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It's girl scout cookie time

February 4th, 2019 at 05:29 pm

It's girl scout cookie time. Funny how fast it goes by time. My kiddos want the prize at 400 boxes each, an inflatable chair. I said they have to work hard. Sell cookies presales and do a lot of booths. Right now we are at 275 each but it's way not enough. I'm curious if we can make it.

As to the trouble in my troop? One kid I said can't come without supervision. Her mom decided to pull her. The second one is on a tight leash. If she gets a call for misbehaving she's also gone. One parent is because she's too busy. Other parent because it's a privilege for extracurricular. Third parent is going to try and stay but unsure how things will play out.

I'm hoping that next year I have a smaller troop with less drama. I'm really annoyed that people see it as free babysitting. I'm really annoyed that so many moms also are not putting any effort into participating. I am unsure how to change it next year. Ideally I'd like to kick out some of these parents who are not participating. But I'm unsure how to frame it nicely.

So many are such good sports. And these couple of rotten apples? Well it's made this year not pleasant to be leading the troop. It was so much more pleasant last year.

my troop update

January 16th, 2019 at 10:45 am

I managed to talk to my troop program manager a woman who works for girl scouts. She had to talk with her supervisor. She said that I am to tell the mother she can no longer drop off her child. She must stay. I must ask her to take the child if she can't stay or another friend or family member can stay with the girl.

As much as she needs this there are other liability issues and things that have to be also considered including the safety of the other children. I have to write an email and ask if she understands since she still hasn't responded since Friday.

All the parents I emailed haven't responded. However I have to follow up and see they understand. But in this case the mom can't just drop and run to therapy or any other business. It's not so simple. While she needs help and support unfortunately we can help to the best of our ability.

This has been a wild ride this year.

my girl scout troop

January 11th, 2019 at 11:08 pm

So I know this is a financial blog but I just need to vent. This year leading a girl scout troop has been a nightmare. Today it took the cake.

So where do we start? Guess the easy one. A mom brought her dog into the school to pick up her daughter and the dog pissed on the floor. I was appalled. I had to send her an email saying don't bring your dog into the school. I thought this was pretty standard. But I guess I was wrong. Common sense/courtesy is dead. They didn't even clean it up.

Second kid was poorly behaved. This is the 2nd time and I had to email the mom that she needs to start staying and helping at the meetings to focus her daughter. I don't know how this mom will react. She didn't react to the first email I sent about behavior.

Third situation a mom gave me a restraining order against her husband. They had a domestic violence incident in public, he went to jail, they are being sued. The TRO is for her and the kids. Apparently if he shows up I should call the cops. I emailed her and told her I wasn't comfortable with her leaving her child in my care and expecting me to deal with 12 other girls and her daughter. She needs to be present to deal with the situation. I don't think she's going to like me or the situation I required.

This year I find it incredible difficult with many of the new girls being difficult. They are rude, I've been talked back to, and ignored because they are unable to sit, focus, and listen. They sort of have been acting like very young children.

I am not making up how awful some of these kids are. I was sent an email from the secretary of the school I attended and she said that there have been noise complaints from teachers working late about the noise and disruption from our troop. Hence why I sent out the email last meeting. And this meeting I really cracked down. And now I have to pull parents in more for 3rd graders!

Okay enough venting. This was just me blowing off steam. My husband said it's a volunteer position and this is how it is.

Christmas shopping

November 26th, 2018 at 05:03 pm

So we did do some black friday and christmas shopping. I'm going to try and be better because I usually have no idea what I spend on christmas but it's typically I know under $500.

this year

Lego Advents - $30 x 2 = $60
Razor Scooter DK2 - $20
Calico Critters DK2 - $40 Treehouse + $40 Lodge
HooverBoard DK1 - $100
Bath Bombs Costco DK1 and 2 - $18 x 2 = 36
Shopkins Bus DK1 - $20
Kidizoo Watch DK 2 - $30
Total = $346

That's it for kids except for stocking stuffers.

