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September 2012

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Sep. 20th, 2012

DIY

Lately I've been feeling like a teenager again. I bought a few creams last week from the 99 Cent Store and since, I've been looking for ways to keep my skin healthy as well as once again becoming obsessed about my weight.

My Great Aunt has always told me that starting an anti-aging program would help my skin look and age much better. For awhile I was using an anti-wrinkle cream with sunscreen but it ended up being used up (would have been used up sooner had I used it regularly instead of just when I wore makeup). So after it was gone, I just forgot about it. But I started having acne problems a couple of weeks ago and Jon and I stopped by the 99 Cent Only store to pick up some Club 99 orders that we put in. And I didn't want to go home yet, so I ended up looking around. I stopped into the beauty section and found some acne treatment pads, and then I remembered what my aunt told me. So I found some anti-wrinkle and anti-aging cream (as well as some new makeup) and bought them. I used them for about a week, and then Mandi and I ended up getting into a debate: which is better? Creams or masks? Mandi uses a store-bought mask twice a week, and I use my creams and pads twice a day.

Her argument was that masks do a deep cleansing that creams don't do. As for me, creams last much longer, a little goes a long way, and you don't have to rinse them off. In fact, you're not supposed to. So it saves money and gets the job done. But her comments did intrigue me, so I went online and looked up recipes for do-it-yourself face masks and I decided to try out a coffee grounds diy face mask. Found here: http://beauty.about.com/od/homemadefacemaskrecipes/r/Coffee-And-Cocoa-Facial-Mask-For-All-Face-Types.htm

Except I made some changes. I didn't have any baking chocolate (which is really weird because I usually buy it all the time), so instead I used chocolate almond milk in place of the chocolate and the milk. And I used regular coffee with 6 tablespoons, instead of espresso with 4 tablespoons. Specifically, I used a bag of Christmas Blend Starbucks coffee that I bought last year to try, and ended up not liking the taste, even with creamer and sugar. So after I made the mask, I put it on and let it dry, and then I found that it could double as an exfoliator. So after the mask was dry, I rubbed it into my skin a bit and then rinsed it off. While my mask was drying, I also noticed that putting olive oil on your face at night will help lock in the moisture. So after I rinsed off the mask, I put some olive oil on my skin and then used my creams. In hindsight, I should have used my creams first because oil has a way of separating things.

So after beginning to use creams, I started enjoying being able to pamper myself, and on Tuesday I took it a step further and gave myself a manicure the day before my job interview (which I bombed, by the way). And you know, I quite like pampering myself. I've always been raised in a low-income household, so I never got to pamper myself as a teen unless it included a long soak in the bathtub with some dim lighting and candles (which I did about once a week). So now I'm thinking that it would be really nice to, once a week or so, give myself a spa night, where I do the bath thing as mentioned above, give myself a nice facial and manicure (since they have to be kept up once a week anyway) and depending on the week, give myself a pedicure (only need upkeep every 3 weeks). This MIGHT be ambitious, but it just sounds REALLY nice.

Sep. 15th, 2012

What Are You Waiting For?

I'm back in my head now that my problems with custody have been reduced. But now I'm concentrating on another thing that has been weighing heavily on my mind for almost two years now, and that is how can I make life a little bit better for those who are going through more than me? I had a plan to create a non-profit organization revolving around creating care packages for the homeless and providing clothing and support to the homeless community around me. But the catch was it was a chapter of an already exisiting non-profit called The Harry Potter Alliance, and because of this, I could not gain any interest in my organization and I've now found out that I've been removed from the chapters list. So I want to make my chapter an official non-profit for the city of California, which requires money. That way I can get tax-exempt status and I can get advertising and such for little to no cost to me or my chapter. But as I said earlier, starting one of these things costs money. Albeit, it's not a huge cost to fill out some paperwork and pay a small fee, but I'm worried that this will be all for nothing. Sure, it seems ambitious and probably not something that a person in my position can do, but even though I like to whine and complain about having money problems all the time, it really isn't as bad as some people, who can't even scrape by and who are living on the street.

