Thursday, February 23, 2012

Harvest for Hunger Campaign: Set a plate for Kate.

Oh, this made me cry.  The school that K- goes to is at 50% poverty level.  The children in K-'s school district from K - grade 5 are provided with breakfast and a hot lunch each school day, should they choose to take advantage of it.  Though this is the Harvest for Hunger campaign that our Northeast Ohio county takes part in.  Perhaps a local food pantry/cupboard or food bank in your area could use a little bit of your help or could help you. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Our first Ash Wednesday.

Baptists don't do Ash Wednesday.

Baptists don't do Lent.

We're no longer Baptist.

The Methodist church that we are attending does have Ash Wednesday service and does observe Lent.  K- and I had a discussion on the way home today about Ash Wednesday.  She was concerned about the "ashing."  (I'm certain that isn't the appropriate thing to call it, so pardon if I inadvertently offended.  I've never been ashed before.)  She asked if it would hurt and I told her no.  "But what if I don't want it?"  "If children are to get it, you are to go and get it.  We're observing and learning as a family."  "What is it like?  Will it be hot?"  "No, it isn't hot ash coals.  They are cold and the best that I can think to tell you is that like pencil that rubs off on your hand as you write, it will just look like that on your forehead."  "OH!"  That explanation seemed to satisfy.

I talked with K- about giving things up for Lent.  I told her that I couldn't see her make it through giving up sweets.  Frankly, as horrible as a parent I am, I don't know that I could have her give it up.  She eats one piece a day, but she would be absolutely Hester-Pester about it and my nerves couldn't take it.  I think that it is partially my job as a parent to encourage her to give something up that will be sacrificial, but not something that may cause her to be tied to the no parking sign out on the tree lawn. 

She has since considered giving up her favorite "flower pillow" for Lent.  This is the pillow that she has slept with since she was 1 1/2 - 2.  She comes to snuggle in on a rare nightmare evening and her flower pillow -- flump-- enters into the bed with her.  I could see how this could be a true sacrifice for her. 

I suggested giving up Saturday OR Sunday morning cartoons and she didn't bite.  She gets very limited TV and that was just not a way she could go.

It's her first Lent.  Rome wasn't built in a day.

We both discussed Janeen's Lenten sacrifice of yelling.  We both agreed that is something wonderful to give up.  Frankly, we think it brings no pleasure to anyone and certainly isn't something that the Lord finds favorable. 

As for me, I think I've settled in on no snacking after dinner.  This will be hard, as I've come to snacking at night when Hubs and I hang together and watch a few favorite programs.  I have been working on eating healthier, so this is certainly a nice discipline to build in.

I don't know if Hubs will choose to give something up for Lent.  That's a choice that he has to make.  In the meantime, I'm preparing for my first Ash Wednesday service.  I e-mailed the pastor to be certain that we are fine to attend and she stated yes.  I think that I can at least speak for K- and me when I say that we're both excited and nervous.  Something new isn't necessarily a bad thing.  New experiences.  A little ash won't kill us.  Hopefully, the experience of Ash Wednesday and Lent as a whole helps us to center our lives a bit more towards the Lord, as opposed to centered on ourselves.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Tales from the Trenches: Helping themselves.

When checking the bank accounts this AM, I noticed a debit of $500.00 that I did not authorize. Since it was on the same day as Hubs purchase of the boat trailer, I asked him for details. He had no idea and that sent me off to phoning the bank. The bank rep was very kind and hated to tell me that the withdrawal was from Social Security regarding benefits from someone that I knew who died. My aunt had me close out her account to avoid Social Security problems and instead, it cost me money. The deposit account was closed, so they went to the next best account with my social on it-- the account that Hubs and I share. Her money deposited just a few hours after her death, but because there was a few hours difference and the bank neglected to tell me that a deposit had occurred from Social Security on that same day of account closing, they helped themselves to my personal account with my husband to retrieve their funds. Nice. My aunt was determined I would flip her account upon her death to be certain fraud and additional deposits wouldn't occur and in doing so, I may be eating that $500. in the end if someone else files against that account regarding her estate. Super.

This is post 2 of the day. Keep reading!

Tales from the Trenches: OverCHARGE!

