Saturday, January 25, 2020

Starbucks K-Cups for $0.25/Cup

There’s a great deal on Starbucks K-Cups for 25 cents per cup! (25¢ EACH!) 300 Count: Starbucks K-Cup Coffee Pods - Ships Quick!

Choose from French Roast, House Blend, Pike Place, or Veranda Blend, or any combination thereof.  300-count packages are $74.99 and FREE shipping! 

Note that some flavors may contain packages that are close to or just recently past their freshness date (no older than 11/19). 

This is an incredible deal! 


Saturday, January 18, 2020

Shoulder Rehab–Nine Weeks Post-Op

Yesterday was 9 weeks post-op for my shoulder.  I had asked at my last appointment for the receptionist to call my insurance and verify exactly what my coverage is for physical therapy.  Now, rest assured that they do this before the very first visit, but then you never know what changes take place to your plan from one year to the next.  Having reached my $5,000 out-of-pocket maximum for 2019 but starting over as of the first of the year, I just wanted to make sure no one was caught off guard as my physical therapy continues.  I had this nagging fear that I might run out of visits before my arm is really functional again.

Let’s just say I’m so glad I asked that question!  She called on Friday while I was at my session, and we found out that the 20 visit limit is a HARD limit, not a soft limit.  That means there will be no option for pre-authorization for additional sessions when my initial 20 run out…that’s just going to be the end of it, regardless of my situation or even of what other injuries or surgeries might come up throughout the year.  That’s right!  I could break my ankle later in the year and would receive zero physical therapy once these 20 visits have been used up. 

Needless to say, my therapist was as alarmed as I was.  This is my greatest fear…to reach the end of the recovery road and find myself incapacitated to some degree.  As it stands right now, I can’t put clothing on and off over my head.  I can’t reach a cupboard to open it.  I can’t hit the button on the wall to close my garage.  I can’t braid my hair at night.  I can’t fasten my own bra or zip a dress up the back.  There are lots of jars I can’t open because I lack the strength and control to either hold it tightly or turn the lid with that hand.  I can’t wash my right armpit.  I can’t drive with two hands.  I can’t use a regular blow dryer and brush.  I can’t put my hair in a ponytail.  I can’t wash my hair under the bathtub faucet.  I can’t put lotion on my right arm or shoulder or shave my armpit properly.  I’ve adapted to doing a lot of things differently, like getting a blow dryer brush I can use with one hand, I got an electric razor, I shower on the days I need to wash my hair using only one hand, I got an adaptive steering device that allows me to make big turns with only one hand, I only wear clothes that open down the front or that I can step into and pull up with one hand, etc.  But I don’t want to live the rest of my life this way, because right now, I’m worse off than I was BEFORE the surgery, and I’m out $5,000 to boot!

My therapist said we will have to change up the game plan.  He wants to focus more on functional everyday use.  He wants to use our sessions for just the things that he can do for me and to teach me how to do the rest of the exercises on my own at home.  He wants to cut my sessions back after next week to only once a week or every other week so we can spread them out over a longer period of time.  And he doesn’t want to use all of them, because he’s afraid I’ll need them later in the year for another purpose.  Many shoulder surgery patients end up needing revision surgeries after a few months because they have a re-tear, they pop a suture or an anchor, or they have scar tissue that has to be removed because it’s impeding their progress.  Then therapy is needed all over again.  So then what?  All of it is a scary possibility.

So now I’m doing a lot more home therapy.  Pretty much everything I do is painful, from the exercises to everyday use.  Today, I was shopping at Walmart.  I opened up a cooler door to reach in for some yogurt, and the door sprung back on a strong spring hinge and hit me in my left shoulder, jolting it badly.  It was so painful!  I had to lean into the cooler for a minute or two to regain my composure, and it has been painful ever since.  This is my daily life.  I’m working hard at my recovery, but it’s a slow and painful process.  I long to feel normal again.

So if you’re on the road to recovery from shoulder surgery, just know I feel your pain and frustration!  You have to focus on celebrating the small victories, because big ones are few and far between.  The jury is still out on whether or not I’m glad I had it done.  At this stage, it’s hard to know, because it looks as though I’ll run out of therapy before I’m fully recovered.  That would be such a shame.  I can wait for the light at the end of the tunnel, if I can only know it’s there!

If you’ve had shoulder surgery recently or it’s on the horizon for you, there are a couple of great support groups on Facebook that are full of fellow shoulder warriors who have been in the trenches and will support you at every turn.  Their wealth of knowledge and experiences will help ease your anxiety and answer your many questions both before and after surgery.  This is my favorite group: 

Shoulder Surgery Support Group (Rotator Cuff Tears & arthritis)

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They are very encouraging.  In the meantime, I’ll keep working hard and pressing on to the goal!  I return to see my surgeon two weeks from this Monday.  I’m anxious to hear what he thinks of my progress at this stage and whether or not I’m where I should be.

