Religion in Public School

>> Tuesday, August 30, 2011

There is a 7th grade teacher who I don't get along with because he brings his religion to school with him (it's a public school and his religion isn't my kids' religion).  Anyway, my son has him this year and he hopefully learned to keep his mouth shut after my daughter's year with him because he didn't give his religious rules on the first day of school to the class like he did before.  Perhaps my whole "separate of church and aren't a private school" spiel to the principal worked?  Here I thought I was going to make my own funny t shirts to wear to parent-teacher conferences this year and now I don't have to. As long as he behaves, I'll behave.  I can behave.  Really.


No Time For Myself

School has been back in session for a week and I still haven't started my diet.  I was supposed to start their first day back at school but it was just too busy to plan meals, etc. when I was constantly on the go.  This week hasn't started off any better.  I really need to carve out some time for myself.

I have until mid-October to reach my goal and I think, if it goes as well as it did the last time I dieted, it should only take two weeks so I am not looking for diet pills that work yet but I better get myself in gear if I want to meet 40 happy with how I've aged.

I did get told a few days ago that some people thought I was in my early 30's. That's a good start considering 40 is six weeks away.  Now to get my body in line with how my face looks and maybe I won't cry so hard on my 40th birthday.


Memorial & Funeral or Homecoming?

>> Wednesday, August 24, 2011

My grandmother passed away a few weeks ago in another state. There was drama over that in itself but I stayed out of it mostly, with the exception of talking to my sisters about it privately.  My uncle had his mom cremated and sent to his state for a memorial.  Her remains will come to the state I grew up in for another memorial in September and then burial. My grandmother had most of this planned (finances, where she wanted to be buried) and taken care of herself (good thing for funeral insurance).  Her kids picked the dates.  Making the arrangements and having it paid for, so who you leave behind doesn't have to, is such a good idea!

Anyway, the date my father planned the memorial in our home state is homecoming weekend for my high school daughter.  She is in the parade, a part of the homecoming football game and then, of course, the dance.  GRRRR!  Gee, how can I be in the state I grew up in for my grandmother's memorial and burial and at the same time be in our state for my daughter?  This stinks.


Out of the Mouths... Kid Stuff Humor

This morning was the second day of school for the new school year.  I gathered up book bags laying everywhere and piled all my kids' book bags by the stairs so they could grab them as they ran down and out the door.

My youngest, who couldn't find her book bag because it wasn't where she left it yelled at her oldest sister.

Oldest daughter responded to youngest daughter that I had moved them.

My youngest walked up to me and thanked me.

Oldest daughter was confused and said, "Huh?  You yell at me but thank mom?"

Youngest daughter said, "She's my mom."

I said, "Yeah, I gave birth to her."

Youngest daughter said, "Thank you mommy.  I wanted out."

Too cute!

Seeing how the hospital wasn't ready for her and she was almost born in the toilet (literally) and then was born on the bed as the doctor was scrambling for his gloves - she REALLY wanted out.


Budget for College Books

>> Tuesday, August 23, 2011

For a brief moment, I thought my husband was dropping a bomb on me yesterday.  He started out saying, "We need to send * insert my stepdaughter's name here* money for her college books."  I knew we were going to contribute a little but wasn't expecting to pay all of it.  At a $65,000/year college, that would be so far outside our financial range, my stomach dropped.  My initial reaction was to get upset but I took a deep breath instead and asked him how much money he was thinking.  He asked me how much I was thinking and we were within $50 of each other and it is what we discussed in terms of her graduation present so no blowout.  Phew.

It's rough financially.  Our credit score is definitely wavering the last couple of years with the huge loss in hours.  In fact, it is that time of year again to check out our free credit score (and I'm dreading it).  We just can't risk our mortgage to pay thousands in college book fees; we have to keep a roof over our other childrens' heads too and put food on the table.  We've had discussions with our own four kids together about the necessity to work hard in school, get scholarships, save money at jobs when they can work, etc.  My stepkids weren't raised that way.  So as they become adults, when we thought it'd get easier, it's really not.  They still have huge expectations and we'll let them down.

