Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Welcome the New Year

I can't believe that 2010 is already coming to a conclusion! The year flew by, and proved to be much better than 2009. I am hopeful that 2011 will bring the same joy and happiness that we saw in 2010.

2011 is going to be the year in which I turn 40 (ugh!!). I am approaching this milestone with a little trepidation and a little excitement. A new decade with a lot of new adventures. I think my 40's will present opportunities that I didn't have during my 30's. I have decided that in order to enjoy the adventures that the second half of my life will present, I need to get myself healthier, happier and at peace. So, I have decided that 2011 will be the year that I focus on ME. That's right, this mother of 3 is going to do a little self care this year. I have a spare tire around my gut, sciatica that will not go away, life long eczema and a newly discovered intolerance to lactose. It is time for me to take care of me.

I purposely put off blogging for the last several weeks because I wanted January 1, 2011 to be the beginning of my year long journey to a healthier and happier ME. Everyday my blog will focus on something that I am going to incorporate into my life to accomplish my goal. I have a list already of things that I will be doing, but I need ideas. What do you do to make yourself feel and look better? Is it a certain workout? An exotic food? A game that you play as a family that exercises your mind? I need help and ideas. So please, feel free to let me know.

Look for my blogs starting on January 1st. Let me state right now, I will not be blogging with a hangover, those days have been over for years:)

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Yes, it has been awhile. I have been busy, but I also had another problem, I forgot my password to get into my account. Now before everything thinks I am an airhead, there is an explanation. I had it set to remember my account, somehow that did not work one day and I was unable to get back in. I let it go for awhile, but now with the new year approaching, I knew I would want to blog. So, I welcome myself back to the world of blogging.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Well, I guess it is safe to say that I have been a terrible blogger for about the last 6 months. Which is a shame because I really enjoy blogging. I like the outlet it provides me for writing about my daily life. No matter how boring and mundane it may seem.

But, even with the best of intentions, my daily responsibilities seems to make it impossible for me to find a few quiet moments to write. So, I have decided to stop feeling guilty or feeling like I have to write something daily. I will write when the mood strikes and the time is available. After all, the whole reason I do this is to de stress, not to add stress.

Monday, September 13, 2010

My Weekend in Pictures





So, I am really tired tonight. I have had an ongoing bout of insomnia for the last few nights. No doubt caused by the book I was reading for book club, "Sophie's Choice". An excellent read, but really depressing and graphic. It was hard not to lay in bed after reading and not have images of unspeakable atrocities in my brain. Tonight I am just going to post a few pictures of the kids at their weekend sporting events. My next book is a Chelsea Handler book, deserved in my opinion.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Difficulty of Eating All Local Food and Other Rants

First of all, I have not written in a few days because I was not feeling good. I had a little bit of a virus that had me pretty run down Wednesday and Thursday. Friday was my 16th wedding anniversary and yesterday was all soccer, all day! So now, I find a few minutes to blog on a quiet Sunday morning before my family wakes up and we can have another soccer/volleyball day.

My husband and I went to the grocery store on Friday, fulling intending to stay on course with our local challenge. We went to our co-op to shop. What we found was that it is almost impossible to stay completely local while having a balanced and healthy diet. We just couldn't find everything that we needed available locally. So, we made a decision, if a product we need is local, we buy it. But, if we need something that does not have a local choice, we have no choice. I guess trade started centuries ago for a reason. A great example of why this was an issue, fruit. We found that the only local choice we had was apples. Don't get me wrong, they are great, but can I really give my 3 children several servings of apples everyday?

Yesterday 2 of my kids had soccer games, they were scheduled in such a way that our whole day was consumed by soccer. Today we have 1 soccer game to attend and 2 volleyball games. Again, scheduled so that the games will take up our whole day. I love watching the kids play their games, but sometimes it can be a bit much.

I am going to go a bit off course this morning. I almost never talk about politics or religion on my blog. I have strong opinions about both, but keep them to myself or rant with friends who agree with me. But, I have to say that I am really troubled by the direction this country is going in regards to absolute intolerance of Islam. Yesterday was a day of remembrance, sadness and what should have been a day of solidarity as Americans, regardless of political affiliation and religion. Instead, the news has been saturated with talk of Quran burnings and demonstrations in New York about a Islam center that is not even being built on the WTC site. What happen to living in a country that was built because people were escaping religious persecution? Are we really becoming what our ancestors were escaping? I really hope that is not the case.

Now, please no mean comments or invitations for debate about what I wrote. This is my blog, my thoughts and opinions and my right to say what I feel about a topic that I think is becoming dangerous.

Happy Sunday and to those who will be relaxing at home and not at games, have a beer for me:)


Tuesday, September 7, 2010

September 7th, 2010

I forgot to take pictures of tonight's "local" dinner. So you will have to imagine what it looked like.

Vegetable Soup - all the vegetables came from OUR garden! I added a can of kidney beans, some elbow macaroni and Parmesan cheese. Obviously, the pasta and beans were purchased before we started our challenge.

Challah Bread - homemade, by my husband. Refer to last night's picture

Fruit Crisp - fruit purchased before the challenge started, but I believe the fruit came from local orchards. The butter was local. The oatmeal, sugar and flour were not local, but purchased before challenge began.

As of tonight, we are out of sugar (except for about 1/4 cup). I ran out of brown sugar last week, and know that the flour will run out before the end of the month. I am also out of canola oil. I am going to need to find substitutions for these ingredients that I can find locally. PLEASE, if anyone has recommendations, I need them ASAP!!

The refrigerator is looking kind of empty, I plan on going to our local Co-op before the end of the week. Coincidentally, our co-op is sponsoring this challenge in the month of September, I had no idea that they were going to be starting this the same day we decided to start. The upside to this is that they will have the food labeled as local! Score!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Tonight's Meal and Updates


My husband made dinner tonight. I had to work, so he took responsibility for that chore. Our dinner was the following:

Vegetarian Chili over Rice
Chicken Breast
Water or Milk

The chili was frozen from a previous meal and the chicken was local. The rice came from our stockpile in the pantry.

Eric also made 2 loaves of Challah bread while I was at work. Challah makes the BEST french toast!!

Tomorrow will be spent at home, finally! I worked this weekend, which is fine. I like my job and the extra money is always nice. Especially, when the school year begins and the expenses are so high. My plans for tomorrow include making zucchini bread, vegetable soup out of leftover vegetables in the refrigerator and peach/plum crisp.

