Saturday, August 30, 2008

Days 10 - 12

It's been a very hectic three day run, but good and bad, but worthwhile throughout.

Day 10:
The shells went over well. This is Chris' first time bringing in 'goodies' since switching to this job site / contractor and it was a well received gesture. Feeding the troops goes a long way with this job, for a multitude of reasons.
I spent a great deal of the afternoon working on the baby shower centerpieces. With two weeks to go, it's sliding into crunch time. They're coming out well thus far; I hope that the momma to be likes them as well as I do.

We had a surplus of summer activity freebies that needed to find new homes. I could've started on Thursday and just packed my kids' weekend with crazy amounts of fun stuff to do, but I opted to share the wealth instead.
Freecycle doesn't allow coupon posts ( at least in GR it doesn't anyhow ) so I sought out families who I thought would benefit from the access, and offered some passes for Millennium Park to my near sister in law so that she'd have something fun to do with my niece over the weekend ( said niece's birthday is the 31st and they're really low on funds ).

Day 11:
I spent some time trying to help a friend fix her computer, and as a forethought, because my skills are far from professional, I contacted another friend who works with computers, and arranged for him to aid and assist on Sunday ( AND I have to go along, so that cuts into my "me" time, but it's worth it to help out friend A and see friend B ).

I mailed out some swap stuff and gifted a friend / hostess with a needed wood block and sent another friend a loaner stamp set for a swap project.

We had a slice of good news as well: I wasn't expecting the dollar bank reimbursements for anothet week and a half at best, and when I checked my mail, there they were. It wasn't an exorbitant amount of money, but there was enough to throw some into the 'medical extras' savings account ( we don't have dental or vision coverage, and we have to pay 10% of all ER and hospitalization ) and put some into the mortgage catch up fund as well.

Day 12:
Todays gives were mostly for my family.

I am not a late sleeper by nature. I don't like to stay in bed later than 8:00 / 8:30. But my husband wanted me to stay in bed with him, so I snuggled in and read while he slept. Ended up benefiting us both, but I'd prefer to hit the sack early for cuddly time, but it made him happy, which in turn made me happy.

After a slow start this morning ( we stayed in bed until well after 10:00 - thank goodness I have really good kids! ), Chris and I poked about around the house, made lunch and we packed the kids up and spent most of the day at the zoo. I splurged and paid for Chris and Jennah to ride the Zip Line, and had the line not been insanely long and the boys been over tired, I'd have talked Chris into camel rides, too ( we'll save that for next time ).
Before we went in, we spent a half an hour or so feeding the ducks and geese. Could've used up the errant burger buns at home, but the kids enjoy feeding the foul, and it always makes for good photo opportunities.

After the zoo, we ran some store errands, and our last stop of the day was at Toys R Us. The boys had birthday club coupons to use, and I found some Transformers Titanium guys that were marked down to $3 each. The boys ended up getting them for free, after the sales tax zeroed out as well.

In my possession was a decent savings discount card. Could've spent it, but I knew that we didn't need to. Instead of just leaving and letting it go to waste, I sought out someone who would put it to use. Finding someone who was going to spend fifty dollars proved to be difficult, but the woman who ended up being the recipient was most grateful. She was shopping from a baby registry, so the savings was being put to good use.

Now the kids are fast asleep, and I sent Chris out for a dinner-snack for him and I from Burger King ( also not something we normally do, but it's one of those days ), and we'll settle in on the couch and finish watching 'Valley of the Dolls' before heading to bed.

I hope that you're all having a wonderful weekend.

And now I will depart and resume mine.

Say goodnight, Gracie

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Day Nine

Today's give won't be fully utilized until tomorrow, and it's kind of a two part deal.

I spent the evening making stuffed shells for my husband to bring to work. Two pans full, to share with the fellas on the job site.
I don't mind doing it, but shells are one of the three most time consuming dishes that I make, and as I was getting a late start on them anyhow, it probably wasn't the best choice to double up the batch and have them for dinner, too

My kids love them, and rarely get them because of the expense and effort required to complete the dish.
They looked so excited when they saw me tossing pasta into the boiling water, I simply couldn't refuse.In spite of eating dinner about an hour later than we've been accustomed to, it was enjoyed by everyone, myself included.

