Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Tuesday's Blessings

1.  DD's delight and happiness at getting her preferred dorm room in the room draw for next year's housing.  After such a hard and difficult fall semester, it is wonderful to hear her happy and light again.
2.  DS starting his job search in anticipation of graduation in just a few weeks.
3.  Abundant overtime at work to help make a dent in debt payoff.
4.  DS getting an interview at a store close to home less than 24 hours after submitting his application.
5.  DD getting all her classes scheduled for her JUNIOR (!) fall semester and being able to cancel her Mayterm.
6.  One (hopefully) last snow.
7.  Snuggly cats (who normally are not so snuggly!).
8.  Starbuck's tiramisu frappuccino.
9.  DS's interview going well.
10.  Time shooting at a friend's indoor range.
11.  Sunday afternoon nap.
12.  Baby snuggles in the church nursery.
13.  Good reports on my anemia bloodwork.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Goals for the Week

Last week went pretty well considering all my overtime and the fact that I had to take one day to go get DS and get him to a job interview and back to college.

1.  Catch up on daily Bible reading.  In progress
2.  Stay on track with BSF homework.  Done
3.  Pick a Bible study to work on at home, either a new one or one that needs completed.  Will finish Priscilla Scirer's "Gideon" study.  I saw all the videos and have about 2/3 of the workbook completed.  
4.  Continue to work 10+ hours of OT this week with extra pay going to DS's graduation dinner and gift.  Worked 9-1/2 hours.  Had an unexpected afternoon off due to having to get DS for his interview.
5.  Finish Mike Huckabee's "God, Guns, Grits, and Gravy."  In progress
6.  Mini pantry challenge in anticipation of stocking up for when the kids are home for the summer.  In progress
7.  Finish 1 project each evening before watching TV:  cinnamon rolls for the freezer; chicken potpies for the freezer; Pinterest ornaments; yarn eggs for the Easter baskets; clean dining room.  Completed all but the yarn eggs during the weekday evenings.  Yarn eggs finished on the weekend.  


This week's goals:
1.  Catch up on daily Bible reading.
2.  Stay on track with BSF homework.
3.  Do one week's work of Gideon homework.
4.  Work 5+ hours of overtime.  
5.  Finish Mike Huckabee's "God, Guns, Grits, and Gravy."
6.  Continue mini pantry challenge.
7.  Determine life lesson for kids while they are home for Easter.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Tuesday's Blessings

1.  Enjoying the Golden Hour at sunset.  Skies have been beautiful!
2.  Mastercard paid in full!
3.  DD being over-the-moon-thrilled at her room assignment for next year.
4.  Learning to install the wiper blades on our vehicle.  I've had it less than a year, and the online instructions were complicated for such a simple task.  And it was easier to do in practice than any other vehicle I've ever had!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Goals for the Week

Last week

1.  Stay on track with daily Bible reading.  Fell behind this week :-(
2.  Stay on track with both BSF and Beth Moore (last week of Beth Moore - I'm going to miss it and my little group!) Done
3.  Read Mike Huckabee's "God, Guns, Grits, and Gravy."  In progress
4.  Continue to work 10+ hours of OT this week with extra pay to MC payoff.  Done - Mastercard paid off!
5.  Go to bed by 10:30 PM 4 out of 7 nights.  hahahahahaha!  One night :-)  
6.  Make ornaments from Pinterest.  Nope
7.  Inventory stash for Easter baskets and make list of what I need to fill them out.  Done

I haven't updated my plastic bag challenge lately.  I think I have stayed pretty even on coming-in and going-out.  I need to be more intentional about that.

This week:
1.  Catch up on daily Bible reading.
2.  Stay on track with BSF homework.
3.  Pick a Bible study to work on at home, either a new one or one that needs completed.
4.  Continue to work 10+ hours of OT this week with extra pay going to DS's graduation dinner and gift.
5.  Finish Mike Huckabee's "God, Guns, Grits, and Gravy."
6.  Mini pantry challenge in anticipation of stocking up for when the kids are home for the summer.
7.  Finish 1 project each evening before watching TV:  cinnamon rolls for the freezer; chicken potpies for the freezer; Pinterest ornaments; yarn eggs for the Easter baskets; clean dining room.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Project Pinterest - Chicken Tenders

I'm working on a 2-week pantry challenge right now, and I've had half a bag of chicken tenders in the freezer for quite a while.  I usually make copycat Cracker Barrel grilled chicken tenders, but I didn't have enough honey, so I went to Pinterest for inspiration.  DD had this recipe from The Recipe Rebel pinned, and since I had the ingredients available, I tried it.  I liked it.  :-)


You are to bake these on a nonstick cookie sheet.  Since I don't have any nonstick cookie sheets, I substituted nonstick 9x9 pans.  This also contains the melted butter that you use.  The tender on the right was baked in a dark nonstick pan; the one on the left in a lighter nonstick pain.  The one on the right was crunchier, but both were very juicy and tender.  And as long as the chicken is thawed, it really takes less than 5 minutes to get in the oven.  I put the coating together while the butter was melting in the pans, shook the chicken tenders in the coating, and popped them in the oven.  Could not have been simpler.

