Saturday, February 28, 2015

Live Long & Prosper

Mr. Spock aka Leonard Nimoy went to that great Sci-Fi series in the sky yesterday.

Leonard Nimoy and his alter ego Mr. Spock were idols of my oldest brother, Dennis.  He was a big fan of the original Star Trek tv series.
Dennis styled himself after Mr. Spock, making many of Spock's expressions his own.

Heck, he even had the first album of music Nimoy recorded/released......

And who can forget THIS classic.....hehehe.....

Another hit from the premiere LP.....

Here's an online friend, Pam, posing for me last July, beside a giant Vulcan hand with Spock's famous quote carved into it during our day out in IL.......

For you young folks who weren't around for the Golden Era of Star Trek, you may have "seen" Mr. Spock on the "Big Bang Theory".......

Here is Nimoy's reading of "Desiderata".  I'd like to dedicate this one to fellow blogger, Wayne the "Cajun", who lost his battle with illness and left us on Feb. 17th.  The world is just a little bit less for him not being in it any longer.......

And I'll leave you with Mr. Nimoy's fun version of the Bruno Mars hit, "The Lazy Song".


See you in the Heavens Mr. Spock.....


The Health Trial is Over.....Well Almost

The recent biannual check-up at my doctor's office necessitated a round of blood work and other lab tests.
It's only February but we are still working on satisfying the high deductible $4K of our insurance plan here.
After the last 2 weeks however we won't be working on that for long! 8-(

The blood work was over $300 alone.  Then I refilled a $350 prescription only to be told by said doctor 3 days later(BEFORE I used any of this refill mind you)that he was taking me off that medication.
Thanks doc!
Anybody want to buy some prescription drugs!? lolz

Once I got in for my appointment the blood work was good(excellent cholesterol levels here!)except for one item so he put me on a new even more expensive drug(with no generic equivalent yet)BUT......he gave me a card with the script and the manufacturer is going to cover the cost of it for the next year.
I "heart" this drug company!
We will worry about the cost of this one drug next year..... ;-)

I also had to go for a spirometry test(haven't been billed for that one yet), a CAT scan of my lungs(ditto on that bill)and a Mammogram.  I know the mammo will be paid 100%(it's considered preventative)but the other 2 will be billed to us at full price.  We've got the money to pay them so that's not a worry and between these, the blood work, doctor's OV charges and that $350 drug refill we should meet our yearly deductible for 2015 now.

No word yet on the breathing test(I suspect it's fine as I haven't had to use the asthma inhalers for a YEAR now!)but the CT and Mammo results already came back with negative results(negative is good).

When I had my heart scare 2 years ago this week, in all of the testing that was carried out, someone noticed a spot on one of my lungs.  Since then I have had to go in for follow-up CTs at regular intervals to make sure it isn't a sign of cancer.  The only way to know for sure what the spot was would be to open me up and visually eyeball it but they aren't going to be so invasive just for that.  As some suspected all along the spot is just a bit of scare tissue and has not grown at all in 2 years since it was noted.  My lung is now in the clear. 8-)

The mammogram came back clean  as well so I have survived to live another year.
I just have my yearly check-up with the sleep disorders doc this Summer but everything is well in "sleep apnea land".

And I am hoping that this new $$$ med along with upping the dosage of another med will take care of the 1 test result that was still out of whack.

The only item left on my medical list is eye surgery.
I have a wicked bad cataract in one eye which will be taken out mid March. 

After that heals it's on to smooth sailing.....Sluggy is taking names and kicking butt again..... and watching what she eats and exercising more.

Yeah, it's always something, ain't it?  8-))


Friday, February 27, 2015

*Fabric Porn*

Ok, so while down in Virginia visiting my brother in January the local fabric store chain was having a clearance sale.
Fabric calls to me when it's cheap......and when it's $3 or less a yard I listen!  lolz

So I bough a few lengths--

This piece, though it's not usually colors I choose(or the subject matter-horses!), the combination of shades and design spoke to me.  I'll probably make a shirt with this one.

 This design was a bit on the large scale size but I like it.  Unfortunately there isn't enough here to do what I want to do, so I'll have to pair it with another fabric or a solid in these colors.  It's bound to be a shirt or a sundress if I figure out that right companion fabric.

Love the color of this one though the fabric is a bit on the "rough texture" side.  Not sure yet what I'll make with it.

This was the "bargain of the day" at $1 a yard.  It's a rayon challis, very nice quality.   And because it is adorned with swizzle sticks it's screaming to become a "Hawaiian type" shirt! lolz

And then last week Hancock fabrics had a good sale.  Unfortunately they don't have a retail outlet located anywhere around here so I went online to shop the sale.

In celebration of keeping our credit card bill under $600 for February I splurged on 3 more pieces of fabric.  These were about double what I usually spend per yard but rayon is hard to find in great patterns/colors, so I still consider them a deal.....

Black and white Ikat type pattern.

A cool batik but rayon not cotton so it has better flow....and it's purple!

I thought this owl pattern was cute in a rayon fabric.  It turned out the scale of the design was a bit larger than I thought or would have wanted.  But I can make this work anyway.

Now I just have to get on cutting some shirts out and sewing them.
Too bad the fabric buying is so much easier/fun.....lolz



Thursday, February 26, 2015

How To Get Beyond Clutter

I found this series of Youtube videos from a clutter "expert" in Houston TX named Gayle Goddard who calls herself "The Clutter Fairy".

Her Channel on YouTube is HERE.

I have been viewing her vids throughout this past week, one a day.
I especially like the one I have embedded below.

It's about clutter and getting older and what you don't want to leave your family to deal with when you pass on.
I know, it's not a happy topic but being a woman of a certain age this is something I need to think about in regard to all my "stuff".

If you have an issue with clutter(and who doesn't have some issue with it!?)I highly recommend you take a look at her talks.


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The Best Laid Schemes....

........o' mice an' men, Gang aft a-gley.--Robert Burns

I had a plan for the week in terms of groceries.

A few veggies at the local market plus seasonal strawberries.

Then to Weis for 3 dozen eggs.  Eggs are on sale for $1.47 there this week, limit of 3 so a stock-up on eggs was going to happen.

While I was in the store a saw that the loose fresh mushrooms were back in stock and I picked up some 50% salad greens.   Then I spied 2 bags of fresh stir-fry veggies with 50% off stickers on them.  I then picked up some Chinese veggies(water chestnuts, bamboo shoots-not pictured) on sale.