Not the best food for my diet, but it was worth it to have dinner as a family, instead of mom opting to eat an alternative food ( doesn't happen every night but with pasta and such I try to decline ).

We had a small slice of good fortune today: Chris' pay scale raise was put into effect on this check, and they included an increment that was backdated to July 1st. It only amounted to $72 ( thirty cents an hour doesn't do a whole lot week by week but it adds up at the end of the year ), but it's money that we didn't have yesterday, and it's enough to pay off the final installment of Chris' E.R. bill and fuel up the Focus.
That's enough to make me happy. I still have to look at what we have and make it go more places than we have money to put into them, but it's a start, and I am grateful for that.

It's bedtime for me... good night, all.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Day Eight

Chris and I rounded up the troops and went to orientation this evening.

As hectic as it is, I always enjoy the process.

Well, not the paperwork, but the reuniting with people I interact with via the builidng but do not see over the summer, and that feeling of a fresh new start to something good.

This is a new building for the boys, and while I am ( and they are, through me ) acclimated with this program as this is Jennah's fourth year there, I feel a twinge of sadness over parting with the staff from the previous school. They're a wonderful group, and I am happy to know that I will still have opportunities via my day job to interact with them, even if on a less consistent schedule.
When I dropped coasters off on Friday, I asked for a sneek peek at the classroom roster, and found out that Miss J had been places with the 'other' third grade teacher. She's nice, and I am sure she's a wonderful educator, but wasn't who Jennah was hoping for and it wasn't who I was hoping for.

I expressed my disappointment to our 'office goddess' ( Cara is so much more than a secretary, and she's an absolute sweetheart of a human being ), and she said she'd put a bug in Pam's ear ( the principal and ultimate roster facilitator ), and lo and behold when we got to the school today, Jennah was in the classroom we'd hoped for.

Being a helpful, active parent definitely pays off! :-)

So everyone was happy, including Jennah's teacher ( who, last year, said he'd hoped that I'd request him because he so enjoyed her when she came in as a helper... it amazes me that so many people find my child to be such a delight when she has such a mouth at home ).

As I wandered from class to class, saying hello, I saw evidence of my handiwork on desks. The coasters were well received and seemingly utilized. A win - win situation for Pam, the staff and myself ( I always fear that my creations will be hated ).

The best part, Iain's teacher and I were talking and it sounds like he'll be in school five days a week, as part of the 'kindergarten plus' program, instead of two and a half days. She asked a couple of questions, watched him for a few minutes ( mind you, she does know us, as she was Jennah's teacher and she's had some fairly recent interaction with Iain because of my being up at the school so much ), and said that they'd hav eto test him to be sure, but he looked like a solid candidiate for the extra help.


I was so frustrated when they released him to regular ed. and left us to fumble with the ball. I don't blame the teachers - I blame Michigan's guidelines - but it sucked and we're been sweating it all summer.
Since Braeden isn't doing a couple of things that he should be ( though he is flying past his age expectancy levels in so many others ), he may get six weeks of extra classroom time as well... we'll see what happens over the next three weeks. But it was Iain I worried about, and now I can rest easy.
And he's six now, and in kindergarten, so as soon as they're done with assessing him, we can get started with the rest of his testing and hopefully get Bubba the help he really needs.

I suppose you'd call that a gift to myself, and to my son, because we've worked really hard to get him where he needs to be, and that hard work is finally paying off.

My gives for today have been in the form of moral support, friendship and participation.

So many people are suffering right now... emotionally, physically, and financially. I have opened myself up where and when I can, and spent time with and on people that I don't usually on a day to day basis.
I had a long conversation with a long distance friend this afternoon. It was wonderful to just sit and chat with her. I know that if she lived closer ( she's halfway across the country from me ), we'd spend an awful lot of time together and be that much better for it.

