Tuesday, July 31, 2012

5 years of blogging

I thought I started this blog in Aug. 2007, but just discovered that it was July 23, 2007.
Read my first post here.
I have been blogging for 5 years now. I am so glad I have this blog as a journal and scrapbook of our lives over the past 5 years.
                                                                    Us in 2007:

Jason with a virtue pet

Joshua in his orange phase

both boys together



I have grown so much in the past 5 years. I have moved 2 times (from apartment to rented house, from rented house to my own house.) I am now homeschooling, which I was not doing then. I am no longer parenting any preschoolers. I also have a teen now. I had surgery and my ankle did recover. I was in another bad relationship. I ended that relationship. I learned that the worse that could happen, did. I lost part of my heart when I lost my brother, Eric. I am still hanging on. I got a dog. I started my cleaning business. I reopened my in home daycare. I turned 28, 29, 30, 31, & 32. I gave up disposable paper products. I discovered I have a love for cheese (Emmathaler yum.) I started cooking and baking from scratch. I made some successful dishes.

I have seen the hand of God bless our family so many times, some beyond anything my mind can comprehend.

I am looking forward to the next 5 years.

Here are some of my goals for that time:

grow in my walk with the Lord
give God my stress
read through the Bible 2 times
lose and keep off 50 pounds
have exercise be part of my DAILY routine
continue homeschooling
graduate Jason from high school
graduate Josh from 8th grade
pay off all my non mortgage debt (about $2,000)
read at least 50 fiction books
read at least 50 non fiction books
take a pottery class
improve my sewing skills and be able to make basic clothing
go to Niagara Falls
replace all the carpet in my home with wood or laminate

It is strange to take a few moments and look ahead, especially when I am so busy with the things at hand. But as looking back reminds me, it goes by so quickly. It is good to have some goals to strive for.

How many of you have been reading my blog since the beginning?



me, brother Kevin, brother Eric, Mom, sister Sam, stepfather Scott, & grandma
I got my AA in Education

                              my younger brother and me, at my graduation celebration barbecue

                                                               me and my brother Eric

My brothers and me in 1985 or 1986

Me as a toddler

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Illness and parental stress

In the past few months Jason has been ill on and off. Their are days he literally can not get out of bed (way above and beyond the normal teen stuff.) His doctor suspected Epstein Barr. Blood work results we got back this week confirmed this.
Basically this is viral and not responsive to antibiotics. The best things to do are let him rest and give him good nutrition.
I also have him on fish oil, a food grade multivitamin, vitamin d, and a supplement for infection daily.
From my research this takes a long time to recover from and the virus never fully leaves your body.

I am not happy that my son is sick, and I hate when he is not feeling well. But I have to be honest, sometimes I just get exhausted parenting a special needs child with all the doctors appointments, therapies, precautions, preplanning, stressful days, and more. And now on top of all of that he is sick as well.

Especially as a single parent, if I have to go to work and he is in a mood or not feeling well I am always unsure as what to do. Cancel work or wherever I have to go, make him go anyway, or leave him home alone. None of these options are great. Especially since if I do not work, I do not get paid.

If I have to cancel work or wherever I have to go it shows irresponsibility on my part and I may even lose that job. If I make him go anyway he may get further stressed or take longer to recover if he is ill that day. Leaving him home is something I do not like to do. He doesn't really like it either. Sometimes he gets very overwhelmed and nervous and so being home alone adds to that. (Although occasionally he enjoys being home alone, for the quiet.)

So all this makes me a bit insensitive to my children's illnesses and challenges. For example if they are not feeling well, I get upset that they can't do their chores. I know, terrible. But when what they are dealing with (illness, stress, etc.) happens so often (almost daily) it is frustrating to me.

Please pray for us!!!

I need prayer to have more empathy for them. I also need strength to handle all these challenges and issues. I also need wisdom for what to do when I am in the midst of a child's illness, or episode, or outburst.
Jason needs prayer with this new diagnosis of Epstein Barr, among his other challenges.
Joshua needs prayer for his challenges as well.



Sunday, July 15, 2012

More followers please

Next month I will have been blogging for 5 years! My goal is to have 50 followers by then, please let your friends know about my blog. Thanks.


Sandy Hook

We live near Sandy Hook, which is a beach, bay, and so much more. It used to be an army base and is still a coast guard station. We went there the other day.

                                              Jason and Josh walking in the Mortar Battery.

Josh attempting to climb the battery wall.

                      Jason made it to the top of a lookout (shhh, he is not supposed to be up there.)

           Joanna and I. We have been friends since I was in 7th grade (20 years ago actually.)

What have we been up to

Our summer schedule looks sort of like our regular schedule. We do have my nephew less as my sister is not taking college classes this summer. It is a nice break (some days we had him like 7:00am or 8:00am until 9:00am or 10:00pm.)

Our schedule right now is:
leave am for cleaning job
four hour cleaning job cleaning job
while we are at cleaning job Jason does online math class 11:15am-12:15pm (the client lets us use their wifi)
after cleaning job Jason piano
after piano Josh art class (this starts tomorrow) for two hours
night Jason chiropractor

4:00pm Kaiden comes over
10:00pm Kaiden leaves

4:00pm Kaiden comes over
10:00pm Kaiden leaves

Jason has online class 11:15am - 12:15pm
Therapy in the afternoon (we alternate, each week it is someone else.)
afternoon Jason horseback riding
4:00pm Kaiden comes over
10:00pm Kaiden leaves

Fri. ~
My goal is field trip Fridays,
but we have been doing doctors appointments
and / or extra cleaning jobs

Sat. ~
8:00am Kaiden arrives
6:00pm Kaiden leaves
night I go babysit (I drop Kaiden and boys at my mom's on the way.)

