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Archive for June, 2006

Lucky Us

June 28th, 2006 at 12:07 am

Another day of hanging out the laundry - quite the roll! Waiting for the homemade pizza to bake up. Same old, same old...

Looking ahead to Friday's payday - we both get paid - yay! We need to get some supplies for changing the oil in both vans. I'll pay the vet for Maisy the dog's annual visit. My oldest heads out on a mission trip a week from Saturday, so we need to get a few things - disposible cameras, a couple pairs of 'decent' shorts, that may be it. I need to check, but I think I need to register my second for the middle school tennis team for the fall. Well, easy come, easy go!

We're still covering the regular expenses, the increased number of medical visits, extra gas for the smaller van (for the medical visits,) while leaving the emergency fund and savings account funds intact. May our luck continue...

Take care!

Steady Course

June 25th, 2006 at 07:43 pm

Hanging out the laundry again. Recuperating after my youngest's birthday sleepover with her friends Friday night, and then having the extended family birthday bbq for three of the girls. Their birthdays are within a six week period, which we call our 'birthday season'. We survived!

Financially, we're maintaining a steady course. Not anything too interesting to write about, though. Well, no complaints on my part - everyone's pretty happy, and we're all enjoying our summer (lots of free, fun things to do!)

Enjoy the rest of the weekend...take care!

It's been ages...

June 22nd, 2006 at 06:03 pm

...since my last entry! And for good reason, as I started the new summer job on Monday. Challenging, but very rewarding work. I drop off my oldest to her job at the school pool, and then head over to the middle school, where the extended school year classes are (it's the only school with a/c.) The students run the gamut of abilities - autism (I think of contrary1 often!) to physical disabilities to blindness to Down's Syndrome. My second daughter takes care of my two youngest, and I'm home by noon. So far, it's working out great!

The weather has been holding out well for hanging out the laundry, and all meals continue to be at home. This is good, as I don't want to be so busy as to lose out on the savings of these activities. (Hey, I don't make that much at this summer position to slack off!)

We've also come to a less stressful level with my daughters' medical expenses, thankfully. Three visits a week are currently covered by our insurance, and we pay the $25 co-pay for each. One visit a week, we pay at an agreed-upon (with the facility) amount of $35, which we aren't putting through the insurance. They have written up an appeal to our insurance for more visits for my oldest, and then we'll get credited $10 for the $35 visits. We will run out of my oldest's visits covered by our insurance by the end of July. If the appeal doesn't go in our favor, the medical facility has agreed to charge us at $35 for all the visits once our oldest's insurance runs out. My third daughter's number of visits won't run out before the end of the year, so we'll continue paying them at the co-pay amount. I'm so thankful this is at least nearer to what we can afford, given how expensive these visits are uninsured. In addition, we have about $200 a month for all prescriptions. I would have never guessed our medical expenses would become such the beast it has! I know we're extremely lucky to be able to afford the care needed by our daughters, and to be able to keep current on those accounts. (Pooh - it's just not a very fun way to spend near a quarter of our money...enough pouting already!)

Back to the laundry, and need to pick up my oldest at the pool...Take care!

Strawberry Heaven

June 14th, 2006 at 01:11 pm

I went strawberry picking yesterday afternoon with my oldest and youngest daughters, and my best friend and her daughter. We snacked on what seemed like a ton of berries. For dinner, we had salad with chicken and strawberries on top, dressed with a blush wine vinaigrette - fantastic!

I cleaned, topped and hulled berries until my hands gave out. Next I froze them single-layered on trays, and then put them into freezer Ziplocs. We still have half of our pickings left in the fridge today for processing into jam, today's snacking, and some to bring over to my inlaws this afternoon. A bit of work, but oh so delicious!

I also have to cut some rhubarb for Mom's nursing home and deliver it this morning. I'll bring along my mom's dog for a visit too.

Another day of being able to hang out the laundry - wonderful for me, but it's getting a bit dry around here for the farmers. Some overnight rain would work for all of us...as if I have any say in the matter!