Part of our school program is a volumteer coupon book. Last year, each family was supposed to fill out and complete acts for three of the offered options. Some are as simple as donating a couple of two liter bottles of soda, and some are year long, ongoing projects. It's entirely up to the individual as to what they participate in.
This year, it went up to four coupons, because not every family participates ( though we are supposed to, it's not strictly enforced ). I know that if I opted to do only one or two, or even none, I could get away with it... my name is on one of those tickets as an event coordinator, but that just doesn't feel right to me.
I opted for easy outs on a couple of them, but for the other two, I deliberately chose things that would require serious and sincere effort from me when called upon, even if they are not daily or even weekly activities ( more than a one time deal, but not an 'all the time' project ).

There's a coupon in there for Family Support.. you can sign up for child care, transportation, assisting with food/ clothing ( we have a crew that makes dinner for families who members take ill, new babies, or whatever, for about two weeks ), notes / cards of encouragement or financial assistance.
I know it'll be a taxing pain in the rear if I sign up for that one... it borders on hectic sometimes, especially over the holidays... but something tells me that I should.
I have until Monday night to decide, as the paperwork has to be back in with the kids on Tuesday morning.
...for now, I am beckoned to the shower... it's been a long day and my back and hip are killing me.
Have a wonderful night, all.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Day Seven

Today has not been an easy day.

In spite of this, I sat down and willingly worked on my give, and enjoyed it.

I'd missed the last two episodes of 'Prison Break' when the season wrapped up, so I hunkered down with supplies in hand and whipped out two dozen baby sock rosebuds while I watched tv ( usually they are easy, but this baby's gonna have HUGE feet - 3" plus already and she's not due til November - so I had to use larger sized socks ), and prior to that, I started the base for the flowerpots ( for the rosebuds ).

Part of me looks at my checkbook and thinks "I shouldn't be doing this. It's an expense I cannot afford, and Sue would understand if I had to abdicate." but I won't do that. ( but I cannot take on any more facets of the project, no matter what happens )
She wouldn't do that to me, and if I don't, that leaves the project to stumble and a first time mom to have to do the stuff herself, and that isn't fair.

So as much as it pains us financially, I know I am doing the right thing. And the part of me that isn't stressing over paying the bills feels fantastic. It will be a wonderful celebration of new life and a day worth remembering for all who attend.

More freecycle and Craigslist pickups today, wrapping up that process until I feel another urge to purge.

Pardon me if I am not feeling all the warm fuzzy karmic happiness ... I just don't have enough strength in my to put on that kind of game face today.

Have a wonderful evening, all. Tomorrow will be a better day.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Days four and five, with six in progress

I haven't been home enough to actually post anything, save for my give projects.

For days four and five, I purged.
Not just dug out stuff that I knew I was aiming to get rid of, but actively sought out situtaions that felt like legitimate requests for aid. ( as many years as I have been involved with Freecycle, I can feel out the BS'ers, plus I know IDs to avoid due to personal experiences.. I am all for unbiased giving but I cannot stand liars who them resell what the asked for under the giuse of needing help )
So, not only did I purge things that just aren't being put to use, I went into the hoarded stuff and pained my inner packrat by giving from the stockpile.

Scrapbooking supplies for a bible school and a co-op.

Clothing for a single mom who works but still cannot quite make ends meet.

Bags of too small jeans, some with holes, some with plenty of play clothes life, and some that are in decent shape, for a woman wh is making a quilt for her son, and shipping it to him... in Baghdad. ( in spite of the warm weather there he misses having a quilt and she figures that denim will hold up better than flannel )

Those are the confirmed gives. Others have been contacted. Two declined, saying they'd received what they asked for and to pass the items on to someone else who needed it more ( three cheers for selfless honesty being alive and well in the world! ).

On Friday I ended up putting quite a bit of additional time, effort an dsome added expense into the coaster project, and in the end earned myself a case of sunburn and more unwanted freckles ( thank goodness my husband thinks they're cute ). But it was worth it.. or at least I hope it was. Haven't heard from the principal yet, to garner any feedback.

