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Fugitive Stand Off in My Neighborhood!!!

Last night was a bit tense.  It’s not everyday that a fugitive chooses to hunker down in your neighborhood while surrounded by police and helicopters…

The Fugitive Situation

A man, now being identified but I won’t give him the benefit of having his name on my site, shot 7 people in a neighborhood near ours.  One of his victims warned the police where he was heading next, and they stationed officers on that street since they didn’t have an exact address.  Minutes later, he drove up, saw the cops, and fled.  He was spotted by a helicopter while driving away.  He drove into our neighborhood while running from the police, and he was soon cornered with his broken car in the cul-de-sac behind my street.

My roommate heard about it nearly immediately after the chase started since he’s an EMT in our area.  He called to warn us to lock up the house and be ready in case the guy decided to make a run for it.  I turned on our television to see what was being reported.  At the time, they thought the guy was going door to door in our neighborhood looking for more victims or an escape route.  But the helicopter feed showed him hunkered down in his boxed in car.

I recognized one of the homes in the news feed nearly immediately and called the owner.  I pet sit for her when she has long work shifts, so I knew that she was at home and probably scared.  She literally answered with “What the heck is going on?!”.  I gave her a quick summary, told her to stay inside, and she got off the phone to go take care of her pups.  I texted her the feed and any updates we could get over the next hour or so.  She ended up coming to my home towards the end of the 3-4 hour stand off.   We all kept watching the live helicopter footage via an online feed on ABC.

The End Results

During the stand off, the man apparently threatened suicide several times and had to be talked into surrendering.  I am sure that I wasn’t the only one that was wondering how much he really had to live for at that point, but I am glad that it ended without any further bloodshed…if only since it meant that my neighbor was allowed to return to her home and take care of her dogs.  That wouldn’t have happened for a long time if he had been killed. 

My heart goes out to the loved ones left.  Of the 7 people he shot, 6 died.  It ended up being 4 of his own children and their two, adult care takers nieces and nephews and his estranged wife’s sister and husband.  The 15 year old, Cassidy Stay, has survived so far.  His wife and their own children were out of town.  I heard this new relationship info from a friend of the family that I spoke with later Thursday that I’ll be pet sitting for this month.  This whole crap event is affecting a whole area of Spring, TX.

According to this report, Cassidy was the one that alerted 911 that he planned on killing her grandparents next (his estranged wife’s parents).  We all are sending her the best wishes, karma, and prayers for a full recovery and the chance to heal emotionally as well.  


There aren’t words of comfort that exist for situations like this.  Good luck to Cassidy and the loved ones left that will be mourning.  This seems so wasteful and sick.  I am so sorry. 

If anybody would like to donate to Cassidy Stay and the family to help:

Overall, last night was weird – the excitement of something new and the sadness once we learned what really happened.  It’s a reminder that crazy can just fall into your lap.  Life isn’t completely controllable.  I try not to forget that, but events like these are just obvious examples.  Take care of yourselves and those you love.  Cherish the good moments.  Aim for happy when you can.

My Life’s Organizational Tools

In one of the recent comments left in my newsletter giveaway post, Cynthia Richardson asked:

In a recent post you mentioned prioritizing, calendaring, lists, etc. to organize your busy life. Do you use any apps to help you with this or do you prefer paper-and-pen?

My Current Life Juggling Method

I use a little of everything, but no apps yet.  Here’s the rundown of how I keep up with my life (my organizational tools):

1.  Prioritize – Regular, scheduled events are my top priority – that includes a Monday dinner with a friend, a Monday evening online mastermind group, picking up my “Little Bro’” from the Big Brothers Big Sisters every Tuesday afternoon, and a once-a-month board gaming potluck.  Pet sitting jobs come next.  If a huge family or friend problem or event pops up, I work around it.  But generally, it’s pet sitting gigs since they don’t take long each but do need to be at specific times.  Then I make sure I finish my “real” job stuff online every day, which can be before or after the other events since those are specifically scheduled and my online work is flexible.  The rest of our free time is filled in with family and friends.  That generally leaves about 6-7 hours a night for sleep.

