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Archive for May, 2007

You are messing up my budget here...

May 30th, 2007 at 12:37 pm

Not only is missing a pay check an annoying scramble for a week, it is getting to be a regular habit, and that is wreaking havoc on my budget.

Where I was sending extra on the car, I am now reducing the amount sent to savings.

Where I was enjoying the freedom of a 500 dollar food budget I am now scrambling to feed company on less than 400.

I really hate this company, I so do not want to be doing this.

I thought it was going to be once. Now we are going on the third time. (payed in between, so miss one, pay one, miss one pay one.)

Though now that I am expecting the trouble, I am can plan for it. Sort of.

Oh and my husband got a release to go back to work tomorrow...the fact that he has been going to work is apparently beside the point....

Fortunately he also has a release to go to the pool tomorrow, but I think I will be putting some antibacterial creme and a band aid on first.

hiring labor..my dreaming

May 30th, 2007 at 10:37 am

If I had all the cash to spend in the world I would hire a maid, I only need an hour a day, maybe two right before company. Just enough for cleaning the bathroom, vacuuming, dusting , and mopping, thats it. I don't mind the rest.

Then I would hire a gardener, not just lawn service, quite frankly I don't like grass anyway! I want a guy to plant some flowers, and vegetables, and herbs....skip the lawn, I can mow the pathetic dead thing in half an hour..soon as I stop my wishful thinking and do it.

Now about those herbs, I am a terrible cook, so with my millions I would hire a cook, just for dinner each weekday, no one needs to pop in my toast or peel my banana for me, I can handle that. (and leftovers of good cooking sounds great for lunch!)

Oh and for special occasions, I want an 'Abigail' a girl to fix my hair, and pick out a dress that matches, preferably one sewn to fit my 6 ft frame, and that hides the fact that I packed on a few pounds and still didn't loose them (yeah, I really need to go mow that lawn!)

Ah and then she can do my husbands hair (his isn't quite as long as mine, but still takes up quite a bit of time to fix daily), though fortunately he didn't gain any weight and looks great in plain jeans.

Ooooh and while we are dreaming, how about a chauffeur..to take us to the science center even when my husband is working, and the library and the museum..and .. well that might be a bit of a stretch...

Honestly I think I would rather spend money on all that before I bought a TV (since ours wont work after 2009) or a bigger house (we fit here now) Or pretty much anything 'luxurious' If I am going to spend on luxury, I want it to be in service. (not very Christian is it...)

K I am off to mow the lawn.

May 29th, 2007 at 01:29 pm

Before and after pictures of my hair, not really useful....sorry

May 29th, 2007 at 10:16 am

Before, down to mid calf...


After, just down to the pocket on my jeans...


There you have it, my new short hair Smile.

Top ten (free) educational things we did this week

May 26th, 2007 at 10:18 am

1. Write a ‘secret message’ with a made up code to email to family. Decode the answer when it comes.
2. Borrow a book or 20 from the library on Tuesday (really my family is like the proverbial ‘kid in the candy shop’ around books). Discover your kid reads too fast, and you need more (and it was only Friday!)
3. Make up a new magic trick using ‘slight of hand’ and two crackers and a napkin.
4. Google ‘free internet math games’ and see what happens (or science, geography or reading or whatever)
5. Calculate if 1 million one-inch tall figurines would touch the moon or not.
6. Ruin husband and child’s fun by telling them 1,000 one inch figurines would crush the one on the bottom, meaning you could never make it to 1 million.
7. Calculate the amount of water it would take to fill a skyscraper. (Because he asked)
8. Chop up some radish ends for worms, head to hermans place for more on worms.
9. Try to make a ‘pull back car’ zoom up a block ramp and cross several bears (stuffed). Experiment with steeper ramps, shorter ramps, etc. then make a ‘Rube Golberg’ contraption (known as a ‘duck trap’ to our kids) out of the blocks (and cars, and a duck)
10. spend 20 minutes hunting up odd links for a post on SA

fruit, 10 , and reselling

May 26th, 2007 at 09:30 am

- My kids need to watch more TV...see we went to the store finally (husband can drive) and we heard "can we get some radishes please?", "what does cottage cheese taste like?", "Can we please get some oranges not just apples and bananas?"....

I said no to the doritoes request, but all the fruit and veggie stuff...I find it very hard to say no to.

- There are more than 3 posts for 'top ten' so I guess I have to post now.