There was a 50% sticker on a package of salmon back at the seafood counter which made the piece $4.36 a lb.  Score!

Then I went cruising back to the meat counter and found packages of 85% ground beef with $3 off stickers on them, making them UNDER $3 a lb.($2.95 to $2.98 lb.)  Double Score!!  I was good and I only bought 5 of them...plenty left for the next frugal shopper.

I also picked up a package of panko coated thin pork pieces, also with a $1 off sticker on it.  Pork tenderloin sammiches anyone?

A half gallon of 2% milk, 2 Velveeta noodle dishes for College Boy(not pictured)and 3 cans of tuna(.77¢ each, not pictured)rounded out the order.

$50.97 spent on $83.29 worth of groceries, a savings of 39%.
The only items I bought that were not on sale were the mushrooms and the milk(milk never goes on sale in PA).  I also didn't use a single coupon either, other than the Instant Discount coupons on the packages.
You can still save money on groceries by seeking out items on sale and on instant discount.  By stockpiling and buying ahead I hardly ever have to pay full retail for any food(other than milk).  Menus and dinners are adjusted according to what is on hand and what I find on special at the stores.

Since I didn't plan on spending $50 on groceries today(meat for less than $3 a lb. I could NOT turn down!) and I am already over my self-imposed $250 monthly budget for February AND most of this will be eaten in March, I am putting this grocery tab onto March's tally.

My budget, my rules...... 8-)

Of course this means I will start March off with that much less to spend on food.
Now I am off to clean upstairs.

And yes Kim, I did have room to put those canned goods away that had bee residing on the kitchen table.  It was just too cold until yesterday to spend any length of time out in the garage putting things away.  8-)


This Week's Rite-Aid Post

I made the only trip to Rite-Aid planned for this week on Tuesday............

2 x Colgate toothpaste on sale=$7.00
1 x Cchloraseptic drops on sale but 20% disc. more=$4.23

Coupons Used
1 x $1/2 Colgate toothpaste ManuQ=$1.00
1 x $1/1 Chloraseptic product IPQ=$1.00
Coupon Total=$2.00

I used $9 of +Up Rewards and paid .23¢ OOP.

I received $9 in new +Up Rewards(2 x $3 Colgate, $3 Chloraseptic).

$14.87 regular retail worth of items.
Rolled the +Ups until March 5th.
.23¢ out of pocket.


Giveaway #2 for 2015.....Pamper Yourself!

It's time for another Sluggy's Boring Blog Box Giveaway of 2015.

Since this Winter has been so brutal I think we need to do a little PAMPERING on ourselves.

Check it out..........

2 x Eucerin lotion
1 x Yardley soap
1 x Neutrogena soap
1 x Degree body spray
1 x Dove deodorant
1 x Nexxus shampoo
1 x Lindt/Lindor white chocolate truffles
1 x Conair hair brush
1 x Extra pumpkin gum
1 x Hershey's box of chocolates
1 x Longaberger themed notepads/pencil

I'll leave this giveaway open until March 8, Sunday, at 11:59pm.  The next day I'll put all the valid entries into a container and draw out a name and that person wins.

There is a limit of ONE ENTRY per Day by leaving a comment on this blog post.

To get a BONUS entry, you can do this once---

Post about my Giveaway on your own Blog or on Facebook with a link to this post.  This will earn you 2 additional entries for each action.  Please leave 2 additional comments on this blog post for each additional Bonus entry. 

 Disclaimer--This giveaway is open to those with mailing addresses within the US or Canada only.
If you are in Canada, you will receive a smaller box of goodies, as the shipping rates internationally are ridiculous and I am not taking out a mortgage on my house to pay to ship this stuff.  ;-)

If you need this shipped to Canada, I'll have to change the box and it's contents a bit.  I can ship a plain box weighing up to 3lbs. via 1st class mail, which, while more than the flat rate Priority to US addys, is still affordable.  These prize boxes usually weigh 7 or more lbs. when full, so if the winner is in Canada, I'll let them pick and choose which of the items they prefer sent in their box, until the box weighs 4lbs.  I hate to have to do this(not ship ALL prizes to them)but I would hate it even more to exclude them totally from entering the giveaway.

Please make sure there is a way for me to contact you in your comment.  If you're not a registered Blog User with your contact information on your User page, please put your email or email me your email addy privately when you leave a comment so I can get ahold of you if you win. If I can't contact you then you can't win.  Thanks!

So let's get this started!



Tuesday, February 24, 2015

A Rant About Income, Credit & How to Live Your LIfe

Everyone needs to learn to live within their means.  This is a basic tenant of living a good life.

When it comes to your money, there are two ways to boost your financial bottom can work on the front end or you can work on the back end.  (You can also work on both ends, it doesn't have to be one OR the other.)

The Front End means you can improve the income stream coming into your home.
Examine how much you bring home.
Not enough?
Find ways to bring in more.  You know.....side jobs, part time work, sell stuff you don't need anymore, etc.  Turn something you love to do(a hobby)into something that brings in additional money to your home.

The Back End involves keeping more of that income coming into your home in YOUR hands and not letting it slip away.
Be the financial sentinel of your home.
Find ways to get what you need for less money.
Don't pay unnecessary amounts to others to do things you can do for yourself.
And stop buying crap.....that one is important. ;-)

I have been a stay at home mom since 1989.  Once the kids started coming we sat down and crunched the numbers.  Having one of us home full time with the babies was important to us.  The income I could earn in that time and in that place compared to the costs associated with having a full time job and full time daycare plus the expenses of transportation, clothing costs and probably the cost of more convenience foods meant that it made more financial sense as well to have me be a SAHM.  So that was my job.

Hubs and I worked as a team to keep our bottom line in the black.  He worked on the front end, the bringing the money into the home.
And I worked on the back end, the keeping the money in the account once he brought it in, and I pinched every penny until it shrieked.

This worked well for us, but every couple needs to find their own balance.

So Hubs was in charge of growing the income, as well as investing the retirement savings(though I was kept in the "loop" and had imput).
I was in charge of disbursement of the income, as well as saving as much of it as I could from what we actually took home.

