Saturday, May 23, 2015

Saturday Food Budget Review

Only two shopping trips this week, so the budget should be pretty easy. I did go a little over budget this week, but shouldn't be by much more than I "saved" the past couple of weeks.

Kroger

Spent: $84.61

Bought: Stouffer's Lasagna (2 person size), Banquet pot pie (2), ice cream sandwiches (12), Yoplait yogurt (2), Kroger cheese (16 oz x 2), Breyer's ice cream, Private selection coffee K-cups (12 ct), goldfish (2), 1 avocado, 18 ct eggs (1.77), Red Leaf lettuce, Belvita biscuits (2 boxes, 1 box used for snacks for soccer team), peanuts, 2 free candy items from Free Fridays, yellow bell pepper, chicken nuggets (refrigerated on clearance for $1.59 for enough for the whole family), bottle of wine, 2 bananas, generic brand cereal (x 2), canned peas, 3 gallons of milk, 1/2 gallon of orange juice, 4 diet 2-liter sodas, 18-pack of beer, 4 x 12-pack cans of soda (if my husband doesn't bring cans of soda to work he ends up buying bottles for $1.35 each from the vending machine) and they happened to be on sale this week when he was running out!

In general, we bought a lot of frivolous things at Kroger. I think something like 35% of our spending was on beverages, yikes! But, the beer should last at least a month, and the cans of soda as well.

Aldi's

Spent: $10.47

Bought: one package of kiwi (7 whole pieces of fruit), mini marshmallows, cheese curls (store brand cheeto's), whole grain white bread, Fruit Gushers (name brand), oyster crackers, juice pouches (store brand Capri Sun), pack of tomatoes (3 large slicer tomatoes), and peanut butter wafers.

Total weekly spending: $95.08

Friday, May 22, 2015

Emergency

So, this is an extra post to make up for not posting on Thursday.

Why did I not post on Thursday?

Well, let me see...

Usually I set up my posts by the night before at the latest. However, this Wednesday night, shortly after my husband got home, our 4-year old started complaining of sudden and severe shoulder pain. He had been sitting on the couch watching TV, so I couldn't think of anything that could have caused it. I had noticed that his cough had been lasting for awhile (about 5 days).

When the pain didn't go away after about an hour (including him trying to lay down and rest and watching TV), my husband volunteered to take him to the urgent care. While there, his pain did get suddenly better, but an X-ray showed possible pneumonia.

So, we spend most of Thursday at the doctor's office. Our toddler already had an appointment at 9:15 for his 2-year old well checkup. That took about an hour and a half including driving (my father-in-law was fortunately able to watch our 4-year old). Then, they were able to see my oldest at 1:50pm to check on the possible pneumonia. By the time we confirmed pneumonia AND added a severe ear infection to the diagnosis AND picked up the SECOND antibiotic to treat the ear infection, it was about 3:15 and I put the kids down for a late nap. When I had to wake them up at 5:30, the toddler had a rough time adjusting (they normally nap between 2-4 or 4:30 at the latest).

Needless to say, I had other priorities Wednesday night and Thursday, and blogging was not one of them!

And, this is the reason we budget. Because we have a high deductible health plan, this bout of sickness has already cost us at least $200, possibly more once all the bills come in. We do have an HSA, but for some reason we don't have the debit card for it yet, so we've paid for all of it out of our regular spending and will get reimbursed. If we were living paycheck to paycheck, this could be the difference between food and gas in the car, or medical care.

Poetry Friday - March 22nd

I can feel Jesus' arms around me now
And my fears all rush away
Like the dark and scary night does
At the start of every day

So turn my eyes from things that cause
Fear and lust, like princely frogs
And turn my feet, so when I run
I will end up at Your throne

I can feel Jesus' eyes upon me now
And the hate is gone today
Like the chaff within the wheat
That the wind just blows away

So turn my lips towards Your own
Let Your love, like a river flow
And turn Your hands, so I can see
What my sins have done to thee

I can hear the angels songs right now
And the love has reached me here
Like a wild catapulting wind
Blowing me to heaven where

You'll turn my eyes from things that cause
Fear and lust, like princely frogs
And turn my feet, so when I run
I'll end up at heaven's throne
Turn my lips towards Your own
Let Your love, like a river flow
And turn Your hands so I can see
What my sins have done to thee.

