Sunday, August 18, 2013

Children = Confusing!

 So, we're still working on the Reminder Wall, and the Thinking Wall. I've learned today, that my youngest daughter completely dislikes the idea when mom asks her to read from it! I was having a rough day this afternoon, & refused to read a small section of my husband got involved, and helped. I wasn't happy about that, because where, when she won't listen to me, she'll listen to him, and vise versa. So, she read, and because she pitched a fit for a while, she also had to stand and read the Thinking Wall. Was not happy at all! But, she got over it. Then, she got mad because she didn't get her newly assigned computer, I made sure I told her dad when he picked them up so she couldn't go to him and say that I was mean by not letting her play online.
 Otherwise, it was a great weekend! I made some dump crock pot meals that was a hit, but I messed up on tonight's meal, but it turned out ok afterall. I was supposed to make Ranch seasoned Chicken, but, instead I just seasoned it, & cooked it in my cast iron grill pan, made mac & cheese, and garlic bread. Turned out pretty darned good! I was honestly surprised the girls liked it...but, they did!
  You can check out the recipes on another blog I have, if you can't find the link just post a comment & I'll put it up here.
 Consider the Reminder Wall, & Thinking Wall for your child, if it helps, great! Post comments and let me know about it :) That's why we're writing this blog, so we can share our life with others, to try & help someone else out.

Monday, August 12, 2013

A day in the life of.....

Well, good news is, hub didn't get 120 days! Yay to miracles! He's got another month to find work, but we're getting there, slowly, lol. I traded weekends with my ex husband so the girls can do some back-to-school shopping, so I get them for the next 2 weekends in a row....this coming Friday is also my mom's birthday, so we're doing a special crock pot Chicken & Dumplings. I've never made this dish, nor 1 like it in the CP! I'm nervous, because last time she came over for dinner, it was a disaster! If you happen across my kitchen projects blog, you'll see the recipe there soon. I'm having to go back threw my grocery list, and recipes, to see what I got for the menu on the 2 weekends, before I write it because I'm also wanting to add apx cost for my area per meal. That'll be challenging, as I've never done it, but, I want to show folks it can be done on a tight-ass budget! This past weekend went by SO slow without the girls, since we have mom over Friday, I can guarantee this week will fly, & I've got a ton of house-work to do, or all she'll do is clean!! But, I wanted to update on how things are going here, so far, so good. Life isn't slowing down, either! I've had to miss a doctor's appt multi-pull times because of other plans changing, and it gets so aggravating when I think things are going to go one way, so plan, BUT, have a back-up plan, and I can't use either! Having no car puts a delima on A LOT of things....tonight, I'm staying up a little later then usual so I can try & catch another night of meteors. I happened to take our dog out Saturday night around 5:30am central, and saw 1 flying in the direction of above my neighbors house. It was awesome! Perks of being with someone, they usually let you sleep in :) lol.  Tonight is the last night, though, so we'll see!
    Until the weekend!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Weekend Life, part time

So, since we're home-bound on right now, with no car; I've been relying on a friend & family to pick up the girls for me. Which, honestly, is okay for now. It only means that on Fridays, since there's not really much time before bed (since school will have started after this Wensday), I'm getting into the freezer dump crock pot meals on the weekends when they're here. Right now, my freezer is pretty full, so I'm collecting recipes that I can use that meat, stock up on it for the month; still be able to use these recipes for 3 weekends, PLUS my husband's & I meals during the week while they're not here. It'll be an interesting run, especially since I've got a budget of $244 for food....and only food products! I found a dry erase board at Dollar Tree this past week that has the 7 days of the week on it, and a pack of 3 color dry erase markers! Perfect, I thought, for menu planning! I can break down the days in 3 parts, using the 3 colors for each meal (makes it easier to explain what color to look at for my 10 y/o). I'm also working on a spreadsheet in Live Documents for myself, because its easier for me to see on a monitor what I'm looking at. I'll try & upload it here, once its complete for August & September. I'm so glad I found these recipes, & as long as I can keep freezer bags stocked around the first part of  the month, then I think we'll be good & have more family time in the evenings!
 Look for another post within the week that has the list of recipes I'm using, sites they came from, & what side (if any) will be pared with it. I won't be writing a grocery list to go with it because I know all pantries are different...but, I thought, this would help those other parent's in our situation have more time with their family, as opposed to taking more time to cook, or spend money they don't have to go out for dinner. I'm hoping, too, that doing this on the weekends, will give me a chance to know what they're learning in school this year, and be able to help them advance. My youngest is redoing 4th grade (not what I wanted...but had no choice...), and my oldest is going into 6th grade this year. New learning curve for her, but she'll do fine. I don't know which teacher my youngest will have, but since they usually do different ones for those held back, maybe a different teaching method is what she needs to help her learn more & concentrate better! Now..back to recipe hunting, menu planning, and shopping list writing.......I suppose today is a good day to multi-task!

