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Archive for December, 2008

Money all gone :(

December 31st, 2008 at 07:07 pm

So I decided to pay off the fridge, the fears of paying late and having to pay the full amount of interest later were just too big.

I also paid off the car ....

Which means my EF is...bleach, barely there.

Oh I knew it wasn't as nice as I had hoped, but seeing it all beefed up with the car amount and the fridge just sitting there felt, safe.

Now that the money has gone where it belongs, my EF is woefully low, and the checking account ain't much higher.

Which means we will be spending less in weeks to come, prolly a good thing over all.

Oh and husband did spend yesterday, $13 on two memory cards and a pen that we don't need, sure the cards were normslly 30 each, and the pen was needed to make the discount, but... why do we need these cards?

spending log catch up

December 30th, 2008 at 03:35 pm

forgot to put in thee last few days

Dec 26th: 77.81 (kids stuff and lights)
Dec 27th: 89.17 (food again!)
Dec 29th: 33.81 (Lowes - lights hardware)
Prev tot: 705.69

Dec final*: 895.48

*I might spend today or tomorrow
Also only half the month was recorded
And no bills
And half of that is for dental work

I think we shall have to see what next month brings

to pay or not to pay

December 30th, 2008 at 02:28 pm

We had to buy the fridge err, last month? time flies when you are busy, and sleep deprived.

We used a store CC with the 0% till, sometime next year offer.

Now I could pay it off, or I could wait.

I sent the first payment, but not the whole balance. just to delay the answer. But today I am online early for the sole purpose of paying bills. I just have to decide how much.

The annual Christmas rant

December 29th, 2008 at 06:30 pm

I almost made it through the year without ranting, almost, there was the burning need to point out that our Christmas is not sad despite the lack of interest in Santa, but that was pretty mild. The following is not mild, and I do not recommend allowing your child to read over your shoulder (though I do not swear in print)

In real life I have made it a point to simply avoid discussion over the years and quietly let folk know our children do not hold any false beliefs in Santa. (which makes most parents rather cautious speaking of Santa around them)

BUT.

At a small gathering of friends, in my house, someone was speaking of Santa and my son said quietly 'There is no santa'. I said "shh I know." and was ready to change the subject. My normal tactic for escape when the topic is broached.

I was stopped when a good friend asked if I had spoken to GMC about not saying that. I said "He has been told not to argue religion".

After discussion from her, I continued to reply, "He has been told not to argue religion, but he may state his beliefs."

Apparently the worry that one day my son will tell a child there is no Santa is weighing on her heavily (she works with children). Because that might cause trauma...

I am a bit confused, you mean you want my kid to lie, so you can keep doing so to your kids? Sorry I see no reason to ask my son to lie, nor, considering I am (and she is) a Christian telling him NOT to share his beliefs! Besides you brought it up! I don't go around asking about your beliefs, and he has been told children do not bring up religion, he is too young to debate religion politely. He knows not to try and convert anyone away from their santa belief, he also knows we support his right to speak his belief and will continue to support him.

Suppose a hindu was in the room talking of praying to brahma, should my son not be allowed to say he doesn't believe in it (him/her?)? This is not intended as an insult to Hindus, simply as a reminder that we all have a right to our beliefs...including NOT believing.

The same works in reverse if my son speaks of praying to God and an atheist tells him there is no God, that atheist has the right to say what he/she believes. (and yes IRL we know several folk of various non Christian religions)

My family is well aware that there are many different ways to understand God, as well as many folk who do not understand Him at all. But we do live in a free country, might be losing freedoms quickly, but last I checked we still had freedom of religion, at least in our homes.

Again GMC (as well as his sister) has been told not to argue the religion, simply state his belief and move on. I wont try to convert you away from celebrating santa, if you promise not to try and convert me to the practice.

Many years around Christmas, we role play how to change the subject or find mom for help, if a conversation is centering around religion. I have given him every tool I can to avoid losing friends over Santa, what more do I need to do, short of asking him to lie?

