Thursday, December 11, 2008

We bought a house

This week has been crazy. We went to look at houses again on Saturday and found one we really liked. We went back to the open house on Sunday. We made an offer on Monday and it was excepted, after a little negotiating, that evening. Tuesday I talked to banks, inspectors, attorneys and a lot of other people. The stress level has been high but it's exciting. I'll post some pictures of the place soon.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Some of our November Activities

Caleb helped me paint signs and I used Vinyl to make some Christmas presents this year.

We made paper plate turkeys


Rice Crispy treat houses

For my nieces and nephew I made hoodie towels. A duck

Mike modeling my pink bunny towel (it made him think of a Christmas Story)

A doggie

A Butterfly

Caleb made donut acorns for FHE one night

Mason decide that he likes climbing on everything. He can get up and down stairs so fast and not very safe.

We made and canned applesauce

For another FHE treat Caleb made pilgrim hats by dipping marshmellows in chocolate and putting them on a chocolate cookie

We made bird feeders out of pine cones

We went apple picking. Mason enjoyed eating the apples.

Mike took this picture as a contrast to our view in Staten Island.

We got to ride a tractor our to pick the apples.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Clearing Up a Few Common Misconceptions

So I received a forwarded email petition stating that "the Senate voted this week to allow 'illegal' aliens access to Social Security benefits" and we need to forward this email on to everyone we know to get signitures urging the president to veto this bill (note there is no bill number referenced in the email).  The email continues "It is already impossible to live on Social Security alone. If the government gives benefits to 'illegal' aliens who have never contributed, where does that leave those of us who have paid into Social Security all our working lives?"  Okay.  Now I need to post something to the blog to clear up a few misconceptions for the benefit of the like 3 people who read my posts.

For starters, there are illegal aliens who get a social security number.  And once they get a social security number, they have the social security payments withheld from their paychecks.  If they are only paid in cash and there is no paper trail well that's a totally different story.  So misconception #1 illegal immigrants have never contributed to social security is false.

Misconception #2 really needs to be addressed.  People believe that they have paid into social security similar to the way you pay into a 401K or IRA.  THAT IS FALSE!  Social security has NEVER worked like that.  Social Security is really more like a Ponzi Schemeusing the the "rob-Peter-to-pay-Paul" principle to work.  The current labor force (who are paying social security taxes) is supporting all those who receive their check.  (Side though: I wonder what happens when the labor force is smaller than the recipients.  Hmmm.  Oh wait that's a few years away).  So when you get the mailing from the social security administration that looks like an investment statement explaining how much you have paid, realize this is misleading and a waste of your tax dollars.

So to review: Just because a worker is an illegal immigrant doesn't mean they haven't paid taxes including social security.  And you are not paying into anything when it comes to social security.  The statement that it is impossible to live on social security, however, is true.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Life is Good

Our blog has fallen silent over the past few days. This is largely because I have been busy at work for a change and have not found time to post to the blog like I used to. Imagine that - working at work.

I really like my job. I enjoy the challenge that each day brings and actually look forward to going to work. I still enjoy going home more, but it is great to have a job that you don't dread going to.

Life upstate is good. Yes we have had snow and I don't think it got above 30 degrees today but that doesn't matter. We like it up here. We do miss our friends in New York a lot. I personally miss the reading time I had on the ferry. I don't get the same chance to read.

But life is very different. The traffic reports last about 30 seconds so I spend quite a bit of time surfing the radio stations trying to catch the report. Then I realize that even when there is heavy delays it isn't as bad a normal traffic on the Staten Island Expressway.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

So in case your wondering we are still alive

We have survived yet another move. It seems that we always seem to move around this time of year too. This will be the second year that we were "homeless" for Christmas (meaning not living in our own place). I love my new job. It is so much better I can't begin to express it. We continue to look for houses. This is a really complex problem with no simple solution. The calculus involves trade-offs, loads of trade-offs. Factor in we are not exactly sure what we are looking for (number of bed rooms, style of house, how much we are willing and able to fix up, etc). We have seen quite a few and our buyer's agent is great. I know once we make the decision we will post it here.