Now, time to finish watching the The Real Housewives of New Jersey Reunion while drinking my nightly cup of tea. Then, time for bed to read my latest book, "Sophie's Choice".

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Dinner 9/5/10

Pictures and links to the recipes from tonight's dinner. Let me start by saying that the carrot soup was fantastic!! The website where I found the recipe is below. I want to also mention that I would not have found that recipe if not for the blog that I follow Rockin Granola, you can find that blog in the list of blogs I follow.









We used zucchini, tomatoes, garlic, carrots and herbs from our own garden for both the bread and the soup. The soup was WONDERFUL beyond belief!! I skipped the celery because we didn't have any, so I just added some extra carrots.




Updates



September 1st my family started the local food challenge. My doing this challenge, we commit to eating foods that are produced within a 300 mile radius. We all agree that we should probably lower that a bit, probably 100 miles, but at least we are starting somewhere. So far we have been successful, it is only the 5th though. Vegetables have come from our garden, meats from a local farmers market (or frozen from our freezer from a previous grocery run). Our dairy is always local, in fact that has never been an issue for us. Everything else, I read the label to verify where produced. We did all try to come up with one thing that we can't give up. Here is what we have come up with.

Eric- has not told me, but he bought Vodka on Friday, so I guess that is
it.
Me- Coffee
Alec- peanut butter
Hannah- Annie's Mac and Cheese
Maeghan- yogurt that we get at Trader Joes

Tonight's dinner is going to be Cream of Tomato Soup and Zucchini bread, mostly from our garden.

The rest of week proved to bring excitement into the house. The kids started school. I now have 2 kids in middle school. They just keep getting older, the sad thing is that the older they get, the older I get. With the start of school, we see the start of band (more instruments to practice), sports and after school activities. I will also be starting a class on Wednesday and I increased my hours at work. So much to do, so little time! Here are some pictures of the first day of school.











Wednesday, September 1, 2010

First Day of School

Today was the first day of school. It was time!! It is during the last week of summer vacation every year when it becomes crystal clear to me why I did not choose to homeschool. I need a break from the 3 dearest and most important people in my life. School provides that much needed break for me.

Today my husband and I started the local food challenge. Tomorrow I plan on writing more about this endeavor. Tonight, I am very tired and ready to climb into bed with a good book.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

September 1

My husband and I have made a decision, set a goal and hope to stick to it for 30 days. We are going to eat only local foods, with the exception of a few items that we can not find in Wisconsin for 30 days. Our set date is September 1, 2010.

Eric has been on my case for a long time to try this. He read "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" by Barbara Kingsolver. It inspired him to make our garden big enough to feed the family a wide array of vegetables. He wanted to try to get local in other areas for health and environmental reasons. I resisted this for a long time. I did not want to give up some favorite foods of mine.
Those foods are :

coffee
avocados
bananas
cashews
tea
chocolate
vanilla
pineapple
peanut butter
soy and almond milk

Obviously, these are not foods found in the frozen tundra, aka Wisconsin. So, I resisted and he finally gave up. But, after enough reading of the benefits of the local food movement, I finally decided to give in for one month to see how it would go. My only condition, that like Barabara Kingsolver, we have a list of food that we agree to buy that is not local. My list would include all the above foods mentioned. But, we will have to shorten it, add some necessities that are not local and learn to adapt.

I realize that we are lucky to do this challenge in the state of Wisconsin. After all, we are the dairy state, making the true necessities attainable. Cheese, ice cream, yogurt, sour cream and cream cheese will not be hard to keep on our list. We also live in Milwaukee, which is known for beer. So our cocktail needs are covered. We also have most vegetables and fruits readily available at our local farmers markets as well as locally raised meats. So, I think we will be fine. I will continue to use food that I have in the house that was not local. It would be wasteful to throw away a bag of pretzels just because they were not made in the area.

So, wish us luck as we prepare to go into uncharted territory in just 2 short weeks. Please, pass on advice as needed so that we can be successful in this endeavor.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Yesterday's Blog

Yesterday's blog was written by me, but somehow posted to my husbands account. I don't know how or why, but it did. So, the blog states that the author was e. schley, not the case. He will try to fix the situation, but who knows it may not happen.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Learning How To Ride A Bike

Today my youngest daughter finally learned how to ride a bike. She is 8, going into 3rd grade and had planned on never riding a bike. She thought it was scary, didn't want to fall, felt like the pedals were stuck, blah, blah, blah. Her list of excuses was a mile long and was really cute at one time. But, at age 8 these excuses were no longer cute and were just annoying. She is the "baby" of the family and wears that title like a badge of honor. The rest of us are sick of it and I believed that overcoming this fear would start to diminish the role of baby that she so proudly wears.

So, today after 3 years of trying to teach her to ride a bike I put on my mean parent hat and marched her outside. She of course cried the whole way down the driveway, her helmet on somewhat crooked begging to put this off for just one more year. I refused to give in to her pleas. I told her to get on the bike and to stop crying. The start of this process was not easy. She cried, I lost my patience, I would let go of her and she would inevitably lift her feet off the pedals every time I let go. After 10 minutes of her screaming and of course probably making the neighbors believe I was beating her I let her stop. In my frustration, I pulled out the big guns, "I am very disappointed in you." I rarely say that to my children for a couple of reasons. First of all, I am rarely disappointed in them. As long as they try their best, I am not disappointed. The second reason I rarely say that, I save it. Let's be honest, when we were kids nothing got us to do what our parents wanted more than that phrase. So, I say that very sparingly, kind of my get out jail free card. My secret, it always works. Today proved to be no different.

After spending about 20 minutes in her room crying, Maeghan came out and told me she would like to try again. I promised not to loose my patience, she promised not to cry. After about 4 good pushes, she got it. She really did. She rode that bike like a champ and ended the session very proud of herself. In fact, now she wants to ride and tells me how fun it is. She is wondering why she was so scared. I guess only she can answer that question.

So, I guess that sometimes it is okay to be a pushy, overbearing parent. Sometimes it is okay to lose your patience and sometimes it is okay to force your child to do something that they don't want to do. Had I continued to let her dictate this milestone, she would not know that she likes riding her bike. I am really proud of her and I am not going to feel guilty tonight for my tactics today, even if they may seem unorthodox to some people.




