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Archive for January, 2006

Home Spa Day

February 1st, 2006 at 04:05 am

I'm home alone and feeling guilty for my eating and spending today. I decided it was time to stop and move to something useful, frugal and "feel good-y".

So, I got out the hair cutting scissors and followed a tip I got here - I pulled my hair into a pony tail and cut it straight across, this gives a layered look. Last time I did it, I pulled the hair to the top and that gave dramatic layers. This time I pulled it to just below the crown and the layers are much more subtle.

I think I cut about 2.5 inches off the longest section and one section didn't get cut at all. That was fine, that section didn't have any split ends.

Then, into the kitchen to mix up some henna to color my gray roots and jazz up my color.

When I first thought about henna, I asked a few friends and they made it sound soooo difficult. So the first time I tried it, it was difficult. But, now I've figured it out.

First, the directions say not to use metal. Which means I can't heat the water on the stove (I don't have any corningware), so I heat the water in the microwave in a pyrex bowl (little bitty one). In a slightly larger pyrex bowl, I pour out about 1/4-1/3 cup of henna. I then mix the hot water into that very slowly. I pour and mix, pour and mix. This is the best way to keep from having clumps. I add enough water to get it the consistency of honey.

Then, into the bathroom to don latex gloves and start putting in my hair. This time I didn't really mix enough, so I mainly concentrated on my roots. If I think it needs more, I'll add it tomorrow. I use my hands (in gloves) and the plastic fork I used to mix the henna to apply it. I find the tines of the fork really help to comb it into my hair.

Finally, I covered it with a hair wrap that I got with another dye package and a plastic shower cap. I'm sitting here with it wrapped until I'm ready for bed. Then I'll shower and rinse it out.

I like henna because it's natural and it's good for your hair. It's a natural conditioner. In fact, many hair dressers recommend the no color version for people who have hair that needs some more conditioning. It's also good if your hair is thinning because it coats the hair shaft and makes each hair thicker. This isn't an issue for me, my hair is still pretty thick, but there is a noticeable difference - a lot more body and you can definitely look at a hair and tell where the henna stopped.

I can get about 3 applications of henna for $5. Not bad when you compare it to a dye job in the salon.

Bad day

February 1st, 2006 at 03:09 am

I caved. I totally caved.

First, I bought a Dr Pepper ($0.65 frivolous spending) then I ate some candy in the office.

Loverly. I guess I'll have to back up on the diet some. I'm getting discouraged with the diet, though, because it appears that I haven't lost any weight or inches around my belly. If anything, some of my clothes are actually tighter.

The good news? DH called and said they were stopping at the grocery store for lunch rather than fast food. So, we should meet our January goal of no eating out (I won't count the grocery store deli).

Other good news? DS1 woke up with no fever and didn't develop one before the time for them to leave and last time I spoke to dh still didn't have one. So he got well just in time to be able to go see his grandmothers.

How much money?

January 31st, 2006 at 12:18 am

This is a question that was posed on an online forum a few years ago: How much money would it take to change your life?

At the time, I said $80,000, that was enough to pay off all the bills we owed. Now it would take more like $100,000 (traded to a larger house and had a job loss/cross-country move in there).

But, I've been thinking. That would be less stress, for sure, but it wouldn't change my life. I'd keep my job, dh would keep his job, we'd just have more wiggle room for other things. But nothing would really change.

If I were to really change my life - radically alter the course, it would take at least $1million. That's the sum that would allow me to feel comfortable breaking completely away from what I do and learning something entirely new.

Don't get me wrong, I like my life. It's a pretty good life. I like my job, my co-workers, my house, the area we live, etc. But, I can't shake the feeling that there is something else I should be doing. I think I'm a radical without a cause. I just can't find a cause I can get behind.

DH, on the other hand, could change our whole life with $200,000. That is the sum that would have him comfortable enough to pack up lock, stock and barrel and move onto something entirely new.

I've been thinking about life. I know that I'm in a holding pattern. I admit I'm afraid I will stay there, but I'm afraid to try something new and fail. At heart, I'm a pessimist.

My goal this year is to work on finding what cause I want to devote energy to, to being more optimistic, to feeling like I can make a change and be happy. And to be more willing to take the risk.

I don't expect to come into money anytime soon, but it never hurts to have a plan and be ready.

How much money would it take to completely change your life?

