Friday, March 14, 2008


I think tomorrow we will have an ART DAY. I am reading Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Inglas Wilder with Little D right now and he stopped me to ask questions when the book says how Ma has set things for each day. Monday-wash. Tuesday-iron. Wednesday- churn. Thursday-bake. Friday-clean. Saturday- I can't remember. and Sunday- rest.

So, I thought this would be fun to do something like this with homeschooling.

Maybe something like this, in no particular order;

1- art.
2- science experiments.
3- gardening.
4- museum field trip day.

We would still our regular stuff but maybe make extra time after we do our bookwork to do something extra each day that is a certain day of the week so they can look forward to it.

Homeschooling-neat book

I finished a neat book tonight at bed time. I was reading it to Baby K but Little D was listening in too (he likes to do that) and pretend he wasn't.

It was called What is Rot. Baby K picked it out from the library yesterday. The book/pages are a little yellow. The book looks like it is from the 70's by the pictures but Baby K didn't notice.

It is a neat book talking about mold, bacteria, decomposing items and what makes things biodegradable.

There are science experiments that the kids can do on every few pages too. We will have to try some. One was to get a sock with no match. Wear it all day. Step in some water or mud in it then put it in a plastic bag and seal it and put it in the dark and see what starts to grow on it!

Discount on sports

I forgot to mention when I listed all the sports my children are in that I get a discount at the YMCA. I applied for it for low-income and I only have to pay 50% of all classes. We are members and so my memberships is 50% too. So, to sign up one child for football it is about $140 for non-members and $65 for members and then we pay 1/2 of that. Some classes are free too, like ballet.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Tomatomania 2008

The tomatoes are here!! The tomatoes are here!!! (I feel like running around shouting this).

Check out this website.

They have a few places in the next month or two to go to in Ca. or you can order online.

We have gone the last three years. Funny thing is I only kinda like tomatoes and my kids hate them. BUT Tomatomania is so much fun.

They have about 300 different tomato species. Purple ones with stripes. Ones that look like yellow peaches. Brandywine. Beef steak. etc. etc. They are so neat to watch grow. If you go there to get them the prices were decent. About $5 a plant. I checked and online they are more money and shipping was very high. But this beats the selection of only a few types that a local hardware/garden center would have!

All the sizes and colors look very neat growing in the yard too!

ME on eBay

I have to email eBay for the URL link again (I had it but accidently deleted it) but if you want to view my auctions on eBay you can do an advanced search by using my user name



screaming about bills

Just had to moan for a second about too many bills.

1- Just had to have my transmission rebuilt. $1505 for it. I paid $800 and he is letting me pay $100 a month to pay off the rest.

2- $1400 for a root canal and crown. I paid $451 for the root canal work (I've had to go back about 4 times but the dentist only charged me for the one apt). I have to get the crown in 3 weeks (waiting to make sure the root canal doesn't get infected again) and pay over $900 for the crown. Not sure where I'm getting this money from. Will have to try to work out some payment plan with them. The dentist said it was fine but I have to figure out the details with the front desk.

Who knew that I had an extra root in this tooth? I guess they charge you per root so that is why it is more too! Not really feeling special! LOL!

3- Car battery went bad. I had a 3-year warranty on it. They wanted $65 for a new one, saying it was 2 months out of warranty. The date on it said 1/05 (one the phone all was fine and the guy told me I did not have to bring in my receipt). BUT the new battery had the date 2/08 on it. So, I told him it is March right now. Who is to say that the last one that said January wasn't really purchased in February since the second one's date was off by a month. This would make my car battery 1 month out of warranty, not two, right?

Long story, short, a nice person helping me discounted it and I only paid $28 and he told me to look for the receipt. The 'other' guy told me it didn't matter and would only make a 68 cents difference (which makes no sense but he was a 'know it all' so I didn't feel like arguing with him.

So, my income tax money is gone. I thought I'd use it to get ahead. That didn't happen. And I'm still behind on some bills.

I've decided to try to catch up on all the stuff I have here to list on eBay and save money by not going to garage sales for a little while. 1- save money by not spending money at garage sales. 2- save money by not spending the gas driving around to all of them.