- reselling on Ebay is easy for some..too easy for my anti stuff preferences! My husband has found some really good deals and is reselling them...all from his paypal selling of junk money....I really hate these boxes of stuff..and instead of shrinking they are growing (packing supplies, gotta have on hand to sell, plus resale stock..gotta wait for the perfect time to sell, ugh!)

help with bread please

May 25th, 2007 at 10:15 am

Why does my bread taste 'yeasty' or kinda like a sourdough?

Did it rise to long? (I actually only let it rest so I could make rolls in time for lunch)

Did I put too much yeast in in the first place?

Did it not rise enough?

Too much kneading? (in kitchen aid, till it was not to terribly sticky so I could shape it)

Not enough kneading?

Or is it fate that I be terrible bread maker?

you know flour makes bread right?

May 24th, 2007 at 12:35 pm

We are out of bread..we are out of a lot of things (husband still not supposed to drive), but bread being the big end of world item (at the moment)

So today I wake up dreading figuring out lunch and snack with no bread (it is a fall back, when done with what I cook you can have bread if you are still hungry, and one or the other of my two older kids is always still hungry)

Then for lunch I contemplated the lack of leftovers.....what on earth was I going to cook? I came up with eggs, GMC read about poached eggs and wanted to know what they tasted like, so I hunted up directions and made some, now eggs for my husband belong with bread...so I thought he would have to suffer...until I remembered, bread is made from flour, which I have!

Well real bread would take to long for lunchtime (that was fast approaching) but biscuits, which I make rather well and quite frequently were simple quick and easy (5,4,3,2,1 recipe).

Tonight for bedtime snack there will be plenty of leftover biscuits to drown in strawberry juice (after thawing the berries there is always lots of juice, son loves strawberry, daughter loves blueberry, youngest loves either)

Why oh why does it take such an effort for me to come up with something out of the norm? Considering how much flour is int he house, and how often I tend to bake you would assume making bread to be the first thought when I run out, but nope, bread is store bought (I am good at biscuits, not bread)so I think buy buy buy when we run out...

I cut off my hair!

May 23rd, 2007 at 11:58 am

Anyone who cares may know I have really (really) really (no really) long hair.

It was down past my knees....I decided the other day to get it cut, asked a friend for a ride so that I didn't have three kids around for the event, and today we went.

They cut off almost 2 feet.

It is now only down to the top of my pants and it is soooooooooo short to me!

Instantly my head felt lighter and the first time I ran my fingers through it I couldn't get over how little of it there was.

I came home and did the test, I knelt to put my youngest pants on...no hair on the floor Smile

I stooped to pick up a toy..no hair on the floor. Still too long to do any real leaning but that is what the bun is for.

On a financial note..it was 40% off because I donated my hair to locks of love, and the place took care of the forms and mailing and all that.

Though I don't think I will be back anytime soon....least not till another 10 inches or so grows.

Common myths about staying home.

May 21st, 2007 at 11:04 am

1.You have to be rich to afford one parent to stay home. Actually no, we all need enough for food and shelter, then we spend what is left on other things….in our case with careful planning there is enough to go on trips to DC and museums and science centers, and more but I would be home regardless, so long as there is food on the table and shelter, I stay home, the rest is further down the priority list. If you are putting anything above staying home besides food and shelter, than just be honest, it isn’t that you can’t afford it, it is that you choose other things first.

2.The wife has to stay unless you are nursing (and even then you would pump to leave the kid at daycare, just pump to leave them with Dad) There is no particular reason for mom to stay over dad, that is purely a personality issue. Pick the one most likely to play all day. (As opposed to cleaner or teacher see next myth) (though you also need to make sure the one working has a salary that covers the food and shelter)

3. All you do is clean and teach Are you kidding that’s what the kids are for! What do you think they do while I type up silly lists! (Actually they nap, oldest is goofing off, quietly) However, if you do not like talking to kids for significant stretches of time, if you do not enjoy watching a child discover reading, or flowers, or bugs, or trees, if you cannot stand the thought of changing diapers and reviewing proper teeth brushing techniques yet again, if hearing a person chew with their mouth gaping open after being told to close it for the millionth time makes you lose your lunch (anybody got a cure for adult relatives with this problem?), if hearing a story about a giant truck for the tenth time makes your blood boil, and the thousand ‘kids’ who eat a googolplex eggs, etc. then kids might not be in your best future whether you stay home or not. If you do chose to stay, and you are about to smash something…. send them off to play with something and go take a break, no one said it was even good for kids to be interacted with 24/7…they need time alone to process. Not only naps, but also time to play while adults err, clean Smile (Or maybe something more interesting, but common, cleaning does need to be done sometime)

4. Children need other children unless you live on a remote location with only you your spouse and kid, they will get other interactions, many much more useful than a room full of same age kids. No offense intended to the 3 year olds in the world, but well lets face it, they are in the minority…most of the people in the world are over 3, and most adults spend their time with older people, so knowing how to get along with a 3 year is a rather limited skill that my 3 year old doesn’t have to learn. (Her big bro never did, she on the other hand is very social) I would like to suggest the opposite of this is true, children need to spend more time with a variety of people of all ages, and less with their age-mate peers.

