Got an ad in the mail for trader Joes..I might recall they tend to have organic foods and more whole wheat type options at reasonable prices?
Not sure if this is true or not but we hope to make it out there next week to find out, we would love to be able to find a store that sells whole wheat flour pasta and sunny field farm yogurt, rather than having to go to two stores different stores.
Archive for November, 2007
Got an ad in the mail for trader Joes..I might recall they tend to have organic foods and more whole wheat type options at reasonable prices?
I think it was Mom-from-Missouri who alerted me to the right time to sign up for Pizza huts 'book it' program. Thanks!
So tonight is the last night we can use our tickets earned in October..just in time to earn them for November. We really aught to be more on the ball with our freebies!
Anyway I am all for free food, I just find myself looking at these library rewards and pizza thinking, why can't free food be healthier? Even if we could afford to eat out more often, we wouldn't do it, not that I like to cook, believe me, I hate cooking! I am not particularly good at it either, I like to bake not cook.
But we would still eat at home, because we use whole wheat flour, whole wheat pasta, brown rice, and lots of veggies...hard things to find when eating out.
The only places that have whole wheat are hoity toity and come with plenty of tofu and sprouts..nothing wrong with tofu or sprouts, just that I am boring, I want plain boring sandwiches..with whole wheat bread...
Don't get the idea we are health nuts, you all know I love chocolate! and I still put Mayo on my turkey sandwich (and not a tiny amount either) not to mention a fondness for ice cream, red meat and peanut butter and well real butter!
I just hope to balance all that yummy stuff with vegetables (drowned in butter) and whole wheat bread (slathered with mayo) for my burger, not to mention brown rice or whole wheat pasta for my spaghetti or oriental food, ooh and whole wheat tortillas for my tacos!
Oh well...I guess I will just have to get rich enough for a personal chef rather than eating out....Might have a cheaper option as UE grows, he LOVES cooking!
Feminine troubles aside, the end or beginning of the month my husband and I have never found to be a factor in spending.
I often hear the 'end of the month' complaint from folks, or 'day before payday' and I have never understood it. I actually don't trust most businesses and never short our account less than the next mortgage...what if the pay check doesn't come in? So 'day before payday, is just like any other day for spending. (and the day after is often time to transfer money to pay down debt)
Before direct deposit my husband and I had a bad habit of not cashing checks...seemed a royal pia to cash one every week, we'd rather save them up and go once a month.
I suppose financially it would make more sense for us to figure out how to get interest on it, but well money should be there for an emergency, or for a last minute splurge if you can afford any. Or at the very least for a last minute trip to see family.
Not that money has never been to tight to splurge or pile up much, between the DINK life of forgetting to cash paychecks and our current 3 kid comfortable life, there was that miserable time with horribly low grocery budgets....but even then, the time of the month didn't matter...I still never let the account get less than the mortgage and I still didn't care if it was payday or not..the sum total of money in was a smidgen more than the sum total out..if I didn't have it right now I wouldn't next month either.
In fact I remember a time when someone offered to 'spot me some till payday' and I broke down and cried and said it wouldn't matter this payday or next there just wasn't any spare cash. Normally I wasn't so weepy about finances but it was the 'wrong time of the month'..being female and all...
Then we got a raise, and life is comfy, though not easy. (easy would be enough to hire a maid and already own the car .) And we still don't care what time of the month it is, the budget is what the budget is no matter what day...and being pregnant I cry no matter what day too
So I have discovered some tricks to not puking...I should be happy that it has been a day and a half without any puking thanks to my discovery. But instead I am complaining.
I should be happy I can drink and keep it down, instead I am complaining that I cannot drink a full glass of any liquid without puking. And even a quarter glass has to be accompanied by food.
I should be happy I can eat and keep it down, instead I am complaining that I cannot eat a normal sized meal, and instead I have to have 'mini meals' of about half normal 'serving size' making them minuscule compared to what I normally eat.
I should be happy I can get some work done, instead of complaining that I have to rest frequently rather than blitz the house in an hour...ok sometimes an hour and half, I have to do work in mini 5-10 minute episodes, once we get to gagging and heaving, time to sit yet again. any idea how long it takes to clean a house if you work 5 minutes sit for 10? I don't know, I usually give up after noon and quit trying to go back for the 5 minutes.
