Re-Learning the Homesteading way to make life better in the Suburbs today.

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Suburban Homesteading in Southwestern PA

By Stacy Artis


Happy Birthday to me!  Today I'm 39......or as my "sweet" son figured out, 14, 244 days!  It is also my mom's birthday.  No big plans because of other things going on this weekend, but Tim has something up his sleeve for next weekend to celebrate.

It's been a very busy week for us as summer is winding down and it's time to get ready to head back to school.  Megan's orientation for the middle school was Wednesday.  Oh my, but she seems so little yet to be going there.  I think it will be good for her, though.  Elementary school was a real challenge for her thanks to attention deficit disorder and it was made worse by teachers who wouldn't make any extra effort....and even a few who made things worse for her because she couldn't grasp things.  The hyperness that sometimes goes along with ADD seems to have manifested in Megan over the summer, which really had me concerned.  Thankfully, the middle school has a policy of "no child left behind" and offers a multitude of extras to help students who need it.  Another plus is that Megan's math teacher (her worst subject) is also her homeroom teacher and her studyhall teacher so getting additional help will be easy.  We are also going to meet with our pediatrician about trying Megan on a new medication.  Ritalin doesn't stay in the system very long, but there are a few other options that release medication all day.  We're hoping it will help keep her on more of an even keel and she won't have to go to the nurse everyday for a second dose.  For the first time since first grade, Megan is excited about going to school!

The hot, humid weather everyone else has complained of has finally arrived.  A few days this week it's simply been too hot to do anything during the afternoon.  We haven't had any rain the last two or three days, but between last Friday and Tuesday, I'd guess we got another 5-6 inches.  Even with this heat and three dry days in a row, the yard is still soggy.  Matt tried to mow the grass yesterday, but it was so wet it doesn't look very good.  Hopefully, we will get a couple more rain-free days and then can get the job done right.

I am done with canning pickles.  I made another batch of crystal pickles this week and canned them late last night when it was cool enough to do so.  Earlier in the week I canned 18 pints of dill pickles using Wanda Lynch's recipe.  They were very easy to do.  The man that gave us all the cukes asked me on Sunday if I wanted any more.  I squeaked out a "no" and ran!  Nearly 40 pints of pickles will last us a very long time.

This Sunday our church is holding its morning services in the park downtown that sits along the banks of the Loyalhanna Creek.  It's a very pretty spot with towering oaks shading the picnic and play areas.  There is a bandshell and our praise team will be setting up to provide the music.  Matthew plays the drums and is very excited.  Because of the setting they will be playing for more people than normal.  Following the service there is our annual picnic at one of the pavillions.  Weather cooperating, it will be a wonderful day.

On a not so pleasant note, we met with our attorney Wednesday and went over all of our financial information with him and he explained all the forms he has to file with the bankruptcy court and about the payment plan he's submitting.  While having to do this still makes me ill, I have to admit it is turning out to be a lot better than I was imagining.  I was picturing us having to make huge payments that left us little or nothing to live on, but that isn't how it works.  We tell them how much we need for our regular monthly expenses and then what the payments are is figured out of what's left.  The plan our attorney is proposing will have a substantial amount taken out of Tim's pay every month, but it will include our current mortgage and auto payments as well as the amounts to our creditors.  With those two payments taken care of, we will actually have more money left after paying bills than we do now.  We couldn't believe it.  We should actually be able to save some and do some long overdue work on the house.  We will be in the plan for 5 years.  The worst thing we have to get through now is the court hearing with all the creditors.  We have to go to Pittsburgh for that.  Probably not until mid to late October, but my knees are already knocking at the thought of it.

Well, I am off to enjoy a dip in the pool with Megan before going to pick Matt up from work. 

Carpe diem!