My living room has PILES of clothes anyways that all need to be listed on eBay! So, that is my goal for the next two weeks. To get all of them listed. Right now they are sorted a tiny bit. They are in piles of men, women, maternity, boy and girl. Now I need to sort by size. I also have about 10 kitchen trash bags full of clothes that are already sorted that I need to list that I am selling on consignment for someone!

I had an interview with the Simi Valley Adult ed as a substitute teacher for their ESL dept. They want me to come back and observe the classroom.

I also signed up to do online test scoring.

Both are decent pay and all of this should help a little bit.

I need to also call my water company. I just got my water bill and it is $75.50 and the usage is almost the exact same as the last bill. Not sure if they went up in price and I missed it. It is not high for the usage history for the last 12 months but the price seems higher then usual. Maybe I'm just noticing it more since money is tight right now?

Too much money?

I am not a person to drive from store to store buying one item here, one there for the cheapest price. I do not have the time. But this week I paid WAY to much for Contact Lens Cleaner.

I was completely out. Had none left at all at home and ran to Ralph's to get some (and I was in a hurry). The cheapest bottle they had was $5.99.

This is a total bummer. Due to my lack of planning I had to buy it.

Normally I buy it at Target and I can get it for about $1 a bottle. I usually stock up and buy about 10 bottles at a time. Next time I need to pay attention when I am running low!


This last month has been busy with sports. This week is the last week for Baby K and Little D for football. Baby K has her award and trophy ceremony tomorrow night and Little D has his last game on Sunday with a party at another player's house right after the game.

Besides football they are in gymnastics. Baby K is in ballet. Little D loves to go mountain bike riding (sometimes I put Baby K in the jogger and Little D on his bike and we go walking or running. We did this this week when my van was in the shop and walked to my mom and step-dad's house).

In two weeks Baby K will be starting basketball and Little D will be starting soccer.

WHEW! All of this is in addition to all other their other classes, activities and park days!

Homeschool reading and free pizza

Pizza Hut has a neat program for 'classrooms' this can be done pre-K and up and can be done with public schools or homeschool families.

Sign up NOW for it.

Basically you commit to have your children read a certain amount each month. When they meet their goals they get a certificate for a free children's size pizza.

I, personally, do not think my children should be rewarded to read. We love to read and it is just something we do daily and enjoy. I just tell them that they get this as a reading program. I do not do the reward chart that Pizza Hut offers but this is up to you.

One small children's pizza is not enough food for my son but I can add some fresh fruit or chips and water to make a meal out of it for them.

We also have two Pizza Huts in our city so we can call it in ahead of time and then just show up to pick up our free monthly pizza!

Changes in eBay

eBay has made some changes in the last few months with the way things are listed. If you list something wrong they will not send you an email telling you to fix it. They will just pull the auction.

Some things that they notice more now or new changes.

1- in the subject/listing line you can not put 'like new or like-new'. They said that it has always been this way but recently they have started to pull auctions for it. Their reasoning is this. If a buyer does a search on eBay. Say they want a new computer. If they type in the words 'computer, new, Apple' on a search they will get everything that is Like-new too. So, it makes sense but is a pain. An alternative is to put EUC which means excellent used condition.

However, In the description part where you type more details about the item you can still put like-new.

2- Not sure why but a friend had an auction pulled recently. In the description part of an auction my friend put ' will take checks, money orders, Paypal or cash' and eBay pulled the auction.

He was told by eBay that auctions are not allowed to be listed saying that someone will take cash.

Go figure!

3- Fake items. There have been quiet a few lawsuits going on with companies suing eBay for counterfeit items being posted. So, eBay is on the look out for them. I've had a few auctions pulled for purses that were fake. All of them looked and felt real to me but I guess someone from the purse company checks the auctions and notifies eBay. Even NICE purses from mulit-million dollar houses have fake purses! You can not guess who would or would not by seeing how they live.

4- Offensive or hate items. This is where things get blury and do not always make sense. For example. things that are from WWII and are German will be pulled because it is offensive to people what Hitler did. So a German military uniform, a swatzka, a lot of things with German writing and simiar things will get the auction pulled. You can NOT list them item and just not mention it and not show the offensive item and say 'please email me for photos'. If it is implied that there is more. eBay will pull it.

However, things of this nature that are photographs (even of burned, mulitated bodies or gas chambers are okay. Same with books and coins.

