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Science fair update

April 10th, 2006 at 07:40 pm

We finished the volcano. The only thing we bought was spraypaint.

We made the base using a water bottle which had the top cut off. Inserted a container which held single serving applesauce. Built newspaper around it, taped that down and then papier-mache over the top of that.

When the papier-mache dried, we spray painted it brown. When that dried, I poked holes in the volcano with a tiny knitting needle and we poked springs of rosemary and other plants from our yard.

Then, we made the poster. We did have to buy the posterboard. I printed headings using my computer. We walked him through the demonstration and talked about what happens when you mix baking soda and vinegar - how it forms a salt (sodium acetate) and carbolic acid, which then breaks down to CO2 and water. The CO2 is what makes the bubbles we see. Carbolic acid is what they add to soda to carbonate it.

I put red food dye in the vinegar. Poured it into an old squeeze mustard bottle and mixed it. I put a label on that "lava juice".

It sounds like I did a lot and I did, but DS was right there helping and learning with me. I made him to a test run and give a shpiel about it. I hope he remembers tomorrow.

Frugal Science Fair

April 9th, 2006 at 07:21 pm

So last week we got notice that the science fair is this Tuesday!!

Now, I knew there'd be a science fair so you'd think I could just start whenever and be prepared right? No, the teacher has to approve the projects and she won't do that until the date is announced.

This is one reason I really dislike this school. They think one week is more than enough notice for big events. We have to prepare the experiment and a poster describing it.

So, we chose a baking soda volcano. Today, we created the volcano. We used a water bottle with a half cup container (from single serve applesauce) in the top. Then we built around it with newspapar and papier mache. Now it's drying.

Tomorrow we'll figure out how to paint it. I've considered just gluing leaves and grass to it, but dh and ds don't seem to like that idea.

I guess we'll have to buy posterboard. I have no idea what to put on the poster. I guess a pic of it before it's painted, maybe a pic of a similar water bottle and half cup container.

Then? I don't know. We'll make it up as we go along.

Frugal Garden Art

April 6th, 2006 at 09:03 pm

This image is copyrighted but is used by permission.

Gazing globes are a big thing in gardens and have been for a few years. Once, they were only metallic and reflective, but now you find them in handblown glass and all kinds of other nice colors. The only problem with them is that they break so easily. Mow your lawn and hit a rock and there goes your globe.

So what can you use that is round, comes in all colors and patterns and won't break? A bowling ball. The above picture was actually taken in the garden of the President of the University of Oklahoma.

This was my house in Oklahoma City. The blue ball is a bowling ball. I had 5 balls or so, but that's the only picture I can find. People loved my "gazing globes".

I paid 99cents for them from thrift stores. You can often get them for free from bowling alleys (or so I've been told, I've never found one that would give them away).

If you have one and you don't like the color, you can epoxy pennies or glass tiles to them.

Frugal Family Night

April 5th, 2006 at 07:54 pm

Tonight was Jenga. We were hoping for a quick game because we walked to the library after supper.

It wasn't quick. We got to 31 complete levels. Even the 5yo did great!

Beach Sunday

April 3rd, 2006 at 01:23 pm

Yesterday was the first time we've gone to the beach since christmas. Way too long.

It's a not completely frugal day - we use about 3 gallons of gas - which is $8 right now. PLUS, we have a fish place we love to stop to eat. It isn't too expensive - about $25 for the 4 of us (all you can eat fish for DH and I) with tip.

Yesterday was worse than normal. We stopped at the fish place on the way to the island, so of course we were starving when it was time to leave the island. Since we left at 7:00 and the kids go to bed at 8:00 and it's an hour drive, we stopped at a drive-in and spent $12.00.

But it was a great day. For once the kids behaved really well, no whining at all. I can't remember the last time we did something like that where there wasn't at least one meltdown.


Frugal Family Fun night

March 22nd, 2006 at 09:28 pm

Tonight it was Jenga. This is really fun with 5 and 7 year old boys. They're actually pretty good. We got up to 28 "stories", which I think it pretty good with 2 high energy kids.

DS1 and I also practiced a couple of yoga asanas. I practice until I can do a harder balance pose and then challenge him to try. He doesn't know they're yoga asanas, for him it's just a challenging move.

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Frugal crafting

March 10th, 2006 at 09:26 pm

I had to have my light at work worked on. It flat wasn't working.

I came in today and found my trash can full of electrical wire. I ignored it at first, but then I was throwing some stuff away and noticed it was pretty copper wire under the plastic coating. So I snagged it. It's a lot. I just stripped a section and OMS it is pretty. And it bends perfectly.

I was planning on buying so copper wire and now I don't have to! Yay!


Birthday party

March 10th, 2006 at 08:28 pm

Birthday party for the kids tonight. It was fun. We walked out with a couple of little toys - no candy! and a free meal for all of us. Plus the boys got to play lots of games and I got to visit with other moms.

Can't beat that.

We dove into our gift box and pulled out the perfect gift for this little boy. I really appreciate that I have a husband who likes to shop (even when I complain about the fact that he can't go anywhere without spending money) and finds these great deals. It was a gift that probably looks like it cost $20-40 and probably cost about $10.

