Thursday, March 23, 2017

Really Behind..

Happy Thursday everyone! 

Just stopping in quickly before I start trying to get everything done today!

I need to run (well, run isn't quite the right word at the moment, thank you Left Leg) to a mall 45 minutes away because G1 is having a "makeup emergency" and is completely out of foundation.  (My gas and time, her money)  She is heading over to Ramsey's right after school because tomorrow is a teacher in service day...hence said teenage emergency.

G2 texted me and asked if a friend could sleepover tonight.  But, not just any friend...the one who has been having all the depressive issues - she is doing a bit better by the way.  So, how could I say no?  Cue the straightening up of the family room, bringing the mattress down and make sure I have clean sheets for it, cleaning the downstairs bathroom, and figuring dinner out since the friend is partially vegetarian.

Add walking the dog into the mix and the usual laundry....

Oh, and ALL of this needs to be done by 12:30....

And I'm hobbling around!


I downed some Tylenol for the pain and, yes, this afternoon I will probably breakdown and email my neurologist.

And, I keep trying to remember that one day the chaos that is created by the Guppies will be gone...

And I'm going to miss it more than I can even imagine.

Have a great day!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Day Book for Wednesday March 22, Plus Gas & Garbage

G2 and I are always texting each other silly memes.  I have no idea why but this one cracked me up yesterday!

Outside my window....
It literally just began to flurry...which is strange because I don't remember hearing that in the forecast.  The wind is blowing the trees around like mad.  Other than a few cars going by, there really isn't much activity.

What I am hearing....
The furnace kicking on AGAIN! I really didn't want to fill the oil tank again until after the cold weather was over.  There was something satisfying in being able to say we only filled up twice for the entire winter.  But, with only a quarter of tank left and some more cold weather on the way, I'm not sure I am going to win this one!

What I am feeling....
Meh.  But, I am not going to be one of those bloggers who just complains all the time!  LOL  Yesterday I logged in almost 12,000 steps so that's definitely progress from where I have been lately. So, let's stick with that!  =)

What I am wearing....
Still in PJ's as I have yet to hop in the flannel PJ bottoms, black long sleeved T shirt, and dark blue Disney Beach Club zip up sweatshirt.  Yeah, I know you are jealous of my fashion sense!  Haha!

What I am reading....
Trigger Warning by Neil Gaimon.  It's a compilation of his short stories.  It's awesome so far and I am taking my time with it! 

From the kitchen....
Nothing yet.  Papa was my hero last night when he cleaned the kitchen for me!  So, I have a nice neat kitchen to mess up today!  HAHA  I need to make more granola later on this morning.  And, it would probably be a good idea to figure out tonight's dinner as well!  Papa already warned me he is most likely working late - more snafus in the final phases of the computer portion of his project.

From the learning rooms....
I don't use this one quite often but I have something to say today!  G1 got a formal written warning via email from Gaggle/Administration.  It was beyond ridiculous!  And, I'm not talking about just because I don't agree with it!  It was a form email that said her work had been "flagged for inappropriate words/content" and to "refrain from such language in the future".  Talk about being vague?!?!  No specifics whatsoever!  We have encouraged her to go to administration and ask for particulars!  (As her English teacher did as well)  Before G1 went to bed last evening, she told me she WANTED to continue to turn things in on Google Docs because she strongly believes in freedom of expression in a creative writing classroom.  She even told me the idea she has for her next short story and, wow!  It's a doozy! It draws on past experiences over the years at the high school while still staying in the fiction realm.  It's not her usual gory stuff, but, if she does indeed write it, it will probably freak administration out, which is fine.  Let G1 graduate with a bang!  I'm pretty sure her AP Creative Writing teacher will get a kick out of the story too!  Especially after G1 shows her the one she wrote sophomore year!  Some people may think that we are encouraging G1 to go looking for trouble....What we are doing is helping her find her voice and stand up for what she believes in.

My goal gas budget for the month of March was $130.  This is for my car only.  As of last my last update, I had $73.57 left.  Last Friday night I filled up for $30.43, leaving me with $43.14 for the rest of the month.  I have a little over 1/2 tank currently and will most likely need to fill up again on Friday.  I am considering only putting in $20 and trying to make it the rest of the month with only that.  This way, I can "bank" $23 towards summer driving.  We will see how this goes!  =)

Only ONE (13 gallon kitchen sized bag) this week!  (((cue applause)))  LOL  I'm extremely happy with this!

I'm off to take that shower and get the dog out for a quick walk!  I hope everyone has a wonderful Wednesday!

