Saturday, September 26, 2015


Lamb 1 is required to help set up a tent and go camping at least once while he is a Cub Scout. Last fall when we were supposed to go camping he got sick. Then we were unable to go camping this summer because we went to IN for a month. We were beginning to run out of time to do this requirement.

We decided to set up the tent in the backyard. I couldn't believe the weather here, it was 95 degrees yesterday! I couldn't believe I was letting my Lambs sleep outside at the end of September. We first got the tent in May a few years ago. They wanted to sleep out in the new tent right away. I brought them inside in the middle of the night because it was too cold for them to be out there. With the weather prediction of getting just below 60 last night, I was fine with them staying out there all night.

Yesterday Lamb 1 and Ram set up the tent. The Lambs took a long time to settle down and go to sleep in the tent. About 12:30 Ram took his sleeping bag and went out there with them. I was concerned Ram would be sore after sleeping out there last night. But I was glad he went out there especially for the sake of Lamb 3. I was afraid that Lamb 3 would have to go to the bathroom and be all confused where he was and how to get to the bathroom.

I had encouraged the Lambs to take sweatshirts out there even if they didn't need them at bedtime. I figured if they woke up in the night and were cold could put a sweatshirt with a hood on so they could last the night. They had a difficult time thinking it would cool down enough to need a sweatshirt. Lamb 2 asked if he could wear a tank top because he was so hot at bedtime.

About 4am Lamb 2 woke up crying and cold. He was on top of his sleeping bag but not in it. Ram was really glad he was out there to tell him to climb in his sleeping bag. Soon Lamb 1 also woke up cold. They lasted awhile longer, but Lamb 1 especially was cold. Ram made everyone get up and come inside and sleep in their beds the rest of the night. We told Lamb 1 he did fulfill his requirement because he helped set up the tent and he slept in the tent until 5am. We reminded him that many people that go camping plan to get up at 5am.

Lamb 1 had Cub Scout fundraising scheduled for 10am this morning. We all woke up at 9:30am. Ram and Lamb 1 had to hurry to get ready. Ram was very tired this afternoon. I wanted them to take a picture in the tent, but this afternoon the tent was put away without taking a picture. Oh well.

We have been home the last couple of days and I tried to suffer through without turning on the Air Conditioning. After supper tonight I told Ram I just couldn't take it any longer. We closed windows and turned on the A/C. The first day of fall has come on the calendar, but I will be glad when the weather acts like the first day of fall. I suppose I should be careful what I wish for because we still have one more month of outside PE class and cross country. I do want some fall days where we don't have to turn on the A/C or the heat.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

I don't think it was coincidence...

In 2013 we went to an annual event at the park. One of the booths was sponsored by Brain Balance. I signed our name up for the door prize. Out of all those hundreds or possibly even thousands of people at the event, our name was chosen. They only chose one name. We won a free evaluation. It was perfect timing because we really didn't know what to do about Lamb 2. He went through the evaluation and they discussed the results with us. We did not use Brain Balance services, but hearing what they thought was wrong was very helpful. It got us in the direction of seeing a developmental optometrist and Lamb 2 doing vision therapy. They were very helpful even though we were honest that we would not be using their services beyond the free evaluation.

In 2014 we returned to this event at the park. Lamb 1 had just begun Cub Scouts so he did some fundraising at this event. While Ram was with him at the Cub Scout booth, I walked around the other booths with the other Lambs. One booth was giving a local newspaper deal. All days of the week for $6 a month, good for a year. We did sign up and loved that deal. Lamb 1 enjoyed reading the sports daily. I enjoyed getting the grocery store ads on Wednesday, and coupons on Friday and Sunday. Ram really does enjoy reading the daily paper. It was so worth $6 a month as we saved more than that in coupons. We also saw some local events in the paper that we may not have heard about without the paper. When the year long deal was up, the salesman told me to unsubscribe for a month and then he could give me a deal again. It won't be as low as it was last year, but it will be a good deal.

In 2015 we went back to this park event. I didn't see any booth for Brain Balance. The deal the newspaper booth was giving was much higher than $6 a month. It will be much better for me to contact the salesman and tell him about our deal last year and he will give me a good deal for this year. We had a good time at this event and the Lambs even made marshmallow catapults at the library booth.