Though Hubs was in charge of bringing the income into the home, when opportunities arose for me to add to the income stream as the children got a little older and less time intensive, I took advantage of them as well.
I wasn't too proud to do what I had to....from babysitting, the pet sitting, to sewing, to selling handmade crafts, to teaching crafts, to buying old toys on clearance and then reselling them online to collectors, to taking online surveys and participating in focus groups, to selling at a garage sale or flea market some of my stockpile of toiletries, I paid very little for.

While I was home with the kids,  I did all my own cleaning, took care of family business(making appointments, phone calls, banking, bill paying, etc.), make about half of my kids clothing, bargain shopped for everything from food to HBA items to clothing to furniture.

You do what you have to do to achieve your goals.
But first you have to identify your Goals.

Our goals have always been 4 fold--to make a comfortable life for us and our family, get to a state of debt freedom, have money set aside for the kids' college plans, and be able to afford to retire and have a comfortable retirement.

Of course most people strive for these goals, right?
Everyone wants a comfortable life and a comfortable retirement in their old age.
And everyone wants to be debt-free.

You need to figure out what constitutes "comfortable" for yourself.
We have modest needs compared to many in this country.  Heck our modest needs are still luxurious compared to what most people in the rest of the world have in their lives!

We never went in for fancy or luxury cars.  To use a car is just transportation to get you from Point A to Point B.  The less we had to spend on cars was the better.  The most important thing was if the vehicle was safe and if it was big enough to hold everyone......and that it had brakes......brakes are important. '-)

Now that I am a women of the certain age and have been through many phases of life, I see THREE main points/spending habits that keep people in debt long term.

*  Car lust is one of the biggest things that keeps people in debt.  That and always buying cars on time(loans).  If you can't afford a new car for cash, buy a used car that you can afford to pay with cash, in full.  Then take that money you would have put toward a car loan each month and save it for when your new used car breaks down and can't be resuscitated and you need to buy another car.  If you are lucky, by the time that point comes around that you need to sink more money into a new car, you will have enough to pay cash, and perhaps you can buy a better/newer car.

(Let me add that in the last decade or so, Electronic Lust, having/buying the latest electronic gadgets is quickly getting out of hand in our society and may surpass vehicles as one of the biggest things that keep people in debt....especially among the younger generation.  Upgrading smartphones, computers, tablets, televisions, buying movies then having to rebuy them because the platform is out of date and obsolete, expensive cable packages for those televisions, etc. is just another hamster wheel the media/advertising tells you to jump on, and you JUMP!, while the money just flows from your pockets.)

* The other point that will keep you in debt is buying a house you can't afford.  Realtors tell you as a rule of thumb that you can afford to spend 1/3 of your income on a house payment.  DON'T BELIEVE THAT!  Of course they have a vested interest in how expensive a house you buy since their commission is dependent on your purchase price.  They want you to spend more money than you can afford!  It makes no difference if you buy a too expensive house and have to eat beans & rice for years because you can't afford that house.

People buy houses bigger than they need that cost more than they should every day.  Don't be one of those people. 
And don't buy a house as an investment.  It isn't an investment if you are living in it, only if you are renting it out.  A house is a MONEY DRAIN on your income.  Yes, it may appreciate over the years(especially if you didn't buy it at the height of the market)but don't count on it to fund your retirement.  Especially since in retirement you will need a place to live and unless you sell your home and live in a cardboard box or do one of those reverse mortgage deals, your home won't even be an investment in your golden years.

* The final point that will keep you in debt is not knowing where your money goes and keeping a close eye on the outgo in your household.
Money has an insidious way of just flying out the door.  It's easy to turn around at the end of a month of income and have nothing left, or worse yet, be in the hole!
Not paying attention to your money results in doing stupid things.
Stupid things like overdrawing your bank accounts and paying fees;
Stupid things like charging on a credit card and not paying it off at month's end(when you meant to)and paying interest.
Stupid things like not keeping track of variable spending and having to put expenses on a credit card because the cash you thought you had left for the month is mysteriously gone.

Just keep this thought in mind whenever you go to buy something on a credit card(or a mortgage or car loan for that matter too)--Whatever you are "buying" isn't really yours until you pay that bill off.  You are just borrowing that jacket, gas for your car, dinner out, etc.  The credit card company still OWNS it until they get paid.....the credit card company as a result OWNS YOU until they get paid!
The Mortgage company OWNS you until you pay off your house.
The car company OWNS you until you pay off your car loan.

Next time you buy something on time, think of the purchase like are OWNED by a corporation. 

Live your life on credit and you are not your own person until your creditors are paid off.
Now is that any way to live your life?


Monday, February 23, 2015

Last Week on the Dining Table

The "I Am SOOOOO Over This" Edition ........

We got another 5 inches over the last 24 hours.  This isn't boding well for March. bleh.
Here's what was planned last week.......

1.  Beef Taco Salad
2.  Salmon, grilled asparagus, yellow squash casserole
3.  Ham & Bean Soup/Asparagus Leek Soup, Bread
4.  Pumpkin Ravioli w/Sauce, Salad(use leftover Alfredo sauce)
5.  Leftovers(Chicken w/Zuke, rice)
6.  Leftovers(Chicken Fajitas or Beef tacos)
7.  Leftovers(Chicken Stir-fry)
And this is what actually happened--

1.  Beef Taco Salad
2.  Salmon, grilled asparagus, yellow squash casserole
3.  Ham & Bean Soup/Asparagus Leek Soup, Bread
4.  Pumpkin Ravioli w/Sauce, Salad(use leftover Alfredo sauce)
5.  Leftovers(Chicken w/Zuke, rice)
6.  Leftovers(Chicken Fajitas or Beef tacos)
7.  Leftovers(Chicken Stir-fry)

Everything went as planned for some reason I can't fathom why! lolz
Well except I didn't make the squash casserole so that moves to the coming week.

Last week I made 2 trips to grocery stores(but am holding back 1 trip's spending until March) and I spent  $7.74 OOP on $13.96 worth of reg. retail groceries.  I had 2 transactions at Rite-Aid(but am holding back on 1 done after I closed out the books on Feb.)and spend $.23 OOP on $14.87 worth of toiletries, so $7.97 total spending last week.

My spending for February on food/toiletries was posted on Sunday so go have a look if interested.

Leftovers going into this week are asparagus/leek soup and ham/bean soup.

Here is the plan for this week.........