Monday, March 20, 2017

Positively Monday!

Apparently I need this weekly post more than even I realized!  LOL

I can feel the grumpies overtaking my mood so let's see what positives I can come up with to negate it!

1.  My leg is slowly on the mend!  Papa helped out a ton this weekend so I could rest up and it made a decent difference.  While I still can't "lead" with my left foot while walking, it doesn't hurt quite as much,  I am beginning to walk downstairs one at a time again as well - rather than stepping on each step with both feet, if that makes any sense.  Plus, I am trying to batch chores together so I can stay on each floor for a good amount of time rather than taxing myself going up and down the stairs constantly. 

2.  I have cut way back on the Tylenol/Motrin regimen for my leg pain.  Even though it's over the counter, I hate taking meds!  I also never needed to add the valium in to sleep!  So YAY there!

3.  I have very giving parents!  I am very grateful to have the extra food in the house for so many reasons....not just the freebies of it either!  It's great to have organized meals that can be easily prepared.

4.  G1 had a great weekend!  She was in a new social situation and isn't always good with that type of thing due to her social anxiety.  But, this weekend went very well!  She was able to handle even the bumps and hopefully feels more confident!

5.  G2 had a very nice weekend as well!  I had given her $35 to use but she and her boyfriend chose free things to do!  Last night she asked if I wanted the money back even - honest kid!  I told her to keep it since it's a long weekend coming up - Friday is a teacher inservice day.  So, I guess in a way, I  saved some money too since I don't have to give her anymore this weekend!  =)

6.  G2 and I went for a nice night drive on Friday night after she came home from her boyfriend's.  It was great to have time just the two of us and we had a really awesome uninterrupted 90 minute conversation.  =)  Some may say it's a waste of gas but for me, it's precious time to spend with my growing Guppies.

7.  I have reached a little more than the half way goal of wanting to "earn" $100 this month.  I cashed out my consignment account's balance of $28.28 and ordered a $25 Target gift card from Papa's rewards credit card.  I still have a few more tricks up my sleeve so I have a decent shot of surpassing this goal - if I can get my act together!  =)

8.  The plethora of free/cheap magazines I was able to score at the beginning of the year are starting to be delivered!  Perfect timing as it gives me something to do during the short rest periods I take throughout the day for my leg.

9.  We have been having a successful run of new recipes for the most part.  =)

10.  I did a quick averaging of the steps I have been taking, using my cellphone's counter.  While not perfect (since I sometimes walk around the house without the phone in my pocket), I still feel like it's a fairly accurate depiction of my activity.  So far, this month I have walked an average of 8613 steps per day.  It's much lower than I would like BUT I'll take it considering the snow and my decline in mobility for a good portion of the month.

And, with that, I am starting to feel a little more optimistic today!

Happy Monday!

Gagging Over Gaggle & Other High School Hells

Maybe I am being rather unkind, but, the new principal at the Guppies' high school is completely reminding me of the evil Miss Trunchbull from Matilda!

I'm sure everyone isn't going to agree with me here.  And, that's okay. Be prepared for a rant however because I just really need to "get this out".....

But first, a quick history..
When we were house hunting back in the early 2000's and decided to spread our search farther out into Connecticut, we used a LOT of criteria for helping us make the decision as to where to settle down. Schools were one of the top three things that helped our ultimate decision....
Our town's schools were ranked behind only one other town (Madison) for the "best" school system for our town's size when we purchased our home in 2003.  And, for the elementary school years, I couldn't agree more!  With the exception of two elementary school teachers (one for each Guppy), we were thrilled with what we saw.
Middle school was horrific for G1 on so many different levels - especially seventh grade!  Her seventh grade teachers were of absolutely NO help during her depression/anorexia.  And, even said straight to Papa and my faces that 1. she couldn't wear certain clothes other kids could because of her "figure" (ie big boobs even during the anorexia) and 2. when she wanted to promote a benefit concert for a teen outreach program that she was having in lieu of a 13th birthday party, we were told that her teachers imagined her down in some basement with these musicians smoking pot and having sex. YUP!  That really happened!  And we were offended on a THOUSAND different levels trust me!  And those "musicians" were our friends who were good honest guys who never did a thing untoward to her! Oh AND, the day after we met with them to discuss G1's depression/anorexia, they searched her locker for DRUGS!  Didn't find any but no surprise to us there.  (Sorry, first rant over!  LOL)
G2's middle school years were okay.  Definitely nothing special.  But, we did love her eight grade teaching team to be honest.