Yesterday I spent most of the day with a dear friend. We've known each other for almost eighteen years, but distance and changes in our lives don't always permit us to spend time together. It'd been over a decade since we'd done something more meaningful than a trek to pick up take out dinner for the group without spouses and / or children in tow.
We see each other as often as time permits, but we always have our husbands and my kids along for the events.

We made a two hour drive to attend a concert, talking the whole way there and home, and had a wonderful time. The ticket was a birthday gift for me ( purchased back in the Spring, around my birthday ), but the event was a perfect gift for both of us. A much needed reprieve from the stresses of everyday life, and chance to reconnect on a more personal level. Well worth the effort and far more valuable than the financial investemnts made.

Today's give is underway and ongoing today.

I'm still working on the freecycle / Craigslist project, which will hopefully be complete - for now - today. In addition, I am working on a photo project for my childrens' pen pals ( I signed each of them up for one for the summer ), snapping shots of where we live, things that are here, and what we do. A final gift to the recipient wee ones at the end of the summer. I plan to have them in the mail by Wednesday at the very latest if I can help it.

The last piece of today's give is solely for my husband.
Chris can be very self absorbed and shallow when it comes to wanting to obtain possessions, but at the core, he's a decent human being, capable of strange acts of random compassion.

In spite of my protests, he gives money to homeless people, but only after talking to them first. If they won't talk with him, he won't dole.
He takes time from his overworked day to weed and edge for thr 84 year old lady who lives across the road, and with the money she pays him ( she won't let him leave without a few dollars, we've tried and tried to dissuade it and politely decline ), he buys weed killer for the walks and seed n' feed for her lawn.
Most of all, in spite of his outwardly cranky ways, he's an awesome father. ( just don't ever tell him that - he'll deny it vehemently )After working a slew of overtime hours to catch the bills up, going straight from work to help a friend move, and staying home yesterday so that I could go out and play ( though he wasn't feeling well, so it was kind of a two part deal ), he deserves something to show my gratitude.
So I'm spending my day on him. I stayed in bed at his request ( not easy for me - I am a by 8:00 AM riser even when I sleep in ), I made the usual Sunday Ulster Fry, and I'll make dinner and flex my Shiatsu skills at bedtime.
I hope that you've all had a wonderful weekend... I'm about to go resume mine. :-)

Friday, August 22, 2008

Days 2 and 3 in one post

I didn't get a chance to post On Wednesday ( and last night I just plain forgot to post here, in spite of my efforts on MySpace and 29 Gifts.. keeping track of three blogs is hard work! )
We were very busy celebrating my son's sixth birthday. By the time I'd paused to reflect, the 29 gifts site was down for maintenance.

As it turns out, it turns out, yesterday was harder to assess that I thought it would be.
I went to bed last night, thinking 'what did I give today?' .

It stumped me.

I thought a lot about my day... I spent most of the day doing a neighborhood cleanup.
We filled sixteen, twenty yard dumpsters with broken things and refuse that would've otherwise continued to fill yards, alleys and garages. Very rewarding work, indeed.
But, I was on the clock. I was paid to be there, so in my eyes, it doesn't count. I would've done it with or without the paid hours, but still.. it doesn't count.
I gave out information, in the form of connecting with residents, but at the cleanup site and afterwards.. but again, on the clock.

I'd started drifting off to sleep, thinking that the day was a let down to the project. That two days in, and I'd already botched it.
My thoughts slowly turned to the rest of the day. Watching Iain tear through his presents, and just overall hanging out with him moreso than I'd had time to do for the past few weeks, due to extra responsibilities both on my part and my husband's.
We always make time for the one on one stuff but at home, we've been so distracted that there hasn't been as much interaction. Even his study time and tutoring time have dwindled compared to where they were at in June.
I've put paying the bills in front of spending time with my kids. And it has sucked.

Part of the birthday ritual for us is special dinner. The birthday boy ( or girl ) chooses - it can be dining out, or cooked at home, but the meal and its location are their choice.
Iain chose pizza.. on a day where the check book couldn't do a darn thing about it but wince and whine.
I was left with two choices; pay a bill on time and forego a late fee, or pay for pizza and make my kid happy.

