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Trash to Treasure

June 26th, 2008 at 04:43 pm

Sidestream Income:
$3214.93 old total
$40.00 TV
$25 moving boxes
TOTAL: $3279.93

I'm still in the throes of unpacking but I want to track my cash inflow before I forget.

Two days before the move we decided to sell our TV ($40) and just now I sold all my old moving boxes for $25 on Craig's List. The sale of the moving boxes was quite a score since they were all boxes I collected for free. I listed the entire "lot" plus packing paper for $25. Sure enough, someone who is moving this weekend and in dire need of boxes scooped them up.

Staying Cool When it's H-O-T

June 9th, 2008 at 04:48 pm

We're in the middle of a heat wave and I sold my air conditioner a few weeks ago. What's a frugal gal to do?

Close all the windows and doors and draw the blinds. I'm surprised by how many people don't know this trick! As the temperature starts to rise, you want to trap the cool air in your house and keep the heat from seeping in. I've actually had people come into my house during hot weather and assume I have central air conditioning because the house is so much cooler than the outdoors. I don't have central air, but I do have I have an indoor/outdoor thermometer. Once I see the temperature outside is cooler than inside (probably around 9pm) I'll open everything up to let the cool air in. For safety reasons, I sleep with everything closed, but when I'm up in the morning I'll open everything up again until the temperature in the house starts to rise.

Break out the Crock Pot. No cook meals like salads are a great idea when the weather is hot, but I'm moving in a week and trying to eat down my pantry and avoid going to the store. Crock Pots are great for hot weather because unlike your oven or stove top, they contain most of their heat. Furthermore, if you have a porch, garage or basement you can let the Crock Pot work it's magic outside the living quarters to further prevent additional heat in the house.

Last night I found this unique recipe for
Slow-cooker Chicken in Spicy Peanut sauce
. I was thrilled because I could use 2 cans of tomatoes AND the remainder of my peanut butter plus the 2 chicken breasts that have been in the freezer for GodKnowsHowLong. I threw the ingredients in the Crock Pot and plugged it in in the basement before I went to work. When I got home, I put some rice in the rice cooker and plugged it in on the front porch. Before long, I had a hot meal and a cool house!

Not So Frugal Fries

May 31st, 2008 at 08:01 pm

I submitted my dissertation to my committee on Friday. I still need to get through the defense but this is a step in the right direction!

Thursday night I stayed on campus until about 8:30pm finishing up some last minute revisions. Walking home I was hungry and feeling celebratory, so I decided to stop at Five Guys for a burger. I had never been there before, but had heard that their burger and fries were among some the best in town. Plus, it fit the bill for what I wanted: tasty, cheap, indulgent, and quick.

I ordered a little cheeseburger and medium fries (medium and large are the only sizes available) without paying much attention to the price aside from noting that the "little" burgers (which were still pretty big) were at least a dollar less than the original burgers.

I was just cleaning out my wallet and entering expenses into Quicken this evening, I noticed that my cheese burger was $3.29 and the fries were $1.99. That seems like a lot for fries. I think it's one of those things where if you go to a burger joint it's almost sacrilege not to get fries.

I'm not that big of frugal nut that I'd skip the fries if I go there again since I eat fast food about 1x/ year. It's just interesting to note that they weren't that good and cost nearly 40% of the total bill. I wouldn't recommend eating this type of food regularly, if you do it's pretty easy to see how just making minor adjustments to your order could save hundreds of dollars over the course of a year.

More Sales!

May 26th, 2008 at 09:39 am

Sidestream Income:
$3154.93 old total
$60.00 AC unit

TOTAL: $3214.93

My AC unit (priced at $75) didn't sell at the yard sale. The Craig's List ad elicited some calls and emails, but no one came to look. So, when a college kid offered me $60, I decided to accept the offer.

I'm nearly at last year's total for the $20 Challenge!

5 Yard Sale Tips

May 24th, 2008 at 08:09 pm

Sidestream Income:
$2993.93 old total
$161.00 yard sale

TOTAL: $3154.93

Today's yard sale was a success!! I surpassed my expectations and made $161.00. That doesn't include the $60 I'll earn when I deliver my dehumidifier to a neighbor. I don't move for another month and I don't want to stop using my dehumidifier until then. I posted a sign at the sale saying "Dehumidifier Available: Inquire for Details"-- the "details" included the fact that I would take your name and number if you were interested and call you in a month. My neighbor expressed great interest, so I feel pretty confident (more so than I would with a stranger) that the deal will go through. In fact, he even offered to pay me now but I said I'd rather wait until delivery.