If you do an eBay search with keywords like K - three times (without spaces- I just put that so that it will not come up on a Google search as easily) offensive, racist, hate, etc. you will get about 100-200 items. I've seen photos of cross burnings and a family standing in front of a tree with an empty noose hanging from it and other horrible things and it is okay since they are photographs. There are more but I will not waste my time or give audience by going into more details.

I've emailed eBay about this. Asking why a uniform is more offensive then these photographs and they have not replied to me!

So, you can try to read their guidelines for this but it doesn't always work.

If you get an auction pulled eBay will refund your listing fees BUT it is a 'ding' against you. Too many and eBay can put you on a restriction for a probationary time or even refuse to let you list on eBay.

eBay- 2nd chance offer

eBay has a second chance offer to let you relist something for FREE if it does not sell the first time.

Beware. NOTHING is free! They are a business!!!

There is a catch.

If you relist the item a second time and it sells you will only have to pay the listing fees once.

BUT if you relist it a second time and it does not sell. You will have to pay for two listing fees. For the first time AND the second time.

So, if you think it will sell try to lower the price, edit the description. Change the category, etc. to ensure it will sell.

Also, if it is a big price item. Wait a week or two to relist. A few times a week I get an email a day or two after the auction is over by someone saying they missed the auction but still want to see if they can buy the item. You can do this by just sending them a invoice with Paypal or by doing a 'end it early' with eBay or putting a Buy it Now on the item for the buyer to buy it right away. The first option is frowned upon by eBay (since they won't get final auction fees) and is not under eBays protection for fraud so the second two ways are a safer way to sell.

eBay- powerseller

If you haven't noticed eBay has now changed their fees (again). They sent out a mass email acting like they were doing everyone a favor by offering Gallery photo for free. This is great since I use it on every single auction I post. BUT, when I clicked on the email to read all of the details they then mentioned other changes in their fees. Most were increases.

I am not going to log onto eBay to get the exact amounts since they change often but one thing someone can do to try to save money is to become a Powerseller.

There are a few requirements to be a Powerseller. Feedback, # of completed auctions and # of listings each month have to have a minimum.

Final listing fees for Powersellers are a less then for someone else listing on eBay.

It is about a 3% difference so depending on the item it can be significance and fees add up quickly!

last month I paid over $150 in eBay fees! I do not know how people make money by selling things for 1 cent. I can't see how it is worth their time. After the eBay and Paypal fees they have lost money. Keep these fees in mind when you are going to list or re-list something.

Saving money on groceries

Last week I got about $75 in groceries for $4.

First. I had three bags of cans, bottles to take to the recycling center. I was at my mom and step-dad's house so I volunteered to take their's too. They had about 5 bags.

There are two ways to turn in plastic/glass/bottles at the recycling place. First, all must have a CRV (California Redemption Value). Second if they are not crushed it is better.

1- You sort them and put them in a trashcan and they are weighed and you are given the market value for them. First time I did this a few weeks before I received less then $5.00.

2- You stand in line (a much longer line then the first way) and you put the bottles in one at a time into a machine. It calculates 5 cents - 15 cents on each item depending on size and if glass or plastic or aluminum.

This trip I got over $49. and the line was short so the whole thing took about 20 minutes.

I went to Ralphs to get some groceries and turn in my recycling receipt (the recycling center does not have cash, they give you a paper to take to the grocery store and the store gives you cash at the register).

I had recently gone through my cupboards. Had some food items that were non-perishable and not expired that I wanted to return. Things we do not eat (peas, boxed mashed potatoes, stove-top stuffing, French green beans, etc).

The manager checked them and said that it would be fine for me to return them.

So, I did my shopping. Used my receipt from the recycling center and the cashier took my returns off too.

I paid only $4 and the total bill was over $75.

I gave my mom and step-dad 1/2 the money since 1/2 of the cans were theirs but they gave me some back because I had bought soda for them and Girl Scout cookies for them.

I had a separate bag of weird brands of food that I did not think were from Ralph's and I took these to Care and Share and dropped them off.

Great way to declutter my cupboards!

I know I can't do this every week but it was a nice treat! I even bought Lunchables for Little D and Baby K since they helped with the recycling!