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2008 August » Philoxenos

Philoxenos

Becoming a coffee snob

26th August 2008

Becoming a coffee snob

It’s a slippery slope, this addiction.

It starts with an occasional frappuccino at Starbucks. Walking into the shop and sniffing the air, breathing deep. Enjoying the smell.

Then it’s a more frequent drive-thru at McDonalds to get an iced coffee. It’s planning the drive so the car just happens to pass by a McDonalds and there just happens to be $1.86 in the ashtray.

It escalates when it is discovered that the supermarket sells some excellent flavoured creamers which mimic the flavour of iced coffees. So I start making them at home. With instant coffee. And some afternoons I start to twitch because I haven’t had any caffeine (never mind the fact that I usually use decaf. I’m very sensitive! Or else I’m twitching for all together different reasons!)

Then, one day, I borrow a coffee maker from  my mom so I can brew coffee for a friend that’s visiting who is a bonafide coffee snob. Only brewed coffee will do. She becomes the barista because I don’t know how to make brewed coffee. And the house fills with the smell. The scent from heaven. The stuff dreams are made of. Am I being dramatic enough?

So, now, I’m sitting here typing with my cup of coffee beside me. I brewed a pot of coffee and I’m enjoying it. Of course I made way too much because I’m still trying to figure it out. But I figure I can save it for later and make some nice iced coffee for Handsome later :)

As I was making this pot, I was thinking about the coming autumn and winter. I was thinking about how I could programme the coffee maker to start automatically so I can wake to the smell of coffee, just like in the Maxwell House commericals! Before I know it I’ll be stealing Gevalia coffee from my mom’s freezer in order to feed my snobbery.

I believe an intervention might be required.

Just be sure to bring coffee ;)

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26th August 2008

Reason #2 Why We Homeschool

We get to do community service as part of our school day.

This morning we will be going to a local old folks’ home to sing, talk with them, and share cookies! How fun is that??

When I told Handsome this morning, he thought that was a really excellent idea. We want our children to understand that there is more to life than just themselves. And who can resist three cute, blonde, blue-eyed children?

So we’ll go with our homeschool group and I know there will be a lot of learning going on.

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24th August 2008

Reason #1 for Why We Homeschool

Going to the zoo on the first day of public school.

Tomorrow the local public schools are starting back. I saw lots of parents and excited kids at Target this week, buying last minute this and that. I’ve heard a lot of parents talk about how excited they are to have kids back in school. And kids telling me at church today that they’re so glad to go back because they’ve been bored.

Well, tomorrow we’re going to the zoo. Handsome is taking a half day off of work and we’ll spend in the morning at the zoo. The zoo normally has a ton of school kids but we figure that the first day of school means we’ll have it pretty much to ourselves.

We really want to help Precious understand that homeschooling is fun and one of the advantages is that we get to do fun things during the weekdays instead of waiting until the weekend.

And, for those that are interested, she loves math. Whenever I give her a choice between math, reading, or writing, she always chooses math. But I think part of it is because her math book is very colourful and fun. She likes reading, too, but because she’s only reading short words, the stories get a bit repetitive :)

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14th August 2008

Hands on lesson on how to call 9-1-1

I spent several hours late this afternoon and evening at the hospital with my son, Little Boy. I am wiped out. Drained, both emotionally and physically. Praise the Lord he’s home asleep in his own bed.

About 3:45pm I was sitting at the breakfast bar, typing an email to my Tupperware lady, when he tried to climb up into the barstool next to me (he does that all the time). He was almost up and then he fell off, hitting the side of his head on the hard tile floor. He didn’t cry and wasn’t moving a whole lot. I quickly scooped him up and held him while he whimpered. He then started to convulse for about ten seconds. Nothing extreme, but definitely not just a little shaking. He wouldn’t focus his eyes on me and he was getting very pale. I knew it was a good idea to get some help.

I quickly called my mom to tell her to get over here quick (she lives 15 minutes away) and then called 911, the emergency number in America. They told me to lay him down on his side and keep him still. No problem since he wasn’t moving much at all, except for some slight movements in his hands and feet. Still very pale. Took about two minutes for the fire department to arrive (I’m definitely taking them some cookies tomorrow!) and they very quickly checked him out and started getting basic information. All the while the girls were in our bedroom watching a movie. They had no idea what was going on, thank goodness.

Just a minute or so later the paramedics arrived and they took over. As a precaution they strapped him into this papoose thing to keep his head and back still. He hated it and started crying, which is of course a good sign.

I quickly ran next door to get my neighbour to watch the girls until my mom came. He was standing on his driveway, not wanting to be nosy, but he quickly came over and stayed with them while I climbed into the amulance with my screaming, scared son. My mom arrived before they even shut the doors of the ambulance.

