Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Super Exciting Bargains

Months ago I purchased a Groupon for Kid-to-Kid, a local children's clothing resale shop.  I only had until September 9th to spend the Groupon, so today I finally stopped at the store to use it, and I'm happy I did.

When I arrived at the store, I found that they had many clothes on clearance.   At first it appeared that many of the clothes were just 50% off, but then I began to find a number of clothes marked down to 99 cents.  I then made it my mission to only buy the 99 cent items so I could make the most of my Groupon. 

I almost succeeded; I found nine 99 cent items and I picked up three items marked down by 50%.  I bought twelve items for a grand total of a little over $18 (including tax).  Considering that I think I paid $7 for the $15 Groupon and only had to spend a little over 3 more dollars out of pocket, 12 items for around $10 works out pretty well.

All of the items were pants, and they are mostly all for our coming little boy, but it felt good to be able to make such good use of my Groupon.  I don't know how often I will go in to buy clothes from this shop since the regular prices really are not that great, but if a deal like this comes again, I might just take advantage of it.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Budget Update: Ugh!

How often do we ask ourselves, do we really need a budget?  All it really seems to serve to do is make us feel guilty for spending too much money. 

These last two months have not been all that great in the budget category.  We planned for some of our extra spending, but we've also had some unexpected expenses come up as well.  Each week when I go in to update our accounts, I try to avoid hitting the budget update button because I do not want to be reminded of the extra money we have spent. 

I am looking forward to the start of the new month this Thursday.  I know that we cannot just throw away our budget because we need a goal to remind us where we need to be. 

Friday, August 26, 2011

Question for the Day

On radio this morning, they were discussing the new Faith Hill Barbie doll and the accessories that come with the doll.  This lead them to ask listeners what two accessories their Barbie (or Ken) doll would come with if one was designed after their life.

Right now, I think that my doll would come with an English literature book and a baby since these are the two items that take up the most time in my life right now.

What would come with your Barbie doll?

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Booking Through Thursday: History

Today on Booking Through Thursday:
"Sometimes I feel like the only person I know who finds reading history fascinating. It’s so full of amazing-yet-true stories of people driven to the edge and how they reacted to it. I keep telling friends that a good history book (as opposed to some of those textbooks in school that are all lists and dates) does everything a good novel does–it grips you with real characters doing amazing things.
Am I REALLY the only person who feels this way? When is the last time you read a history book? Historical biography? You know, something that took place in the past but was REAL."

My husband enjoys reading history books more than I do.  We have at least one six-foot bookshelf full of history books and historical biographies.   Occasionally I will pick up one of our history books and read it because I like to learn the truth about the periods in history that I often read about in my fiction books. 

Here recently I have been interested in historical biographies, and I have read East to the Dawn: The Life of Amelia Earhart and I am currently reading Queen Victoria: A Personal History. 

Taking Up My Cross -- Daily

I have been reading through the book of Luke in my quiet times, and today I read where Jesus tells His disciples that in order to follow Him, they must take up their cross daily.  He then goes on to talk about the importance of dying to one's self in order to truly live.

While I have heard this passage many times, I don't think that I had ever truly thought about what it means to daily take up my cross.  Lately I have been struggling with feelings of selfishness when it comes to serving my family.  At the end of the day, I get frustrated because I am the only one making dinner and cleaning up the kitchen, knowing that I will have to do it all again the next day.  I've also been frustrated with my husband when he makes plans to be out of the house on the weekend during the little one's nap time, a time that I might like to use to get out of the house as well.

This passage reminds me that life is not about what I want to do and that I have not been making the choice to take up my cross and serve like Jesus served.  I also realized that I am holding on to some elements of my old-self and that these elements will hold me back from a full relationship with Christ.

We have to make the decision daily to take up our cross.  We cannot just do it on the days we feel the walk will be easiest; we have to chose to do it every day. 