So open up my black and dirty heart
Wash me 'til I'm white as snow
And I will do my every part
To let other people know

You'll turn our eyes from things that cause
Fear and lust, like princely frogs
And turn our feet, so we will run
And we will end up at Your throne
You turn our lips towards Your own
Love fills us like the river's flow
And turns our hearts towards Your Son
So we can see what grace has won

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Imagination

I've been thinking lately about my oldest son's imagination.

He will turn 5 in August this summer. He would technically start Kindergarten in the fall. He's been in a year and a half of preschool when we lived in Louisville, KY. He also has had a younger brother for 2 years. He is just now starting to verbalize his pretend play, and he hasn't been "in school" for over 4 months. I wonder sometimes if our "school" environments do the opposite of what we want them to do.

Around here, there are a few people who take their preschool very seriously. You have to prepare these kids for Kindergarten. They have to write and test and read and do multiplication by age 6. But what about creativity and musicality and imagination? We have special STEM schools (science, technology, engineering and math). But what if all they really needed were Lego's and Minecraft?

We have Early College programs, but what if what we really need is getting back to a true Kindergarten. Rather than push our kids to do more than they are ready for, why not let them be kids for a little bit longer?

I can't tell you how gratifying it is to listen to my 4 year old son playacting with his cars (he is a boy so he has to have wheels). This morning, he was pretending that one of the cars was a mommy and a daddy and they were inviting some of their friends kids over for a sleepover. He's working through things he hasn't even experienced yet (sleepovers) and gaining miles of knowledge that he may never have experienced in a classroom.

I don't think that all organized instruction is wrong. Actually, I love the reading programs at our local library (they sing songs, play finger games, and read 2-3 stories). I try to take them at least once a week. I do plan on signing him up for either a music class or a sport over the summer. And we are signed up for a homeschool co-op in the fall. The problem is when the busyness of "being at school" takes away from the business of childhood. Maybe all this money being spent to "fix the school system" should be better put to use fixing the American family.

Because how can you fix a system if you want it to do something it was never intended for? The reason school is only 9 months is because kids used to experience LIFE the other 3 months. They would work in the fields, and help in the family business, and watch their younger siblings. They would hike in the forest, and fish in the streams, and sew their own clothes. They would learn to cook and paint, and read and write for pure pleasure.

I don't want to go back to those days, because I know they truly aren't the "good old days" but I do wonder what we are missing in today's world. I spend lots of money on occupational therapy to try to get my oldest son to eat some "real food" and the biggest thing they had them do was "heavy work". Basically it was exercises intended to work the whole body. They came up with all these creative exercises, and really what I was thinking the whole time was: pushing your brother uphill on a sled, swinging on a tire swing, carrying firewood into the house, tilling the garden. What if the only thing broken is that we are trying to live in a "brave new world' and our bodies and minds just haven't adopted to this new environment yet?

So we plan on homeschooling next year. I can tell you that our curriculum is meant to take only an hour or slightly more per day, and I'm okay with spending less time than that. I can tell you that we only plan to do "school" 3 days a week. I can tell you that if he fights me on the writing or math, that I won't push him too hard, but I'll try to find a more creative way to teach. I'm not quite an "unschooler" but I think I might be getting closer everyday.


Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Are free samples worth it?

One of my favorite blogs posted an article called Is it really worth it to sign up for free samples?

Although I generally like the blog, I did want to point out one caveat she may not have thought of. If you tend to have sensitive skin or allergies to certain chemicals, please stick with what you know regarding products you put on your hair, face, or skin.

For instance, I am the queen of free samples and trials. Usually, my skin doesn't react to anything other than occasional hormonal acne. However, this winter, I experienced the worst back acne I have ever had. Want to guess what the culprit was? A trial deodorant (full-size free sample). I used it for over a month (because it was free, so why not?) until I finally realized that the only thing I had changed about my skin care regimen was the deodorant, and I had never had back acne before.

Well, now my skin has finally cleared up, but I have some lovely scars to show off this pool season.

So, was it worth it? Nope. And I will definitely not be using free samples of deodorant again. I will stick with my 99 cent Lady Speed Stick and call it good.