The Lambs went in this van and played video games at the end of our day at this event this year. While they were having fun, I reflected on the fact that we won the Brain Balance evaluation two years ago and we got the newspaper deal last year. We didn't get any good deals this year, but we are thankful that we did have those good deals before. We thank God for providing Brain Balance for Lamb 2 when we needed it and also for the newspaper deal.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Our weekend

I had an annual checkup for my thyroid. I waited 45 minutes to see the doctor. She spent about 5 minutes with me and then I had to wait another 15 minutes for my labs. My blood pressure was good and I expected her to say everything was good and she would see me next year just like she has the past few years. She shocked me by asking if I was ready for a thyroidectomy yet! She explained that most people in my situation would be ready to just remove the thyroid after this many years of abnormal lab results and a goiter as big as mine. But because of my Factor II she is hesitant to do surgery if I don't NEED it. I left the office with the understanding that if my lab results are different from my normal we will think about the thyroidectomy more seriously, if they are stable for me (they won't be normal) then we'll talk about it again next year. I left that appointment a little shaken by what she said plus upset that I spent an hour waiting for less than 10 minutes of time with the doctor and drawing my labs. Oh how I miss my endocrinologist in MN!

Then I ran errands. Staples to use a coupon before it expired. Pick up a free newspaper with coupons before grocery shopping. Buy a piano book for Lamb 2. Grocery store. Starbucks for a treat after going to the doctor.
After a late lunch, Ram took Lamb 2 and 3 to buy shoes. Lamb 2 is now in men's size 7 1/2. In about 1/2 a size his shoe size will be the same as mine! We had a bunch of coupons and they had a bunch of deals so with tax Lamb 3's sandals were less than $2! Currently all 3 Lambs are happy with their shoes they own.
Ram also got some liquor store boxes for us to use to give away stuff during my declutter projects. I have already filled 2/3 of the boxes he got. He also refilled the propane tank for our gas grill.
Then I ran a couple more errands. Used kids store to try to trade in some stuff and buy some dress shirts for Lamb 1 and 2. I only got $9 credit but they took most of what I took in. I just have a few things left to distribute to friends with boys. I used about half of our credit (we had some credit from before) and Lamb 1 and 2 have several dress shirts to choose from now for Stonecutters in January. Then I went shopping at Walmart.

Ram made turkey tetrazzini for supper. We had not made it for a couple of years. We used gluten free pasta but it was still full of dairy. Everyone ate it except for Lamb 3. Even Lamb 1 ate it (we left cheese out of part of it for him). Lamb 3 tried it and then ate some leftovers instead. We got the Lambs to bed on time ready for a busy day on Saturday.

We had a lot of events scheduled for Saturday but we had to say no to several of the events because we just couldn't do everything. Why is everything always scheduled at once?
The Lambs had a cross country meet at the same time as Ram had a meeting at church. At Ram's meeting we found out he will not be going to the Synodical convention in Milwaukee next summer. Another pastor was elected to go and also another alternate. We can cross that off our list for our summer plans.
At the cross country meet Lamb 1 was 4th place and Lamb 2 was 8th place out of a group of about 25 kids ages 9-12 running the 3K. This meet was practice, the next meet is when they give out ribbons. The weather was beautiful. I made everyone bring sweatshirts but we took them off before we even got out of the car.
I shopped at a local grocery store having a sale on "health and beauty" items. I mainly stocked up on vitamins for the Lambs. I did some other grocery shopping while I was there.
In the afternoon we went to an event at a local park. The Lambs enjoyed going to the different booths and getting free candy and also toothbrushes. The weather was really beautiful for September.
We ate leftovers when we got home. It was a fun day with lots of time outside.

After church there was a voter's meeting. Ram was at church for several hours between church, voter's meeting, and clean up/talk to people with concerns.

When we got home I made pancakes for the Lambs. There were actually leftovers because I made a triple batch. That will be nice for breakfasts this week. I cleaned up the kitchen and did dishes.

Then I spent several hours cleaning and organizing the Lamb bathroom. I washed the shower curtain and scrubbed the shower. I organized their linens in there. I cleaned the rest of the bathroom. I washed the walls and doors and door frames. I cleaned the floor. I cleaned out their bathroom cupboards and threw a bunch of junk out. They now have toothpaste, toothbrushes, chapstick, and band aids organized!
I ran a bunch of toothbrushes through a dishwasher cycle and soaked the battery toothbrushes in vinegar and then rinsed them. Lamb 2 and 3 still like to take baths with a few bath toys. I went through the bath toys and threw a bunch out and washed the rest. They are drying now and the next step will be to decide to keep a few and give away the rest. The shower curtain is now dry so the next step is to rehang the shower curtain.