1.  Beef Stroganoff, rice, veggie
2.  Salmon, Squash casserole
3.  Pasta with meat sauce, salad or soup
4.  Pork filet or Country Fried Steak(diners choice), Steak fries, leftover squash casserole
5.  Pizza, Salad
6.  Leftovers or Soup & fresh bread
7.  Ginger garlic duck & veggie stir-fry, rice

What I need to buy for this menu......not a thing.  The meat for the stroganoff is cubes of beef roast that we didn't eat for Christmas and has been sitting in the freezer.  The duck breasts are from that great deal at Wegman's a year ago December that are still lurking in the freezer too.
The ready made pizza is from the Snack +Ups Promo from Rite-Aid at the end of Jan. before the Super Bowl that we didn't eat yet.  It's taking up valuable real estate in the freezer so it's getting used NOW!
The salmon, pork filets and the ground beef for the pasta sauce I bought last week when it was super cheap with instant discount stickers on the packages.  I also bought the 2 bags of fresh stir-fry veggies last week on discount too that are being eaten with the duck breasts.
Unless there is an awesome deal I won't be shopping this week except too use the last of my $10 Catalinas I earned the week before last.

What is getting fixed and served at your house this week?    

Was last week's plan successful, did you go off plan or did you not even plan what was going to be eaten that week?

Any great deals on food at your stores this week?


Saturday, February 21, 2015

Last Rite-Aid for This Week

2 transactions on Friday for more Gear items and Vaseline lotion......

$21.75 worth of items, after sale prices and coupons I paid .97¢ OOP and received $2 in +Up Rewards(for the Vaseline).

Then rinse and repeat the Gear items and Vaseline......

$15.67 retail worth of items, after sale prices and Qs I paid $1.03 OOP and received another $2 +Up Reward(the Vaseline lotion).

I spent a whopping $4.55 total this week at Rite-Aid on $95.81 worth of items.
Next week I have a $3 +Ups I have to spend/roll by Wednesday.



A Proper Genealogy Post.....Part 2

Last we left off,  The Maurice O'Brien/Mary Roche O'Brien family had arrived to America in late 1879 and are found on the 1880 census, living in the town of Derby in New Haven County, CT as shown on the map......

Household of Maurice O'Brien--
Morris(this is Maurice) 28
Mary(wife)  26
Honora(daughter)  5
Mary(daughter)  3
Maggie(daughter)  9 mo.

Maurice is working as a tender in the mason trade.
A tender is an assistant.  They don't actually lay brick, they do all the grunt and prep work(carry, cut bricks, mix mortar, build scaffolding, etc.).

Due to the loss of the 1890 censuses(almost all the schedules because of a fire in 1921 at the Commerce Building where they were stored at the time)we don't have an information for this family between 1880 and 1900.

In the 1900 census they are living in Ansonia, CT(which is just north of Derby, CT). The address is 497 Main St.
Here is what it looks like today......


It's the building lot on the corner, 1 block from a Catholic church.
Hey!, look what's across the side street.....

It's a RITE-AID! ;-)

But I digress........

Household of Maurice O'Brien 1900 Census for Ansonia, CT--
Morris(this is Maurice)  49  born Ireland
Mary(wife)  45  born Ireland
Anura(this is Honora)  25  born Ireland
Maggie  20  born shipboard
Bedina D.  16   born CT
Katie  15  born CT (This is my great grandmother.)
John  13  born CT
Annie H.  8  born CT
Bernie  4(grandson)  born CT

Only John, Annie and Bernie are in school and Mary the wife is keeping house.
Maurice is working as a stone mason, Honora operating machinery in a factory, Maggie is a wire inspector in a factory, John lists his occupation as "tipping"(or it could be stripping as the writing is sloppy) and Katie is a braider(probably in the same wire operation as her sister or she braids rope perhaps?).

Mary the wife is listed as being married for 25 years and Honora is listed as having been married for 7 years in 1900.
Mary reports that she is the mother of 15, 7 are living in 1900.
Honora reports that she is the mother of 1, 1 is living in 1900.

From this we know that Bernie is most probably the child of Honora.
Honora would have married in 1893 though I don't have a marriage record yet to ascertain who her husband was, if she was married.

We also know that 8 children of Mary and Maurice either died in infancy/were still born or died young before 1900.
If you count the children in the household that are Mary's, there are only 6 listed, not 7 that she states are living.

You will notice that the child Mary born in Ireland and listed as 3 years in 1880 census is gone.  As she would have been 23ish in 1900 she could be either dead or married and/or living elsewhere.

Since we have descendants of Mary who have added information and pictures, we were able to find Mary the child listed in this 1900 census(she is the 7th child listed as living who is not counted with her parents).
She is living with her new husband, Thomas Hines(correct full name is Thomas Patrick Hine)--

They say the are newlyweds(record of marriage is dated Nov. 1899)and they are living at 530 Main St. Ansonia, CT.
This is right across the street and on the same block as Mary's parents, Maurice & Mary.

Here is what this location looks like today.............

An abandoned car lot.
But here is a wide shot showing across the street........

On the right is that corner where her parents and siblings are living in 1900.

Moving onto the 1910 census the Maurice O'Brien household has moved to Bridgeport, CT which is South of Ansonia, CT....

The Maurice O'Brien household is living at 530 Nichols St., Bridgeport, CT.
Here is across the street from that location today...........

The building with the yellow lower wall is a Hispanic market on the corner.
Here is what's across the street....

An overgrown berm.
Here's what's on the other side.......

The Connecticut Turnpike. You can see the tops of the buildings across the street from where the O'Brien household lived.

Anyway, back to the 1910 Census.....

Household of Maurice O'Brien--
Morris  57  mason
Mary(wife)  54
John  22   mason
Anna  19  operator in a shop
Catherine(Katie before)  24 is married, now with the surname Bowman(spelled incorrectly as Bauman by enumerator).

Also living with the family is Katie's husband and child.....
Frank son in-law  25  born in NY  steamfitter
Francis  1 born in CT

Gone from this household in 1910 are Honora(eldest daughter), her son Bernard, 2nd daughter Mary, Maggie(born shipboard), Bedina(born CT).

