Accept or Deny

Sunday. Frank’s off, and our plan was to go to church, which we did. Last Sunday Loo (middle child) lost his video game privileges last week for his antics during church, so he has been looking forward to redeeming himself through better behavior this time. He succeeded in earning back his game-playing privileges. But you know what was really cool? Honey, when we came home, everyone piled out of the van and ran inside the house. Frank and I decided to work on chipping away at ice that was forming from the the melted snow (and the piles of water-logged snow — rain + snow = heavy work). Without being asked, Lootie stayed outside to chip ice, shovel and scatter salt down. He shuffled up and down the sidewalk throwing salt like he was feeding pidgeons. Chipped away at the layer of frozen ice like a dedicated little worker. After about 45 minutes he came in and played his game for a bit, but now he’s heading back outside.

(Christmas lights on Picasa)
Lunch today will be chicken patties. And what, though? I’m not sure. I really wanted to spring for Chinese. Like, reallyreally. Buuuuuuuuuut. We’ve got bills to pay and gifts to buy. And $45 for lunch isn’t really called for since there is food in the pantry. Right? I mean, there’s not a lot of food, but enough to pull a few meals from. Probably. I can heat up the leftover spaghetti to have with the patties, cook some broccoli for a veggie. That should be OK. I also threw a cake in the oven. With lunch solved, though, I will still need to figure out dinner.Cereal?. . .As the weekend comes to a close I start to obsess and worry a bit about two job offers that I have waiting for me to accept or deny this week. One is for a seasonal job that I’ve been doing for the past few years. It is Human Service work for a non-profit. I enjoy it, the pay is OK, but it is definitely work. The other is working part-time, mainly from home, typing up bulletins and other documents for a local church. Although the first job is more rewarding, interesting and… “important” — I’m leaning towards the typing one simply because (hopefully) it is a no-brainer, easy kind of job.I go for the interview tomorrow for the church and I’ll need to call the non-profit tomorrow as well. They’ve already marked me in as doing the job (even though I said I’d need to think about it). Though I hate to let them down, I don’t want to overextend myself too much. Making more money doesn’t really count or help when you’re spending it up on ordering out to compensate for your lack of time to prepare a meal.


Bus Adventure

First day of December, first day of Holidalies blogging. For the past week or so, each morning when I awake I glance outside to see if there is snow on the ground. Not because it is in the forecast — just because it feels like it should be snowing. Today, was the day. The kids, up before Frank and I, were the ones to tip us off. The awestruck screech, “Snoooooooow!!!” jolted us. So much for Sleeping In Saturday. You’d think after a lifetime of Wisconsin winters, snow would not be a big deal. But every year, it surely is. Not just for the kids, but for adults as well… including me.

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Contest Toy Tips

Right in time for Christmas, a giveaway featuring toys tested by The Independent Toy Tips Research Institute. The winner of this giveaway will receive a full-color copy of Toy Tips Holiday 2007 Issue. You can view this issue online, OR leave a comment below to enter to win a hot copy you can hold in your hands.

Sample of Article Features:
Taking Candy From a Baby (p. 32)
Too Many Toys? (p. 48)
The Truth About Toys Made In China (p. 42)
Nature-Based Education (p. 60)
Financial Gifts: The Gifts That Keep Giving (p. 66)

Here’s a snippet from the Financial Gifts article:

It’s necessary for parents to explain to children the purpose of chores, whether tied to allowance or not… Children learn most things by parental modeling. However, if parents do everything for their kids, children do not learn to give back… they learn to take. Children must be taught to give to others and to become independent. One way to accomplish this is through chores.

To enter to win this giveaway, leave a comment below. One entry per person, US only. Contest ends 12am CST on December 1st. Winner notified with 24 hours to respond before a subsequent winner is chosen.

Two-Hour Scarf

Another project finished!! My Two-Hour Scarf. My mother was admiring one of my scarfs the other day and said that she wanted to star wearing scarves to cover up the wrinkles on her neck. I told her she could just gain some weight to “fill out” the wrinkles — how fun!! — but she didn’t like that idea. She figured scarves would be a good way to update her wardrobe without spending too much.

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Happy Thanksgiving.

Ours went well, not without a hitch but hey — I never expected things to go smoothly. Earlier this week I couldn’t find sweet potatoes. Finally found some yesterday (at Wal-mart). I put them in the oven to bake, telling the two oldest that when the buzzer goes off to turn the oven off, and went to a friend’s house. Naturally, they forgot (D said, “Oh turn the oven off? I thought you meant turn the buzzer off.”) and my potatoes turned into hollow shells reminiscent of a sweet potato. I placed them cool outside overnight hoping that some of them could be salvaged. Today Franny and I were able to scrape out only a few cups worth of potatoes, so Frank had to make a trip back to Wal-mart (naturally open on Thanksgiving, of coarse).