I'm surprised I sold over $150 worth of stuff because much like my last garage sale, I seemed to be selling a whole lot of nothing. My biggest sale was a set of shelves for $25, followed by my kitchen curtains for $10 and a hand held vacuum for $5, but after that it was all small ticket items. Truly all those $2-$3 sales (often comprised of a bunch of $0.25 and $0.50 items) add up!

Tip #1: Advertise
I placed two free online classifieds and four homemade, easy to read signs pointing car and foot traffic to my location.

Tip #2: Organize and Stage
It takes a little extra time, but items that look gently used sell a lot better than items that look like they fell off a garbage truck! For example, I had two small rugs in my basement that looked so dirty I nearly threw them out. However, after a few minutes of vacuuming with my powerful Hoover, they looked good enough to sell. I marked the rugs at $1 / each and they were promptly scooped up within the first hour. In their former state of filth, I would have been embarrassed to put them in the free pile! Be certain to price all your items. People are shy. It's been my experience that marked items sell better. Set the mood. I have a little wicker table that I positioned in the sunniest part of the yard where I displayed all my glassware and linens for sale. Even through the table itself wasn't for sale, it evoked a garden party image and (I think) created a vision for what people could use the items displayed on it for. I covered all the rest of my tables in inexpensive plastic yellow table cloths (leftover from a baby shower). Nothing fancy, but better looking than the icky folding table underneath. I also mowed the lawn the day before and swept the sidewalk and walk way. A clean yard signifies a home in which the items for sale were cared for.

Tip #3: No Holds Barred!
If you're having a sale because your moving, don't be afraid to sell everything! For example, I had a big package of styrofoam cups left over from when I brought a hot beverage to a charity walkathon. I have no use for them. Had I not been moving, I might have been tempted to stash them away "just in case", but there's no need for me to transport styrofoam cups across three state lines "just in case"!! Sure enough, the cups sold! Another example of an atypical yard sale item was my random assortment of holiday paper napkins and plates. I bundled them together and sure enough, they sold, too! These are just a few examples of things that could have been thrown out, but instead helped me to earn some cash.

Tip #4: List Big items on Craig's List
List your big items on Craig's List. With any luck, the items will sell before the sale. This didn't happen for me, but I had people contact me about 2 of my Craig's List items after 9pm on Friday night so I replied and said that it would be at my yard sale the following day. Both people showed up to purchase the item they wanted from Craig's List and picked up a few extras.

Tip #5: Have Fun! Make small talk, meet the people in your neighborhood, and enjoy the opportunity to make a little cash while parting with stuff you'll never miss!

Prepping for the Yard Sale

May 22nd, 2008 at 08:09 pm

Preparing for this upcoming Yard Sale is exhausting!

I put some of the bigger ticket items (air conditioner, microwave, glassware, curtains, etc) on Craig's List. I've had a number of emails, but only one sale: a bicycle for $125.

I don't know what my goal for the Yard Sale is-- I guess if I make $100 and get rid of stuff I'll be happy. Whatever doesn't sell on Saturday is going to Goodwill on Sunday!

Sidestream Income:
$2868.93 old total
$125.00 sold bike

TOTAL: $2993.93

I've also been thinning out my pantry in preparation for the move. Tonight I had the Thanksgiving perennial 'Green Bean Casserole' for dinner so I could use up 2 bags of frozen green beans and a can of mushroom soup!! Not exactly a springtime dish, but hey- that's the beauty of cooking for one.. there's no one to complain!

Decluttering, selling, defending

May 21st, 2008 at 06:23 am

Sidestream Income:
$2818.93 old total
$50.00 rideshare

TOTAL: $2868.93

I went back to look at apartments this past weekend. Luckily, I was able to find another rider and earn $50 to cover the gas. On another good note, we did find a place to rent. The price is $1800 / month but it beautiful (no damp basements!). I think I will be happy there.

I've been in massive de-cluttering mode and plan to have a garage sale Saturday. I don't expect it will be a big money maker, but it encourages me to get rid of things I don't have the heart to throw away but don't seem appropriate for GoodWill (ie- used but perfectely re-useable baby shower decorations, books, etc).

