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DD's Honey Harvest

September 6th, 2014 at 11:34 pm

As I've previously posted we have a bee hive in our backyard. This is a 4H project that our DD participates in.

This year her hive produced enough excess honey she could harvest it.

The whole process is so fascinating. It is amazing to learn how bees "operate", the proper way to work with bees and the steps to harvest honey.

After you pull out frames of capped honey from the hive boxes you cut the wax caps off with a Hot Knife (electric knife that gets hot and cuts/melts the wax). Then you load the extractor.

This is the Extractor in our kitchen (you can see some of the wax caps on the top of the strainer).




The local beekeeping club allows 4H members to borrow the club owned electric extractor at no charge.
It works by flinging the honey out with centrifugal force.

Frames loaded inside the extractor.



Frames spinning.



Honey!
DD filled jars after letting the honey drain from the extractor into the bucket for about 30 hours.



Almost two gallons of honey collected.



Most of these jars will be given as gifts.
A few might be sold - DD's project leader has customers willing to buy local honey for $20/pint.

Scholarship Money

May 20th, 2014 at 05:18 am

Good news for us - had a letter today from DS's preschool that we will be receiving $1k in tuition assistance for next school year. Tuition is broken down into 10 monthly installments, so that is $100/month savings! Big Grin

We also received a check from DD's 4H club for $50 toward her week at 4H camp this summer.
The camp is a deal at $245 for six days/five nights of sleep-away camp with all meals and activities.
The $50 "scholarship" brings the cost to under $200. Smile

Charged $71 to the Propel AmEx today for a tank of gas. It was $3.95/gallon at Costco.


Recent Visit to the Goat Dairy & Fair Entries

May 16th, 2014 at 03:14 am

Mother's Day we ventured out to a local goat dairy. They do an "open farm" one weekend in May and again in June each year. I have posted about our previous trips - we always have a fun time.
And I get to buy some very excellent cheese at a reduced price! Smile

While there you can pet the kid goats, brush the big gals, climb a straw stack, milk a goat, try as many samples of yogurt, cheese and ice cream as you want and there is face painting and live music too. There isn't a charge to visit, but I spent $22 on three types of cheese and a yogurt tub.

(Tried twice to upload a picture, but the site is acting goofy, so??)


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This afternoon we turned in our entry forms for the local fair. It was $12 for all our entry fees.

I signed up for the table setting section again, a hanging basket I will plant soon and a creative small planting using a jam jar.

DD signed up to enter four canned items (two jams, a jelly & an apricot syrup) and she is going to enter mini cheesecakes and lemon bars in the junior baking category.

And this year DS is going to take in a piece of his "art". Not sure if it will be a painting or what yet. I just entered it as "preschool art".

Entering in the fair is fun!
All the fairs I have entered give free or reduced admission tickets to people who enter, so you could save money by entering. And there are usually many types of things you can enter from sewing to web design; cooking to gardening.

Do you enter anything in your fair?
If not, will you check into it this year?
Smile

Tuition Assistance for Preschool

March 28th, 2014 at 06:16 pm

The wonderful preschool DS goes to has a scholarship program. I was a bit on the fence about applying.. Paperwork to fill out, tax returns to copy and a $27 application fee. I had pretty much decided not to apply.

I know it seems silly that here I am blogging on SA and I WASN'T going to apply. It seems silly to me now that I really think on it. The reason is that I don't look at our family as a family in *need* and I don't want to take from a family that truly has *need*.

(Have you ever found yourself stepping aside for others; assuming someone has a greater need than yourself?)

The front office lady, EL, swayed me to going for it when she told me these two things.
First, there is a pool of money and some years it doesn't all get used. (Um.. What?!)
Second, our part as parents is to apply; not decide if we qualify for anything or not. That is the job of the tuition company the application goes to.

When she put it in that perspective I thought "why not?" EL was very encouraging about applying. (I hope that hints at a favorable outcome!)

Last night I filled out the application. The most difficult questions was "How much can you pay toward tuition?". If I put too small of an amount am I trying to get more than I need? If I put too high, then am I shorting the possible assistance payment? I settled on $5k less than full tuition - that would be a huge savings.

This morning I made copies of the W2s and tax returns. I just put the packet in the outgoing mail here at work.

Any help would make a difference to the budget next year.

We Have Bees!!

April 7th, 2013 at 07:35 pm

DD's 4H beekeeping leader (EM) captured a swarm last weekend.

DD set up her box and EM brought the bees to our house yesterday. We are all excited. Honeybees are so cool. Just amazing when you learn about what they do and how the live.


DD's 4H experiences have been so wonderful this year. It is such a great way to nurture a child's interests without spending a bunch of money. I also feel like it's a great place for social interactions. She gets to spend time with other kids near her age, with similar intrests, but not in a school setting. Actually, there isn't anyone in this particular club that goes to DD's school. I think that takes some of the "social pressure" off a bit.

