A blog about family, food and fun!

Author: Oscoey

February 2018 State of the Garden

February 2018 State of the Garden

February State of the Garden   I thought I would take some time today to show what is happening in the garden before spring officially is here. Spring is coming fast and now is a good time to get the garden ready for planting and […]

Indoor Seed Starting Resources

Indoor Seed Starting Resources

Indoor Seed Starting Time   It is that time of year again when I start to think about what seeds I need to start indoors. This is our third year gardening at our house and the second year for us starting seeds indoors. Last year […]

Some Thoughts on End of Life Planning

Some Thoughts on End of Life Planning

I have been taking a break from the blog the past week or so and just been interacting a little bit on Twitter. I thought I would stop in and talk a little bit about end of life planning. One of my close relatives is not doing well this week and the outlook does not seem promising. This person has lead a full life and everyone in the family pretty much agrees that it is better for them to go quickly rather than to linger. That being said, I was really surprised to discover that almost nobody was in the loop as far as what to do if this person (who is the glue that holds our family together) were to get ill and not be able to take care of themselves.  I thought that when this person’s spouse passed over a decade ago that everyone got together and hammered things out since it was quite a mess and nobody knew what to do. Needless to say nobody agrees on care and there have been some huge arguments that could have easily been avoided.

 

Even if you are healthy you should have basic care initiatives laid out in an easily accessible place for family members to follow. 

 

I thought I would talk about some of the more important aspects of long term care and highlight some of the most important areas to plan out in advance. It is highly recommended that adults should have a basic will in place, this is especially true if you have kids. We have one drawn up but not officially signed that basically says that everything is split between the kids evenly.  It took us a couple of hours to fill out the forms and we just have to go to a notary to get it signed but life got in the way. This isn’t an excuse though! Last week’s events motivated me to get on the completing of our will.  A basic will should not cost you more than a few hundred dollars and many employers offer lawyer services as part of their benefit packages that you should take advantage of to draw up a basic will. You can always go back and change it later but at least you will have something in place with your care directives all lined up.  Keep a copy in a fire proof box somewhere in your house that will not be destroyed by a natural disaster (earthquake, tornado etc) and a digital one as well.

 

The three most important things to have in place are:

 

 

DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) Paperwork

This should be very clear on what conditions you want treated. I have worked my way through a couple of these and there is a line on there that describes giving anitbiotics that can be very murky. Do you want antibiotics if they will cure a life-threatening illness? Do you want them for something not necessarily life threatening but could turn into something life threatening later on? Do you want antibiotics for something non life threatening but might cause discomfort? These need to be clearly laid out in the DNR and explained to all people that might have to make a decision about your care under pressure in the hospital (spouses, children, close family and friends).

 

Example: You fall and break your hip requiring a long stay in a rehabilitation facility. You are unable to use the restroom by yourself and require help which is not so great and you develop a UTI which goes unnoticed until it gets bad. Did you know that UTIs can cause delusional thinking if left untreated? Once they reach that point you will require hospitalization and will be unable to make your own decisions. This is where the antibiotics section of the DNR gets murky. Clearly your issues is the UTI but giving antibiotics to save your life might not be what you want and doctors have to follow the DNR exactly to protect themselves from lawsuits so it is important that you are clear about what you mean by “antibiotic use”.

 

Clear Instructions for Long Term Care

We spent a lot of time over the weekend wondering what exactly our relative wanted for care. Did they want to stay in their home? Did they want to be placed somewhere? Nobody knew because there was no discussion before hand. It would also be wonderful if someone in the family was in charge of researching what care facilities are good in your area. There has been a lot of scrambling the past few days with people trying to make phone calls and figure out where is a good place that is not too expensive. You should have a rough idea of what places have good reputations and have a clean bill of health. Here is the link to the DSHS long term care facility information page for Washington State. I am sure you can Google your neighborhood and find information about care facilities in your area. This site here provides detailed health inspection reports of nursing homes from Medicare and rates them based on health inspections, quality and staff.  I have found it extremely helpful and quite honestly some of the health inspection reports I read were difficult to get through.

 

Long Term Disability Insurance in Place

You never know what lies ahead and most standard insurance plans do not cover long term care. Nursing homes run from about $8000 to over $12,000 a month and sadly the quality of care somewhat depends on price. Cheaper facilities have fewer staff members available and that can lead to mistakes. Unless you have a large stash of cash set aside just for long term care your relatives may be scrambling to find somewhere that is both affordable and provides the care that you need. I have seen many families try to care for relatives on their own but it is difficult to do and many people burn out quickly.

 

Even having these three basic plans in place will ease the stress of decision making for your family and make your care go much smoother!