Ram made borscht for supper. It used several ingredients from our freezer-I love using up stuff we have. We hadn't had it for awhile and it was so good. I'm thankful I spent the time freezing beets this summer for recipes like this. The Lambs requested homemade Italian sodas for a special treat.

The Lambs spent much of the day watching football and Ram took them to a nearby park for a little while too.

I'm tired after all the cleaning, but thankful to have one room completely clean and organized. It gives me motivation to continue around my house like this!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Remember the Sabbath Day?

When we moved here our public library was closed on Sundays. They are now open on Sunday afternoons. I refuse to use the library on Sundays. I won't even return books on Sunday even though a machine checks them in. I have considered working at the public library part time or even full time if I have to return to work. Since they are open on Sunday I don't want to work there. I suppose I should be grateful that they are still closed Sunday mornings.

Last year we had a couple of times that we had to really hurry after Sunday School to get to Cub Scout events. Many of the Sunday events were optional but there were a couple that it was important for Lamb 1 to attend. Those events were held Sunday afternoons.

This year there seems to be even more Cub Scout events scheduled on Sunday. So far we can sign up for a later time to sell at the fundraising events or they are optional. But some of the other dens even have den meetings on Sunday mornings.

I was talking to someone on Friday and they said that babysitting classes for teenagers are now held on Sunday because too many kids had too many other commitments on Saturdays. This mom said it is great because her daughter will be busy from 9-3 and she can easily take her and pick her up since she is not working that day.

I think it is getting more and more difficult for families to follow the third commandment. It becomes a great teaching moment for our children of why our family will not attend activities on Sunday mornings.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Friday, September 18, 2015

Tea at the Mayor's House

The mayor of Meridian, ID hosted a tea at her house. I attended it several days ago but due to technical problems I couldn't show pictures until today. Finally, here are pictures from this fun event!
I didn't care about eating Paleo, I had a big scone with lemon curd, cucumber and cream cheese sandwich, and a gooey dessert! It was all worth it!

I wasn't sure if I would know anyone at this tea. I e-mailed a couple of friends about it, but didn't expect them to attend. I ended up knowing two people at the tea including my neighbor that homeschools and has 3 boys almost the same ages as my 3 Lambs. The people I knew had already planned to sit with others so I met some new ladies. The ladies I sat with were all Roman Catholic and assumed that I also was because I was wearing a crucifix necklace. They laughed that Lutheran was close enough!

The tea served was chai, cinnamon orange spice, or tea with Tammy blend. Unfortunately our table didn't see the "make your own" teabags until we had put the tea directly in our cups. The lady that sat next to me wasn't planning to have tea so she shared a clean cup with me after we found the teabags.

The mayor hosted this at her house in support of Stanton Healthcare. Our area of the country has worked hard to raise $ to pay for the land for this pro-life center that will be built next to Planned Parenthood. At this tea it was announced that the land is completely paid for! Now it is time to start raising $ for the building. Thankfully many talented people in the community have offered to donate their time as builders, electricians, plumbers, etc. All the money raised at this tea went towards Stanton. The mayor's backyard is beautiful and made a great place for this event. She would like to make this an annual event. I hope I can attend again.

Some of the Stanton mothers and one of the Stanton children were at this tea. One mother with a 7 year old spoke. I was in tears at the end of her speech thinking about how she was pregnant with her daughter at the same time as I was pregnant with Lamb 3. We lead/led completely different lives. Thanks to Stanton with God's help, we are both raising 7 year olds today. She is pretty sure that if Stanton had not been there to help her, she would not be raising her beautiful 7 year old daughter today.

A sculptor is donating her time and also raising the money to build a sculpture outside of the new building. It will be made of bronze and look like an olive tree. Stanton children names will be on the leaves. The most exciting part is there will be a water feature at the base of the tree. Companies would spend thousands of dollars to commission a piece like this outside of their building, but this sculpture will be completely donated.

They showed plans for the new building. All of their wishes were designed in the building by talented architects and engineers that donated their time or gave them a much reduced price. The new building will not only have ultrasound rooms and private rooms for counseling, but also have a baby boutique to get donated baby clothes, supplies, and maternity clothes. They will even have a room to wash the donated items. There will also be rooms for parenting classes.

