Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Wednesday Hodgepodge - April 26, 2017

1. April showers bring May flowers or so the saying goes. Has your April been filled with showers? Do you carry an umbrella, wear a slicker, or make a run for it? Besides rain, what else has filled your April?

We have had both snow and rain in April...though more of the latter than former. Looking at April as a whole, there have been many more beautiful days without any precipitation which has been nice.

Umbrellas at the Macy's flower show.
(Taken on April 5, 2013.)

Depending on how heavy the rain will depend on whether I wear a raincoat or use an umbrella. It has to be a pretty significant downpour for me to carry an umbrella since it is just one more thing to deal with when I'm outside.

During April, in addition to rain, my time has been spent going through homeschool files and streamlining them. I recycled 20 bags of photocopies and magazines clipping that related to a wide variety of subjects. It feels great to have so much more room in my file cabinet; and have only the things I will use and refer to over the next year.

2. What's something you could you give a 30-minute presentation on at a moment's notice and with zero preparation?

Nothing. I need to think about what I'm saying and have it clearly laid out.

Olivia riding backwards on a horse during
her therapeutic horseback riding lesson.
(Taken on April 22, 2010.)

That being said, if it were a question-and-answer format where there's a theme I've dealt with a lot over my lifetime and/or the past decade; and people ask me questions and I'd answer them, there would several topics I could talk about comfortably:
=> homeschooling
=> adoption
=> sensory processing disorder
=> volunteering ideas
=> caregiving for someone with Alzheimer's Disease

3. Share with us a favorite food memory from childhood.

One of my favorite meals was tacos. My mom would make tacos using the packet of taco seasoning, 3/4 cup of water, and one pound of hamburger. Nothing fancy. Same thing I do now.

What I really liked was that she had this Tupperware container with different compartments. In each one was a different chopped topping: lettuce, onions, tomatoes, and green peppers; and cheese.

Going through my photos, I was happy to see that
I had one of a taco dinner that my mom made.
This was done for Halloween because the whole family was over.
She knew that we all enjoyed a taco dinner.
(Taken on October 31, 2010.)

The fact that she took the time to chop all those vegetables was something that meant a lot - especially when she was working nights to help support our family. I knew she was tired with working, keeping the house looking nice, and taking us kids to our lessons and activities.

4. What's a song you thought you knew the lyrics to, but later discovered you were wrong?

Usually it is a word or short phrase of words that I don't hear correctly. For example, there was a song not that long ago - I'm not sure of the title - that had in its refrain something that I thought was about "pinky pants."

I thought to myself, "What in the world are 'pinky pants'?"

Turns out - thanks to being pointed out by my teenage daughters - that I was hearing the wrong words. It wasn't "pinky pants" after all. It was "picket fences." The artist was describing her ideal world that included white picket fences.

Pinky Pants. Picket Fences. Yeah...I have no idea how I heard what I did. Probably a sign that my hearing is going.

5. According to one travel website, the most overrated tourist attractions in America are-
Niagara Falls (NY), Hollywood Walk of Fame (California), Times Square (NYC), Epcot (FL), Seattle Space Needle (WA), and Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market (Boston). How many of these have you seen in person? Did you feel like a tourist? Did you care? Tell us about a place (not on the list) you've visited that might be considered a tourist trap, but you love it anyway.

Out of the tourist attractions listed, I've seen: Hollywood Walk of Fame, Times Square (a couple of times), Epcot, and the Seattle Space Needle (twice). Sophia, Olivia, and I walked by Faneuil Hall and went into Quincy Market, but didn't spend much time there.

Sophia, Olivia, and I saw Faneuil Hall in Boston.
(Taken on September 10, 2011.)

Did I feel like a tourist? In some cases, yes, but I didn't care.

My sister and I visited the Space Needle in Seattle.
(Taken in June 2016.)

I'm not sure if it falls under "tourist trap" - although a lot of tourists visit it every year: the North Shore in Minnesota. Starting at Duluth and going to Grand Portage, the North Shore follows the western side of Lake Superior. It's a beautiful part of the state.

Sophia and Olivia at High Falls of the Baptism River
at Tettegouche State Park.
(Taken on June 4, 2013.)

There are definitely tourist stops along the way that locals (and even people from other parts of the state) wouldn't go to, but they are not the majority of places to see and things to do.