 

I hope that by writing this out it will at least spark some conversation with the people important to you and hopefully inspire you to take action and get a basic will written out and explained to the people you have chosen to be your care givers in the event that you are incapacitated. At the very least speak to those close to you about your DNR requests so that if they are ever in a position to make a difficult decision they will have some sort of idea of what you want.

 

Below are some websites that I found with much more detailed information about will writing and many more questions you should be asking yourself. It is not an exhaustive list but somewhere to start the process. Please feel free to comment with any other helpful links! I am sure there are many more out there!

 

American Bar Association

 

National Caregivers Library

 

AARP

 

Uber Frugal Month January 2018 Wrap Up!

Uber Frugal Month January 2018 Wrap Up!

We have come to the end of our Uber Frugal Month Challenge and we were pretty successful! We kept to our super low grocery budget, were mindful about our purchases and had some great discussions about where we want our life to head and what […]

Uber Frugal Month Challenge Week 4

Uber Frugal Month Challenge Week 4

We are entering our final days of the Frugalwoods Uber Frugal Month Challenge and it has been a great refresher for us to get back into our frugal habits. I am finally caught up on all of the emails and they really made us think […]

Where Did the Name Oscoey Come From Anyway?

Where Did the Name Oscoey Come From Anyway?

I have been asked quite a bit lately where the name Oscoey came from. For some reason it always catches me by surprise and I have to wing a response that is short and somehow makes sense and doesn’t turn into an awkward conversation so I thought I would write a little bit about it today. There is a story behind it and I came up with the name many years ago when I first started thinking about blogging but life and children became my priority and I did not get around to actually starting a blog until March of last year.

 

So where did the name Oscoey come from? When my husband and I first started dating many, many years ago we were dogless and that was a sad state of being since we both love dogs. Then one day my dad called me up and told me about this black and tan dachshund that was his coworker’s. She had divorced and moved across the country with her two dogs and since she was now single she was working 14 hour days her dogs were all alone for that entire time. Needless to say they were not happy being stuck in an apartment for 14 hours a day by themselves and since she loved them and was a responsible owner she was trying to find someone else to take them in.  One of the dogs was a lab mix that was too big for us but the other was a black and tan dachshund and if you know me I have a huge soft spot in my heart for dachshunds, especially black and tan ones. His name was Oscar and my daughter and I took one look at him and brought him home with us.

 

Oscar.

 

We kept the name Oscar but also gave him the names Mr. Oscarpants and Mr. Stinkerpants and he was the sweetest dog. He loved to cuddle and would sit patiently while my then 8 year old petted him and snuck him treats. His favorite thing to do was to headbutt you until you gave him a good pet. We fell in love with him immediately and my husband would come over and we would all go out to the park to run around.

 

Oscar loved sitting in the car on a sunny day (safely with the door open while I gardened right next to him).

 

Let me tell you though, he was a trouble maker! He was completely obsessed with food and everything had to be kept up and off the tables or he would eat himself sick.  He had developed anxiety after being left alone for so long in the apartment and any time we left the house he would howl until we got back. My husband was in his first apartment with a “real” job and he caught dog fever and started looking for a dog of his own. He came across this red haired dachshund that was a wild puppy at nine months. She was from a family with little kids that really could not handle her wild puppy ways so he took one look at her and she became part of our family. My husband named her Zoey and Oscar took to her immediately.

 

Oscoey in action.

 

We started leaving them alone together and Oscar’s anxiety majorly calmed down. Fast forward a few years (ok many) and my husband and I moved in together and got married. I came up with the name Oscoey during this time. I combined Oscar and Zoey to make Oscoey and told myself if I ever wrote a blog that is what I would name it. The other option was Zoscar but it just doesn’t quite have a good ring to it does it?  Zoey and Oscar were very happy together. We called them secret best friends because even though they loved each other so much, they rarely snuggled when we were present. We caught them on camera many times snuggling when we were gone and they were constantly checking in on each other to make sure the other was ok but when we were home they really just wanted to play and get lots of love from us.

 

Zoey and our then one year old at the beach digging in the sand together.

 

We had to let Oscar go shortly before our middle daughter’s first birthday. As is typical with dachshunds, the older he got the worse his back problems became and at some point we had to make a difficult decision. He was refusing medication and even though we were doing everything we could to make him comfortable he was just ready to go. I still think about him almost every day. We all do. He was a wonderful dog and we all miss him. Zoey was kind of lost for a while when her sidekick was gone. Now she is the older dog and starting to have some health problems of her own but luckily her back is strong and we haven’t had any issues with it so far.

 

George coming home.

