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Archive for August, 2006

Lots happening here...

August 31st, 2006 at 09:31 am

...some emergency medical stuff with my oldest (things are going ok now,) a coworker's 47yo husband had a massive heart attack and after several days passed away (the service is this afternoon,)work, getting ready for school, middle school sports that start the week before school's start, appointments, appointments and more appointments. Whew!

Almost all of the above have taken money, but either was planned or taken care of with our checking account cushion, thankfully.

The upcoming long weekend is gratefully void of anything scheduled. My family and I need to recharge before the headlong rush into the school year.

Take care!

New shoes and so on...

August 20th, 2006 at 06:46 am

Last night, I took the two middle girls to get their athletic shoes. I had a coupon for Famous Footwear, plus they were running a buy one, get the second for 1/2 off promotion, as well as sales on many brands. (Wow - I'm thinking that the 'full' price would be quite scary!)

I asked how long the promotion was going, as I wanted to bring my husband in for some shoes, and the clerk said bring your receipt in and they make good on it. So I picked out some on-sale New Balance walking shoes. The girls each picked out some nice shoes. We're set!! (I also tried out my new shoes on a walk with my husband after we got back, and they are great.) I'll take my husband there soon to get his 1/2 off pair.

I got to sleep in a bit today, which was wonderful, as I've been teetering on the brink of a cold (back with a class of kids for a whole three days and arg!) Catching up on sleep (from a few nights of insomnia during the week,) and being diligent with the zinc has kept it from progressing. Actually, one more day of zinc, and I think it will be gone. Yay!

Another beautiful summer day here, so the daily laundry will go up on the line. I'm thinking we should tackle the garage, but my family may have other ideas, which is ok too. Grilled chicken and a pasta salad tonight - nice and easy. Enjoy your day and take care!

So much for sleeping in...

August 19th, 2006 at 02:40 pm

For some reason, I woke at 5am, and couldn't get back to sleep. And being up so early didn't exactly result in a more productive me...oh well!

I did get the kids over to OfficeMax, and bought the rest of the school supplies. I am done! With $64 worth of printer ink, I was able to use the discount card I got from school. My husband wandered the store, and talked to a clerk about reinking the cartridges, but it won't work on ours (of course, grumble.) I also signed up for their MaxPerks program, which should result in a rebate at some future time.

The weather is beautiful, and the towels, sheets and daily load of clothes are all washed and hanging on the line outside. The cicadas are constantly abuzz. Dinner will be grilled by my husband. A nice low-key day for a sleep-abridged person...take care!

A bit of work, a bit of play...

August 18th, 2006 at 08:22 pm

Setting up a new classroom is a lot of work! I started in the morning, and came home at dinnertime (I know, like a real job - ha!) Still plenty of work left, but progress was made. Plus I will love the extra hours on the paycheck!

After dinner, we all went to pick up more on the girls' school supply lists. One more stop to OfficeMax for a couple more items - probably tomorrow. At the end of the school year, I had received a $15 discount off a $50 purchase for OfficeMax. The supplies we need to buy there won't come close to the $50, but it so happens I do need printer ink. The ink's a grumble purchase, but having a discount helps.

We may also get gym shoes for the two middle girls this weekend (the oldest and youngest have theirs already.) Otherwise, a lazy couple of days ahead - sleeping in, puttering, grilling, reading, maybe swimming (at this time of year, the lake can turn pea soup green almost in an instant - the arrival of what I grew up calling dog days)...the best sort of weekend! Enjoy yours and take care!

Busy day in a busy week

August 17th, 2006 at 04:22 pm

What a busy week! I started our 'Ready,set, Kindergarten' class this week. It's exciting to see my former preschool kids proudly doing what Kindegarteners do. I've also been receiving bags of pass-along clothes from some of my coworkers - my girls look forward to my return each day!

After work today, I got a chance to go over my summer paychecks (I was waiting for my 8-15 one.) I finally figured out that I received all the hours I was supposed to, but on different checks and different pay periods. Confusing...but glad I didn't have to march into the payroll office, and glad to have the pay, for sure!

I took my oldest to one of her medical appts today. Being there three to five times a week, I take care to pay our co-pay and get a receipt each and every time. Just before our camping trip, I had received a bill for a sixty day old co-pay charge. I asked about it today, and it was in error, so our account is cleared. Yay!

It's nice to get two more things cleared off my eternal to-do list! I even visited my mom after the medical appt. She's doing well (only one call from the nurses on our vacation!) Conversation is still strange, but it's not so shocking as it used to be. Mom laughs a lot and keeps on talking, so no harm (and it's nice to be reminded of things from her childhood.) I'll need to be the keeper of my own childhood memories now. Well, on to dinner duty...take care!

What luck!