I should be happy I tend to wake up feeling human, instead of complaining that I run out of 'tricks' around dinner time and can't seem to finish cooking or cleaning up after for anything.
I should be happy my kids are so easy to put to bed, instead of complaining that I cannot tuck in my youngest without puking. (last night he insisted Daddy tuck him in...I should be glad, but I kinda feel uselss)
Heh, I suppose I should even by happy I seemed to have found a cure for my chocolate addiction..nothing worse than puking up chocolate! 'cept maybe chili.... of course instead you know I would like to complain about not having chocolate!
Anyway, I know what I should be feeling, I know how happy I aught to be...I am just not a good enough person to be so happy.
1. Decorate the tree...this always has to start with laying out the lights to make sure they work..the replacing of lights is a royal pia, but seeing kids faces when a strand lights up is so worth it. Then Daddy is in charge of putting lights on, while Mommy helps the kids find out what other decorations are available (some kitchen towels, a few place mats, a bell, nothing much) and then the most important part of the tree...The kids take turns putting ornaments on (with Daddy assisting as needed, Mommy unwrapping) Of course the whole time Christmas music has to be on!
2. Bake sugar cookies Now if you have never tried this I want to warn you children make a royal flour mess, and yes the cookies taste more like flour! but it is fun, and they are cute, and they love eating what they made! (or other cookie)
3. Read the advent book The actual book is a bit expensive though wonderful, I often think of making one, to give as a gift, we have 5 years of tradition of using this exact book so I could never get rid of it. Each day in December has a separate page with a door cut out (like lift a flap books) and behind the door is a bit of the story of Jesus and a beautiful picture (the 'doors' are beautiful too). We start with page one on December 1st and then each night review the 'old' pages before reading the days page. We usually do it in a 'fill in the blank' way so that the kids help tell the story "The angel ------(Gabrial) came to tell ----(Mary) that she was going to----(have a baby)" and so on.
4. Drive through the neighborhood looking at lights. Nothing special, no drive far from home, we just take a detour down the side streets one night that we come home.
5. Christmas carols at church bake a batch of cookies and share while singing, The kids have a song they sing just kids, and lots more sung as a big group. All gathered around tables so not like a service, just cookies and fun.
6. Fill a Shoe box of toys Operation Christmas is a cute method of filling shoe boxes to send to poor countries to give to kids at Christmas time. We always do one per kid. I am sure many fill the box with 50 or more dollars of stuff, but we have always done them for less than 10..some toys we never used some crayons a few dollar store surprises and done, full box. There is a shipping fee of 7$. The kids actually usually contribute their Halloween money to the Dollar tree part.
7. Get a gift for an angel tree we did this when I was a kid and I liked it, I would love to get one per kid, but so far that is hard, these days the requests are for bikes, Ipods or some other toy I can't afford to get my own kids (gmas bought the bikes here) so we have to hunt around to find one that just says 'toys' and we usually aim to spend less than $20. Picking the gift out is great fun for the kids.
8. Making place mats every year we cut out last years Christmas cards glue them on construction paper and laminate to make place mats for some relative...the recipient varies, but the kids love cutting gluing and giving.
9. Write our own Christmas card we usually like to fill in the family about our kids, any family news and of course a picture. We print them ourselves so cheap paper and a bit of time is all it takes. Sure done perfect would be nice paper, but no one said we were perfect!
10. Make some kind of Christmas decorations some times we do paper chains (use glue and you can recycle them, use staples and you really aught to save them) Other years we do snowflakes, many times we design and print a magnet or window cling or stickers (papers received free from buying pictures..haven't done so in 2 years, and still have plenty of magnets to go for years!) One year we made ornaments out of cinnamon and applesauce, smells wonderful, but all my kids had rashes on their hands for a week!
There are many more things we do, but those are ten of the earliest done, making them fresh on my mind!
Yesterday Daddy brought home a tree, one taller than my son! For the past 7 years we have not had a real sized tree, my husband still balks at buying a tree to toss year after year (yes the man who has a garage full of toys he does not play with doesn't want to buy a tree he will...)
Anyway I was a big rude wife and put my foot down...a tree taller than GMC or no ornaments, no decorating.