2.  Calendar-ize – Everything is on my calendar.  Everything.  If I don’t add a planned event to my calendar, I probably won’t be there.  My main calendar is the one on my smart phone.  But I do have a backup one on paper that’s hanging on my office wall that I fill in when I’m in there.  I have to put in “dinner with x”, “pet sitting at x”, and even “call grandma”.  It has to be on my calendar.  It’s the only way that I don’t miss a job, finish what I need to do online, and make sure to stay a good family member and friend.

By the way, anybody know how to get stuff off of your calendar that Google dumps on it?  No offense Latisha, but your birthday doesn’t really fit into my schedule very well.  ;-)  I can’t just click the light blue events and delete them like the ones I add..

My June 2014 Calendar

3.  Alarms – At the beginning of the day, I set alarms.  If it’s on the calendar, it gets an alarm set for it.  I also have alarms set for the regularly scheduled events so they don’t get lost in the craziness.

4.  Emails to Myself – If I’m out and about, I email myself notes of stuff I need to do when I get home.  I check my email dozens of times a day, so those reminders are seen pretty quickly.

5.  Lists – Despite the methods above, I am human and I forget things…well, until I’m trying to sleep.  Then I seem to remember it all just when I have a chance to pounce on some sleep.  BUT, I fight that off with paper and post-it notes.  When it’s on my brain, I just pick up the pad on my night stand and write it down.  Then I know it will be there for me in the morning.

This stuff works for me, but I am sure there are even more efficient methods.  Please share!  What works for you?

Hey Regulars, What Have You Been Up To?!

The blogging community as a whole used to a hub of chatter, gossip, life updates, and online friendships.  It’s still alive and kicking, but it seems a lot quieter now than it was in 2009-2011.  How are all of you doing?  I know life is amazingly busy for a lot of us, but specifically, what’s been going on?  I miss chatting regularly with all of you!

My Summarized Life Update

Crystal and Mr. BFS Lovey Dovey

Okay, so it’s mushy, but I love it.

To help catch anyone up on my end, I started Budgeting in the Fun Stuff (BFS) when I was 27 years old in February 2010.  I’m now 31, still married to the same Mr. BFS, we now both work from home but still have our own side hustles too (reffing and pet sitting respectively), and we still live right outside of Houston, TX.  Our income has fluctuated from $5000 a month all the way up to $23,000 a month and back to $6000 just while you’ve known me.  We have lost two grandparents since I started blogging, but I’ve also gained a brother-in-law to be and I have a niece or nephew on the way.  We recently lost our two dogs that I wrote about a lot too, but I started a pet sitting business earlier this year to help fill in that pet blank and because I seem to prefer money over free time.


We’ve also moved into a larger home in 2012 that we truly enjoy.  My main personal finance view point is still that it is very possible to live within your means while still enjoying life in the way you want the most.  I write a lot about how to have fun on a budget or how to save for expensive fun while also planning for your golden years.  My favorite saying is “You can have anything but you just can’t have everything”.  Life is about prioritization.  My husband and I are having to prioritize more now than ever since we do own two homes now (our last one is now our rental property), and there are a lot of expenses that are no longer flexible.

Our Rent House - Now All Ours

*Doing the happy dance, doing the happy dance!*

I’d label myself as a realistic optimist in general, although I have bad days too.  My long-time readers seem to think that I am a pure ball of energy and are the most supportive commenters ever.  I rarely show my bad days here since I’d like at least all of y’all to only see the best side of me.  Yay for writing! Speaking of which, I have published two eBooks (both in the left sidebar), “How I Make Money Blogging” and “Managing Your Monthly Nut”.  The blogging one is definitely the most popular, and I do not mind at all.  I definitely enjoyed writing that one more and that probably showed up in my work.

A Hot, Colored, Mess

And here we are after the festivities at a 5k color run! From left to right – Ivy, Isabelle, me, and Anne

My life centers around the people in it.  My husband and I are extremely thankful for our local support network and spend as much time with our closest friends as possible.  I write about our cheap fun like board gaming potlucks as well as our splurges like our annual summer vacations.  Honestly, you may have noticed that I write about pretty much everything.

Now You

So, what have you been up to recently?  How has life been treating you?  How would you describe yourself when it comes to your financial and life-in-general mindsets?

