Wednesday, 28 November 2012

less busy, more tired

For the record, we didn't get any info from Riah's tests. They all worked fine, but for whatever reason the doc just talked to us for a minute this time, and said he'd look at the tests over the next few days, do more research, and call within a month. I did find out later that the insurance approved the tests, but not an "office visit" so that may be part of it.

We raised $260 at the bake sale. That allowed us to buy 1 of almost everything we were interested in from Christian Aid Ministries gift catalog: a goat, seeds for an acre garden, milk for an orphanage, Bibles for China, emergency food for a couple of families, trees for Haiti, and a cleanup bucket for a Sandy victim. :-) Having read (this week) an excerpt from Mere Christianity about charitable giving, I'm glad we already had this done. I hope we are able to do more.
As to why we went with CAM over World Vision: for 1 thing, check out the salary of the CEOs. Next, read the little "disclaimer" in the gift catalogs. CAM says "contributions are tax-deductible and are used as specified." WV says, "Donations will be used to provide assistance where it is needed most within that category or to address a similar need."(Emphasis mine). Maybe it's just me, but when I go through and pick out the best gift that I want to give, I think it should be what I picked out. But we like CAM's focus on Bible teaching as well as their extremely high percentage of money to the projects (made possible by their whole operation being volunteer).

Other news... I'm tired. Oh, and Daniel got his first tooth the day after he turned 4 months. Woke up at 4:30 yesterday (he and I). Again today, but Bob got up with him so I could rest. I was a little hyper yesterday and I think it scared him so he really wanted me to get some sleep.

Okay, it's bed time! TTYL.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012


I had several intentions in the last week or so, but have been very busy. We've had something on the calendar almost every day this month. Evenings are traditionally my quiet time, but Daniel is needy then (cluster nursing to prep for bed, and no one around to help soothe him) so, while I can browse or play games on the computer, I can't type very well.

Anyway... The children continue to be unbearably cute. Bob and they are building the playhouse (finally!) as a project for Bob to photograph for his current class.
I went to the building for a suitcase and found all my mending that I'd packed up last year. Taryn sewed on some buttons and now I have two new shirts! Also found Azariah's suit coat (but not the pants) which now fits William.
Riah's MRI and EKG is Wednesday; we are hoping for good news (or at least a lack of bad news).
I've been baking almost every day for the bake sale next week, filling the freezer with cookies, cupcakes, pie crusts...
Made 3 kinds of strawberry preserves and a batch of apple butter.
Went to Crystal Bridges museum (with two other homeschool families!).
Bought a cape dress for Taryn and Naysha, and a new jacket for me, at a yard sale. Elijah says Taryn "looks like a Midnight" (Mennonite). Haha. She will have to figure out the bun to be authentic.

Wil, I still have your post on Obama in mind, but haven't looked at it any more. I doubt I'll be able to change your mind on the subject, and it really doesn't matter anyway.

Saturday, 3 November 2012

one more thought

The other thing I had in mind yesterday was the VA, which also reminds me of the military retirement system.

Preface by saying how very grateful I am that Bob can stay at home and live on his USAF retirement and his VA disability checks. He probably could work at some jobs, but he wouldn't live very long if he did (if I didn't kill him, he would eventually wear out from pain, stress, and all the extra medications necessary to combat the pain and stress).

But it's SOOOOO dumb!!! Sarcasm and over-reacting here.
Okay, Bob is going to college on the Post 9/11 GI Bill, which is handled by the VA. They pay the school so much, and they pay us a little for books and housing (half rate on housing because the school is online). Well, a while back Bob took a 6 week break from school, and the school didn't notify the VA, so they paid us the housing for that 6 week period. Now, it seems logical and efficient to me for them to have simply withheld the following 6 weeks' allowance and it would all be even and fixed.  But being a government entity, they: sent us a letter saying they'd overpaid us and would contact us soon about the repayment options. A month later they sent a letter saying they'd decided what to do. We could write them a check, call to set up payment plans, or call to say why it would create a hardship for us to pay it back. Then it said if we were to receive future payments we should do nothing, and they would take the money out of the future pay. So that's what we did (nothing). Then a month later they sent another letter saying that since we hadn't called or paid, they would start withholding from future payments (duh!) and that would start in January. THEN a month later they sent YET ANOTHER letter, saying that our "indebtedness" had been reduced by so much, and the rest would be paid off the next month. Huh. To add to all this wastefulness (their time, my time, the postage and paper and filing of copies and updating the records), EACH letter contains 3 pages of how to contact the VA and what to do if you think their ruling isn't fair. I guess this is their way of combating the problems of veterans not getting the help they need or deserve. Anyway, I just think the whole thing is silly.