Sad News

January 30th, 2006 at 01:58 am

We got the word that dh's grandmother died last night. This is his first grandparent to die. She's been in bad health for 2 years or so, so it isn't unexpected, but ...

He needs to go back to Oklahoma for the funeral. He's decided to drive, flying would cost $500 and we just can't swing that right now (not after having spent the money on the tickets for vacation). He's going to take the kids with him. I'm staying home, I can't get off work.

One kid is still sick, but we expect him to be better by tomorrow afternoon. They'll leave Tuesday morning.

So much for not eating out in January. But I'd say this doesn't count.

Relaxing day

January 29th, 2006 at 01:07 am

Well, one kid well, now the other kid is sick. I'm not sure what it is, just a fever, no other symptoms. DS2 missed Thursday and Friday of school, now it looks like DS1 will miss Monday. DH can use his sick leave to take care of sick family members, but I'm not sure if he can handle 3 days off.

So, dh spent time hanging our new porch swing (one of those things where there was a very good deal and he just had to have it). I spent some time in it with him and then had to go tackle the grass that was crowding my pretty plants.

Then, we came inside and I opened my jasmine tea. This was a gift from one of my doula clients. Her mother brought it to me from China. It's much better than what I've gotten here. Very strong jasmine scent.

Now I'm sitting here enjoying a mug of tea waiting for dh to decide on something on tv. It seems like a good day, even if we do have a sick kid (and the well kid is starting to get cabin fever).

Gadgets that were a waste

January 27th, 2006 at 10:35 pm

I figured since I talked about gadgets which have made our life easier, I should talk about gadgets which were supposed to make life easier, but which are never used.

1) FoodSaver. DH insisted we get this. I knew it would be a wasted $150. We don't freeze that much that would go in those bags and who wants to drag the whole thing out for such a small amount?

2) Food Processor. This was an xmas gift. I did ask for it, though. I thought we'd use it to process veggies from the garden (grate zucchini for zucchini bread, etc), but it is rarely used. We do use it to make pesto, so it does at least get some use.

3) Dehydrator. DH insisted he would use this "lots". He brought home a big bag of jalapeno peppers and dried 2 batches and then let the rest of the peppers mold. He's never used it again.

4) Cuisanart Ice cream maker. We did make some ice cream with it early on, but found that it's actually kind of expensive to make good homemade icecream and is cheaper to buy the storebrand (which is really good).

5) Pampered chef ice shaver. Used only in product demonstrations. I'm holding onto it for now (we have the room) in hopes that my boys will get some use out of it as they get older (they're 5 & 7).

So, almost $300 spent (if not by me, by someone) on gadgets that aren't used and only take up space. Everyone of these gadgets was supposed to help save us money. And I'm sure that some people do save money using them, but so far it hasn't worked for us.

Vacation update

January 27th, 2006 at 04:13 am

So, we've got a date set. It's right before the hurricane season. Kind of scary, there actually was a hurricane during this time frame in 2005. So, it's something we'll have to watch.

Costs so far:
Airfare (4 people) $1,770.00
Trip insurance $ 100.00
Total $1,870.00

We decided to go with the trip insurance because of the risk of hurricanes. I would hate to spend all that money and then have a major hurricane hit and not get to go. And given the 2005 hurricane season, you can't take anything for granted anymore.

The next step is to get our passports.

I can't believe we are spending this kind of money, wow! The good thing, though, is that FIL is picking up the costs once we get there. He's got us booked into a house that costs $2500/week (I think he got a pretty good discount) and he'll pay for the food and sightseeing.

I can't wait!

Better Living through Gadgets?

January 27th, 2006 at 02:45 am

Since we've moved into our new house and have unpacked the kitchen, I've noticed several gadgets we own that have saved us money.

One is a thermos. This way I can heat the water for me tea, put it in there and then have hot water all day without having to keep running the stove. I don't know how much this saves because I don't know how much electricity the stove uses, but it is saving electricity.

Another one is the cheese grater we got from pampered chef. This is one of those "barrel graters" where you load the top with cheese, put the handle down over that and squeeze while turing the barrel. This way, we can buy the huge blocks of cheese instead of the bags of grated cheese (we tried grating the full blocks into a bag, but it didn't store well and when we tried to freeze it, it all stuck together). I have 2 graters, one I picked up at a thrift store for a dollar. It only came with the fine grater barrel, but that's great for dh's parmesan cheese. We put the graters preloaded with cheese into gallon size plastic bags and store in the fridge.