August 14th, 2006 at 05:58 pm

This afternoon, my third daughter got a call from our local librarian saying that she had won a drawing, and could come pick out a book of her choice. When we arrived at the library, we found that she had also won a second drawing for two tickets for our upcoming state fair. Lucky girl! What's neat is that my husband and I were just talking of going to the fair, as our oldest will be competing there with her fire department explorer group. Two less tickets to buy is grand!

On the work front, I got a call today that we can put in a bit of extra hours this week and next, as we are preparing for a big open house on the 25th, as well as school's start in September. This is in addition to the 'ready for Kindergarten' classes I'm already doing these next two weeks. They didn't have to ask me twice! May our luck continue...take care!

Manic Monday

August 14th, 2006 at 12:41 pm

The laundry is washed and on the line outside. Dinner is planned and ready for last minute prep later. Made several appt calls - orthodontist for oldest and dentist for all six of us, without anyone missing school or work (I always feel triumphant after that call!) I'm working on the pile of papers on the counter - marking dates in the calendar, readying the things to be filed, etc. The bills are ready to be sent, and the checkbook is up to date. Cleaning - both the general and de-cluttering sorts.

August and the upcoming school year always does this to me. Whew...the vacation is definitely over! Take care!!

Coupon Capers

August 13th, 2006 at 08:09 am

I washed laundry, and hung it on the line yesterday. Today we have rain (desperately needed,) so the laundry will be in the dryer.

I went to the bread thrift store and purchased our usual monthly amount of bread. There was a also a great deal on bagels, so I bought a dozen packages to freeze (for upcoming school lunches.)

I also grocery shopped, and did well. We were pretty low on everything, so I stocked up a bit. I also made a start on buying items on sale for lunches and school snacks.

I've always used the coupons from the grocery store flyer, but this time I attempted to make an effort to use manufacturers' coupons. I found for the most part that I still do best with the store and generic brands (which suit us fine.) BUT...I did manage to save about $10 (about $7 being manuf. coupons.) AND...my total for two weeks of groceries (including general and school lunch stocking up and health/beauty and hh cleaning supplies) was $190 rather than its usual $200-220. SO...it seems worth it to continue working at this (thanks to Flash and all here who share their expertise!)

A rainy, lazy Sunday ahead - definitely a reading sort of day! Take care!

Back at Home

August 12th, 2006 at 08:37 am

We're back from our camping trip up north. It was so fun and relaxing. We spent lots of time in the water - swimming in Lake Superior and under Gooseberry Falls. Roasting hot dogs and marshmallows over campfires at night. My second daughter discovered a talent at making pancakes, so we had several breakfasts featuring her artistic creations (round is boring, mom!)

During the requisite laundry catch-up, I spent time gathering together my youngest's outgrown clothes, as well as checking out the rest of the girls' closets. Altogether I had eight bags of clothes, shoes and miscellaneous household clutter to donate at our favorite place. Yesterday afternoon, we made a run to make the donation, as well as check out their thrift shop for clothes for school. I told the cashier that we were leaving with almost as much as we donated. Well, only four bags...but good deals nonetheless. Still looking for some jeans for the two youngest, but not desperate yet.

We're almost school-ready. I have the bulk of the school supplies bought (just a couple things that I need from the art and office supply stores.) My mother-in-law offered to buy the girls their gym shoes - the oldest and youngest are done, still have the middle two to do. Yay all around!

The next two weeks, I'm working the 'Ready, Set, Kindergarten' class. I need to get out of vacation mode, and back to real life! I have to plan out meals for the next two weeks, make the gocery list, and then head to the bread thrift and grocery stores. I'll definitely be out of vacation made by today's end! Take care!!

Getting ready to leave...

August 5th, 2006 at 07:41 am

Tomorrow morning we leave on our camping trip. Today we run errands, clean up the house and pack up the van.

We have our neighbor girl take care of the animals and water the flowers. She is worth every dollar I pay her - our old dog needs to be let out four times over the day, she plays and pets the cats and guinea pig who feel quite abandoned, and she keeps the goldfish safe from being a cat snack. Our house and animals are safe under her care - one thing to not have to think about while away.

Now, my mom is another thing...I visited her yesterday, and left our trip info with the staff. I take along my cell phone, but unfortunately I have limited reception up north. I'll check messages daily when we're in or passing near Duluth. It' funny, I can go weeks without a call from the nursing home, but as soon as I'm on vacation, which is always camping with poor phone reception, I get calls every time, and by chance catch them as we are near a town or a dell tower. I think this is the trade-off for having an easy time with pet care arrangements.