Wednesday, August 11, 2010

No, I haven't posted in quite some time. The last week was busy with my husband and kids, making even a few minutes to blog seem impossible. But, now at 5:53 am I find some time to myself. Thanks to my 12 year old son who woke me up at 3:45am for advil, my husband kindly got up to get it for him, but I never fell back to sleep. Even as a preteen, kids can still be known to wake us up in the middle night, the occasions are rare, but still occur. This brings me to today's blog, someday I will have an empty nest and I got a sneak preview of that future last week.

Last week my husband and I sent all of our children to a week of summer camp. I have been a parent for nearly 13 years, so a week without children in the house seemed very unfamiliar to me. We have had times when we got a night, maybe 2 nights alone, but never a week. I wondered how I would deal with them not being here. I learned a few things about myself and how I will deal with my empty nest, which is still a decade a way, but we all know how quickly time goes by, so I was willing to think about it.

First thing I learned, they will survive when they fly away. The fact that I have 3 children who went to camp for a week without one of them having a terrible case of homesickness means that I am doing something right. They have the self confidence to leave us, 2 without a friend at the camp, and make new friends. They had each other of course in case of an emergency, but they were with their own cabin groups. Making friends, having fun and not needing me to get them through the day. My husband and I helped to build that independence that will allow them to live as confident adults.

The second thing I learned, I will survive. Yes, I missed them dearly, so did my husband. But, I realized that I did have a life before kids. My husband and I were married for 3 years before our first was born. We used to do things that I forgot about. We would eat dinner when we wanted to, watch movies that were not always family friendly, we used to spend hours at the bookstore just browsing and we would sleep until we woke up on the weekends. As the kids are growing up, we are starting to do these things again, but not often. I learned in that week, that I still like the freedom I used to have. Don't get me wrong, I would not change the last 13 years for anything, but I have learned that a part of me misses my old lifestyle.

The third thing I learned, my husband and I should probably focus more on us as a couple before the last one flies the coop. We had a great time together, but I fear that someday, when the kids are gone we may wonder if we still know one another the way did before we had kids. I hear about it so often, the kids leave and you look at your spouse and wonder who they are. I don't want that to happen. Lately our days revolve around transporting them for one location to the next, yesterday's transportation schedule was unlike anything we have ever had to manage. I don't think Eric and said 2 words to each other yesterday that were not somehow related to the kids day, and it is summer. What will fall bring?

The fourth thing I learned last week was that it really is a lot cheaper to feed two adults without preteens in the house. We didn't need to go to the grocery store to replenish the constant consumption of snack foods that 12 year old boys seems to need to continue growing. It should be pretty easy to practice frugality when we are alone in this house.

The fifth thing I learned is that I REALLY like having a clean house. I need to insist that the kids help me more in acquiring that. Given how much we do for our kids, asking them for more help to keep their home clean is not asking too much.

I learned a lot more than I can write down in a short time on a Wednesday morning. But I guess the important message is that when I have an empty nest, life will go on. It will be different, it will be an adventure and it will continue.

Monday, August 2, 2010

The Sounds of Silence

Yesterday my husband and I entered another phase in parenting. That phase would be "all the kids are at sleep away summer camp and we are all alone for the first time since Clinton was in office!" I know that is a really big phase. One that we have earned and deserve.

So, one might wonder what we did today, our first day ALONE. I cleaned the entire house and my husband studied for a test and did yard work. This does not sound exciting, I know. But, I cleaned the WHOLE HOUSE. I even closed the doors to 2 of the bathrooms and told Eric to keep out until the kids return. I want the house to stay clean and with them being gone, that is in fact possible. I also finished all the laundry, cleaned their bedrooms (which they will hate me for), vacuumed and mopped the floors and cleaned the basement. I even cleaned the laundry room, appliances and all. My husband got the lawn mowed and all of the dog poop is cleaned up, ready for tomorrows garbage pick up. I have not felt this caught up since the Clinton Administration. Wow!

Tomorrow we will celebrate my husband's birthday with a day out of the house. Our plans, lunch at a French Bistro, a tour of a favorite local micro brewery and an afternoon at the bookstore. I can't even imagine. Does the bookstore have more than a children's section? Hmmm, I will investigate and report on that tomorrow.

Now, off to the sun room for a well deserved glass of wine and QUIET. I know that come Friday, I will miss my children with everything I have. But, for tonight, I am embracing the time alone with my husband.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Basil Pesto

One of my favorite treats from our yearly garden is the basil that we grow. For me, basil is the perfect complement to any summer dish. I use it in everything from poultry to salads, and of course in pasta. I like to make fresh pesto for pastas, mayonnaise or even to add to pizza. Here is the recipe that I use. If you have your own basil, it will prove to be frugal.

Pesto
3 cups basil
2-3 cloves garlic
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
handful of walnuts or pine nuts
pinch of salt and pepper
1/4 cup olive oil

Put everything in a food processor, except the olive oil. When everything is chopped, pour a steady stream of olive oil while processor is running.

You can put the extra pesto in ice cube trays for future use. When frozen, pop them out and store in freezer bags. Perfect for mid winter blues when you want a taste of summer.

Another meal I like to make with our fresh basil is Caprese Salad. My recipe is easy, and if you have tomatoes in your garden, frugal as well!

Caprese Salad
Sliced Tomatoes
Mozzarella Cheese
Basil
Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper

Slice tomatoes, spread on a plate. Add mozzarella and basil. Drizzle with olive oil. Top off with salt and pepper to taste. Delicious!


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Goodbyes are really hard


Today we had to say goodbye to the foreign exchange student that had become a part of our family for the last 4 weeks.

I guess I knew that we would eventually have to say goodbye, but it wasn't really on mind until the last week or so. We had been having so much fun, keeping busy and getting to know each other. The fact that his time with our family would be so short didn't seem to weigh down on us. That is until he brought me an evaluation form that I needed to fill out prior to his departure. Even then my answer to him was why worry about it now, you don't leave for 5 more days. Trying to put off the inevitable.

Then, this morning came and it was time to pack him up and take him to his group of peers from France who will fly back with him today. We made small talk at the place of departure, had a group photo taken, hugged him and said goodbye. I shed a few tears, selfishly thinking that I felt so sad to say goodbye. Then, I saw the look on my son's face and knew that I would have to be strong for him. My son fell apart in the car, he had really bonded with this boy over the last month. In a sense they had become brothers to one another, and if not that, best friends. I knew for the last week that for Alec, the goodbye would be hard, but I had no idea how bad it was going to be. Then I realized that my children have never had to say goodbye to anyone close to them. My daughter has had a couple of friends move away, but none of those friends had been all that close to her. My son has never had a friend move. He has the same best friend that he has had since 2nd grade and I doubt that particular friend will ever move, and neither will we. So for him, this is unchartered territory.