Someone from a moving company is coming to give me an estimate on Tuesday. My re employer re-imburses up to 3K in moving expenses. I don't think I will have a problem staying under that limit.

Oh yea, and I'm defending my dissertation in month! THAT at least, seems to be under control!

Rental Sticker Shock!

May 5th, 2008 at 08:19 am

Sidestream Income:
$2765.93 old total
$50.00 rideshare
$3.00 PineCone surveys
TOTAL: $2818.93

I drove down to see Mr. Bean this weekend and to look for a new apartment for the two us in his area.

Oi Vey! Sticker shock!!

Would we like to live in a dark, damp basement for $1600/ month? No, not really! We saw about 15 places and put an application in for one. Unfortunately, I think there were other applications ahead of us so I'm not holding my breath.

On the upside, I was able to take someone with me and get $50 in gas money for the round trip ride. We also got a better understanding of what our money will and will not get us. If our application on the one place isn't successful, we're going to start looking into some condo units that aren't selling and are going up for rent. W
e looked at one and I must say that although the location was a little far from public transportation, the unit was beautiful!

Housesitting $$

March 19th, 2008 at 07:17 am

Sidestream Income:
$1589.93 old total
$420.00 housesitting
TOTAL: $2009.93

I got paid $420 for the Spring break house / dog sitting stint. The money is in my checking account at the moment, but I'll contribute it to my Roth IRA by the end of the week.

Feeling glamorous!

March 13th, 2008 at 01:53 pm

I went back to the Beauty School yesterday and had my hair highlighted and cut for a grand total of $33 + tip.

I love it!

Hopefully I can find another beauty school to visit after I move.

Sidestream Income

March 10th, 2008 at 11:00 am

Sidestream Income:
$1549.93 old total
$40.00 babysitting
TOTAL: $1589.93

Another $40 from babysitting on Friday night. I'm house/pet sitting this week, so I'll have another large addition to add by the beginning of next week.

Other than that, nothing new on he money side to report!

Crock pot extravaganza and Side Stream Income

February 28th, 2008 at 07:26 pm

Sidestream Income:
$1509.93 old total
$40.00 babysitting
TOTAL: $1549.93

I made $40 babysitting last night.

I've also been working really hard this month to eat from my pantry and freezer. I should run the numbers and see if my grocery bill was any different this month.

I've also been making great use of my beloved Crock Pot:

Tonight's creation used up some bulgur I've had on the shelf for some time. I skipped the parsley because it would have required a trip to the store. I didn't precook anything and just tossed everything in and cooked on low all day. I also used homemade chicken broth made from a chicken carcass (mmmm, tasty) I had stored in the freezer. The end result of the bulgur pilaf was decent. Not something I LOVED, but good enough. The chicken broth, on the other hand, was great. I really like how the recipe has you puree the chicken meat and vegetables into the broth rather than just toss them. It gives the broth a richer flavor and adds more nutrients.

Ripped Denim

February 20th, 2008 at 07:49 pm

Sidestream Income:
$1474.93 old total
$35.00 babysitting
TOTAL: $1509.93

I made $35 babysitting tonight and then fell on the sidewalk after leaving their house and ripped a hole in the knee of splurge jeans. Uggh. Ripped designer denim IS NOT the look I'm going for!

Sidestream Income

February 18th, 2008 at 06:29 pm

Sidestream Income:
$1114.93 old total
$360.00 House / Dog sitting
TOTAL: $1474.93

I received payment for the house / dog sitting I did earlier this month. I've decided to deposit all house sitting money in my Roth IRA to help me reach this year's 5K maximum contribution.

Pinecone Survey

February 6th, 2008 at 05:54 pm

Sidestream Income:
$1111.93 old total
$3 Pinecone Survey
TOTAL: $1114.93

I received my first PineCone check today! The money certainly is better than MySurvey.com-- the only other survey site I participate in. At this rate, I could stand to make $20 / year from surveys ;-)

I haven't babysat in a week, but I will housit starting on Friday for 6 days. That should bring in another $360.

More babysitting cash

January 30th, 2008 at 09:09 am

Sidestream Income:
$1046.93 old total
$65 babysitting
TOTAL: $1111.93

I made $65 babysitting last night. I think that's most I've ever made in one bout of babysitting ($60 was my previous high).

This has been a big month for side stream income! I don't anticipate future months to be this good! The money is welcomed, since I was also on a bit of a spending binge this month.