If others are allowed to state their beliefs regarding santa, why can't he?

Watch your mouth

December 27th, 2008 at 06:13 pm

I enjoy geek articles, I enjoy rants on society. But I cannot stand how folk constantly swear in the middle of a perfectly good article.

Don't get me wrong, I swear a plenty, when angry I string together more swearing than sense, and one can hardly tell what I am mad about.

BUT I don't immortalize any of my swearing in print (and yes online is just as immortal has print, maybe even more so, it is rather hard to remove anything, especially after it makes front page of digg.)


Swearing in the middle of an article causes one to stop and jars one out of enjoyment. If you took out the swearing many articles on cracked would be worthy reading, even in spite of the often gutter topics. Yet I do not visit all that often, because I find the reading of their articles difficult.

Today a lovely piece on pixelated geek about stupid toys. Really I have to agree, though not quite so vehemently. Yet I will not be forwarding this article to umm anyone, because of the language. (OK I did share it here, but only reluctantly)

I can't be the only one who limits the sharing of articles based on language.


::Edited to add, the author removed a couple words and added an astrisk in another, now the removal was what I wanted, the astrisk was them being silly, and yes those couple words really make a big difference in reading. Pretty nifty that the change was made so fast (within minutes of me posting a comment)::

:: edit again, email from fellow:
"I'll forward this note to all my bloggers and keep it clean from now
on. Thanks again =)"

The cynic in me is awaiting the blog post ranting of my stupid request, but the optimist says my little comment might have made a difference?

Merry Christmas!

December 26th, 2008 at 07:57 pm

We had a lovely simple day at home with the kids, while I do miss my family I love not having to spend any of Christmas rushing to look presentable. The only trouble is my husbands phone, normally in his pants pocket, is often hidden in yesterdays jeans, so last year we had a surprise visit from my BIL, because my MIL was worried that no one answered the phone. so this year around lunch time I reminded him to find the phone and call her.

We used some craft stuff the kids received, played a game, read some books, built legos, and of course ate cinnamon rolls, steak dinner, plenty of chocolate, clementines, and pancakes.

My oldest is taking after me, we had to wake him up to open presents around 8am! I used to be woken up every Christmas morning by my brother. Not to sure what time but every year I reminded him to tell me it was Christmas so I wouldn't be mad he woke me. The first year he was gone, my mother woke me up instead. Silly kid who has to be woken up for Christmas!

Christmas at our house is anything but sad. After a candle lit service at church we come home read the advent book (pgs 1-24), place presents from the kids under the tree, get tucked in and then mommy and daddy start hiding from each other to wrap presents for each other.

By the time that is done, the kids are asleep and we bring out their stockings to leave on the couch, and presents, to leave under the tree. Then I make cinamon rolls, because no matter how I try to be smart and do it earlier, I never get around to it, so I roll them out at midnight, then stick them in the fridge for the next day.

Christmas morning, one or the other of us, wakes up with the younger ones for some cuddling while we wait on GMC.

Then when all are up but him we wake him. I have tried waiting for him, but really he could sleep forever on Christmas!

This year I suggested we all eat a banana before we open, to many hypoglycemic kids (and mom) in the house)

We open stockings in our bed together, I love seeing the kids excited about each item and each others gifts. Little UE still exclaims 'I got a toothbrush' which is in every stocking every year! Along with some toys and chocolate coins.

El was chewing away at her toy fish watching everyone else. Long before the kids have had the chance to open up the toys and build legos I make them clean it off the bed for breakfast.

We light all 5 of the advent candles, Hope, Love, Joy, Peace, and the Christ candle while we eat, then it is back to opening more presents in the living room by the lit tree.

