Wednesday, July 1, 2009


I hear this over and over again from friends, "I never return anything, it is embarrassing!" Well, I disagree with that statement for a few reasons.

First of all, it is a waste of resources to purchase something, never use it and eventually throw it away. For example, today I returned a swim cap that my daughter will never use. It was still in it's packaging, not used and sitting on my desk for weeks. I returned it today for the $10.00 I paid for it a few weeks ago. The fact of the matter is, had I not returned it, it would have sat on my desk probably until Christmas (much to my husband's dismay)at which time I would have shoved it into a cabinet to sit for a couple of years, only to be thrown away at some point. What a waste of the time and energy it took to produce the cap and to ship this product from China! Instead, return it so that it will be used by someone else.

The second reason I return items is due to dissatisfaction. Recently, I bought a pair of sandals that I loved. I got them home started wearing them only to find out that the straps were digging into the soles of my feet. They were the most uncomfortable shoes I have ever worn. With every step, I felt like I was walking on a pebble. Not what I bargained for when I paid $25.00 for a pair of shoes. I took them back to the point of purchase with receipt in hand and received a refund. Nobody should ever have to keep a product that they are not satisfied with.

Finally, return unused items to save money. If someone buys a product thinking they need it, only to find out that it is unnecessary, it should be returned. Otherwise, it is money being thrown away. No matter how small the purchase may seem, every dime adds up. After a year of returning items that are not needed, you can see a significant savings. Letting something sit because you are embarrassed to return it is silly, let someone else get enjoyment from that item.

Let me end by saying that I DO NOT support purchasing things for a special occasion, using it and returning it. I would not do that. I just say if you don't need it, return it and count the savings.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009


Boy did it get it cold overnight here in Wisconsin. It is so hard to believe that one week ago we were contending with 100+ heat indexes and today we need a jacket to keep warm. What a difference a week makes! I save the movies my children want to see for days like today. Cold and dreary, the perfect excuse to see a long awaited movie. The kids have patiently been waiting to see Up. I would prefer to save it for late summer when it is offered at 10:00 a.m. on a Wednesday for $3.00, but in light of the today's weather, we will go this afternoon.

An update to the postcard project. We received 2 more cards today, one from North Carolina and one from South Carolina. Score!! Again, 2 more states I assumed we would not get, but a stranger who heard about our project dropped them in the mail for the kids. It was a great learning opportunity for them. Not only did they have to find the states on the map, but because they came from coastal communities, we also had an excuse to find the Atlantic Ocean and talk about it. We all look forward to what may arrive in tomorrow's mail and eagerly await a response to the 4 letters we sent out today requesting cards. Stay tuned to see if we reach our goal by summer's end.

Dinner tonight will be a Chick Pea and Spinach Stew that I found at For anyone interested in in saving money and staying frugal, this is a great website. The meal I am making will utilize the remaining spinach I have from last week's CSA box. I would hate to see good vegetables go to waste. I will report on how the stew tastes after tonight's dinner.

One final note. Summer continues to go by with very little fighting or boredom. I was concerned that maybe I had over scheduled my children for the summer. But, it appears as if the decision to keep them busy was the right one after all. I admit that we are still early into the summer break, but if things continue to go as smoothly as they have the last few weeks, we should be fine.

Monday, June 29, 2009


Today I have a lot of updates to things I have talked about in previous blogs. To start, an update to the post card project I talked about several weeks ago. To date, my kids have received 52 postcards from around the world. They have gotten cards from Italy, France, Poland, England, Spain, Mexico, Grand Cayman and Jamaica. States on the list are Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Utah, Vermont and Wisconsin. Multiple cards have come from the same locations. My kids look forward to getting the mail everyday, which is a plus. They are also learning a lot about geography and history while finding the locations on the map. Our hope is to receive a card from every state and to receive a card from the 6 habitable continents. Thank you to the family and friends out there who have participated. We have also received cards from strangers who have heard about our project. Our goal is 250 cards by Labor Day. I think it is an attainable goal.