6. Your signature clothing item?

Black cardigan, black shirt under the cardigan, jeans, and black clogs.

There's half of the outfit: black clogs and jeans.

For a few years now, I've been wearing this same type of "uniform" whenever I go out. I have multiple black cardigans and one pair of clogs. What's nice is that I don't have to think about what I wear when I go out. I can focus on other things and people...not on my clothing.

7. What's an experience you've had you think everyone should experience at least once? Why?

I was thinking of fun or meaningful things that I've done throughout my life - either a one-time experience or repeatedly. For me, these brought a sense of enjoyment. However, for others it may not be something they would enjoy.

Feeding a wild animal or somehow interacting with one
brings a lot joy to me.
(Taken on June 3, 2009.)

Each person is so different in what they like to do.

Seriously...not the best photo of me.
However, the memory that goes with it
is one that still makes me smile.
The girls and I were on a vacation to New England.
We were riding a sight-seeing trolley.
There was some major event in Boston and tons of roads were blocked off.
The driver - in an effort to get the passengers back in time -
asked if we'd be okay with going on the highway. In a trolley.
Everyone was okay with it.
So, imagine all open windows, going at 55+ mph, and
the passengers all laughing and smiling.
The girls were laughing hysterically because - according to them -
I looked like the White Witch from Narnia with wild-flying gray hair.
To this day, I can say "White Witch. Boston. Trolley," and
the memory of this wild - and fun - ride comes back to us.
(Taken on September 10, 2011.)

So, an experience I've had that I think everyone should experience at least once: something that brings them joy. Something that is so memorable that even years later brings a smile to one's face.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

One of our cats, Eenie, who is 14 years old, broke his scapula and suffered some nerve damage on Monday afternoon when he jumped down from a window ledge to the floor. The distance was not that great - maybe three feet at the most. However, he got stuck under Aspen's (one of the dog's legs) and we're not sure if he got jostled there as well. What it pointed to, though, was that he probably has very low bone density at this point in his life.

At any rate, we rushed him to the emergency vet since it was about 5:45 p.m. and our local vet was  wrapping up for the day.

Eenie in the kennel at the emergency vet.
He had received his first dose of pain medication and
had x-rays taken by the time we saw him.

After administering pain medication and taking x-rays, the emergency vet initially was suggesting:
- Repair - place a plate where his scapula is and attach it with screws. Fix any nerve damage. Disadvantage: it may not hold because of low bone density. Amputation may be necessary.
- Amputation of the front left leg.

Eenie resting on the car ride home.

Before moving forward, he texted x-rays to a surgeon who also works there. The surgeon recommended medical management instead.

His neck and shoulder area is stabilized with this wrapping.
The green wrapping was where his IV was and
was able to be removed when we got home.

This is a much better option. Eenie will have his upper body wrapped so it restricts movement for one month.

Eenie resting on the bed at home.

The scapula should fuse itself back together and heal. X-rays in a month will determine if it worked.

He found a comfortable spot to rest his head.

He'll be on a lot of pain medicine during the next week or so as his body heals.

He fell asleep resting his head on my arm; and
resting his paws on my hand.

We were hoping that in May he would be able to go back to doing cat therapy at the nursing home after healing from sores on his face (from over-scratching above his eyes). With this injury and recovery time, he may not be able to do cat therapy again.

Betty, Sophia, and Eenie at the nursing home.
(Taken on May 31, 2013.)

During his time visiting seniors, he helped provide comfort to the residents at the nursing home - especially those struggling with dementia and Alzheimer's Disease.

Olivia, John, Sophia, and Eenie at the nursing home.
(Taken on September 27, 2013.)

Now, as a senior cat himself, it's time for Eenie to rest and be comforted by others. I'm hoping his recovery goes quicker than anticipated and isn't as painful as he was experiencing yesterday.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Valentine's Day and Volunteering - Blogging from A to Z Challenge

This year for the Blogging from A to Z Challenge, I'm focusing on going through my homeschooling files that I've created from the time that Sophia and Olivia were in preschool.

Some of the files are still relevant while others I will be decluttering and recycling in the process. Each day during April, I will pick one of the files to focus on - either doing a hands-on activity or sharing some information from one of the files.

For the 22nd day - Letter V - I am focusing on Valentine's Day and Volunteering.


