. I have not put money on my vendor card at work. In fact, I actually had tea yesterday and today. Piece of advice, don't drink HOT TEA through a straw. OWWWW. I have not eaten out. However, I haven't worked out either. But, spending wise, I've been good. I've also cooked this week. Monday was ribs in the crockpot, Tuesday was Chicken Paprikash and tonite was a spaghetti frittata. Last night was leftovers and tomorrow will probably be leftovers for me.

I've read a couple of books, but haven't done much crafty this week. It's in the plan, but just haven't gotten there. I have to do list for that as well. I have UFO's I want to finish.

1) Cross Stitch Tablecloth (started in college?)
2) 2010 UFO Snow Day Mystery Quilt
3) Pirates Scarf
4) Legacy Scarf (started 2 years ago)
5) Finish a block of the month started 2 or 3 years ago
6) Quilt and finish at least 2 quilts
7) Tshirt quilt promised for a pinball friend.... I've had the stuff for too long.
8) Finish one kit previously purchased from connecting threads

So, being ambitious or trying to be. But I need to sit down and work on some of them at some point. Along with everything I want to do. I think my problem is that I'm trying to do too much. And I'm not succeeding at anything right now. So, I need to take a step back and re-prioritize and come up with a plan and stick to it. One thing at a time.

But, that's life right now. At least I'm being somewhat good in the spending category, which is a major goal. Now to find money to pay off my debt. :)

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While this weekend blew the no-spend challenge, it was much needed. Last year, Pete won a Visit Erie package at the Home Show. It included an overnight stay, several gift certificates and some other goodies. Well, as is always the case, things got crazy and we didn't get a chance to use the package until this weekend. Only the coldest weekend of the year so far.

We did some wine touring on Saturday because we had a passport and a gift certificate for the wineries. But, sampling isn't free and some of the wineries had non-wine food goodies (I'm trying to justify our purchases there as grocery shopping...but it was unnecessary stuff). We also had a couple of certificates for restaurants, but did have to eat out a couple of times.

The only places we really didn't spend anything were the two places that involved clothing that we had gift certificates to. And that was fun. Two people trying to shop for stuff but knowing they don't need a whole lot, but have to use the GCs. But we finally found some things that we could use and shouldn't go to waste.

All in all, it was a good weekend and while I feel a little guilty, I know I can start fresh tomorrow. And tomorrow will involve starting my work outs again, so...I won't be going out to lunch or anything anytime soon.

Tonite was also a good night because I did some sewing. While I can't wait to finish the project I'm working on (TINY PIECES), it was nice to sit down and sew. But I need to focus on finishing this project before starting anything new. Here's a sneak peek:

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This week has been tough to get through. I could blame the weather, I could blame the fact that it's the first full week back, I could blame the face that I'm just tired. But I simply have no will power. Yes. it was a small backslide. but still. I ran out of pop. And I didn't want to deal with the caffeine headache quite yet. I was going to drink tea. And I don't have a reason why I didn't. It's cold. Tea would be better than pop. But no. I loaded my card and proceeded to buy a pop. Or two this week. Sigh. Oh well. Tomorrow is another day, right?

I'm still doing okay with the meal planning. But, I think I need to stick to the basics. I'm trying to get too fancy and messing up dinner. To the point that I just don't want to eat it. Not that it's bad. It's just not...what I was trying to make.

This week has just been a struggle all around. I think I'm just being too overly hard on myself when I don't finish the to do list or do something that I know I should do. I'm barely keeping up on the basics this week. I have SAD (seasonal depression) so, I imagine the cold snap and the snow kicked it in pretty hard. But I want to get past it. So, after this weekend. I will focus on what needs to be done. And be a responsible adult again.

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I will never understand how the weekend goes so quickly. I can't believe it's Monday already!

So, one thing I'm realizing tonite is that I need to quit making my to do list so overwhelming. I need to focus on the items that I can do that day, rather than sweeping generalities. And I need to leave some time to do something I enjoy doing. Hitting the ground running is either going to burn me out or keep me from getting done everything I want to get done. So, start small there, right?

Today I had a small victory. I forgot to take my last bottle of pop to work. And oh man. Did I want that pop. But. I didn't have any money on my kiosk card and I didn't want to load it. And believe me, I tried to talk myself into it, several times. While I had a slight caffeine headache, I was proud that I resisted the urge to spend!

Next up with this challenge is being able to find deals and save money on the things I need. And be able to plan a menu around what is on sale. Which is just a scary thought to me right now. But, I want to save money, so it's a step I'm willing to take. It's just being organized enough to do that!

I've had some offers of help and I look forward to following up on those. Better to use tried and true systems than to come up with my own!


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I'm sitting here watching the Steelers game and hoping for a win. Go Steelers!

So, we're three days into a new year. It's still hard to believe. As I get older, I find the years go faster. Next thing you know, it will be Valentine's Day.

The challenge continues. I did spend $2.87 on Friday for a cheap lunch. But, that was with restraint. Thank you dollar and more menus! I haven't really gone shopping or really gone anywhere since the challenge started, other than that one stop at the grocery store. Yesterday I planned menus for the next week, or at least through Wednesday. So that's a start. But I have to stand in front of the freezer sometime and figure out what's there since that hasn't been done yet. But I think right now, there's almost anything I could want of our normal choices. I should work on some freezer meals, but that will be another time.

