March 2017

March 2017

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Happy Birthday, Daniel!

Thirty-eight years ago, today, I gave birth to my first baby and only son.
Happy birthday, Daniel!

In August 2009, Daniel gave us a daughter-in-law.
Zuae and Daniel were married in South Korea,
giving Jim and I a once-in-a-lifetime adventure.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Day Trip to Grant's Farm

My daughter and I took the boys to Grant's Farm today. It was humid and sunny, but could have been much worse. We all had a good time, although. . .

After Jonah saw the box turtles,
he wasn't as upset about having
to leave the boa constrictor. 
To my horror, Jonah is clearly a reptile lover. Whenever he's near a snake, turtle, or iguana, for example, he practically has to be pulled away. Today he got to pet a boa constrictor and box turtle. The look on his face was one you see on someone cuddling a puppy or kitten!

And then there are the changes that come with being a 7-year-old boy. Elliott refused to go on the merry-go-round because all the animals looked too "girlie."

Feeding the goats
is a popular attraction.


Plus, all day, both boys kept talking over each other, trying to monopolize grandma's attention. And, of course, there was the "I want to sit next to grandma! No, I want to sit next to grandma!" But you know I loved that ;)

All in all, it was a fun outing and I look forward to the next one.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Kitchen Remodel Update


We've been plugging away on the new kitchen design for weeks and have finally made several major decisions. The style is Modern French Country. The floor will be a 3" x 6' tile that looks like hand-scraped dark wood, and the cabinets will be solid white with brushed nickel hardware. The layout has also been finalized.


From the drawing, you can see it is quite different from our current kitchen. The biggest change is the elimination of the peninsula and addition of an island. But there are many other differences, especially in the placement of the appliances. The cooktop is moving to the outside wall, and the double ovens are swapping places with the refrigerator. Plus the microwave will no longer be above the cooktop, allowing for a decorative hood. 

Without a doubt, the new kitchen will be the biggest transformation our 30+-year-old home has ever undergone. I'm excited and nervous about such a huge change. But at least these new emotions are lessening my anxiety over being without a kitchen and laundry room for several weeks! 

Demo begins July 15.



Thursday, June 20, 2013

62 or 66?

Jim turned 62 last May and I'll be 62 in October. So whether or not to apply for Social Security benefits now, or wait until we're 66, has been a significant discussion lately. Since Jim is working full time and plans to continue doing so for at least another four years, it's an easy decision for him to wait until he's 66. But, since I retired after we sold the family business, we keep debating whether or not I should apply for benefits now.

Although I made an appointment for us to talk to a SS agent in July, right now I'm set on waiting until I'm 66 to apply. As our financial advisor explained, if I invest all my SS checks for the next four years, the return on my investment won't come close to the bigger checks I'll get if I wait until I'm 66. So, since we're managing on Jim's income, it just makes sense for me to wait. 

My parents retired at 62 and lived off SS and mom's pension until mom was placed in a nursing home in April 2009 at age 78. For them, full retirement age was 65. So, for just three years, they used COBRA to get mom's extremely affordable health insurance through the school district where she was a bus driver for nearly 30+ years. 

But my generation's reality is someone in the household must continue working full time, if at all possible, until at least 66 when we qualify for Medicare. Private pay health insurance is simply too expensive. When we were business owners, we paid nearly $700 a month for a $6000 deductible plan. With Jim's current employer, we have a better plan for just $51 a month.

Do I wish we could have both retired this year and started planning all the trips we would take throughout our 60s as my parents did? You bet I do! But, given our reality, all I can do is pray 70 is indeed the new 60 while trying to forget mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease at age 72. 

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Grandma Date

The older my oldest grandson, Elliott, gets, the busier his schedule becomes, making it tough to find time for sleepovers at grandma's house. For example, during the last two weeks, he's had Lego camp and swim lessons (when he wasn't sick) as well as a couple of play dates. And next week, Elliott's going to Wolf Camp at the Endangered Wolf Center. But, yesterday and last night, I finally got to spend some good one-on-one time with Elliott, which was so much fun!