Valentine's Day

Something special that anyone from around the world can do is send Valentine's Day cards to Loveland, Colorado's Valentine Program. The Loveland Chamber of Commerce has instructions about how to mail cards to the city. Volunteers open the envelopes and stamp the current year's cachet on each envelope and the special postal cancellation.

My Mom having some fun near Valentine's Day 2013.
She was looking forward to showing her hat to
her Stephen's Minister who came to visit her regularly
after my Dad died in 2012.
(Yesterday would have been her 87th birthday.)

The instructions give the deadlines by which the letters need to be received and how to ship them to Colorado.

Sophia and Olivia holding felt hearts
that they embroidered.
(Mosaic created on February 7, 2008.)



Sophia, Olivia, and I have done quite a bit of volunteering throughout the years.

Coloring a sheet for Color-a-Smile.
The sheets are donated to seniors at nursing homes, the homebound,
veterans, or servicemen/women.
(Taken on February 8, 2011.)

It has become an integral part of their homeschooling/education.

Over 1,000 books we collected, packaged, and
sent to Africa to establish a library at a school.
(Taken on December 7, 2012.)

Although we have done a variety of projects and activities, there were a couple of volunteer opportunities that interested me as I looked through this file:

- Soles4Souls - Collects and distributes shoes and clothing to those in need throughout the world.
- Minnesota Search and Rescue Dog Association - As I looked a bit closer at the website, there seems to be more opportunities to donate in many different ways versus volunteering.


In the process of going through the files that began with "V," I recycled 1/4 of a bag of papers.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Unicorns, Unitarian Universalism, and Utopian Society - Blogging from A to Z Challenge

This year for the Blogging from A to Z Challenge, I'm focusing on going through my homeschooling files that I've created from the time that Sophia and Olivia were in preschool.

Some of the files are still relevant while others I will be decluttering and recycling in the process. Each day during April, I will pick one of the files to focus on - either doing a hands-on activity or sharing some information from one of the files.

For the 21st day - Letter U - I am focusing on Unicorns, Unitarian Universalism, and Utopian Society.



This file brought back memories of when Sophia and Olivia were younger. I didn't have much in it - just an idea for unicorn puppets and a picture of a collector plate with an image of a unicorn being led by a fairy.

Unicorn artist trading card I embroidered.

The image would have delighted them when they were young.

Olivia with unicorn face painting
(Taken on July 11, 2009.)

It is described as follows: "What fantasies our imaginations spun to brighten the nights when we were young! Fairy princesses and unicorns would lead us to enchanted realms."


Unitarian Universalism

One of the articles I clipped was by Kathleen Rolenz called "Speaking with Many Voices." She said, in part, "One of the great strengths of Unitarian our belief that spiritual wisdom speaks with many voices....Every new person we encounter has something to teach us. Values such as love, peace, compassion, and justice are expressed in every culture and tradition all over the world, in beautifully and powerfully different ways."

She continued, "Learned from and about each other helps us practice true hospitality."

The girls having a tea party with a Hungarian theme.
(Taken on October 29, 2008.)

Her article challenged the reader to be "...engaged in the perpetual search for truth and meaning. What any one of us knows and has experienced is only one piece of the truth. Let us open ourselves to what we can learn from each other, as well as from those we have yet to meet."


Utopian Society

Utopian societies fascinate me. There was an article in the National Geographic magazine my parents received back in March 1976 about a self-sufficient utopian society known as Padanaram. The village had a million-dollar-a-year sawmill and supported the 140 citizens who lived there.

They grew food in their organic gardens, had their own homes, homeschooled their children, did their own handiwork, and lived without televisions or - essentially - a connection to the outside world. The kids played outdoors and when they turned seven years old, would receive a pony to care for and ride through the 2,000 acre village.

Basket of yarn.
(Taken on September 8, 2011.)

Many years ago, the founder died and things went through period of transition. Padanaram is still operating today, though they have more of a connection to the outside world.


In the process of going through the files that began with "U," I recycled 1/4 of a bag of papers.

Happy Homemaker Monday - April 24, 2017

The weather.....has been beautiful - in the 50s to 60s. The weekend was in the 60s. Had the windows open to hear frogs and red-winged blackbirds singing.

Right now I am....waiting for a load in the dishwasher and laundry to get done. Still have one more load of laundry to do.