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Why I Switched to a New OB and Why I'm Happy I Did

I will begin by stating that I liked the OB I went to when I was pregnant with little one number 1.  The doctor meet all the necessary criteria: she was female and she was easy to talk to.  I first went to this doctor for a routine exam because I knew that we were going to want to become more serious about having children and I wanted to find a good female doctor when the process began (we were thinking that we would need some medical intervention, but God provided otherwise--another story for another time).

The only problem existed in that the doctor belonged to a busy clinic.  I often had to wait at least thirty minutes before I made it back to the exam room, where I had to wait another thirty minutes for the doctor to see me.  All this for a five minute exam to tell me all looked good.  I think my blood pressure was slightly elevated during all my visits because of all the waiting I had to do.

When it came time for the little one's arrival, my doctor was not the one on call so another doctor from the clinic delivered the baby.  While the other doctor was nice, I would have just as soon had the resident take over and for no doctor from the clinic come at all.  (In fact, the "official" doctor only arrived a few minutes before the little one's arrival, and she just supervised as the resident and a student delivered the baby).

For the second little one, we thought that we might have to change insurance providers, so we decided to check with our regular doctor's office to see if one of the physicians there also delivered babies (our doctor no longer delivers babies).  We made an appointment to see this new doctor and kept the appointment even after we learned we would keep our same health insurance. 

The new doctor impressed us with his openness about being a Christian and we liked him instantly.  He has a great bedside manner and did a great job of making the initial exam as painless and less humiliating as possible.  We decided to keep him as our doctor this go around and have not regretted the decision yet.

When I go in for my regular check-ups, the nurse is often waiting for me when I get out of the bathroom.  I think the longest I have had to wait in the exam room is fifteen minutes, and our entire trip is usually about 20-30 minutes in length total.  When it was time for my 1-hr glucose tolerance test, he had me take the drink home so I could drink it there and just come in after the hour had passed for the lab to take my blood sample.

I also like knowing that he will most likely be the one to deliver this little one.  Likewise, my husband is happier this time around because the doctor's office is not making us pay our portion of the bill in advance.

I am happy that certain circumstances lead us to change doctors.  I know that I would not have changed doctors otherwise, and I am sure I would be experiencing many of the same frustrations had I stayed with the same doctor.  Now that I often have our little one in tow when I go to the visits, I am glad that the process has been simplified and made easier and less stressful this time around.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Question to Ponder

On the radio this morning, they were discussing the show Hoarders.  The DJs began a discussion about the one item they would have a difficult time getting rid of if someone came in and forced them to get rid of many of the extra items in their house.  One of the DJs does not want to give up her Saved by the Bell game and the other had a collection of Coca-Cola Santa cans he insists on keeping.

This made me wonder what unnecessary item I would be unwilling to give up.  Over the past few years, I have been on a real purging kick and finally let go of many of these types of items.  I need to think about this for a while longer, but I was curious to know what your one item would be.

Tackle It Tuesday: What I Should Really Be Doing

Today the little one is at one of her grandmother's house, so I really should take hold of this opportunity to work on the front bedroom. 

We are still in the process of sorting through our books and moving them to other locations in the house.  This weekend we moved the seven foot bookshelf to our bedroom, but it is already nearly full and many more books remain in the front room.

As I sit and look at the huge pile of books on the bedroom floor, I realize that we need to be willing to give up even more books, but how does one decide what books to remove from her library?  I know that there are books in the pile that we will never look at again and we should seek to find a better home for them, but a nagging thought remains that one day we might need that book again. 

With a little less than three months until D-day, we really need to get motivated and complete this process.  Maybe it would be easier if we just hired someone to come in and sort the books for us.

Monday, August 22, 2011

We're Back Online

Yeah!  Our Internet provider finally came out and reconnected our Internet service.  I'm still not happy that it took ten days for this problem to finally be resolved, but I am thankful that it is up now since my online class begins today. 