They each spent $5 on gifts for each other. Very cute taking them shopping this weekend.

Parents and grandma $20 making blanket and $20 each for stuff so $120 total.

But for DH and I? There isn't anything we want or can't buy so I'm unsure. As I type this I realized I didn't buy his usual beer advent calendar I make for him. Gotta get to work. I think we might go away for the weekend as a family so that's $1000 on the weekend with hotels, gas, dog boarding, eating out.

What are you spending for Christmas?

insanely busy week

November 16th, 2018 at 05:07 pm

So my DH has been traveling this week for work. Things have been super busy. I went to the podiatrist on Tuesday and figured out that I had plantar fascitiis. I ended up buying new sneakers and inserts, and getting on a 6 day regime of steroids. I walked into a store and bought the Brooks GTS Adrenaline sneakers and with the SOLE inserts my feet feel amazing. Guess going to buy cheap sneakers was not the right choice.

Anyway Wednesday morning I awoke to finding out our new dog Winston was bleeding over the house. I spent over an hour trying to clean it all up and figure out where. I checked dew claws, checked his body, and it appeared to be his teeth. I put the kids on the bus and went to the walk in dog clinic. Took 2 hours to figure out that we needed to go to the ER for emergency blood tests. He was actually bleeding from his nose. I figured that out while waiting and he sneezed. I thought it was a cut in his mouth or bad teeth.

So they ran a full blood panel on him and found that he had an extremely low platelet count of 14000/mL versus the normal 175,000/mL. Everything else was fine. We also ran a full tick screen since he'd been at an acreage with a foster home and hadn't gotten tick treatment.

They wanted to do the x-rays, scoping, and urineanalysis which I did not do. It was $500 for the day. Finally by the end of the day I had heard back from the rescue and they said to go to the vet they used for discount rescue rate.

So I took him home rather than paying $600 to board him overnight in the "ICU". Then on Thursday we went to the vet and did the x-rays and urineanalysis and found nothing. A slightly enlarged spleen. So we started him on antibiotics and steroids. The plan is to monitor him and go back for another blood panel in 2-3 weeks. This was $300. They could not find out what sort of infection or inflammation that would cause this low platelet count.

The vet suggested it could be an abscess tooth. I had been planning on having his teeth cleaned actually today but we can't do it until his platelet level was above 50,000/mL. Why did I wait almost 3 weeks?

Because when we got him he and dual ear yeast infections and had to go get them cleaned and have both oral and topical medications to clean it up. Having not been treated for a LONG time. You could smell his ears when we got him. So the next step was the teeth treatment. This will be around $300. And we had spent $300 on initial vet visit and treatment.

If anyone asked I bought him pet health insurance from nationwide for $416 a year. It would have covered this if it were active which will go into effect 11/28/18. It took that long because of the yeast and teeth and initial checkup. So it takes awhile for the underwriting and "effective" date.

That being said today was the first day I managed to sneak back into the office. Along with my DK1 being sick on thursday and today and having to be dragged around me.

On top of normal kids stuff all week and homework and cooking, etc. Monday my DK1 gets her first round of braces. I'm wondering what that will cost me. They never called me to tell me. So far we've paid $2500 about 50% (insurance covered the rest) of the headgear from May. It's gone so well regarding her crossbite we are moving onto the next step sooner than expected because her teeth can't come in without more space. UGH.

I did however negotiate to not pay until January 2019 so I can run it through our new FSA for the year since we already maxed out in 2018.

Now onto thanksgiving.

Getting started now

November 9th, 2018 at 01:00 pm

I keep reading about these atrocious student loans. How people are trying to escape to the jungle. This guy was a philosophy major who owed only $20k Or a teacher who owed once in 2004 $35k but he couldn't pay so he stopped and the interest makes it now $100k+. I'm horrified.