Thinking....about the homeschool conference that I attended from Thursday through Saturday. Learned a lot about PSEO and CLEP options for high school students; and time management ideas from speakers.

looking at the shelf by my bed, I have several books that I want to start this week: Choose Peace and Happiness, The Man Who Planted Trees, Unlikely Angel, and Debt-Free Living. Hoping to finish some by the end of the week.

On my TV.....since I was in a hotel room in the evenings from last Wednesday through Friday nights, I had the t.v. on as background noise while I worked on other projects. The home shows - remodeling ones - were the ones that tended to stay on the longest. It's amazing how homes needing work can be improved and completely changed with a vision, skills, and money.

Favorite blog post last week (mine or other)....last week I did a post for Friday Foto Friends that was a look back on some of the highlights from the week.

Sophia playing the harp while Olivia pets Chinook.

The photos were from our time volunteering at the humane society (Sophia plays the harp while Olivia and I pet the animals who are waiting to be adopted), preparing for Easter (making desserts and panoramic eggs), and making welcome baskets with seniors at the nursing home.

Something fun to share....back on April 24, 2010, I took a photo of a journal quilt I made for April. Each month I was creating a little quilt (no bigger than an 8 1/2" x 11" piece of paper). The items represented things that happened that month.

This is what I wrote at the time about it:

This is the journal quilt I made to remember activities and special holidays in April. I'm doing one quilt per month as a personal challenge as well as for a swap on Swap-Bot.

The journal quilt includes fabric from a quilt that I made for my mom this month that celebrates her 80th birthday.

The clouds were the first version of two words that describe her, but I ended up not using because the white embroidery floss against the light blue flannel didn't create enough of a visual contrast (she has macular degeneration).

The bunny represents Easter which was on April 4th.

The tree represents my favorite oak tree in the west pasture. I hand-sewed 80 beads on it to represent my mom turning 80 on April 24th.

The tree swing represents my daughters who love to swing on their tree swing in the apple tree in the backyard. It also reminds me of the night when the girls and I were swinging on the swings in the backyard and having a lot of fun.

The lime-green grass reminds me of a tiny lime-green frog the girls and I spotted in the pasture. It sat in our hands and on our fingers so we could get a closer look at it.

The swirls in the green fabric represent the long vines that the girls found in the pasture that they pulled up so the horses wouldn't trip when they gallop.

The 2 flowers represent the 40 wild irises that the girls and I transplanted from the pasture next to the house.

Blog hopping (newly discovered blog)....found The Home Scholar which focuses on homeschooling through high school.

These last two years for Sophia and last four years for Olivia are critical; and I want to make sure I'm doing all I can for both of them.

On the menu for this week....I need to look to see what I have on hand and create a plan from there.

On my to do list....I'm looking forward to having two days where we can stay at home and/or do things around here. During Spring and Summer, I'm hoping to see more days like this - more days with some margin built in to enjoy relaxing and spending quality time with family and the pets.

This week, in addition to homeschooling, there are these activities:

Monday - Attend the volunteer appreciation lunch at the nursing home, volunteer with Sophia at the humane society (cat socialization), and take Olivia to gymnastics (she's moving from beginner to advanced today for her class - skipping the intermediate level). While she's doing that, I'll go grocery shopping and return books to the library.

The cat I spent time with two weeks ago
while doing cat socialization.
He ended up falling asleep in my lap.

Tuesday - Homeschool co-op for both the girls; and an extended harp lesson for Sophia in preparation for a spring concert and CD recording.

Wednesday - Mary B. here in the afternoon. Go to Fare for All to get food. (It's a place where they sell different food packages much less expensively than if you purchased them in the store. It's a great way to stretch your food budget.)

Thursday - No place to go!!

Friday - Olivia has speech therapy and a gymnastics lesson.

Saturday - Take Sophia to camp counselor training 30 miles from here (60 miles round trip). The girls were invited to a birthday party as well that is 12 miles from where Sophia will be doing the training. Logistically I'm trying to figure out of I can take Sophia to the training in the morning; drive back home and get things done for several hours; take Olivia to the party and stay in the general area while that's happening; and then pick up Sophia and head back home.

Sunday -  No place to go!!

In the craft basket....Finished the northwoods flannel quilt while at the homeschool conference.