Neither of us are very aggressive individuals, so that is part of the reason why it took so long for them to restore our service.  When we found out on Thursday that it would not be restored until Monday, neither of us really wanted to call and complain because we feared that it might extend the problem and I really needed it to be restored by today at the latest. 

After two different weeks this summer of not having access to the Internet, I hope that any more problems will remain at bay for quite sometime.  It's amazing how many times I wanted to look up some information but then remembered I could not.  What in the world did we ever do before the Internet?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Our Love/Hate Relationship with the Internet (or at least our Internet Provider)

Last Friday as I was wondering around on the Internet, I lost my connection.  I just assumed the router needed to be reset, so I waited until my husband came home to take a look at the situation.  We had plans for that evening, so it was rather late before he had a chance to take a look at it.

We found out that our Internet provider had come out and disconnected our service.  My husband had called them earlier in the week to try and get a better deal on our phone and Internet service, but not one word was said about disconnecting our Internet.  Of course, we learned all this on Saturday, and they said that they could not send someone out to take care of the problem until today (Wednesday). (Why is it that they can come out and disconnect service the next day but they cannot reconnect it for several days?)

Today, my husband called the provider once again to see when they were planning to come out, and the person he talked to today could not find a record of the plan to reconnect our service.  I have an online class that begins next week, so I currently have to go to my parent's house in order to get into my class and get it ready for the students.

Unfortunately, we only have two options for Internet service in our area, and the second option is not always the most reliable.  My parents have the other service, and I have had to reset the modem more than once in the few hours I have been working on the computer.

While it has been nice to not have the distraction of the Internet around the house, I would rather be able to make the choice to not go online by myself and not have it made for me by our Internet provider.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Booking Through Thursday: National Book Week

Booking Through Thursday proposes the following activity: "It’s National Book Week. The rules: Grab the closest book to you. Go to page 56. Copy the 5th sentence as your status."
"The ship is bought and fitted." -- Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

I'll admit that I have not actually read this book yet even though it has been on my bookshelf for a number of years. 

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Weekly Menu - A Reflection

Last night I saw a story on the nightly news about the famine in Somalia.  They interviewed a woman who walked for seventeen days with her four children to reach a relief camp so hopefully they could receive food.  Unfortunately, one of her children died on the journey.  Additionally, so many people are trying to get into the relief camps that they have to turn people away because they just do not have enough resources to take care of them all.

This morning during my quiet time, I began to reflect on how fortunate I am to be able to plan a menu for my family.  I realized how I take the variety of foods in my cupboards for granted.   I also realized how I take the clean water that comes from the faucet for granted as well.  We are so fortunate to live in a country where food is plentiful, even to the poorest of families.

Last night I struggled to plan our meals because I just did not know what meals to select, but this morning I realize just how blessed I am to have so many choices. 

Our Weekly Menu (Dinner only edition)

Chicken Parmesan with four cheese rice
Grilled Pork Chops with mashed potatoes and green beans
?? - Possible dine out night
Enchiladas with chips and salsa
Cheeseburger pasta with corn and Italian bread
BBQ chicken with baked potatoes and rolls

Monday, August 8, 2011

Good to Be Home

We had the great opportunity to go to Colorado last week with some friends who also have young children.  All together we had five children present with the oldest being four-years-old and the youngest at nine-months-old.  Fortunately, we rented cabins, so we did not have to worry about disturbing other people in a hotel.

The cabins belong to Friends University here in Wichita and they rent the cabins for a very reasonable price (we rented two cabins for five nights for $600). 

Renting a cabin worked well for the budget since we could store and cook our own food, but I am still wondering just how much of a vacation I really had.  The ladies still had to cook meals and clean up afterwards.  The men tried to watch the children during that time, but often the kids were in the kitchen with us. 

We did experience a vacation from the heat and it appears that the cool weather is following us home.  I look forward to getting back to a routine and enjoying the rest of my break from taking care of my online Lit class.