We had pizza, and Iain got the 'extra' breadsticks.

So, when I got up yesterday morning, I signed on to the computer and went in to post a payment on what I thought was going to be an overdue bill, expecting to see an extra $25.00 slapped onto the charge. ( our budget runs very tightly and this is one of those weeks where that $25 would smart a bit )

I was on the website yesterday morning, I KNEW it was due, and had deliberately waited, torn between that bill and making the kid happy.
Yet, today, it said that the bill was not, in fact, due until August 22nd.

It seems that the server had an error last week and glitched payments for several people, and in compensation, they bumped everyone's payment due date for this month to August 22nd.

Needless to say, I posted the payment first thing this morning, and said a silent prayer of thanks when I was done.

Sometimes things have a way of working out... and I am so very grateful for that.
So, my give for yesterday was a bit unconventional, but I think that those are the best kind.

Now we move on to Day Three:

Today's give has been a project, one that now requires unexpected extra expense, time, effort and skill on my part.
I undertook a project for the principal at my childrens' school. It wasn't supposed to be due until right before school started ( basically another week ), but after speaking with her today on another matter, I feel compelled to kick it into overdrive, so that she can have them by tomorrow afternoon ( which is when she really needed them but didn't want to say so since she'd only given me two and a half weeks in which to get 50 coasters completed around my other responsibilities ).
In doing so, I am essentially forfeiting anything I would've made in commission on the project, so she is now getting something that will have close to forty hours of work into it for nothing but the cost of supplies, and even that, I assumed some of the debt on, because I had some of the stuff on hand.
Usually I straight bill for all supplies and for the people I craft for often, I just set the leftovers aside in their own little bin. She had no leftovers after her last project, save a partial tube of E 6000 ( crafters' adhesive, for those who are unaware ).

The coasters I made yesterday are the best ones I've made thus far, and it seems that the streak of creativity has carried over to this morning... I have less than a dozen to go ( now if only I can find feet somewhere! )

Back to the grind... I have to have them up to C.A. Frost by 3:30 P.M.

I'll blog about today's give before bedtime... unless I forget to post it here again.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Something new, and somehow necessary

Every day I receive a mass generated email from a web organization that I belong to. Every day there's something warm and fuzzy in its contents, intended to be inspiring.

Today it was.

Today I found this:

As I started reading and listening to Cami's video post, something hit me.

I MUST do this.

And so I am. Started today, officially.

I will be blogging my days, every day, on my 29 Days personal page, on here, and on my MySpace blog ( so if you see this as a cross post, you know why )

Today's give is already done.

I spent six hours mentoring for the PAL program today.

Because certain things come naturally to me, I often forget that what I do on instinct may be difficult for others to initiate, let alone complete.
I couldn't thrive as a teacher; I don't have the patience. But I DO have passion. And determination. And they are contagious.

My second give for the day was one that was a little harder for me: I shared coasters.
I'm mailing a stack of them to my Splitcoast galpal, Tania. She's a doll and I am happy to do it but part of me just hates to part with my supplies.

Logically I know that I have more chipboard than I need, and it's just taking up space, but the packrat in me is screaming "nooooo!!".

When I posted my page on the 29 Gifts page today, it asked what I expected to receive from the process. I said that I did not know, but now I know that I do. But I do not expect, I only hope, because to expect is to set oneself up for disappointment.

I hope that I will relearn the value of things - not things in terms of their financial value but their personal worth. I do not need things. I simply want them, and enjoy having them.. something that has intensified over the years by being married to a man of extreme and often very selfish excess. The knowledge is in me, but it's buried under a gigantic pile of hoarded crap.

In addition, I hope to acquire additional patience. I have a short fuse to begin with, and when I am stressed ( which has been daily since mid May ), it amplifies tenfold, and I take it out on the sources closest to me more often than not, which I know is wrong.

And so, my journey begins. Thirty days from now I will look back at the entire series of posts and evaluate the process. In the meantime, I will simply enjoy the ride, even when it makes me want to tear our my hear and whine incessantly.

Like I said, I need it.

