Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Pros & Cons - Shriners vs. Private Insurance...

For those who don't know, five and a half years ago, our middle daughter, Robyn was born with bilateral club foot. We were in shock and we did the whole "why me/us?" guilt trip thing, then we got to work trying to get her feet corrected so that she would "not remember" the trauma, according to the Doctor, which is a BIG laugh, by the way, she remembers!
Anyway, initially, when Robyn was two weeks old, we thought, that since we had private insurance, why not get things taken care of right away. So, we did, with weekly trips to Boise, two hours away, with a screaming and sore baby. Then it tapered to twice a month trips, several series of casts on both feet then a series of braces, with three surgeries. We are at the end of our journey as far as the pain and the trips to the "big" city for Doctor visits goes.
We could have instead, waited for approval from the Shriners organization, driven four hours each way to Salt Lake City, and seen their Doctor's there, in their facility, and we might only be half way along in the process instead of at the end, but there is one main advantage to have gone with the Shriner's instead, and it all come down to the money involved, on our part that is.
Our travel time, and lost wages of course were not covered by insurance, neither were the necessary meals and stops for drinks, and the like. We also discovered, after the fact, that we could have "tried" to re-coup some of the travel costs, and the like on our taxes, "if" we could prove that the Doctor visits were the only reason we traveled two hours each way, which we couldn't have 100%. When you go that far from home, and there are stores you do not see near home, and family and friends that you do not see any other time, you make the most of your time.
Now, as I look back at the deductibles, co-pays, amounts not covered for some unexplained reasons, I second guess myself. I even did that today, when I reviewed the statement from only the hospital from Robyn's most recent surgery in December. Which by the way the total amount came to almost $14,000, of which $36.00 was deducted for the insurance's adjustment, then their "allowed" amount was shown as $9,600, then another $30.00 was taken off as another adjusted amount, of which the insurance paid exactly $4,739.10. Leaving me with the balance amount due of $4,800.07. I had to call them and make payment arrangements, obviously! I am going to be making what amounts to a vehicle payment each month, for the next 18 months.
If, we had waited and gone with Shriners, we would have still had to cover fuel costs, and for meals, and lodging, and for other incidentals, we would have lost wages too, plus we would not be finished with the process, and instead probably wading somewhere right in the middle of it with much more pain and suffering to go, but I would not be looking at another large payment each month coming out of already strapped budget.
Asking if I would do it the same all over again, more than likely, because there is nothing better than a happy and content child running, jumping and playing without pain and difficulties, but I would have probably done a little more research into better insurance.
We have told my daughter's Doctor the following more than once, "She loves you, she just doesn't know it yet!" And maybe one day I will feel the same way about our insurance company!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Admitting a Mistake and a New Recipe...

Okay, okay so I admit. I mistaken gave the wrong web address for Bountiful Baskets a few posts ago, so I figure that I should remedy that now.
The correct web address for the Bountiful Baskets Food Co-Op is I cannot believe that I got that wrong, so sorry.
The reason I bring this up is that in today's basket, there was Kale,and I had no idea what to do with this leafy green and purple vegetable. So, a friend suggested the following and I looked the recipe up online. I typed into my search engine, Olive Garden Kale Soup Recipe, to which I found a few different variations, but I chose the one that included bacon, can you blame me, I can say I do not know many people who don't just love bacon. I doubled the recipe, just in case, and was able to feed our family of five, and still have three medium-sized containers full for the freezer. That is sure a pleaser for me.
A new thing that I am trying tomorrow afternoon for Sunday dinner is something I also have never tried. I am going to attempt to make Corned Beef and cabbage. I enjoy eating that, once a year, but have never made it myself, so I figured why not. I purchased the corned beef, and the instructions look pretty simple, and thanks again to the Bountiful Baskets basket that I got today, there were the potatoes, and the carrots, so the only thing for that recipe I picked up at the store, other than the Corned Beef was a few onions. One for the soup tonight, one for the Corned Beef and cabbage tomorrow, and the remaining one for the Pico de Gallo, that I plan to make next week, using the tomatoes from my Basket this week, and the peppers from my baskt two weeks ago. I am trying to use as much of my basket as I can, even if it means doing what I did today and searching the internet for new and unfamiliar recipes to try.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Smith's, Shots and the Dollar Store...