Well, the strawberries won't take care of themselves, so I had better get going...take care!

Rhubarb & Berries

June 13th, 2006 at 02:58 pm

Waiting on the washer to finish, so I can get the laundry on the line outside. I love that we've had this incredible stretch of wonderful weather for line drying.

Need to pick some more rhubarb. I'll make up a double batch of muffins for us. My mom's nursing home called for a bunch for the residents to cut up for their rhubarb jam making session later this month. I think I'll offer to help with that, as I would love to learn how to make jam, and the recipes seem confusing. I'm sure there are many laughing at this, but I think I'm more of a visual/hands on learner, at least with canning.

To continue on the picking theme...the two girls and I are heading out to a pick your own strawberry place this week. I'm going to call a friend and her daughter who were interested in doing it too. I'd love to do up some strawberry jam - at least I do know how to do freezer jam.

Enjoy your day...take care!

Great News...

June 12th, 2006 at 09:33 pm

I submitted an application for a special ed position for summer school last week, and I got the call that I can have the position, if I wish. I do, I do! I'll be working with secondary students with cognitive disabilities and autism. I have worked with preschoolers up to 5th grade, mostly autism and down's syndrome, but they were excited to have me. I'm looking forward to this too.

The last summer I worked was back in 1989, because the next summer my oldest was born. I start next week, working three hours in the morning, four days a week for 4 1/2 weeks. I'll go in with my oldest, who's working at the school pool. I'll be home by lunch time. I had discussed this job with the three younger girls, and they were all willing to help out if I applied and got this job. From summers past, they'll most likely spend the morning lounging and playing, and I'll probably have to remind them to get dressed when I get home.

A bit of money to put toward our medical expenses, without sacrificing my time with the girls. (Still an at-home mom at heart.) What a wonderful blessing for us!

Life's wild ride...

June 12th, 2006 at 04:20 pm

Got the two middle girls off to our church camp in Wisconsin. Second daughter was an old pro at this, and third daughter linked up with a girl from our church very readily. They went off to explore the camp so quickly, that I almost missed a goodbye hug and kiss (almost - I tracked her down!) I feel better about it all, and think they'll have a great time.

The rest of us ate out cheaply as planned on the way home. Then after dropping me off at home, my husband and the two girls headed down to help his parents drop off their van for repair work. (It must be the week for this!)

Today was for sleeping in - accomplished (not my husband - I sent him off to work.) Laundry - another nice day to hang it out on the line. Bills and checkbook - need to catch that up and look ahead at expenses.

We are reaching the limit on medical visits for my oldest, so we are taking on the cost of one visit a week at full cost, and not putting it through the insurance, to help carry her more expensive visits a few more weeks longer. We're working on an appeal, but I'm not sure if it will work.

Between my oldest's visits, and now my third daughter's starting up, plus our medicine copays, we're paying on the equivalent of two brand-new vehicle loans. My husband and I laugh, because we never thought we could afford one, let alone two, new vehicles. I guess, as it turns out, it's a good thing we didn't, as we wouldn't have the money for all the medical expenses we have at the moment. And while it hasn't been easy, I am amazed and thankful how much play our income has ended up having. It's wild how 'little' money it seemed we had before, compared to how much we've been required to accomodate lately (25% of our income for medical.) And, so far, I am proud to say, our emergency fund is still intact, with plans to keep it that way. I can hardly wait until we get through with some this medical stuff - not only for my daughters and my family, but just to see what we will do financially. Life is looking good today.

Wow, enough for now...take care!

Spending the weekend in the van...

June 11th, 2006 at 01:32 pm

Yesterday, my husband's work van needed some more repair work, so in the morning I followed in our van to pick him up. I then headed north to drop him off at his office, so he could work on programming a security system for the Fargo job, which he'll head to again sometime during the next week. I went home and worked in the garden and kitchen, and on the everpresent laundry. Later in the afternoon, I picked him up at the office, headed south to the repair place, and came home. Lots of gas used, but OT and a working van are good things.