Friday, August 2, 2013

Weekend Life

So, we were given an idea by a friend of my sister's to write down house rules, with consequences if they're broken, & have the girls read them out loud, so everyone who's at the house can hear. So far, after 5 days, my 10y/o has actually memorized it! I'm amazed. We always remind her how smart she is, both girls, how smart they are, and always give them compliments. They normally don't get it very often other places....
   But, yes, if anyone needs to use this method, it works....5 days usually to break in a habit, and it works! I was out with a friend of mine, & youngest broke the rule on interrupting, and recited the first house rule! We were in a car, 20 minutes from home. I was proud :)
  This week with her was good, we're both proud of that, too. The next weekend they're here will be our last 4 day weekend before school starts, then it goes back to our 2.5 days, because I don't have a car at the moment so I can't take them to school on Friday, then pick them up again that evening.....I really didn't do it anyway, because of the gas....but with hub's current situation, it'll be an interesting next 4 months! Thankfully though, threw lots of explaining, I think the girls will understand. I just hope, that my youngest doesn't think he's gone for friend & I are thinking that's why she's been acting out so much, since the last time this happened hub was away for only 15 days, but they had a weekend in the middle of that, & that's when it all started.
  We'll see...and I'll still post....hub & I have 6 more days together, 5 nights...the same day he goes away (for 4 months) is the same day I get the girls in the evening, so highly debating on having them here, or letting them stay with my good friend. I know it'll be difficult, and my oldest will probably want to be here to comfort me.Another, we'll has been full of them lately. I'm slowly starting to get good lemons in my bunch of life, instead of rotten lemons.
  I'd love to make this blog positive, and cheery, but honestly its not. Its rough, hard, challenging.....and, my mom & I have been for the past few years, joking about how hard my life really is. That, even though I try and make things simple, they turn out difficult & challenging....its cute & funny when things are going nicely, but not when they're sour. We get so tired of brick walls popping up everywhere, I've thought about opening up a brick shop, but since they're part of my life I don't think the value is very high. Plus, I know nothing about masonry work :)
  These next 5 days I'm going to try & remember to breath, eat, & function. If I don't now, I'll have a hard time the first week, the 2nd, my blood sugar will drop, & I really don't want to go threw that I'm going with that its a good thing the girls will be here that first weekend. I just wish states would realize how hard it is on families...but at the same time, I wonder really, how many are out there like ours.....if your "one of us",. would you mind leaving a comment? We're both paying child support, children live with ex spouse (or dating partner), & one of you has done time, or is doing time, for past debt....I'd love to hear from people! I check my blog daily, or at least every other day, so will answer back. I do send my heart out to those in our shoes, who really give a damn, & are trying to make it, & their payments....its hard...we know....believe us!

What happens to the parent who tries to pay child support, but doesn't succeed......

So, as I've said, we both pay out on child support, with my income, its auto-matically deducted from my Social Security; but since the county he's battling it in put a class D non-support child support felony on his record, he can't even get hired on at, there's been no payments since last fall, when he self-employed as a lawn care giver. He was subcontracted by an out of state company to care for lawns that were with foreclosed homes. (And by the way, the best way to go for those who are behind, & are needing to get caught up, IS to create a self-employed job, or subcontract for another company. That way, legally, your still working, & with subcontracting, your payments CAN be deducted)! However, due to the drought last Summer & Fall, we didn't have very many lawns...then the car broke down in January, and it all went down hill from there. Instead of being given lemons so we can make lemon aid this year, its been rotten lemons. I had found 2 programs who helped low income families receive vehicles, but 1 was so low on funding, they could only help within a given radius of their city, & the other was more promising, however, nearly an hour for a 1 way helps people (men & women), who are on probation or parole earn a vehicle by helping them get work with their felony record. Its at the career center, so you have to follow their guidelines (its well worth looking into your county, or surrounding counties, if your in a similar situation as we are). Only issue, we can't make it over there...its the end of Girl Scout season, but the start of school, so our family isn't able to come 20 minutes out to get us, drive another 30 to get there, & do it all over again to take us, we have a 9 month old dog who really doesn't like to be left alone, & that'd be an all day trip.
  As of right now, because he hasn't been able to get work due to the felony, and car breaking down (no the court system doesn't care about that, all they care about is you working), he's going to jail on the 8th of August for as many as 120 days.....4'll be a LONG 4 months...that's 6 weekends with my girl's, & no step-dad. My 11 year old loves him as much as her bio-dad, my 10 year old does too (she has a hard time showing it, but a friend of mine brought up an opinion on her behavior, she thinks 10y/o's attitude problem recently towards husband was simply because she's afraid we're going to break up and he'll leave, the same way I left their dad....this 4 months is going to take such a tole on her....I'm petrified)! So, I've been looking at craft sites lately, on simple things we can do together; they're with me Friday evening at 6pm-Sunday at 6pm, so we basically have 2 full days to do things. Crafting is much cheaper then baking, and cooler, so this week my chore is to be writing out a list of things we can do every weekend to help keep minds busy. But, the worst, is at night, when I'm alone....I did it already this year for 15 days. I'm just really crossing fingers, and praying hard that after this 4 months he can find work so I don't loose 4 years of our marriage, because that'd be the next step....after that, I'm not sure. I also happen to have the 1rst weekend of August with my girls, the same evening he goes to, today, when my youngest gets picked up, will be the last time they see him! My oldest will be with their dad when he picks her up. We're going to have to sit & talk with her and let her know, its not her fault he's leaving for a short time, its just something he has to take care of because he made a mistake & didn't pay his bill. I'm debating on emailing my oldest whats going on, because I know she'll cry, and the last thing I want is her dad getting mad about her crying over her "step"-dad on the way to his house......but, that'll wait until later.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

