Saturday, November 22, 2014

The Man I Knew

On Thursday morning I got a call letting me know my grandfather was very sick, he was at a hospital about 7 hours from my house and chances were if we made our way down there he would be gone before we got there, or if not he wouldn't know we were there.  A couple hours later I got ahold of his ICU nurse who was very kind and told me the truth of his condition, but promised me he was not in pain and that she would not let him suffer.  She said she was going to tell him I had called, that although the doctor's say he cannot hear us, she thinks that deep down they can.

Half an hour later I got the call that he had passed.

Apparently my grandfather had a massive heart attack a month ago that his body never recovered from, then he developed a serious infection in his right lung.  His body was to weak to fight the infection and he went down hill fast.  We never even knew about the heart attack.

You see this story gets complicated because my grandfather is, was, in prison and had been for the last 12 years.  He was not a bad man, eccentric yes.  Stubborn, yes.  Rude and crude, oh yes.  But he wasn't bad.  He was a 1950's Rebel Without a Cause and a 1960's freeloving hippie who never could let go of the drugs that helped enhance that time in his life.

He once drove his car from Texas to the Panama Canal and then walked and hitch hiked across South America. 

He once shook the hand of the Dalai Lama.

He was in San Francisco during the 1967 Summer of Love.

He was a Navy Vet who had been stationed in Hawaii, he told me I would hate every second there but I had to do my best to really experience it.  He made me promise to go up to Diamond Head and take a picture for him, it had been his favorite place.

He was a genius, literally.  When he was younger he received a scholarship to study physics at Rice. If I remember correctly he left to sign up the Navy before he finished.

Even though he was a vet he was one of the 100,000 people estimated to march against the Pentagon in 1967.

He walked, hitch hiked, and rode trains all over Europe and Asia.

Over the years he held a vast array of jobs.  He was a teacher, a government contractor on military bases, he worked on movie sets, and sold handmade hope chests among other things.

He wasn't the best dad, my dad was already born during most of the rompings listed above (he was born in 1965), and honestly I don't think he knew how to be a dad because he didn't have one himself really.  Could he have tried harder?  Yes.  I think he knew that and regretted it in the end, him and my dad never even really connected until my dad was grown and I don't know if they really liked each other until I was born.

But were he really sucked at being a dad (it's harsh but true), he was a great grandfather to my brother and I.  He let us explore his little house and all it's exotic knick-knacks uninhibited, and he did his best to be there for us even when prison bars separated us.

He was also an amazing great-grandfather.  My kids basically have their own library because he was dead set that he would pass his love of reading on to them.  He would send them books for every holiday known to man, Addi even got books for St. Patrick's Day once.

Yes, he didn't make the best decisions possible.  A lot of people did not like him and he honestly probably liked even fewer.  But he loved us purely and whole heartedly, and we loved him too.

He doesn't want a funeral, he doesn't want a grave.  He wants to be cremated and his ashes tossed in the back yard where his dogs are buried.  I laughed when I was told that because...well, that's just him.

I could have been mad that I never knew about last months heart attack, that I never got the chance to say goodbye.  But I'm not.  He had told me before that he would rather die quickly than waste away eventually in a nursing home.  He said he had a lived a very full life and he was okay with it if his time had come.  If I were a betting person I would put money on the possibility that he probably told the prison and the hospital not to notify us until they were sure it was the end, he didn't want us guilting him and trying to change his mind-which we probably would have done.

I will miss the man greatly.  I know the man that I knew was not the man everyone else saw.  The man I got to know through our letters over the last 12 years.  Behind bars he was able to let go of his hard exterior (well, somewhat) and really let me in.  I will be forever grateful for that experience; for the knowledge I gained, and the love we shared.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

A Wreath for Fall

I love decorating, but I hate the price tag of it.  Because of that my house honestly still looks like two college students still live in it-I'm working on it.

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On etsy, (oh etsy, you will be the death of me) I have recently fallen in love with wreaths, but at a price tag that ranges anywhere from 65.00-85.00 and up those suckers are expensive.  Even locally the lowest I have been able to find a cute one is in the 50's!  But my door, my poor door, it looked so bare and lonely.  I had to give it something to keep it company.