Onto high school....

There have been many issues here since G1 entered four years ago...
However, one that made us very angry was when her sophomore literature teacher gave her a pretty unfair grade on a creative writing project.  The teacher told her class that nothing was off the table besides pornography.  Well, G1 stayed within her parameters and still got the lesser grade AND a trip to guidance and administration for her disturbing story.  G1 writes a LOT of horror and loves Clive Barker so you can imagine what she wrote.  LOL  In the end, I was okay with the fact that the school wanted to make sure she was "Okay" and brought us in about it. And, the way guidance handled it was an improvement from how we were all treated by her seventh grade teachers.  But, I still won't get over the fact that the sophomore lit teacher gave her a piss poor grade because she didn't like the subject matter.  (Teacher is extremely Christian and story had satanic undertones.  And, yes, G1 did do this on purpose.  I'm not going to sugar coat that!)  We have had this story viewed by other teachers who agree with us that the grading is not fair and the work was actually quite good.

Okay, now to present time....

G1 FINALLY got the teacher I have been wishing for the entire four freaking years!  Starting in January G1 is in a half year AP Creative Writing class with the best English teacher they have. I was probably almost as excited as G1 because I figured she would be able to really blossom and rediscover the love of writing that other teachers had squashed.  And, it worked!  This teacher teaches the class like an actual college course - all things are open for discussion during class and they can write about anything they chose that can fit the parameters of each assignment...

Until now....

There's a new principal this year who I have nicknamed Miss Trunchbull.

And, she has started a new lovely agenda including the use of  "Gaggle".

I had no idea what "Gaggle" was until a week ago.  Gaggle is software than sifts through anything students write on Google Docs - which is how the students turn in assignments.  It looks for "swear" words - hell and damn are even offenders - and "trigger" words.  It then alerts the administration and students can be spoken with, given detention, or even expelled for what is found!
Can Gaggle have some usefulness?  Possibly.  But, IMO, it has no place in a senior AP Creative Writing class!
So, G1 turns in some poetry for this class last week which explores the mind of a murderer.  (This was before we knew about Gaggle)  I read it and it's a great piece that is actually not gory.  But, G1's teacher apologized because, while the teacher knows G1 and her style, Gaggle doesn't.  We are waiting for her call down to administration about it.  (((sigh)))   Papa and I are both very passionate about the subject of creative censorship so, if anything happens to G1 regarding this piece,  we will be down there having a lively debate!
To the creative writing teacher's credit, she announced to the class that she will no longer be having them turn their work in through Google Docs so their creative integrity can stay intact.   So, kudos to her!
But, I have another creative writer (although not nearly as edgy) coming through the high school for three more years so this should be fun....

Also last week...

I'm driving G2, her boyfriend, and her friend home from school.  And, they are all abuzz with  the news they got from their Advisory teachers.  Apparently, students were told that the school could watch everything they did on their chromebooks, personal phones, and personal computers.  They were told that the school has a right to monitor every single song, text, social media picture/post, Netflix movie, website, etc they go to- even while at home!  SAY WHAT?!?  And, if students went on anything/did anything administration disagreed with, the students would be punished accordingly.  I spent the entire ride home explaining to everyone that not even the POLICE could do anything like that without a subpoena and "just cause" so the school had no right to look into anything they did during their own time.  Could they monitor what kids did during school on their school issued chromebooks?  Possibly...if they had a reason to do it.
I'm completely for stopping bullying at school and I know it can extend into social media and texts etc.  BUT, I also think that these cases should be examined on an individual basis.  NOT the school essentially bullying every single student with this kind of scare tactic bullshit!

Also, Miss Trunchbull wants to end "Senior Privilege" - where seniors can leave school up to 90 minutes early if their schedule permits and all required classes need for graduation are completed.  A LOT of these seniors go to an afterschool job or pursue their passions with the extra time.  Whelp, not if Miss T can help it!  She wants seniors in school taking extra classes! 

And, she wants teachers to start actively "checking" that students are completing homework/schoolwork during free period study halls.  Well, when the Guppies don't have any work to complete, they always carry a book to read or listen to Spotify on their phones and draw/doodle to relax.  Again, I don't think it's fair that they dictate how the students use or don't use their study hall time - especially if they aren't being disruptive to others and their grades are fine.

It's not freaking prison for crying out loud!

Bottom line is our high school already places an incredible amount of stress on its students for the almighty "good review/standing" in the state of Connecticut.  Does this principal really need to make it any worse?