(Ha!  Just now noticed my shadow!  Do I need to add a disclaimer that I am not a professional photographer and was very hungry at the moment this was taken? :-)  )

Anyhoo, this recipe is a keeper and worthy of a formal recipe card to add to my box.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Taxes and the College Student

Taxes is a subject that no one enjoys talking about.  A necessary evil, if you will.  Add in college to the mix, and it is enough to send you running for the hills.  I've pretty much always done my own taxes, especially once you could start submitting electronically.  The first couple years after my divorce, I went to the library where VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) helped me out, but after I had a good idea of what to do, I did.  :-)  Until this year.

This is the first year I have ever paid someone to do my taxes, and it was one of the best investments I have ever made.  I did them myself last year and knew I did them wrong (resulting in an error to the government's benefit, not mine), but I didn't know how not to make the same error, plus I wanted to get the $70 back that I knew I overpaid.  Let's just say I was pleasantly surprised at the results.  :-)  Definitely recovered my $70 and more.

When doing taxes and claiming college students as dependents, you will be receiving several additional tax papers that are important.  There will be a college tuition statement that will detail what was charged for tuition only with details on scholarships and grants that were awarded.  And if, like us, you participate in a 529 college savings program, you will also get a 1099-Q form, detailing what was paid to the college or university.  These funds are tax-free if used for college expenses, but if they are paid to your student (or to you), expect to pay income tax; the amount will depend on if you made deposits pre- or post-tax originally.  You will also need to have details on other expenses - lab fees, health center fees, admission fees, books, room and board, and any other expenses that the college charges for but not categorized as "tuition."

You can claim your college student as your dependent as long as they don't make over $9000-something a year.  If your son or daughter works on campus as part of a work-study program, they likely will not make enough to even have taxes taken out of their paycheck.  However, if you have a child who is working 20 hours a week or even working full time and studying full time, it may be more beneficial to your child to allow him or her to claim themselves on their personal tax return.  This is another time when using a tax professional would be very helpful in making those decisions.

I anticipate using a tax professional until both my kids have graduated (2017) and perhaps a few years after.  DS will graduate in less than 2 months (!) and will hopefully (as in he better!  haha) be working full time shortly thereafter, so I doubt I will be able to claim him from here on out.  But DD will be an undergrad for a couple more years, and after that, we will have to figure out if I can still claim her while she is in grad school or not.  We now know what documentation we need to have, and both kids are keeping track, especially since DS will be able to claim his expenses himself next tax season.  Once both kids are out on their own, I can go back to doing my simple little return, but right now, it is more than worth the expense to have my taxes done correctly and not have to wonder if I have over- or under-paid.

**Disclaimer:  I am obviously definitely not a tax professional.  I was woefully unprepared last year at tax time and just wish to help someone else not be so clueless!  Any questions specific to your situation should be directed toward an accountant or tax professional.  

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Tuesday's Blessings

When I stopped writing this blog a couple years ago, this was the post that I missed doing the most.  Sometimes the blessings we receive throughout the week are big, sometimes small, but it helped me a lot to record them and then look back over them when I was feeling down and lost.  So here we go again.

1.  Time spent with the twins solo over the last 2 weeks.  That doesn't happen very often.
2.  Winning tickets to the Columbus Crew professional soccer team's season opener.
3.  Seeing my cardiologist and having a great discussion on End Times events.
4.  My cat laying on my shoes when I came home the other night, his way of telling me I am NOT leaving again without his permission!
5.  Being able to catch up on emails during a downtime at work.
6.  Six inches of snow melting without it all melting into my basement.
7.  Having a wonderful evening out with a friend at the Crew game.
8.  Being pleasantly surprised to find at the game that we were sitting beside a former coworker of mine.
9.  A 2-hour Sunday nap.  :-)
10.  Finding a Reese's chocolate egg that I forgot I bought last week.
11.  Encouragement on my long-term job situation and plans being made for training for the transition.