Later we grilled hamburgers, and packed up my two middle girls for our church's camp in Wisconsin. We leave today after lunch. This is my third daughter's first time to camp, so we wanted to take her and settle her in, as are most of the families. The camp is a couple hours away. The families all chipped in to pay for renting a school bus from our area for pickup, however, with gas prices as they are.

I'm not sure how much I can take in a few day's time - my third daughter's 5th grade graduation and off to camp. She's my little homebody, but wants to spread her wings, hard as it is for her. I'm doing pretty good at being positive for her, while keeping my anxiety of her anxiety to myself. Growing up is hard to do - both for the kids and the moms!

Of course, having my oldest practicing her driving to and from camp may prove distracting enough, or cause a different sort of anxiety altogether!

It sounds like an exhausting sort of day - anticipating no sleep troubles tonight! Take care!

Last day of school

June 8th, 2006 at 05:38 pm

The girls went to school with mixed emotions - a bit sad for school to be ending, but happy for the end of the homework. We dropped off teacher gifts, and took photos. This afternoon is the 5th grade graduation for my third daughter. How my girls seem to be racing through their school years!

Met with a friend for coffee (used another giftcard) and celebrated her upcoming birthday. We always meet the first and last days of school (and in between too.) It seemed like we were just talking of what the school year will present, and here we are summing up how it went. A sentimental day...

I had a giftcard from a preschooler for a local restaurant that I had thought to use tonight to end the school year nicely, but the three older are all going to parties - either birthday or year-end - so I'll save it for a night we can all be together. My youngest can help me make a homemade pizza instead, which will be fun.

I guess not much financially happening - kind of in auto mode lately, as another blogger I think called it. This is better than out-of-control high anxiety mode any day - just makes for boring daily blog material! I do like that I'm making use of the 'making do, using up, do without' category a lot more often now. Enjoy your day...take care!

Reducing costs for Mom's care

June 7th, 2006 at 06:52 pm

Good news on the mom front! The end result of our care conference for my mom is that her care level charge has been reduced from $7500/month down to $4300/month. She is only 66, and we're trying to make her funds last as long as possible. I know we'll be at that highest level soon enough anyway.

She's doing well as far as the nursing home staff is concerned, which we can see during our visits to her. She's still confined to the wheelchair, and we're trying to remain patient with the staff on this. We'll all be celebrating the day she is ok'd to be back up on her feet!

I stayed after the care conference, and took Mom for a walk outside through the garden. I think she enjoyed it, but was glad to be inside again. Her safe zone seems to be her room, the activity and dining rooms, and the halls that connect the three. It's a small zone, but probably all she is able to handle with her Alzheimer's.

A good day for finances..if only I could do as well on my own! Take care!

Wending my way through Wednesday

June 7th, 2006 at 01:48 pm

I was scheduled to work yesterday morning, but then was asked if I wanted to help set up a room for the summer program in the afternoon. I didn't need to be asked twice!

Last night the girls and I worked on the teacher gifts to distribute tomorrow. I'm relieved, because the ideas weren't too forthcoming this year. The girls spent the evening baking brownie bites, and will bag them up tonight, along with writing up the notes. The expense on this is well within our budget, thankfully.

In a bit, I'll head over to the care conference for my mom. My brother is attending with me. Hopefully, we can figure out a way to get Mom out of the wheelchair, and upright using her walker. The sore on her foot is healed, except that the dead skin disk hasn't completely detached (and it probably won't because they won't let her use the foot, which would help knock it off.) Mom is always setting off the alarm as she tries to get up from the wheelchair. She is very ready to be walking too. Setting off alarms hasn't helped any with her agitation level.

After the meeting, I'm getting together with a friend at a local coffee shop. I haven't seen her in a bit, so it'll be great to visit with her. I will offer to treat, as I received some gift certificates to the shop from a couple of the preschoolers as end of the school year gifts. Looking forward to this treat!