That's where this organization comes in. I want to be able to give back, because I feel guilty. Every time I pass someone asking for money for food, I feel guilty because I won't give him money, and I usually don't have my ebt card on me when it happens. I see people sitting outside of Stater Borthers every time I go saying , "Do you have money for a burrito?" In fact, it happened just a fe nights ago when I was walking home with Selene and Jon. If I had, had my ebt card on me right then, I could have said, "Oh, sure. I don't have a lot of money, but come inside with me and I can buy you a burrito and a drink." Now, I don't have much money left, $10.35 to be exact (I've done some shopping since my last post), but I have food in my house, so I don't immediately need that money. And it isn't much to spend on a small package to show that someone cares. In fact, I made a list of just a few things that I can find at my new favorite store (the 99 Cent Only Store, obviously), for a care package for under $25.00.

1 can of Vienna sausage - $ .50
1 Bottle of water - $1.00
1 pair of socks - $1.00
1 bag of wet wipes - $1.00
1 pop-top Chef Boyardee - $1.00
1 fresh pair of underwear  - $1.00
1 can of coffee - $1.00
1 small bag of cat food - $1.00
1 small bag of dog food - $1.00
1 roll of toilet paper - $1.00
1 nissin big cup of noodles - $ .50
1 pop-top of canned beans – (about) $1.00
1 Bottle of aloe vera juice - $1.00
1 Reusable plastic bottle - $1.00
1 Box of drink mix for water - $1.00
1 back pack - $8.88
-----------------------------------------------------------
1 care kit - $22.88

And, as I said, it's just a few things that can be put into a care package. But in order to make many of these, I would need some funding, which is why I want to gain interest in my non-profit organization. The only thing on that list that would be overly expensive is the back pack. I can't find those at the 99 Cent Only Store, so I pulled that price off of Walmart's website. It was a black mesh back pack. So it's neutral and could go to a homeless person of any age and gender. I was thinking that my biggest investment, really, would be a business card to put into the care kit to help spread the word and gain even further interest in my non-profit. I have some old business cards somewhere that I could probably alter to say League of Aurors. Later on I'll need a space to operate and things, but right now, my first goal is to get LoA recognized as a non-profit organization and go back to being an official chapter of the HPA. I don't want to go back to being an official chapter though, until interest is gained and I can begin holding meetings. Then I'll actually have something to say at our weely Galleon Day meetings. But for now, it's just baby steps.

Sep. 8th, 2012

The results from my shopping spree.

So I don't really talk about my specific financial situation in public so unless I talk to you on a regular basis, it's easy to be slightly confused about my specific situation. So here it is: I'm a single mom on welfare getting $490/month, not even enough to get a studio apartment which, here in Redlands, generally runns between $600 and $800/month, and that usually doesn't include utilities. I also have a 3 year old daughter who is (finally!) potty trained, so I no longer need to buy her diapers and wipes, which usually ended up taking up all of my income because my mother demanded I pay $383/month for rent. But Jon and I came up with a clever lie that means I no longer have to give my mom all of my money. I got a letter from Welfare in June saying I was going to lose my welfare at the end of July. I later found out (but not until August) that I still have 22 months on welfare. So we ended up telling my mom that welfare is only giving me $100/month. Obviously not enough to pay any kind of rent, but my bitchy cousin screamed at me and told me "your mom could make you give her 50 of that $100, but she doesn't, you should be more grateful to her!" And, actually, let's not get me started on how every single member of my family (the exception being my aunt and uncle) hate me...

The poiunt is, I have more money than Jon and I let on to my mom and although Jon and I still buy wipes because we use them, too, but it's not a necessity, I no longer have those bills to pay with my welfare. And since Selene didn't really need anything this month (I do need to get her amended birth certificate, but her dad is letting me borrow his so I don't need it right now), I had some extra money to play with, which is why I bought the cookbook that I mentioned last night. And, I ended up spending all of my money (go figure), which Jon isn't really happy about right now because we need to save to move. Or rather, I need to save to move because he doesn't have an income. Next month I'll behave myself, honest. It was just nice having some extra money since I haven't had any of that for over 3 years.

Now, onto the real topic of this blog. My results from my shopping spree today. Since money wasn't an issue (my food stamps got raised), I had no qualms about picking out anything at the 99 Cent Only store that looked good, even though I had no plan about what to use it for at all. My foodstamps this month were $581.59, I'm not sure why, since Welfare isn't known for giving change to you, and I know for a fact that I had a balance of $0.00 on my card after all of my shopping for last month was completed. But I digress. Our first stop was Sam's Club, and I found out that my membership will be ending on September 30, so we'll need to renew that in October. All we bought at Sam's Club was 50lbs of sugar (yes, you read right. It's Jon and Thomas and all of their coffee!), and 25lbs of flour. These items usually last us 3-4 months and since it used to be something we had to buy 3 times a month (at the very least), and was getting to be way too expensive. We also bought two boxes of coffee creamer cups for Thomas's coffee that will hopefully last him the whole month because coffee creamer is another thing that we run out of really quickly in this house. When our trip was done, Jon and I sent Thomas home to put those things away (we have this crappy little portable cart that Stater Borther's sells for $11. They break so easily though. -_-), and Jon and I took Selene to the 99 Cent Only Store and started shopping. We paid a total of $51.81 at Sam's Club and were left with $529.78 to spend elsewhere.

