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Archive for March, 2011

Ready for April

March 31st, 2011 at 05:08 am

Our spring break ended with a fizzle....

My youngest got sick, and she was knocked out on the couch or in her bed for several days. The high school played in championship basketball games, and my third girl played in the pep band several times over the course of the week. The least I say about the snow storm mid-last week, the better. Spent two afternoons, straightening out the FSA and all things health insurance - I have nothing civil to say about the process, except that I am really hoping there is someone there who can, and will do, what they keep telling me they will do to fix it (and no, I do not want another confirmation number as I have plenty!)

Not all was dismal though - I spring-cleaned my bedroom, and it's now lovely in there. Cleared out several bags worth of stuff from all over the house and dropped off at our favorite charity. I tried out some new recipes and baked. We visited the library a couple of times, and we all read more than we had been lately. In my ever quest to be organized, I came up with yet another way to keep track of user/passwords for everything on the computer (took longer than it should have, but now even my husband could figure it out if he had to, and the new way does not involve a flutter of post-its:-) Wild and crazy life, I know!

Back to school and work for us girls this week. Time for buckling down expense-wise too. We're expecting to have to pull together some big dollars by fall for schooling for the two oldest. There is enough to cover it from our savings, but I'm thinking we can do a bit better with our budget of late and get together at least a good amount before the first payments are needed. We have some sort-of figures from the fafsa, but won't know until just before school starts what we'll need exactly (and this drives me crazy, so we always over-estimate, which isn't a bad thing either.) My oldest got some good news a couple days ago - she was awarded more work-study funds for the rest of this school year, which is great because she is signed up for classes in the summer in her quest to graduate early. (I feel like a broken record with all my posts in trying to figure out this college stuff....but I guess I've been known to talk to death some subjects in real life too - just the way I roll I guess :-)

My third girl is heading to Denver after school on Friday for her high school band trip, so tonight will be wrapping up the packing. She's excited! We're hoping for good weather (not sure what that is any more for any where this year.) I'm sure she'll have a great time.

Have a wonderful spring day!

Time for Spring!

March 20th, 2011 at 03:38 pm

The girls and I are on spring break this week. Yay!

So far, it's been a bit of shop, shop, shopping! Yesterday, my husband and I shopped at Sam's Club. Later, we headed to Camping World, finding a couple things for the camper, and Cabela's, where my youngest found an on-sale spring jacket and clearance athletic shoes. The other day I went with the girls to fill a prescription at Target (got a $10 giftcard for that) and found the right size miniblinds for some the cats managed to mangle. Definitely time to stay out of stores!!

Today, we used our historical society membership for free admission to the History Center, where a traveling exhibit of George Washington was displayed. It was very interesting, and especially fun to hear my youngest tell us about what she saw when she went to Mount Vernon during her trip to DC last October. Now I really want to go there too - adding it to my list!

Though DC isn't in the plans for this year, we've booked some camping trips for the summer. As much as we'd like to travel further from home, between gas prices and school/work commitments of the girls, plus the incredible amount of money going out to higher education for two this fall, the best thing is to stick closer to home :-) We'll camp a weekend at our local county park mid-May to work out any bugs and make sure the camper's in working order. Next we head to Duluth after school ends in early June. We'll visit our oldest and do our usual sightseeing and hanging out up there. In July, we camp near Mille Lacs. Then in early August, we all travel to Custer State Park in the Black Hills area. We went two years ago, but plan to switch up what we're visiting this time. We timed this trip so that the oldest two could join us before their fall terms start. Fingers crossed! We may add some more long weekend trips to other state parks - have to enjoy the short, short summer while it lasts.

On Friday night the sky was so clear and the moon so big, though just short of full. I would have liked to see the perigee moon last night, but it wasn't to be, as there was cloud cover. We did hear a huge clap of thunder well before the mist and rain that followed. Crazy weather continues...

Our menu is following the weather changes - last night, after a beautiful warm day, I made a ranch chicken salad...tonight to warm us up after a cool, rainy day, I'm making hot ham and cheese sandwiches and soup! It may snow by Thursday! Luckily the pantry is stocked, and meals can be flexible.

No huge plans for the week - mostly hanging out and a bit of spring cleaning! Take care!!

Looking forward to this weekend...