5.you will all get sick at the same time while I have not done nor seen a fancy medical study, I have heard from many stay home families and all out the house families….if one kid gets sick they all do, in or out of the house, the common cold is common for a reason. Misc, genetic traits and hand washing habits can help, but the short version is, unless you quarantine a kid you all are going to get it (and who wants to quarantine a kid with the sniffles…. poor bored kid)

6. One parent home equals always home, how boring yes it certainly would be! Fortunately this myth is easily disproved, pick up a copy of available classes at a large library (nature center, science center, museum, whatever), check out how many are during normal ‘working hours’ who do you think goes to them? Yep, houseparents. We are not always home, and the degree of home or out is totally up to the individual parenting style/personality.

7.And I am saving the best for last home kids are healthier/sicker, watch more/less tv, get sick more/less, smarter/slower, clingier/more independent, more mental health issues/less…etc truthfully, the studies I have seen for either side of any of the above(and you can find an expert or two million on each side, for or against) showed mostly the same….like the drink being oh so proud of 56%…really home or away it is still up to the adults in charge, whether that is mostly mom or dad, or well chosen care givers (or not so well chosen) kids are a product of their interactions (and lack therof) Until the age of ‘formal education’ home or away, kids statistically average about the same. (And if you want to talk myths of home education, well that is a whole “nother kettle o’ fish”, but in short statistically we win)

* a googgolplex is a one followed by a googol zeros, in short a really big number, and a delight to small boys. and no firefox doesn't recognize it.

Not a whole week off, only a day and a half

May 21st, 2007 at 09:54 am

So since he is working from home he will be paid (course the whole delay in paperwork is a bit irritating....hope that gets smoothed out soon)

But since he didn't take at least 7 days off (consecutive) the day off for surgery wont be paid for....one day off wont kill us, but it is irritating to know that because he is back to work quickly he wont be paid.....punishment for trying to get back in the game fast....you would think the punishment would be reversed...punishing those dragging it out.

How hard can cranberries be?

May 19th, 2007 at 03:26 pm

All I want is unsweetened dried cranberries to eat...hopefully for less than 10$ a pound..why is it so much cheaper to sweeten them?

No pay again.

May 19th, 2007 at 02:43 pm

Apparently due to a paperwork error, again he will not be paid.

Which means right before the lowered pay due to time off for recovery (doing fine, bit sore, bit tired...and bored) there will be a delay ion cash flow. I am so glad I didn't pay extra on the car, and that I don't drive (can't go spend money anyway)

Doh, don't forget your own stuff!

May 19th, 2007 at 07:37 am

My youngest loves to color (scribble) and feels like a big kid when he joins his brothers and sisters in 'worksheets'. While he is far to young to really grasp any lesson, he does like to point to what he colored and tell you what it is.

I have hunted up dogs, and horses, and all sorts of animals.

We traced hands and feet, and made a face. (complete with baby blue eyes)

Today after going thru all the animals, I thought I would hunt up a couple of his favorite letters (D, his big bros favorite, E his sisters favorite, and Q...no idea why)

After a futile search turning up only pages with words (far to advanced) or animals sortof shaped like a letter (nice for older kids, not for him) I thought, hey all I want is a letter I can make that on word...then I remembered I did that already, long ago for my daughter and put it all on pdf and put it online to share....duh!

In the hunt to find things online, I often forget what work I already did.

Surgery today

May 17th, 2007 at 09:34 am

My husbands surgery is today, he will not be back to work for at least a week...which means no pay.

Which you would think I would have planned for....

But nope, didn't consider it till yesterday.

Fortunately I was about to pay extra on the car when I thought of it.

And didn't, so that payment is still in the account to cover bills. Plus he will get one more pay before the mortgage is due.

I wonder if workman's comp will pay him eventually or if it is a total loss?

free reading test and worksheets k-5

May 16th, 2007 at 01:24 pm

I found the test a bit longer than 5 minutes, but I had to read the directions first...if you take this test with your kids, read the directions then call them over!

I also found the skills to test a bit higher than my expectations, but I understand they are based on No Child Left Behind standards (we'll leave the commentary on that to another day)

ReadingKey

On this page is lots of 'why you need us' and a link to a test that will ask for a name and approximate grade level (though I do not know why since you then have to take a pretest before it will send you to the actual grade test...)