Sidestream Income

January 28th, 2008 at 08:04 am

Sidestream Income:
$756.93 old total
$40 rideshare
$250 airline vouchers
TOTAL: $1046.93

I went to visit Mr. Bean this weekend. I took along a rider who gave me $40 for the round trip ride. I also sold the airline vouchers we received as audience members on the Dr. Phil show this past Fall. I wish we could have used the vouchers, but it didnít seem like we would have time before they expired. At the very least, we got some cash and the buyer got a great deal!

I feel a little guilty counting the $250 for the vouchers as income because we quickly spent the $250 (and then some) hosting a very big, very non-frugal party. Whoopsies!

Babysitting $$

January 20th, 2008 at 10:05 am

Sidestream Income:
$726.93 old total
$30 babysitting
TOTAL: $756.93

I made $30 babysitting last night. At least my side stream income for 2008 is surpassing my the amount I've spent on the self-beatification splurge this month!!

1/3 Life Crisis!

January 16th, 2008 at 08:00 pm

Sidestream Income:
$701.93 old total
$25 babysitting
TOTAL: $726.93

I earned $25 babysitting this evening. Thanks to the house sitting earlier this month 2008 is looking GREAT!

Now, if I can only quell my spending! I just ordered the granddaddy of ceramic hair flat irons for $100 earlier today. Designer jeans, highlights, expensive hair products? What has become of me! Is this my one-third life crisis? When all is said and done, the total for these items is ~$225. Let's hope the splurge is complete!

Beauty dilemmas

January 14th, 2008 at 01:43 pm

Sidestream Income:
$211.93 old total
$480 housesitting
TOTAL: $701.93

I got paid for the house sitting I did last week. House sitting involves living/sleeping at the house and taking care of the dog, mail, trash etc. The home is ~10 miles from where I live, so I used much more fuel than I typically do in a given week, but it's still a good gig to have.

I wrote a lengthy entry last night about the money I've spent in the beauty/fashion care department in the last week (new jeans, highlights etc), but lost the entry before it was published. Hopefully I'll find the time to re-write it. The post basically told the tale of woe that I've been feeling really frumpy as of late. It's probably not coincidental that I also turned 30 this week. To be honest, I'm happy with my size and shape, I just don't feel like I have the right clothes or take the time to look a little better. I think with turning 3-0 I came to realize I might as well enjoy what I have because it won't be around forever.

Interestingly, other bloggers I read have recently expressed similar feelings. I took a plunge and got highlights last week--but held onto my frugal ways and had them done at the beauty school. I couldn't be happier! They look great and they cost only $30! I wouldn't go to an inexpensive chain salon like Super Cuts for highlights, however. Why? The stylists at the chains are typically inexperienced and they are pressed for time. The beauty school stylists can take all the time they need (note: don't make an appointment at the beauty school if YOU have someplace to be!), and they have an experienced instructor guiding them.

The money saved on the highlights will help to offset the the price of the designer jeans I also splurged for :-) People say having one great pair of jeans is better than 8 pair of ill-fitting jeans. Well, I have 8 pair of ill-fitting jeans, so and the verdict is still out on this purchase. I will say their fit is definitely better, and the store altered the length for no extra cost. I had been contemplating taking the designer denim splurge for some time, but Madame X's musing on the topic helped remind me of this pressing priority! The jeans were originally $175, but on sale for $79.50. Yikes! Frugal? Heck no! But my butt looks good!

More Sidestream Income

January 13th, 2008 at 07:54 am

Sidestream Income:
$161.93 old total
$60 babysitting
TOTAL: $221.93

I babysat for 6 hours last night (until 2am-- I'm tired this morning!)

Side Stream Income

January 9th, 2008 at 09:34 am

Iíve decided not to participate in the Challenge for 2008. I really like the idea of using the Challenge for finding new income streams, and frankly, I donít think I can come up with anything new after the last yearís romp! Plus, what I did last year (selling things, babysitting and housesittng) is still working for me, so Iíll continue to use my time and energy to pursue these endeavors. Hey, if it ainít brokeÖ..

Although Iím not going to participate in the Challenge, Iím going to continue to track my side streams of income here. Itís fun for me, and from what Iíve read in the comments, itís motivating to some readers.