I guess I could call this day a teachable moment for all 3 of my children. That in life, we meet people, we say goodbye and we move on. I even tried that logic for about a minute with him. He wasn't buying it, and neither was I. When you really bond with someone, goodbye is really hard, no matter what. This is an example of the old cliche "time heals all wounds".

In response to my son's pain, I sent him to the soccer camp that he is signed up for. He will only be there for 90 minutes. I hope that time with some friends, doing the thing he loves the most will get his mind off of his pain. If not, I will remind myself that he will feel better tomorrow and even better the day after that. He will feel better, that I am sure of.

Thankfully, we live in a day and age where Facebook makes daily communication possible and video conferencing will make it possible for him to talk to his new friend. I am guessing that my husband will be busy setting that up for Alec in the upcoming days.

Monday, July 26, 2010

The Perfect Summer Salad


Here is a picture of a Corn and Black Bean Salad that I made for dinner tonight. I love the fresh vegetables that are available this time of year that make salads like these perfect. Here is a link to the recipe. http://allrecipes.com//Recipe/black-bean-and-corn-salad-ii/Detail.aspx




Sunday, July 25, 2010

Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Benefits of a Museum Membership

Today my family went to Chicago to visit the Field Museum. We had never taken our kids to the Field Museum because of the cost. I am not sure about the exact cost, but it was over $20 per adult. We have had a museum membership for years from our public museum, so I had always believed that was good enough. For years I had never read the fine print of the terms of our local membership. Apparently our local membership gets us into the Field Museum and the Adler Planetarium for FREE! So, with this knowledge in hand, we packed up the kids today and took them to the museum. It was a fun day. We saw Sue, the famous T-Rex. We saw some mummies and took in the Chicago skyline.

Total cost for 6 people to spend the day in Chicago - $56 (we bought lunch and had to pay for parking)

Not bad in my opinion for a day in one of Americas most expensive cities.

Friday, July 23, 2010

That Was a Storm!

Rain, rain go away and never come back. That is how one feels after getting 8 inches of rain in 4 hours. Yep, that's right. We got 8 inches in 4 hours last night. Metro Milwaukee is a mess right now. It feels like Armageddon , especially as the weathermen continue to tell us that more rain is on the way today. Flash flood warnings are in effect, as are severe thunderstorm warnings, tornado watches and warnings.

My family is very lucky today, as we assess the damage. We got a little water in the basement, which came in through window wells. We also have a flooded yard. That is it! My husband stayed up last night to monitor the sump pump. Thank goodness that he did, because it did have a problem that he was able to fix immediately, saving us from what would have been major damage. I love him!

Now, we wait for the next round of storms that are moving in our direction. We are due to get relief on Sunday. I never thought I would say this, but we need a drought. We really do.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Today I am staying home. I am grateful for the opportunity for a little time in my home to clean, cook and allow the dogs to run free. Over the last few weeks I have been running around with kids, trying to keep them forever entertained. But, today a lot of rain and 3 exhausted kids made it possible to find an excuse to just stay home. I am so happy.

As I write this blog I am being entertained by many happy sounds. My daughter Maeghan has a friend over and they are happily playing Polly Pockets in her room. My son Alec, our exchange student and Alec's good friend are all in the basement playing FIFA World Cup on the X-Box. They are yelling with excitement! Hannah also has a friend over and they are scrap booking in her bedroom. All are entertaining themselves, for once.

This brings me to an ongoing problem that I have had over the years that I created myself. My children seem incapable of entertaining themselves. When they were small, I gave into the peer pressure of my generation that told me that I needed to keep my children entertained at all times. My life was devoted to taking them to museums, playgroups, story times, outings and anything else you can imagine. They were always in structured play. Now, that I am older and appreciate that simplicity is best, they are unable to grasp that concept. The first thing they say to me every morning of summer vacation is "what are we doing today?" When I was a kid I never asked that, instead I said "I'm bored!" My mom's response was "go find something to do", and I did. I don't know how to undo the damage I have done. But, I no longer give in as much to that question and just let them sit, bored. However, I have a problem with letting them get to that point, something I need to work on.

But, today we sit at home and listen to the rain. I baked a cheesecake and made some soup (I am aware that it is too hot for soup, but the mammoth zucchini that we have demanded attention). I did a little cleaning, balanced the checkbook and tried to organize my calendar for the upcoming school year and now I blog. Later, I plan on reading a book and maybe watching a Netflix movie that we have had lying around for a few weeks. It has been a good day.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Found Money

Today I took my kids to the movies. We had some movie passes, so we were able to take in a flick on this hot day for close to free. The plan was to eat a late lunch at home after the movie. But, as luck would have it, I found $10.00 in the parking lot. Score! No one was around who could have lost the cash. I decided that since the movie was paid for with passes, the found money could go to a late lunch at Burger King (I had a coupon for a free Whopper!). We had a great day, the movie was fun and the lunch was a nice surprise after telling the kids that they were expected to have PB&J when we got home.

Our afternoon at the movies yielded a profit of $10.00.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

A prize from the garden

Here is a picture of my little girl holding a 4 pound zucchini. This prize came from our own garden. My husband is our family gardener, every year tending to his own plot of land as though it were a child. He provides us with an abundance of food every year, and we are all truly grateful for the yearly gift.

This prize remains in our refrigerator. I am not sure what to do with it, as it is too big to be very tasty. I considered baking more bread with it, but I have already made a couple loaves of zucchini bread that sit untouched (breakfast tomorrow!). I think it is time to search the web and find a great recipe.

Our garden will continue to provide us with free food as summer ends and fall begins. We have potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, squash, and the list goes on. I am looking forward to harvesting and seeing what we were able to create in our own garden (I should say my husband's garden).

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The free bowling was worth it! I took 4 kids bowling, the total cost for me with the 5 pairs of shoes we had to rent was $18. I calculated our savings, it was $27! I was going to take the kids no matter what because we wanted to take our foreign exchange student bowling, this was just an added bonus.

We ended the day at Dairy Queen. I had some coupons for free treats. Tonight my husband is taking the boys to a movie, we have passes for free movies the candy that they are taking was purchased at the Dollar Store.