2nd daughter Mary is still found living with her husband, Thomas Patrick, in 1910 in the Park Hollow section(now the Historic Downtown district of the town)of Ansonia, CT, along with their 4 sons, as well as a niece.  As Thomas only had brothers this niece has to be from Mary's side of the family, the daughter of one of her sisters.  The niece's name on the census is unclear(Marie or Karrie? and Rice or Price?), but we do know her father was born in IL and her mother in CT(which would be correct for the O'Brien daughters born after 1879).  But it's still a mystery to me who's daughter this niece is.

Now look who is living 2 doors down from daughter Mary, Thomas Patrick and their children?

4 lines above the Hine Family it's "Nora" O'Brien with her son, Bernard.  That's Mary O'Brien Hine's sister Honora.

Moving on to 1920, the Maurice O'Brien household has become the Frank Bowman household and is living at 124 Read St. still in Bridgeport, CT.

Here's what it looks like now.  It's the double home with the green striped awning.......

This location is 1.7 miles away from their address in the 1910 census.

Household consists of---
Frank Bowman  35 working as an electrician in a shop
Catherine(wife)  34  keeping house
Francis(son)  10
Mary(daughter)  8
John(son)  6
Margery(daughter)  4
Morris O'Brien(father in-law, this is Catherine's father Maurice) 54 still working as a stone mason

Morris says he is widowed.  This is the last census year he appears in.

As far as the sisters, Honora and Mary, are concerned they have escaped me so far in the 1920 census schedules.

Moving on.......

There was a WPA project undertaken between 1934 and 1937 in Connecticut to transcribe/record all the cemetery headstones up to that point in CT cemeteries.
From that record we know that Maurice and Mary Roche O'Brien are buried in St. Mary's Catholic Cemetery in Ansonia, CT.

According to the record Mary, the wife, died in 1913(this is why Maurice shows up as a widower in 1920)and Maurice joined her in the graveyard in 1928.

Also listed in this headstone survey buried with Maurice and Mary is a Josephine O'Brien. Dates are 1892-1906.
Obviously this is one of their children.

At this point, the known children of Maurice and Mary Elizabeth are Honora, Mary, Maggie, Bedina, Katie, John and Annie from census records.

So if we add in Jospehine to the family tree, something isn't quite right with the records.
If Josephine was born in 1892, that birth would have taken place in CT, and  at the time of the 1900 census she would have only been about 8 yrs. old, yet she does NOT appear with the family in the 1900 census.  But there is a Bedina listed as being born Apr 1884 in that census.  And this Bedina is no longer listed with the family in the 1910 census.
Add in that if we add in Josephine as a child of Maurice & Mary, that makes 8 living children when Mary was asked in the 1900 census and she says she only had 7 living children.

Are you still with me? 8-)

1900 Census
Mary(living w/husband nearby)
7 living children accounted for

1910 Census
Honora(living with son nearby)
Mary(living with spouse and kids nearby)
Maggie(whereabouts unknown)
Bedina(whereabouts unknown)
5 children accounted for/2 may be no longer living and where is Josephine since she isn't dead until 1906?

And while I was pondering this mystery someone posted a photo of the actual headstone for Maurice and Mary on Find A Grave that I had requested.

                                    Photo by Alycia K.

A close-up of the last name on the stone..........

"Josephine their Daughter died Nov. 30 1900 Aged 14 Yrs."

The transcription of the headstone in the records was incorrect!  Josephine died in 1900 not 1906.
If she was 14 years old in 1900 that means she was born about 1885-86.

And if she died 30 Nov 1900 she would be in the 1900 census, since it was taken in June 1900 according to the enumerator.
So this most probably means that Bedina, the daughter born Apr 1884 in the 1900 census who is gone by the 1910 census is actually Josephine.
Now things make more sense and all the living children in 1900 are accounted for.

So what happened to the 6 remaining children after 1900 ended?

Honora disappears from the census records after 1910.
Mary married Thomas Patrick Hine and went on to have 7 children, dying in 1941.
Margaret(Maggie) disappears from the census records after 1910.
Catherine(Katie) married Frank Bowman and went on to have 7 children(1 dying in infancy), dying in 1945.
John can't be found in census records yet past 1910 but a descendant posted that he died in the 1960's in CT.  There are 3 John O'Brien's buried in CT cemeteries posted on F.A.G. who died in the 1960's.
Again more research/corroboration of documents would need to be uncovered to pin point our John O'Brien's path.
Annie O'Brien disappears from census records past 1910 as well for the moment.

Of the 3 siblings we don't know what happened to, we do know that Maggie lived well past 1910 because there is a photo of her standing with her sister's daughter's husband.  The photo is undated but the sister's daughter, Catherine, married in 1942, so the photo dates from at least the late 1930's/early 1940's.

                                     photo by b1pilot1

Since Margaret O'Brien doesn't seem to have married it's possible she lived out her life in Ansonia CT.  Most of the family members lived their whole lives in or near Ansonia, CT so it makes sense if she remained single that she stayed close to her parents and her siblings, yet I can't find her in any census after 1900.

There is a Margaret A. O'Brien's who died in 1951 in CT and is buried in New Haven County but she was married and O'Brien was her married name.
There is another Margaret A. O'Brien who died in 1965 in CT and is buried in New Haven County.
This could possibly be our Margaret O'Brien but more facts need to come to light to corroborate this hypothesis.

One mystery solved, Josephine, but so many more still remain.

More on the sister, Catherine O'Brien, in or next installment.



Friday, February 20, 2015

Crunching Numbers.....Part Two

Here are my spending categories,  side by side, first 2013 expenses, then 2014 expenses, and my thoughts---

Dental bills                  $1071.00
Dental bills                      $88.20  Spending DOWN $982.80

* Dental--This was what we paid for dental services after our insurance was charged.  It was a low spend on dental in 2014 just cleanings. Lots of crown and filling work done in 2013.  I can't count on a spending total like 2014's in 2015, but I can hope our teeth stay in good shape.  8-)

Eye care                         $172.05
Eye care                         $135.00  Spending DOWN $37.05

* Eye care-We have a "Cadillac Eye Plan".  We all have yearly eye exams and usually get a new pair of glasses each year.  Evidently we selected slightly cheaper frames in 2014.