Rite of passage

Being awake at 5:00 A.M. allows one to see things that one would not ordinarily be privvy to.

Right now, as I am typing, only a few feet to my left, a learning process is going on.

My old, fat and wise ( and lovably cranky ) cat, Rory, has a mouse. Mind you this has been going on for a good forty minutes... probably more, but that is what Chris and I walked int to the dining room to witness this morning.

Ordinarily, Rory would've felled the little creature by now and presented it dead at my feet. But not today. This morning, she is attempting to teach the smaller - and much less adept - of the kitties how to carry on such an act.

Dinah, however, is dumb as a post.

Rory will catch the thing, let it go and hang back as she watches for Dinah to try to grab it and finish the job. And then the furry little bastard will get away, and of course, Rory is right back on it, snaps it up, and carries it back to show Dinah what to do.

Once, it even made it back through the pet door and almost into the basement, but Dinah shot down there and reclaimed the prize, emerging from the kitty dungeon, triumphant.
For a minute there, it looked like she was getting the idea... and then she set it down in front of Rory and the whole process started over from square one.

I'd all but given up on Dinah til a moment ago, when I looked over and saw the mouse in her mouth. Problem is, she doesn't know what to do with it after she catches it.

I should be intervening with a hammer and finishing the job ( eeewww!! ) but this process is necessary.

As much as it pains me to think as such, my faithful old girl won't be with us forever. She's got to train the junior, pass the torch.
What a patient teacher Rory is! Right now she is not my affectionate housecat; she's a miniature lioness, hunting for her prey, stalking the corridors of the main floor of the house, showing her cub the ways of the kills. ( thank god they don't eat the nasty things! )

I couldn't be prouder of my ancient hairball. A year ago, almost to the day, when we brought the teensy, squawking furball into the house, Rorschach was most upset. She hated her dad for weeks ( Rory is by far, Chris' cat. Always has been ).. wouldn't sleep with us, refused to sit on him when he was watching tv... and now she and Dinah are as close to buddies as Rory's sour disposition will permit.

It would appear that Dinah has let the vermin escape again, so Rory is back on the hunt. Ordinarily one would be fretting aboyt such a thing, but as long as I can keep the kids upstairs for a little while, they'll find the thing, and I think that this time, Rory will just finish the job.

I must admit, the little bugger's got spunk. But then, we don't generally get to watch this process. She either gives up when we're about or takes it to the basement 'til she's done working, and returns with the corpse in tow. ( Dinah, on the other hand, has never gotten involved, other than to bat around the dead thing when all's said and done. )

For now I will pad quietly back upstairs, reset the alarm for 8:00 A.M. and let the girls do their job.

Hopefully by the end of the morning, Dinah will be slightly less clueless and considerably more prepared for the next round.

I love my fat old cat. She's the bestest.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The ranting and raving of a frugal mom

Anyone who knows me knows what a 'Hollander' I am when it comes to shopping.
Clearance racks are scoped out and assessed before I pay full price for anything.
I have a bazzillion online subscriptions to find coupons for just about anything, and the Sunday paper is my best buddy.

I am the person who gets called / asked when someone wants to find something for a cheap price. ( something that I am quite proud of, thankyouverymuch! )

With this in mind, I started school supply shopping, list in hand, ages ago. As the sales began in the early part of the summer, I snapped up things as I found them, all the while offering a silent 'thank you' to Cara for organizing the supply list back in May so that families would have all summer to shop and prepare ( precisely why I dubbed her the Office Goddess and why I don't mind making treasures for her).

Crayons, markers, pencils, backpacks... all standard stuff that I can generally assemble for under $10 per kid.

Jennah's classroom supply list nearly sent me into a bout of apoplectic shock.

Thrift guru that I am, I will include the item and next to it, in parentheses, what I paid for said item. I couldn't have possibly done it for much cheaper...