Playdate for the kids!!

March 5th, 2006 at 06:46 pm

My neighbor's grandkids are visiting for spring break, so my kids had a playdate over there this evening. She fed them popsicles and those kool-aid jammer thingies. So much sugar.

So, then they wanted to go to the park. It's only about 4 blocks away, so we walked with the boys and one of her grandkids. Let them run off the sugar.

I played some with the kids, swinging and helping them with the monkey bars. So, I got a little more exercise.

Plus, when we go to the park, I do some "volunteer work" and pull the bermudagrass out of the wood chips. I figure they'll come along and spray it, rather than pull it, so I'm saving them money and helping to save the environment.

No gas day

March 4th, 2006 at 08:26 pm

First one for the month.

We walked a total of 3.25 miles (give or take) to market days. While there, we spend $1.00 on cookies for the kids, $3 on sausages for the kids and $3.75 on tropical fruits.

We also spoke to the coordinator of the farmers' market and she wants me to be on the committee. I think I'll probably do it. I love farmers' markets and I do have some experience.

We'll have to be creative with this market. Most of the farmers here sell to wholesalers and are under contract. So we'll have to concentrate on the smaller, backyard gardeners. This will probably take scheduling classes and coordinating with the master gardeners and extension.

I got just a tad bit of sun today - LOL. I'm so fair, I wore a hat, so my face is fine, but I didn't think about my shoulders and neck. We left the house before ten and were back by noon, so sun wasn't something we really thought about. Thank goodness, uber-fair DS2 (so fair his skin sometimes looks translucent) didn't seem to get the same amount of sun, he had longer sleeves and a hat as well.

I spent a little time looking around at prices and things for sale. My thought is that it's flea market prices and people want a real deal, not a nice artisan piece. I don't know if the market could ever have that feel. I think if I want to sell jewelry, I'll have to combine it with produce or something and just be happy when I sell a single piece.


March 2nd, 2006 at 10:16 pm

My kids made new friends in the neighborhood. So far so good. They went to visit today and found the kitten. They told the kid that the kitten was theirs! Oh geez.

So we had to have a discussion about not being able to keep a kitten right now and if it had another home it needed to stay there.

DS1 is not speaking to any of us. Instead, he records little messages and send his little brother in with them. The messages say "I hate you", etc.

And it makes no sense. He says "I think we should sell him so he'll have a good home". Okay, so why didn't you leave him where he was? "I want to sell him". No one wants to buy a stray cat. There are too many for free.

Expensive day

February 26th, 2006 at 07:48 pm

First, we went out to eat. I went ahead and ordered a soda and it ended up being a can - so no free refill. I paid 99 friggin' cents for a can of soda. I thought 65 cents was too much.

Then we went to the movies (the cheap movies, but still ...). Luckily we resisted the movie popcorn and soda (one reason I had soda with lunch, we let the kids have it, that way if they asked at the theatre, we could say "you already had your soda").

We ended up spending $40 today. Geez, not so frugal family fun day.

On the good side, we walked to do all that. So it was a no gas day.


February 25th, 2006 at 08:45 pm

We had an adorable kitty follow us home tonight. He looks really young - 4-6 months at most. He's sooo skinny, but he looks healthy otherwise.

If he's still here Monday, I'll have to try to convince dh to let me take him to the vet - which will be $$.

MIL is in town. She took us out for supper tonight, we'll take her out for lunch tomorrow. We bought tamales for lunch today (I guess we'll call that a grocery bill?) and just generally hung out at home.

We did walk to the restaurant (a little exercise to work off the calories) and well, that's how we got the kitty.

Frugal Day

February 20th, 2006 at 07:38 pm

DH intended to buy our kids a new computer (theirs is older than they are and can't run their learning software). He went to the store, picked it out, took it to the register and then didn't have his wallet. So, no new computer. I really want them to have one we can turn off (if we turn this one off it may or may not boot back up) and save some power.

DS2 is not getting what he needs at school, so we're using the computer to help him learn to read, etc. DS1 is using the computer to research reports and email with his grandparents.

So I consider this a good buy. I'm not letting them use mine.

I made beans yesterday to add some heat to the house and tonight we had beans and cornbread for supper. I mashed the rest of the beans and I now have two full containers of refried beans in my freezer for this summer.

We did have to spend some money today - $10 for DS2 to take a field trip, and $3.35 at the grocery (butter and clearance salad mix).

Night out

February 17th, 2006 at 07:29 pm

We decided to have our valentine's day dinner tonight. I used my chili's card (a gift from a client) and we had a great time. I had a soda ( Smile ) and dh and I shared an awesome blossom. We got the kids their own kids' meal (often we have them share). I still have $28 on the card, next time we might splurge a little more (I'm thinking of waiting until spring break when it would just be DH and I eating).

I feel a little bad about the dinner out, I could have given up the soda and had the kids share and we'd have enough room for 2 more meals, but it was a holiday dinner, so ...