The Smith's grocery store in Twin Falls was nearly unrecognizable. From the outside of the building you couldn't tell anything at changed, but once we walked through the door, oh, boy! Nothing looked farmiliar. Things had moved, the store atmosphere was different, and the most confusing part for me, was that I spent over 30 minutes walking up and down the aisles going, "this use to be here, now where could it be?" That is probably my own fault becasue it has been two years since I set foot in that store, but still, something should have looked familiar to me, but no. Don't get me wrong, it looked wonderful, and now knowing that, I probably will shop there more frequently when I go to Twin Falls, but I was hoping for an in and out trip, to which that didn't happen.
As for the shots, sad to say, both little girls had to have them today. Anna had just one, and Robyn ended up getting three, but they both screamed and hollered and carried on like it was the end of their life. This was the first time I had to do this alone with them, usually my amazing hubby will go along for my moral support, and also to, let's face it, be the bad guy and hold them down, but not today, it was ALL me...So needless to say, I felt a tremendous amount of guilt. Hence our next stop over in Twin Falls before heading home...
...The Dollar Store! I did a lot of browsing, as my teenager is heading off to college this Fall, so she will need to know where she can pick stuff up, but I do have to say that the kids did find quite a few great "treasures", and because of the aforementioned guilt, I did NOT say no!
As for now, Anna is napping, Robyn is painting a picture, but getting tired, and I am about wiped out! So, ta-ta for now, it is nap time for me too!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

The Official News is...

I have been called, sustained and set apart as the Assistant Librarian for our Ward Building! Scary, and a challenge but I am excited! The most scary part was when I was being sustained in meeting today, I was asked to stand so that everyone in the chapel could see who I am. Why that is scary is, that I sit at the front of the chapel, specifically, third row, center, for a reason. I know there are a lot of people, I just don't have to see all of them at once...
My favorite part of receiving a calling is when I am set apart, which is a blessing that is given to me, that I will have the ability to do my duties to the best of my ability. It was a special prayer, and the member of the Bishopric even got choked up and emotional as he was conveying the blessing. Which is sweet, and yet a bit comical as he is a big, burly guy who doesn't strike me as the emotional type, but that just made the prayer and the blessing that much more special to me! I just hope that I will not let anyone down, and be a source of help to the members who meet in our building, and also that I am able to lessen the burden of the Head Librarian.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Case Lots, the Camper & College...

So, that is what has been going on this week, and the like. The case lot sales are going on this week, and so I went to the store, picked up a few things for our food storage, still not finding the 5 gallon size Gamma lids that I need though, but I will continue to look. I had to order some items, as they were sold out but will pick them up today. Darling hubby asked me if picked up some sugar, to which I said yes. Then he said that I should probably pick up some more when I go over today, I thought he was kidding because I already bought 25 pounds, but he is not, and so I will be adding another 25 pounds to our food storage today, along with chili beans, diced tomatoes and canned mushrooms, and cake mix. After all, who can survive without cake mix and 50 pounds of sugar...
Also, this weekend, we will be going over to pick up our camper from the cellar where it has been stored through the winter, and this will allow me to re-pack our 72hour kits. I keep them in our camper because they are easier to grab if needed and still out of the way. The "fun" part of bringing the camper home will be the clean out. According to again, dear sweet adorable hubby, when he checked on the camper a few weeks ago, there had been signs of a "visitor" so he put bait in there. So, before I even set foot inside, he WILL be taking the Shop-Vac in there to rid the camper of any signs of that "visitor"...
Yesterday, I picked up the pieces of my teenager's Graduation Announcements so that I can add the pictures and ribbons and I have got the address list almost all completed. I can say with 100% certainty, that is the best $50 spent. I still have to assemble them, but that will be the easy part. Plus, it was still much more inexpensive and unique than buying the same one as everyone else from Jostens. Also, in the next few days, I need to call up to Idaho State so we can plan a campus visit. I think that it will be a family trip so we can all see where big sister will be for the next 4 years.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Fighting the Urge...