Power blew out in the kitchen. Mini crisis/heart attack for that ordeal.

But it all worked out. Food was cooked, company came, we ate and were merry. I was hoping to play some board games, but everyone is just tuckered out.

Snagged this from Robyn:

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Why I Hate My Dog

I was on time, everything on schedule. Kids out for the bus (early actually), my eggs in the pan, coffee brewing. The twins were already at the bus stop and the Squirrel Trapping Son had just walked out the door. As I waved to him through the window, he mouthed something to me. I couldn’t hear, I mouthed back. He shrugged, motioning for me to open the window, but it is cold and I didn’t want to let the cold air in. My eggs snapped and sizzled in the kitchen, bringing a little panic to the situation because momma don’t like crispy eggs. Since he was early out the door, I motioned for him to come back in and tell me his oh-so-important news. Then I went to the kitchen to check on the eggs. And waffles. I’ll admit. I subbed my (regular) toast today for waffles, which is probably the evil in it all.

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Squirrel Trap

Our ten-year-old middle son (we call him “middle” since he lands between the two oldest and the youngest who are twins) has build a squirrel trap. Not because he’s worried about our finances and us not having enough food. Well, maybe — but in a fantasy-type way. I suppose dad could have been explaining groceries and how food costs money, not to waste, things like that, and he just ran with it. Lootie’s a hunter-gatherer type of kid.

Want a fire? He’ll comb the yard and come up with enough sticks to fill a few brown bags. He’s tried eating ants (good protein), worms and goodness knows what else.

At any rate, yesterday, for whatever reason, he went outside in the early evening and spent at least a half-hour out there. Upon entering the house, he announced he was going to catch a squirrel for us to eat for dinner. They’re all over — we can eat them!!! Nevermind we live in the city and setting squirrel traps is probably illegal. Not to mention, city squirrels don’t sound like the tastiest treat considering they are almost like rats around here. But whatever. I admire his determination.

Lootie, dad and I sat at the window, admiring the trap. Twice I “admired” what I thought was the trap, before my eyes rested on the actual rock and stick contraption. Oh yeah, that’s goooood, I told him. Patted his little head.

This morning as it was time to get backpacks, shoes and sweaters, he ran in the kitchen and opened a Ziploc of peanuts. I told him to just take the whole bag, figuring he was taking it for snack, but he took three whole nuts and put the bag back (which is more I can say for the 16-year-old who puts NOTHING back EVER). It’s for the squirrels!!!


And it was. During the 10 minutes of waiting for the bus, he reconfigured the sticks and stone (which had been knocked down during the night).

Loo Squirrel Trap

Loo Squirrel Trap 2

I have to admit, I’m a little nervous that he might catch one with those peanuts out there.

Negative Nothing

My finances are a hot mess. I’ll admit it. With some family crisis going on as of recent, all I could think about was getting through the day. I never thought about balancing the checkbook. And now I’m definitely paying for it.

As much as it sucks to be so low on funds that you have to cash in your little piggy jar stash to pay for your fat cat’s urinary track testing and medicine, it sure was nice to have that jar available. With the $80 that was in it, we were able to get some gas, have a lunch date (I’ll admit, a bit frivolous, but husband and I needed that), pay for the meds and have a couple bucks leftover. But literally, when those dollars were gone, we had NADA. Nothing.

That’s not a good feeling. And as I pondered how we literally had nothing, I thought more about how much we owed. Credit cards, student loans (who I’ve been fighting off for years),  home equity loan… I realized that we had less than nothing. Negative nothing, if that’s possible. I had to own up to it a bit. Suck it up, eat some crow. Stop burying my head in the sand. Stop making excuses, be more responsible.

I’ve been flirting with being financially responsible. Hopping on that wagon. Reading. Dipping my big toe in there, but not committing. But I need to. I’m groused out by the fact that I’m thirty-fricken’-four and I’m no better off than I was at twenty-four. A wee bit more responsible, but not credit card free (I was for a few months there), and not with savings on hand (had it for a bit).

This week I’m looking at my Overspending Triggers (feel free to hop in on that thread and list your own), seeing as it is Thanksgiving week and I’m hosting and I KNOW I tend to overspend when hosting. But I’m not going to worry about that right now. Today I need to cash my check. I need to think about where and how I’m going to spend it. I’ll report back.