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Our Winter Birthday Spree

This week marked the end of our annual winter birthday spree.  It started with Holden’s 12th birthday on December 28th.  We celebrated with the Red Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting that he asked for, and then I surprised him with a year-long Ultimate Membership at a brand new Urban Air Adventure Park that just opened in December just a couple of miles away.  He was super excited!  He loves that place already.  There’s so much to do there!  They have climbing wall, inflatable bumper cars, a sky coaster, an obstacle course, basketball trampolines, wall-to-wall trampolines, a battle zone where you fall battle with foam logs on a balance beam and fall into a pit of foam blocks, a stunt zone, a ropes course, and more!  He could spend all day in that place.  I made him close his eyes as we drove up and open them in the parking lot.  He stayed for about 4 hours before I forced him to leave!  LOL

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Then came my 48th birthday on January 1st.  I got some goodies from Bath & Body Works, a 1000-piece jigsaw puzzle that Steve promised to help with, and a lovely shadow-boxed sign that says “Forever & Ever” to put over the mantle in our bedroom.  Beautiful!  I ordered my favorite cake from Kroger, which made me really happy.  Steve and I started the day by going out for my free birthday breakfast at Denny’s together…our annual tradition!  I blogged a bit about my birthday already, though, so I’ll just share my video.

And to finish off the spree, we had Steve’s 49th birthday on January 7th.  He had to work that day, Haylee had to stay after school for a soccer game, and Hayden had to work, so it was just the three of us (Steve, Holden, and myself) celebrating at home with the Boston Cream Cake that he wanted for his birthday this year.  Yum!

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Steve and I continued our celebrations by going out together as often as we could to use up our birthday coupons for free food whenever we could.  Steve had never tried to use any of them in the past, so it was fun to do it together this year.  I just signed him up for the ones I knew he’d enjoy the most.  We went for his Denny’s birthday breakfast just this morning.  That’s the first time he’s ever gotten to go there for himself!  He loved it.

Now we’re off the hook for birthday celebrations until the Summer Birthday Spree that happens for Hayden and Haylee.  They love for all of us to go to Red Robin together for that.  It’s so hard to get everybody together at the same time any more, so when we did Red Robin this time around, it was just Steve and Holden and myself again.  I expect that will become the norm more and more as time goes on.  These kids are getting older year by year, after all! 

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

REVIEW: Ultimate PreK-12 Annual Membership by

Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.

I’ve had a subscription for many years, but with the recent certification as a full curriculum website, I was interested in taking another look around and reviewing the new Ultimate PreK-12 Annual Membership by


The Ultimate PreK-12 Annual Membership at offers an all-inclusive online curriculum that provides for all of your children in all grade levels in a single membership.  That’s right!  There’s no need to subscribe for individual Product Cover Imagestudents…just a single subscription for your entire family!  I think that’s what makes this product so unique.

You can search by grade level or subject in order to find just the right courses and supplemental materials for each student.  Once you’ve selected your courses, just bookmark them so you can return to them easily.  Each course is catalogued by weekly and daily lesson plans, so it’s easy to find just what you need for each day. 

And because there are so many supplemental materials, as well, you can even print out both teacher and student planners at no additional cost and write out your lesson plans there so each student can stay on track!  Or if you prefer a digital planner, you can gain FREE access to Applecore for your record-keeping and scheduling needs!  And any time you want a little extra or something specific to add to your studies, you can search the vast library of media available from World Book, Right Now Media, or well-known videos like Drive-Thru History!

You can access all these resources for just $99/yr. (code ONLY99) or $12/mo. (code ONLY12) through 01-31-20!


If you haven’t taken a look at in the last year, you definitely need to take a look again!  In recent months, the site was certified as a full curriculum site, which means that you can find curriculum content for all grade levels in all subjects and put together your entire year’s curriculum in one place!  And not only that, but you can just pay for a single subscription for your entire family! 

In addition, they haven’t forgotten thParenting your Teenagerat parents need resources, too, so there are plenty of helpful tools and media selections for us, as well!  In fact, after browsing the video selections available for parents, I watched a neat series called “Parenting Your Teenager” myself!  I only used the video series, but I did take note that even turned this into a course with a worksheet to go along with it.Texas Lessons

To try out a course for my 6th grade son, Holden, I decided to adapt something from the course called “Everyday Explorers: USA.”  We’re already over halfway through our school year, so I was just looking for something useful to use as a supplement for December.  We adapted this course, which takes you through various states, by just using the portion that explores our state of Texas.  We are still fairly new transplants from the state of Virginia, so I figured we could use to learn a bit more about the place we now call home.  This turned out to work really well for us, and it provided us with more than enough lessons to take us through our holiday break.