And being the wonderfully patient man that he is he put up with my ridiculous waste of money and bought me a wonderful tree...no 9 footer, we don't have the house for that, just a nice simple almost 6 foot tree.
And this is the most wonderful thing to me...every single ornament we own is on the tree! Most years someone gives us an ornament or the kids one (or worse one each) and I have the hardest time not ranting about how there isn't enough room on the tree for what we own..not helpful when gratitude is really appropriate! Well this year I am happy to announce there is room for a smidgen more, I will receive all ornaments with a smile (not that we need any we have a perfect tree)
I actually went through both shoe box sized collections of ornaments and proudly, thankfully, announced to my husband that all were up and he found another (small) box.... I racked my brain while I emptied my hands and tried to figure out what ornament I had missed, I remember all the ones on the tree, and usually miss any that would not be on (even when I didn't open the box they were in) so I was confused. Turns out he had bought a Serenity ornament for me!
Daddy..doing better, trouble has moved south
UE..we are trying benadryl for the hives - it has resulted in a 4 hour nap!..hope that is good?
ME..err still puking
Well the youngest, UE, is feeling better. He seems to have a case of migrating intermittent hives..but no more fever and no more loose output. I just wish we could pin down the cause..no new food has been eaten all week.
My husband is no longer puking! Yeah! over 24 hours and no pukage! Unfortunatly he has switched to some sort of bloated gas trouble that had him burping half the night and me running for the other room cause the sounds was making my nausea worse!
I well...I am still puking, but only once yesterday! And right now, I don't think I ill puke...for a time anyway.
JC and GMC are still healthy, in fact GMC went with Daddy to the store to buy more bread (the kids can make toast, and if mom isn't cooking a lot of toast and sandwiches get eaten by them!)
Daddy of course isn't perfect but feeling well enough to go to the store. We removed pepperoni and broccoli from his lunch..seems to make sense if he is having digestive trouble to remove known gas causers...though I feel bad about the broccoli..he needs nutrition...
On a financial note, Daddy has a list including 'Food mommy doesn't have to cook!'..not cheap really...but the friends food is about out, and Daddy has a limited abilities, even if he wasn't sick.
I have a house full of sickos...the worst three to be sick, Daddy, UE (the youngest) and me!
But I am thankful for amazing friends, we were going to go to their house for Thanksgiving but due to puking, we thought we should keep our germs to ourselves and call off.
They offered to bring us the dinner! I am so happy to have food, I would have been happy with leftover hot dogs so long as I didn't have to cook!
So now after a nice turkey dinner, eaten in my PJs, I can reflect on what has to be for me the most non traditional Thanksgiving ever, with possibly more gratitude than any previous year!
So heres praying you all had a much better day than I!
Our pastor wrote an article in the church newsletter regarding telling children when it is their turn to sing. We always sing a song where the men have one part and the women another and the congregation comes together for part. I love hearing the deep voices of the men, and the higher ones of women..mostly in harmony. Our pastor wrote of how parents need to fill kids in on these details..sure many can figure it out on their own, but by saying "your turn, cause you're a guy and guys usually sing deeper" we are helping out kids know what to expect.
Anyway, it occurred to me that most areas of life need things pointed out for kids.
While many kids can pick up on things by inference, some...need things explained over and over again.
Finances are no different. I had a young teen over once and we discussed how I had never had any utility threatened to be shut off...she was amazed. So we don't just need to point out to our kids 'the right way' we also need to point out some things to less fortunate kids!
My daughter received money for her birthday, I asked her what she would like to do with it. She replied "Spend it!" Now every time any of them receives money we discuss this, and I tell them, 'some to church, some to the bank, the rest do what you want'. So some lessons need repeating!
We went back to the ren fest this Saturday..OK first I have to rant...we were supposed to take our teen niece, we promised early in the year, picked a date we thought would work, she checked with the parents and agreed. Well the in laws from GA came up a different weekend and wanted to go, teen niece couldn't make it, so we figured we would go on the original date, and the one with GA family. not cheap, but fine. We don't break promises if at all possible.
Then teen niece gets sick the planned date...so we ask if postponing will work or if we have to scrap it for the year. She checks with the parents and the final weekend will be fine for her.