So with that said, Iíve made some babysitting money and half.com cash in the New Year. The babysitting jobs were both found in response to ad I posted on Craigís List for babysitting available on New Yearís Eve. Although no one took me up on NYE, people did you the ad to inquire about my availability on other dates. I babysat for 3 hours on New Yearís Day for one family, and for 3 dates for a total of 8 hours for another family. I also sold one of the textbooks I got for free on Half.com.

Sidestream Income:
$110 babysitting
$51.93 Half.com profit*
TOTAL: $161.93

*sales fees, shipping and mailing supplies deducted

Over the weekend I hope to be able to reflect and post on the 2007 Challenge.

Babysitting Galore!

December 13th, 2007 at 11:47 am

I donít know if the first snowday of the year has made people start to think about their childcare situation, or if the snowy weather is keeping people inside and in front of the computer, BUT after a week of silence, Iíve just received 3 inquiries about the childcare ad I placed on Craigís List! Iím meeting with 2 families on Saturday- one for just a meeting and the other for a 4 hour gig (Mom will be home, but working in her office) and she wants me for another 6 hours on Sunday!

Safety is always a concern when using Craigís List. Iím lucky to live in small town where almost everything is centered around the University. Everyone who has contacted is affiliated with the University and I can double check all the info they have provide me in the Directory, so I feel comfortable that people are who they say they are.

Easing the spending qualms

December 10th, 2007 at 05:19 pm

Lots of people have been blogging about spending more than usual this month.

I feel similarly. Nothing is out of control, but it's adding up. The mattress. A haircut. Gifts. More gifts. I have enough money, but as Madame X wrote, it's watching it evaporate that makes me feel a tinsy bit uneasy. I know I'd feel better if I could make just a little more this month to try to balance it out.

So, to assuage my anxiety about all the spending this month, I posted an ad advertising myself available for New Year's Eve childcare. No one has contacted me yet, but there's still time.

I also responded to an ad from a family looking for in-home childcare for the week of Christmas, 5 hours each day. I am actually going to be with Mr. Bean visiting my parents the week of Xmas, but I said I would be available the last three days they needed someone. I'm supposed to call them on Thursday to talk, so I don't really know what their childcare situation is. I said I charged $10 / hour. I'm not going to do it for less, but if it works out, it will be an extra $150 and possibly a connection to a new family with occasional childcare needs.

No $$ of the Challenge, but Nice $$ Surprise

September 26th, 2007 at 08:18 pm

You probably haven't noticed, but I sure have: babysitting has been slow this month.

Aside from being away last week, there have been 4 nights I was scheduled to overnight babysit that were canceled because The Dad got his hours switched at the last moment. It's nice to sleep in my own bed, but I miss the money. It's not money I "count" on, though, so I'll be OK.

I did have a pleasant monetary surprise come my way on Tuesday, though. I wanted to attend a professional conference in early November, but the registration fee ($255) was more than I was interested in paying out of pocket. I submitted an application for a scholarship and was lucky enough to have one awarded to me. The conference is the city where Mr. Bean lives, so I expected that the scholarship would pay my registration and possibly offer re-reimbursement for lodging-- in which case I would say I already had housing arrangements and didn't need a hotel.

However, I found out on Tuesday that the Scholarship is a free registration and a check for $995 to help cover lodging and transportation! What a pleasant surprise! My transportation costs will just be gas for the ~500 mile round-trip.

I'm not going to add the money to my challenge because I'm using the Challenge only to total new income streams and things I wouldn't have done in the name of making money prior to joining the SA community. Honestly, I probably would have balked at paying $255 out of pocket for a conference prior to SA.

Now I just need to decide where I'll but the money. I'm leaning either towards earmarking it for my 2008 Roth IRA or earmarking it for a non-retirement mutual fund. I feel comfortable with the amount of cash I have in savings and will be able to max out my Roth for 2008, so I'm starting to think out moving some of the cash in savings into another vehicle. Any thoughts? Any suggestions for where to do more reading? I could come up with 3K (Vanguard's minimum). I'm thinking about the Vanguard 500, but I'm still wet behind the ears.

Stories from the Front Lines

July 19th, 2007 at 07:29 pm

Day 1 of the garage sale is over. I made about ~$100, and my folks about ~$300. I did sell a guitar for $40, but the other ~$60 came from $0.50 here, $1 there etc.

When I think back to all the effort that went into the sale and cleaning and pricing of items though, $100 doesn't seem like much. However, nothing I sold is anything I'll miss, so there's certainly the added bonus of just having the junque out of the house. It gives me more space and will make the next move easier.