Otherwise, my visit with my mom had some good and bad. The good is that my mom is finally out of the wheelchair. After breaking her hip last December (knocked over accidentally by another resident,) she got through surgery and was rehabilitating well, until she developed sores on her feet in February, and was ordered into the chair until healed. Just last week, she was given the ok to be back on her feet with the walker (no one thought to call me for this!) Anyway, talking to Mom about it, she doesn't ever recall having to use the wheelchair (I didn't even mention the broken hip - ha!)

The bad isn't horrible, just a part of her Alzheimer's progression. She was talking about "Daddy" a lot. She has always called my dad that when she talks to me. So she said Daddy had been here. I repeated back, "Oh, Dad was here?" She looks me in the eye and says, "Not your daddy, my daddy!" Later, she saw the nursing home social worker (male) and kept saying he's her daddy. He's probably in his mid to late-twenties. I'm trying to see the resemblance, and it's probably more about some interaction they've had. She was also talking about her childhood house in Wisconsin. Something must have got her thinking of her childhood. I'm grateful she still knows who I am (not quite sure how I fit into her childhood thought mode.)

Well, enough of a ramble for now...take care!

Gas Price Wow...

August 3rd, 2006 at 03:24 pm

It's been quite the week for driving. We drove to three medical appts, a trip to the grocery (the next town over)and just the back and forth to my oldest's job at the school pool. Yesterday, I ended up disgruntingly having to fill up our smaller van. Boy, am I glad I did! I drove past the gas station this afternoon, and the price was at $3.13 - wow! Yesterday's $2.94 was soundly put in an altogether different light.

I am wishing we had topped off the big van (conversion full-size)for our upcoming camping trip departure this weekend. Oh well, it's not like that van gets anything resembling decent gas mileage when it's fully loaded with our camp gear. Still looking forward to the trip - gas be darned!

The cicadas came too early...

August 3rd, 2006 at 09:35 am

As I was hanging my laundry out on the line this morning, I noticed the relentless thrumming of the cicadas. Yikes! August is here, and that sound always sets me on edge about summer's end.

Did we get enough swimming time in, enough camping, and playing outside? Is our skin freckled and tanned, our hair naturally highlighted by the sun? Have I even heard one of the girls say she was bored yet this summer?! Still enjoying the summer....

Yet, I'm feeling compelled to create endlessly long lists of what chores should get done while the weather is still warm. Get to those back to school sales, outfit those girls! Gulp - check on the snow gear, because it's in the stores now, and on sale. Going through the closets, checking on what we need, donating what we don't.

Stupid, stupid cicadas, you came too early! I'm NOT listening...

So, how does this relate financially?? Well, I may not like thinking about the dumb cicada, and what their constant buzzing means, but I can't really ignore it. The season will change, the cold weather will arrive. Will I be ready??

Sometimes financially waiting things out is good, but other times situations warrant being prepared. As I store up warm weather memories, I must be practical and start in on that long chore list, bit by bit. I'll be in a panic if the sumac starts turning red, and I haven't made a little dent in the list. Take care!

Samples & Coupons

August 2nd, 2006 at 11:22 am

I've been starting to see some more samples coming through the mail. I wished there were more coupons with the samples, but free is free.

Also, inspired by our own Flash, I've made more of an effort to clip (and use!) coupons. We usually purchase a lot of store and generic brands, as well as staples that don't often have coupons, at the grocery store. But right off the bat, quite by chance I get to use a rebate for batteries, where we happened to buy the right brand. I bought a package of Charmin tp for mere cents with a coupon at our local Snyder's drug store. I usually buy the mega roll size, and this pkg was regular size (it looked puny!) I got some softsoap (coupon) and some generic ibuprophen (no coupon.) I think I need to work more on this a bit more. It seems that you have to shop weekly to maximize the best use of some of the coupons.

Free Dinner!

August 2nd, 2006 at 11:04 am

Last night, I took the girls to our local night out event. My husband is in the police reserve unit, so was already there grilling a ton of hamburgers and hot dogs. Very fun to see friends and neighbors, even in the rain...can you believe after weeks of blazing sun and drought, we had rain through the day, and a downpour right during the event?! We were all so relieved to not have 100 degree weather, that no one cared getting soaked.

Today is beautiful and predicted to be in 70s - no window a/c's, no fans, laundry on the line. Yay!

The youngest two girls are attending our church's vbs this week, and my second is a teacher's helper. Tonight the oldest two will go to a bbq at one of the congregant's (beautiful!) home. Then tomorrow evening is the family potluck for all the vbs students, staff and families. It's an easy week for dinner, that's for sure!

We're all looking forward to our camping trip. Food is all bought, and in the freezer or safely stashed. We'll pack the van up on Saturday, and leave early Sunday. Can't wait!

So as to not have to scramble when we get back (coupled with catching stuff on sale,)the girls and I finished buying the rest of the school supplies they need for September. When we get back, we'll search for athletic shoes for school - and I have some coupons for those.

Enjoy the day....take care!