Might be a direct link to the test.

reading test

The first 9 weeks of each grade are free to download and print, as well as some of the extras.

printable links

Scroll down for each grade (including kindergarten level) look for clues like 'worksheets' to find the free part.

Bloody Taxes...

May 16th, 2007 at 09:29 am

So that check he didn't get, it was rolled into the next week...and since the check was for more, the taxes taken out were more! leaving us with less than 2 weeks normal pay....


Not cool...not going to break us, but one more reminder of how annoying the government is...

Reading addicted kids (cute, not useful)

May 15th, 2007 at 09:34 am

Last night as we were tidying up the living room I asked my son to pick up a few things, with his nose in a book, he didn't pay any attention.

He dad told him he was a reading addict like his momma (Ok so a few minutes earlier with my nose in a book I might have ignored someone....like Daddy)

I realized this morning as I asked GMC to wind up the vacuum cleaner cord. He took the book he was reading with him, placed it on the floor, open, beside the vacuum, and continued to read while winding up the cord!



I think we may have a problem...the younger two are a bit book obsessed as well.

Puzzling money lessons

May 11th, 2007 at 10:03 am

A great way for children to learn about money is to use it. Most people have thought of setting up a home 'store' with toys or fake food for sale, and then you have to make price tags, and store the 'stuff'.

I was always lazy, I use a shape puzzle that we have around for our youngest. Pricing is easy, each shape costs 1 cent per side (a lesson in shapes and money) For my older son we used 10cents per side (lesson in equality)

I usually 'shortchange' my kids in pennies (or dimes for older) that way they have to earn more, or trade in dimes for them. (or if ready, work on making change)

After todays lesson, I talked more about how grownups have to budget. I pointed out that we had to pay for the house (pentagon, almost house shaped) and we had to pay for the car (trapezoid) and we needed food (square, 4 food groups) and some all around house bills (circle), and phone (half circle, it looks kinda like a phone). Then we were almost out of money, we could either pay for a trip to the science center (rectangle, medium bill) or eating out (oval, small bill) or take a vacation to see family up north (hexagon, big bill)

He noticed we couldn't do all of them, but if we skipped the science center and eating out we could go on vacation....

Pretty nifty the mileage you can get out of one wooden puzzle!

No TV after 2009?

May 11th, 2007 at 09:51 am

lable TV sets

In an article mentioning that FCC is requiring retailers to label TV sets, I came across the why...

....without a special converter box -- these TVs will not receive signals through antennas once broadcasters switch to the digital format.

I have a feeling that our set a hand me down from Gma isn't digital (in fact I think it is from the 80's..did they even know about digital then?

Since we have no cable, we only use the rabbit ears, and I really don't think those ears from the 70s accept digital signals...we wont have TV after 2009...

Considering we have watched 2 hours of TV the last 3 weeks (lost and the time before/ right after lost) I don't think I will mind much...not that I don't want a fancy flat screen digital whatever thing. (mostly cause flat screen should be up on the wall, taking up less space!) Just that I would rather own my house and car than a TV....

Besides the TV works fine for video...which is what the kids managed 2 hours of this month.

Totaly non finance, pics and reflections

May 8th, 2007 at 10:38 am

Sorry bout the multiple postings, but I had the thoughts today..didn't want to trust my memory to wait.

Last night we played a game with the kids, "Pin the hat on bob" which is essentially 'pin the tail on the donkey' only with a dude and a hat, not a tail and an a... err donkey.

The kids had a blast! So did Daddy, it was adorable! But the game came out of a devotions book, and was supposed to help them see how they needed rules, or guidance to succeed...and well none of them really needed help, so I was thinking the lesson failed. (though it was fun!)


GMC

Then today I thought about how they managed without help. My husband did a great job of showing us. He stumbled around on his knees (to avoid stepping on small fry) and then felt his way to a wall, he knows our house so he knew where to go from there, but if he wasn't in a house he knew, he wouldn't have had much help from that wall.



UE

I thought about how we need to spend more time in 'God's house' not necessarily church, but in prayer, devotion, study, bible reading, etc, and living life the way God wants us to. Maybe if we know Gods house really well, then when we bump into a wall we can find our way to our goal.


JC

where in the world...

May 8th, 2007 at 10:20 am

You know I was looking at all there 'where I have traveled posts' and thinking I haven't been anywhere, but you know if you add in the states we drive thru, and get a map of just Europe rather than the whole world, It doesn't look to bad! Though still nothing compared to a dedicated traveler.

But I imagine if my son continues in his mission to go 'everywhere in the world' the map will look very red by the time he moves out and his map might just be 100% red!

