This might mark our last weekend “off” for a while.  We have plans for the next couple weekends, and after that- we are supposed to be the new owners of the “stupid house” which will mean lots of long hours and packed weekends trying to get that house rental ready!  Cross your fingers!

My Friday nights aren’t as relaxing as they used to be.  It used to be that the last daycare kiddo would leave about 4:20pm and my hubby would come home about 15 minutes after that- and he’d hand me a Corona while he drank an IPA and we kicked off our weekend.  Now, there’s no beer (or champagne) because I’m taking the girls to karate, picking up Trevor, running back to karate to pick up the girls, and not usually home until 7:30 or so.  That feels too late to crack open a beverage.  This past Friday I flopped on the couch about 8pm and watched “American Pickers” episodes back-to-back until I fell asleep!

Saturday my goal was tax prep.  Now that we have two businesses (the daycare, and the rental properties), I wanted to make extra extra sure that I had everything lined up and ready to go.  The daycare stuff is pretty much ready, and our personal taxes are pretty much ready (except for waiting on W2’s and 1099’s, etc.)….but the rental property piece needed a lot of work.  I spent a couple hours creating a more user-friendly and automated worksheet that categorizes all our expenses into “tax” categories, yet also shows us (on a room-by-room or project basis) how our money was spent (ie kitchen renovation vs bathroom improvements vs new flooring vs trim work vs paint vs supplies, etc.).  I also had to track all our miles, which was easy to do using the receipts and this blog and my Facebook posts to track every trip we made to/from.  And now I’m completely ready to start our taxes!

In the midst of doing that (actually at the beginning of doing that) I got distracted by the mess around me and ended up cleaning out our office.  It had become a junk zone with empty boxes (saving for Christmas wrap) and garage sale items and just “stuff” everywhere.  So that’s clean now and makes being in here feel so much more enjoyable!  Brooke even swept the floor!

We had some of our delicious (but salty) homemade bacon for breakfast.  Since we cooked a full pound, there was some leftover so Jim helped me make “stuffed burgers” for dinner.  Wow they were good.  We added a full packet of Lipton French Onion soup mix to two pounds of ground beef, shaped them into thin patties, topped some of the patties with chopped cheese and bacon, then lay another patty on top and sealed the edges- threw them on the Traeger (I marked everyone’s burgers with toothpicks so we could keep track of who each burger belonged to since they were all different).

burgers

Anyway- delicious.  And in my effort to eat healthier and with fewer carbs, I had my burger wrapped in lettuce.  Yum!

Sunday I worked on my typical daycare and home management things- creating the daycare menu for the week, printing our calendar for the week, creating the allowance charts/checklists.  I also spent a bunch of time updating the rental website for the “stupid house”.  I wish I had better pictures of the inside of the home that I could use….we ideally would like to advertise the rental in early February so we can get a renter in mid-March.   http://www.JEPropertiesAloha.com

I also made a to-do list and a budget for the improvements that need to be made.   We aren’t sure what we want to do about the kitchen counters- they are white tile (outdated style) and one area is damaged (missing 4-5 tiles).  Really the entire kitchen needs a complete overhaul with new cabinetry and appliances….but for now we’ll just make due with what is in there and hope we can attract a renter.  The quickest solution is just to repaint the kitchen, upgrade the window treatment, replace the broken tiles, refresh the cabinet fronts and call it good.  To kick it up a notch we could cover the tile counters with a granite tile, but that entails pulling the sink and resetting it (the previous owners built the tile to the edge of the sink).  It also will confirm our need to pull out the stove and replace it with a slide-in or freestanding range.  AND, there’s decorative trim at the base of the backsplash that will end up being covered….sooooo….maybe that’s not the best plan after all.  (My parents’ original dusty blue laminate counters are still beneath the tile!)

Biggest tile repair area in kitchen

I almost wonder how easy it would be to pop all those tiles off and start over?  Hmmmm…..

Sunday afternoon I spent a bunch of time sorting through coupons, checking the coupon blogs for match-ups for the week.  I have to hit Costco on Monday (timing that with Brooke’s cheerleading class that is just a few blocks away) and Brooke has also been wanting to hit Target- which is also close by.  On Tuesday I’ll make my Fred Meyer run while the kids are in their weapons class.   And if you’ve been following my blog and wonder what shopping I’m doing after announcing that we are in a “budget year” and I’m trying to eat through my pantry and freezer….well, we’re out of some staples:  milk, cream, sliced cheese, coffee, bananas, lettuce, apples, avocado, peanut butter, plain old-fashioned oatmeal.   And Fred Meyer match-ups for the week include ALL (brand) laundry detergent for just $1.00 per jug.   Juice (for the daycare) for $1.50 gallon.  And 25% off their paint supplies (which I’m sure we’re going to be needing in a few weeks!)   Target Match-ups will get us FREE bottles of Nature Made vitamins!  As long as I time my trips right, we’ll save even more!

And what did the kids do all weekend? NOTHING.  Nothing at all except lay on the floor or couch to watch TV or play with their iPods/iPhones.  I get the need for “downtime”- lounging around with electronics or watching mindless TV- our kids are so busy with karate and activities that I hate to NOT let them relax on the weekends, but it does become overkill around here.  Frankly, I enjoy the quiet (like right now Jim is out in the garage tinkering around with the football game on, and I have every TV and radio inside the house turned OFF).

Dinner Sunday night was stuffed bell peppers.  I’d made them once before and wasn’t a fan, but thought I’d try them again tonight.  It was a simple recipe/process, and I totally screwed it up, but salvaged them and they were scrumptious!  Here’s what I did-

Cleaned out two green bell peppers.  Filled them (2) with a mixture of the following:  1/2 cup Jimmy Dean Sausage (cooked), 1/2 cup of rice, 1/2 cup of spaghetti sauce, 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, 1 egg, 1/4 cup bread crumbs.  Mixed that together, stuffed the peppers, topped with a little more sausage and tomato sauce and put them in the oven at 400-degrees.  Realized that I forgot to boil the peppers first to make them tender, so I took the peppers out of the oven, put them in a bread loaf pan, added 1/2″ of water, covered them tightly in foil and put them back in the oven for 15 minutes so they could “steam”.  Perfect!  Uncovered them, topped each with 2 slices of Provolone, put back in the oven to melt- and voila!  Delicious stuffed peppers that even the kids taste-tested and approved!

Anyway- that about wraps up all we accomplished. Huge leaps in some ways, and a lot of “nothing” at the same time!  We have a pretty busy week ahead of us with Brooke making up a cheerleading class (so that means 2 classes this week) and all three kids have a “checkpoint” belt test on Wednesday, two kids have added a weapons class to their schedule….yeah, is it Friday yet?  Er, 7:30 on Friday so I can enjoy a beer (‘cept I’m not drinking those right now as part of my weight loss/health challenge, but you know what I mean).