Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Schedules/To do list

Ram and I spent some time this afternoon checking that everything was on our digital calendar for October and even adding a few dates for November. October is very busy especially with cross country and Lamb 1's Cub Scout activities. I will be glad when cross country and fundraising for Cub Scouts is done for this year. Now if I could just get Ram to look at that calendar before making appointments...

Today was payday so I spent some time paying bills and doing a little bookkeeping. It is clear that God is providing for us and everything is working out.

I'm hoping this weekend to figure out what the Lambs need to complete homemade Halloween costumes. There are several Trick or Treat opportunities in our area that we will either help with or go to. Lamb 1 also has to make a hat for his next Cub Scout Pack meeting.

We plan to take our minivan in for repairs soon. Then we will be down to one car for a few days. I do think we will be able to sell the minivan for a lot more than if we don't repair it. After it is repaired we have done enough car shopping to know what we want. We plan to have Ram go to a couple of car dealers in the area and see where he can get the options that we want and the best price. I am hoping that he can work with the dealer and get it to the point where I just have to go sign the papers, not make the Lambs spend all day at a car store. The boys are excited to get 8 seats. I am excited to get a rear view camera because of the neighborhood kids playing near my driveway. I will be giving up some features that I have taken for granted on our minivan. It will be worth it to not deal with the problems we have had on two American minivans.

We found out our roof was not damaged as the roofer had told us and we don't need to make any repairs. That is helpful for not paying the deductible and especially for the time it would take to put a new roof on. I expect our house insurance will still go up due to all the other roofs in the area that had hail damage.

We are going to try to dig our own hole for our free tree. Unfortunately it will be delivered after the irrigation water is turned off so we will need to pay for city water to take care of it this fall. We had a lot of rain recently so maybe that will continue after we plant the tree.

I have committed to making a few items for our church bazaar on November 1. I need to get going on those so they are completed in time. I want to take the Lambs to pick apples and pumpkins this fall.

We have a few minor house repairs that should be done soon. Those are at the bottom of our to do list. The to do list seems a lot more manageable today than it did last week.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

When it rains it pours...or it hails...

Since I blogged about our real life monopoly last week we have been busy. We added some more to our to do list; not by our choice. All this is not about the money as much as it is the time to deal with all this.

*Our piano teacher is raising her rates. I don't blame her as the price of everything is going up. She is an excellent teacher. She is patient with all of Lamb 1's questions of why music is written the way it is written instead of just playing the required music. She has been so patient with Lamb 2's difficulties with piano because of his vision difficulties. But we need to choose if we are going to continue every week lessons for both Lamb 1 and 2 or every other week. With everything else in our life now I'm thinking maybe it would be better to have lessons every other week but require more practicing at home than they are currently practicing. I think our boys have taken music lessons for granted and perhaps every other week lessons would help with that. It would also ease our schedule some while Lamb 2 is still in therapy. But perhaps Lamb 2 really needs every week lessons due to his difficulties. I'm thinking and praying about this some more before giving the piano teacher an answer.

*We signed up for a program to receive a free tree from our power company. Ram began making the phone calls to be sure that the spot we picked is a safe place to dig and other necessary preparations for the tree. We have called several places and can't find anyone willing to dig the hole for us since they are not selling us the tree. I sure don't want to dig a hole that large in ID soil. I just hope we are ready before the tree is delivered in October.

*Our neighbors got a new roof a few weeks ago and they told us they had had hail damage and it would be a good idea to have our roof checked too. We didn't expect ours to really have damage, but it did. So now we need to make time for the insurance adjuster to check out our roof and find a time for them to put a new roof on before winter. We have to come up with the $ for the deductible and be prepared for an increase in our home insurance. The roofer said that 15,000 roofs in our area need to be repaired after the storm in August. I just can't believe this because I would have expected this in IN, but not in ID where it doesn't rain very much.

I have delegated almost all of our real life monopoly game to Ram. I just can't handle this kind of stuff. I hate to make phone calls like this. Add in what I blogged about last week and I am completely overwhelmed. He's working on the to do list for the minivan, roof, tree, and house. I am so thankful I am married when this stuff happens so I can delegate this to Ram! I am also so thankful that all our real life monopoly game is minor problems. Ram has a job that he likes and we have a nice house and two cars. Our family is together and healthy and that is what really matters.

Monday, September 22, 2014

The Borrowers

Last fall Lamb 1 participated in a book club at our library. I wasn't thrilled with their book choices. Only Lamb 1 was the right age for this book club. Ram had another commitment on the night that they had it on. So that meant that Lamb 1 had to attend alone while I hung out at the library with the other two Lambs. Very few children besides Lamb 1 did not have a parent attend with them. Lamb 1 wasn't comfortable in a book club with so many kids. I still thought it was important for him to participate in it as he doesn't have chances like that as he is homeschooled.

This year Lamb 1 and 2 were both the right age for book club. I decided to check it out since 2 out of the 3 Lambs could participate this year. When I went to check it out I found out our library was trying a family book club this fall. I liked three out of the four book choices. I didn't know anything about the fourth book choice, but I didn't oppose it. It is on a night that everyone in our family can attend. Everyone in our family can attend together without one Lamb being left out. I signed up right away when I heard about it. 

It was a late sign up and we only had about a week to read the first book. The first book was The Borrowers by Mary Norton. Grandma had given us a set of this series a few years ago and we had not read it yet. So we hurried to finish the first book before book club.

Our assignment was to bring a shoe box to the first book club. We also brought a few Lego and Fisher Price toys. The rest of the decorations of our diorama were provided by the librarians. It was so interesting what the librarians thought would work for this project. The Lambs had as much fun making the diorama as deciding what other treasures to take home when the librarian announced that everything not used would be thrown away at the end of the evening. We were supposed to leave our dioramas at the library for people to see for the next couple of weeks. Since we had brought Legos and items from home that we didn't want disturbed, we brought ours home.