We don't insist they finish opening to play with them, we stop right in the middle to open up a game or start a lego project. And it makes the opening process take all morning even though we don't do to many gifts (one or two each, plus the ones from them) long before they are done testing all the games, we have to break for pancakes and blueberry and strawberry breakfast (GMC doesn't like strawberries, I don't like blueberries so we have both)

Then it is time to read ALL of the advent book, a highly anticipated event, before naptime (for younger, and usually Daddy), or crafts or games for older. (the kind that toddlers get in the way of)

After lunch they still usually haven't gone through and played all the games (because we all play with each one) so they play some while we try to call some grandmas and wish them a Merry Christmas.

Steak dinner is our tradition, along with brownie desert, for Jesus' birthday.

Then it is time for more reading and bed.

Christmas may not have any guy in a red suit here, but it is anything but sad. We celebrate the birth of our Risen Savior. We set up a tree full of ornaments of things we are thankful for, covered in lights to remind us of His light, on a living evergreen, because Jesus is ever living. Sharing presents because He is the greatest gift. Spending time with family, surrounded by love. Nothing sad about it.

Spending log:
previous: $624.08
Last Tuesday: $81.61 (extra Christmas food)
Wed, Thur: $0
New Dec total: 705.69

Cloth bags so simple

December 24th, 2008 at 08:23 pm

When I think of cloth bags I think of something like a pillow case tied at the top, and truthfully kinda baggy.

like these

Which is, well not right. I like the crisp edges of a paper wrapped gift. I also like the ribbons.

So when I tried to go cloth I searched for some way to appease my desire for boxy presents, and yet not use paper.

The result was I found a pattern for a tote bag that is so easy to make I did 3 in 2 hours, and with tied with a ribbon around it looks nearly like paper wrapped presents. (only better!)

the origional

I took that bag pattern, cut the size down in thirds, and hand sewed em. I did not do a handle or cuff. though I did tuck it inside itself so that the present 'wrapping' would be easier.

I also made one a bit bigger to use most of the fabric scrap I had. And one that was a bit, off in proportion (but it was what I had)

Last night while we were wrapping, I finished up a 4th bag so each kid gets one cloth wrapped gift. I think they will be reusable, just small.

If I knew how to use a machine, I bet I could whip up a dozen in short order they are SOOOO easy. And it would be a great way to use up any old rectangles of fabric that might be around....I might look into borrowing a machine, so long as someone else threads it, I hate that step.

I can't get pictures off my camera right now or I would show you the adorable pile of presents we have.

What makes fudge fudgy?

December 23rd, 2008 at 07:15 pm

I love my chocolate fudge recipe, not to sweet, and VERY fudgy you know smooth, not quite creamy, but also not hard. And most importantly to me, not 'chalky' or grainy.

Peanut butter fudge on the other hand I have a problem with, I have tried several recipes tweaking away, yet I cannot come up with one that isn't grainy. And frequently they are more sweet than peanutbuttery. Don't get me wrong I like sugar loaded peanut butter as much as the next person, but I would prefer a proper 'fudgy' peanut butter fudge' so what is the sercret, what makes fudge fudgy?

spending log:
Tuesday: $467
Wednesday: $0
Thursday: $154.08
Friday: $0
Sat-Mon: $0 (well church bucks)
Total= $624.08

See this is why I rarely keep spending logs, they are usually boringly empty.

Though tomorrow I expect a jump, we are going grocery shopping early, since we don't want to do it the day after Christmas.

My boy is back

December 20th, 2008 at 07:47 pm

Last night was my oldest first sleepover. He spent the night not sleeping at a friends, and I spent the night not sleeping here.

He is finally home and I can relax, sure he got some bumps and bruises, cut elbows and knees, but nothing worse.

Next time wont be so hard, it was good for both of us, but oh I missed him. (truthfully the total lack of sleep was Els fault not GMCs)


Spending log:
Tuesday: $467
Wednesday: $0
Thursday: $624.08
Friday: $0
Total= $624.08

new monitor!