The sale didn't start until 9am, but the people starting come at 7:45am. I still had a little more pricing and organizing to do, and it was disruptive and nerve wracking to have them swarming about. Once the hard core dealers and such dispelled, it was a little more relaxed and enjoyable.

Tomorrow should be another long day and probably won't result in too many more sales (I feel like all my "good stuff" sold today), but we'll just have to wait and see!

Beauty is in the Eye of Beholder

July 17th, 2007 at 09:09 pm

Tomorrow evening I'm driving some 240 miles away with a car load of my finest j-u-n-q-u-e to participate in my parents' neighborhood garage sale. We're participating Thursday- Friday although the actual sale goes until Saturday. The timing is perfect since I would have had to drive up there anyway to attend a family wedding on Saturday (albeit I would have waited until Friday).

It's always interesting to see what people will buy... and what fails to sell. Mr. Bean is in CA this week for work. We were on the phone earlier this evening and I asked if he would mind if I tried to sell an old Oxford blazer of his. The blazer is of poor quality and rather unattractive. His response was: "You can try- are expecting many hobos to come through?" Some combination of the use of the word "hobo" and my fatigue at the late hour made me laugh until I cried. The thing is: I bet it will sell!

What are some of the junquiest items you've sold at a garage sale? What have you been surprised to see people pass up?

My aunt commented that she sells less at neighborhood garage sales compared to when she holds one on her own. How about you? I know I'm not going to bother to lug a foldable chaise lounge I never use up to the sale- my parents are already trying to sell two!

Overnight babysitting and more $$ for Challenge

June 14th, 2007 at 06:30 am

I spoke with the Mom in need of overnight babysitting and she agreed to doing a 1-month trial. In fact, she said she appreciated my concern about the commitment and implied that it showed that I was serious and responsible. I'll start in late July. I feel very comfortable with the situation now.

Last week I went to see Mr. Bean in Washington, DC. I posted an ad one of our Community Message boards offering a round tip ride to DC in exchange for $40 to cover gas and tolls. I ended up taking a a very pleasant female graduate student from India. I appreciated the money, and she appreciated an affordable way to get out of our small college town and see Washington. In fact, she asked to ride with me next time I go to see him in a few weeks. All in all, a win-win. I'll add the $40 to my Challenge:

Old Total: $1401.44
+ $40.00 ride share
New Total: $1441.44

A new job...

June 12th, 2007 at 07:32 pm

I met with a family earlier this evening in need of regular overnight childcare. Mom is nurse who works 12 hour overnight shifts, Dad works for FedEx and was recently moved to nights. They need a sitter 2-3 times / week from ~9pm (some nights 11pm)until 7:30am. The kids will be in bed at arrival and Mom will wake them up and get them ready for school in the morning. The house is just a few miles from my own. Sitter will have use of the spare bedroom and can sleep. The pay seems negotiable, but she suggested $~50 / night, but said she would "pay me what I needed". I'm very tempted. At $50 / night, I would make ~$500 / month-- and most of the time I'd be sleeping. However, it's a big commitment and I would feel obligated to stay even if it wasn't working out for me just because that's the way I am. Even though I would be sleeping, it would mean I'd be away from my home (and my adorable kitty) a significant portion of the week. I'm not hard up for money, and next year, after I graduate, I'll be making at least 2.5x my current graduate student stipend as a post doc. But, I still like making money, and have gotten very good at socking away the cash from my "odd jobs" into my high yield savings.

I think I'm going to call the mom back tomorrow and say that I'd like to give it a try, but would like to do so on a 1-month trial basis. I know she's interviewing other people, so I'll also add that I understand if she prefers to go with someone who is willing to make the commitment from the get-go.

What do you think?

Back From Boston

March 11th, 2007 at 08:38 pm

I was in Boston for a short time early this week for a meeting. I've been to Boston a number of times, but this trip seemed especially thrilling since we currently leave in such a small town. I packed my suitcase with goodies from Trader Joe's. I love that place!

My babysitting job is on hiatus this week (the kids are on vacation) and my personal chef client also informed me that they won't need me for an indefinite period of time. She's having a scheduled C-section this week and expecting a lot of help and visitors. I sort of anticipated something like this. I'm looking forward to the break from all the cooking, but I'll miss the money.

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