But there are two parts. One a teacher couldn't make ends meet and pay off $35k? Even on a 30 year payment that's a $100/month. Assuming a 15 yeear payment that's a little over $200-300/month. I'm shocked that it was that difficult to pay.

I wonder if people are struggling to get started now because they have very high expectations upon starting out? That it's shocking they can't eat out, travel, etc. That perhaps the lifestyle they expected can't be had on an entry level job?

Or is it really that salaries are so low that owing even $100 is too much? Or is it that we now owe every month on EVERYTHING? That the teacher has the student loan, car payment, CC debt, medical bills just starting out?

I can see how nowadays where you are born and what your parents do makes such a big difference. That some people on this board are able (cheers) to fund college 100%. So their kids will walk out debt free. These same people likely talked to their kids so these same kids won't have CC debt or medical bills. Also these same kids might even be gifted a car so they are starting out with a car, no debt, and an education.

So you are starting from a position of power. I know that these same people on the board were like myself and when we started out we had some student loans, some car loans, maybe even medical and CC debt. But somehow we made it.

How did we manage? I see myself right now strategically thinking about setting my kids up for success. That I'm looking at their college funds of $28k and $22k (8 and 6). Plus we have earmarked this year potentially another $10k each for college. Along with around $5k in taxable accounts for them to just grow.

In all likelyhood our kids will not only have 100% free college, but will have a car, and possibly a home down payment help and maybe even a Roth IRA. So how far ahead of the curve will they be?

I just find it interesting.

vacation planning

September 6th, 2018 at 12:00 pm

I consider myself somewhat savvy with vacation planning. I typically can find good deals on flights, hotels, and just stuff in general for trips. But we've decided to go to WDW next August 2019 and I'm overwhelemed. I'm even stupid to be honest.

So I might as well write here the step wise intensive planning I'm doing. Somehow even international travel seems easier than WDW.

I'm starting with knowing I want to go the last week of August. It's still a month too early for plane tickets which will obviously influence our hotel. But right now the thought is Friday to Sunday of labor day. We may fly into ft lauderdale and then drive to disney to see friends.

I found a website that sells off the DVC timeshares that seem reasonable. 5 days at animal kingdom is $900. But it was suggested we stay at the 4 main resorts by magic kingdom. I'm not sure what to do. It's around 5 days for $1500.

So the next few weeks while waiting for my airline ticket is to figure out where we want to stay. I am realizing that going to WDW it's not the flights or hotels it's the cost of the tickets. Wow is it expensive to go to disney.

I think this will be our 1 in a lifetime trip. I'm doubtful we'll want go back. We're more likely to travel elsewhere but we want to do WDW before the kids get too old to enjoy the magic. While we might go back when they are older my older one wanted slightly better rides than the younger one this last trip.

Ugh I suspect this will be a very expensive trip comparatively. I just did 2.5 weeks in asia for probably less than 10 days will cost us at Disney. The flights while pricey compared to last year were still reasonable. Last year we went for $2800 for 4 people, this year we paid $3600 for 4 of us. Our hotels were around $150/night on average we spent around $2000 in total. Then another $1500 on tickets for activities including disney and universal and bus tours, entry fees. Then eating out probably another $2000. We did it less than $10000.

I see Disney being $2000 hotels, $2000 flights, and then tickets alone being around $1500 not including buying that line cuts. I'm forgetting rental cars and food. I'm not sure even what to budget for that since it'll likely be park food.

That being said the disneyland hong kong buffet was the nicest buffet I've ever been to. Way better than normal buffets plus it was cute for the kids. Pricey? Way more than anywhere else we ate in hong kong but we sat and relaxed for 2 hours. And since it was at the end of our trip we needed the destressor. We stay at the hotel and literally just walked upstairs and relaxed before and after the meal and then left the next day. PERFECT.

We'll see how this all plays out.

college costs

July 31st, 2018 at 12:34 pm

The US is becoming a place where it's impossible to move up and down the spectrum of wealth. Studies who it's becoming harder and harder and that if you don't have help from your parents it's not a place you can make yourself a success no matter what.