As I said earlier, I decided that since money wasn't really an object, I went crazy at the 99 Cent Only Store. We spent 3-4 hours there (mostly waiting for Thomas to meet up with us) just shopping for food. The produce was 100x better than it was the first time we went. It looked fantastic. Yellow bell peppers, pineapple, red bell peppers, cucumbers, and fresh green beans were just a few of the items that we ended up with. I love to use fresh fruits and vegetables in my cooking, so this was heaven for me. I bought some canned goods, boxed goods, juice boxes (a whole hell of a lot of them!) for Selene, things of that nature. I could list every single thing that I bought, but that would make this a boring entry. But Jon and I got out with 106 items from the 99 Cent Only store for $101.94, and we had $426.79 to spare. Now, there were some things that we couldn't get there, unfortunately, so since we made such a killing at the 99 cent store, we decided to go to Stater Brothers to buy the rest and while I was shopping (Jon and Thomas took a different bus because they were going home first to put away the food), I bought a lot of things that we didn't "need" but that we wanted. Stater's was good, I guess, but I wouldn't say fantastic. I forgot to get fresh meat (we got canned at the 99 cent store), but that was it.

At Stater's my cart was packed, I even had to put some stuff on the tray underneath the cart because there was just no room in my cart. I bought some ice cream and I also bought fresh fruit that I couldn't buy at the 99 cent store (their apples were tiny and groddy). I bought some cereal, canned fruit, etc. I ended up buying 69 items at Stater's ( a lot less than the 99 cent store) and I paid $195.82, and that was with buying a lot of things on sale. I have $230.97 left on my card, which is amazing because I usually only have like $20 or so after doing my monthly shopping. My fridge is packed, my cupboards are packed, and we even had to leave some of the stuff in the reusable bags that I bought (with my bank card) at Sam's Club earlier today. It looks like that 99 Cent Only store cookbook is going to be put to some use after all, because this is definitely going to be my first choice grocery store from now on.

My new shopping aspiration.

Funny thing happened to me last week. I was telling some co-workers about my personal financial situation. Last week I was basically going hungry every day at work. A little background: I gave up eating beef 7 years ago because it was a healthier choice for me to make. In fact, I was (and still am) more than willing to drop all meat from my diet but the rest of my faily won't go for it. Now last week we were -almost- completely out of food. I found some crap in the cupboard that I managed to throw together to make a beef stew, mostly from ingredients that we got from the Salvation Army. We had like 15 cans of ground beef that we needed to do something with. I added some seasonings, etc., to make it more desirable, and I made myself a bowl, but I couldn't finish it. See, because it had been cut from my diet for so long, my body had forgotten how to digest it. I went to bed with a half empty stomach and I felt horribly sick. Well, when I went to work that day, Donna had mentioned buying stuff at the 99 cent only store but I had already gone there before and frankly, nothing had appealed to me at all. That was 3 years ago though. So I took that Friday off (August 31), and went grocery shopping with Jon and Amber. I had gotten my welfare money early and since Amber had been complaining that they wouldn't have money for food, I decided to give it a try. As it turns out, Amber did have enough money for food. So she came along with us. We split the cost as well as I bought some toys for Selene, and then Amber bought the rest of our food at Stater Brothers. Now, once again, it really seemed to me like there was no real selection of food. That might have been because I saw mold and mildew growing on the fresh produce that I could have used to make a fantastic meal.

