Monday, February 23, 2009

Lily in her new jacket

Modeled shot, originally uploaded by WeeBeaks.

I finally finished Lily's jacket I started two weeks ago. I ran out of binding and had to order the brown binding from Canada. Yes, Canada. Talk about hard to find a match. I should have measured better before I started so I would not have run out. In any case, I finally finished it with the last 8 inches of binding I needed.

She liked it and didn't want to take it off. That is a miracle given she had stomach flu hit in the predawn hours this morning through mid morning. She napped and got her new jacket when she woke up. She perked up as she likes new things. :)

Friday, February 20, 2009

Medical - it pays to make the phone calls

One of the things I really dislike doing is arguing over errors in bills, especially medical bills. It often involves calls, return calls, faxes of paperwork, on and on. And you would be surprised at just how often I have to do it ... or maybe not.

Are YOU checking every single medical bill for accuracy? You should. Even if you have insurance, every single penny matters. From an insurance perspective, if your insurance is being overcharged, your rate WILL go up. Maybe not this year but it will be inevitable. Insurance companies are in business to make money, lots of it. If you or your group of people (speaking in terms of corporate plans) are costing them money, they will raise your rates. It is really that simple. So if you want to keep your premiums low, be careful users of your insurance. Go when you really need to, and scrutinize that bill or explanation of benefits (EOB) that you get from your insurance company detailing what was charged from your provider and what was paid. If there is anything incorrect on there, contact your insurance company and/or your provider right away. If something was charged incorrectly, even if you personally were not charged but your insurance paid, it will effect you in the short run or the long run in terms of increased premiums.

Also, make sure if you get a bill from your physician you are correlating that with your EOB from your insurance company. That this week saved me $68.24. I got a bill in that amount from a provider for my son. I matched it with the EOB from your insurance company which clearly stated we only were supposed to have paid the copayment on that visit (which we already had). I then got on the phone with the provider, leaving voicemail (as nobody ever seems to be actually at their desk) and explaining concisely that the bill did not match our EOB and offering to fax it to them so it would be easier for them to look into it. Of course, when I call I speak clearly, give all our account numbers and so forth. This helps quite a bit so they have all the information needed. It took a week but I finally got resolution that our account has been corrected and we didn't owe them anyway. Moral of the story is something we have learned over and over again - reconcile your paperwork and call right away if something is wrong. It may save you a lot of money because there seems to be a high error rate in medical bills.

Kwik Sew 1037

KS 1037, originally uploaded by WeeBeaks.

I finally made Lily some sleepers that I am really happy with. This is from Kwik Sew 1037, made in a really really stretchy aqua Malden Mills fleece.

I made a second pair then in a very thick fleece with little stretch, and those also came out quite well. I love being able to replicate our favorite PJs from stores.
In other news, note our model is standing so nicely. Lily began walking last month (at age 15 mos) and now is a walking pro, gaining speed by the day ... all the better to catch up with her brothers!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

New Point site - Swagbucks

There is a new point site I'm trying called Swagbucks. It works like MyPoints and many of the others. From all I have read from people using it, it is reputable and the prizes actually come. I'm pretty skeptical as a whole on point sites and just use a couple. I can't resist the lure of free gift cards and such though, especially in this tough economy.

This one you do searches through their search engine and randomly get awarded points. You don't sign up for anything (except the Swagbucks site itself, which is free). You just search regularly like you would through any other search engine ... and collect your points, which you can then trade in for merchandise and gift cards. Quite easy, and no spam suddenly appeared in my email either so that is always good! ;)

Referral link if anyone is interested:

Friday, February 13, 2009

Noah got new shirts too

IMG_3493, originally uploaded by WeeBeaks.

Lest you all think only Lily gets new clothing sewn by mama, I have to show you a new shirt I made for Noah last week. He got two of the same style, both from my favorite patterns (Ottobre). He is wearing it today so I was reminded to make a post showing it. Since he is out in the mud, it may very well be the last time he wears it too! He manages to completely destroy a shirt every other week or so lately (I threw out THREE today after trying OxyClean and then a bleach pen). He wasn't all that happy to model it that day, but he was all smiles when he put it on this morning.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Small climber ...

Hmmm, what now ... , originally uploaded by WeeBeaks.