It happened, I had that urge, and the desire to bear my testimony, but did not. Why is that? In the bulletin this week, there was a statement, "If you count to ten and no one has shared their tesimony, it must be your turn." More than one perso acted on that statement, and I thought about it, but did not get up. Sadly, not once, but twice, both in Sacrament meeting, and then in Relief Society. What is going on? I have so many things to be thankful for, and like others many trials and difficulties, but the things I am grateful for far outweight them.
Another thing happened yesterday though, I was in the hallway outside the Bishop's office before sacrament began, and his Executive Secretary came up to me, and said, "Sister, can you meet with a member of the Bishopric right after meetings today?" Oh, boy, of course I said yes, but then during the announcements I found myself listening more intently on who if anyone was released from a calling. So, after the block of meetings I was of course, asked to accept a calling, to which of course I accepted, and I will share more about that after I am sustained and set apart.
But, there was something that I mentioned to the First Counselor when we were talking. We got on the subject of my family, of which I am the only active member. My husband is not a member of the Church and as for my children, there is a delicate tight rope that we walk on in our home because of the member/non-member situation. But, yesterday morning, my 5 year old said to me as I was getting ready, "I want to go to church today Mommy," to which my husband said, "No." She then said, "But, I want to go to Primary." To which my husband still said, No. There are times when my husband is okay with them going with me, but this time alas was not. Instead of throwing a tantrum, my daughter went into her room, and got dressed, into the silliest, yet cutest clothes, a mismatched shirt with butterflies, and a quilted skirt, and said to me that she was, "going to have church at home." That simple statement brings me such pride! Some may disagree with my methods and say that I need to put my foot down and just take them, or the like, but I find other ways to invite the Spirit into my home and their lives and hearts. We play Primary songs and hymns throughout the day, when I read my scriptures, they sit with me and snuggle, we pray before we eat our meals, and they know that Heavenly Father loves them. I do what I can, and I know that they believe, because they show me in little ways that they do.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Favorite Authors & Oreos!

Not much else goes better together than a great book with some yummy cookies and milk! The best part about the recipe for these cookies for me, is that they are easy to make, my kids love them, and good for me, they don't cost as much as the packaged ones in the store! These snacks are always great for me with an amazing book. I enjoy main stream authors like Debbie Macomber, but I like LDS fiction also, and not just because I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints either. I find that the books that fellow members of the Church write are as enjoyable, fun and entertaining as main stream authors, more so in some cases because of the lack of inappropriate content that I become cautious of while reading other books. One author whom I have had the pleasure of meeting a few years ago, and consequently have many of her books, is Jennie Hansen. I am always pleasantly surprised with her books, she writes about many different situations, and places and times, from her book "High Stakes" written in the time when the West was rough and tumble, to one favorite of mine, "High Country" written in a recent time frame, about a married couple who fall in love again after much strife and conflict, while working on their ranch. I read these books over and over, and I find that even after reading them multiple times, I still get enthralled and as caught up in them while reading as I did the first time. I look forward to reading other authors as well, like Debbie and Jennie, so if anyone has specific suggestions please let me know! I love to read, and would love to get to experience more! I love to suggest both of these ladies to friends and family both members and non-member of the Church, and would love to be able to suggest both new books and authors to them as well!
Oh, the Oreo Recipe, right...
For the Cookie, combine the following:
1 Box Devil's Food Cake mix
1/2 cup vegetable shortening - this is a must!
2 eggs
The mixture will be tough, and needs to be thoroughly mixed so that no powder is left in the bottom of the bowl. Once combined, shape these cookies by pinching off enough dough to form a ball about an inch around, roll it around in your hand to make smooth. Once you have filled a cookie sheet, or two, bake in a 350 degree oven for approximately 10 minutes. Cool on the cookie sheet for a minute or two then transfer to a cooling rack until completely cooled. Once the cookies are completely cooled, they can be frosted with your favorite brand of vanilla frosting, either out of the can or homemade, whichever you prefer. Frost the bottom of one cookie then top it with another to make a sandwich.
These are a perfect snack, so find your favorite comfy chair, and a big glass of milk and enjoy a great book!