Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Today's ugly task

I have been dreading this day all weekend. I get to go fight with my dentist's office over billing. Seems as though they charged me, claiming that the insurance was not paying, then they filed again with the insurance and got paid. SO, now they have been paid twice. Of course, did they inform me of such a thing? No. But I guarantee, had I been delinquent or underpaid in any way, they would have had creditors at my door so fast it would make your head spin! I so very much dislike medical billing practices and insurance! I long for affordable medical care that one could reasonably pay for procedures out of pocket and not have to really on insurance! I long for billing practices that are ethical! The whole system has just become a huge crock of shit! You can never make sense of a bill, in fact, I laugh my ass off when I receive these "explanation of benefits" letters from my insurance company. They don't explain anything! They are utterly confusing! And it is a never-ending game of the doctors HAVING to overcharge in order to be even remotely compensated by the cheap ass insurance companies. They rely on the fact that many people DON'T comb over their bills and EOB's the way I do (what can I say, we're poor, every damn dime matters to me and I scrutinize the hell out of my doctor bills and EOB's). They are intentionally confusing to deter interference! The insurance companies are able to underpay and dump more of the monetary responsibility into the lap of the patient, while many of the doctors are getting paid from both sides and just keeping their traps shut! It really is a disgusting system and I absolutely cringe every time I need to go to the doctor or the dentist because I know in some way, shape or form I'm gonna get screwed!

Where's Doc Hollywood when I need him?

Monday, March 30, 2009

Mayfield Park... visited!

OK, I am a complete failure as an Austinite! I have been here about 6 years and have never set foot in this wonderful place until today! It is right in the middle of town and so easy to get to, I really am a loser! We were lucky enough to be accompanied by a couple of other homeschool families and we had a blast! It was cool and breezy, the trail wasn't difficult and at the end we were rewarded with the gardens and yes... THE RESIDENT PEACOCKS! There were peacocks and pea-hens everywhere! We even got to see one of the pretty white ones! So cool! And believe me, the males were putting on quite a show for all the girls, who really could have cared less! But WE were impressed! We chatted over a picnic and after everyone went their separate ways, the kids and I stuck around for a bit more to color in our field journals and take more pictures. The Monkey Man drew a lovely lily and a peacock feather, he is quite the artist! I can definitely say, this will not be our last visit to Mayfield Park and Preserve!

Monkey Man coloring in his nature journal!

Little Miss Piggy on the hiking trail.

Some sort of lily maybe? I'm not the best at botany... (After a bit of research, I have determined that these must be some sort of calla lily.)

Yet again, don't know the name but aren't they sweet??? (OK thanks to some knowledgeable readers, I have been informed that this is an evening primrose! I LOVE it!)

Thursday, March 26, 2009

What the hail is up with that?

I'm just sick over this. Big Daddy is WAY sick over this. Hail is a fairly common occurrence in Central Texas, but thus far, we have been pretty lucky and only suffered very minor damage. While at work, Big Daddy's sweet little car was basically obliterated by lemon-sized hail. He ran out to the parking lot just before it started to move it farther under the big trees in the parking lot. While he was in the car it hit and he got stranded in his car. He said it sounded like a pack of teenagers beating his car with baseball bats. Every single panel has major damage, his mirrors were broken, it's just a mess! Nothing either of us could have done about it! Just one of those freak things. He called me in a panic, telling me to drive my car to a carwash or something and get it protected, but I had a sleeping baby in the house. So I spent 10 minutes, throwing shit around the garage and managed to slip my car in like a sardine in between all the drum gear and filing cabinets and boxes for recycling! But the hail had greatly diminished by the time it got here and my car is fine, whew!

I guess the next step is dealing with insurance. We've never had to make a hail claim before and this one's gonna be a doozie! Oh well, his car may be messed up, but at least he was OK. I'm glad it didn't break the windshield or anything crazy like that!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Haiku for Spring!

Kiss of rain so sweet
Soft scents and summer breezes
Trees begin to wake

Happy Garden, Happy Mama, Glorious Bounty!

Finally! The rain has come again! It smells magnificent outside! We didn't get a lot so far, but even this small amount has made my heart and my garden sing! I went to check on the garden and take some photos and was rewarded with quite the bounty. My garden isn't very big and it hasn't been the most fruitful venture, YET, but I still love it and I'm still proud of it! There is work to be done though, which will be addressed in a later entry. But for now, it is divine! Nothing beats fresh green onions straight from the ground or spinach leaves snipped less than 50 ft. away from your dinner table!

Mint and parsley

Sweet baby lettuce, oh baby!

I ended up not fencing my spinach and it is growing! So I don't know if Mr. Rat moved away or if he just got sick of my spinach. Either way, good riddance! I am happy to be the one eating the spinach now!

A small but glorious harvest!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Beginnings of a rockstar...

Music isn't just something to listen to in my home, it's a way of life. Everything has a soundtrack around here! If we are in the car... music is playing, if we're cleaning house... music is playing, if we're sitting out back relaxing... music is playing. So it seems only natural that the Monkey Man would be drawn to this. You have some kids that are all about team sports, then you have my son, who could care less about soccer but will sit and discuss the tasty guitar licks that Tony Iommi is throwing out on "War Pigs"! It makes a mama proud!

