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Archive for October, 2008

Monday Musings

October 20th, 2008 at 02:25 pm

All of our travelers are home. My second girl arrived back on Saturday, after enjoying her time at a church youth convention in southern MN. My third daughter flew in last night from Washington DC. She was a bit nervous about the plane ride (her first!) After arriving in DC, she texted me saying so, and I jokingly replied back that she had survived the flight. Her reply - "Yay for the plane!" Yes, indeed!

Her two older sisters had also taken the same trip as 8th graders, but daughter 3 was the most technologically supplied. She took almost 1200 pictures on her digital camera, while her sisters made due with disposable cameras. They all took cell phones to call us at night, but #3 knew better how to text. We knew when she landed, when she ate, what sights were being seen, where she waited in lines. I had to do a top-up to her phone by the third day. A co-worker's daughter had gone too, and when we compared notes, she was receiving even more texts from her daughter (and photos too!) Well, it was almost like being there! All in all, My third had a great time.

The four of us left at home this break took Friday to head down the Mississippi River to the quaint little town of Red Wing. We wandered around antique stores, where my husband and I discovered more of our childhood there than we'd like to admit to. We checked out the other shops a little, nothing of interest (decluttering the house sure squelches the desire to bring stuff home.) We did bring home some candy from a little shop that's been there forever, and we and others want to keep it there - oh, the sacrifice. We ate a delicious lunch at a cute little sandwich shop. Then we walked down to the river, and were surprised to find the American Queen from New Orleans docked. Only those with boarding passes were allowed on, but it was fun to see it. The boat usually heads up to St Paul, but we were told that the river has been too low to go up the river that far this summer. We also walked through the old train depot that houses local art. It was a gorgeous day!

The rest of the time off has been taken up by doing all those little piddling things that for too long go undone. I don't know why, but my grandest accomplishment has been sewing all of the badges on my youngest's new girl scout cadette sash. I'm a sewer, but I have the darndest time doing this (and yes, it took me all of a half an hour!) Well, she can now start out the year properly badged.

With only four at home for a bit, I was able to scale down the grocery shopping this week. I saved the bigger quantity meals for when we all would be eating, and used up some frozen meal makings in some smaller meals. I feel like I'm keeping a good grip on this part of our budget.

Now if only I had such a tight rein on our vehicle expenses! We're enjoying the cheaper gas prices (the lowest was $2.42 in Red Wing.) Unfortunately, we've had some vehicle repair and maintenance. None of it's too unexpected, but gee, it likes to lump together. Our minivan needed a water pump and all four tires replaced. There's still some work needing to be done on its drivetrain we think. It's been hard tracking down what exactly is wrong, and that always seems to be expensive! My oldest's suburu also had a timing belt replaced and work on a cv-joint. My husband has been methodically changing oil and filters, etc, on all of the fading fleet before the snow flies.

Today is dentist visits for five of us. I have some more piddling things to get crossed off my list. And I'll bake for the week today - I have helpers!

Take care!

Enjoying October

October 16th, 2008 at 01:22 am

Gosh, where has October gone?!

We have the most beautiful trees this year - the drive to the school has been wonderfully colorful lately. We went to the pumpkin patch the next town over last weekend. The farmer was saying what a bumper year it's been for pumpkins, and we brought home some huge ones. They're decorating our front step, and along a fence near our side door. Also against the fence is a stuffed scarecrow that the girls' grandma had given them many years ago (he definitely borders on the tacky side, but we cannot not put him up each year!) We split him at a seam here and there, and added some extra stuffing, as he had been getting a tad droopy. The stuffing has been in my sewing area forever, and it eludes me why I would ever have needed so much!

I've been alternating crockpot meals with simple, fast dinners... so no unplanned meals out, which really helps the budget.

The girls and I are off from school, and my husband is taking vacation for Thursday, Friday, Monday and Tuesday. It's our state's teacher union and professional days. My third daughter is heading to Washington DC with some of her class. My second daughter is heading to a church youth convention in the southern part of our state. The rest of us are going to try to get a few things done around the house before the snow starts to fly. We take time to do a few fun things too.

I'm being summoned to pick up a daughter... Take care!

Catching up

October 2nd, 2008 at 11:57 pm

The expenses have been settling down finally, though I did just write one more check for a field trip for my oldest. Back to getting my checks regular, and getting the savings built up again.

It's been a beautiful fall, but the last few days were very cool. The temps have been hovering in the upper 30s at night. With the windows closed up, and the extra blankets on the beds, we haven't had to turn on the heat yet, though I was tempted last night as it inched to 61. I open the blinds in the morning to let in the sun, and close them at night to keep out the cold. We're hoping to hold off the heat until at least the 15th (later would be great!)

With a few extra activities this week to work around, the crockpot has been getting quite the use. I generally use it 1-2 times a week, but so far have used it straight since Monday. I planned ahead, and have been able to vary the menu a bit, so no protests yet. After a day of working, and then running kids around, I am really enjoying the convenience. And no fast food!

I have to drive daily to the main school campus in the next town over. Three afternoons a week, I head over to the school building just a street behind where I live. So MWF, I eat my lunch at home (leftovers!)and bring my lunch the other two days. Then I head over to the school via my bike. Will enjoy this as long as it lasts - lots of predictions for a very cold, very snowy winter ahead - oh yay! Before I head into the classroom, I ride the bus with one of our more fragile students, who has frequent seizures (I keep an eye on her, and can administer her meds if needed.) The bus driver is a nice retired guy, who recently lost his wife to cancer. He has apple trees that are having a bumper year, and offered me some. He gave me two full grocery bags of them, and we are making great use of them.

The computer is needed, so time to get off. Take care!