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So to pinterest I went!  What did we do in the days without it?  I found an easy tutorial for making a burlap wreath, and another for making burlap and cloth roses.  Add some glittery paint and a wooden C and it was all done.  The supplies cost me less than 20.00, and I have enough burlap left over to make a Christmas wreath, enough orange burlap to make about 20 more burlap roses too.

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No, it's not perfect, but I sure do like it-and so does my wallet.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

A Cup of Heaven

If you know me at all you know I have an ultimate, undying love for my coffee.  It's there for me in the morning, gets me going and keeps me warm.  Now that daylight savings is kicking my booty (Atlas wakes up at 5:00 a.m. to nurse, he can go back to sleep but apparently I can't) it is also keeping me company throughout the day.

If I had the money I would totally be one of those people who frequented coffee shops all day every day (Friends anyone?), but alas I am not.  I also have decided I do not have the money to have fancy coffee creamer in my budget, plus I could not find one that had ingredients I could pronounce in it.

I was getting pretty discouraged.  Then I remembered what my little brother and I used to do in high school, we used to mix instant cocoa mix with our coffee in the mornings to have a caffeinated hot chocolate extravaganza.  Well it just so happens I had promised a certain 6.5 year old some hot cocoa that particular day....and then the magic happened.

I found a hot cocoa mix recipe online and tweaked it a bit to our liking (mixed sugar and powdered sugar, added cinnamon).  You can have this as hot cocoa when mixed with a warm cup of milk or you can be awesome like me and put a tbsp in your coffee with just a tiny bit of heavy's heaven I tell you pure heaven.

Super Easy Chocolate Coffee Creamer/Hot Cocoa Mix

1 Container of Powdered Cocoa
2 Cups Sugar
3/4 Cup Powdered Sugar
1 Tbsp Salt
1 tsp Cinnamon

Mix it all together and place in an air tight container.

Simple, easy, delicious.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Dollar Tree/Wal-Mart Haul

Okay I know it sounds completely nerdy but dollar stores make me a little giddy.  Okay, a lot giddy.  As in I might have dragged my kids down every aisle of Dollar Tree today picking up everything I saw and saying ooohhhh....aaahhhh.  Yea, it was a real good way to teach my 6.5 year old self control.  This is only slightly embarrassing because that same 6.5 year old was carrying the basket I was tossing stuff into as I pushed her brother around in his stroller.  Parenting win I tell ya.  But hey this was my first Dollar Tree experience since moving back from Hawaii, the state where dollar stores are apparently a completely foreign concept-so don't judge me too harshly.

Thankfully for my wallet, and Addi's arms, I was able to get my mind focused and get back to the task at hand.  I had gone with the task at hand for making Quiet Baskets for my preschool daycare kids.  You see since they are two and three they no longer take morning naps and they get through their letter of the week work pretty quickly.  The problem with that is that Addi is still doing her independent work and the littles are still napping, so I can't have them running around being their normal loud selves.  I am hoping the discovery of these quiet boxes (I got the idea off of Pinterest, what did we ever do without that place?) will help the situation out a little.

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So here you have it, almost all the things I needed to make five quiet boxes.  I did have to go to wal-mart for some velcro strips, and the scissors aren't actually for the quiet boxes they just keep disappearing from my house so I couldn't resist buying more.  But all of this for about 15.00!  My heart skipped a beat when I saw the total pop up.  I was that excited.

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My day got even better when I found these babies at Wal-Mart too.  I have a slight obsession with boot socks and keep wanting to buy them from my favorite discount boutique sites like and, but the best deal I have found recently still had each pair of socks listed at about 8.95 when you included shipping.  I got these two pairs for less than 10.00 together.  Woot!

Ah, sticker shock in a good way.  I am loving being back on the mainland.  Now if only I could have a Leonard's malasada.  I guess a girl can't have everything!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Well that was a hassle.