I'd love to hear about gadgets other people use to save money.

Family Game Night

January 26th, 2006 at 02:17 am

Tonight we instituted something new - Family Game Night.

This will be every Wednesday night (we chose Wednesday, I guiltily admit, because it's a slow TV night).

Tonight we broke out our new Monopoly (bought on sale) and played. We decided to play until bedtime for the kids and then not count winners or losers. It was a lot of fun, teaching the kids how to play (btw - we played with one of the alternative rules listed in one of the threads on the discussion group - the money in Free Parking) and watching them add the spots on the dice and count to move. I showed off by telling them where to move just by looking (well, it's 10 on a side, with a railroad in the middle, it isn't that hard).

They enjoyed it so much, I'll bet we end up playing it next week. I've decided that we will definitely recommend board games as presents for family members.

Oh My Stars!!!

January 25th, 2006 at 01:23 am

My FIL just called and said if we can get the time off and gather the airfare, he will take us to Mexico with him (the Yucatan) and pay everything else. For our family of 4 this will mean $1800 for the airfare. Which is a lot for a vacation, but what a wonderful opportunity.

I'm going to use this category to track the expenses incurred for this vacation - passport, new clothes, whatever. I don't think we will buy much extra, but I'm going to keep track of it all.

Cheated on my Diet

January 24th, 2006 at 09:39 pm

Argggh, I'm sick-ish. I have a sore throat, slight fever and a sore back. I've tried some of the home remedies but what has always worked best for a sore throat for me is a soda. I think it's the sodium and fizzy (I think the fizzy overstimulates the nerve endings and then it just feels like it doesn't hurt as much - but it's just a theory).

So, I spent 65 cents on a can of Dr Pepper. And I did feel better for 4 hours. Until I picked up my kids and had to start raising my voice to be heard over their bickering. It might be psychosomatic, but hey, whatever works. Too bad it was so expensive though.

DH has to work late tonight so me and the boys will do a pickup meal. I have some pizza leftover from their treat which will be great for them. For myself, I'll probably have refried beans with chili and cheese.

Confession - DH does almost all the cooking. I rarely, if ever cook. I hate to cook. Except, I don't mind making beans and baked goods. It works well for us, he likes to cook, he's good at it and he likes the things I make in bulk to use as ingredients for meals.

Frivolous spending - $0.65

Supplemental heating - Freezer cooking

January 24th, 2006 at 01:21 am

I live somewhere where it gets really, really hot in the summer. So hot, you think you will melt if you even so much as turn on the stove. So, we do a lot of cooking for our freezer in the winter.

I've found that cooking a big pot of beans to make into refried beans can easily raise the temp of an 800sqft home by 5 degrees, and the moisture added means it holds onto that heat longer. Dried beans are cheap, the electricity (or gas) to cook them isn't that expensive and cooked beans freeze extremely well (they can get mushy).

Just remember, it's best to add salt after you thaw your food. Salt taste can intensify upon thawing. This goes for all herbs and spices in a way. They all change intensity, some lose intensity so much taht you wonder why you even wasted your time and money and some increase intensity so much you can't stand it. So, I generally keep the seasoning bland and add it when it thaws.

DH grills as much meat as his grill will hold (which is quite a bit), then he slices and dices for use in later meals (fajitas, stir fry, barbecue, etc). Cooked meat holds quite well in the freezer, especially if you will be adding more seasoning later.

Bread and other baked goods tend to hold well too. I haven't baked bread in a while, I need to find a really good source of whole grain flour and a good recipe for whole grain bread - but once I do that, I plan to start baking again. Days when I cook beans would be perfect for bread baking - the extra heat and humidity will really jumpstart the yeast.

Grocery shopping day

January 23rd, 2006 at 02:14 am

We walked to the grocery store today (I'm loving this being close enough to walk). It was cool-ish today, 56F, but when you start walking, you really get warmed up.

I'm out of steel cut oats and the grocery store doesn't carry them. They have all the rolled oats you could ever want - but no steel cut oats. It's so frustrating.

But we got bananas, milk and veggies for the week. We threw in a treat for the kids (cheap, store-brand pizza which was on sale) and then walked on home. We have meat stocked from buying beef and lamb from my in laws. We also buy free-range chicken when we find it on sale (but they're starting to raise chicken, so maybe we'll be able to get that from them soon, no more lamb for now though).

