Archive for the ‘son’ category

Coming Home

October 10, 2008

I posted this on my Fresh Choices Daily food blog.  But, I thought I’d post it here, too, for anyone who doesn’t go to that one.

Frugal Friday- Coming Home

Lately, you can’t go a day without hearing about the economy.  I can hardly watch the news because it can be so depressing.  But, because I’m an optimist, today let’s take a look at the brighter side of life!

We live in a fast paced world.  Usually, both parents are working and the kids are involved in sports and clubs or even working just to pay for gas to get to school or activities.  Then, adults go out for dinner and drinks with friends, kids are hanging out with friends.  It seems that when one family member comes home, another is about to leave.

But, with the economy heading in the wrong direction, people are starting to head in the right direction.  They are going home!  Families can’t afford to go out for dinner all the time.  So, we are cooking and eating at home.  The reasons why this is a great thing are unmeasurable.  Home cooking is much healthier.  Therefore, we are feeling better- both physically and mentally.  And, we all know that restaurants aren’t usually the quietest places for lots of conversation.  So, now we have more opportunities to share with each other.  We are spending time around the dinner table- eating a great meal, talking, and laughing.  That’s the stuff great memories are made of! 

Still having restaurant withdrawals?  Well, that brings me to my Frugal Friday tip!  One night a week, let someone in the family pick a restaurant.  Then, get their menu- they can usually be found in the phone book or on-line.  Pick an item off the menu and have it for dinner!  You can have as much fun with it as you want- or have time for.  Create little menu’s, have someone “play waitress’, (even better- have one of the kids “play dishwasher”!).  If you’re really ambitious, you can even go on-line and try to find the “secret recipe’s” for your restaurant of the day.  I know I’m always looking for something new for dinner.  This just might be a great way to add some fun to dining in!

Going on a Whale Hunt

September 24, 2008

My son is reading Moby Dick- or supposed to be.  I think there’s more protest than actual reading going on.  I found a great site to use to check that he’s read each chapter.  It also includes quizes, an end of the book test, and discussion and essay questions.  They have every book I can think of on the site!

Then, today I called my sister- in- law and she was on her computer watching this cool site.  This guy took a 7 day whale hunt trip to Alaska.  He took pictures at least every 5 minutes for the entire trip!  How cool is that?!  I will probably never go on a whale hunt trip to Alaska.  But, now I get to go for free.  And, even better, on his plane ride, he’s reading Moby Dick.  I’m hoping that seeing an actual whale hunt will inspire my son to actually finish the book.  Yeah, I’m not holding my breath either.  But, I can still have some hope!

High School- So Far, So Good

September 15, 2008

I just started week three of our high school journey.  For several years, I’ve been dreading the thought of teaching high school.  But, as the time got closer, I got calmer.  Everything seemed to click- in the planning mode, at least.  After 3 years of homeschooling, I’ve realized the right curriculum has to not only be right for my son, but also right for me.  I can find a curriculum that I think he would love.  But, because of everything else going on in our lives, I have to be realistic, too.  And, if there is a ton of planning involved in making that curriculum effective, I’ve realized it’s just a waste.  So, this year, I successfully found curriculum I think we will all like.  It has each day specifically outlined and he and I both know what he has to do.  I think this make us both feel better.

I, once again, created a goal book for the year.  I was actually proud of myself for keeping that up last year.  And, starting high school, it makes me feel better to be able to show what he has accomplished.  I think it’s good for him to see as well.  Some additions to the book this year are the weekly sheets.  My son actually created it the first week of school as part of his computer class.  Using excel, he made a list of his classes and the days of the week with boxes large enough for me to write his assignments in.  Although I love the homeschool tracker, it became a chore and not portable enough for us.  So, now I write his assignments in sometime the week before and he knows what he has to do each day.  There is a small box in the upper left hand corner of each assignment box.  He writes one line of an X when he finishes an assignment and I write in the other line when I confirm or correct it.  So far, so good.