I did make lettuce wraps tonite. It was an interesting experience. I'm undecided if I will do it again. Possibly, because they actually weren't too bad. I just have to figure out how to do the lettuce they way they do in restaurants. :)

Last night and today was spent putting away Christmas and cleaning my living room and dining room. One upside to this challenge is that I'm trying to keep up on the cleaning a little at a time. I want to get into some type of rotation. I know there's lots of websites out there, but I'm not ready to tackle that yet. One thing at a time or else I won't do anything. So, focus on the no spending and trying to be more proactive about meal planning and keeping my kitchen clean. Then next will be the cleaning schedule and household binder.

2015 will be the year of change. I can do this.

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I've already lost track of the day. I *think* it's day 5. I went to the store Monday. I somewhat stuck to the list in my head. I bought one or two things not on the list, but I still managed to stay around $20. Not bad considering I usually spend much more. Oh, I'll just pick up this while I'm there and oh, I'll get that too...

Since I had some buttermilk left, last night for dinner I made this recipe:


I don't like the buttermilk flavor. Unless, of course, the buttermilk was on the verge of going bad, then that explains why I didn't like it.

Tonite was using up some of the steak Pete grilled Saturday night. I made a steak wrap for me. I imagine he'll make steak salad. I set aside some of the lettuce because I want to make this or something similar to it:


I stopped at half price books on the way home and sold a box of books. I will never understand their pricing structure. One week, I can sell a box and get $25, the next week, I sell similar books and only get $20. No, it's probably not worth it, but it gets them out of the house and it gives me a little extra cash to work on paying off some debt. I have to do a second pass in my library and weed out some more, but until I get rid of the rest of what I have to take (3 or 4 more big boxes), I'll wait.

Next step is over the weekend. I want to take some pictures of some of the stuff in the garage and post it on some of the FB yard sale sites and see if I can get anything for it. It's better than waiting to try and have a huge garage sale in the spring and end up donating most of it. I have some craft stuff, two microwaves and a few other things I want to post.

So, I'm slowly getting somewhere. Next up will be trying to build a budget I can live with.

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So, Day one turned out to be a flop. To be fair, it wasn't entirely our fault. We went to Applebees with the intention of using gift cards. But, as is our luck. Somehow the gift card was not activiated. *facepalm* So we ended up having to pay for the whole dinner. So, as the saying goes, tomorrow is another day....

Today it was easy not to spend anything. We didn't go anywhere. Yes, I could spend money online, but there's nothing I desperately need.

But, I spent today cleaning, going through some stuff and generally recovering from the holidays. I have a long way to go before I can let go of some stuff. But other stuff was easy to chuck into a box or the trash can. Now, I need to spend some time in the garage and start posting it on FB and craigslist.

Tomorrow. I'm not sure what I'll do. Clean up my living room and dining room perhaps and maybe do some sewing. Finishing up some of my UFO's will be another goal next year. After all, maybe if I spend some time doing that, I'll realize I don't need to buy fabric for anything.

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So, I guess technically today is Day one of my no spend challenge, since Wednesday and Thursday were holidays. I looked in my lunch and already am struggling. Not that I don't like ham, but a burger sounds good. I think where I'm really going to struggle is when I run out of pop. But I can drink tea. (as long as my cream here at work hasn't been thrown out. I need to check the fridge today). I partially went through my pantry on Tuesday and have a list of what we have. I found 4 cans of corn and that doesn't count what we canned from the summer. I also found 4 or 5 different types of peanut butter and like 4 different types of chinese sauces. I'm not excited about the chinese sauces, but I'll figure it out. The goods we canned and my Tastefully Simple stuff will need to be a separate list. And some of the dried mixes and dip mixes didn't get listed yet either. However, I don't think we'll starve. I may need to get creative, but we won't go hungry. I have to decide if fresh veggies go on the list of "allowed to buy" I'm thinking they should be. But only if I have a plan for them. So, I'll have to plan for like a stir fry. Although, I think one of the days is meal planning. Looking at the schedule, Day 3. So over the weekend, I'll be spending some time on the internet planning ahead at least for a week or so to start. Our schedule is fairly easy over the next week. I'm more worried about the following week when real life hits again.

But, I know I can do this. I have $8 in my wallet. It can last me a while. And I can get away with only buying gas and necessary items at the grocery store. That book I want? It can wait, I have a whole kindle and a whole room full of books. That gorgeous fabric? Well, I can go home and fondle pretty fabrics in my craft room. That candy bar? Well, all I need to do is step on the scale. The hardest part is going to be not eating out. But. I can do it. Oh. and giving up pop like I said earlier. But water is better for me.

I spent some time trying to get caught up on stuff when I was home on Wednesday. It felt good to actually move around some clutter. Now, it needs to get out of my house. I have boxes that need to go to half price books. I have stuff that needs to go to the post office. Next will be picking a room a week or a month and digging into it and deciding what I want to keep and what needs to go. I'm starting to feel like a hoarder and I hate it. There's stuff in the house that I haven't used since we moved in. So, time to let it go. Unless, it's a family heirloom. Then, it gets packed away to get passed down to the next generation. OR it goes now to one of them. We'll see.

But. It's going to get done. Stress free living. It's for me.

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