Sun. ~
night usually dinner with family (mom, stepfather, sister, nephew, & brother)

Somewhere in the schedule, I have to do food shopping. I also try to visit Jason's great grandfather weekly, and my grandmother too. They both live about ten minutes from me.

For now Jason has weekly: math class, piano, horseback riding, and chiropractor. In Aug. he will not be doing piano.
Josh has: art class (I had also signed him up for a class at Sandy Hook, but he didn't like it)
They each have therapy once a month as well.
I am also trying to make sure they have time with friends weekly. Just today Josh had a friend over after church.

I don't always clean on Monday. Also I don't always babysit on Sat. nights. It stinks when they don't need me as I don't get paid when I don't work and I really need that money.

We try and do things outside daily, even if just eating a meal outside. Last Wed. night we went to a local park and had a picnic dinner there with my friend and cousin's kids. It was fun. Plus the weather was mild for a NJ summer night.

We have season passes to Great Adventure but have not really been utilizing them too much (mostly because my car needs brakes and new tires, so I am only driving it local. Great Adventure is about forty five min. away.)

I am happy with our schedule as it is right now.

Is your summer schedule different than your regular schedule?


Customer Service and Product Satisfaction

I do not have a lot of available funds, so when I spend money on a product I expect it to work as it should. When it doesn't I do not hesitate to write, call, or email the company.

Just this week I got a terrible sunburn, even after applying sunblock. I had bought about nine bottles of sunblock from this company, All Terrain. They were not all the same. One bottle was for kids, two were a lotion, but six were a spray. Previously I had used the kid one and the cream. Both worked great. The day I got the sunburn I was using the spray. I have very sensitive skin and burn very easily, so I have learned to be very diligent with applying sunburn. This day in particular I applied it three times over a four hour period. I was concerned to use this stuff again, and I had five more bottles as well, so I emailed the company.

They asked me to return the six bottles, at their expense, so they can test these bottles. They also are refunding me retail value for the six bottles (even though I no longer have the receipt.)

I am so impressed with this response, and especially how quickly this was handled.

Also even though I usually make my own laundry soap, and also have some soap nuts, I was not finding great success with either lately; so I bought a bottle of Method Free & Clear laundry soap a few weeks ago. It was not really cleaning my clothes. I tried cold water, I tried hot. Some loads had to be rewashed two or three times.

I emailed the company again. With in two days they had figured out the bottle I bought was made in 2009 and past its prime. The store should not have been selling it anymore. (Method said their product has a 2 year shelf life.) They recommended I take the product back to the store, but I don't still have the receipt. I told the company that. They are now sending me free coupons for Method products. I will try a fresher bottle of laundry soap next time (the customer service rep said the first two numbers in the lot number are the year it was made, and the next numbers are the day made.)

Now I can take the refund from All Terrain and buy more of the kid stuff and cream sunblock. So I will still have sunblock for the rest of the summer (we use a lot.) And I will also have a new bottle of Method laundry soap as well.

I am very pleased and will continue to do business with these companies again.

Also I referred a friend to Groupon back in March. She signed up as a new customer, and bought a Groupon her self, but I never got the $10 referral credit. Groupon made good this week and credited my Groupon account for the $10. I wasn't even going to email them, but I am glad I did.

On the other side of customer service, last Fri. Jason had to go for blood work. This is extremely stressful for him. We were so fortunate to get two amazing techs who were so patient and kind with him. You better believe  I took the time to thank them both personally and also sent an email to their boss explaining how amazing the two techs were.

I like to also let a company know when I think they are doing a great job.

Do you contact a company if you are unhappy? Do you let them know when you are really happy? What have been the responses from the companies if you did contact them?


Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Today I had some family and a friend over for a barbecue. My mom and stepfather brought most of the food. It was so good too.

 The clams with butter and garlic to dip were my favorite. It is really nice to live near the ocean and get fresh local seafood.

The weather was hot, but we have some nice trees in my yard, so we had nice shade.

I also had a baby pool set up and Kaiden and Josh enjoyed it.

I am so blessed, some of my blessings today are:

being an America
freedom to speak God's name anywhere and everywhere
great food
family and friends
my grill *
my outside table and chairs *
my baby pool *
amazing weather today
my central air for after the barbecue
my dishwasher (on it's second load of the day)*
my wash machine (that is washing clothes as I type)
barbecue left overs (yum)

What are you your blessings today?


* was given to me or I found FREE

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Budget update

I have been waiting to post that I finally have all May bills paid in full, but I can't, because I don't yet. I paid everything for May except my taxes. This is $400.
Last month I had some unexpected plumbing issues and car repairs that were almost $800 all together.
So now my taxes are two months behind, and my other bills are all one month behind, except my mortgage which is still current.

I am just trusting the Lord to provide enough work to pay my taxes (they are actually due Aug. 1st $1,200.)

I do the best I can, so I have to stop stressing and pray about if I need to have different work, or work smarter somehow, or just stay as I am.

I am so blessed. We still have everything we need each and every day. God is so amazing!!!

My other debt:
MasterCard $40
Kohl's $217
Amazon $325
Mortgage $117,00 (about)

How are your finances?