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Home > Archive: May, 2006

Archive for May, 2006

Here comes the rain again...

May 31st, 2006 at 03:55 pm

...raining on my (laundry) parade. Well, most of what I washed dried fine on the line. I've relocated the woven table runner from the line to a series of hangers over the bathtub. The biggest quilt was almost dry, and is air drying across the dining room table. (Swatting away three curious kittens is the new game at our house.)

The living and dining room components are all clean - just need to put everything back together again. (Ha - right as I'm losing steam, but I will charge on, with a totally clean area in my house as the reward. I won't be taking bets on how long it all lasts...)

Still left to do - mix up some rhubarb muffin batter to start baking. I've offered the family other rhubarb options, but they can't seem to get enough of this newest recipe I found a few weeks ago. This is fine with me, as it's simple and quick to bake a bunch of muffins.

Dinner is our everpresent favorite, spaghetti.

'Tis all for now - take care!

On a roll...

May 31st, 2006 at 07:37 am

...the cleaning roll, that is. Yesterday, the washing machine was in constant use. In addition to the normal laundry of the day, the covers on the couch and the pillows were washed, and hung on the line. I stitched up one of the covers, where it had split a seam. A bit more use left in these covers.

I also soaked two throw rugs in warm water and borax. Our senior citizen dog gets confused about whether to use those two rugs near the door or to actually go outside. She often chooses poorly. Spot cleaning only does so much. So, as a last ditch effort in making these rugs last a while longer, I tried the soaking. They are still drying on the line, but smell much better, and don't look the worse for doing this.

Today I'm going to hand wash and line dry the quilts that hang on the wall. Some are my husband's grandmother's that she made for him, and some are ones I've made through the years. I actually enjoy doing this chore. It's a bit of a job, but I love checking how each quilt is fairing up on the wall and making any repairs. Then, of course, they look and smell so wonderful when clean. We're having perfect weather for all this line drying!

The wonderful corollary to all this cleaning - who has time to go and spend money?? Enjoy your day - take care!

Camping is fine, Home is divine...

May 30th, 2006 at 11:09 am

We got back from our camping trip over the weekend. Wonderful, relaxing time, though hot and humid. We were lucky to be able to cool off in the St. Croix River during the day, and only had one night where we sweltered a bit in the tents. We canoed a different portion of the river than previous years. We also met some very interesting (in a good way!) people this trip. I always marvel at how my family's and others' paths cross, with the river being the common factor to bring us all together this time.

In the last few days before the girls are off from school, I'm using the time to clean the house and clear out more clutter. I find it quite amazing how much there is given how little shopping we do beyond groceries. I guess it's part that my girls are outgrowing a lot of things and part that we are passing along a lot of pass-along things from others. Either way, we have enough, and it's nice to pass along the excess.

With our early exit of spring, we pulled out the window fans (we have some window a/c units, but using them in May is not even an option!) It's the season for closing the miniblinds to the sun, doing the hot chores in the morning, and just spending time out of the house during the hot afternoon hours - playing in the shade or at the beach, visiting the a/c library, running errands (well, probably not as often this year with the price of gas!)... Our hope is to not use the a/c units at all this year. (This is very possible, as we've only acquired the units in the last couple years - giveaways from a friend and from my mom's house when she went to assisted living - we just need some reminding of our old frugal ways.)

Well, off to hang more laundry on the line outside, plan a dinner that doesn't involve a campfire and clean while the temps are in the 80s with a low dewpoint - life is pretty good with a low dewpoint! Take care!!

Putzing around...

May 25th, 2006 at 11:53 am

Yesterday was the last day of my MWF preschool class. There will be some room clean-up and staff meetings over the next couple weeks, but then I'll be done until August's Get Ready for Kindergarten class.

Laundry, cleaning up around the house and bill paying are rounding out the day so far. What an exciting life I have!

The putzing part of my day included calculating our medical expenses. Including my husband's OT so far this year, we've paid out 18% of our income to medical expenses (hospital and dr copays and prescriptions.) If we hadn't had the OT, we would have spent 25% of our income - ugh! (Keep thinking positive thoughts...um, at least we know where all of our efforts in reducing the other expense areas of our budget are going.) Enough putzing with the budget for today!!

Good news - We're almost ready to head out camping Friday after the girls get home from school. We packed the van with the tent, sleeping bags and cooking gear last weekend. We need only add the food and clothes. The campsite is at a state park a couple hours from us. It's on the St. Croix River (divides MN and WIS.) We'll set up camp, bike, hike and canoe. The weather in predicted to be wonderful too. Looking forward to our first camping trip for the year! Take care!!