We Have a Winner! My Bridesmaid Dress Is On the Way!

I’m going to be a bridesmaid in August for my younger sister, yay!  But that means that I need a dress.  Earlier today, my roommate, Mandi, and I met my younger sister at David’s Bridal.  We stalked our kill like the great huntresses that we are.  ;-)  And we found a winner!


If you remember, these were the ones I thought I liked the most:


The Winner

But we tried out 3 of the 4 of those (the ones they had).  Specifically, I was able to try on the 1st, 2nd, and 4th ones if you look at them left to right.  On me, they just weren’t very flattering.  But all was not lost!  I tried on 2 or 3 more and found it!  Here’s the one we ended up ordering!

Bridesmaid Dress

It looked elegant and awesome on my body type.  Plus it is full length just like my youngest sister’s, so we’ll match fantabulously!  I am so excited!  Whoo-hoo!

What have you been up to today?  :-)

I’m Going to be a Bridesmaid! Oh, and a Baby is on the Way!!!

I am 31 years old and have two younger sisters.  We were pretty spread out – one of my sisters is 8 years younger than me and the other is 13 years younger.  Well, my 23 year old sister announced her engagement to a great guy a couple of months ago!!!  I’ve spent a few hours around him several times and I think he’s going to be a GREAT brother and they make an adorable couple.  :-D  I’m super excited about the wedding!

There’s a Baby on the Way!!!

That said, me being a bridesmaid in a wedding that’s in August has just taken a backseat to new info – she is now pregnant!!!  WOOT!!!  I’m going to be an aunt!!!  Baby on the way!!!

I'm Going to Be an Aunt!

Now, before anybody jumps to any conclusions, the pregnancy happened after the engagement and it was a logical decision based on several factors that it isn’t my place to share.  And if you still want to be judgmental, don’t do it in my comment section because I will delete you.

Since I haven’t jumped on the baby-making wagon yet, this is the first grandkid in the works for my parents.  We’re all super excited and just holding our breath for more baby news.  Some of my friends have informed me of how awesome it is going to be an aunt, so now I’m planning for it.  I’m keeping an eye out for baby stuff from here on out.  Since I am living on a tight budget again, you’ll probably be seeing a ton of posts about prepping for the fun parts of babies – I won’t need to raise this one, just spoil it.  ;-)

Current Planning

Right this second, the baby is the size of a pea.  It’s just giving my sister morning sickness and a tiny baby pouch since she is a super skinny lady and a hard uterine wall is all it took to push out a little bump.  As the plumper sister, I will admit that made me laugh a little.  But it was a supportive giggle.  ;-)

My planning right now is centered on planning a wedding shower, finding a bridesmaid dress in the pretty blue color she chose, and I’m keeping an eye out for inexpensive but awesome baby stuff like clothes and toys.

Here are the dresses that I want to try on now…


I’m also on call with anything she needs that’s wedding related, but she seems to be handling the details like a freaking champ.  Planning and executing a wedding in less than 3 months is just an amazing feat in my opinion.

I’m going to be an aunt!  Aunt Crystal!  How cool is that?!  Any wedding or baby stuff going on in your family?  Share away!  And all future aunt advice is very welcome!

Connecting with Hubby’s Grandpa

I grew up around my mom’s parents, so I’ve never had a problem connecting with them.  I know that I can pretty much say anything that pops out of my mouth.  I also know that they enjoy dominos (specifically Texas 42), movies, talking, and getting out of their house once in a while.

But I’m pet sitting near my husband’s maternal grandpa, and we’re hanging out a couple of times today.  He’s a really nice guy, but he is more toned down than I am.  So I do try to keep my expletives to a minimum, and I’m coming up with ideas of things we can do.