March 5th, 2011 at 08:15 am

Busy week at work - the resource room I work out of has a student that has been difficult to service, and we're trying to figure out ways to accommodate his needs, while still balancing the needs of the other students in the room. As a staff, we're taking turns visiting a facility that services students with unique needs from area school districts (the most difficult students to service in our small, short-staffed local school districts.) I went on Tuesday, and felt our student would fit perfectly at the facility, which has a 1:1 student/staff ratio. I'm not sure how well we'll do with creating that sort of environment at our school, given we aren't anywhere near that ratio! But I came away with some great ideas that will help with the student(anything would help the situation!)as well as for the other students I work with. Still loving my job and the kids! People ask all the time how I'm liking it at the middle school, and my standard response has been that it's the same needs as in early childhood, just taller kids. This week I have to say though - same needs, taller kids, but hormones make quite a difference -yikes!

Last week I had mailed out a renewal of a work license for my husband to the state. Yesterday, we received a mailing from them, and opened it. Out dropped a mangled version of what we had mailed, with the bottom half missing, plus a letter saying they couldn't process the license or check. Hmmm, I wonder why - maybe because it was half missing?! Not sure where it happened (suspect the PO, as the stamp hadn't yet been canceled,) but mailed it out once again. Fingers crossed!

Finally got tabs renewed for my minivan and our trailer this week. I went to do it over our little break a couple weeks ago, and missed the office being open by a half hour (early hours on Fridays - got to remember that)and then on that Mon, it was closed for President's Day. Glad to have it done, though we need some warm weather to put the tabs onto the plates.

Last Sunday, we visited a free zoo and conservatory. My two middle girls are taking the same photo class at school, and they both had a ball with their cameras. The conservatory had their spring flower show - so beautiful! It gives one hope of things to come....

Will be heading out for groceries at SuperTarget soon. I have a pair of black pants of my daughter's to return. Not too much needed today, as we had stocked up at Sam's last weekend. Just some items, we can't get at Sam's, and some we just prefer to get at Target. Doing well with eating at home, except for planned eating out. Plus we've made good use of giftcards for restaurants we received at Christmas. It's all good...

As many have mentioned here, gas is getting pricey. It just seems that when the prices are highest, we end up driving all the more - ha! I do get reimbursed for mileage I did for school, which will help. We have been trying to do something fun on Sundays, usually it's a free activity, except for gas. Oh well, at least we can still afford it. (I feel most bad for those who can least afford the prices and have no other options but to pay :-(

My oldest called with news - she and her friend have found a place for all of next year (Jun '11 - May '12.) She needed some help with the deposit, and I transferred the dollars to her account. I also checked it out online (love google) as much was possible. The owner is local to the unit, which is nice. There are four bedrooms, and as of yesterday, they already have a third friend for a room. The monthly amount divided by two is a little high but not unreasonable, divided by three is what she is paying now, and by four will be wonderful! It's an older home (as most of them are in the area) but smaller and less grand than the one she is in now - meaning the ceilings aren't so high or not so many grand, cold windows,etc. Plus it's been updated better. My daughter has the whole top floor with lots of windows at her current place - "I can see Lake Superior!" My first thought was shoot, it'll be freezing when those winds come a-blowing. She also has a cranky radiator. The thing is massive, but you couldn't tell for all the heat she gets in her room. It's been a learning experience for sure! We sent up an electric blanket and a space heater - luckily electric is a part of what her monthly rent covers. She was very proud in finding that first place, but knows a little more about covering the basic human needs. She and her friend found this one on their own too, but it looks like it'll be a good choice for them. It's as far from the school as the other, but a quicker route, as it's nearer the main street heading up to the campus. So my girl is set with a place, a job, and classes to take over the summer. We'll be definitely heading up to her for visits this summer - it'll be so different...my girls are growing up, and mom has to get used to it!!

My second girl just got a job at Applebees. She went through three interviews with three managers, and she did it! It should work out great, as it's near the school that she'll be starting at this August. They know she's still in high school until June, and it sounds like her hours will increase over the summer, and then back to a reasonable amount for school again - so yay!. (There's a few doing the same thing.) She starts training on Sunday.

Already did some of the weekly cleaning/chores last night and this morning. Groceries in a bit, then maybe some more snowshoeing (the sun is out!) Maybe a little baking - been on a kick with the new range, plus the girls like the treats in their lunches brought to school. Maybe tomorrow we'll head to our history center (free with our membership.) It's a weekend with much potential! Take care!!