Waiting on the washer...

May 23rd, 2006 at 07:38 am

..then I'll hang the laundry out in our gorgeous warm weather.

My TTH preschool class ended last week, so I'm off today. Wow, I'm here without anyone home! I don't think this has happened all school year. Hmm, the possibilities seem endless of what I can do today...all alone. Well, there is that laundry and plenty of house straightening to do. I'm sure I'll come up with something, once I get myself off this computer!

Spent two hours on the phone yesterday talking with the various departments of our health insurance. I wanted to make sure there wasn't something we were missing in maximizing our benefits. I also started checking with the State and our county on possible help. Thanks for the suggestions...it's definitely a road I wish I wasn't on, but as a mom, there is absolutely no other choice than to be on it. We inch and hurtle along the way as the ride requires. We will get through this, I know. I always say, such drama I have in my quiet little life!

The wash cycle has ended...so onto my day's work. Take care!

Making do...

May 20th, 2006 at 01:19 pm

My good old rhubarb plants are providing for today's baking. No complaints as of yet on another rhubarb recipe!

Have you ever had a piece of clothing so perfect that you can't imagine being without it? I have a navy blue nylon windbreaker that goes to mid-thigh. It cinches at the waist, has a hood and a double zipper (so it's easy to sit in), and washes up beautifully. I can wear it alone, or add a polar fleece for more warmth, and it keeps me fairly dry in rain too. Except for the definite winter months here in MN, I make use of it from April to November. I wear it everywhere I go to - church to rustic camping and hiking (I wouldn't wear it to a really fancy place, but 'tis not a problem I encounter of late!) I bought it a few years ago for cheap. Recently, I caught the pocket on a door handle, and ripped it off-seam. I am making the repair on it, which will be easy with the dark fabric. I love this jacket, and dread the day I will have to replace it! I wish I had the foresight to see how great this jacket would turn out to be; I would have bought a second one to stash away for if and when my old one needs to be replaced. Oh well, I'll just have to watch out for menacing door handles!

I've been spending the day puttering. A few odds and ends are getting done, and finally get to be crossed off my to-do list. My husband is at his parents, helping out on their spring-time list of chores. They invited us to have grilled brats with them afterwards. A good way to end a puttering sort of day! Take care!

Welcoming the Weekend

May 19th, 2006 at 12:54 pm

Work was busy today - the kids definitely sense the school year's end!

Got the laundry up on the line. It's not real breezy, but there's enough air moving to do the job.

I'm going to do a little straightening around the house. The girls are having some friends over after school, and later we'll do some grilling.

My husband will go over to help his parents out tomorrow morning. I know of two school projects for my youngest to get started on this weekend. Tomorrow I'll head to the thrift bread store and do my grocery shopping for the next two weeks. And last, we're packing the camp gear into the big van for our camping trip over Memorial weekend. The week is looking very busy, and we want to leave Friday after the girls get home from school. I can hardly wait!

The weekend is shaping up nice - just enough activity to keep us from being total slugs, but plenty of relaxing time too.

Enjoy your weekend! Take care!!

Laundry quandry

May 19th, 2006 at 06:38 am

To rain, or not to rain - that is the question I ask, before I go off to work!

It looks like rain clouds are heading our way from the northwest, so I'll wait to hang out the laundry. If there's no rain when I get back from work, I can hang the clothes, and be here to watch for rain.

I've been doing what a few here are doing with their laundry - spinning it twice in the washer to get more of the moisture out of the clothes. Well, I tried it, and noticed that the clothes didn't really seem more drier. So, the last few times I've watched the 2nd spin cycle, and have seen hardly any water come out into the laundry tub. I wonder if my spin cycle is pretty efficient to start? I feel like I'm just wasting electricity doing the second spin. (I think this really qualifies being under those very, very small things we do in the quest to save money!) Take care!

A full night's sleep...

May 17th, 2006 at 06:28 am

...helps a lot! I've had a couple weeks of insomnia - I fall asleep easy enough, but wake up at four in the morning, not able to go back to sleep. A couple more nights like last night, and everything in my life right now will feel much more manageable.

I go to work in a bit, then when I get home, I'll start in on making some calls in my search for some help with our medical situation. Thank you so much for the kind and helpful comments! It really is so unimaginable to have fairly decent insurance, and have this happening. I guess we've found where our weak spot is in our financial picture.

It's a beautiful, sunny day (two in a row now - we're on a roll!) My clothes are ready to hang on the line outside. Spaghetti is in the crockpot for tonight's dinner. These three things make me feel better already! Take care!