Multiple Generations

Activities for Grandparents and Adult Grandchildren

Here’s what I’ve come up with so far:

  • Ate lunch with him and his friends.  Grandparents love showing off their grandchildren, married in or not, LOL.
  • Cook dinner together.  He suggested cooking up some salmon burgers tonight that he has in the freezer.
  • Take a walk.  He’s around 85 years old, but he still gets around pretty well.  :-)
  • Watch a movie.  I am thinking about renting a Redbox and I’m taking “Finding Nemo”.
  • Put together a puzzle.  I’m going to stop by a Walmart on the way over to see what sort of 250-500 piece puzzles that they have available.
  • Water aerobics.  I’m pet sitting in this area again in June and he wants me to bring my bathing suit to go to water aerobics with him that week.
  • Talking.  While we do anything, we talk.  He’s a bit hard of hearing, so it’s like yelling really softly really, but you understand.  ;-)

I’m not sure if I will ever be able to be myself completely around Grandpa C, but that’s okay.  Filtering is a good skill to practice, especially since I do it less and less with age.  I don’t mind that we are so different.  I don’t think he does either.  And who doesn’t like food and a good puzzle?  :-D

Do you or did you hang out with your grandparents as an adult?  What do you/did you do regularly?

Are You Not Receiving Opportunities, or Are You Just Ignoring Them?

Jason at Live Real, Now wrote about some family members that are unemployed and aren’t looking to change since “it’s in God’s hands”.  Apparently, they have lived like this for as long as he’s known them.  It reminds me of this joke I heard in college:

There’s this huge flood one day, and an entire town looks like it’s going to be swallowed up by the waters. The Police and rescue organizations are running all over the place trying to get people to safety.

They send the rescue boat over to this house where a guy’s sitting on the roof with the water lapping around his ankles, and they say “Come on, quickly, there isn’t much time!”

To which he says “Nah, it’s ok, God will provide.”

About an hour later they’re zooming past in the boat again, and they notice the guy’s still there, only the water’s up to his waist.  “Quick” they say, “Get in the boat, it’s going to get worse before it gets better!”

“Nah, don’t worry – God will provide.”

An hour after that, a rescue helicopter flies over the area and notices the guy, who must be standing on the peak of the roof now, with only his head and shoulders out of the water. “GRAB THE ROPE!” they cry “IT’S YOUR ONLY HOPE!”

“Don’t worry,” he replies calmly, “God will provide.”

So he drowns as expected. When he gets to heaven, he’s confused and a little ticked off with God.  He expresses his concern saying “I had FAITH!  I BELIEVED in you!  And still you didn’t help me! Why?!”

“HELP YOU?!” God thunders, “What MORE did you want?! I sent you two boats and a helicopter!”


Excuses Suck

That pretty much sums up how I feel about a lot of opportunities that I see people pass up.  Phrases like “I don’t have any extra money to save” seem a bit silly when they are said while the person is smoking a $7 pack of cigarettes, or drinking a $5 beer at a bar, or eating a $3 gourmet cupcake.  I’ll suggest money-making side hustles that they could do with their free time like dog walking, scrap aluminum recycling, reselling on Ebay, flipping cars, or baby sitting.  Usually I get shot down completely because “they don’t have extra time” (then why are we talking?) or they humor me and blow it off later.

Then I will try to talk about the big expenses instead, and suggest things like moving into something more affordable or getting roommates.  I have gotten back “I can’t move, that would take forever” or “I won’t live with strangers and psychos”.  Because yes, I was totally suggesting that they put out a roommate ad requesting murderers and rapists *heavy sarcasm*.  Our best roommates have been friends or at least acquaintances first…

Be Real

I understand that some people don’t want to sacrifice anything at all.  They like their life the way it is enough to avoid all change, even good change.  And that is 100% great with me.  BUT, don’t say stupid stuff to try to justify the way you live.

I spend more money than I have to.  I know that my husband and I can spend less on food, splurges like lawn care, and we could cut cable.  We don’t because we are fine with saving what we save and spending what we spend.  That seems a little more realistic than saying that “we can’t cut cable” or “of course we need to eat out a few times a week”.

Just be honest with yourself.  Then figure out if you want to change or not.  But don’t blame God, fate, providence, etc. because you choose to pass up opportunities.  As Marie said earlier this week, wealth is a choice.  About 10% of you may honestly be in a crappy position right now that you have very little control over.  If so, this post is not intended for you.  This is for the majority of us that are perfectly capable of achieving our goals but make excuses instead.

What do you think?  Know anybody that either whines and does nothing or is just fine with leaving it to fate?