Friday, we get a call from her parental unit...sorry they are going to PA early so teen niece cannot come with us......
The tickets are purchased in advance..cheaper than at the gate. So now we have tickets we can't use, and secondary tickets for ourselves (remember we already went once this year) We were NOT happy with the inlaws ....$@#%^@%&@@$!#
K so back to the question of living off of tips. The Ren fest is mainly, people watching, shows, a joust, and shopping.
The people watching and joust are free for cost of admission. The shows really are too, but they only make money if folks tip. We always do.
On the one hand, watching the huge crowds of people tipping you might think they make a killing, but on the other hand, they only work Sunday and Saturday...how much money can you make if you only work two days a week? Two long days admittedly. But you have to pay for the stage. I don't think I would have that much faith in other people to pay for a stage and hope to make enough to cover it, and food... Or maybe I wouldn't have that much faith in my own abilities as a performer... Of which I have none
One of the best things about the SA forums is that it raises questions. Maybe the discussion is holiday spending, or parenting, or cell phones.
The question doesn't have to be currently mine, and yet it causes me to think.
The other night after reading up on who has a cell phone from the forum I talked with my husband about when/if we would get the kids a cell phone...the need is far off, he is only 5. But thinking now means we don't have to make a fast decision, we can think about what we feel constitutes a need and evaluate as needed.
For the phone we decided, when he has the opportunity to be away from us with not super well known adults..for example a friends house (not a cousin, or our close friends, but his friends) without us...yeah they have a phone, but having his own makes us worry less. Or when he is able to take walks down to the creek without us. (mostly our back yard)
However, having a 'kid phone' would not be a kid line to be called and call from at will. It would function as a contact mom/dad only device...We plan on counseling them NEVER to give out their own phone number, my phone is the 'house number'.
Basically it would be a high tech way of giving him 2 quarters to use a pay phone..only more expensive, and more reliable...
If he abuses the phone he loses not only it but all away from mom/dad privileges till he pays us back. If he wants a 'real phone' with a real number to give out, he has to pay for it.
We have seen too many kids get 'pay as you go phones' that they use up all the minutes on, and no longer have any way of contacting mom or dad in an emergency... we have also heard of kids with phones..who never use them up..prolly cause we never see the phone .
As to how we pay fro that..we will cross the bridge when we come to it..far far in the future
I put bleach in with white stuff, and towels (cause they are so far faded it can't get worse) but what about colored sheets? JC is a princess with pink pink and a bit more pink..oh and some purple
Also do you think a dishwasher (which is currently working) gets dishes 'sanitized' enough or should add bleach to that as well?
Update on JC. more puke overnight, but bouncy today, and nothing gross yet.
JC woke up two nights ago and I thought she was puking, but it was just bad coughing..that sounded like puking...rather weird. so she wnet potty and go tucked back in bed.
Last night she really was puking, so we spent half an hour hunting up all the puke and washing sheets, and such. I really have a wonderful husband, I cleaned her, he cleaned the bedding.
Then we let her sleep on the couch for a bit while wash was done. since she ate breakfast and complained of being bored I thought she was doing better.... till she puked lunch at the lunch table... so gross.
Now she is back in bed, pouted about having to nap, but is sleeping and hopefully not planning on puking again.
So anyone want to calculate the financial cost of washing a bazzillion loads of clothes sheets and towels in super hot to kill germs?
I may have mentioned I hate shopping. Shopping for shoes is even worse these days. When I was a kid I loved shoe shopping, twice a year a trip to try on some shoes nearly always resulted in nifty new pair of shoes. The fact that for 4 years running I found the same sandals each spring to replace the old ones is beside the point..they were new, they smelled new, I liked that. Then I couldn't find those sandals and that is where it all went down hill.
I haven't found a decent pair of sandals in my size since! I wasn't even 6 ft tall back then, I lived in Millvale PA, and I am guessing I was about 10yo.
That is a long time a lot of summers to be without a nice pair of sandals....Tennis shoes used to be easy, plain boring and simple...ok and size 9 1/2 W...apparently cheap well made no longer comes in plain boring and simple, and size 9 1/2 W. The last pair I saw that I liked had some sort of seam trouble, plastic was seeping out and if I tugged it (pink, who wants pink plastic seeping out of their shoes) the seams started to pull apart...I put them back on the shelf and ran out before I was charged 20$ for trying to see if the shoe was repairable. (speaking of the $20, since when is that cheap?)