Okay, ranting over.  I wish I could say it was out of my system though!  =)

I'll be back later with a Positively Monday post to counteract this one!  LOL

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Semi- Recap of Dinners Last Week & Slow Sunday Prep Day....

I didn't keep up with my usual menu/food post for last week but here are the highlights of dinners...that I can remember (in no particular order)....

One day (Thursday I think) we did take out Chinese.

Orange Brined Roast Chicken with mashed potatoes, roasted yams, and bacon Brussel sprouts (Tuesday)

Corned Beef with mashed potatoes

Loaded Baked Potato Soup with Olive Bread (last night)

Cheeseburgers & Fries

Oh, and homemade Cheesecake for dessert a few days!  YUUUUMMMY!

Honestly that's all I can remember!  But, I do know we had everything else at home besides the one take out day.

This week I hope to keep better track of it all.

Today's prep work for the week is going to be slow going.  First, my leg is still bothering me but not quite as much thanks to Papa helping out yesterday!  I would be shocked if it wasn't MS related though, because as the constant ache has started to go away, I can feel more of the little electric ripples going up and down my leg.  (Electrical ripples are typical MS signs for me.  BUT they aren't usually accompanied by pain.)  I'm trying not to complain too much though because it's starting to get better overall I think.
Sometimes it feels like I just can't win healthwise!
Last night, right when I was done cleaning up the kitchen from dinner, it was like someone flipped a switch in me!  I got shaky, cold, and felt like I was going to throw up.  It was only seven o'clock and I went straight to bed anyway.  I slept through but Papa said I was feverish all night.  This morning I woke up feeling meh but not as bad as last night.  I'm going to try to pace myself and make sure the most important items get done today:

Iron Papa's laundered work shirts
Wash/Dry two more loads of laundry
Figure out easy breakfasts for the Guppies this week - bake muffins or mini cherry turnovers?
Update calendar for next week
Pull bacon out of freezer - DONE (needed for the bacon broccoli cavatelli I'm making)

There is SO much more I want to add to this list but I'm stopping it there.  I need to try to rest more today if I am able.  Papa's project (while mostly done) has been having some snafus and he's been having later nights again (usually between 8 to 10pm) which will most likely continue through this week.  I have to try to be as close to my A game as possible for this week to ensure everything runs smoothly.

With that I'm off! 

Hope you all have a nice Sunday!

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Groceries This Week (March 2017)

I am striving to keep my grocery bill to $450 or under for March. I am aiming for $100 less than a "normal" budgeted month.  Don't know if it can happen, but, I'm game to try!  =)
What is included in my monthly budget?  Food, paper and cleaning products, and health/beauty items.  We are a family of four....Papa, Me, Guppy1 (18), and Guppy2 (14).  Plus we often will have an impromptu dinner guest or two thanks to the Guppies!  =)
After last week's big trips, I had $160.39 left in the March budget.  Let's see what happened this week...
The plan to stay out of the grocery store....and that didn't happen completely.  Having two extra kids snowed in for two days, thus feeding six of us, took more than I anticipated.  However, the loaf of bread stayed mostly intact - LOL....Joke from another post earlier this week.  Plus since I have been having (what we think is) an MS flare up, I needed to adjust some things around.
Here's what I did spend...

Big Y: $73.29
1 store brand cream cheese block
1/2 lb of store brand butter - price was right and it should hold me (hopefully) until a new sale
1 (16 oz) container of Daisy sour cream
1 (32 oz) store brand whole milk (I knew I should have grabbed two at the farmer's market!)
1 (18 count) package of eggs
1.5 lbs American cheese (deli)
1 bag Ore-Ida fries
3 half gallons ice cream (buy one/get two)
1 (12 pack) diet Raspberry Snapple
1 jar pickled ginger
1 container of chocolate sprinkles
1 container of Rinaldi pasta sauce
1 Ortega taco dinner kit
1 package store brand hamburger rolls
4 (32 oz each) Gatorades
1 container fresh salsa
1 bag green beans
1 bag croutons
1 (8oz) container of sliced mushrooms
1 (12 oz) bag of salad mix
1 container of Marie's Super Blue Cheese dressing
1 (2lb) bag of whole carrots