Ended up putting the yarn ties on every other square (54 ties).

I think that was sufficient to hold the three layers in place.

Looking forward to this week....wrapping up the Blogging from A to Z Challenge. This was a big undertaking for the month: going through all the homeschool files, getting rid of what I no longer needed or wanted (recycling or donating items in the process), and writing a daily post.

I went through photos I had taken throughout the past decade (by searching my Flickr account) to illustrate what I was writing about. It was nice to go back and look photos I had forgotten I'd taken. So many good memories!

Looking around the house....still need to do quite a bit of Spring cleaning. Got one section of the air ducts replaced, the entire duct work system cleaned, and furnace filter cleaned last week. What a significant difference!

Still need to put away Easter decorations. Didn't have a chance to do that before leaving for the homeschool conference.

From the camera...

This was my Mom's 82nd birthday (April 24, 2012).
My sister is next to my Mom; and I'm by Olivia and Sophia.
She would have been 87 this

Also linked to:

Sunday, April 23, 2017

My Backyard Jungle (Book Review/Notes)

Back in February I started reading My Backyard Jungle by James Barilla. The subtitle to the book is "The adventures of an urban wildlife lover who turned his yard into habitat and learned to live with it."

I was looking forward to seeing how the author transformed his yard. However, the book was a string of stories about wildlife in a variety of settings locally and globally.

Clearly, the book was significantly different than I anticipated. I did learn some interesting things, though, about wildlife:

- In 1890, a New Yorker named Eugene Schieffelin stood in Central Park. With him were 60 caged birds from Europe, which he soon released into the surrounding trees, reputedly to bring the birds of Shakespeare to the shores of a continent that lacked such refinements. Those birds were European starlings, and thanks to the actions of Schieffelin and a group known as the American Acclimatization Society, we now have hundreds of millions of these literary references roosting in the eaves of downtown buildings and poking around in the grass for  grubs.

- I want harmony and diversity in my backyard, but that's not how the natural world works. There's nothing orderly here. That's why the streets are full of life.

About the relocation of wildlife:

- As a licensed wildlife control specialist, he can't just release trapped nuisance animals wherever he likes; they could spread disease, they could come right back, they could annoy someone else.

A opossum that we trapped in the barn.
Opossums can spread disease to horses, so we had to trap it.
We didn't kill it...we relocated it far away
where there were no horses or livestock; and
that there was cover and a source of water for the opossum.
That was before we knew that
we shouldn't have done the "relocation program."

If people want to pay him to use excluders instead of traps, that's great. But most clients are paying him to make the problem go away for good, not come ambling back down the garden path. They don't want to see these animals again.

About black bears:

- The last of the trio [of cubs] clambers up the trunk. We watch them. They watch us. Still no visible sign of their mother. "They're coming down now," Fuller observes, although they seem to be staying put to me. He's heard their mom huff; it's a warning sound that means our encounter has entered a new phase.

"That's directed at us," he says as she huffs again. It sounds like someone trying to cover a cough. The first thing a bear wants to do is get her cubs up a tree, Fuller says. Then, if the coast is clear and she thinks she has time, she wants to get them down so they can leave the area.

Black bear that Sophia, Olivia, and I saw at
a wildlife sanctuary on our New England tour.
(Taken on September 9, 2011.)

This reminded me of the time when an exchange student and I saw a bear cub climb up a tree. We didn't see or hear a mother bear nearby. We got some great photos of the bear cub in the tree. In retrospect, it probably wasn't the safest thing to do. I don't know if we would have even recognized a huffing sound from a bear in the distance if we heard it.

After a close encounter with a black bear several years later while camping, I know what a bear sounds like. It is not a sound I would like to hear again when I'm alone and in the dark.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Titantic, Tornados, and Trees - Blogging from A to Z Challenge

This year for the Blogging from A to Z Challenge, I'm focusing on going through my homeschooling files that I've created from the time that Sophia and Olivia were in preschool.

Some of the files are still relevant while others I will be decluttering and recycling in the process. Each day during April, I will pick one of the files to focus on - either doing a hands-on activity or sharing some information from one of the files.

For the 20th day, I am focusing on the Titanic, Tornados, and Trees.



Found an article in the file about Minnesotans who had connections to the Titanic. There was some general information about the Titanic as well.