Free Bowling

The link www.kidsbowlfree.com will direct you to free bowling for kids in your area. We are going to bowl today. It is hot and muggy out, the perfect day for air conditioning. I will post a blog about our field trip later to let you know if it is worth the time.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

My Favorite Picture

I recently came across this picture of my 2 oldest children. Simpler times they were. Hannah was 2, Alec 3. Our backyard went into a wooded area that has since become a subdivision of McMansions. My husband would take them into this little area of nature to explore what so many people take for granted. I miss those days. My little tree huggers, now about to become teenagers and in middle school.

More Summer Pics

Tennis - free at the local park!
Mini golf - $4 total with coupons!
Brewer game, tickets on sale for $7.50 each!
A very sad little girl in time out
Ahhh, the joys of summer!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Swagbucks

Here is a link to swagbucks, the search engine that I use to earn points for gift cards. It is a great way to earn "money" without doing much.

http://www.swagbucks.com

Friday, July 9, 2010

Happy Birthday Maeghan






Today my baby turned 8! Here are some pictures of our birthday adventures.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Quick Check In

This is going to be brief. I have been very busy this last week. Our foreign exchange student joined the family on Friday night. He is a wonderful young man. Kind and respectful, that really is all I wanted from a child who flew across the world to a family he had never met. I believe that he is going to become a part of the family, and will be missed when he returns home.

Our week was busy, but my husband was quick to point out that we needed to give him time to adjust and get used to our home. We stayed close to home for the 4th of July, letting him run around the back yard with our son, sleep in and get to know us.

As the days go by, I will try to write more, but for now, it is time for bed. Sleep well.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

MOney Diet Days 24-30, Conclusion

Yesterday marked the end of the Money Diet. We spent a lot less this month than we did the month before. Here is a list of things that I did to save over the last 30 days.

1. Shopped my pantry and freezer, a lot. In fact, I know my kids are anxiously waiting my trip to the grocery store today. Snacks are gone, sadly so is our fresh fruit.

2. When bored, we visited the library more than a couple times.

3. I brown bagged it to work every time I had to work in June.

4. Bought end of year teacher gifts on sale.

5. Organized this years school supplies to make recycling them in the fall easier.

6. Let more of my magazine subscriptions end. I can't believe how much that is saving us.

7. Cancelled my brow wax (refer to earlier post) and decided to buy a really good pair of tweezers and mirror that magnifies. I am going to try to manage the unibrow at home. No promises on that one.

8. Instead of a pricey father's day brunch, I cooked something just as good at home.

9. Group errands together so that I do not use as much gas.

10. Carried a reusable water bottle with me in order to resist the urge to buy beverages while out.

So, I want to try some new money savers this month. First thing on my list, homemade laundry detergent. I need to know, does it work? Does anyone have a recipe for it.

Have a great day. I am looking forward to a fabulous 4th of July with my family and our foreign exchange student who will be visiting us for the month of July.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Money Diet Days 17-23

We have been busy around here the last week! My son made select soccer, my husband is on a business trip and the weather here in the Midwest has been TERRIBLE!

Last night we lost our electricity, at 3:30 am. This required that I get out of bed, get my neighbor out of bed and set up our generator. We have learned the hard way that our sump pump cannot be without power, especially during a storm. The investment of the generator has saved us thousands of dollars over the years. We have used it at least twice a year for the 10 years we have owned it. The cost of having a water restoration company in and clean our basement each of those times would have been huge. Thankfully, power is now restored, just in time for the next line of storms that are due in the next few hours.

This last week has been frugal. My only major expense was father's day. We bought my husband a gift basket of hot sauces, made him breakfast and dinner and spent the afternoon at a local park. I think he had a nice day, at least he said he did. I did take my kids to see Toy Story 3 on Monday. My son was an avid Buzz fan when he was a little boy. He really wanted to see how the story ended. It was nice to see that he isn't too old to enjoy a cartoon. I have to admit, I cried a little during the film because it made me remember the little boy he used to be and will never be again. He is turning into a great preteen, but sometimes I wish I could have just one more day with that little boy.

The rest of the week should be quiet. Next week we welcome a foreign exchange into our home, an adventure that we all look forward to.


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Money Diet Days 13, 14, 15 and 16

So, I haven't been blogging this week. The truth is, I didn't have a lot to report. Spending is way down and saving is up. I did make a trip to the grocery store today, our only indulgence was flexi straws, I guess my daughter had to have them:)

The kids are busy with summer vacation and the district camps that they are in this week. Next week will bring more activity with the start of summer school. Our district has a great summer school program, very cheap as well. One four week course is $8. I spent a total of $32 for my daughters to spend their mornings in summer school. Their afternoons will be spent going on field trips with me or spending time with friends. I am trying to keep summer low key this year.

I am looking for homeschool website recommendations. I am not going to homeschool, but my youngest daughter is in some serious need of spelling this summer. For some reason, as of this year the district does not teach spelling in 2nd grade. I want to use these 3 months as an opportunity to catch her up to where her siblings were at this point in their spelling worlds.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Money Diet Day 12 and a new computer

Yes, that is right, we bought a new lap top today. We bought the computer for our middle school aged son who was using our lap top more than us for school projects and reports. Now, I know that you are probably wondering why we bought it now instead of waiting until fall. That is where frugality kicks in! Apple has a special right now that college students with an I.D. can get a 10% discount with a free ipod touch. As a graduate student, I qualify. So, we saved $100 buying now and got a $200 ipod if we bought now. I am going to need a new cell phone soon (mine is 3 years old). So, the plan is I will get a cheapo phone and use the ipod for the things that the iphone provides minus the phone usage. In our opinion, this was the best option for saving money. In fact, my calculation is that total savings will be around $400, plus the savings we will be getting starting next week when we finally cancel our land line. We will continue with the money diet, while patting ourselves on the back for saving on something we needed anyway.

Otherwise, our day was frugal. We spent some quiet time at home watching the World Cup, resting and our youngest went to a pool birthday party. It was a nice day.

Tonight's dinner is bar b que chicken, potatoes and asparagus.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Money Diet Day 11

So far, I have not spent a dime. It is only 1:18 pm, so I still have about 7 hours to make sure I stick to my plan.

Summer vacation is starting the way I thought it would. All of my kids are with friends and not with me. I figure that by next week, they will be up for spending a little time with me? Instead of dwelling on the abandonment, I am enjoying the peace and quiet that I was given and trying to a few things done around the house.