So, as I said earlier, as the time was approaching, I was getting more confident that I was doing the right thing.  And then, a phone call confirmed it!  My friend has a daughter the same age as my son.  This summer, I borrowed her biology curiculum to give my son a jump on his classes.  Unfortunately, we weren’t able to do most of the experiments and only got half way through the book.  So, she agreed they could do the experiments together at her house each week- a true blessing to me since I didn’t know how I was going to get them done!  But, that left me one other subject to worry about- foreign language.  I really wanted to start him in Spanish this year.  But, the program I wanted was way too expensive for us right now.  So, I wasn’t sure what to do.  And then my friend called.  Her daughter was going to take Spanish from a friend of hers and she said my son was welcome to join them- free of charge!  I am so excited!  They aren’t starting until the end of September so that will give him time to get into the routine of everything else.  But, I am sometimes just amazed at how things work out.

So, is everything wonderful in the world of high school?  Well, not as much as I had hoped.  But, for a teenager with hormones and mood swings, we are doing pretty well.  He whines about this or that.  But, usually gets it done.  (If only he’d realize how short his school day would be if he cut out the whining and daydreaming!)  He has his regular subjects and then 2 electives- typing and computers for this semester.  He’ll be joining the YMCA once the weather gets too cold for him to be outside for recreation.   So, I think it’s a well rounded day. 

So, I’d have to say that so far we’re doing ok- pretty well, actually.  At least we will be once he finishes Moby Dick!  Why he chose to read it, I don’t know but now I’m determined to make him read it all the way through!  Don’t tell him I never read it!

Saving Over $120 a Month- And Counting!

September 10, 2008

     The economy has been on the minds of many Americans lately.  Either it comes up in campaign speeches and television ads or it hits closer to home with many families feeling the pinch.  Because I am one of those feeling the pinch, I got to thinking about what I have been doing to compensate for the change in lifestyle for our family.  And, then I started wondering what others are doing to help during this time of economic struggle.  Maybe someone else has done something that I can do to save a few dollars here or there.  And, maybe something I’ve done could help someone else.  So, here are my ideas.  Please share yours, too.  And, hopefully, together we’ll all get through it!

     I took a look at every bill I pay each month.  There were some things I really didn’t need- one organization I paid fees for that I had never used.  So, that got cancelled and saved $10 a month.  Then, netflix had to go.  Thank goodness we have a wonderful library that has anything i ever wanted!  That was another $10 a month.  Yesterday, I found a car insurance company that was $30 less a month for the same coverage I had before.  So, yes, I must say, I switched to Geico! 

     In April, I got a new car.  Although that sounds like spending instead of saving, I actually broke even.  Because I drive so much, gas and my new car payment is actually the same- or less- than what I was paying in gas every month.  So, I got a better car that will eventually save me a ton of money!  When I have an errand to run close by, I really try to walk or ride my bike.  Of course, as it gets colder that will change because I hate being outside in cold weather!  But, for now, it gives me some exercise and saves on gas.

     Lately, I have been making a huge effort to make a menu and shopping list for the week.  This saves me money and also keeps me from having to think at the end of the day!  The hardest thing to do for dinner at night is decide what to make.  So, this works well in several ways.  I’ve been able to stay under our $30 a week budget and make some tasty, well balanced meals! 

     We don’t go out to eat now.  We joined the $5 club at the theatre.  But, we very rarely go.  There’s always fun things to on weekends during the summer that are free.  When winter comes, we’ll probably have to work a little harder to find things.  But, I know they’re out there.  So, I cut out our $18 a week entertainment budget.

     On the homeschool front, I’ve had some luck- I call it God!  A friend has a daughter about the same age as my ds.  So, we’ve combined some classes, shared some curriculum, and been able to save money.  I also have some other people in my homeschool group that I am swapping curriculum back and forth with.  I think this is a great thing for homeschoolers to do- either as part of a homeschool group project or just as individual homeschoolers that know each other.  It can get expensive and most people use it and then it sits on a shelf or in a box and collects dust.  I’d rather see someone else get some use out of it.