DH has an evening meeting in the city with the health food store, so he'll buy me some bulk oats. I'll also have him stop and get me some more yogurt for the smoothies I've been having.

Unexpected no-spend day

January 22nd, 2006 at 06:28 am

We had a date set up with a family to go to the cheap movie. The movie is about 1/2 mile from our house, so we walk (I mean, it takes 10 minutes door-to-door, we couldn't get in the car, drive, park, etc in that time). We get there and the other family isn't there (I'm not sure what that was about) but we were going to see the movie anyway. Turns out the theatre was closed - they had no power. I called the other family to tell them not to bother coming and it didn't really sound like they were coming at all.

Oh well, we came home, made fake milkshakes for the kids (we passed a McD's and were going to buy them cones, but the machine was being cleaned) using yogurt, milk, chocolate ovaltine and ice and watched "Around the World in 80 Days".

I'm supposed to call her tomorrow to set up another movie, but I think I'll wait for her call.

Bonus dividend

January 21st, 2006 at 03:15 am

I belong to a credit union in Oklahoma. We haven't really been able to use it for several years now (because we don't live in the same city) but we maintain a small-ish savings account there, accounts for our boys and my IRA (paying a whopping 2.5%). This year they had a great year and paid a bonus dividend. Because the dividend is taxable, the bonus on my IRA was paid into my account tied to the IRA (I had to open a separate account just for me). That account had the $25 I was required to deposit to open the account. I opened the account in July and I ended 2005 with $12.50 in dividends. So, that little $25 account now has $37.50. LOL.

I need to talk to my bosses about what paperwork I need to do to open an account in their profit sharing plan. From what I understand it performs very well. They buy real estate notes (for a substantial discount), collect on them (at 10-13% interest) and if they default, I foreclose on them. Since we do all the work in the office, we don't lose much. We have no attorney's fees - it costs the $9 for certified mail, $2 to post the notice of sale and $65 to record the deed and affidavit - so less than $100. We then have a real estate developer who sells the property for us for a discount on his attorney fees (he carries notes and we do the closings and foreclosures for him). So, the profit sharing plan is generally paying out at 7-8% or more (they do have some administrative costs). I haven't been there long enough to get a match, but in April, I'll start getting a match.

I love my job, my bosses are great. My co-workers complain all the time about how cheap they are, etc. They have no idea how great they have it. Having worked places where the bosses seemed to think their job was to reduce you to tears and destroy any self-esteem you have, I almost cry when they praise me. They trust my judgment and turn me loose all the time. "We need such-and-such, bring me a draft when you're done". They just assume I can draft the document and be right. And I surprise myself by what I can do. It gives me great satisfaction.

Rediscovering Oats

January 20th, 2006 at 04:09 am

I've always hated oatmeal. I thought it was disgusting, all gooey and yucky. I loved oatmeal cookies (without raisins or nutmeg please), but oatmeal itself - YUCK.

I've discovered steel-cut oats. They aren't as cheap as rolled oats, but they are soooo good. They have a nice chewy, nutty texture and flavor. Not gooey at all. A new frugal breakfast.

They take longer to cook (20 minutes or more) but they store very well in the fridge. So you cook a big pot at night, put them in a container and stick them in the fridge. In the morning, get up, dish out your bowl and heat it up in the microwave. And if you do it right, you can make 3 days' worth at a time.

Now I just need to figure out which fruit to add. I have frozen strawberries and blueberries. Both are very large, so they'd be an overpowering flavor. I want something with a simple flavor, apples would be nice, but I don't want to take the time to cut them up every morning.

Healthy Living

January 19th, 2006 at 02:25 am

We've been doing really well with our diet. I cooked a big pot of beans for refried beans tonight. Beans are high in protein, high in fiber, high in folate and low in fat (especially the way I cook them - I don't add fat or meat). When mashed into refried beans they freeze well.

I've found that if I cook beans on a cold day, my whole house is nice and toasty warm. The added hot steam makes such a huge difference - you have the heat from the steam. Plus, adding moisture to air allows it to hold heat better.

Our grapefruit tree produces the most amazing grapefruit. This helps with the diet and the pocketbook - even though grapefruit are cheap here. It seems like you see citrus stands everywhere this time of year. Last year I experimented and found that you can freeze orange slices and they taste great later. They make a great treat for those hot summer days, or you can use them in smoothies.

