Sunday, February 14, 2010

Blizzard 2010 - Progress

When the snow finally stopped it was said that we received a total of 40" of snow.  Many of the roads are passable, but barely.  You have to watch out for lanes quickly merging into one and there not being any leadways off ramps of highways to the streets and vic-verse.   In the city, they had to revert to dumping snow into the Baltimore Inner Harbor. And near the airport, they are using a machine that melts the snow and another machine that's used to flatten snow at ski resorts.
The parking lot of my apartment complex looks fantastic.  They have been working day and night since Saturday.  Yesterday they brought in a couple of bob-cats, and a dump truck to clear away as much snow as they can.  See.

(Some folks never even bothered to dig out their cars, so they're still covered)

What snow they didn't take away, they made huge mountains on the lawns.

I cannot wait for all of this snow to go.  I have never been more ready for spring.  We should have some awsome blooms this year from all this water.

Monday, February 8, 2010

February Focus : The Budget

This month's focus is the holiday budget.  Recently, I spent some time going over last year's holiday budget and I did extremely well with my spending.  I spent a little over half my original budget and that included gifts, food, decorations, etc.

Although I was under budget as a whole, certain groups I went a little or quite a bit over budget.  For instance my grocery bill was nearly $100 over budget.  I did not realize I had spent so much.  As for buying gifts, I only spent half of what I budgeted.  Those early sales were a big, big help and I got everyone the perfect gift - just what they wanted.  The most I spent on a gift was $100 and that was the Wii Guitar Hero 5 bundle for my 10 year old niece.  The least amount spent on a gift was $3.50. The ladies in the accounting office where I work received alterd jars filled with a variety of chocolates.  Thanks to having most of the supplies already for making the jars, all I had to do was buy the chocolates to fill the jars (6 total).

Now it's time to get the 2010 holiday budget started. My budget is divided into the the following categories:

charitable donations
greeting cards/postage

The first thing I did was assign a budget to each category. I found this site which has some nice worksheets.  There are 5 worksheets: a general budget, a budget for immediate family gifts, a budget for friends and extended family gifts, a budget for grandkids gifts, and a sheet for planning next year's budget.  Of course I made a few changes to suit my needs.  I like these sheets because I can just enter the amounts and everything is automatically calculated for me. 

Now with the gift category of the budget covered, I still needed a way to track my other expenses (food, decorations, etc).  So I created several more spreadsheets.  The spreadsheets have the following colums: Purchase, Storage Location, Amount and Balance. This will allow me to see how much I'm spending throughout the year and that I don't go over budget.

By the end of the year I will be able to see if I need to make some cuts to my budget or if I can lower my budget for next year.  If this year is anything like 2009, I will be able to lower my budget.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Winter Storm of 2010

There is so much snow.  We received between 25" to 3 feet, breaking the record of 2003.  And there's talk about another snow storm heading this way from Tuesday afternoon to Wednesday afternoon.  To pass the time I grabbed my digital camera and took some pictures from my balcony.

Some branches broke from the trees as a result of heavy snow.  I'm always praying that those trees don't fall on my building. 

This is one of the side streets that takes me to the main roads.  When I moved here nearly 11 years ago you couldn't even see the homes across the road. That's how many trees we've lost due to bad weather.

And here's a view of the parking lot from the bedroom window.

It may not look like it but maintenance did a good job considering all the snow that fell.  You can actually see the street.

Super Bowl Sunday

It's Superbowl Sunday!  My boyfriend and I had plans to go to friend's house to watch the game but we got hit with a lot of snow this weekend. It's the worst snow we've ever had.  This snowfall broke the record from 2003 which was recorded at 28 inches of snow.  This snowfall reach nearly 3 feet.

So we are staying home.  I put together some snacks so he will be happy while watching the game.  As for me I will make dinner: Shrimp parmigiana, spaghetti with sauce, caesar salad, and garlic bread.  And for dessert, red velvet cake.  This dinner was originally for Valentine's Day but I decided to celebrate a little early.  Now I have to come up with a new menu for next week. 

All the snow has me motivated to do something Christmasy.  After I finish cooking, dinner I will work more on the holiday cd's. They will be given out as party gifts Christmas Eve.  The list is growin - I keep adding songs.  I have enough music collected to make a double cd. 

Last week my mom surprised me with The Simpson's Christmas on DVD.  Another new movie to had to my holiday collection.  I may put that on while working on my playlist.