The boxes, complete with frames and tops, a smoker, hive tool, frame grabber and feeder were all given to DD for free because they were donated to the 4H project.
To buy these items as a package would be about $185.

The bee leader, EM, is a sweetheart of a lady. Completely volunteering all this time to educate and suport the kids. She collects unwanted swarms to populate the hives so nobody has to buy bees.
A queen can sell for $25-$30. A group of bees like ours could cost $170.

We did buy DD a veil, a board for the box and some wax foundation for the frames. To get her started we spent $40 vs. the near $400. Big Grin

Here is the queen. She is the larger, pretty golden colored one. The golden color is special. EM told us she is the prettiest queen she has seen in many years. EM also believes she is a young queen so we might have her for five years or so.




I am enjoying going out to the backyard and watching the activity going in and out of the box. Smile

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Speaking of 4H: Yesterday morning DD's cooking goup had a field trip to see a local ice cream shop make ice cream. Really a lovely, locally owned shop in our historic downtown. Everyone got free ice cream. I was naughty and tried an Affogato (not free).
The Affogato is two scoops of icecream topped with two shots of espresso in a latte mug. OMGosh!! SO amazing. Obviously you must love coffee - which I do! It might be my new favorite dessert.

Great.. Okay.. Darn.. Sad..

December 19th, 2012 at 06:18 am

Great news: DH had his final exam tonight for his EMT class and he passed the class with a B+. He had an A average all semester, but the final test tonight was really tough and brought his average down. Still, plenty good enough IMO! Now he has to schedule and sit for the national board exam to actually become an EMT again.

Okay news: I am getting my root canal tomorrow. Our OOP will be about $200. I'm not nervous, but I will be happy to get it over with.

Darn IT news: I bought DD a full length mirror for her bedroom as a Christmas gift. I had it in the back of my SUV and this morning the puppy (the nearly 80lb puppy) jumped on it. Totally my fault. It is shattered right in the middle. Argh! Bright side was it cost $15 from Target. Down side is (1) I have to go back to Target and (2) spend another $15.

Sad news: One of our horses will need to be euthanized soon. We've known for a few months that she has a slow growing tumor in her left sinus. She was a rescue horse from a not-so-great home (not a horrible abusive place, just a somewhat neglectful, we-don't-want-this-responsibility type home). The last eight or so years we have done our best to give her a comfortable, pampered, lazy life. I feel good about that because it's been 100% better than what she had before.

Busy Tuesday

November 7th, 2012 at 05:54 am

I started my day at 7:30 with a parent/teacher conference at DD's school. She had a perfect report card and very kind remarks from her teacher. We are so lucky that every year it has been the same - great, great, great. Big Grin

I really give a lot of credit to the wonderful preschool she attended. This is the same preschool that we have DS enrolled in for Fall 2013.

Mid morning I had a dentist appointment. Just a routine cleaning. It won't be covered by my insurance and will cost about $80. I also scheduled my crown for the first week in January. My root canal is scheduled with the endodontist at the end of December. This way I can maximize my dental benefits and pay the least out-of-pocket I have to.

After my appointment I dropped my ballot off. (I filled it out at home, but didn't want to risk mailing it.) It is always neat to see all the different types of voters out and about. Smile

Then I had to stop at MIL's bank. She asked for a $600 loan. This is the second time this year. She always pays it back promptly, so for that I am comfortable. What really alarms me is that they don't have any savings to tap? I'm not saying we are 'The Expert Savers', but we are working on it! (I really understand DH's lack of money management skills when I see things his parents do.)

I bought a banana milkshake from a burger stand next to the bank. It was a serious *want* and it was so gooood! Big Grin Plus, my throat has been sore all day and that shake felt good - wish I had another one right now.

Lastly, I went to work for the afternoon.
It was pretty quiet, so work was the easiest part of the whole day. Wink

Major Frustration, But a Happy Ending

September 1st, 2012 at 05:48 am

DH left with his boss for Alaska yesterday. They are on a ten day trip, mostly to fish with a little relaxing thrown in for good measure. His boss owns a place there and paid for all the airfare with cc rewards. Pretty sweet deal for DH. Thankfully, DH didn't need to buy any equipment or stuff for this trip like he did two years ago when he went. He has $600 cash with him for food and any other small thing he might need.

This leads to the frustration: Do you remember the textbook I ordered through Amazon for DH?

Well, he really needed it before he left for Alaska. He had already had three class meeting without the book and was three homework assignments behind because he didn't have the book. (He was totally stressing!) Thursday morning on the way to the airport he broke down and bought the book from the school's bookstore at the mega price of $212.

