Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Planning for the Inevitable

We met with a Cemetery Director last night.  We picked out our plot of land, our urn, our memorial plate.  We have 30 days to confirm whether we are going forward with it or not and 90 days before starting our payments.  Much like anything else, this is a product people buy and finance.  But we don't want to pay an almost extra $1,000 to finance it so we'll see whether we can pay it all at once or not.  If not then we'll put it on the back burner probably until we get next year's tax money.

I feel like such a grown up - a house, a minivan, life insurance, and now pre-planning my final resting place.  It's the responsible thing to do.  And if we can come up with the money without having to pay for financing then it's actually a good investment since the costs for burials will just go up as the need increases.

Something I learned - even if you sign your organ donor card and donate your whole body to science your remains will still be returned to your family and they will have to arrange for your burial (and pay for it).  So unfortunately, while I believe you should definitely put your body parts to good use after death, that doesn't let you off the hook in terms of planning for the eventual burial of your remains.  Good to know.

Curious?  Well, the plot for two people (before taxes) costs $3,300  The other goodies we'll need to add on at some point break down like this:
Niche Memorial 10x10 Highland Non-Vase (this is the plaque) 1 @ $940
Cremation Administration Fee 2 @ $10 = $20
Niche Interment Fee 2 @ $310 = $620
Cremation Fee - Adult - Pre-Need 2 @ $445 = $890

and the best, the one we laughed at because it was so corny, but in the end it's the most cost effective - Entwined Heart - Ivory - Split (this is the urn) 1 @ $1,050  I asked if we couldn't just supply our own container (maybe an empty PB jar with duct tape around the lid to seal it?) but the answer was no...  

And in googling for a photo I found that you can apparently buy these on ebay... it pays to shop around!

So there you have it - something we all need to think of, and much easier to do "Pre-Need" and when not in an emotional state due to a recent loss.  Don't leave this burden for your children, that's just not nice.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Easter Lesson

My talented sister put together an Easter lesson for our kids.

1 Grade 4
1 Grade 2
1 Grade 1
2 JK
2 preschool
and 2 babies :-)

She led a Circle Time, read the Easter story (the real one... about Jesus), and showed them plastic eggs with coloured jelly beans and explained the significance of each colour.

Then they broke out into age groups and the JKs and Grade 1 worked on matching egg shells to make two syllable words.

After that they worked on a symmetry exercise - cutting a Palm frond out on folded green paper, and then used that to make an Easter card.


The toddlers worked at a sensory activity.

Great day!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Book review: “The Josefina story quilt” (Coerr)

The Josefina story quilt” by Eleanor Coerr was another great book in the Grandparents unit.

It tells the story of a young girl in the 19th century whose family sets off on a covered wagon train to California.  Many things must be left behind but Faith's mom gives her dad "that special look" and he allows her to bring along her pet hen.

It resonated with me because as I child I fell in love with the chickens we had and have always been fond of them for some reason.

A great read :-)

Me with my chicken "Speckles"

Friday, April 15, 2011

Book review: "Something To Remember Me By" (Bosak)

This book was part of the Grandparents unit we just completed with the Come Sit By Me curriculum we're using.  

It was a story about a little girl and her grandmother and shows the girl spending time with her grandmother as she is growing up through the years.

It was a beautiful book that moved me to tears as I read it out loud to them.  (I don't often preview the books so this has happened more than once now).  It probably hit me so hard because I have such great memories of my own grandmother and am thankful she is still around at the age of 90.

There's a lovely description of the book at Legacy Project and a link to Across Generations Activities.

Something to Remember Me By is written by Susan V. Bosak and illustrated by award-winning artist Laurie McGaw.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

iPod nano

I am so old and so out of touch... but that's nothing new to me...

If not for CDs being easily scratched by children, and CD players getting old/dusty/abused and skipping a beat more often than not now... and if not for looking older than Methuselah if I were to use a "walkman" or the more modern "discman" while I work out...

What I really want is a docking station - and those you can get reasonably "cheap".  But it would appear almost none of them would accept anything other than a genuine iPod - thus forcing me to buy a more expensive MP3 player than I probably need.

So since I was at Walmart (with all 4 kids on my own!) I decided it was time to spend my Christmas money and my allowance that I've been saving up.  It was actually ridiculously simple to buy, all I had to pick was a colour - PINK!

I love the little box it comes in!  The instructions however make A LOT of assumptions about one's technical expertise.  Seriously.  I've never owned something where I could touch the screen to make things happen.  The concept of "swipe" or rotating the screen, or shaking the iPod to shuffle songs (SHAKE it???) is foreign to me.  Yup, I'm an old fogey!

Hope my little bro gets a good laugh out of this post ;-)

[argh - when I went to add the link I see I could've bought it cheaper online since the Canadian $ is so strong it would've only cost me $152.67 including taxes and free engraving and shipping (to the in-laws' in the US though so I would've had to wait until I see them in August to get it).  I paid $180.12 :-( ]

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Crock-Pot Chicken Cacciatore

I am blessed with a husband who enjoys cooking and likes to make our dinners as an expression of his love and care for us.  Some would even say I am spoiled!  But once upon a time when I was a single girl I was a not too bad cook.  Now as a mom to 4 kids and homeschooling the two oldest I find it difficult to get  my act together and have dinner waiting, or at least thought of, when dh comes home.  Adding to that challenge is that, since he starts work at 5:30am, he is home by 3pm!  I'm trying to find some good crock-pot recipes and today I decided to make this one posted at Organizational Hysteria.

It probably took me close to 2 hours to manage to get these simple ingredients into the crock pot!  It was cobbled together between getting the kids started on the schoolwork, going down to the basement to check the pantry closet for tomato paste (which we didn't have so I substituted crushed tomatoes - which involved figuring out that two 6 oz cans of tomato paste might equal just under half the 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes, except of course there is more liquid in the crushed tomatoes so we'll see how that turns out), taking frozen chicken breasts out of the basement freezer (blessedly boneless skinless that the in-laws left behind after their recent visit!), checking a math worksheet, rocking the crying baby's chair, chopping up an onion and crying myself, redirecting the toddler who was shoving the 4yo's shoes (which had not been put away in the closet!) in baby's face, thawing the frozen chicken breasts, wondering how much garlic powder might be an adequate substitute for the 2 garlic cloves I was not about to mince, serving a snack to the now hungry and crying toddler, helping the 4yo cut something up, noticing the toddler had put the glue stick in a water bottle, rocking the crying baby's chair again, putting everything in the crock pot, and pouring myself a glass of wine (I've heard you should only cook with wine you would drink and I hadn't tested this one yet...) - to be consumed with lunch, which was now due to be prepared.  I didn't have the dry white wine the recipe called for so just used red.  I also didn't have mushrooms so omitted them.


So... it's all in the crock pot and the house smells of onions (and I'm not a big fan of that)... I know dh will appreciate the effort and I also know the 6yo will not eat it since it has tomato sauce... sigh...

[EDITED to add photo of the final product]