So yesterday I went with Donna, Margie, and Shirley to El Pollo Loco for lunch and Donna asked me if I had gone to the 99 cent store yet. I told her the issue I had with the produce and she told me that it was really best to buy the produce the day it's delivered because it's still fresh. So tonight I called the store and asked them when their produce was delivered. Oddly enough: Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. Ironically, tomorrow is Saturday, I get my food stamps, and Jon, Thomas and I are going to the store to see how the produce looks this time around. Since money isn't (as much as) an object this time, I can literally go crazy buying up as much food stuffs as needed; or...as much as my crappy little $11 travel cart can carry. So as of now, I'm writing out a grocery list to bring with me tomorrow and hopefully I can find everything I need. Also, I prepared my self by ordering $0.01 copy of the 99 Cent Only Store Cookbook on Amazon and paid $6.99 for 2-4 day shipping. So a grand total of $7 for a cookbook that will hopefully pay for itself. It'll be great if I can do most of my grocery shopping at the 99 Cent Only Store. We'll see how it goes, I suppose. Wish me luck!

Jun. 23rd, 2012

Search for Immortality - Amazon Queen of Witches

My game broke. :(

I had a travel glitch that caused my sims to not be able to travel, which made it difficult for 'Riela who had Seasoned Traveler as her lifetime wish. But I finally fixed it and I sent her to China but the game loaded, however my data didn't. I ended up in Game Setup and, well, I had to delete my Immortal Dynasty. So I'm sorry to anyone who reads this. But if you want me to start a new blog series, comment on this blog post and I'll come up with something.

(no subject)

Day 84:

Well, we have another new addition to the house. This time she's Amu's Imaginary Friend. Her name is Nadeshiko. When I found out that the Imaginary Friend Metamorphium Potion ('Riela named it) worked on Morgan, 'Riela told me to make more. So I made 4. Today Amu approached me and asked for one and I gave it to her.











Amu and Nadeshiko both decided that the first order of business was to get rid of that nasty mold-green hair. Oh well, it wasn't Nadeshiko's fault that she turned out that way. I seems that Nadeshiko's style was similar to Amu's. It would explain why they're such good friends.





Search for Immortality - Amazon Queen of Witches

Day 83:

The girls went out and had makeovers done. They all look fantastic! 'Riela went with an adventurer look. She pulls it off well.







Amu stuck with her usual look with a twist.



She calls this outfit "Amulet Clover."



"Amulet Spade."



"Amulet Heart."



And "Amulet Diamond."



And then Morgan got creative with her clothes. And she seems to like the purple look. I swear, for a Young Adult, that girl certainly dresses like a teenager. I guess it's her way of making up for lost time while she was still Imaginary...







Well that's it for now. I'm still working my way toward my perfect garden. I thought it would be easier this time around but I was wrong.

Jun. 22nd, 2012

Search for Immortality - Amazon Queen of Witches

Day 81:

First my Daughter-in-Law and now my Son. The girls are grieving harder than the rest of us, I think. But maybe I should start from the beginning. After Christal's death, Damion threw himself into his work. We told him not to, that it wasn't safe, but he began toying with his inventing table. He lost himself in his work and started a fire. He caught himself on fire. We called a fireman, but while we were on the phone, Damion ran into the shower. We thought that he was ok when he came out, but it was too late. Morgan came over to see what the commotion was and witnessed his death. And now the twins, they're adults, but they weren't ready to let go of their parents yet. And how is a mother supposed to feel when she outlives her only child?






I have a personal score to settle with the reaper. I never want him to visit one of my descendents again.

Search for Immortality - Amazon Queen of Witches

Day 81:

She's gone. Christal is gone. She couldn't get her requirements finished on time to take her Age Freeze potion and Young Again potion. the Reaper took her while she was working. We all still can't believe she's gone. We channeled our grief by expanding on the house and adding a second floor. But we still don't know what we're going to do with it. We had to do something. We were in mourning and needed something to distract us...





'Riela stole one of my untested potions and when I tried to stop her, she said she already knew exactly what the potion was for. She gave the potion to thin air; and thin air took it. When she was a child she had said something about having an imaginary friend. I thought for a moment that the mourning period had made me a little bit crazy. But the thin air drank the potion and then all I could see were sparks.






And then there was a stranger in my home. But 'Riela calls her Morgan and she says that Morgan is her best friend. Well, maybe this Morgan will help 'Riela through losing her mother...

Search for Immortality - Amazon Queen of Witches

Day 80:

The girls had another birthday! They're young adults! It's crazy, you know? 'Riela decided tht first.at she wants to be a Seasoned Traveler and Amu wants to be a Renaissance Sim.

'Riela went first. Amu decided she didn't want a cake so we only got one for 'Riela.














And we didn't get too many pictures of Amu.








Well, that's all for now. The girls are going out to find jobs tomorrow so it's time for bed.

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