Groceries: $$$?
My parents know that I have been having trouble with my leg and wanted to help in the best way they knew how!  =)  I don't have a receipt so I have no clue what this all cost.   But I feel like I have to add it here to be fair so you guys know that I received more help....and didn't wonder where all the extra stuff for meals came from!  Haha
So, what did we get?  I'll try to break it down into meals first and then miscellaneous.  My parents gave me everything in its "raw" form.  (They figured it was helpful to have the stuff in the house and not need to do any additional walking around the store.)
1.  Chili fixings:  ground beef, cheese, peppers, canned diced tomatoes, canned red kidney beans, onions,and canned diced green chili peppers
2. Stuffed Shells: (G2 loves stuffed shells and they know it!)  dried shells, ricotta cheese, mozzarella cheese, sauce PLUS salad mix, olives from the olive bar, cherry tomatoes, and two types of dressings
3,  Fajitas:  Flank steak, onions, peppers, tortillas, cheese
4.  London Broil, sweet potatoes
Also purchased:
2 frozen mini chicken pot pies (throw back to my childhood)
1 frozen mini turkey pot pie
1 frozen mini beef pot pie
1 large bag of pizza rolls
1 veggie sushi for G1
1 kid cuisine for G2 (she hasn't had this in forever and apparently they can be oven cooked)
1 container of 12 mini St. Patrick's Day cupcakes
1 box Cheez-Its
6 pack of Vitamin Water
6 pack of Sparkling Ice drink
and, in case you are wondering...
NO loaves of bread were purchased...I'm guessing that's because I told my parents how MUCH we went through during Tuesday's storm.  Bahahaha!

Farmer's Market:  $10
1 quart of whole milk
1 pint heavy cream - free!  They were already out their heavy cream at 11:00 am so they gave me the pint  for free because it was at its sell date
1 pint blueberry yogurt
1/2 loaf of olive bread

Total Spent This Week:  $83.29
Total Left in March Budget:  $77.10

We are definitely still in "doable" range to stay on budget.. A large part being the free supplies my parents gifted us!  I have quite a few meals sketched out (in my head mostly) for the coming days which is a bonus.  I anticipate needing fruits/veggies, milk, Snapple, and soda - my downfall and one I'm trying to work on -before the month is over.

How is everyone doing with their March menus and grocery bills?

Friday, March 17, 2017

Thank God It's Friday & Miscellany

I, for one, am very happy today is Friday!

And, I am hoping for a fairly quiet weekend where I can relax a bit...I guess we will see how it goes!

To those of you who have reached out, thank you.  It means more than you can imagine!  I'm getting through on a mixture of Tylenol and Motrin.  And, if that ends up not being enough to help me get the rest I need during the night, I do still have a partial bottle of Valium left from an old prescription - though I view this as a last option.  I'm not one to take a lot of meds which ends up being a GOOD thing, because, boy are they effective when I do use them!  =)

Ramsey & G1 have left for the weekend to head over to one of Ramsey's friend's houses two towns over from me.  And, wow!  After having him here since Tuesday, the silence is crazy!  LOL  Of course I'm sad I lost my chef de cuisine from this past week too!  =)

G2 is heading out with her boyfriend tonight for a bit....if they can decide on what to do!
 I'm not sure what she is doing the rest of the weekend yet.  I don't think she even knows!  haha!

And, Papa had to leave work in the middle of the morning to pick his brother up to come to the hospital since he has two or three appointments during the day.  Papa will also be driving him home afterwards so I don't know how late he will be tonight.

On a happy freebie note, my parents gifted me with some more groceries!  Yeah, I know how lucky I am and I have included the "haul" in my grocery post for the week which will be posted tomorrow afternoon most likely.  I have a good six or seven dinners "planned" in my head between what they brought and what I already had.  We will still head to the farmer's market tomorrow, because, you know we need our dairy fix!  =)

I feel like I'm rambling on like a crazy person....or at least one who didn't get a lot of sleep last night!  My almost ten year old puppy has been getting a case of cabin fever because of the snow!  We have finally been able to walk her (briefly) in areas that were cleared but it's been nowhere near as long as usual.  (Leg partly to blame there too)  Anyway, last night around 1am, she started whining.  Between one and three am I took her out a total of three times....Two to just eat snow (seriously?) and one to pee.  I didn't get back to sleep until after four!  And, now this afternoon, puppy puked on my bed (thankfully on one of Papa's bedshirts!) and on the floor of my bedroom!  Hope she isn't sick too!

Oh, and there is some major crap going on at the high school with the new principal!  I'll leave this for another post....maybe over the weekend?  But, I already have a nickname for her....Miss Trunchbull!  Any Matilda fans out there?  =)

Okay, I'm done!  Hopefully I will have more cohesive thoughts tomorrow after a nice night's rest!

Have a great Friday night all!