This modern-day TV tray works great
as a portable craft table.
At 11:00 A.M., I picked Elliott up from Lego camp and we had an early lunch at Steak 'n Shake. We then drove to St. Charles to give my dad his Father's Day gifts, which was especially nice since great-papa hadn't seen Elliott in several months.

By late afternoon, Elliott and I were set up in the family room with two Table Mate tables, doing paper crafts while watching Harry Potter movies. I wish I had taken a picture. Our portable craft tables were full of paper, scissors, crayons, and glue. We had a great time!

This morning, we had chocolate chip pancakes, and created and decorated mini books from single sheets of 12x12 paper. Elliott also had a little time for Lego play before papa took him to his afternoon play date.

I loved every minute of my one-on-one time with Elliott. I definitely need to call Elliott's social manager right away to set up more grandma dates before the end of summer. Because, already, summer seems to be flying by!


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Movie Review


Today I saw Epic with my seven-year-old grandson and daughter. Here's what I learned:

  1. 3D in an animated film is kind of cool, but I'm not sure it's worth the extra $3.50 added to the ticket price. 
  2. 2013, at least in the animated world, is the year of the slug and snail. Both had key parts in Epic and will be main characters in Turbo coming out next month.
  3. There's no new story, but we all knew that. The similarities of Epic to Star Wars, however, were so clear, it was actually fun seeing how many we could fine.

There are several animated films being released this summer, so I suspect I'll be wearing those 3D glasses, again, soon. In the meantime, I'd better start saving. After what I spent today for a movie ticket and popcorn, cable looks like one heck of a bargain!

Friday, June 7, 2013

Suits

Through Amazon Instant Video, I've become hooked on the television series Suits. Season One is free to Amazon Prime customers, but Season Two is $1.99 per episode. I hate having to pay, but Season Three starts July 16 and I want to be "up to speed" by then.

I did a Google search and found the last five episodes of Season Two still available for no charge on USANetwork.com. But, unfortunately, I've yet to find a way to view the first 11 episodes for free.

My only hope is that USANetwork does a marathon of Season Two within days of the start of Season Three. In the meantime, I'll watch the last five episodes and use my imagination to "fill in the blanks." No problem, I'm still excited to have found a decent show offering new episodes during the summer months.


Thursday, June 6, 2013

Always "On Call"

Within three days of my grandsons being home after a week's vacation, I've been called into action twice!

Starting Sunday night, Elliott was puking every 30-60 minutes. By Tuesday, my daughter decided he needed to see the doctor. That means, Jonah ended up spending most of the day with grandma, which included taking him to his first swim lesson.

Then, by yesterday afternoon, Elliott was running a 103-degree fever and woke from a nap unable to form words and hallucinating. My daughter was hysterical and ended up driving her car into a garage wall. That's when I called 911. After an IV provided much-needed hydration, Elliott was released and told to start eating and drinking more. Understandably, he had been hesitant to do either after all the puking!

Hubby and I left the ER at 5:00 P.M. to pick up Jonah from daycare and take him to dinner. My daughter then picked up Jonah from grandma's around 7:30 P.M. after Elliott was released.

Clearly, living near my grandsons means I'm "on call" 24/7 seven days a week. But I wouldn't want it any other way!



Saturday, June 1, 2013

Crafting My Stash

All week, in between routine household chores and working out, I've been in my hobby room. It's been pure bliss!

I follow several paper-crafting channels on YouTube and have noticed a trend to "craft your stash." And that's what I've been doing, shopping my own inventory to create mini albums. I'm currently working on the third album for the week, using supplies I already have. Some pieces are over 10 years old. Plus I've been using tools I haven't touched for a long time.

I'm feeling very frugal as well as creative. I can't post pictures, yet, because all of the albums are gifts. But I will share them eventually. I'm actually very proud of the results of using what I already have. These days, I'm one happy crafter!