Long Distance phone     $91.30
Long Distance phone     $87.16  Spending DOWN $4.14

Landline phone           $284.58
Landline phone           $292.19   Spending UP $7.61

Cell phones                   $214.12
Cell phones                   $216.39  Spending UP $2.27

Phone spending UP overall by $5.74

** Phone charges--We have a landline still and pay about $7-$8 additional each month to be able to make long distance or receive long distance calls on it, so the first 2 items are combined for our non-cell phone service. 
In 2013 we had 3 phones(my Pay-As-You Go, hubs PAYG, and hub's business phone).  In 2014 I took over hubs PAYG phone and ditched my PAYG phone and hubs uses his business phone only.  As you can see, we don't use the PAYGs much.
When Hubs does retire and loses his free cell then we'll come up with a new plan for the phone situation.

Home Maintenance  $19452.51
Home Maintenance    $2767.76  Spending DOWN $16,684.75

**Home Maintenance--In 2013 we did major spending on home repair/improvements.  2014, not so much besides having the driveway redone.  The biggest chunk in 2013 was having a new heating/AC system put in.  Then there was the new bamboo flooring, crown molding and interior wall/ceiling repairs in the living/dining room and work on the exterior.

Garbage                       $336.00
Garbage                       $336.00   No change in spending

Sewage                         $407.40
Sewage                         $407.40  No change in spending

*  Garbage and Sewage--These are NOT included in our municipal taxes but I pay each in full at the beginning of the year(since I have the full amounts at the ready)and get a small % discount over stringing the payments out over the year.  Luckily these charges haven't risen the last 2 years.  There is nothing I can do to change/lower these two.....except maybe move. lolz

Water                           $780.52
Water                           $610.93   Spending DOWN $169.59

Water--Usage averages about $50 per month, except is a bit higher when College Boy is home.  Some of the usage in 2013 was due to having the pool.  No more pool and College Boy at school and the water bill is less.

Insurance Home          $612.00
Insurance Home          $634.00   Spending UP $22.00

*  Homeowner's Insurance--It's a good price for the area plus we get discounts for being longtime customers and having our cars insured through the same carrier.  It tends to go up about $20 a year.

Cable/Internet            $1293.84
Cable/Internet            $1269.66   Spending DOWN $24.18

*  Cable/Internet--We ditched cable in Sept. of 2014 otherwise this bill would be more for 2014 than 2013.  I got tired of paying $70+ a month for the privilege of watching the garbage which is on television.  We got a $40 indoor antenna and now get 10 channels from local stations.  We are considering more changes to our internet but are fairly happy with things the way they now stand.
2015, if we stay with internet only the bill will be $479.40, a Savings of $790.26 over 2014.

Car Maintenance       $1726.53
Car Maintenance       $1563.21  Spending DOWN $163.32

Car Maintenance--This includes all repair bills, parts bought, maintenance oil changes, etc. and PA state fees, inspections, driver's license renewals we paid for each year.  Getting rid of 2 cars late in 2014, buying a new car(so now only 1 old car instead of 3 old cars)we figure these charges will go down a little in 2015.  My first 2 years of maintenance services are free for the Sonic and we don't need to renew licenses in 2015.

Insurance Cars          $3080.17
Insurance Cars          $1890.51  Spending DOWN $1,189.66

*  Car Insurance--It was crazy last year keeping track of car insurance since at any given time we owned 2-5 cars.  We are down to 3 cars(one is oldest son's and he pays the insurance on that even though he is still on our plan), so we will pay $1711.72 for our 2 cars in 2015.  There may still be changes in the car situation-hubs is considering buying a new to us vehicle and College Boy will be needing a car for his last year of university(internships were he has to travel).  But for now there are no changes planned for 2015.

Electric                       $2437.36
Electric                       $2890.02   Spending UP $452.66

*  Electric bills--In 2014, $2134.31 of that bill was actual energy usage, $755.71 was transmission charges and basic fees everyone has to pay no matter their usage.  I don't have a breakdown of actual energy usage/transmission charges for 2013.
We used 24,381 KW Hours in 2014.   We used 26,235 KW Hours in 2013 so obviously fees and actual energy costs went up in 2014.
The cost of electricity varied between 2.16100000¢ and 2.04542300¢ in 2014.
The cost of electricity at the end of 2013 was only 1.98300000¢.

We cook and heat with electric plus all the other things you run off the energy grid. It sounds high but every month when we check what we are spending on electricity compared to comparable sized houses in our area, we are always at the very bottom of the scale.
I can account for some of the increase in the cost of energy rising in 2014 and we didn't have A/C in the Summer of 2013 but did in 2014.(New system was installed in the Fall of 2013.)

Local Taxes                $3148.24
Local Taxes                $3272.12  Spending UP $123.88

*  Local taxes--These include the municipal and school taxes.  This doesn't include state taxes or another local tax we are charged each year(which comes out of the paychecks before we get the money).  Can't really do anything here to save money besides paying it up front(small discount for paying that way)and applying for and receiving a Homestead Rebate(which was done)....except move. ;-)

Gasoline                      $3197.15
Gasoline                      $4393.81  Spending UP $1,196.66

*  Gasoline/Fuel Charges--Granted there was a LOT of travel for pleasure last year and not just fuel expenses to get Hubs to and from his job and me to run errands, so a good portion of the gasoline bills were not "necessary" and if pushed we can choose not to incur them.  

Gas bought for trips in 2013 came to $551.33, so the "necessary" gas we bought in 2013 came to $2,645.82. 
Gas bought for trips in 2014 came to $898.87, so the "necessary" gas we bought in 2014 came to $3,849.02
Overall, the per gallon price for gas was more in 2014 than in 2013.

Depending on how much gas prices bounce around in 2015 & how many trips we take, we could have lower spending on this item.  Or not.....

Medical Bills  OOP    $2442.99
Medical Bills  OOP    $4652.97  Spending UP $2,209.98

Medical Bills--This is what we paid out of pocket but not including prescription drugs.  The 2014 figure also includes $1097.00 in medical bills for our son we agreed to help him pay for(He wasn't on our medical plan.)  In 2013 we were in an HMO.  In 2014 we had to change to a high deductible plan because our Daughter(who we covered)doesn't live within the region served by this HMO.
In 2013 we used our coverage much more(I was in the hospital for 5 days and had a few procedures that year).
No hospital stays in 2014.
Basically we pay more than we have to for comparable coverage now being on a high deductible plan for 2015.  Next year when Daughter isn't on our plan, we can go back to the HMO once we weigh the advantages/disadvantages for 2016.