December 19th, 2008 at 05:26 pm

Yesterday my husband surprised me with a new big giant flat screen monitor, that was apparently a good deal. He said it wouldn't fit in my stocking, so I got it early. He also spent around half an hour telling me why it was a good deal, I don't remember any of it, but I am glad my husband cares about it.

Spending log:
Tuesday: $467
Wednesday: $0
Thursday:
BJs gas - $34.11
BJS food and monitor - ?? he used cash (poker money)
Food lion - $82.90
Trader Joes - $40.07
Total= $624.08


Lotta money, but not as bad as if I knew what the milk and such cost!

Million Minutes

December 18th, 2008 at 03:19 pm

We recieved our free game as a prize for taking tests on bookadventure.com.

And included was a flyer about a million minute game challenge

I remember reading about this eons ago, but this time the flyer has good timing, the cub scout theme for January is 'Amazing Games'. So I will be asking the scouts if the would like to incorporate the challenge in their meetings.

I think I may also cheat and let the Girl scouts do it too, it will keep us busy for January and then in February we have a Garden Journey to begin.

The spending log:
Tuesday: $467
Wednesday: $0

keeping track of money

December 17th, 2008 at 07:22 pm

For the most part I am lazy I do not keep track of every penny, though most are on my bank statement.

But, with other folks being hit up for money, I find my friends asking me how we do this whole one income thing, and why we have no complaints about the recession.

I sat down and figured out how we could cut money from our budget if we needed to, but I also thought that most of the cutting has been done.

So maybe a log of what my family spends would help. (though a log of what we didn't spend would be better, if you don't see it on here, we didn't buy it)

Tuesday:
Dentist $395 (two fillings husband)
Post office $70 (three packages, plus Christmas cards)
Scouts $2 (extra so I could buy the quarters)

total = $467

A rather expensive day for us. Today I expect no money to be spent, but tomorrow will be grocery's so that will be big.

On an unrelated but personal note, GMC is sitting quiet as can be, reading Lemony Snicket 'A Bad Beginning'. A book he turned his nose up at earlier, but after alternating chapters with me for a few days he suddenly has to know what happens to the poor Baudelaire children. Bad news is I can't very well read over his shoulder, so I don't know what happens to poor Sunny stuck up in the cage.

They will be back..

December 16th, 2008 at 05:21 pm

Tomorrow, and no I cannot go to the store.

So we did potatoes, tomorrow I guess we will do pasta.

Looking up that pasta bake someone mentioned.

Only this time I am out of meat, no ground beef left.

But I have to say the shepherds pie went over well enough, and the night was rather nice, they surprised me by being on time, 3:00 on the dot.

They also surprised us by saying they would be back tomorrow.

Dinner for company...

December 15th, 2008 at 07:22 pm

A Mother in Law to be precise.

And I forgot they were coming when we went shopping last week. (in fact only remembered when they called from an hour away!)

Not only did I not buy any vegetables last week, we had just a few and I forgot and thought, I also didn't buy any company meat, like turkey, roast or ham or steak.

Nope I have some ground beef (less than a pound), and pasta or potatoes (they don't like rice) and corn.

Corn is not really a vegetable, but it will have to do tonight as I have no intentions of serving them lima beans! (they don't like them)

I do have tomato, but to the best of my recollection the other daughter in law (who is a very good cook) always makes either spaghetti or lasagna (wish I could have some, did I mention she is good) so I don't want them to have the same food two nights in a row.

Anyway that leaves me with two options, some kind of pasta and some kind of potatoes...not really sure what.

Did I mention I was out of vegetables?

About the only think I have a large stock of is chocolate to make fudge out of. and while delivery of the annual Christmas fudge is hottly anticipated by friends and such, take a guess as to how my mother in law feels about it...yep, she doesn't like it.

They said they would be here around 3pm, so I expect them by 4:30 or so.

Which gives me 2 hours to figure out what to cook for dinner, and cook it.

Changing the rates on me

December 11th, 2008 at 07:28 pm

The Scouts did such a great job at selling popcorn we had money to spare.