US:


Europe:

This is why we have a 'cushion'

May 8th, 2007 at 10:07 am

I have had questions (from others and myself) regarding why we leave such a high balance in the checking account, it could be earning interest, or at least paying down the car/house.

But this past week we were reminded just why we have one (well two, one for each checking account)

No pay last Friday (we get paid weekly now).....right before the mortgage and half the other bills came out! and our bills are almost all auto deducted, or on an auto pay plan. Not much to do to stop them going out, and no way I wanted to pay any late fees. So in steps the cushion (The cushion is part of our EF. Not fully funded but enough for this, and always sitting in the checking account.)

Not that I like missing a pay check (it will come this week, paperwork foul up) but if you have to miss one, miss it with money available to cover the bills!

Sunflowers and worm pictures

May 7th, 2007 at 10:10 am

I got smart, I took the pictures today and I am posting them today, not taking any chances of them disappearing to the black abyss of my husbands hard drive.

Unfortunately no great pictures of the kids, but I have sunflower shoots, and a worm bin.

The kids read about a 'sunflower secret hideout' and they wanted us to plant one, I am not sure it will live but I let them try, we even bought good dirt for it....


The rocks are to keep the dirt from washing down, my backyard is mostly a hill.

You know there is an amazing amount of beauty in one tiny shoot...


And here is a whole row of them, some a bit to close, which is what happens when you let a 1 year old help you plant!


This is it folks, not fancy, not pretty...and from what I read, might not make it. I have plans of moving it to a less wet spot, hope it helps.



On a financial note.....all the dirt and seeds came in under budget last month. mostly cause the worms and bin were free Smile.

Worm facts

May 4th, 2007 at 04:18 pm

I don't have all of them, or prolly even enough to keep this batch alive, but I found a cool kid friendly site with all sorts of information about worms and worm binds

worm fun

Along with cool games there is the 'how to'

how to

Course it suggests screens to keep the worms in...which we don't have...and I so am not letting them in the house!

And there is a cool part by part picto-screen-thing, with all sorts of technical words...clitellum

I have high hopes the screens are not that necessary....

We have worms

May 3rd, 2007 at 05:13 am

We have worms...in a bin in the back yard..they are supposed to eat garbage....food waste and such...

I was on my way to the store to buy a bin and then call some contacts to get worms, when my contact said she had a bin and the worms and all ready for me, just swing on by and get it.

very cool since my husband did not want to spend the money on worms.

I still have to call my wonderful friend and ask her what on earth I am supposed to do with them now that I have them.....

Not real submission! Confessions of a simmer

May 2nd, 2007 at 11:49 am

First the guilty confession ... I Sim, as in I play the Sims 2 I know it isn't even a game, and it certainly isn't useful, and yeah it wastes electricity, not to mention brain cells, but I am here to say, I have learned some things.

1. Once you have had fun there is no point to watching more TV so fill up and then move on.....and to fill up that fun in the shortest amount of time, you MUST have the same giant flat panel, M4E, Low Mess screen that all your neighbors have.

2. There is no point to going to school, job useful skills are only learned outside of school.... though all children must go to school, just so they and their parents, can get the 'jumps' each day after they bring home the coveted A+....then they can go about learning to cook, and/or other job useful skills.

3. Speaking of those skills, the better cook you are the longer the meal will last, so no meat box helper I guess.....though if you want to learn to cook (or anything else) it is faster to read a book than to actually practice cooking......and more fun to make chocolate (which helps the lobster thermador somehow.)

4. Starting kids younger is better, potty train your toddlers, then point them to educational blocks, xylophones, and rabbit heads...yeah, apparently banging that rabbit head is very good for future politicians, and important to do in toddler hood as aside from golfing there is no other way for a child to improve Charisma.

5. And when your teens are about ready to become adults ship them off to college, not to learn anything, just to buy time where life is cheap to work on those skills, or not.....college doesn't teach you anything, it is how you spend your free time that does.

6. A more expensive fridge may not hold better food, but it does make the room look cooler......and amazingly no matter what you buy you can make turkey or mac n cheese from it!

7. Once you reach your life's ambition, you are permanently happy Smile.....Now if I could only find my and my families life ambition panel so I knew what it was......

8. Speaking of that ambition, half the people are getting married or having kids to appease their parents ambitions not their own......fortunately having MIL move in to take care of the rug rats is easy and nets you big ole chunk of change when they do! (and so long as you keep em busy no nagging, mostly)

(wrote this before I read the new contest..., so I came back and changed the title, though it's not very useful info here, it is the best I will get to, sorry)