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Science fair update

April 11th, 2006 at 02:40 am

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 10th, 2006 at 02:21 am

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 7th, 2006 at 04:03 am

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 6th, 2006 at 02:54 am

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 08:23 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 23rd, 2006 at 05:28 am

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 11th, 2006 at 05:26 am

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 11th, 2006 at 04:28 am

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 6th, 2006 at 02:46 am

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 5th, 2006 at 04:26 am

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 3rd, 2006 at 06:16 am

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 27th, 2006 at 03:48 am

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 26th, 2006 at 04:45 am

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 21st, 2006 at 03:38 am

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 18th, 2006 at 03:29 am

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 12th, 2006 at 03:08 am

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 9th, 2006 at 04:32 am

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).