Today I did something that I have never done, my husband will be proud. Maeghan and I already went through all her school supplies, tore used paper out of notebooks and cleaned out the backpack. We boxed it all for fall. I saved the supplies that can be reused and threw away every thing else. What a relief. Usually we put that task off until August when they are getting ready to go back to school. Now, I just have to get the older kids to do the same thing. Maeghan's room is clean and ready for the summer.

Tonight we are grilling hamburgers and eating a meal outdoors. Afterwards we will watch a movie and turn in early. I am really tired, I only got about 5 hours of sleep last night. I stayed up late reading think I could sleep in. Instead, I woke up at my regular time. Guess I need to readjust or just stick to my routine.

Have a great Friday!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Money Diet Days 9 and 10

Not much to report on the money diet. I did make one gigantic mistake this month in my quest to save a dollar. I cancelled my brow wax. HUGE mistake!! It has become painfully clear that giving up that bit of vanity is not a good idea. I would take a picture of the unibrow that I now have on my face, but I fear that it would scare everyone. So, lesson learned and reschedule for next week.

Money spent yesterday 6/9 - $15 for another select soccer tryout

Money spent today 6/10 - $26 at World Market for cleaning supplies, movie box candy for $1/box and other fun foods. $69 at Target for dog food, 2 birthday presents for upcoming birthday parties and toiletries.

The kids are off of school now! I spent the first evening at home watching a movie with my youngest. My older children are of course out already, end of year parties with friends. I am not complaining, I am happy they have such nice friends.

I think we are going to plan a trip to the library tomorrow. Time to check out some summer reading. I am reminded that I need to read "Little Women" for the next Mother/Daughter Book Club.

My goal for tomorrow is to spend $0.00. Can I do it?


Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Money Diet Day 8 and the advantage of Doing It Yourself

Today we spent a little, but in the end it was a true money saver! The headlights on my car were out, so my husband bought the replacements and did the work himself. So, we had to spend a little, but saved a lot by doing it ourselves.

I spent $25 on my son's select soccer try outs. If he makes the team, well let's just say that I am relieved that the first payment for that activity will be due after my money diet is over.

Looking forward to a nice sunny day here in southeastern Wisconsin. I wish I could take a trip to Lake Michigan, but my job calls, so I will save the fun for later. Have a great day!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Money Diet Day 7

Today I had to give in and go to the grocery store. The food situation was not good, it was time to replenish supplies. I saved $54.25 with coupons and sales. The savings was 20%, not bad, but not great either. I need to try to do better for my next trip. Other than my trip to the grocery store, I did not spend anything else today. My husband did not spend either. So, we are a quarter of the way through the month and have been pretty good so far.

Here is a list of things that we have done to save money this since June 1:

1. I trimmed my girls hair and my husband shaved his- savings of $45

2. Ate dinner at 2 cookouts last weekend, savings unknown

3. We made homemade pizza instead of takeout - savings $20

4. Movie night was Netflix movies

5. When not at a cookout, we ate dinner at home- savings $45

6. Had my son pay for a new soccer ball he wanted with his own $ - savings $20

7. Instead of paying for entertainment on a Sunday afternoon, my husband took the kids to a local park.

8. Brown bagged it to lunch

9. Used coupons at the grocery store

My kids are anxiously awaiting the arrival of summer. This last week seems to offer very little in the area of actual teaching and learning. Most of the school supplies have been sent home, so I am under the assumption that the kids are playing a lot of year end games and watching videos. No complaints from me, I think they are all ready for a break.






Sunday, June 6, 2010

Money Diet Days 4, 5 and 6

The weekend proved to be successful in my quest to save and not spend. Friday and Saturday nights we were invited to cookouts that required a side dish, so we were set for 2 of our 3 weekend meals. Friday night I made deviled eggs (cheap!), Saturday was fruit salad (not so cheap!).

We spent Saturday at our kids soccer tournament. It was a very long day, but we enjoyed watching the kids play. Sadly, neither one of our soccer players was on a winning team. I try that old cliche "you have won if you had fun", but they don't buy it. My son made 2 goals, we are so proud of his accomplishments on the field. I am scared to see what next years soccer commitment will cost us, he is trying out for Select Soccer, I hear it is expensive and time consuming. Time and money are 2 currencies that I am not always happy to part with.

Our Sunday dinner was a nice surprise. While I was at work, my husband homemade pizza with chicken, goat cheese and roasted peppers. Yum!!

Next weekend will mark the first weekend of summer vacation. I am so excited to spend some uninterrupted time with my kids. I may not be the best mom at games and play, but when it comes to outings, I ROCK!! I make sure my kids have fun things to do nearly everyday. My list is growing, I know we will have to pass on some things again this year, but I can't wait to get started.

Have a great Sunday!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Money Diet - Day 3 and a free poetry reading

Today I spent $0.00!! I knew I could do it. My husband on the other hand bought some coffee for his boss and brought home a bag of coffee for the house. All and all, I think we did really good today.

In keeping with the spirit of saving this month, dinner was a concoction of vegetables and chicken, stir fried in my own homemade peanut sauce. It was very good if I do say so myself. I used the yucky (the kids words, not mine) peanut butter up in my sauce. They hate the natural, organic butter that I try to sneak into their diets. They always know, I have given up and now buy the Jif Natural instead. The chicken and vegetable were found in the back of my freezer and refrigerator.

I went to a lovely poetry reading today that was free. My daughter's 5th grade class read poems from poetry books they created as a end of year project. It proved to be highly entertaining and worthwhile. My own Hannah was the source of much of the entertainment. She comes alive when she is in the spotlight. No mumbling, quiet talking or blushing. She was really a star today. Bravo my sweet girl!

Tonight is a big night for me. The season finale of The Real Housewives of NYC is on. I am very sad to see the season come to an end. I watch very little TV, but this is a must see for me. Good night!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Money Diet - Day 2

So, I suck at saving money. I should not be Frugal Midwest Mom, I should be Spend Happy Midwest Mom. While I did not spend anything on myself today, I did make good on a promise to my son, soccer camp. Here is today's damage:

$8.00 - bread, tp, rice krispies (I have to make a treat for my daughter's class)
$215.00 - Soccer camp

My son is proving to be a talented soccer player, so we decided to let him participate in camp this year. Problem is, I kind of forgot that I didn't actually sign him up for it until today. Thus, leading to the huge expense on DAY 2! What will I do tomorrow? I know that I really have nothing I have to do tomorrow, so I should be immune from frivolous expenses. Time will tell.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Money Diet - Day 1

Today I spent a grand total of $1.50 with the change at the bottom of my purse

$1.00 - water bottle while at work. I usually bring my own in a stainless steel bottle, but I ran out and wanted ice cold water.