So here I am wearing my husbands shoes (I made him get new ones because his had so many holes in them). And a pair of 'dress' shoes I have come to hate (with plenty of holes in them) not because I wont pay for shoes, on the contrary, I have tossed all price restrictions out the window! I don't care what they cost so long as they fit and look good. But instead, because shoe makers have gone crazy...or maybe shoe wearers have gone crazy.
Actually I thought I tossed the price limit out the window, then I priced custom made Ren Fest shoes...at a minimum of $450 I actually did say no....not a definite no, just a umm..well, come on, $450? for a pair of shoes? (well boots really) That does seem a bit high.
The true mark of desperation ... I am still thinking about it. Since I haven't bought shoes in...over 5 years, prolly 6..and they claim to last a lifetime (guarantee) I can take the last 5 years of shoes at up to $15 each (old benchmark, always bought on sale) and sorta have $75 saved for them right now.....which is not even one quarter of the way there....
Maybe feet aren't all that important...
I have posted before that the best way to get what you want is to ask for it, and boy do I wish folk would ask us for stuff...even if I couldn't afford it at least I would know what was wanted...and I might just give the gift in sections so you get what you want and I don't have to agonize..
So I am off to email my mother to buy my husband book one of the firefly companion..though I actually don't know what it costs...
And me another blanket for a queen sized bed...or make if it is made out of the stuff she made for JC's bed..I like it, I just want it in black
I love knowing I will get what I ask for...I really don't even feel guilty any more 'ordering up' Christmas...I feel relieved to know I can check wishes off my list and ignore them...the only trouble is I give my mother the best ideas for my husband...hope she appreciates it! (and I hope he knows I wouldn't be such a terrible giver if I didn't have to give away my best ideas!)
I happened to look at the back of a box of pasta the other day...I recalled it served 8, and wanted to know just how terrible we were for needing a whole box for just 5 of us.
I discovered it only served 7...when did my pasta box shrink?
Or did the serving size grow?
Then I thought a box was supposed to be a pound...this box has 13.5oz...maybe thats where my other serving went. The box measures what I remember a box of pasta being, it just has less weight.
I am curious if it is because the pasta is whole wheat...I need to check the next time I am in the store to see if a box of white pasta still has a pound or not.
Our plans are cheap this year...no travel. Not up north, and not down south.
And no company here.
We might share Thanksgiving with another family local that also will not be traveling, or if that doesn't work out we will just stay home. Either way this will be the cheapest Thanksgiving in years!
Course, if I don't cook a turkey on Thanksgiving I plan on cooking one around then anyway..to take advantage of the cheap Turkeys you can buy then!
As if the world needs one more thing banned in public school...don't get me wrong I can picture a bunch of barely teenage girls doing the 'screechy oohs and group hugs that is ALL for show, and yeah I hate it...seen it many times at many places...but would I ban ALL hugging? No see being a mom I would just pull aside the girl I was in charge of and have a talk...one about how fake French cheek kisses belong in comedy routines, not hallways.
That is the difference between big groups and families...I don't have to change the world, when I see a situation or behavior I do not approve of, I only have to worry about teaching my own kids...and though some think three kids is a bunch, it is a small bunch compared to 300 in smaller high schools, or 3000 in larger ones.
You cannot legislate human behavior..
But then I don't get to change the world, I just get to do my best with me and mine.
I started with the premise that any reduction was a good one, and figured a little discomfort was prolly good for us. After all the human body can adapt to amazing extremes of temperatures especially if you include clothing in the adaptation, and yet we waste this ability on houses set comfortably at X temp year round.
Our first winter here the heating bill (gas) was regularly in the $120s-$150s, with an average of $80. The last year it broke $100 only once, with an average of $50. That once BTW was when we had lots of company...company that was obviously born in a barn...door constantly left open! I figure if I could teach guests to shut doors I would have actually reduced the bill by more than half.
