Archive for February, 2010

Deductible, Shmemucktible

We had our first doctor’s (actually, midwives) appointment last night, and I feel like we can now tell everyone. We do have to jump through a few hoops, though. One of those is going to a consult to figure out why J was early, and what we can do to have a full term baby this go round.

Sure to involve lots of poking and prodding. Definitely not looking forward to that part!

Today I got on the horn and talked to my insurance company for a while. I knew I had a deductible, but had no idea what that meant. What I needed to know, specifically, was how much money we need to have put aside before I go into labor.

The answer: $2500.

That doesn’t include co-pays, either, which are $20 for every doctor’s office I walk into. And there will be lots of offices to walk into over the next few months.

My deductible is $1250. I’m betting on having to pay the whole thing, since whether we give birth at the Midwife Center or the hospital, it’s likely going to cost more than that.

If Peanut is born early, P will likely need to be hospitalized for a while. Get this: the first three days, the baby is on my deductible, but on the fourth day, the baby becomes her/his own insured entity. With his/her own deductible. Hence the $2500. Ugh.

Nope, there’s nothing wrong with America’s insurance. Nothing at all. Except that $2500 to us is a gigantic expense.

Gotta go, I have to scrounge up some stuff to sell on Craigslist!

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Craigslist!

I need to make some extra money. Well, I don’t really need to, but Jason and I have decided to beef up our emergency fund due to a situation that happened at his job recently, and because we’re expecting another baby. After what happened around and after J’s birth, we want to make sure we are again financially prepared for whatever comes our way in 6.5 months.

So expecting that this baby, too, will be early, we’ve cleared our calendars for two months before my due date and started to save every penny we can. No travel past July 31st! I might not even venture into the suburbs!

Back to Craigslist: We have Stuff. Not just stuff, but Stuff. Jason is a Keeper of All Things, and I am an enabler. We live in 6 rooms of a large rowhouse that may or may not be remodeled by 2020. These rooms are brimming, and we’re going to add another human to the mix. Argh.

Case in point: On the left we have a Mingle Tray. I have held onto these for years because a now-deceased friend whom I loved gave them to me. But these trays are not her–I still have my memories of her, and pictures, and a few useful gifts that she did give me. They’re useful, and very cool, just not for me.

I have taken many photos, but need to take many more. And I need to start listing like crazy.

I’m a minimalist on Craigslist. I don’t put what I paid for it, because nobody cares and that usually means a person is trying to get too much for something. Instead, I look at the item and say “If I were buying it off of Craigslist, what number would draw me in? And what would I try to negotiate to?” Yes, I negotiate on Craigslist, unless the person is very clear that it isn’t welcome in the ad. Frankly, I try to negotiate the prices of most things, unless I feel it wouldn’t be fair (the price of something for a school fundraiser, for example).

Besides, having this item sit around, unused, is actually costing me money. My son’s crib could fit there, and then we might all be able to sleep for three hours (or more!) at a time because someone’s snoring/bathroom run/etc hasn’t woken everyone else up, and I might be more productive during my days.

Well, my son’s crib won’t fit in this space exactly, but it is a large, heavy filing cabinet. Wonder how much to list it for? Solid oak with pull out table-$50?

I usually list things throughout a week and then first thing Sunday morning I post the listing. In my Criagslist experience, I get the most legitimate interest, with many people able to pick up the same day. The only exception to that is when I won’t be around a computer on a Sunday (I don’t have a web-enabled cell phone), and then I just post them as I list them.

Note to anyone interested in cloth diapering: buy used (or new, unused) diapers off of Craigslist as you find them so that you can figure out what kind you like. Then sell the remainder for what you bought them for. I’ve made back all of the money I spent on the diapers we ended up not liking or not using. Diapers sell like hotcakes!

Happy selling!

Homemade Macaroni and Cheese

I didn’t think it was possible. Homemade macaroni and cheese in under 20 minutes? Only one dirty pan? Definitely not possible.

Until I found this recipe.

I bookmarked it a while ago, and have thought about making it a few times, but for one reason or another, decided against it.

Last night Jason gave me the gift of a squeaky clean kitchen, so I thought, why not?

So wrong. So delicious. J couldn’t get enough. Well, at first he cried and shrieked because I had told him he was going to have macaroni and cheese, but the stuff I put in front of him didn’t look like what he was used to. After 5 minutes, he calmed down and tried a bite. And began shoveling.

I can’t imagine my life without this recipe. Not only is it delicious, but it also dirties less dishes than making macaroni and cheese out of a box. The powdered cheese kind, not the squeeze-cheese brands. And to someone who does dishes by hand, every dirty dish matters.

Try it, I think you’ll like it.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Cheers to you, on this heart-shaped day!

Jason and I don’t celebrate it, never have, but we respect that other people like to. He did, however, make a grocery store run AND took J, so I had two hours of blissful silence. And he used coupons. sniff, sniff. I’m so proud.