As my kids age I hear more and more concern from other parents about college costs. Many have kids who are older and their youngest is 8. They say they are still paying on their loans or just finishing but now they are going to try and pay for their kids.

This is insanity. I'm not sure How people think if they are still paying for their college they can afford to pay for their child's?

One friend in particular her daughter is starting college this fall and she has two more 6 and 8. She just got a job to pay $1-2k/month college fees/books, etc. Her daughter will live at home and go to university. I asked her if she has any retirement savings and the answer was no. I said perhaps she should consider it because she's 43. She said but if I don't then how will she go to school? What about the younger ones?

I sat there unable to answer. Because the truth of the matter is that what is the answer? She probably should save for retirement, but if she doesn't help her daughter how will her daughter manage the school loans? What then?

now what?

July 4th, 2018 at 10:35 pm

Now what? Well now I have to figure out what to do with DK2 since she's no longer going to private school. Sigh. Guess it's lucky I'm not working this summer and we can hang out. I admit I sort of like it. I miss my kiddos and they are growing up so fast.

I feel like I blinked and my DK1 is HUGE. So tall up to my shoulder and her feet are already a size 3. She's so tall and getting bigger. I'm not ready.

So even if we ended up in a bad place school wise it's a good place otherwise. I miss my kiddos. I love my DK2 who still climbs into bed and snuggles with us and sleeps with us.

My DH wants me to sign her up for education stuff and is worried they'll fall behind. I am not one to do much educational stuff. I could never home school though I'd love to. My kids fight against doing homework and I hate being the bad guy. I prefer to just let it go and enjoy them. Yeah not the best action but I hate butting heads.

But i might sign her up for a biking camp. I'm not the best either at teaching my kids stuff. I tried to teach Dk1 biking but I'm afraid of her falling and crying, she's afraid so we're a bad combination. Did I tell you I would never watch when they were babies the heel sticks and other torture. I am such a wimp when it comes to needles and other stuff to my kids. I have to close my eyes or stand outside the door while my DH does it.

Anyway we've got a nice 2.5 week trip planned to asia again. And honestly I'm considering taking the kids to hawaii. My grandmother is in the hospital again with shingles. I was going to skip our summer hawaii trip but i feel like maybe we should go.

Summer Camps

June 14th, 2018 at 12:41 pm

So this summer we are staying put for 5 weeks of the summer. So I signed up DK for 1 week of Girl Scout Camp at $125/week each. Then DK has school year round we had to pay for because of the 12 month contract we signed. So she's done.

DK1 though I signed up for 1 week of tennis camp 9-12 pm for $104/week. 2 weeks of camp through the parks and rec for $210/week. Finally a tech coding camp from 10 am - 1 pm for $285/week. Not too bad I think. We are traveling to Asia again for 3 weeks, Canada a week, SF a week, and a week off then back to school. I was considering Hawaii before school but it'd be back to back traveling.

Here's a fun accomplishment. DK1 made the swim team and decided to do it instead of more swim lessons this summer! I told her that she could quit swim lessons the day she could make the team. She tried out last weekend and made it. But by that point I had signed her up all summer for swim lessons and the only way out without losing money was to join the swim team. So I gave her a choice. Swim team $222 for the summer or lessons. She chose the swim team.

My DK 2 is still in process of swim lessons and she has 3 more sessions at $76/session group lesson and 8 private lessons for $280 for 8 lessons. I'm hoping this is her last year of lessons. I am thinking maybe 1 more school year of lessons for DK2 and we are done spending money on swim lesson and the time. Swim lessons are the worse lessons because it's so time intensive. For a 30 minute lesson either group or private it's more like 1.5 hours because you have to shower after, get dressed before and after, etc. UGH. I will be thrilled that they are can swimming with friends and I won't be so worried.