$.50 - handful of M&M's out of a machine outside my place of work. I have a sweet tooth after lunch!


Note to self: bring extra water and a cookie to work tomorrow and save $1.50!

Welcome Summer

Today is June 1st, I can't believe it, in my mind summer has arrived. With the new season, comes summer break from school and 3 months of bonding time with my kids. This summer we are not going on a vacation, instead staying home and hosting a foreign exchange student from France. I should mention that while we are not taking a summer vacation as a family, the kids are going to summer camp for a week in August while my husband and I go to a B&B in Door County for a couple days.

I am going to attempt to curb the major spending that has been going on over the last few weeks now that we know we are going to be home for the most part. I assume July will be an expensive month, so June will be the month that we try a "money diet". In other words, lets see how much we can save in June in preparation for the month that we host our student. It seems like this is a good day to start, it is the first of the month so I can start an accurate log of what we spend and save. My goal for today is to not spend any money, we have everything we need for food, my tank is half full and all bills are paid. Let's see if I can do it.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Happy Memorial Day

Happy Memorial Day to all of servicemen and women who have served our country with honor. I know that it times like these, politics tends to divide us, on this day however, that should not be the case. Republicans and Democrats alike honor and respect those who give of their country. So, on this day, let us all just be Americans.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Home Repairs

My husband saved us about $200-$300 this week. Our washing machine was not working. It would start and then stop. The error message was F35, these new machines are great, they tell you what is wrong! So, my wise husband went on line and found what the message meant. It means that a sensor is bad somewhere in the machine. He bought the sensor, found where it belonged in the machine and replaced it. Total cost was $107.00. Money I was not happy to be spending on a 3 year old machine, but a lot less than a visit from the Whirlpool man would have cost us. I am happy with the results.

My husband does most of the repairs in our home and on our cars (new car excluded, warranty!). Over the years, we have probably saved thousands of dollars in costs. He replaces brakes, does plumbing, roof repairs and computer repairs, just to name a few. It is rare that I have to call in for back up, but we do when he feels that he can't do the job, is unsure of what needs to be done or it will prove to be too labor intensive. It is comforting to know that I have a partner who can fix almost anything.

What are some repairs you do around the house to save money?

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Need Book Recomendations

I am in need of some fun summer book recommendations. I feel like I need some new ideas, I tend to read the same types of books over and over again. I am ready for a change

Thanks.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Boy, I have been a terrible blogger lately! Time to get back on the wagon.

I am a mother who is really looking forward to my kids being off for the summer. I am guessing that by mid July I will be singing a different tune, but for now I am happily anticipating 3 months of time with my children.

The last couple of weeks did bring some fun adventures. Last week, I chaperoned a camp out with my daughter and her 5th grade class. Boy, camping with 75 fifth graders is fun while being completely exhausting at the same time. I cherished the time alone with her, okay alone as in her siblings were not with us. She barely noticed I was there, but I loved watching her interact with her friends and peers.

My 6th and 5th grader both had band concerts. I know that someday I will miss those concerts. I think I will leave it at that:)

My 6th and 2nd grade have been happily playing soccer games galore! Sadly, neither one of them are on a winning team. In fact, I don't think that either one them have had a win yet. That's not good, is it? Oh well, I tell them after every loss "you have won if you had fun!" My daughter loves that, my son, not so much.

Hannah and Maeghan are preparing for plays that they will be performing at their last acting classes of the season. I can't wait to see what they have learned.

I finished my class, I am pretty sure I got an A. But, will wait until the final grade is in before celebrating.

Signing off for now.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Happy Friday

Happy Friday! I am looking forward to a quiet night at home. I am going to make linguine with clams, salad and french bread. I bought a nice bottle of wine to enjoy with my hubby.

We so rarely have a quiet night at home, I plan on enjoying tonight. Maybe build a fire, yes it is cold so a fire is appropriate, turn on a kid friendly flick, sit back and enjoy my family. Have a great weekend everyone.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Fun Second Grade Science Project


Here is a dinosaur model made by my lovely daughter, Maeghan. It was fun, we used Sculpey Clay and made a mother/daughters project. Here is a photo:

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Happy Cinco de Mayo

Tonight we celebrated Cinco de Mayo with an authentic (okay American/Mexican authentic)meal. Tacos, yum!! My kids love tacos. They are easy, healthy and frugal. My 3 favorite things! Going to keep the blog short tonight. Want to go to bed early and read. Have a nice night.

Monday, May 3, 2010

We have a new car

We had to buy a new car this weekend. A thought that makes me sad. We have not had a car payment in several years. I was used to that, it will be hard to get used to having that bill again.

My husband had the same car for 8 years. It was a car bought used, it was a 1999. He drove that car into the ground. Everything had been replaced, even the costly transmission. This last weekend brought more car problems, which resulted in my husband finally losing his patience and making a decision buy something new.

His choice was a Ford Fusion, not a hybrid. In the end, the financial burden of the hybrid was just going to be too much when you consider that the non hybrid Fusion has pretty good mileage without the hybrid option.

We chose to take out a loan that is a 0.0% APR for 60 months. As hard as it is going to be, we are not going to pay it off early and just take advantage of the "free" money. So, I guess I will need to take a second look at the budget in order to make room for this new bill.

Friday, April 30, 2010

My Sick Little Girl

My little girl is sick. She has strep throat, she is miserable and she is sad. I feel so bad for her today. Of course, she gets sick on a day that is 80 degrees, so that pesky fever feels even worse for her. I let her lay on the couch all day, watch Hannah Montana reruns and eat ice cream. Does this qualify me for Mother of the Year, or worse Mother on Earth? Judging by her fever, disposition and desire to be still, I think in her eyes I am Mother of the Year for just leaving her alone.

This leads me to something that always bugs me when my kids are sick. Maybe I can get some advice, or just validation for my actions and feelings when my kids are home sick. I leave them alone, let them "veg" in front of the TV and throw out all rules with meal time. That is what they want. But, I always hear this nagging voice in my mind telling me "make them read", "play a board game with them" or "do a craft". I ignore this voice because I can tell that they just want to be left alone. So, I let them indulge in hours of TV and hope that I am not some how damaging their little minds forever. Is this the right approach? My head says no, but my heart says leave them alone and let them be sick in peace and quiet.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Home Today!