The next update, my son does not have poison ivy. He has the worst case of hives I have ever seen. That is saying a lot since my daughter had a dairy allergy until age 7 and hives were a common symptom in her life. Alec's back and stomach is one great big hive. I took him to Urgent Care and the doctor he saw was not concerned, so I dosed him up with some Benadryl and I am hoping for the best. The cause of the crazy hives is unknown.

My final update, a return to frugal meals. Tonight I made a fantastic dinner, potato tacos. Instead of meat I diced up some potatoes, fried them in olive oil, added taco seasoning and served the tacos on whole grain tortillas. It was delicious, even my carnivore son was happy with the results. It was cheap and it was easy to cook. Best of all, it was a healthy meal for the family.

Now, I am hoping to get the kids to bed a little bit earlier than usual tonight for I hear a bubble bath calling my name. Good night.


When my son woke up this morning, he told me casually that he woke up at 1:00 am and could not fall back to sleep until 2:30 am because he had itchy feet. Itchy feet? My first thought was, I sure hate having itchy feet. I forgot about his complaint for the remainder of the morning, took him to summer school and went on with my day. Upon returning home from summer school, he again complained of itchy feet. Because my son has a tendency to be bit dramatic at times, I again let it go, thinking he was blowing a mosquito bite out of proportion. Was I wrong!

While folding laundry, again, my son approaches me to tell me that his ankles now itch as well as his back and stomach. I finally took him seriously and took a long, hard look at those feet. Well, they were red, with a raised rash that looked itchy. "Hmmmmm" I said, what could this be? It was at this point that he told me that yesterday he wandered into the woods near our house in, you guessed it, in flip flops. It is a well known fact that the woods in our neighborhood are full of poison ivy. Poor kid, has what would have been a very unavoidable case of poison ivy on his feet, ankles, knees, back and stomach had he worn shoes and socks in the woods. I feel so bad for him. I put some medication on the rash (I need to keep it on hand in case of emergencies, which I have only needed once before) told him to change his clothes and to stay out of the woods with flip flops on. True to form, my son took my words a little bit too much to heart. He looks like he is ready to play in the snow. Fearful of contracting it again, he is covered from head to toe, well protected from the threat of poison ivy, or from any other summer related rash, bite, burn or bump he could get.

I write this blog as a reminder that with summer being here, the little things that can make summer uncomfortable are back. So, now I am off to Walgreens to replenish our now low supply of poison ivy medicine. Maybe while I am at it, I should purchase some more sunscreen, neosporin and band aids, with 3 kids, you can never have too many of those supplies on hand. Happy summer!!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

My part time job

I have a "very" part time job. I work at our local Yankee Candle Company store. During the school year I clock between 10 and 20 hours per week. During the holidays I work closer to 20 hours, during the rest of the school year I average 10 hours. My wage does not pay the mortgage. In fact, if my husband were to lose his job, we would be homeless very quickly if we had to rely on my income.

One might ask why I work in retail. I have a college degree, I could make more money, I am reliable, blah, blah, blah. My credentials sound like a list of strengths I would list off during an interview. I work retail because the job I have gives me the freedom and flexibility to do the most important job I will ever have, being a mom. My manager knows that my responsibilities to my family will always take precedence over my responsibilities at work. She has given me a flexible schedule that allows me to be home when my kids are home, I have Saturdays off for soccer games, I work very few Sundays, I have never worked an evening, school functions that require my attendance are never questioned and I know I can call in sick when I have a sick child. The best benefit of all though, I take the summer off for the most part. I work an occasional Sunday to keep my employment status active. In my present life, these are the only benefits I need from a job.

In all honesty, the income I receive from this job is not the reason I work though. Yes, the check I get every week helps with the bills. In this economy, every dime counts. The reason I work is so that I have a reason to leave my house a few days a week after my kids get on the school bus. I am able to go to a job that provides me with adult conversation and fun. Yes, my job is fun. When I go home, I am able to leave my job at the mall. I don't think about it when I am home, I don't stress about it, I have never gotten a phone call about a job related problem. Like I said it is perfect for my life, now.

Writing this blog tonight does make me realize, yet again, that in a few short years my children will not need me as much. At some point, I am going to have to put that college degree to use, and get a job that provides the benefits of more pay and a retirement plan. But, until then, I will be thankful for what I have, I full time job as a mother and a part time job in retail. What could be better?