First, I made a cover for the binder we were going to use to store our materials.  Then I made tabbed sections to hold our work.  I made one for our daily lesson guides, which you can choose to print or just use online.  I printed them out so we could reference the again offline, but I also used them online for their clickable links.  I made another one for our daily written assignments and worksheets.  I made one for our Travel Journal.  And I also made one for our Portraits in History project, for which the course suggested creating a lapbook (but we did it notebooking style in our binder). 

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This has been an interesting course so far!  Our daily assignments took us through some research assignments, opportunities to explore more, timeline events in the state/country/world, photos of historic places as they stand today, as well as bible references. 

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Holden has ADHD and is very slow at writing, so I usually take notes that we go over together.  Oftentimes, when we research something, we’ll clip images and facts from the internet and print them out in a Word document that we can place in our notebook to reduce the amount of writing by hand.  Gluing things into the journaling pages for this course worked well for us.  That’s just another example of how you can easily adapt these courses to suit your student’s individual needs.

To help you find just what you’re looking for when you have a struggling or accelerated learner, you can check out the Focused Learning Center.  This section directs you to college and career guidance, tools for preschool, specific resources for math, reading, and science, help for special needs, help for parents, and more. 

Speaking of reading assistance, you can also check out the new Literacy Center!  It has downloadable books for K-4th grades, a guide for choosing the right level of reading instruction for your child, and online games to practice reading comprehension.

RecipesIn the Resources section, you’ll even find a printable recipe for every day of the year!  There’s even a section for gluten-free and vegan recipes.  Talk about a help!  It seems has really spent some time thinking about the kind of help the whole family needs, all in one spot.  What a great way to stretch your curriculum dollars!

As you can see, the site has significantly expanded in recent months, and it now covers courses from PE to electives to the 3 R’s and everything in between!

Check out what other Crew members have to say about this membership by clicking the banner below.

Saturday, January 4, 2020

Happy Birthday to Me, and Happy New Year, too!


New Year’s Day was my 48th birthday.  I have to say I felt pretty happy this year!  20200101_161225Hubby still remembers how depressed I was to turn 40, but getting older hasn’t really bothered me much since then.

2019 was a really tough year for me physically.  I had 4 surgeries in the course of a year (3 laser surgeries for narrow angle glaucoma and my shoulder surgery that included 6 different procedures, all done at once).  I also had both strains of flu in the spring, back to back, and a few bladder infections woven into my down time.  I really had a hard time getting well by the end of spring.  And mix in all the physical therapy and various treatments on my shoulder before my surgery, and it was just a year with lots of doctor and urgent care visits for me…probably more than I’ve had in the last decade, all added together!

All that aside, though, I’m ready for a fresh start in 2020!  I am starting off the year with a positive attitude.  After all, God allowed me to see another year in my life, and I celebrated 25 wonderful years of marriage to my very treasured husband, Steve, less than 2 months ago.  We have a stronger relationship than we’ve ever had, and the ordeal of recovering from my shoulder surgery has only served to bring us closer together.

I ordered my favorite cake from Kroger this year…chocolate cake with whipped chocolate frosting, fresh strawberries and gel on top, and sprinkled all over with real chocolate curls.  Yum!  I have had a piece every day since my birthday, and the scales reflect that. Rolling on the floor laughing  It was worth every calorie, too.



Hubby and I have already begun to enjoy going out together to enjoy many of my annual birthday freebies!  If you didn’t catch my special 4-part blog series in 2018 on signing up for the best birthday freebies, then take a few minutes to look it over now.  It’s never too late to register for your goodies!

Part 1   -   Part 2   -   Part 3   -   Part 4

Dickey's Birthday Freebie


I’m still in a lot of pain and discomfort in my arm, but it’s from the challenges of the physical therapy sessions.  I can live with that, because I’m finally making some marked progress in passive range of motion.  YES!

There’s a lot of hard work ahead of me physically speaking, but at least I’m on the road to recovery.  There’s light at the end of the tunnel!  I’m thankful to have insurance to cover most of my therapy.  I’m only paying $25 per session twice per week, which is remarkable, considering how terribly expensive therapy really is.

I think we’ll survive the cost of my surgery, as well.  Thankfully, there’s a special credit card you can get that’s only for medical expenses called the CareCredit card.  I had never heard of it before my surgery, but it has turned out to be a great way to have an interest-free payment plan for my portion of the charges.  I was able to pay for nearly $3,000 in facility charges over 24 months with deferred interest, and I just paid the surgeon’s bill of $554 with the card over 18 months with deferred interest.  Together, that will cost me about $150/month, and I’ll pay no interest.  That sure beats having to take all that from savings in one big chunk.  This ensures that our savings stays intact.  I still have a nominal bill coming for durable medical equipment (my immobilizer sling and the rental of my nerve block pump), and I am still waiting for insurance to settle the claim for anesthesia so I can see how much of the $3,400 I will have to pay, but I plan to finance that the same way if that provider accepts CareCredit, too.

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I am feeling very optimistic about 2020!  I hope all of you have a wonderful year that is everything you hoped it would be.