Food/HBA                   $4560.82
Food/HBA                   $4989.49   Spending UP $4278.67

*  Food and Consumables Spending--I cover these in my monthly post.  It's the highest spending category for us each year but I keep my eye on it ALWAYS and compared to many others(especially in our income bracket)our spending is quite low on this line item.
Some of the increase is due to rising food costs and some of it is due to buying a bit more fresh foods than processed ones.  I still try to buy in season to keep that expense reasonable.

SUBTOTAL THESE ITEMS.............$45,271.53
SUBTOTAL THESE ITEMS.............$30,533.87  Spending DOWN $14,737.66

Non-essential categories-

Car Rentals                $392.17
Car Rentals                $895.79   Spending UP $503.62

In 2013 we rented a car to take on our 10 day Midwest adventure.  In 2014 we rented a car to take on our  2 week trip to Louisiana(before we bought the new car), to move College Boy into his dorm and to go visit #1 Son in Pittsburgh for 4 days.  We don't trust Hubs old car on trips anymore and my car was too small for some of those trips.

Eating Out                $2182.54
Eating Out                $1890.99   Spending DOWN $291.55

*  I felt like we ate out/got take-out less in 2014 compared to 2013 and the numbers seem to bear this out, slightly.

Lodging                     $1158.07
Lodging                     $1923.20   Spending UP $765.13

*  In 2013 we stayed in motels for 13 nights, in 2014 25 nights.  Totally non-essential except for 1 night to take College Boy for his audition to university.
Average price per night in 2013--$89.08
Average price per night in 2014--$76.93

Alcohol                      $1129.98
Alcohol                      $2284.81   Spending UP $1,154.83

*  Yikes!  What can I say?  Hubs discovered whiskey with a vengeance in 2014 and I over estimated my adult beverage consumption.  We did some traveling to states where the good stuff can be bought at a better price than in PA so we stocked up.  Add in that hubs started brewing his own beer too and it added up once you consider he needed bottles, bottle caps, sanitizer, a bottle capping device, etc.  Making your own is hardly a cheap enterprise!

In 2015 I'll be working on drinking what is here mostly so I'll be holding down the spending on my end.  Hubs however will do what Hubs will do, but I don't see it going into the two THOUSANDS in 2015.

SUBTOTAL.............$6,994.79  Spending UP $2,132.03

Obviously we had a better time in 2014 than in 2013 since we spent more on non-essentials.

GRAND TOTAL......$50,134.29
GRAND TOTAL......$37,528.66  Spending DOWN $12,605.63


* Spending was down overall in 2014 from 2013's totals.   The only category with a really large difference was Home Maintenance, due to installing a new heating/ac system($12,000)plus home repairs($5793).  Most categories were within $10-$500 between the two years.
* Spending was down overall about the cost of the new heating/ac system in 2014 from 2013.

Spending increased overall in 2014 on the non-essential categories.  This is all due to "lifestyle inflation".  I'll confess it bordered on getting "out of hand".  But we had fun and made many good memories for it all. 8-)

LOOKING AHEAD into 2015--

* Spending on water and electric should decrease(as long as the rates don't rise too much)with the current arrangement of only 1 child left at home and being off at college for 7 months of the year.

* Spending on food, though a variable expense, CAN go down if A-child doesn't eat home much when he is home, and B-I keep a better eye on the price/amount of food I buy.

* Internet will only be $479.40 in 2015(as long as they don't jack up the rate before the year is out).  Ditching cable will save us $840+/- in 2015, or $560 less than we spent in 2014 on the cable/internet category.

* It's clear from the figures that we need to revisit the phone arrangement/spending.  Cell phone spending will be $216.39 in 2015.(Unless I use all my minutes up and need to buy more.)  The only reason we keep the long distance component on our landline is so when someone calls us long distance we don't pay-incoming ld is free, outgoing ld is charged at .25¢/minute.  If we drop the ld component it would save approx. $87 a year on the landline.  But then we'd have to use up cell minutes on incoming ld calls.
If we drop our landline(savings of $295+/-a year) I'd have to upgrade to a cell plan which would increase that component of the spending.  The question is-would spending on phone increase overall or go down if we make that switch?  This requires more discussion to decide.

* Take out the heating/ac system bought in  2013 and we spent approximately the same in 2014 as in 2013.  The amounts per category shifted but the total yearly spending was about the same.
For 2015 I'll try to do better in the variable categories.  Here are the categories I can potentially impact---

* Electricity-use less, shop for better rate
* Water-use less
* Food/HBA-spend less/find better deals
* Non-essential categories-spend less on all these
* Gas-lower prices, use less
* Phone-find a cheaper solution/drop services
* Home/Car Insurance-shop for a better rate

Is everyone thoroughly tired of hearing about my spending?!  ;-)

Now tell me, do you ever analyze your yearly spending? 
When you did were there any categories of spending/amounts that you were surprised at?
If you have tired, how have you lowered your yearly spending on specific categories and did it make a large impact?



Thursday, February 19, 2015

Another Thrilling 2 Days of Shopping

After my dr. appt. I went back to Rite-Aid for this.....

2 x Gear Body Wash on sale=$6.98
1 x Vaseline lotion on sale=$2.99

Coupons Used
2 x $2/1 Gear Body Wash In-Ad Q=$4.00
2 x $2/1 Gear Body Wash IPQ=$4.00
1 x $1/1 Vaseline lotion CatQ=$1.00
Coupon Total......$9.00

$9.97-$9.00=.97¢ + .06¢tax=$1.03

I paid $1.03 OOP.
I received $2 Vaseline +Up Rewards and ANOTHER $1/1 Vaseline Q spit out of the Catalina machine.

Then it was off to the local grocery store.  Everything bought was on sale or clearance deals.....

1 x 1lb. turkey deli meat=$6.01
6 x yellow squash=$4.67($1.49 lb.)
6 x zucchini squash=$3.36($1.49 lb.)
2 x 1lb. butter=$3.98($1.99 lb.)
1 x 1lb flounder filets=$3.99
1 x 2.4 lb. ground beef=$8.60(under $4 lb.)
1 x 1.38 lb. plum tomatoes=$1.38(.98¢ lb.)
1 x yellow peppers=.51¢(.98¢ lb.)
5 x Wolf chili clearance .50¢ can=$2.50
1 x Hormel corned beef hash clearance .50¢ can=$.50
2 x Spam clearance $1 can=$2.00(meant to get 2 turkey ones, will give the smoked ham Spam away)

Total of $37.65
Reg. retail of $67.68, savings rate of 34.37%.