So in roughly the order we carried them out:
Reduce the heat by 2 degrees I heard from my father that reducing the temperature (or raising it in summer) would reduce the electric bill by something like 7%..now this is heresy, he said something, and now I am saying something, the two are not necessarily the same! My memory is defunct...the closest I can come to scientific evidence is here where it says every degree above 70 raises the cost by 7%...I picked two degrees, because if I got really cold and uncomfortable I could go turn it back up a degree and still save while feeling like I 'got to cheat'.
Frugalize some curtains out of blankets and sheets. I think real insulating curtains would have been great, but I didn't want to spend a penny. Instead I safety pinned a blanket to make a 'fold' to slide a rod I happened to have in. I know of others who have stapled the blanket to the wall as well..all free and all helps to insulate.
Reduce the heat by two degrees ..you thought I already said that, but this was an additional two degrees. Once we were comfortable with the temperature I decided to shake things up. I think the deciding factor was a day I vacuumed and started sweating while the heat came on. I decided I would rather move more, or use a blanket than PAY to be hot and sweaty!
Learn to open and shut said curtains I am sure we have all heard that curtains on the east side should be open in the morning and shut after noon, while the opposite should occur for the west side of the house. But actually putting that into practice took lots of work...and I still fail too often.
Turn the heat down two degrees Yep I did it again...I found I was sleeping with only a sheet and a bedspread..it seemed a waste to have such wonderful blankets and not use them.
Learn to bake when cold actually I bake a lot anyway, but now I try to bake when the heat was off in the evening, to keep it that way. And I practiced not opening a window if the kitchen got too hot..after all letting it cool of the slow way would keep the gas heat off longer. Plus when debating between nuking a potato and baking it, I picked baking...might use more electricity, but it sure does taste better
Reduce the heat by 2 degrees Ok you are prolly tired of hearing this, and you prolly wonder just how low I am willing to go? But well I had all these sweaters (I am from the north) but I never got to wear them! So I had to reduce the heat just to have a use for what I didn't want to give away.
Learn to drink hot drinks when cold heating up some boiling water to make tea or hot chocolate doesn't take as much energy as heating the house 6 degrees, but it gives the same effect. Only tastes better than a heating bill .
Reduce heat by 2 degrees..again. I woke up one morning freezing cold..I checked the temp.. 72. I hadn't paid to keep my house at 72 in years! And yet here I am thinking this was freezing. The same temperature that, had it been afternoon, I would have complained of not being able to wear a sweater for... So down the temp went and I added socks to my bedtime PJs (or at least put them on as soon as I woke up)
Create a rule for turning the heat off and on The weather here is a mite bit unpredictable, so a set date for turning the heat on (like we use for the air conditioner) doesn't work. Instead we have a rule, currently if the heat drops below 63 in the day (after 10am-ish, before 6pm-ish), we will turn the heat on, and leave it on for the winter. Until it stays above 63 all day. This means no chilly morning will drive me to spend money, just to find warmer clothes or blankets.
And as of yet this year, no heat has been used (and no air since Labor day) Making for a very nice low heating bill
That is it, nothing spectacular. But consistent. by attacking the heating bill like a ongoing battle instead of a one time fight, I was able to reduce it dramatically. I have hopes of reducing it further.
For example I acquired several sets of insulating curtains from my mother as presents. This will be the first year to test them on winter. (They did make a difference in summer already)
And we still might turn the heat down, two degrees at a time of course!
Safety note..I checked children's fingers and toes frequently for warmth (Though more importantly necks must be warm), so long as the shirts were doubled and the socks on both were warm. (Parents of premature babies do not have the turn down the heat option, for quite some time)
Now for some misc. science-y questions ...do Inuit (up north natives) tend to keep more 'brown' fat longer due to the colder climate? Do babies born of traditionally warmer climates have less? Or keep it for shorter times?
Do complex carbs help keep you warm longer than simple?
Does being chilly tend to encourage the body to add on more muscle? or just fat? Does muscle keep you warmer than fat? One insulates one is a heat source.
How cold can humans be comfortable in? How hot?
How many blankets can you pile on before you lose the cumulative effect? Is there a top breaking point?
Does having house plants help keep a house warm..due to humidity? or insulation? or extra oxygen?
Does having a lower 'normal' temp mean you are more likely to be comfortable in cold or heat? How about the reverse?
Not that any of it matters, I just always wondered.