Naturally, the book showed up today. Ugh! So I had two choices. One, to return it to the online seller and further fuel the frustration. Or two, try to return that book to the school's bookstore. I went with option two. I know that is maybe not quite honest, but the book was brand new and it was the *same* book. The bookstore took it back (I had a receipt after all!) and we saved $76. Even if I subtract some $ for time and gas to go to the bookstore three times, we are still $50 better off.
I am very happy about that savings.

I am planning to leave a remark about how long it took to get the book on the seller's review comments.


Hubby's Class Book

August 24th, 2012 at 04:00 am

I stopped at the junior college's bookstore to pick up the book DH needs for his EMT class....

It was $212!

No, I'm not kidding!

As soon as I had a chance at work I checked Amazon and found the same book for $129. I ordered it and added expedited shipping for $6.99.

A difference of $75!!!

I would have been more than happy to buy a used book, but there is an online code for each book and it can only be used once. That is a really crappy thing to do because most classes require you to go online and take the quizzes thru the online set up. Pretty much forces a lot of students to buy it new. Phooey!

Once DH is done with the book I am going to look at selling it back to Amazon. They had a note that stated they would buy the book back for $51. I would be very happy to recoup some of the cost at the end of the semester; right before Christmas. Smile

Bought a Trumpet and More Household Happenings

September 14th, 2011 at 05:27 am

Ended up buying DD a trumpet.
We have a young man working with us two half days at work and I asked him last week if he or his siblings ever played any instruments. He said he had played trumpet and he still had two at home. Smile
He brought them to my work on Monday to look at. I bought the nicer one for $120. Our local music store rental was $30/month, so in four months I'll be money ahead. Plus, the least expensive trumpet I saw on Craigslist was $150.
I spent an additional $36 at the music store for her music book, metal stand and valve oil.
DD is very excited to play her new horn.

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Twice yearly (Fall & Spring) DD's school has after-school enrichment classes. They do have a fee and run once weekly for four to six weeks. She is interested in the Fused Glass ($50), Cooking ($35), Golf ($60), Lego Robots ($35) and Pottery ($45) classes this session. We will choose one or two and have an alternate in case her first choice is taken. It used to be that all the classes had the same cost. Now you write a separate check for each choice in case you don't get in the class the PTA doesn't have to issue a bunch of refund checks. It is inconvenient, but I can understand how it makes their bookkeeping easier.

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Used the last of my 30% cash-back-credit at Diapers.com last week. I bought a ton of "squeezy pouch" food and meals (Happy Tot)- $54 worth of food for $17.70! What a thrill, hehe. And we are well stocked on diapers. I bought so much while on the cash-back program because I wanted to "max out" on the credit. Big Grin

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Our water bill was emailed to me this morning. Highest it's ever been. $102. Blah! DH will need to cut back on his lawn watering. He re-seeded a few spots and has really been babying the lawns. It also seems like we've been doing nonstop laundry. That doesn't help either.

What will help is when we replace the toilets. I want to go with a dual flush. It's a toilet that has one lower water flush for urine and a regular water flush for #2. I think they may be eligible for a rebate thru our city. Water saving incentive thing.

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I have pretty much nailed down the tile I want for our master bath. Just deciding on the shade of the accent tile. Darker? or Lighter? Hmmm.

I got an estimate of $675 to install the tile. Great guy. Excellent work. But, we can't afford that and the cost of tile.

I took a Home Depot tile workshop Saturday and I really think I can do it. Especially with a little help from DH who has done floor tile before. Plus it was fun.

'Course I used to think painting was fun until I painted the interior of our house. :P

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My mom came for a visit this past weekend. We bought Chinese food for Saturday night dinner. It's a place we hadn't ordered from before and they had left their menu and COUPONS on our doorstep last week. They totally hooked me with their coupons and their menu prices are on the lower side. We ordered crab & cream cheese wantons, pork pot stickers, fried rice, veggie chow main, sweet/sour prawns, orange chicken and broccoli beef. $48.

Now I'm hungry and it's bedtime... Smile

Trumpet Time

September 7th, 2011 at 03:55 am

Now that DD is in 5th grade she can play a musical instrument if she wants. And she does of course. Smile
The trumpet. *giggle*

This should be interesting.

She had to sign an agreement that she would stick with this for the entire school year. Now I need to find her a trumpet. We could buy a used one or rent one. Renting looks to be about $19-$28/month. Buying as low as $150.

I'm leaning toward buying. I could re-sell it at the end of the school year if she decides not to keep playing. Renting: 9 months X $20 = $180

Any suggestions?

Suze's Book

July 7th, 2011 at 11:26 pm

I finished Suze's The Money Class book over the weekend. I want to share an online resource with you, plus if I post it here then I can always find it easily myself. Big Grin

For special tools and resources for readers of The Money Class:

On her homepage (suzeorman.com) there is an icon labeled
The Classroom
Enter the passcode: 999 999 999