Perhaps with student loans and such, my stepdaughter can be well on her way to the career she wants and establishing credit for herself.  It's too bad she didn't get a part-time job before now to start saving earlier.  It is what we expect of our own four kids together.  We have one budget that we have to maintain.  We don't keep separate budgets based on who mom is in our family.  It's very hard to raise six kids today but we manage.

I hope they all have the careers they want, however, like my husband and myself, our own four children will work very hard for their college education and have to work their way through college.  They will learn the value of a dollar, how to budget, and hopefully make good choices.  I think they'll appreciate more what they learn because honestly, I will be really surprised if my stepdaughter finishes this four-year, expensive college with the degree she is going for right now.  It is so far outside what she has ever wanted before (her boyfriend will be going into this field....that's when we started hearing she wanted to go into this field), I hope she's not wasting a whole lot of money.


Template Change

>> Saturday, August 20, 2011

I am thinking about changing the template on all my blogs.  Then I think about the work involved and put it off.  *smile*  I think I've had this one a couple years though so perhaps it is time to update it - new graphics, new colors, new layout.  We shall see.


Bill for Birth Control from Ex

>> Friday, August 19, 2011

The first birth control bill came in the mail the other day from the ex for my adult stepdaughter's birth control.  $60 a month.  Dad had sent his daughter the information for the health clinic in her area.  Guess she's not using it.

I was wondering why the ex finally paid up the year's worth of insurance dues she owed us.  Now I know.  She wants dad to pay for their adult kid's birth control.  Pfft.


GPS Units for Christmas

My husband's parents brought me their old gps unit to see if I could get it updated for them.  It stopped working and is requiring an update but the update has to be bought. Seems to me that buying a new gps unit would be the smarter choice.  My ex brother-in-law knows cheap trucker gps (he's a truck driver) but I don't know gps units. I just use my cell phone, which my in-laws will not use except for an emergency phone they use only for an occasional phone call. Any ideas on good little gps units as a christmas gift?


Who uses a tablet PC?

Who uses a tablet PC?  My oldest is starting to make a little noise about having one but I don't know a Eee Pad Asus from a hole in my head.  Desktops and laptops?  Yup, I can find my way around those.  I am usually up on technology but I guess with money so tight the last couple years, haven't wanted to torture myself by looking around.  Is a tablet PC just like a computer?  Does it require any extra expense to run every month?  What are the pros and cons?

I figure she'll have to babysit for quite awhile to save up for one if she's expecting to have one.


Oldest Starting High School

>> Wednesday, August 17, 2011

I dropped my oldest off at freshman orientation this morning at the high school.  I can't believe my first born is starting high school already.  What I can't believe even more - - that I'm old enough to have a freshman high school kid!!  hee hee



>> Saturday, August 13, 2011

I am a little less than $10 away from reaching my AdSense minimum for payout.  Ack.  When I get this close, I get antsy about reaching it, lol.  Does anybody use AdSense or have any advice on how to increase earnings a little faster using it?


Anybody know how to invest?

My brother is a whiz at investing and he always seems to have money.  I'm not but I want to learn.  I bought a bunch of penny stock years ago and didn't know what to do with it after I bought it!  I had no clue what I was doing.  I wasted that investment.

I just bought a book on investing (a "simple" type book so the big words don't throw me off, ha ha). With the problems in the economy right now and on the market, I want to find stocks that I won't lose big on.  I am thinking medical might not be a bad investment - - always needed, always improving.  I am going to research the best medical penny stocks and see what I come up with.

It'd just be nice to have a little extra money to play with.  I knew when I married 15 years ago, money would be tight.  Thinking about it and living it are entirely different things though.

Anybody have any good investing tips on how to get started? I really have no clue what I'm doing.


Identity Theft

>> Thursday, August 11, 2011

This is one of those subjects you think will never happen to you.  I did.  Then two years ago, my bank card number was stolen and used to buy Coach purses, hotels, and taxi service in the UK and a charitable donation in the United States (making themselves feel better for draining my account I guess).  It was stressful, aggravating, and beyond maddening to have no money left.  I became real friendly with my bank at that point...spent a lot of time there getting things figured out.