     On the good side, evaluating how we spend our money has made me become much more aware of where it’s all going.  I have always thought of us as very frugal.  But, now that we are forced to live on my income alone- and are still eating with a roof over our head- I see that we could really save a lot of money away when my husband does find a job.  So, hopefully, this will all be good for us in the long run.

     I’m sure there are other things.  But, those are the main ones off the top of my head.  What have you done?  What are you planning to do?  How has the economy effected you?  Let me know your thoughts!

Just Like an Old Friend

August 3, 2008

I know, I know!  It’s been a long time!  Yes, way too long!  But, it seems like blogging is like getting in touch with old friends.  I think about it often.  I wonder how they are doing.  And, the longer I’m away, the harder it is to just come back again!  It’s hs been on my mind for awhile to start writing again, but the thought of it has seemed awkward almost to the point of impossible to accomplish.  But, here I am!  So, obviously not completely impossible.  Maybe, since I accomplished the other task, writing doesn’t seem so awkward.

This weekend was my class reunion.  So, I saw people I hadn’t seen in 10 or even 15 years!  The result- I’m still the same- only my hair is shorter.  Is that good or bad?  People have convinced me that it’s good- that it means I’m aging well.  OK- I’ll take that!

But, here’s the truth.  I’m not aging well.  This past year I’ve aged 100 years and I feel it.  When somebody starts to say “nothing worse can happen”, don’t let them! It’s only a sign- a challenge- a guarantee- that something worse will happen!  So, that, I think, is part of my absence from writing- the words were to hard to say- to look at in black and white.  On the good side, while talking to my cousin last night, I realizd something else.  For awhile, I think I had no need to write.  I was too busy talking to people to write anything.  I was being comforted, comforting, taking care of everyone else, and they were taking care of me.  So, where was the time or the energy or the need to comunicate any more than that?

So, for a quick review of my life in the past year or so, I’ll give you the condensed version.

It started with my husband having heart surgery in December- which I wrote about so I’ll spare you the details.  He is doing well now, but still on the road to recovery- it’s a long process back to normal.  A month and a week after his surgery, his sister was diagnosed with breast cancer.  She lives in the same town as us and since my husband and I got married, we have become pretty close.  Not too many days go by that we don’t talk- even before she got sick.  So, although it didn’t happen to me, in a close family what happens to one is fely by everyone.   Luckily, she’s an amazingly positive person and is doing really well!  She’s done with chemo and going 1/3 done with radiation.  Sadly, they say things happen in 3’s.  And this was the one that has me thrown- there is no real happy ending to this one.  Well, I know there is but, it still doesn’t feel like it.  My grandma- the person I admired, loved, tried to model my life after- got sick.  She got to the point where she needed 24 hour care and so, i spent as much time there as possible- savouring every moment I had left in her presence.  And then, the moments were gone.  So, I know she was ready, I know she is in a better place and there is the happy ending.  But, for me, right now, I am still reeling from the intense loss I feel.  She was someone I talked to about anything and everything- she always knew what to say and what to do.  Her unconditional love got me through so many things that I would not be who I am today had she not been there to offer it to me.  And, last, and hopefully least, my husband is currently unemployed.  After working for the same company for 7 years, the economy and company politics has sucessfully made him currentlly without a job.  So, hopefully this is the least of my list of things because it will be a short lived “vacation” for him. I’m glad he left there.  This gives him a chance the other opportunitied out there.  He’s looking at starting his own business and in the meantime has had an interview and has filled out some things online.

The good news is life has gone on.  Homeschooling is going well.  My son is now taller than me!  I should have listed that in my “tradgedies of the past year”!  He is still working at a farm and volunteering for Habitat for Humanity.   In all of the hard times, the family and friends that have been there have been an amazing thing and I really do feel very blessed!

I guess I’ll end here- enough for one blog- and my husband is anxious for us to leave.  We are going to my in-laws for the afternoon.  And, I plan to hit the beach since it’s going to be a hot one!

One more great thing going on- Cubs are in 1st place and well on thier way to a world series victory!!!