Have you ever forgotten your password?  What about your entire email?  That happened to me this morning, you see this blog is the only thing I use this gmail account for-more specifically logging into this blog is the only thing I use this gmail account for.  And I have seriously spent the last hour trying to remember my gmail account name and password so I could get back to this place.  AN HOUR.

Apparently I did not save a back up email or phone number to this account so trying to recover it was next to impossible.  Until I got enough coffee in my system and remember that there was an email about this account in the inbox to my hotmail account.  Voila! I can now be back on my blog.

With that said I know I have been gone a lllooonnnggg time from this little place, and I know I apparently have a habit of doing that.  So much has changed in the last 5 months and I can't wait to catch everyone up on all that is going on.

I will be back soon to fill you in, I promise!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Money Monday-Week 6/Insurance

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Source I couldn't find a DR insurance meme, but this made me giggle.

I've heard it's the most dreaded and boring lesson of FPU and the one people are likely to skip.  I guess I'm a total weirdo because I was almost jumping for joy to get to this lesson.  It's probably because both our life insurance and health insurance are now through the military and those will be gone by the first of July.  I had always gotten both through my work or the Hub's prior to this so this so going out in the market to look at both is kind of definitely terrifying.

This lesson included a lot of details but I am going to try and break it down quickly-

Life Insurance-
Go with term and whatever you do stay away from whole life or anything similar.  Yes you are putting money into a savings account but if you have a 250,000.00 whole life policy with 35,000.00 in your 'account' and you die tomorrow your spouse, kids, parents, etc. only get that 250,000.00  where does your savings go?  Back to the whole life insurance agency.  Whole life insurance is also a lot more expensive, you can pay 125.00+ a month compared to 20.00-30.00 with a term policy-and your family get's the same amount if you die today.

Health Insurance-
Get some!  Seriously, what if you were to get into a wreck tomorrow?  How long would it take for those medical bills to ruin all the hard work you have put into getting out of debt?  I worked in an ER for 2 years doing registration so let me give you a little insight-it won't take long at all.  One bad wreck, an ambulance ride, a surgery or two, and a short hospital stay can easily put you in the hospital for 100,000.00 grand or more.  A NICU baby can put you in for 500,000.00 easily and a micro-preemie can set you back even closer to the million mark.  It add's up fast folks and it's scary.  Dave talks about all kinds of health insurance in this lesson but he makes a point to recommend HSA.  They can be expensive and they more than likely have a high deductible but you can get them to where if you pay out a 5,000.00 deductible after that the insurance will pay 100% for your coverage.  You can also put that 5,000.00 into the HSA savings account and it is a tax deductible savings, if I remember correctly it will roll over to the next year as well.  Dave also talks about how a lot of the time a higher deductible means less monthly cost so do your research and decide for you what is worth it.  Remember to think about how healthy your family is, how often do you go to the doctor?  Do you have ongoing needs?  Weigh your options and decide what's best for you and your family.

Auto Insurance-
 Again, get some!  Do you have enough money to replace your car if you got into a wreck?  What about the other persons car if you were found at fault?  What about the other persons medical bills, especially if there were anything those above?  If you answered no to any of these questions you need to get some car insurance!  Do your research, look at the deductibles, premiums, and what they pay out in different circumstances.  Just like with health insurance a lot of the time the higher the deductible the lower the monthly cost.

Home Owner's/Renter's insurance-
Just like with auto insurance you need to think about what you would do if a fire, flood, tornado, etc. were to happen and you lost everything.  Do you have enough savings to cover paying out for everything with cash?  I know I don't!  Even if you are renting you still have to worry about your things, your landlords insurance does not cover your belongings.

What about all the extra's and froo-froos?
They aren't worth it.  Cancer insurance?  It's covered by your health insurance.  Accidental death insurance?  Your life insurance still pays out if you die by accident.  The list could go on...

If you are in the market for insurance you can talk to one of Dave's ELP's and they can help you figure out what you need and which company would be the best to go with.  Oh, that reminds me.  Dave also recommends talking to someone who doesn't work for a specific company and instead finds the best company for you.