First I need to get the laundry on the line, so I had better get going. Enjoy your day and take care!

Chipping away at the Chore List

June 5th, 2006 at 05:59 pm

Never get done as much as I would like on the weekends. I always think having more people around will translate to more helpers. Wherever did I get a crazy idea like that?!!

As soon as the last two girls got on their bus this morning, I got to work. The laundry is washed and on the line (the morning rain gave way to a beautiful breezy day - yay!) I noticed the bananas had become ripe for baking, so I tried a new muffin recipe. One of my second daughter's teachers told her he'd have to request having her in class next year, so he could get some more of the pumpkin bread we gave out to the teachers for Christmas. I can take a hint, so whipped up that batter, as long as the oven was going anyway. He's been a wonderful teacher, so my girl will bring in a big loaf to him, along with the recipe (since my daughter wants to move up to 8th grade next year!) Now I'm 'thinking' of entering the disaster zone, I mean my youngest two girls' bedroom. I may need to ponder this a bit longer.

We're in our last four days of school, filled with end-of-year events. We have three medical appts this week - one I'll need to pay outright and two with co-pays. I work tomorrow morning for a bit at my school. My mom's care conference is on Wednesday. My youngest's class has an ice cream social, and my third daughter graduates from 5th grade on Thursday. I'm thinking I should enjoy my quiet Monday!

'Tis all for now...take care!

Life is crazy...

June 4th, 2006 at 03:49 pm

...and how did it get to be June already?!

Last week, I cleaned some very neglected parts of my house, and also worked as a last minute special ed sub at the Intermediate school, which makes for a rewarding, albeit exhausting, time. Tons of laundry went up on the line yesterday, as well as dropping off and picking up my husband's company van for some repair work ( he leaves for Fargo to install and program a security system tomorrow, and needs a properly running vehicle.)

The repair shop was near a Kmart, where I stopped to see if there was the kind of tops my mom likes to wear. The nursing home staff called during the week to say she's gained enough weight and needed some new sizes - she's still in the wheelchair with a sore healing on her foot, after 7 months, which accounts for this gain. My brother and I are meeting with staff on Wed for Mom's care conference, to see where we are with returning her back to
physical therapy. I brought the seven new shirts to her yesterday, along with my third daughter and her dog. Mom was having a fairly agitated day, and wanted to get up out of the wheelchair, which set off her alarm (which hardly helped the situation.) Not the most relaxing visit, but she loved the new shirts and enjoyed a walk outside to look at the flowers in the garden. I figured if I was pushing her around, she wouldn't try leaping out of the chair, and I was right. Phew, what a visit... It may be a long summer.

Medical issues of now two daughters are still weighing heavy, but I'm trying to focus on only what I can do at the moment, rather than look too far ahead. Well, I'm mindful of what the future holds, but with little that can be done, I try to not get myself too worked up with worry. Times like these, make hanging laundry on the line, or cleaning, or baking such peaceful, productive activities in my life.

Otherwise for today, we will work on getting my husband ready for his out-of-town work - he's hauling 12 boxes of cable, I think each holds a 1000 ft. I'll bake the weekly batch of rhubarb muffins - the good old plants still going strong. Of course, there's laundry to wash and hang.

I have a giftcard from one of my students for a local nursery, so I'll head over later and get some (few at their prices!) annual flowers for our pots. I have gardens throughout my yard that have perrenials, mostly divides from family and friends. I also fill in with lots of collected things, almost all free or gifts. Some ceramic and terracotta figures, birdhouses and garden stakes that the girls have painted throught the years, handprints in cement pavers, coal scuttle, old washbasins, odds and ends of marble - from my parents place before demolition (a previous owner was a headstone carver and brought home the leftover odd pieces to create pavers and a retaining wall.) Well, what I lack in flowers may or may not be disguised by my odd collection scattered throughtout the gardens, but I enjoy it all anyway.

What a loooong entry, too long! Anyway, I think it's time to get moving...take care!