While all this is going on Handsome called me back (I had called before but he hung up on me because he was in a meeting) and I told him what was going on and he said that he’d come home straight away.

Skip ahead a bit. Handsome got to the hospital and my mom took the girls home to her house.

We waited quite a long time, ER was very busy. Lots of old people. Fortunately not a lot of trauma as the trauma cases go to another hospital. At first they were saying that Little Boy would have xray and CT scan just to make sure. But within about an hour, after he had the papoose taken off, he was walking around, laughing and jabbering, just like normal. He was obviously just fine. Doc wanted to keep him for a couple of hours just to make sure there was no change, during which time he couldn’t eat or drink anything.

Finally Doc comes and pronounces him fine. Says to keep an eye out for any changes, but otherwise no problem. We left the hospital shortly after 7.

Shortly after Handsome arrived, we started getting calls and text messages from people from his work. He works for a Christian company and they had sent out a prayer request to all staff, so they were checking on things. And Handsome called the worship band to cancel practice, but they decided to go ahead and practice without him. At about 5:45 my dad came in, obviously straight from work (he works for the same company as Handsome). He said that it’s probably a good thing that they hadn’t told him earlier or he would have walked out of the board meeting and come to the hospital earlier. Board meetings are a pretty big deal around that place, so it is obvious that Little Boy ranks very, very highly in importance on Dad’s list. And our pastor came as well, with his father who happened to be in town for the same board meeting.

Now that things have settled down and we’re back at home, I’m reflecting on a few things.

1. Having a support network is so important. What would I have done if I didn’t trust my neighbour? Or what if he wasn’t at home? What if my mom wasn’t in town? Who would I have called? I’m going to think about these things and put them in writing.

2. I need to teach Precious how to use the phone to call 9-1-1.

3. Always keep the diaper bag packed and ready to go. Fortunately it was. And praise the Lord my phone was charged! But I had put my phone charger in my purse this morning for some reason. Now I know why :)

4. Having people call and text really is comforting. Having our pastor come by within 90 minutes of us getting to the hospital is comforting. Having my dad pray with us at the bedside is comforting. Having people call us to ask if we need anything at the hospital is comforting. So when I know of people that are in crisis, I need to call. Even if I think it might be awkward, I need to do it.

so, I’m off to bed. Tomorrow the kids and I will be making cookies for the fire department guys to say thank you. We’ll be just staying home and taking it easy. And I’ll be cherishing every moment with those three precious people.

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9th August 2008

I’m addicted, or Why We Have So Much Cereal

Remember a few posts back I asked if it’s possible to get too many good deals? Well, apparently not.

Kellogs is currently doing a deal, until the end of September, if you buy ten Kellogs items in one transaction you can send in for a $10 rebate. Now, if you’re paying full price at the grocery store, so like $3 a box, this isn’t a great deal.

But.

But, if you do it my way, then you end up with some very cheap cereal. And the lure of cheap cereal just couldn’t keep me away.

This week (ends today) Walgreens had a deal going you could buy 4 boxes of cereal for $10 and then get a $5 Register Reward, which is like cash at the store. So, essentially, you’re paying  $5 for four boxes of cereal, which is an excellent price.

I know some people are making this even sweeter by stacking manufacturers coupons with the deal, so they are actually paying less than $5. It’s possible to even get it for free if you have enough coupons. I didn’t have any coupons.

But one of the tricks is that you can’t just buy eight boxes of cereal and get two Register Rewards. Doesn’t work like that. However, Walgreens also had a deal where you bought four boxes of cereal bars and get the $5 Register Reward. It is possible to do these two deals at the same time thus getting all ten items on the same transaction and qualifying for the rebate.

So, after I had a bit of a rest during quiet time I took Precious with me to start teaching her the fine art of bargain shopping. I explained to her why I do these crazy things some times. She understands that I’m saving money so that we can spend it on other things. And she really just likes going out with me by herself.

We bought five boxes of cereal ($2.50 each) and five boxes of cereal bars ($2.50 each), for a total of $25. I got $10 in Register Rewards back. I will also send in for the $10 Kellogs rebate, so I got all that stuff for just $5. That’s 50 cents a box.

Fortunately the cereal is cereal that I would normally by - Special K, Raisin Bran, that kind of stuff. But I now have a lot of it. And earlier in the week I went to Vons to buy Cheerios for $1 a box, so we are loaded up on cereal for a while.

I would like to point out, though, that although the cereal was a great deal and I don’t regret buying it, I would venture to say that plain old-fashioned oatmeal is still cheaper and definitely healthier. During hot weather we just don’t eat that much oatmeal, but I know that once the weather starts to cool down we’ll be eating much more.

So, I realise that there is more to life than finding a great deal, but I really think of it as my hobby. And at least my hobby saves us money instead of costing money!