On Sunday, I went to Target to pick up a few things.  Here's my count from them:

Covergirl Simply Ageless Foundation- marked $12.09 on the shelf.  I did a flick scan on that as I was cruising through the store and it scanned as $13.99.  I went back to the shelf, took a photo of the product display with the price and took that to the register.  They didn't debate the photo, gave it to me for the shelf price, took my coupon for $1.00 off and all was well.

Q-Tip 625 count with bonus 170 pack-  peg marked $3.89.  There were several pegs stocked with the same thing and all were marked $3.89.  I cashed out, started looking over my bill and found that I had been charged $5.49 for the Q-Tips and went to customer service.  She had to call, informed me that someone count have "moved the product" and I understand that, but in the end, I wasn't crazy and I was given the $3.89 price.  I had a coupon for 30 cents I had used and told her that I had been pretty happy at $3.59 for all of the Q-Tips, but not at $5.49. 

If you've added correctly, you'll see that on only two things, I was overcharged $3.50.  That is an overcharge of 21.9%.

I went to Staples to stock up on some of their sale school supplies.  We'll be having a fundraiser at school and one of the prizes is school supplies for the following year.  I got my items, I cashed out, I checked my bill and there was an item that was to be 50 cents ringing for $2.99. 

Not again.

I went back to the peg, read it carefully and saw that while the whole peg was stocked incorrectly, it was only the single pencil sharpener and not the dual sharpener that was on sale.  I grabbed a sale sharpener, took it back up to the cashier and he apologized profusely.  "I should have caught that."  "Sir, it isn't your fault.  The peg is stocked wrong."  In the end, I switched it around and was given the credit back to my card.

If you've figured correctly, you'll see that I was charged $2.99 for a 50 cent sale item.  That is a huge over-ring.  Grant you, that wasn't the exact item on sale, but it was stocked incorrectly.

My husband reports that each time he goes to Walmart, there is always at least one overcharge on just a small handful of items.  Long ago, I worked at a grocery store.  Our scanning was inaccurate, so weights and measures (AKA the state) took away the scanning privileges.  As a result, I can now do a 10 key adding machine with great speed.  Still, if the penalty was so severe then, why can't it be that way now? 

What about you?  How is price scanning going on in your life?  Seems as though I'm at customer service a whole lot.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Sometimes you just have to scratch an itch.

I admitted to all of you the other day that the itch to plant was driving me crazy.  I mean, if we had 2' of snow like we have in years past and I had fallen on my butt a time or two, I would have still been all about being snuggly under the blankets.  This winter has truly yet to occur.  (I'm partially fine with that, as I was worried about falling and re-breaking my foot anyhow.)  At any rate, I couldn't stand it any longer and chose to raid the shed, hit Lowe's for some dirt and get to work.
The window has been stripped, cleaned and reset. 

I was able to plant the pineapple sage that has been rooting since October, as well as the thyme (in the galvanized pot), the cactus hit dirt and I found some dormant starts for Echinacea and Birdfoot Violet (on clearance at Lowe's, don't know what it is like, but we'll try it.)

Though not the clearest photo, I thought that my Venus Flytrap was no longer trapping and had long gone for dead (it was black, y'all), but apparently, it went dormant and had some green popping out of the middle.  Any fluctuation in temperature makes it angry, I think, but I've got it back in the warm and sunny window.  We'll see how it goes.  The kids did love feeding it this year.

I've planted zinnias and portulaca in my little seedling greenhouse.  Since the flowers that I plant always take a month or more to flower, I figured that I would start them a month ahead of when I usually do.  Perhaps then, I will have outsmarted the growing and will have flowers when I go to plant.  The seeds from the portulaca were ones I saved from last year (here's to hoping that they work) and the zinnias were one of those box mixes that you sprinkle on the ground.  I'm hoping that both work out well. 

I was sad when I looked Baker Creek seeds up and saw that they did not have the little cherry tomatoes available that I usually buy.  While I won't start those for another month, I did buy two different organic packages from Lowe's.  I'm sure that given the amount of tomatoes that fell when my foot was broken, I'm sure that there will be at least a sungold volunteer or two out there somewhere. 

It made me sad to see the rain barrell in storage on the table in the shed.  Soon enough, we'll get it hooked back up again and we'll be growing more beautiful things. 

Have a great day!