I never thought about identity theft protection prior to that.  I didn't leave my credit cards laying out; they weren't physically stolen.  I thought I had to be careless for identity fraud to happen to me.  Then my bank debit card was used to provide a bit of fun for somebody else.  It was enough to make me cry.  We have six kids - we couldn't afford to have our money tied up in an identity fraud investigation!

If you're worried about it happening to you, there is a company called IdentityHawk that can help stop fraud before you become a victim of it.  In this economy, who can afford to have their identity stolen and credit rating affected? Identity fraud can happen to you.  It happened to this small-town soccer mom!


Inexpensive Vacations?

I've been thinking about inexpensive ways to have a family vacation.  Other than the one trip to my stepkids' state for her graduation, we couldn't afford to go anywhere else.  It was kind of a bummer.  I miss the Smoky Mountains! My sister picked up an uber inexpensive RV they got lucky and came across.  Does anybody know if motorhome repair and maintenance is similar to a car?  If we didn't have hotel costs and kennel fees to worry about, we'd be able to go on vacation more often.

My grandmother passed away a couple weeks ago and her memorial is in mid-September.  We can't afford to go to it (and if we also falls during homecoming weekend - game, parade, dance and my freshman daughter would be a part of all three).  It is in another state and after our trip to the stepkids' state, two visits from them this summer, and a visit from my mother a couple weeks ago, our funds are totally depleted. We really need a more cost-effective way to travel.


Weekend With Stepkids Went GREAT!!

My stepkids have come and gone.  They unexpectedly wanted to come in for a long weekend which was a surprise, but it went well.  My husband was himself this time.  My stepson wasn't grabbing my much loved guitar to play and bang into things.  When a PG-13 movie was going in, hubby sent the little ones out of that room to do something else.  He didn't exclude me from anything or do anything against the rules we have for our own kids.  We had a lot of fun.  This is the way it was supposed to be the last time and wasn't.

We even had a water balloon fight.  For $2.50, I bought a couple hundred water balloons and we had a blast! Hubby and my stepdaughter soaked me.  I got them both back with balloons on the head.  The kids took turns getting everybody with the hose in between filling balloons. We chased my stepson across our property, onto the neighbors and to the next road with water balloons. I was the only one who actually got him and then, it was only the bottom of his shorts so he won the water balloon fights.  I paid for it the next day - what was I thinking running that fast and far when running isn't something I've done in years. I hurt for three days after but it was fun.

Nothing was discussed about my stepdaughter's college books that I am aware of.  I don't know where she got the idea that we could afford to help her pay for her college books - - must've been a conversation she had with her dad because it wasn't with me.  He doesn't know either (she mentioned it to him and he never said yes or no - silence gives consent I guess) but I guess we'll see if she sends us any bills.  We'll tackle that issue if money is requested.  It's too bad it's not as easy as it is with our six-year-old - - find some scholastic coupons and buy inexpensive books! LOL.

They've gone back to their mom's house and I am getting our own kids ready for school to start in a week.  I'm in massive money saving mode to afford clothes and supplies for our four kids. Without the work hours, it's a stretch but I'm finding great deals and using coupons for all that I can.  The other day, I found our middle daughter a pair of Nike high tops for $15 (regularly in the $60's).  That's less than I'd pay at Payless so I grabbed them for her.  My freshman daughter and middle school son will need the most since they don't get hand-me-downs and being older, they don't want Walmart stuff anymore (can't blame them but oy the pocketbook is groaning).

I loved having the summer with them but am excited about the start of the school year too!  I am also very happy that this time, we had a good time with my stepkids and were "together" as parents instead of tense and not talking.


Math Help for Kids

>> Friday, August 5, 2011

I have just ordered all the Danica Kellar math books for my kids for math this year.  With my junior high son in an advanced math class and my high school daughter a year ahead in math as well, with a mom who SUCKS at math, I am going to need all the help I can get.  Last year, I helped my son on a worksheet and he got all of them wrong.  Boy I was a lot of help, eh?  I don't want a repeat of that again!  So I ordered these:

Here's to hoping I do better this year if they need help.  Since they are both a year ahead in math than their grade levels, I think these books will help.  I've heard a lot of good things about Danica Kellar's math books.  My 5th grade daughter has even started reading one of them cover to cover!


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