I was a florist in a past life, and hated watching the men come in every year, knowing they had to buy flowers, candy and a card, but not knowing what to get. I never want someone to feel like they have to get me something specific. That’s no fun!

He came home from WholeFoods with two bunches of beautiful, unopened tulips. They’re one of my favorites because I get to watch them open. Purple and white, just gorgeous. But no, he didn’t have to buy them!

We do celebrate the day we quit smoking: February 22, 2006. Now THAT’S a worthy holiday.

Cut and Dry

How is it possible that I again have three weeks worth of unclipped coupons sitting in a neglected pile on my bookshelf? And I didn’t even buy newspapers last week!

I’m considering a switch to buying only the inserts online. It’s about the cost of buying a Sunday paper, but I think it might be more environmentally friendly than buying 4-6 papers every week and immediately throwing most of them in the recycle bin.

I did manage to get to Walgreens today and buy a pack of $3.99 Huggies diapers and a $4.99 Rembrandt whitening kit. I’ve never whitened teeth, and don’t know that I really care, so I may just give it away. I had planned on getting another pack of diapers, but the Walgreens I went to (a new one for me) has a policy of allowing only one transaction per customer. Yuck! I didn’t argue at all, and just smiled and rearranged my puchases and handed the lady some things to put back, but I won’t be shopping at that location again unless Jason is with me and it’s a free or almost-free deal.

If anyone is wondering, it’s the Walgreens on Rt. 8 just up from Etna, across from the vintage Giant Eagle.

Menu Plan

Yes, I make a weekly menu plan. Last month I participated in the Eating From the Pantry Challenge with Money Saving Mom and FishMama, and that went great with my meal plan. Just two days left me scrambling for something to feed the family.

I planned to re-stock last week and this week, but I got sick and snowmageddeon came to western PA, so I haven’t been able to leave the house since Friday except to play in the snow with J.

Here he is, playing in the snow. He mostly likes to hit the  snow and watch it fall on his boots. Whatever works!

Anyway, we are out of cheese, yogurt and a few other things,  and my mom is coming to town on Thursday if the next snow storm doesn’t mangle the roads. I sent Jason to work (a couple of blocks away at a coworkers house–everyone is on  orders not to come in to the office) today with a list and a few coupons, but I’m not optimistic that any  of the dairy will be  in stock. Apparently Giant Eagle is out of  all eggs, milk, and  bread. I may have to alter the meal plan to reflect what we don’t have available.

Without further ado, here’s the meal plan for the week…

Breakfasts:

Homemade waffles x2, fruit (will quadruple the batch and freeze what isn’t eaten)
Cheesy scrambled eggs & toast, fruit
Fried eggs, toast, fruit (can you tell I crave eggs??) x2
Breakfast Casserole x2
And probably more eggs for the breakfast that isn’t accounted for!

Lunch:

Grilled cheese, tomato soup, mixed veggies
Egg or salmon salad sandwiches, carrot & celery sticks
Homemade macaroni & cheese, baked sweet potato
Leftovers and more leftovers!

Dinner:

Steak salads x2 (J will have vegetable soup and cheese on these nights)
Homemade Pizza, mixed veggies (will make 2 so that we have lots of leftovers)
Spaghetti & meatballs w/homemade sauce, salad (my mom is planning to make all of this while she’s here!)
Burritos, corn chips & salsa, salad (will make extra burritos for Jason’s lunches)
Spinach & feta pasta, fresh bread, goat cheese & cranberry salad
Steak quesadillas, salad (will make extra here, too)
Dinner out

This week is a little odd because when we have house guests, I extend my meal plan to cover the time that they are visiting and then we eat leftovers for the next day or two after they leave. Since we have house guests at least once/month, this plan gives me some down time after they leave to catch up on cleaning or whatever without having to worry about food. So this meal plan actually covers 8 days since my mom will likely be here until next Tuesday.

This Saturday we’re having our friends over for dinner (they were supposed to come over this past Saturday, but snowmageddeon happened), and that is the night we’ll have the Spinach Feta Pasta. It’s incredibly easy and always gets rave reviews. Is it too much to have feta cheese on the pasta and goat cheese on the salad?? I’ll probably make some bread in the bread machine, or at least make the dough in the bread machine and make rolls in the oven. Unless I’m voted down in favor of Homemade Pizza. That happens sometimes!

My Love…

I love Jason. And that’s a good thing, considering the placement of a certain ring on a certain finger. He’s incredibly handy, patient with my cravings and  contradictions, and a great father. I take that back. He’s an AMAZING father. Rather than go on vacation with me to Tacoma last year, he stayed home and worked on the house. Rather than visit my family in WV a few weekends ago, he stayed home and worked on the house (and he likes WV and loves my family, so this was actually a sacrifice). He plans to stay home and work on the house at least one weekend every month in 2010 while J and I visit family and friends.  And he works hard to keep us fed, clothed and happy. I reiterate, I love Jason