Sunday, March 1, 2015

Weekly Wrap-Up – February 15th-21st

The word for this week is SNOW!

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On Sunday, I went to see the Virginia Symphony Orchestra play at the Sandler Center.  Then we picked Hayden up from his weekend trip on Sunday night.  It was so nice to have him home again!  He said he had a fabulous time.

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On Monday, Hayden was off from school for President’s Day, so it kind of made up for his being gone for Valentine’s Day.  But on Monday night, we were greeted with our first real snow of the season!  Here’s the snow just starting late in the day.

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And here it is by evening.  We got about 3 inches.

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Isn’t it pretty?  It was topped off with a layer of sleet, which made it crunchy and no fun to play in, but it also resulted in icy roads, so school ended up being canceled…for the rest of the week! 

Here’s how it looked the next day.

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It never got any warmer and stayed constantly below freezing for the remainder of the week, so any slight melting re-froze and didn’t really go anywhere.  It was like a second holiday break from school!  It made it challenging to get the homeschooled kids to complete their work, but luckily, Hayden was actually a big help, and he kept Haylee on track while I got things done with Holden, and they actually all had more time to play together than usual.  Steve ended up missing one day of work because they closed his office in Newport News…that never happens!

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One big downer this week was that my dishwasher finally broke completely…as in, it wouldn’t turn on because the start button quit working.  Ugh.  This Frigidaire dishwasher has been a nightmare.  When it worked, it worked well, but the rest of the time, it was totally unreliable…not draining, draining all the time and trying to run with no water in it, having to re-start it 3 times to get it to run a normal cycle, indicator lights not working, and now the control panel is dead.  Ugh!  I paid about $600 for it, and I ordered it exactly 4 years to the day when it quit for good.  Disgusting!  So as soon as I could get the car out later in the week, I headed up to Lowe’s and looked around.  I took my smart phone with me and researched the various models, almost all of which had terrible reviews.  Don’t they make a good dishwasher any more?  Too much electronics involved, I think.  They should just go back to the old push button models.  They weren’t apt to break so easily.

So I came home and ordered the only dishwasher with good reviews and discovered that it was not only on sale in the store, but it was nearly $100 cheaper online than in the store.  To make the deal even sweeter, I paid a couple of bucks to a coupon service to send me a good 10% off coupon code to use online, and I also clicked through E-bates for roughly another $15 cash back.  All told, I got the price down from the regular price of $699 to about $465!  Not too shabby, and I got free delivery.  Trouble is, they can’t deliver it until next week due to the ice and snow.  :(  So for now, I’m stuck washing dishes by hand, which I detest.

Another big downer was that I took my van in to the dealership to get my oil changed and my state inspection done on Friday.  It barely passed, and I ended up spending the rest of the day trying to get some repairs done elsewhere.  I took the list to my favorite mechanic nearby, and he narrowed down what really needed to be done and dismissed the rest.  He said he could do the rear brakes for me one day next week, but that I should go back to Goodyear to see about getting 2 new tires and an alignment done.  So that’s what I did.  Then I walked home.  Trouble was, we had so much snow and ice on the ground that the sidewalks were completely covered with irregular piles from the plowing that had gone on.  It took me forever to trudge through it, and the wind chill was –8!  I had gloves on, but my fingers had the early stages of frostbite when I got home.  They were so sore and tender and actually hurt! 

Later in the day, they called to say my van was ready.  I tried to get a ride with a neighbor, but nobody would do it, so I ended up walking up there again.  The blazing sun had made the ice even slicker during the day, so as a result, the walk up there was twice as treacherous as it had been that morning.  I ended up falling 3 times on the ice!  Ugh!  The bill was over $500.  Yikes!  And I still have to get the rear brakes done.  It’s always something.  So in the course of the week, I was out over a grand on unexpected expenses.  Isn’t that always how it goes?

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With all this free time on my hands, I decided to teach myself how to knit.  My mom had taught me when I was little, but I never learned how to cast-on the first stitches…my mom always did that for me.  And I remember her trying to show me how to cast off at the end, but I never mastered that, either.  I’ve never actually made anything…just knitted and purled for fun.  Now my mom…she knitted every day of her life that I can remember…right up until her first stroke, which left her paralyzed on one side.  It was so sad that she could no longer knit.  She loved the peacefulness of it, and it gave her something to do with her hands while she watched tv.  Anyway, I had picked up some yarn and a variety of knitting needles at the thrift store recently, so I figured this was a good time to figure out what I was doing.  So I found an easy beginner pattern online for a neck warmer/ear warmer headband, and I set out watching YouTube videos to figure out how to get it started.  Learning to cast on was much easier than I imagined, and I was on my way.  My mom would be so proud!  I wish she could see me now.

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With encouragement from family members who knew my mom had inspired me, I worked on it every chance I got.  I wanted to make myself a neck warmer to match my favorite coat, which did not have a hood.  I sure could have used it on Friday when I was walking in such horrid wind chills!  So by Saturday morning, I had it finished.

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I made a couple of mistakes along the way (I somehow picked up 3 extra stitches shortly after I started it, but I didn’t mind), but I was happy with the outcome, and it was so warm!  I love it!

When Haylee saw it, she said she wanted me to make her one as an ear warmer headband, so I spent the rest of the afternoon making hers, which went much faster and didn’t have any mistakes in it. 

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In fact, it went so well that I decided to go back to YouTube and see if I could learn how to crochet a flower to stitch onto it so it would look pretty in her hair.  I’ve never crocheted before in all my life, so this was a completely new experience for me.  I did it, though, and here’s how hers turned out!

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On Saturday evening, I went to the thrift store and bought some more yarn…some pink yarn for Haylee.  Of course, she now wants me to make  a pink one.  Figures!

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It was great having the kids all together this week.  And My Gym where the kids take their weekly gym classes offered a Snow Day Pay-to-Play day on Wednesday where I only had to pay $8 for the 2 kids to play there for 4 hours while I sat in the lobby with Hayden and knitted and did some puzzles.  They had a blast, and it was a good incentive for them to get their school work done.  It got last busy for the last hour, so they even let Hayden go in and join them.  He had a good time, too.

I hear we’re in for more snow next week, so we shall see!  I’m sure making up all of these school days for public schools will be a mess to figure out.  It caused a big uproar last year.  Personally, I love the white landscape, and Haylee and Holden will be off school next week anyway, so more snow won’t affect them at all…just Hayden.

Let it snow!