Thanks for the emails (I know Danielle's received some). Our phone is not working because half of it was packed in a box somewhere and it is in storage. We should take a picture of our storage shed. You can see the expert packing job that we did. We just found our cable to our camera so we will be uploading pictures soon.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Our activities the last two weeks

This week we made a ghost. This was the first step

This was after we finished

G= Green Glitter

We got out of our half packed house one day and went to play at Chuck E Cheese

The boys racing around the house on cars

A trip to the zoo

F= Feathers

My Birthday Adventure!! (Last Week)

For my birthday Katie S. watched my kids so I could have a day in the city.
I started in Central Park.

I went and saw Belvedere Castle.

Looking out over Turtle Pond

This is looking north from the top tower.

Garment District

Interesting sign on 25th street

I met Mike for lunch and we went to a Greek restaurant named Karavas. It was yummy.
This is an awsome store. They have cool fabric.
I bought some Halloween fabric to make a little quilt.

After dinner that evening the girls came and surprised me with a Girls Night Out in the city.
We went to Magnolia Bakery and tried there Banana pudding
(sooooooooooo good) and split a key lime cheesecake with Susie

Then we went to Serendipity for some Frozen Hot Chocolates.
All things I wanted to do before I left NYC.

Susie and I split a mint Frozen Hot Chocolate

All the girls.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Four Phased of Reaction

So I was listening to an economics podcast and heard the following which I found interesting. Bill Hamilton, a biologist explained every scientific theory goes through four phases of reaction: that's not true; that's an interesting if perverse way of looking at the world; I see the experimental evidence accounts for certain edge cases; I have always believed it. I think this is a great quote! The podcast is Econtalk and I would recommend it to nerds like me.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


For FHE on Monday, Caleb made pear witches.

He enjoyed eating them!!

We also painted gords that we got on Saturday

My economic fears and what to do about it

I was reading this post, about what you can do to prepare for what may be ahead (Please take a couple of minutes and read it), and was presented with some numbers which triggered my worst economic fears. Allow me to do illustrate with some sloppy arithmetic:

$152 billion for the summer stimulus package + $123 billion bailout of AIG + $700 billion bailout bill + $250 billion into several large banks (I told you they didn't even consider the smaller option) = $1,225 billion or $1.225 trillion. (Not to mention the money the Federal Reserve has been funneling into the financial system)

Now add to that some sloppy history: I may have missed the news, but I don't remember hearing that GDP expanded by $1.225 trillion since last summer. In fact, if my memory serves me correctly I remember talk about a slowdown in the economy, bordering on recession.

Finally apply some sloppy thinking: Goods slowing down...Huge spending increase...Businesses hurting...Huge spending increase...No growth in tax base...Huge spending increase...It can't be funded by taxation...Huge spending increase funded by money that isn't there.

To come to my conclusion: Money Supply increasing + Goods are not = Inflation.

Inflation fears worry me more than the threat of a Great Depression because everyone becomes poorer simultaneously which is not a good thing. Did you know that Hitler came to power because Germany was in a period of hyperinflation after World War I. Yep.

I had an econ professor that taught me that my generation didn't know tough economic times. We had grown up in the late 80's and 90's and had it good. So I fear that my generation will get sideswiped by inflation and not be prepared to deal with its consequences. So once again I would encourage you to read this post, and get things in order. I know we will.

Monday, October 13, 2008

What happened to last week?

I made a special bag for Caleb to take on our nature walks. He was so excited for a small plastic bag of his own, I wanted to have something a little better.

I also made a really easy apron for him to wear when we cook together. (It's a dish towel and ribbon. So easy and he loves wearing it.)

Mason crawling around.

On Saturday we went to the Pumpkin Festival at Willowbrook Park.

We rode the carousel and picked out pumpkins and gourds to paint for FHE.

Mason's first ride on a carousel

Both of the boys enjoyed looking at the animals.

One day we played with goop. Caleb doesn't like his hands getting dirty so this was a challenge.

He enjoyed the things I gave him to play in it better than his hands.

On one of our walks this week we collected leaves and did leaf rubbings

Part of our interesting week was Caleb running into a pole at the playground. Ouch!

E= eggshells

Caleb coloring the eggs to make our letter of the week

For FHE on Monday Caleb made popsicles for us.

Babysitting Co-op: watching a movie and having a snack