 

It took us almost two years to even consider getting a new dog but we added George to our life in November of 2016 and even though his puppy antics are legendary we absolutely love having him in our family! Zoey usually does not like other dogs but she immediately welcomed George into her flock and George has learned to be careful with her and not squish her with his giant puppy feet.

 

So there you have it! Oscoey came from the combination of our original dogs’ names Oscar and Zoey.  How do you come up with creative names?

 

 

 

 

Uber Frugal Month Challenge Week 3

Uber Frugal Month Challenge Week 3

Whew. I am a little bit late posting our summary of week three in the Uber Frugal Month Challenge but that is because last week was a whirlwind of expensive things breaking, children being sick and massive amounts of the general craziness that comes from […]

Uber Frugal Month Challenge Week 2

Uber Frugal Month Challenge Week 2

Well dear readers, week 2 of the Uber Frugal Month Challenge went off the rails a little bit. We had a busy week with sick kids and another family member was ill so I have not done the last 4 or 5 daily tasks from […]

Uber Frugal Month Challenge Week 1

Uber Frugal Month Challenge Week 1

A few weeks ago I found the Uber Frugal Month Challenge over at the Frugalwoods and I was immediately hooked. What a great way to start out 2018! I signed my husband and I up and we have spent the last week reading through the daily emails and completing challenge items.  I will admit that we already do a lot of the tasks listed in the challenge such as not eating out, keeping track of our finances and trying to be mindful of our spending but as I have said before we have had a rough couple of years for our finances and we are ready to get back on track! This challenge is perfect for that and we have already started looking at areas for us to cut the fat and to buckle down.

 

One of the areas we have struggled with overspending over the past year has been with our groceries. I wrote about it in  my A New Beginning in Budgeting Series Part 2 and we are working this month to lower our expenses even more with a pantry clean out. Unfortunately we realized on New Year’s Day that we were out of some very basic groceries such as bananas, eggs, carrots, yogurt and paper towels so we did end up having to go to the grocery store but we only spent $66.15 for the first week of the year and that included a couple of rarely purchased basic ingredients such as butter for when we hosted our group of friends over the weekend. That is a huge improvement for us! We stuck to our list and did not buy any extras and everything we bought we have absolutely used this week.  We are already out of bananas but we are delaying going to the store for as long as possible so maybe we will make it to the weekend before we do another Costco run.

 

Beans, rice, salad and green beans for our New Year’s Day dinner.

 

We got creative with some of the meals we made and although we are not completely vegetarian we have been trying to incorporate more vegetarian/low meat meals into our dinner rotation. Our kids love meat and some days that is all they will eat but we also are huge believers in putting a wide variety of healthy foods in front of them and eating them along with them.  Kids learn by watching what you are doing (even if they don’t look like it) and we always eat our vegetables with the kids. I try to serve two vegetables at dinner so that the kids have a choice. One choice is a vegetable I know they like (such as peas) and another is either a new vegetable, one they need to try or something else they like but maybe prepared differently. We have really been working with our pickiest eater on just trying new foods and so far it has worked with the eater in question at least tasting new foods.  Some of them have been thoroughly enjoyed!

 

Shakshuka minus the forgotten garbanzo beans. Looks like we will have enough for another meal!

 

Now I know that many uber frugal people would maybe tell us to switch to something other than paper towels but we primarily use them for cleaning up bodily fluids of both the pet and human kind off of the floor and I just do not feel comfortable using my towels and well loved hand/face wash clothes for that. I did make an effort this week to use our repurposed baby wash clothes when washing the kids hands and faces after meals instead of reaching for a baby wipe and I am thinking of making some more cloth napkins at some point.  I have sewed them in the past but we only have a few currently and that is nowhere near enough with small children in the house! I finally have my sewing machine set up but I definitely don’t have the time right now to make them. Maybe next month my goal will be to replace as many disposable items in the house with reusable ones as possible. Hmm…I will have to think about that!

 

Vanilla boxed pudding made from leftover “real” milk. Sometimes you just have to make your childhood favorite to use up milk that otherwise would go bad!

 

One of the biggest things we got out of our first week of the UFM Challenge was exactly how much our overspending on clothing and groceries was effecting our bottom line. I hadn’t really looked at our yearly spending in a couple of years and once we broke it down it became clear that we needed to be more diligent about overspending.  I am really glad we are doing this challenge and gearing up on our frugal choices!

 

What ways are you being frugal in the new year?

 

Gardening Goals for 2018

Gardening Goals for 2018

Last week I posted a sort of list for our financial goals for 2018. Today I wanted to lay out some goals we have for our garden.  We learned a lot last year about where the best light is for our small vegetable patch and […]