Then it was up to Weis to use another $10 Catalina..........

1 x dozen eggs $1.99 used .50¢ Weis Q=$1.49
1 x mushrooms $2 used .50¢ Weis Q=$1.50
2 x GG bagged fresh stir-fry veggies w/50% discount sticker=$2.98 for both
1 x head green leaf lettuce=$1.76
2 x 8 o'clock coffee bags BOGO & used $1.50/1 IPQ=$3.99 for both
1 x 7.71 lb. turkey breast=$7.56
Used $10 oyno CatalinaQ.

Reg. retail of $34.89, savings rate of 73%.

Then after the test at the hospital this morning(my lungs are good), I hit the Dollar Tree since I was going right by it............

2 x Ortega taco shells
3 x pot stickers
2 x chicken thighs
1 x MC cheddar biscuit mix

$8.00 out the door

Then it was back to Rite-Aid for more body wash.......

Rinse and repeat, $1.03 OOP
Got another $2 +Up Rewards for the Vaseline
And another $1/1 Vaseline CatQ popped out.

Picked up my prescriptions($270.93 ouch)and that register Catalina spit out a $1.50/1 Vaseline Q for me. lolz

Then off to Weis(PMITA)Market to spend yet another $10 oyno Catalina and do a biggish shop.  Ignore all the coffee and chili in the background as I haven't had a chance to put the last 2 days of groceries away..........

3 x Eckrich smoked sausage on sale $2.50=$7.50
2 x 8 o'clock coffee BOGO=$5.49
1 x Bisquick on sale=$1.69
6 x Furmano's tomatoes on sale(.88¢)=$5.28
10 x Red Pack tomatoes on sale($1)=$10.00
1 x Special K cracker/chips on sale=$1.87
1 x Post cereal clearance=$1.49
1 x 8.57 lb. turkey breast=$8.40
1 x bakery muffins 50%off=$1.99

Coupons Used
3 x $1/1 Eckrich ManuQ=$3.00
1 x $1.50/1 8 o'clock coffee IPQ=$1.50
1 x .50¢/1 Bisquick IPQ(doubled to $1)=$1.00
2 x $1/3 Furmano's tomatoes ManuQ=$2.00
1 x $1/1 Special K cracker chips PeelieQ=$1.00
Coupon Total........$8.50


Used my $10 Cat=$25.21 OOP
Reg. retail of $75.22, savings rate of 66%.
Plus the Red Pack tomato purchase qualifies me for a $3 SavingStar rebate in that account, making the big can's of tomatoes .70¢ each. 8-)

I am out of Qs to get more free body wash but I have Qs to get free Gear Deodorant so I might go back tomorrow as I still have another rx to pick-up then.
I want to go back to Weis this week and get at least 1 more turkey breast but I need to make room in the freezer first.
Besides that I am shopped out for the week.
And I am now officially $2+ over my $250 food budget for February and I might spend some more tomorrow. 8-(



Wednesday, February 18, 2015

My Shopping Day

I lead such an exciting life--grocery shopping, Rite-Aid shopping, gas station, bank.
Rinse and repeat every week mostly.

After the snow passed this morning, I headed out under sunny yet cold skies.

First off Rite-Aid...........

2 x Irish Spring Gear Body Wash on sale=$6.98
2 x Dove Men's Body Wash on sale=$8.00
1 x Vaseline lotion on sale=$2.99

Coupons Used
2 x $2/1 In-Ad Q=$4.00
2 x $2/1 Irish Spring Gear IPQ(coupons dotcom)=$4.00
1 x $2/1 Dove Men's Body Wash MANUQ=$2.00
1 x $1/1 Dove Men's Body Wash IPQ(NLA)=$1.00
1 x $1.50/1 Vaseline CatalinaQ(no size restriction)=$1.50
Coupon Total.....$12.50

$17.97-$12.50=$5.47 + .02¢tax=$5.49

After Qs the Irish Spring Gear is -.51¢ each bottle, so make sure you have other items in your transaction to cover the overage.

I used $5 in +Up Rewards and paid .49¢ OOP.
I received back $4 in new +Ups($2 wyb2 Dove Men's, $2 Vaseline).
And the Catalina machine spit out another Vaseline Q.....

Can you say more free Vaseline? ;-)

$27.85 in items brought home.
.49¢ spent OOP.
$4 in new +Ups


Then it was off to Weis(PMITA)Market to earn another $10 oyno Catalina Q......

10 x Maxwell House coffee on sale=$29.90
1 x Velveeta skillet meal on sale=$2.00
1 x Special K crackers on sale=$1.87(for .87¢ after Q I'll try them)

There was a $1/1 Peelie Q on the crackers which made my total $32.77 OOP.

I received another $10 oyno CatalinaQ for buying the coffee and skillet box meal........

Savings rate of 26%(before getting the $10 Cat).
$44.38 in products.

Then I went back inside and spent one of my 4 $10 oyno Cats......

3 x Gorton's grilled fish 50%off=$9.97
4 x 8 o'clock coffee BOGOFree=$10.98

When you buy 3 Gorton's items in 1 transaction you also get $2 Instant Discount, making my total $18.95 at this point.
Then there are the coupons I used.........
2 x .75¢/1 Gortons grilled itemsIPQ(doubled to $1)=$2.00
1 x .50¢/1 Gorton's grilled item ManuQ(doubled to $1)=$1.00
2 x $1.50/1 8 o'clock coffee IPQ=$3.00
Coupon Total........$6.00

I used the $10 off CatQ so my OOP was $2.95.
That's a 92% savings rate.
$41.93 in products.

The 8 o'clock coffee bags were $3.99 for 2.
The fish cost me $1.66 per box.
But after using the $10 Cat it came to $2.95 for all.

Weis Totals--
Total spent.....$35.72
Total products...$86.31
A 58.62% savings rate combined.
And $10 Cat for free stuff next time.

Weis has turkey breast for .98¢ lb. this week and I will buy as many as I can fit in the freezer this week.
I'll go back for more 8 o'clock coffee(as I have more Qs), some smoked sausage($1.50 a pkg. after sale/Q)and canned tomatoes(.55¢ a can after sale/Q) plus a few more things.