Some we put away just in case next year isn't as awesome, and some we needed to cover awards and program costs.

But the rest we told the boys we could splurge on, so we did some research called some places and let them vote. They chose bowling, I call back to set up the time/date and they tell me the price went up, over a dollar per boy. And they are reducing the package. We would not have put bowling on the list if the price was 10.50, 9.25 we thought we could barely swing. 10.50 doesn't seem like that much of a jump but....$1.25*20 folk is 25 extra, we already thought 9.25 was a bit more than we had to spare.

I was not happy. I called the cubmaster and he said he knew of a few other lanes, so he will call around to find out if he can get us a better price or at least the original package.

Very frustrating, we have our pack show to give out awards and such Saturday, I want to let them know when and where we will bowl ASAP, but the newsletter has to go to be printed tomorrow.

Ask and yea shall receive

December 10th, 2008 at 06:12 pm

Si looking at the kids clothes a week or two ago, I was thinking GMC was short on non patched pants, JC short on warmer dressy stuff for church, UE short on jeans, and EL short on warm clothing in general (babies need more than adults)

But I never like to pay for clothing if at all possible, so I mentioned my need to gma and contemplated who had the right sizes to pass along.

In just a few short weeks I was given hand me downs to fill every need, except UE's jeans, but really the kid can wear PJ pants most of the time anyway.

It is amazing what happens when you just let folk help you rather than go pay for a fast fix.

What is good for the goose is NOT neccessarily good for the geese

December 9th, 2008 at 07:47 pm

My theory on politics just may well be summed up in that phrase.

When I try a new plan for behavior or learning, I am right here to see if it works, make adjustments as needed, or just plain dump the whole thing if it is wrong.

On the other hand if a school system wants to change methods they have to buy TONS of stuff, reeducate tons of folk, and try it on Tons of kids..then they risk looking like fools if wrong, so they generally try not to change anything while you still recall how recently they started.

Multiply that by all the school systems in all of America, and you have a rather large number of folk (geese).

Or look at finances, in my family (and many others) hunkering down and keeping expenses minimal is best..But for folk with more income than debt, keep on spending folk.

I do not need a fancy car nor maid (though I would like the maid!) yet folk with cash to spare, please hire a maid! that is a job for someone, who can then put food on their table!

The debt friendly America in general needs to stop spending, the rich can have a ball at it.

Small scale changes are best made in the family..large scale advertising of generic ideas is fine, but large scale everyone do it the same is a bad idea.

Ok some choices I will make.

December 8th, 2008 at 07:09 pm

I have to give us some credit, we have been making many changes due to our health, environment, and finance desires.

Not only do we mainly use plastic or glass to store leftovers in (not generally ziplock or saranwrap) we also use paper bags, and often reuse gift bags from year to year. (some bags are a bit of tradition here)

This year I am going to speak to my husband about NOT buying wrapping paper. How about getting a cheap set (or saving some we acquire) of cloth for the angel gifts that are wrapped? And/or using cloth for the 'fancy fudge' (some folk just get foil wrapped...)

And maybe if we acquire a non girly bag he could try to use it for a store or two? It can't hurt to ask right.

I did read of cloth bags for produce..but we rarely use a bag (grapes come in one, bananas don't need one, apples come already in plastic, usually when buying other fruit we only get one and don't need a bag....)

Or cloth for bulk flour...but we don't (yet) buy anything that way.


I am going to look into other places we use plastic and see where else we could cut down... though I am American in putting my garbage in plastic... I wonder what would happen if we put it in paper, would that be better or worse environmentally? paper could be recycled, the plastic isn't very well recycled (usually we use those plastic bags from stores for the garbage)

A bit more thought will have to go into it.

BTW those cloth diapers work ok, not to bad for travel and not to difficult to wash, trouble is, she is sick...so I really don't want to use them.....but I will. Soon as I run out of this sleeve, honest.

Sure I care but...