When life throws you lemons, try and make lemon aid

My husband & I created this blog together, so we could share what we've gone threw, and are currently going threw, as non-custodial parents. Both of our daughters (there are 3, 2 are mine, 1 is his), live with the other parent; so that others could possibly benefit from just knowing that there really are others out there, going threw the same thing they are.
  I have a set schedule with my daughters, as far as when I can pick them up, with times/holidays, ect. He doesn't. Its been a difficult challenge mostly because since we do barely see his daughter, compared to mine, the things that we do with the girls, as far as our way of life, and their way of life are completely different. My step-daughter's mom lets her get away with alot more then the average parent does, or should, and my daughter's dad doesn't give them the social life they deserve. The age range is 6-11. It makes life interesting, especially when we are blessed to have all 3 at the same time, however, so far, we haven't seen my step-daughter in a year after promises that were broken to see her a few times.
 The main issue we've been running into lately with my daughters is, my oldest is completely done with her dad, and wants to move in with us but understands that its not in the current finances to go back to court. My youngest, has been very unhappy that things aren't ran at our house the way they are at their dads, our rules are more strict, and we don't tolerate as much as he does. Their dad ignores their bickering, ect, by staying on his computer; my step-daughter's mom (from what we're understanding), sends her to grandma's, or an aunts for a couple nights to go out and party when she can't handle life.
 Its been very hard not being able to see the very youngest for so long, so it'll be more interesting the next time we see her.
 We've started a new idea with our 10 year old, where my husband wrote down the house rules, and punishments per rule that's broken, & if she's asked once to do, or stop doing something that's on the list, she's to go read that section out loud so everyone in the room can hear her. We're hoping that it helps her remember our rules are different from dad's, grandma's, ect, & so far its working! She's been fighting my husband's authority for about 3 years. We've been together 5, but married 2, and its just gotten worse since the wedding, which honestly neither of us expected. It was kind of the same last year, with the very youngest, but not as bad, simply because she knew daddy wouldn't put up with it.
 As it goes right now, things are "okay" between us, my 2 daughters, & their dad. Yes, it could be better, but at the same time, its as good as it'll get for now. Now, the way it stands, I'm the bread winner of the family because I am physically disabled, so I bring in that income. My husband is able to work, but because of his daughter's mom filing for food stamps, they required her to file to receive child support payments as well, which is no big deal (she is his daughter, after-all). At the time he was out of work due to the job economy, and because of her filing, she had to put in what "she thought he owed from the time they separated", it built up fast......then there was a couple weeks of jail time because of it, and since his daughter was born before a bill was passed about "no jail-time" but will get help with finding work so they can make payments, he got the short end of the stick. Now, since he's got a class D felony on his record from "non-support, child support", no job is willing to hire him. He just got a letter today stating that his probation has been revoked, and will have court soon that'll give him 120 days in jail, if he's lucky. Otherwise, they could let him out after the first few weeks if there isn't the room, or he could even be gone as long as 4 years. So, we're trying to work with my youngest now, before he has to do any time, so it won't be as hard on me then. But, I'm really hoping that someone out there reads this before anything happens to them, to understand, that if you do have a child, that doesn't live with you & you have to make payments, please make them? Its harder on the children to not see you, and in my case, to flip flop from house to house....if you can work things out with the other parent, yay! Kudos.
  I'm hoping that within the next year or so, I'll be able to talk my girl's dad into going joint custody, with specific times set that they're here, & its like that until I can afford a lawyer to change it completely. But, at this point in time, my husband's situation is so difficult, a lawyer would be way too expensive!
  We mostly just want people to understand who are in our shoes, to know, they're not alone!
 We'll be adding more to this, especially once school starts in a couple weeks. As of right now, our car broke down in January, so we've been relying on friends & family to pick up my girl's for our weekend/holidays with them; and that puts another damper on my husband not finding work car, no transportation. Right now, we're going day by day, or week by week, we're not looking too far. I'll be posting more as time goes on, but for now....ta ta.