We've been doing great with exercise too, but I woke up with a major crick in my neck this morning, so I can't hardly move my head today. I need to exercise, but I want to cry every time I move. I even took an aleve at work today and it did nothing.

Always watch your receipts

January 18th, 2006 at 04:14 am

JCPenney's clearance was a discount from the sales price and the way they ring it up makes it somewhat confusing. It rings up the regular price, then the sales discount, THEN the clearance discount and it does it with lots of starts and stops. So it won't move and then suddenly it prints 5-6 items at a time. We finished the clothes shopping before I went to the shoes and while I was trying on shoes,dh was looking over the receipt and noticed we hadn't gotten the clearance discount on one item. That ended up being $6.49. So we trotted over to the customer service desk and got our money back.

Then, we went grocery shopping. DH picked up some hotdogs on sale but they didn't ring up on sale. We called it and waited while they did a price check and fixed the price (unfortunately, our grocery store doesn't have a policy like some stores - where if it rings up wrong it's either free or discounted).

So, DH saved us almost $10 yesterday.

Library back open

January 18th, 2006 at 03:53 am

I don't remember if I posted this here or not. But last week we walked to the library (1 mile there) and found out they were closed "until further notice" for electrical work. I finally called and found out they opened right after we were there (you'd think they could have dated the sign so we'd know if it was a new sign). So, when dh got off work, we walked to the library and I got new books!!!! I'm so excited, new books.

We lost power last night, right after I posted. It was off for 3 hours. I was starting to worry about the food in the fridge, we had just gone grocery shopping and I didn't want to lose that food/money. But, I got to take a bath by candlelight (it wasn't an electrical storm, just wind) and then read by candlelight. It was pretty nice, but I don't think it's something I feel the need to repeat. Burning a compact fluorescent is probably cheaper than candles (even though we buy the xmas ones on clearance).

Clearance sales

January 17th, 2006 at 02:49 am

JCPenney's is having a clearance sale today. While the prices aren't as cheap as I could have gotten at the thrift store, the clothes fit and are today's style. I got 3 pairs of slacks, some new boots and another dressy-ish shoes.

We bought the boys pants and long-sleeved shirts for next year.

So, I've spent all my xmas money. But I'm so excited, this is the first time in years I have clothes that look like they're from this decade.

We're doing really well in our other goals, though. We haven't eaten out at all and we have had 4 no car days so far. We've been walking to the grocery store a lot, though, so our grocery bill is probably pretty high. I need to gather receipts and add them up, but I'm still not organized from moving.

Not so frugal family fun day

January 14th, 2006 at 03:56 am

It wasn't a bad spending day, but it wasn't the most frugal. My kids have a friend at school they both love. I get along well with his mom and dh gets along well with the dad. So they were begging to do something together, but our house is so not ready for guests yet. So, I suggested the movie theatre. It's $1.50 for a ticket and (I thought) you can get a "movie meal" (small popcorn, soda and candy) for $2.75. No, turns out, the movie meal is $4!!! For next to no food. But, I had promised the kids, so we spent more on the snack than the tickets.

We saw Zathura. I thought it would be silly, but it was actually pretty good. Very touching. AND, we walked to the theatre (it's a 7 minute walk, it probably would have taken that long to get in the car, get the kids buckled, drive there, find a parking space, etc).

I changed my withholding at work, so my paycheck went down. We're going to owe pretty big this year, I just hope not so much that we have to pay a penalty. DH had his withholding set to the level of me not having a job and I set mine following the guidelines of us both having a job, so too little was withheld. When we get our w-2s I'll check to see if we'll be close with the new withholding and adjust accordingly.

I'm still on my diet, but I moved to phase II so I can now have fruit!!! Fruit, glorious fruit. DH is so amazingly sweet, he makes me a fruit smoothie every morning. I really need to figure out something special I can do just for him. I used to bake for him, but this diet doesn't really allow for most baked goods (when we move to phase III, I'll figure out how to make him whole wheat pizza crust, etc.

Low energy day

January 12th, 2006 at 05:31 am

I got nothing accomplished today. Well that's not entirely true, I did get our cable bill paid and set up to draft automatically and I changed my address with my credit card.

But, I've got clothes in the washer that have been there forever, so now I need to rewash them (soured - it's hot here). I'm just hoping that it will be warmer tomorrow morning because I can't for the life of me find any of DS1's pants or my slacks and this morning it was COLD (44F).