Catching up

May 16th, 2006 at 12:53 pm

Worked extra today - getting ready for the Tuesday-Thursday preschool class' final day field trip on Thursday. The kids were squirrely today, though luckily, we could play a long while outside.

Payed off the last of the hospital bills from March. The facility that my oldest goes to weekly (and sometimes more often) is helping us look into a way to continue her treatment. Our insurance contract limits what they'll cover in my daughter's treatment, and the cost is way beyond what we can afford. We're getting close to when all of the treatment will be our responsibility.

The place has offered to write up an appeal, though the insurance company says there would no point, as our contract has limitations. I figure there's no harm in doing it. Another possibility is to see if United Way has anything to offer - again the facility is looking into this. And last is taking out a medical loan, with a fee reduction, and making payments. At least, there are some options for us. I've been searching online for help beyond what medical insurance will pay for. I haven't been successful yet, but am still searching and calling around. I'm getting quite the lesson on the ins and outs of this new to us insurance!

I tried out a new rhubarb muffin recipe that the girls have been eating over the last few mornings. Very good! The continual rain of late has my rhubarb growing to massive size. Almost daily, I pick, and either use and freeze the stalks - a bumper crop!

Well, there is sun outside - a rare sight lately. The lawn is definitely overdue on mowing...so out I go! Take care!

Head is swimming...

May 11th, 2006 at 11:36 am

Worked extra again today - finished the last touches on the Mother's Day gifts the preschoolers will take home to their moms tomorrow.

Trying to make some decisions about my oldest's medical path. I feel like we're at the limit of what we can handle to pay for (our portion after the insurance pays.) We visit with the dr today - maybe there will be more info to make a clearer decision about what we should do. All I know is my head is swimming from trying to work out the figures against what funds we have available, talking to the insurance company, and yes, helping my daughter get through it all too. Insurance seems to be a big game that I wish had easier instructions to wallow through.

The busyness of the day continues through the afternoon and evening. In a bit I pick up my oldest for her dr appt. Afterwards, we head from there to the schools again to pick up my two youngest from each of their Girl Scout meetings. We eat a very quick meal at home. Then head back to the school again for the 5th-8th grade year-end band concert, which include my two middle girls. Then onto the homework - yikes! Finally, the two youngest and I need to pack for an event at the Girl Scout camp this weekend. We stay overnight on Friday and spend the day doing activities - and I'm so not in the right frame of mind for it! I will give myself a stern talking to, and make a great effort for the girls. (Grumble, grumble - GS is great for the girls, but why, oh why is everything packed in at the end?? Ok, all done with that.)

Boy, enough of the whining for me...take care!

Whirlwind May

May 9th, 2006 at 06:44 am

The two girls, who were sick yesterday, have recovered and headed off to school this morning. So far, no one else in the family has shown any signs of the illness. What luck so far!

I got a call last night to cover one of my co-workers on Wednesday over the lunch period. A few more dollars on my paycheck in face of the upcoming drought while I'm off for the summer.

It's been so crazy busy lately, between working extra hours and attending to the school year-end activities. It's hard to get to all of the frugal things I usually like to do. Luckily, we tend to live without, rather than throw money at what we're lacking - too busy to even spend! I'm relying heavily on my trusty crockpot and meal plan - haven't eaten out yet, in response to being too tired and busy. A big yay, as this is where money has flew out of our hands in the past.

Per family request - no crockpot dinner tonight. Once we're home today, we can stay home. I took some chicken out to defrost in the frig, and we'll grill it up. Shaping up to be a relaxing sort of evening...well, of course, there is the homework and school projects. At least we can be home and not in the van!

Enjoy your day...take care!

Two kids down...

May 8th, 2006 at 01:51 pm

My oldest and third stayed home from school due to yucky tummies. (Please don't let this spread!!)

I went to work, and was able to sign up for some extra hours later this month and in June. Dollars to my paycheck!

Going to pull some more rhubarb for baking - it's growing like mad.

Time for the homework onslaught.

Take care!

Glad it's Friday...

May 5th, 2006 at 05:48 pm

Wow, May has gotten off to a busy start! Lots of appts and driving this week - dentist, orthodontist, two dr visits. Don't even ask about the co-pays. Oh well, all is going well, and that is nothing to complain about!