- Titanic was, by definition, an emigrant ship; the Board of Trade, the British department responsible for merchant shipping, assigned that classification to any vessel with more than 50 steerage passengers sailing to a non-European port.

- Many immigrants bound for Minnesota were going there to work mines, fell timber, manufacture goods, farm lands, or mind others' residences. Some immigrants were wooed by settler-recruiters, persons working on behalf of businesses or municipalities.

- Walter and Mahala Douglas were on the Titanic and saw a peculiar event. One of the crew dropped a tethered bucket over the ship's side. The couple stopped to observe him. Her curiosity piqued, Mahala peered through an open window, roughly six stories down to the waterline, and saw that the bucket did not reach its mark. The crewman heaved the empty bucket back up, walked it to a water pipe, filled it up, and proceeded to take the water's temperature. Miffed by the crewman's apparent duplicity, she asked Walter, "oughtn't we to tell?" "No," he replied, "it does not matter."
    This was, to some, an important test. In theory, the water's temperature may suggest the nearness of ice.

Ice and sky.
(Taken on January 18, 2013.)

-  More than 1,5000 lives were lost. The third class alone lost more than 500 people.

- They had fewer than three hours to accept or amend their fate.



- Regardless of their individual look and style, most tornadoes pass through five stages in their life cycles: dust whirl, organizing, mature, shrinking, and decaying.

Tornado in a bottle.
(Taken on August 27, 2010.)

- The infamous Great Tri-state Tornado of March 18, 1925, which raged through Missouri, Illinois, and Indiana, has the dubious distinction of having the longest continuous track ever recorded for a single tornado: 219 miles.

- There is visual evidence of cars being hurled high enough to go over a ten-story building. Cars have been carried as far as half a mile from their original place.

- Typical speed: 30-35 miles per hour. Some, though, move at speeds up to 70 miles per hour.

Sophia, Olivia, and I plus the dogs and cats were
in the basement for an hour on the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend 2008
while a hail and wind storm passed through.
A major tornado touched down less than 10 minutes from here
destroying over 50 homes and damaging hundreds more.
Our home had minor damage - just needed a new roof and siding.
We felt very fortunate.



- A tree or shrub that grows cones is called a Conifer. All coniferous trees except Eastern Larch (or Tamarack) are evergreen, meaning they maintain their leaves throughout the year.

Pine cones on tree.
(Taken on February 4, 2012.)

- Deciduous trees do not bear their seeds in cones. They have broad leaves that drop in autumn.

Colorful leaves in Autumn.
(Taken on October 18, 2007.)

- Because of all the things we use trees for, American have already eliminated 95% of all the forests that once covered the United States. We can help eliminate the need to cut down more trees by recycling the products made from trees.

- Leaf edges are either smooth, toothed, or lobed. Smooth leaves have smooth edges. Toothed leaves have jagged edges. Lobed leaves have rounded sections.

- Some things to do with children that teach them about trees:
    => Choose a favorite tree. Observe it throughout the year. Draw or take pictures of it each season, nothing the changes that take place.
    => Measure around a tree and compare it to yourself.

Sophia and Olivia measured some trees around our farm.
This tree in our front yard was more than
66 inches (167.64 cm) around its trunk.
(Taken on March 29, 2013.)

    => Make bark rubbings of all the different trees at your home or farm.
    => On a hot day, put a small pebble in a plastic sandwich bag. Put the plastic bag over a branch with leaves that get a lot of sunshine. Tie the bag tightly to the stem with a twist tie. Come back in a few hours. Find out why you see beads of moisture inside the plastic bag.


In the process of going through the files that began with "T," I recycled 1 more bag of papers. The total amount of papers recycled: 17 1/2 bags!

Friday, April 21, 2017

Saving Money and Being Frugal - Week in Review - April 15-21, 2017

Here's what the week from April 15th-21st looked like:

Progress on Financial Goals I Set for this Week

Last week, I set three main goals and two sub-goals to work on. This is how I did:

Meet with a financial advisor on Monday; and set up Sophia's and Oliva's first mutual funds/Roth IRAs.

Had a 45-minute meeting with the financial advisor and received the paperwork for the Roth IRAs. He did a chart showing what investing even a minimal amount - $50 per quarter over the past 40 years would have resulted in today. The investment amount would have been $8,200 and the cash value today: just over $121,000!