December 7th, 2008 at 05:56 pm

Life is all about choices, and what priorities drive those choices. But so often, it isn't our heartfelt priorities driving the choices, it is the priorities of the moment.

I care about recycling and the environment, yet I still do not use cloth bags for groceries. Or even paper all the time. I still use my dryer with abandon, and chemical dishwashing soap, not to mention disposable diapers when I feel like it.

I care about health, yet I just had myself a handful of chocolate, and still haven't managed a healthy breakfast (been up for 4 hours). The closest I have come to working out for over a year is vacuuming.

I care about our finances, yet I just went through and identified ways to reduce the budget...and have no intentions of doing any of them. Even though I know we are not saving enough for retirement.

I care about having a clean house, yet I am sitting here, not folding laundry, mopping, sweeping, washing dishes, or cleaning anything.

Things worth reading

December 6th, 2008 at 07:44 pm

I wanted to find a link to a free reading test that I had the kids take last year.

So I searched my blog for it, figured if I thought it was good I might have shared.

Well searching for reading turned up lots of results, some rather interesting, but not the right one.

Then I tried quiz, still no luck, though again some things worth rereading.

I don't recall the next few tries, but they took way to long as I reread some old posts.

I finally found it under [nevermind, lost it] but in the meantime I had a grand old time reading all sorts of old posts and thinking about the past. I guess this is why folk like journals, but this online stuff is way better for folk with lousy hand writing.

I also noticed the better reads were far away, did I write better then, or just being from so long ago made it better?

unsending an email

December 4th, 2008 at 07:05 pm

Boy do I wish there was a way.

I failed to cut and paste into a new email, and forwarded a long back and forth, with the 'show quoted text' I often forget how long emails can be. I have no idea what sort of history is in the former messages, and no way of knowing if the folks I sent it to will read it or not.

I could go look at what is in it of course, but I am not sure if it is better to pray they don't read below the signature unknowing, or start finding out just how much trouble I could be in.

The worst part is letting others have my friends email address.

I feel terrible and I don't know how to fix it.

Why can't there be a unsend button? like the timer on the edit buttons here? since the email sits in servers for a time anyway, why not an hour delay or something?

I suppose asking my email to be idiot proof is a bit much.

Bad timing on the UPS guy

December 2nd, 2008 at 08:38 pm

I had just settled EL in for a nap, when the doorbell rang, now I like packages as much as the next person, but not at naptime!

Even a few minutes later and she would be properly settled, not in that half awake kinda asleep checking to see if all is well in the world phase.

Sigh, and on a Tuesday to boot, we have scouts, I need to get work done, plus dinner and all before we leave, could the timing be any worse?

The great divide

December 1st, 2008 at 07:37 pm

I read the SA article about the Holidays with financial halfwits

And I have to say I can relate, but not totally. Most of our differences revolve around parenting issues. Which means no one asks us for anything.

But they do tell us their troubles, or at least used to.

You see we are weird, we breastfeed, I don't work, we homeschool, eat whole wheat, lots of fruit/veggies, frugal, libertarian, and a pair of loners.

The last is why we don't mind telling folk what we think.

recent conversation:

1. Them: Your kids are doing schoolwork on Saturday?

Us: Are we supposed to ban them from learning on particular days?

2. Them: Don't you have school today?

Us: Every day, which is why we are here learning about the bank/store/garage/whatever.

3. Them: How can you afford that?
Us: We make our sacrifices other places.

4. Them: You paid how much for a loaf of bread?
Us: we feel the whole wheat is healthier.

5. Them: Don't you get babysitters?
Us: rarely, but the kids are in bed by 9pm so we have plenty of married together time.

If we can boil our opinion into one simple sentence we prolly will use it on anyone who gives us their opinion. If not, a simple 'Oh' is given.

I used to explain my point of view in detail. Which is prolly why my husbands family doesn't like me.

Now I try hard not to get into any discussions... even about homeschooling. When I do fail, I usually regret it.