I've been keeping track of the money I bring in at work (for the firm). Does anyone have an idea what percentage of my income I should be bringing in? Like if I make $2k/month should I bring in $6k, $10k, more, less, some number in between? I want to have an idea if I'm profitable for them and to what extent so when I've been there a year I can successfully negotiate for a raise.

Speaking of work, my boss will be gone tomorrow mid morning and won't come back until Monday. I'm looking forward to actually getting some work done without him coming to me every few minutes to ask if I've remembered to do x, y or z (things that need to be done, but aren't as pressing as other things) and to tell me to repriortize everything.

Hungry

January 11th, 2006 at 04:44 am

I didn't want to eat all day long, I wasn't hungry at all. So I started forcing myself to eat so I could at least hit 1200 calories today and now I'm starving. But nothing sounds good at all. Except chocolate, toast and jam, etc. All things not allowed on my diet.

We walked to the grocery store today. I think it's a mile round trip. Not a long walk, so I'm not going to get my hour of exercise today. I just can't bring myself to do yoga or dance right now.

DH bought me 4 new pairs of yoga pants today. I got some for xmas (2 pair) and I've been washing them so that I could wear them every day (after I change from work). I love these pants. They're long enough to actually reach my feet and they cling without looking clingy - no panty lines. He also bought a bunch of veggies. We just walked to the grocery for milk, cream cheese and yogurt. I'm so ready for phase II and some smoothies for breakfast. I may just scream if I have to eat any more eggs for breakfast.

Finally!!!!

January 10th, 2006 at 03:14 am

DH didn't change the address with his work to get his check to our new address. And, with one thing and another, I didn't get the forward order in early enough for the move, so we've not gotten any forwarded mail. Which includes his check. We've been lucky, none of the bills have been due yet, we got some xmas money and I have a paycheck, but we were getting a little worried - if that were lost, we would be fine, but things would be a little bit harder than they needed to be.

But, it came today.

I'm so glad 1) we no longer live paycheck to paycheck and 2) it finally came!

We immediately walked to the bank to put it in the account and get the address changed there. All the way, the kids whined about being tired, etc. But when we walked back, we walked back a different way and came back by the park. Guess who had plenty of energy to run and play tag, etc? You guessed it. I had enough energy to get on the swing for about 5 minutes and then my hands started hurting.

DH found wood blinds at linens 'n things for $15. Ones just like we wanted. Unfortunately, they only had enough to cover one window, not the 2 we have. He went ahead and bought what they had in the hopes that we can eventually find ones that match. I've got emails out to family members asking them to check their local stores (what family lives near a store). We'll see.

Kitchen unpacked!!!

January 9th, 2006 at 05:10 am

Major accomplishment for today. I finished the shelf paper in most of the cabinets (there is one that is a good 3 feet back beyond the door and that will just have to wait to be papered), so DH unpacked and set up the kitchen. There are a ton of cabinets in this kitchen. I went through 3.5 rolls of contact paper and I patchworked to use the odd shaped pieces.

After we were mostly done, we decided to walk to the library. Preliminary map results showed that it was 2 miles, but when we were walking, we realized we could cut across a parking lot and then walk down an alley and then we saw that the dead end street we were going past had a sidewalk that went right to the library's back parking lot. Woo-hoo. I checked it out on google earth and it ended up being only a mile away. But, bummer, the library is closed until further notice for electrical repairs. So, I don't know what I'm going to do for reading material, I guess I'll make dh unpack the books next. Of course, we have no shelves to unpack them to, so we'll be spending money to buy them (I'd thought about having some built to exactly fit the space, but we can't find anyone who is willing to take on such a small project).

We walked back and decided to go into big lots since it was right there (and the cheap movie theatre is right there too, something fun and easy we can do as a family and walk to it). I was going to use my coupon for a free pound of cat food (do you know how hard it is to find a 1lb bag of cat food?) but they don't take coupons, so we just got some hot sauce for dh and walked back home.

It was just a little over 2 miles total (since we walked back a slightly longer way) and we were gone for about 1.5 hours - 30 minutes was shopping. Good exercise day.

When we got home, dh fixed the grill (we bought it knowing that one of the legs needed to be welded, but have used JBweld on it when it breaks) and then grilled some wonderful fajita meat. Oh, it was soooo good. We haven't grilled in a year (when we moved down here, the rental house didn't have a covered area for grilling) and this was great. He also grilled some peppers and onions. We didn't say a word, we were too busy eating. I told him "my tongue is trying to convince my stomach that it can hold more".