I took my moving boxes to a coworker today. She was very happy and bought me a soda. This gave us a chance to gossip about work. I think a good vent session is important to maintaining morale.

Not so frugal family fun

February 11th, 2006 at 07:08 pm

It started out frugal. We were going to a free event. Then, the kids wanted to do things that cost money. So, $12 to play games and watch a live ocelot show (which was really cool). That was 2.5 hours. Not bad, definitely doable. We met another friend there and had fun.

Then while the kids were in a tent with butterflies I noticed dh wasn't around. Then I realized he was off at the silent auction tables.

He bid on 2 gift certificates for dolphin watches. And he won. Now, he got a good deal, normally it would cost $120 and he paid $95, and it is something we were planning to do with his mom someday, but ...

Oh well, if you just count the $12 it wasn't a bad day, right?

Good Day at work

February 8th, 2006 at 08:32 pm

My main boss is on vacation this week and the other boss was in court. I keep a running spreadsheet showing what I've done and what needs to be done, with dates (most are arbitrary) to be done by. I completed all my tasks through today and made it most of the way through my in box. It felt so good to be able to tell the attorney "yes, I've taken care of that" for once.

Tonight was family fun night. We learned dominoes (yes, I know, funny that I didn't know how to play, but I'm the baby of the family so when everyone played no one wanted to take the time to go over the rules with me). My 5yo is still a little young for the points idea, but the 7yo is catching on fast. We partnered, me and 5yo against dh and 7yo. We lost. Considering dh has been playing for years and had 2 sets of eyes to search for point opportunities, it's not a major surprise.

Tomorrow is the lunch meeting at work. I still don't know exactly what we're having for lunch, but it's free and I'm not used to eating lunch at work anyway. I'll be fine. If nothing else, I'll love the salad and breadsticks (I hate Olive Garden spaghetti, it's soooo overcooked and mushy). I'm sure none of it will be truly South beach friendly, but my pants were loose today! And I plan to cheat with a soda anyway.

I've almost got the taxes done. I'm still waiting on 1099INTs from several credit unions. So far we have to pay around $400 (we were expecting $1000, so that's not too bad).

Family Game Night

January 25th, 2006 at 06:17 pm

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.

Unexpected no-spend day

January 21st, 2006 at 10:28 pm

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.

Library back open

January 17th, 2006 at 07:53 pm

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).

Not so frugal family fun day

January 13th, 2006 at 07:56 pm

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.

Kitchen unpacked!!!

January 8th, 2006 at 09:10 pm

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".

Park Day!

January 2nd, 2006 at 08:40 pm

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.

Frugal family fun

December 3rd, 2005 at 11:20 pm

So FIL got here Thursday.

Thursday evening we went to eat at one of our favorite restaurants and used a restaurant.com certificate. We went during happy hour so the men could have a $1.00 margarita (and it was huge!). FIL paid, so I'm not sure how much it was, but the certificate covered $25 of it, so I'm sure it wasn't that bad.

Last night we went to a seafood restaurant that has a great special. Then, for entertainment, we went to the christmas parade. It had 100 floats. There were tons of people. I had no idea there were that many people in the whole area. I mean, in my hometown, you marched in the parade and then went to stand on the sidewalk to watch the people who watched you (okay it wasn't that bad, but close). Here, which is considered a small town for Texas, people were lined up 10 deep down the parade route. It was warm, I felt sorry for the guys dressed up as teddy bears, I've been in one of those costumes and it was hot in the 35F temp, I can't imagine what it was like at 70-80F.

Today, the guys all got up early drove to the "big city" for barbacoa. They had planned to go to the zoo, but the kids didn't want to go, but instead wanted to go to the park near the zoo. It is a cool park, I will say that. I stayed home and got some much needed rest.

When they came home, DS1 and I went to a bday party at the bowling alley. It's so hard to get used to "manana" here. We showed up 5 minutes late and were the first there. The dad was freaking out (which is strange, he's from here, he should be used to it), I reminded him about manana and told him by 1:30 they'd all be there, and lo and behold, I was right - by 1:30 the joint was hopping. I pulled a gift from the gift stash, which needs some serious refilling. I have lots of stuff for little girls, nothing for little boys. I used the last gift today and it was a huge gift. I had no wrapping paper for it, so I split 2 paper bags and used those. DS managed to beg a dollar from me for the games while we were waiting for everyone to get there.

After the party, we had pizza at home. DH bought 2 pizzas from Sam's. They were good. Then we watched christmas shows on tv and played with legos (FIL bought us 3 tubs of 1,000 piece legos). I helped them sort by color and then DS1 built some animals. He had me work with him on the more complicated animals, but mainly I just walked him through figuring out which piece to use. This is the first time we've had the small legos, so this is a new experience for us.

Tomorrow we plan to go to the beach. We'll have all you can eat seafood there after we've played in the surf for a while and worked up our appetites. I'm not sure what FIL will do for a bathing suit. It was so cold at home, he forgot to grab shorts or a swimsuit. Silly guy.

He'll be here until Wednesday. The old owners of our house are supposed to be moving out then. We hope to be able to show FIL the house before he has to leave.

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