I could go on and on about the plans about Stanton. They are in my prayers that they can accomplish what they have planned and raise the money to do it. My prayer is that Satan does not destroy the good work they have begun. My prayers are for the women that go to the Boise location, the mobile vans that go around ID, and the future Meridian location. May the Lord bless and keep the women and their children and the employees and volunteers that help these women.

There are many more photos of the tea here. In the photo of everyone, I was in the back but then they had everyone turn around and they took the picture the opposite way. So I ended up in the front row!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

2016 Budget Additions

This is what I remembered I forgot in the budget so far.
  • Irrigation water for lawn
  • Shoes for 3 Lambs (budgeted 4 pairs each per year-we'll see if we can stick to that few!)
  • Stonesetters fee for 3 Lambs (for January 2017 but pay in 2016-Stonesetters is a day they get to go to learn about the ID legislature, I will blog more about this soon.)
  • Swim Lessons for 3 Lambs
I'm realizing all the extra activities the Lambs do add up when it is times 3 Lambs. They really are at a minimum of activities that we think are important for them to do. They each want to be in more activities and we've said no because of finances but especially because of time. So it's time to budget for all these extra activities instead of being surprised at another $25 fee x 3 Lambs.

My Lambs are typical boys that are rough on their shoes. Add in all the running that they do for track and cross country it seems like someone always needs new shoes. Once one announces they have a hole in their shoe, another Lamb says that their shoes are too small. This usually means that all 3 need their shoes replaced at once. And I thought I was going to get off easy with boys shoes-they don't need several kinds of cute shoes like girls...

Friday, September 11, 2015

2016 Budget

When we lived in MN we were able to put quite a bit in savings because we had a parsonage and generous members even though Ram had a smaller salary than he does now in the city. Here we have a mortgage payment and that savings we built up in MN has been very helpful in times of emergencies. I was already thinking that we need to make more of an effort to put more money in savings here than we are doing now. Then I found out that we are going to have some expenses next year that we have never had in our 14 years of marriage. These expenses are due to the increase in the cost of health insurance and health care.

Kristen recently blogged about writing a budget and I decided it was time to write a budget for our family. I suspected that if I did it on paper Ram's salary wouldn't come out to be enough. I know that God always provides. It seems like Ram always has a funeral with a small thank you check or gets reimbursement for mileage at just the time that we really need a little extra to pay bills. I was pleasantly surprised after writing the budget that his paychecks cover everything with a little extra left for other expenses.

Here are the different categories for my budget. This list is in no particular order, it is in the order that I thought of them. I think it covers everything and I have a few months to add anything else that I think of. It is very specific and if I stick to my grocery budget it will work. I love seeing how tight that budget is on paper. I will know exactly how much it is going to hurt if I go over my grocery budget or if we have an unexpected expense. That will motivate me to stay within budget in all areas.

There are a couple of other categories but I am not including them in my budget for a couple of different reasons. Some categories are covered with our Be Well rewards from our health insurance or Bing rewards. Some categories are gifts from family such as subscriptions to magazines. We get our annual membership to Costco with American Express rewards. (This program is changing so we will get rewards from a different credit card but I expect we will still be able to cover the Costco membership.) So there are a couple of other categories that are not included here but we do spend money on.

I keep track of our housing expenses for taxes and then I keep track of what else we spend for my own curiosity. I took what we spent in the last year in the different categories and divided by 12. I think my amounts are very close because I have documentation of what we spend our money on. There are a couple of categories that I know will cost more next year so I increased those over what we paid last year. I know the cost of everything is going up. Some categories are just an estimated guess because who knows what the price of gasoline will be in 2016.