Big Daddy and the Monkey Man have a special connection with music, a place where they can truly relate to one another and it's AWESOME! Big Daddy plays drums in a local band and happens to be pretty versed in the Garage Band program. So, father and son haul up in front of the computer with headphones on, and record the Monkey Man's greatest hits! They were at it again last night, and admittedly, I could have done without the content, what is it with 7 y.o. boys and death and destruction?!? But who am I to stomp on his creativity? I mean he focused long enough to write the lyrics for a 2 min. 40 sec. song! That's impressive no matter how you look at it! So, while I sewed little summer dresses, I listened to an outpouring of creative juices that evolved into a song reminiscent of Nine Inch Nails and Deep Purple. He called it "The Evil" and he is VERY proud! So is his mama.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Living Science

FACT: When you homeschool, you are never just satisfied to read things out of a book!

You are always wanting to show the practical, and sometimes impractical, side to everything. For example, when the Monkey Man was in his dinosaur phase, we measured off the length of 6 of his faves on the front sidewalk. After all, when you realize that some of those cool looking animals in the book were the length of your neighbor's property and half of yours, it's impressive and most of all... tangible. It's hard to imagine just how big 150 ft. is when you're 5 years-old.

It is this philosophy that has landed me with two very unusual housemates! We have been studying the life cycle of frogs and toads, can you already see where this is going??? My good friend Mama Doom decided to order some tadpoles from the internet. When the package arrived she was slightly taken aback, to say the least. These were not the cute little tadpoles that we see in the creeks around here, but BIG, HONKIN', bullfrog tadpoles! Seriously, Godzilla comes to mind! And of course these little lovelies are not native to the area and since the transformation can take up to a year or more, they will have been hand fed and completely unreleasable when they become frogs. So in the name of science and discovery I have two plump, lazy tadpoles for pets! Oy!

I guess I can't complain though, Monkey Man adores them! Seriously, what 7 year-old boy wouldn't kill to have his very own tankful of transformers?!? They have been named "Ribbet" and "Krokus" (can you tell my son is a fan of 80's Butt Rock?). We figured "Ribbet" was pretty gender neutral and if "Krokus" turns out to be a girl, we can just change the spelling to "Crocus". And I will have to admit, the more they grow, the more they grow on me! We are starting to see little leg buds on Krokus and it's so freakin' cool! Besides, you can't ever go wrong with living science. These are the things that will make an impression and the Monkey will remember for a lifetime. And if nothing else, they will be good for at least a couple of decent blog entries! ;)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Most Gorgeous Bedtime Book!

My good friend Mama K gave the Piglet a wonderful book for her birthday last year called, "On the Night You Were Born". My daughter ADORES this book and it is usually one of the three night-night books that we read her at bedtime. I went to find this book for a baby shower I'm attending this weekend and found another book by the same artist and was BLOWN AWAY but the illustrations! It is called "It's Time to Sleep, My Love". And it's not just the illustrations, the story is sweet as well, a perfect night-night story! So two pudgy baby thumbs up for this one!

Little spring dresses

A friend of mine turned me on to some really cool fabric! It has a "ruched" top (I hope that's the correct term) and regular fabric at the bottom. I understand that it is available at Jo-Ann Fabrics and Hancock, not sure about Hobby Lobby. So here's how to make sweet little sundresses with minimal effort, minimal price and you don't have to be sempstress of the year! I was able to make two of these dresses for less than $8, cheaper than Wal-Mart! Yee-haw!

Step 1: Cut to the length and width you want. I just wrapped it around my Piggy and pinned it where it fit snug. Sew a seam down the back and hem.

Step 2: Make some little straps with the leftover fabric. I chose to make 4 so I could tie the dress over her shoulders and it would be adjustable. You could make two straps and halter it instead.


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Today's observations...

Random observation: Dandelions and fire ants (especially when found together) have to be one of Mother Nature's sicker jokes!

Mama observation: Full bottles of bubble solution and 2 year-olds don't mix.

Spring has sprung!

Oh the joy of blue skies, singing birds and bluebonnets popping up all over the place! I am so ready to be out and about. I feel like an old mama bear that has been curled up in a dark den all winter. Not that we ever had really nasty weather, but seriously, I'm nothing if not a hothouse flower. If it's below 50*F, you can bet I'm not outside unless I HAVE to be! But light breezes and the smell of wisteria wafting through the neighborhood is definitely tempting my soul, like little fingers teasing and tickling my senses, saying, "Come play, be free, breathe deeply and enjoy life!" At least until the stifling 100*F, 100% humidity of the Texas summer hits. It's hard to keep focused on days like these. I am beginning to wonder if I should institute spring vacation instead of summer vacation in my home! After all, I'm the headmistress here and what I say goes! ;) Anyone else out there feeling a touch of Spring Fever?

Let's get this party started!

It's looks as though I have finally managed to get my shit together and get this blog going! For those of you that followed along at 30-something and were kind enough to join me here, I appreciate you indulging me! For those of you just discovering me, I hope you enjoy! I am really excited and have a whole plethora of things I want to talk about. So without further ado...