- Backpack without wheels ( $1.99 thanks to a Kellogg promotion and 40% off sale at Meijer )
- pencils w/erasers ( box of 12 for .99 - covered all 3 kids w/some to spare )
- pencil box ( has to be uber large for all the crap she'll be holding.. $2.92. I swore over that expense )
- hand held pencil sharperner w/built in compartment ( ergo friendly one at Office Max for .79 )
- 24 pkg crayons ( .05 last year at Office Depot - I stocked up! )
- colored pencils, 24 ct. ( another sore spot. the 12 ct. boxes are .22 - .35 apiece but I had to but the 24 ct. at Hobby Lobby because they had them for the cheapest price that I found. Thank heaven for the 40% coupon! Got 'em for $2.50 after the cpn savings )
- scissors ( reused last year's pair. Hoarded those suckers away for the occasion )
- 3 70 ct. spiral notebooks - one blue, one green and one yellow ( .05 each )
- 2 two pocket folders ( .01 each )
- 2 two pocket folders w/prongs ( .25 each )
- black marble composition book ( .99 )
- 6 glue sticks ( .22 per 2 pk so .66 ) and one liquid glue ( also .22 )
- 6 pkg of white / lined index cards ( $1.42 ea. - $8.52 for all )
- post it notes ( 3x3 ) 4 pads ( .88 at Big Lots )
- post it notes 4x5, 2 pkgs ( these ess oh bee's are EXPENSIVE! I found some on clearance for $1.59 at Meijer and there were four pads in the pack versus the usual two so I got off easy )
- 1 black 3 ring binder w/clear view cover, 1" bind ( $2.00 was the cheapest I found 'em, and boy did I hunt! )
- 1 black 3 ring binder w/lear view cover, 1 1/2" bind ( $2.47. The stores just don't put the clear view covers on sale... no clear view could've been found for .50 each )
- 2 boxes of facial tissue ( bought a 3 pk for $3.47,so $2.31 on the breakdown )
- 3 boxes zipper lock bags , 1 box quart size and two boxes snack size ( $3.00 - yay Dollar Tree! )
- 1 paper grocery bag ( a freebie obviously )

Three things come to mind:

1. Why the hell is the list so long?? It's got to more to it than the K-2 and 4th grades COMBINED.
Apparently the 3rd grade teacher doesn't like to pay for ANYTHING out of pocket, in spite of reimbursability via the PTSA or tax deductions.

2. I spent less than $5 apiece on the boys, including the backpacks ( gotta love that Kellogg deal! cheap gear and cheap cereal, though we won't need to buy any again for probably two months... ). Jennah's stuff, after tax was $33.36.

3. All I think of is how much I could have spent if I didn't faithfully peruse ads and watch for stuff all summer long, making sure to pick things up when we were already going out, so as to not add additional gas expenses into the damage bill. That list could've easily cost me close to three times as much. ( I'm not counting the $30 in Kellogg products I bought over the three kids because it was all stuff we'd have bought anyhow... just double the cereal in one trip )

Then factoring the $5.00 for the mandatory school planner and the endless field trip fees, camping expenses, fundraisersm PTSA dues... here comes that headache again.

My checkbook would be much happier if I just sent my kids to the low rent school right around the corner. They'd all go five days a week all day ( save Wednesdays which for some cockamamie reason is a half day ) and I could just lay low and participate as much as I saw fit.

But I won't do to my kids what my family did to me. If we have the opportunity to send
our children to one of the five highest scoring schools in the state of Michigan ( suck on that
Forest Hills, Rockford, Comstock Park and Kenowa Hills! Proof that GRPS IS capable of producing exceptional students and well rounded, gifted children ), I'll pay for the extras and do all of the extra stuff, even if it does wear me out.

But damn! I wish that the beginning of the school year wasn't so expensive.

At least we will have a two year reprieve before I get Mr. Noel again... and then pay for that stuff twice over all at once ( UGH!! ).

Maybe I should start buying now... *insert almost sarcasm here*

For now, I will take the last of the school supply purchases upstairs and run one final inventory to make sure that nothing was missed.

I hope that as my children get older, they appreciate the work that we're going through to give them a quality education... right now a certain princess needs to be knocked down a rung or two and realize that what she has and does is a privilidge when compared to the alternative.

*sigh* Whaddya do....