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6th August 2008

Moms and their children

Earlier in the week I wrote a post I titled “Mommy is the model”. I didn’t post it because it was just kind of all over the place. But just now, while I waited for the Spider Guy (a tale for another time!), I was reading Laine’s Letters, which always inspire me, and she had written this quote:

“A mother can read all the child-rearing books and can subscribe to any theory of parenting, but what gets passed along to her children is something far more intimate and mysterious than anything contained therein. What gets passed along is her character, and it enters into her kids as surely and as inexorably as water flows from a fuller vessel into a less-full one.” Laurence Shames 

I have been incredibly convicted about the things that I’m seeing in my children. Because the flaws I see in them are things I struggle with myself. They spend more time with me than any other single person in their lives so it makes sense that they would become more like me, particularly in these early years. Shouldn’t I then make building my character a high priority, so that what they’re learning is everything good?

I want my children to remember that we spent time reading books, singing songs, talking to God, tickling on the floor. I don’t want them to remember all the times that Mommy yelled at them.  Or the times she was ‘too busy’.  I want them to exhibit the Fruit of the Spirit. But the best way they learn is by example and I’m afraid that I’m not a very good example these days.

So, I need to be the kind of wife that I want my son to marry. I need to be the kind of daughter that I want my daughters to be. I need to be the kind of friend that I want to have.  I need to love their father the way I want them to love.

But even more than all that, I need to be more like Jesus, in every way.

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5th August 2008

Celestial Oatmeal Cookies

For my own future reference, a great way to use up a little bit of pumpkin puree.

Celestial Oatmeal Cookies, courtesy of Quaker Oats.

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3rd August 2008

And this is why we have home owners insurance

Friday evening we came home to a flooded kitchen. Lots o’ fun.

We currently have large industrial fans blowing on our now-exposed walls (the baseboards were ripped out) trying to make sure all the dampness is gone. These fans arrived with the men that knocked on our door at 10:45pm on Friday night, after we made a call to our insurance company. They had these little doo-dacky things that measured the dampness in the floors. Apparently there was a lot. Just because we didn’t feel it didn’t mean it was there.

The flooding spread from the kitchen into our school room, soaking the carpet and ruining our beautiful table and chairs that the kids got for Christmas. It also spread into the living room, soaking part of the carpet. All the carpet has been ripped up and the padding removed. Many, many baseboards have been removed around the whole area. And like I said we have all these fans blowing. It’s very loud and very hot because of the heat they produce.

Tomorrow we will be talking with the insurance company again and hopefully within a day or two we’ll get an adjustor out to assess it and tell us what the next step is.

So, life is interesting. We’re eat our evening meals at my parents’ house because our kitchen is somewhat out of service for a few days. But other than the kids’ table nothing was ruined. It’s just going to be inconvenient for a while.

This isn’t my best piece of writing but I just wanted to write it down for posterity :)

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1st August 2008

Is it possible to get too many deals?

Last night when Handsome came home from music practice, about 7:30, I threw on my shoes and was out the door in just a couple of minutes.

You see, Walgreens had a special coupon out $5 off $20 purchase, good for 31 July only. By combining it with sales and manufacturer’s coupons, I was actually getting paid to take some things out of the store. They had a lot of free-after-rebate items (and for those of you that hate rebates, you can now file them online so you don’t have to worry about losing your receipt, just do it first thing when you get home.) so I bought those, used the $5/$20 coupon and was making money on them. I printed four coupons off so I could do it four different times. That kind of coupon doesn’t happen all the time so it’s worth using it! I visited three different stores :)

When I got home I registered my receipts online and then, for Handsome’s benefit, I totalled up what we actually will have spent out of pocket when we get the rebate back. The grand total? $4.36. With that I got a whole lot of stuff. I don’t know for sure but I would estimate that I bought at least $50 worth of merchandise. Actually it’s probably closer to $75. Of course I would never pay full price at Walgreens because their prices are pretty high. But I got a lot of stuff (things that we’ll use) for only $4.36. Oh, and I got four movie tickets, too!

After it was all done and I’d cleaned up the kitchen (I had promised that I would clean the kitchen before I went to bed since I didn’t do it before I left) I told Handsome that I’m pretty sure that I’m finished with doing deals for a while. Probably a month or two at least. We have a stockpile of things and I can’t think of anything that we would need to buy as far as household or health and beauty supplies go. Although I enjoy the thrill of the chase I have other things in my life that need some attention as well.I will continue to collect coupons but I won’t be spending the time online that I have been, finding out about the deals and such.

Just a side note, I’m hoping that I will be able to teach a class at church to our mom’s group about saving money at home by using coupons and menu-planning and living more simply. And, for me, part of living simply is knowing when enough is enough. There is more to life than free shampoo and toothpaste :)

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