Imagine if someone had invested 10 times that amount - $500 per quarter or $2,000 per year. What a completely different life they would be living!

When the girls saw how their money could work for them, they were VERY excited! I'm so hopeful that this will pave a much better life for them if they start investing early; and understand money and how it can benefit them and their families. Their lives, hopefully, will be easier than mine and my parents.

- Check to see if the beneficiary information on all insurance contracts; and investment and retirement accounts are updated.

I took a look at a couple of investment accounts and they are set up properly. However, I didn't get everything done. The week went by too quickly and I didn't have a chance to do this completely before I left for the homeschool conference.

- Pay cash for all expenses at homeschool conference. Carefully consider new curriculum purchases.

The hotel was pre-paid to get a cheaper rate which was a pleasant surprise. So, the cash I brought for the hotel could be both used for curriculum as well as the surplus brought back home.

I went to the used curriculum/book sale first. Didn't see anything I needed. Went to the vendor hall and looked at the curriculum available. There were a few books I needed to complete this year's courses; and a couple I bought for next year.

Also invested in a CLEP book (a guide book as well as prep-test book) since we plan to use CLEP testing as a way to (hopefully) earn college credits. This can save a teen and her/his family thousands of dollars.

There were two curriculum purchases I wanted to make, but no vendors had them in stock. I could prepay for them, but decided to wait until closer to the start of next year.

So, all of the purchases I made at the homeschool conference were paid by cash. It was a good feeling walking out of there without adding to our debt level and having money leftover!

Progress on Blog Goals I Set for this Week

Since the majority of the week I'll be at a homeschool conference, the only realistic goal was to:

- Continue to do the Blogging from A to Z Challenge (letters O-S) and decluttering homeschool files.

I wrote the following posts this past week:

An additional blog post that was not part of my goals, but that I did:

- Wrote a book review about Homeschooling on a Shoe String on April 19, 2017.

Smart and Not-so-Smart Purchases

Smart: Purchasing items at the grocery store to bring to the homeschool conference to save money on breakfasts, lunches, beverages, and snacks. Rather than paying $12 for lunch, I spent $2.63.

Pre-purchasing the hotel  room online to get the least expensive rate.

Not-so-Smart: Having to eat out for dinners.

Frugal Meals

Didn't do so well this week. Had food we made at home for most of the week. However, three meals were easy, processed food - things that were frozen and all we had to do was heat them up (e.g., chicken patties, pizza, gyros).

Things should be better next week when I'm back from the homeschool conference.

What was on the table for dinner last week:

Saturday - Ham slice and corn.

Sunday  - Easter dinner at my brother's home.

Monday - Chicken patties on buns with peas.

Tuesday - Pizza.

Wednesday - Gyros for the family while I was at a homeschool conference. Out to eat for me.

Thursday - Out to eat for everyone.
Friday - Leftovers

My financial goals for this week:

This week I would like to:

- Check to see if the beneficiary information on all insurance contracts; and investment and retirement accounts are updated.

- Work on paying remaining debt so the only thing left is the mortgage (this is, of course, dependent on these funds being received):
    - Pay $1,000 towards consolidation debt (approximately $13,900 left...which is an embarrassingly high amount).
    - Pay half of extra line debt (approximately $2,000 left...same thing here...I don't like seeing this amount).

- Contribute $500 towards one of the retirement accounts.

- Contribute $500 towards emergency fund (goal: $30,000/have: $9,500).

Blog as it relates to saving money and home organization:

- Continue to do the Blogging from A to Z Challenge (letters T-X) and decluttering homeschool files.

- Do some of the actions in Letting Go of Debt- Growing Richer One Day at a Time:
     - Reevaluate your environment. Donate at least as many items as equals your age. Strive to have less rather than more.
     - Determine which day of the week is for grocery shopping and determine where to keep your ongoing grocery list.
     - Be creative - not wasteful - with the perishable foods in your home.
     - Make conscious, healthy, cost-cutting choices when planning lunches.
     - Make conscious choices about your immediate environment and about the environment at large (e.g., cut back on consumption and simplify cleaning products - like using vinegar instead of chemically-based products); choose not to buy a material good or prepackaged food.
      - Spend some time alone in nature to feel the abundance.

*Part of Financially Savvy Saturdays on brokeGIRLrich.*