Here are my categories:

  • Offering for church
  • Our portion of health insurance premium
  • Our portion of contributing to H.S.A.
  • Mortgage payment
  • Estimated taxes on Ram's salary
  • HOA fee (includes internet)
  • Cell Phone
  • Water, sewer, garbage
  • Electric
  • Gas (heat/water heater/stove)
  • Ram life insurance
  • Ewe life insurance
  • Lamb 1 life insurance
  • Lamb 2 life insurance
  • Lamb 3 life insurance
  • Piano lessons (I am hoping that all 3 Lambs will take lessons next year. This will be a big expense but it is important to us.)
  • PE Co-op for Lambs (This will only be an expense for 4 months of 2016 but I averaged it all year.)
  • Ram Roth IRA (We have reduced our IRA contributions as compared to what we put in it when we lived in MN, but it is important to us to continue to add to our IRA even if it is a smaller amount. Some is better than none.)
  • Ewe Roth IRA
  • Ram's car service (in 2016 oil changes are still free for the minivan)
  • Car insurance
  • Groceries (food only)
  • Other household supplies like laundry soap and toilet paper
  • Gas for two cars
  • Local newspaper subscription (Weekends $5.75 month deal.)
  • Track (3 Lambs) and Cross Country (2 Lambs)
  • Air filters for machines in two bedrooms (Some times during the year the air quality is horrible here and we really need the air filter machines.)
  • Water filters for RO System (so worth the cost as compared to buying bottled water)
  • Furnace filters (delivered to our door quarterly)
  • Cost of professional doing our taxes
  • 2 license plates for cars
  • Lawn supplies like fertilizer
  • Essential oils
  • Savings for emergencies
I did this budget today and it really did not take long to figure it out and get Ram's input in a few areas. We should have done this a long time ago. Thankfully we have it done for our 15th year of marriage.

Monday, September 7, 2015

A few projects

I have been on a mission to declutter/organize/clean my house. Once school begins we are gone at a lot of activities throughout the week. When I am home I want the house to be organized and clean so we can relax here. I am trying to gather items to give away for our church bazaar in November. I would have liked to have done this during the summer while we were on homeschool break. That did not happen while we were gone for a month to my parents. Here is what we have done in the last couple of weeks:

*Made it through one file cabinet drawer of old papers and receipts for taxes. Our shredder got a very good workout. This took several days because the shredder overheated and I would have to wait to shred more.

*The boys are currently in the middle of organizing their Legos by color. We got it to the point that we can clean up the living room, this project is still in progress.

*I organized all the Lego magazines and instruction manuals. Some of the magazines we had 2 or 3 copies so I kept all of the copies of the current issues and recycled the older issue duplicate copies.

*Ram has done a lot of yard work recently to get our yard ready for winter-really to get our yard ready for the sprinklers to go off. Mow, weed edging, trim bushes, put down fertilizer and grass seed on the bare spots, etc.

*Ram took a load to our city "dump". It was a $9 minimum but we got our money worth with large items that did not fit in our trash can including the old toilet.

*The Lambs had played on the side of the house and we cleaned that area up, threw away trash, and spread out rocks there again.

*We did a little garage cleanup-of the main pathway and some of the toys. This is a whole big project to clean out toys they have outgrown and clean out the garage. That is not happening at this time, but at least we worked in the garage a little.

*I cleaned the front of all my kitchen cupboards. It was needed after making jam several times this summer.

*I cleaned out my kitchen towels and dishcloths. I added several to the rag pile and added new dishcloths bought at back to school sale time.

*I cleaned the laundry room. I combined old bottles of laundry detergent together. I organized my cleaning supplies that I use a lot into a caddy together.

*I began working on the pile of clothes with stains-soaking them overnight and then hanging them outside in the sun to be bleached some more. I have a couple more loads of this. I am hoping to get many of these in decent shape to either sell at the used kid store or to give away. Some were for the boys but most were outgrown.

*I almost finished all my mending pile and then more mending appeared. Ram and the Lambs noticed I was mending and remembered more that needed to be fixed. I hope to really finish the pile of mending soon.

*I scrubbed the cement on our front entrance. Something was dirty there and it looks a lot better.

*I washed all of the bedding for two Lamb beds. I still have one more Lamb bed to do plus the master bedroom bedding.

*Ram transplanted a mum in our front yard that was growing too close to the other mums. I thought it had died and bought a replacement last year. I don't know if it will make it in the new spot, but it wasn't making it so close to the other mums.

I have a lot more projects in mind. Several years ago my mom tried to go through every single drawer and closet in her house. I would like to do the same. We have started some of the projects but not finished them. We don't get very many of these projects done during the week while we are busy going to activities. I hope to continue projects during the weekends. I hope to continue to blog about our progress. All the little projects really do add up to make progress.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

You know...

Ram made a lot of trips to the hardware store for the toilet repair job when his phone notified him how long it would take him to get to Home Depot in week later! Thankfully they were done with the job by the time he got the phone notification.