While we worked on our dioramas we discussed the book. It was so good for our male Lambs to be able to work as they talked about the book. Last year's book club that Lamb 1 participated in was just talk about the book in such a big group that you had to use a microphone. Family book club was a much better style for all the Lambs.

Lamb 1 thought of some items that were just like the book. He included a balloon to be the "borrowing bag" and a little hat to be the "borrowing helmet". The Lambs were especially proud of the little jewelry box that they thought looked like a bathtub. They also made wallpaper and pictures for the wall.

It was a fun evening. The Lambs have enjoyed playing with the diorama this week. Our next book club book is The Cricket in Times Square. Our assignment for this month is to wear paint clothes. We are enjoying reading the book and we are interested to see what we paint and what activity we do with this next book.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Homeschool Brunch

A and T, my friend Joelle's children

Lamb 1

Lamb 2

Lamb 3

On the first Friday that public school was in session here, I hosted a homeschool brunch. I invited 4 families. One family was too busy and one family was sick. It ended up being 7 boys, 1 girl, and 3 moms. 

I wish I would have taken a picture of the food. It was potluck and even with just 3 families we had a lot of food! 

I had planned a scavenger hunt assuming there would be many more children and many more ages and more girls here. There ended up being just one team instead of two. The scavenger hunt took a very long time and the other families almost left before the scavenger hunt was done. The reason why the hunt was so complex was my boys had been begging for me to do this for them all summer. I went a little overboard just following their request. During the scavenger hunt the moms had time to talk and we shared curriculum ideas.

Before they left I snapped a few pictures. I am not posting the one family's pictures here without their permission. Joelle decorated the chalkboard for pictures.

I would like to make this an annual tradition, probably without the scavenger hunt next time. It is fun to take a break after the public school is back in session and get together with friends. In our case it was our last summer event before we began school. For one of the other families it was to take a break for one morning after they began school. I had wanted to do it on the first day of public school but our schedule didn't allow that. I think it was better to wait until Friday for everyone's schedule.

I will admit I was very busy in August getting ready for this scavenger hunt, for hosting this brunch, for Sunday School to begin, making more jam, and some other events in September. Everything went very well and the Lambs had fun which makes all the work worth it.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Vietnam Memorial

The Traveling Vietnam Wall is at a local cemetery this weekend. We stopped by tonight to show it to the Lambs. It was quite the production-bands, flags, veterans groups, even food trucks. The Lambs don't understand all this, but we thought it was important to show them. This reproduction is 80% the size of the one in Washington D.C. It was very sunny for all our pictures, but I wanted the Lambs to have a picture to remember tonight.

Lamb 2 is standing by John Adam's picture. Lamb 3 is standing by Abraham Lincoln's picture. You can't tell from their expressions, but they wanted their picture taken with their favorite presidents.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Real Life Monopoly Again

*Pay day!
*Mortgage payment increase because escrow shortage because property taxes increased in the last year. Write a big check to cover that escrow shortage and also pay a bigger mortgage payment.
*Ram's self employment taxes due.
*Receive another bill that insurance would not cover for a Dr. appointment Lamb 2 had last October while trying to figure out that he needed vision therapy.
*Regular bills due.
*We prepaid for 9 months of vision therapy for Lamb 2. He can attend 2 more times before that money runs out. We now need to pay by the month until he completes VT. Insurance will not pay for any of this.
*On Saturday my key got stuck in the ignition of our minivan. I worked with it and got it out. Our mail on Saturday had a recall for our minivan involving the ignition but they currently do not have a fix for it.
*On Monday my key got stuck in the ignition of the minivan. I could not get it out. Ram could not get it out. He drove it to the dealer and it came out. They said it had nothing to do with the recall and we needed to pay $500 to fix it. They warned us that this would get worse if we continued to drive it and it would be unsafe to drive. So we paid the $500 to fix it.
*I really do not think the minivan is safe to drive both because of the recall and because I'm not positive the $500 really fixed the problem. So our plan is to do some necessary repairs on the minivan, go car shopping, and either trade in or sell the minivan. In the meantime Ram is going to drive the minivan and I'm going to drive the car. This means 3 cramped boys fighting in the back seat as I drive them around town.
*This is our second minivan in Lamb 2's lifetime that ends up with major electrical repairs after our only owning it for 4 years and the minivans being about 5 years old. I don't think that either of them were safe to drive at this point. After we sell this we are done with Dodge and Chrysler. Any advice what we should get instead?
*We are extremely busy now that school is back in session. Ram is back to all his regular duties during the school year plus we have several visitors interested in joining our church. That is great news but keeps him very busy. Lamb 1 has cross country and Cub Scouts and piano lessons. Lamb 2 has piano lessons and therapy 3 times a week. Sunday School is back in swing and we have several new members with children to get info about Sunday School to and order materials for. We don't have time to deal with car repairs and go car shopping right now.
*Needless to say, I had to dip into our savings to pay all this yesterday. That is why we have savings, but I don't like to have to dip into savings as much as I did.
*Keep praying and see how God provides for all this in the next few months. We don't play the lottery so it will be interesting.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Another ID blessing

One in four Idaho residents are members of the LDS church. Many of the children that go to the LDS church are very involved with Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts. One benefit of living here is there is a used Boy Scout store here. Lamb 1 got almost his whole required uniform and some optional parts of his uniform for much cheaper than new. I appreciated this because we are only planning on him being in Cub Scouts for about a year and a half before it is Lamb 2's turn for Scouts. We tried and it is just too difficult for our family to have all 3 involved in Scouts at once. So they will each have their turn in Scouts.