After working extra hours at work and making today's dr visit, I was wiped out. I so wanted to go out to eat! My husband worked a little longer today, so I had time to sit for a bit. That helped. Then my oldest had a friend come over. So I got up enough momentum to put some hot dogs on the grill, whip up a pasta salad and heat up some baked beans. I added some chipotle seasoning to some leftover sour cream, and served it with some cut-up vegies (our nod to Cinco de Mayo!)

I am trying to be more aware of using up the odds and ends that gather in my frig. Last year we had a teenage boy living with us, and odds and ends were never an issue. I tend to overbuy fresh fruit and vegies. I'm doing better with the fruit - using the more perishable early in the two weeks. But the vegies - well, I need to be more realistic of what we really eat, not just what I think we should be eating. I also liked someone's suggestion of looking at the day's start at what needs to be used up that day. I know, what a simple thing! Sometimes I think ideas have to hit me at the right time, and then whap me along side the head.

The weekend is looking to be one of the less busier this month. Our dog goes in to the vet for her annual visit. Then in the afternoon, she goes to get her annual grooming. If Maisy's up to it, I'll take her to visit Mom (it's her dog.) My third daughter has a girl scout field trip, and the oldest will be washing cars for a fundraiser at our local grocery. The rest of Saturday and Sunday are open, and predicted to be sunny and a bit warmer. I'll grocery shop, and then tackle some outdoor projects. Here's to making a dent in the to-do list! Take care!

Maybe Money

May 3rd, 2006 at 06:13 pm

I got a call today from the school's childcare program, asking if I wanted some sub hours. I prefer the preschool setting, but am willing to try doing the childcare. The director needed someone for earlier today, but I couldn't due to an orthodontist appt for my daughter. The second time was for Friday afternoon, but my oldest has a dr appt. I think I have the spending portion of my life down pat - need to work on that income part!

Oh well, I'll let her know when I'm generally available for the rest of this school year, and possibly a little to help her out this summer. Though after being at home with the girls for almost 12 years, and now only working when they are in school, I'm not too keen about being away when they're home. I'm blessed to even have the option of being home with them in the summer and school holidays. Very blessed.

Good news - we're still holding at seven pets at our house. The youngest brought home a note, stating that the crayfish her class have been raising are needing good homes. I looked at her, and she emphatically said, "No way, they pinch!" We did play a little joke on Daddy, though. He panicked for a moment at the thought of adding a crayfish to our menagerie. It's good to know we draw the line at crustaceans.

Enjoy your evening. Take care!

Visiting Mom

May 3rd, 2006 at 03:13 pm

After work today, I went to visit Mom in the nursing home. I found her in the activity room,and as always she was excited for a visit.

Soon after I got there, one of the activity directors brought out a box packed with old linens. I helped her hand out the pieces to everyone. You wouldn't believe the embroidery, tatting, crocheting... There was even a piece that had crochet edging on a piece of handemade linen (that traveled from Sweden with the director's husband's great-grandma many years ago.) Most of the pieces were from her husband's great-aunt; some collected from garage sales.

It was fun to see the residents' interest in the linens, and hear memories invoked by the pieces. My mom, being young enough to be of a different era than the other residents, stated very clearly that she never created such things or had them lying around the house. This was true. She still had fun admiring an embroidered piece with birds - birds she's always loved.

I enjoyed that the director had such appreciation for these pieces of beauty. Not everyone does, and many times such items can be found for free or very cheap. My husband's grandma made sure he had a trunk full of quilts, crochet-edged pillowcases and doilies to bring into our marriage. She was long gone by our wedding, but I thought it was a pretty neat inheritance and legacy.

This probably doesn't relate to anything moneywise. How about... enjoy using what you have, have what you want, and if you don't want to keep something, there is probably someone who will want it. Boy, what a way to bring it back to finances!

Excuse my nostalgic mood...take care!

Reaping Rhubarb

May 1st, 2006 at 12:35 pm

I picked the first rhubarb of the season. With our recent rains, the plants tripled in size practically overnight. I'm making muffins for afterschool snacks and lunches.

When I got married in 1984, my rhubarb was divided from plants at my parents' place. The rhubarb was there when they bought the place in 1963, and I suppose could have potentially been around since the house was built in the early 1900s. Wow, historical and free - what a combination!

In a bit, I head to the school for an IEP meeting for my youngest. Chicken stir fry is on the menu for tonight. The three younger girls are all having their state exams, so no homework for them tonight. My youngest participates with a monthly bookclub in her classroom, and they have free choice with this month's selection. She chose Secret Garden, and we'll read it together and make a good start on it tonight. It finally stopped raining this afternoon, though it's still cloudy and chilly. Definitely a good cuddle and read night. Take care!