Today I will be staying home, all day. I can't remember the last time I was able to do that. Probably the last time I had a sick child, which is the reason I am home today. So, today I am going to try to complete a list of things I need to get done, but never complete because of my never ending list of errands and places I need to be.
For today I plan on:
Finishing The Heretic's Daughter- an excellent book that my husband wants to read next-Done
Finish my reading for my Monday night class-Done
45 minutes of exercise- Done
Finish the laundry - Done
Deep Clean the kids bathroom-Done
Make a nice dinner for the family-Done
Go through the mountain of paper I have on my desk
Clean the "doggy dirt" in the back yard-Done
Grocery shop on peapod.com-Done

I pretty ambitious list for one day, but it gives me a plan.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Story of Courage

Today I had the honor of hearing a Holocaust survivor tell her story. A local University hosted this woman in honor of the 65 year anniversary of the liberation in Europe. This woman's story is that of courage, strength and honor. Since it is not my story to tell, I will not tell the details. But, I am going to take a moment on my blog to tell people that if you have a chance to listen to a survivor tell their story of survival, grab the opportunity. In one hours time I learned the importance of love, family, simplicity and being happy with what you have. It can be taken away in an instant, I think I really get it now.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Amazing, Healthy Chicken Nuggets

Here is my recipe for chicken nuggets. My kids love them, so do I. They are frugal, healthy and simple to make. In fact we are having them for dinner tonight.

Cut up boneless, skinless chicken breast into chunks. Soak in buttermilk for about 2 hours. Crush Back to Nature cracker rounds (like Ritz, only better for you), coat the chicken in the cracker mixture. Bake in 350 degree oven until cooked through.

The nuggets are moist on the inside, crunchy on the outside. They are spectacular!


Saturday, April 24, 2010

Hannah in her favorite climbing tree. Her dad built that ladder. It scares me to death. I fear that she will fall out and break her neck.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Earth Day 2010

Here is the blog I posted on Earth Day 2009. I thought I would see how we improved over the last year. We still need to improve!!

Earth Day

Today is Earth Day. I had every intention of celebrating this ever important day with Earth loving activities for the whole family. My intentions were good, my reality made that impossible. I felt guilty for a little while today because I felt I was not acknowledging this very important day to the extent that I have in the past. But, after further reflection, I realize that my family and I are pretty "green" already and that we celebrate Earth Day, everyday. Here is a list of the things that we already do.

1. 90% of our light bulbs are fluorescent
2. We use reusable, canvas shopping bags
3. We eat a lot of organic food
4. We belong to an organic CSA
5. We compost
6. Our washer and dryer is Energy star and the washer is HE
7. Our heater, a/c and water softener are all energy star. We replaced all of these things when we moved in to this house.
8. Our heat is kept at 68 degrees during the day and 60 degrees when we sleep
9. My husband drives a car during the summer months that gets 35 miles to the gallon
10. I line dry our laundry in the summer
11. I use non toxic cleaning supplies

I look at this list I am happy with our progress. But we have a lot of room for improvement. Now, here is a list of the things we need to do to love our "mother" even more.

1. We need new windows! - DONE as of 4/5/2010
2. I drive an SUV, my husband drives one in the winter.
3. I HATE being hot in the summer, I run the a/c colder than I should. - Last summer was cool, we didn't use the a/c
4. I drive a lot more than I need to. Especially in the summer. - I have cut down a lot this year
5. We get too many magazines. - I let most run out
6. We should turn the water heater down a few degrees - we did the opposite. the water was too cold
7. 10% of our light bulbs need to fluorescent - We are at 100% now
8. We buy too many products from China - no improvement
9. We should plug our electronics into power strips that can be turned off when we are not using them. no improvement
10. Our toilet has a leak that we keep ignoring - fixed as of 1/2010
11. We have a freezer in the garage that we keep stocked, but, it is an energy sucker during the hot summer months.
12. I burn petroleum based candles
13. We could wear organic clothes
14. I could buy our clothing second hand so that we are recycling

As anyone can see, these lists can go on and on. I think that it is time for my husband and I to take a look at what we could do to improve our carbon footprint. I like to think that when I write a post about Earth Day next year, I can add more to the list of things we are already doing. I will probably never buy all organic clothing, it is too expensive. I love candles, but have been trying to use more soy based, maybe I will convert to all soy by next year ( I doubt it). The freezer is mandatory with our family. So, I am guessing that by next year, we can accomplish half that list. Wish us luck!

Monday, April 19, 2010

We Failed!

We failed at Turn Off the T.V. Week. But, we have a good excuse. We are from Milwaukee and our basketball team is in the playoffs. While I couldn't care less about sports, my son cares, a lot. So, I gave in and I am allowing him to watch his games. So, we will participate in a few weeks, when basketball season is officially over!!

National Turn Off the T.V. Week

Today marks the beginning of Turn off the T.V. Week. I am rarely successful with this particular challenge. But, I am going to give it a real try this year. I am hopeful that I will have the backing of my husband. The kids are unaware of this challenge, I am hoping that we can just get through the week and they won't notice that they have not watched any T.V. I am guessing that will not happen, someone is bound to notice. Wish me luck as I try hard and chronicle our week as we try to go T.V. free.

For more information on this challenge, check out this site.

http://www.turnoffyourtv.com/turnoffweek/TV.turnoff.week.html

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Frugal Acts - April 6-April 15


1. Leftover night. The choices that night were leftover homemade pizza or leftover chana masala.

2. Made homemade pizza crust for pizza night. We also decided to forgo pizza parlor pizza and try make your own. CHEAP!

3. Signed my kids up for summer school through the school district, cost is $10/class for 4 weeks.

4. Turned the heat off, let's see how long we can keep it off. Wouldn't it be nice if it could stay off until November?

5. Again, I did all of our laundry in cold water. I have not seen a change in our utility bill yet.

6. Had my brows waxed for $10 at an Aveda Salon. If I donated $10 to the Clean Water Campaign, brows were done for free. Let me emphasize that my Italian eyebrows require maintenance and that frugality is not an option. If they go long enough, my husband calls me Bert, from Sesame Street.

7. Used some really good coupons at Pottery Barn and Eddie Bauer. Very deep discounts.

8. Made homemade cookies for my daughter's class, she had a Cultural Fair. I almost bought pre made because I was short on time.

9. Bills paid on time and taxes are done.

10. Phasing cable out, Hulu and Netflix are connected. The big cable disconnection will be very soon.