Goal Confession

March 11, 2008

After almost 4 weeks of doing very well with my goals- only a few minor slipups- I have to confess, last week I achieved none of my goals- past or current.  Instead, I did everything I could think of to get rid of a headache/ migraine/ weird spacy feeling that I’ve been suffering from for about 2 1/2 weeks.  So, that included drive-thru’s for pop, laying in bed instead of riding my bike.  Cooking and eating dinner at the table- what’s that?  I did do game night at church and I played games with my son and nephew.  So, iI guess I accomplished one goal.  As for the envelope thing, I was never able to get to the bank to get the cash  to fill them last week so that didn’t get done either.  On a good note, my dh told me several times that I really need to keep up with that so it doesn’t fall by the wayside.  I take that as a good sign that he has accepted the system!  On the other hand, he hasn’t accepted it enough to actually go to the bank to get the cash and fill the envelopes!  But, to quote Dave Ramsey, “Baby Steps!”.

So, today was a good day.  No headaches!  I went to the health store yesterday and got something new.  I’m not sure if it’s helping or if my migraine thought it had tormented me long enough.  But, either way, I’ll take it!  Ironicaly, yesterday I finally had enough and scheduled a massage for today.  (my splurge from our tax check)  So, even though my headache was gone, I enjoyed some pampering.  Actually, she put some things back inplace and it wasn’t all relaxing.  But, it was definitely wonderful!

This week, I will do my best to accomplish my previous goals and work on my new ones.  So, here is the list of old and new-

1) Use the envelopes

2) No caffeine (except for when I was suffering from my migrane yesterday)

3) No drive- thru’s (except for migraine)

4) 18 minutes on the bike at least 3 times- usually more

5) Play a game with family

6) Try the yoga DVD I just renewed from the library without even looking at the first week I borrowed it

7) Drink at least 8 glasses of water a day (this seems to be harder than it looks)

Ok.  I’m going to stop there.  Wish me luck!

Weekly Goals

February 26, 2008

Last week was not my best.  2 out of 3 of the people in my house had the flu.  I was the lucky one who didn’t get it.  But, I paid for it by being in bed with a migraine last weekend.  I think that being gone for work the first days of their flu kept it away from me. 

Since nobody wanted to really sit up and eat on a regular basis, the sitting together for meals goal was impossible.  I did work out some, but definitely not as much as the two weeks before.  I might have gotten three days in, but, it’s all such a blur I can’t be sure.  I was doing so well on the caffeine thing.  I couldn’t even remember the last time I had drank a pop.  But, after trying everything else to cure my migraine, it became inevitable that it was the only thing that would get rid of it completely.  So, I went to Burger King and got dinner- including my pop.  I had a great coupon so I really didn’t spend much money for our dinner.  And, for some reason, it sounded really good as I was trying to get over my migraine.  I usually crave things after a migraine.  Anyway, I didn’t go through a drive though during the day at all so, I am pretty happy with myself for that.  It’s still hard to figure out alternatives for lunch sometimes since I’m usually driving around. 

As far as the new budget system goes, we have successfully gotten through a month of the new envelope system.  And, my dh and I are still speaking- usually!  I really do have to give him credit.  I know he is trying and it’s been hard for him to adjust.  But, he is doing really well now.  And, I’m trying to be more patient when the system isn’t followed perfectly.  (I’m still working on that one!)  The good news is that we were able to pay off some bills off and work on our emergency fund.  That’s really good considering it’s my dh’s off season! 

The homeschool goals are on the right track.  So, I’ll just let you read my last entry to get updated on that one.  The one goal I did not even attempt to accomplish was playing a game as a family- or at least my son and me.  Was it because he was sick?  Maybe.  I was exhausted all week since I didn’t get a good nights sleep.  But, there is a family game night at church on Friday.  So, I should do better this week.  I will try to do something else during the week, too.

Here is where I should write my goals for this week.  But, since last week’s accomplishments are questionable, I’m going to stick to those this week before I add something new.