No car day

January 8th, 2006 at 06:35 am

Well, we didn't run any errands, but we did walk to the furthest park. And it was so not worth it. I mean the walk was worth it, but the park was lame. Only one swing and a play area for litle kids. We walked around some more and found 3 more swings, 1 by itself and then we found 2 together.

We walked back a different way to figure out what is within walking distance. In addition to the grocery and KMart, we have sonic, pizza hut and a gas station.

We think we're going to try the library tomorrow. I'm not sure how that will work, we don't have locks for the bike, so we'll have to walk. Carrying 10 books. 2 miles. Each way. With 2 kids. That might be a bit of fun.

Thanks for the suggestion for the diet, but I'm doing south beach which doesn't allow fruit during the first phase. All the veggies I want, but no fruit. Unfortunately, I don't like most veggies so I'm forcing myself during this first phase. I remember last time we did this (2.25 years ago) after the first phase, apples were so sweet they actually made me sick to my stomach. Milk chocolate was gross, but semi-sweet chocolate was still the food of the gods.

Brrrr

January 7th, 2006 at 05:43 am

Okay, so not really. It did get down into the 40s this morning/last night, but by afternoon it was up to 70s.

Tomorrow we plan a no car day. We want to bike to the library (assuming DH did buy the cable locks and I don't see that on the receipts, so I'm betting he didn't). If we don't do that, we will bike to the nature park and ride the trails. Maybe even walk to the city park which is a little over a mile away.

We'll also need to do some grocery shopping, so we'll walk up to the store. I'd like a whole no car weekend, but we'll see how that goes.

I've stuck to my diet for 5 days now. I'm jonesing for some sugar and chocolate in a major way. But the idea is to try to break my body of its dependency on those chemicals. It's sooo hard. I don't do artificial sweeteners, so I've had nothing sweet, at all. Today they had cookies and candy for three kings' day, and they were right there where I had to walk past them. I didn't get a whole lot of work accomplished today because I was spending so much effort resisting.

Park Day!

January 3rd, 2006 at 04:40 am

Today the kids and I walked to the park. I'm trying to kickstart my exercise and walking is one way to do it. Unfortunately, it only takes 5 minutes to walk to the park. So while the kids ran and played, I walked around picking up trash (community service right?) and that took all of 5 minutes. So then I sat and weeded the play area for about 30 minutes (more community service, every weed I pull out is a little less toxic weed killer they have to use).

It was flat warm here today. Over 80. So, I made the kids wear their hats (new for xmas from grandma) and took water. I found a screwdriver on the way there (and stuck it in my backpack, leading dh to ask me why I was carrying a screwdriver - "feeling unsafe?"). I picked it up figuring you can't have too many screwdrivers.

DH realized that when he was unloading the truck last week he took the wheelbarrow off and left it in the alleyway. It wasn't there when I got home, so between about 10:30 and 3:00 (daylight) someone made off with the wheelbarrow. Now, they could have thought it was a get rid of item, but since we are moving, I suspect it was more of a "I'm going to get it before they change their mind or realize" thing. So, so far we've lost a dryer and a wheelbarrow. So frustrating. And we moved into what is supposed to be a good neighborhood.

Exploring car-less days

January 2nd, 2006 at 12:47 am

We now live right at a half a mile from the grocery store and kmart (and the grocery store is a good one with decent prices). So today, we realized that we had no idea where our sauerkraut is (gotta have sauerkraut on New Year's) and that we would eat what we had even if we bought new) plus we were out of milk, bananas and cold cuts, so we decided to walk to the store.

We took some water, our wallets and our plastic totebags (bought in Mexico for $1). We made a stop at kmart because DS2's sandals wouldn't stay strapped and it was driving him nuts and he needed new sandals anyway (first new sandals we've bought him since last year). Then on to the grocery store. Knowing that we would have to carry it all back with us made us a little more careful with what we bought. We got our milk, our cold cuts, some lettuce, sauerkraut and bananas. We looked at a few more items, but the sale items aren't things we use, so we checked out.

I'd call it a success. None of us are sore (we had several car-less days on the island over the holiday and those meant walking several miles) and the kids only whined a little bit. Next time we might build in a little more time and go to the park that's just past the stores.


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