And then another thing about military retirement is the healthcare. For one, didn't they used to promise free healthcare? Maybe that's just for the retiree (not family); in that case, he can get it if he wants to go to the VA hospital. Anyway, we pay a monthly premium for health insurance for the family. In return we get to pick (from a short list) a Primary Care Manager (regular doctor) whom we can visit for preventative care once a year and for any issues that come up, with a $12 "copay" at each visit. Except, so far I haven't been able to get the children seen, but that's another story. I have generally been happy with Tricare. Today I am fussing about the rate increase.
We recently found out that our annual rate will go from $460 to $539. Granted, that is what some people pay per month; my gripe is actually with the wording in the announcement. The official USAF retiree newsletter says "The National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal 2012 allows for the annual increase of TRICARE Prime enrollment fees for most retired beneficiaries based on the annual cost-of-living adjustment." Well, our COLA for this year is 1.7 percent. It doesn't take a genius to figure out that Tricare is going up by far more than 1.7%. I guess I should be glad that the price increase doesn't equal our whole COLA (it's only about half). sigh.

I'm really not an unhappy person, honest. Stupidity just bugs me, and I enjoy getting to blare my opinions in this way.

Friday, 2 November 2012

random thoughts

I'm still (or again) undecided on my choice for President. In Arkansas we are not allowed to write in our choice. The people on the ballot are: Obama, Romney, Johnson (Libertarian, former Governor of New Mexico), the Green Party candidate (Jill Stein), and the Socialism and Liberation Party candidate (Peta Lindsay). I'm not voting for Obama or the Green girl or the S&L party. So that leaves me with Romney and Johnson. I know Johnson won't win, and am inclined to vote for him just to "stick it to" the Republican party for the way they cheated Ron Paul out of his hard-earned place at the national convention (and hopefully send some sort of "message" about appointing a left-leaning candidate). But then, Romney is closer to being pro-life than Johnson is; could I really vote for someone who thinks it's okay to kill people who cannot live independent of  medical devices? But then Romney thinks it's okay to kill someone if their father is a rapist... But his running mate doesn't think so... And Romney isn't all about limited government and personal responsibility (ideas which I think are central to the USA as we know it), but I think he would do better than Obama is doing on many fronts, and (as I read on a blog the other day) better IS better. So anyway, I'm still waffling.

Daniel picture:
On a lighter note, and one on which I'm sure we can all agree, Daniel is gorgeous.

10 commandments:
At church Wednesday there were only 14 people (7 adults and 7 children, if you count Taryn as an adult), so it was pretty casual. We are on the 10 Commandments, and Jesse went around the room asking people if they could name one. When he called on William, William responded, "Thou shalt not drink." Laughter erupted, and I was glad William isn't as touchy as Riah was at that age. In his defense, we had just been talking about the election and the possibility of Madison County going "wet."

We went shopping Tuesday and bought $400 worth of groceries (including diapers). Wednesday and today I've been cooking and prepping for the freezer. Put up 12lbs of chicken breast (trimmed, sliced, marinated - one set cooked for dinner), 20lbs of leg/thigh quarters (boiled with garlic, apple cider vinegar, and salt in water) which made 20 cups of cooked chicken and 12 qts of bone broth (more or less), 14lbs of ground beef (some just divvied up and frozen, 2 kinds of meatballs, breakfast sausage, and some cooked in water with onion which made 2-3 qts beef broth). Also made muffins for breakfast this morning and washed a bunch of dishes (2 DW loads each day plus a bunch of hand wash).

I used to think the broth from boiling chicken was a sort of by-product, and even started baking my cheap cuts for cooked meat to use in casseroles. But then I started reading Weston Price's work and learned of the value of a good bone broth (boil the bones for 24 hours to get all the minerals out), and so now I'm making broth on purpose and the meat is the "extra" part. :-)

bake sale:
Last year for Christmas we gave money to World Vision based on their gift catalog. This year we will give through Christian Aid Ministries for reasons I won't get into here. But we want to do more, so we've decided to hold a bake sale to raise money to send. We will be at Walmart the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. Should be fun.