Yes, she managed to climb up there all by herself while mommy was in the garage a couple minutes putting the laundry in the washer. She is quite agile to say the least, following right along in her older brothers' footsteps for getting into mischief.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Ottobre 1/09 #6

Modeled picture

The newest Ottobre children's edition had the cutest little tunic for babies/toddlers. It was a little fussier to make than my usual super duper simple tees and leggings, but it was worth it! I did it in a very lightweight pink paisley jersey knit for summertime, and used some aqua polka dot ribknit that had been in my stash for about 6 years for the neckline binding, cuffs and leggings. I really like how it came out. It covers her arms and legs for crawling and exploring but is very lightweight for spring and summer evenings. I used my snap press for the little snaps on the front. I WISH I had some to match the aqua but just didn't have a similar enough color in my assortment so the dark pink was the best I could do.

I'm eager to make this one again in different fabrics, but I'm going to do a few other projects first. So many patterns so little time .... :)

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Review: The Well Trained Heart

Time for another book review, I think. So what have I been reading lately? It should come as no surprise that it falls into the classification of a homeschooling book, a parenting book, or both in this case. I have been reading The Well Trained Heart by Ray and Donna Reish. I saw this recommended by a few families, but honestly was a little hesitant as Christian parenting books often are not a great fit for me. Some of them come off quite preachy and harsh in terms of types of discipline suggested. However, I decided to give it a read, as the more suggestions and advice the better for us. Then I weed out what I think we can use and forget the rest.

First off, the authors come across quite sincere and humble. They talk of their own journey to find a parenting style that works, of successes and failures, of struggles. That was a refreshing change from books that state right off that "if you do my program your kids will be perfect." Blech, not likely. In any case, the Reish book was definitely a winner in that regard.

I was also impressed by the very balanced viewpoint offered. Everything was backed up biblically, as I expected from recommendations. However, it was not excessively "spare the rod and spoil the child" type of biblical, meaning absolute obedience or else and little logic. Yes, they expect obedience from their children, but go into great detail explaining the core of their philosophy, which is a "relational" approach, meaning that everything hinges on the relationship you develop with your child, a relationship that is very warm, open and caring. It is not a one-way type of relationship where the children always obey and don't question. They talk a lot about debate in terms of formal debate, and how that can be applied to logic in parenting and rules.

Also stressed is character training in here prior to academics. I feel character training is not done enough. I don't mean again spanking or whatever of young toddlers. I mean time spent with your children teaching values and how to interact and live in community and society in a way that focuses on others rather than self/selfish needs. I think a lot of children (including mine in some areas!) lack that type of explicit teaching/training. The authors focus on avoiding peer influence more than I personally think is necessary, but they give their reasoning for it and so forth. Their thoughts are well explained on why they have made those choices in their family.

The steps to take to follow their model are well outlined with examples and suggestions. They also do talk briefly about their homeschooling, but that is no the focus of the book at all.

I gleaned several things from this book, and am quite glad I took the time to read it. It is a nice counterpoint to some of the more popular methods out there now including counting to three or relying solely on time outs essentially to get your children to behave. It is an excellent resource if you are like me and want to read and consider a variety of viewpoints on both ends of the spectrum before finally settling somewhere in the middle with a mixture of ideas you have collected.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

We LOVE Diamond Notes

Yep, Zach and I love Diamond Notes. Some of you are probably scratching your head at this point, right? What in the world is she talking about? Diamond Notes are part of our Sonlight curriculum, part of the language arts specifically. Diamond Notes can be seen on the Sonlight website, and probably purchased separately and can stand alone even if you don't use the rest of Sonlight. There are sample pages on the Sonlight website too so you can see what I'm talking about.

Basically it is for students to learn to write paragraphs. When I was in school I still recall we were supposed to do a topic sentence, blah, blah, blah. Well, you still need to do that, but diamond notes gives excellent visuals of a baseball diamond (hence the name Diamond Notes) to fill in first, sort of a brainstorming schematic. From there the student goes to separate sentences based on his baseball diamond. And from there he or she takes those separate sentences and forms the paragraph. The entire Diamond Notes program takes 5 weeks at 2-3 days a week. And it is miraculous for my kid who is ADHD and really has trouble organizing his thoughts coherently to write a paragraph. I really can't say enough good things about it.

So, if you are a parent trying to teach your child to do more coherent and concise paragraphs, this may be what you are looking for. Take a look! :)