Friday, January 30, 2009

Photo Friday #4

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

These were all taken on a walk downtown. It was a great day for walking and photography - nice and grey and drizzly.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Random Thoughts

Today I was tagged in Facebook by a fried with 25 random things about her, that I was also to do about me. This is what I listed:
1. I used to hate my curly hair and freckles
2. I was once president of a fan club
3. I adore my boys
4. I think people are funny and strange
5. I own a small business
6. I have attended aTV show convention
7. I eat my jelly beans by color
8. I miss my friends
9. I love the smell of the ocean
10. My youngest child weighed 13 pounds at birth
11. I love everything about going to baseball games
12. I do not like snow or cold
13. I can photoshop 40 pounds off of you
14. I wear my heart on my sleeve - always have, and probably always will
15. I was once employed as a bartender
16. I know where the tunnels are in Pleasanton
17. I don't like to be tickled
18. I can play guitar - but just a little bit
19. I am a cautious driver
20. I am certified to climb telephone poles
21. I would move to Key West, if I could
22. I want to really learn to surf
23. Horses make me nervous
24. I find comfort in petting my cat
25. I try to live my life with very few regrets

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Words of encouragement

Today, I was sent the following:
Economic conditions are more affected by human beliefs and expectations than by oil prices or political concerns. This is true for you personally, as well as for everyone globally. Your personal finances are greatly influenced by your expectations and emotions, so it’s doubly important to keep your thoughts and feelings at as high a level as possible.
* Avoid any thoughts or discussions about blaming politicians, countries, or anyone else for your personal or the global economy. Placing blame upon others puts you in a victim role, energetically. This lowers your energies and causes you to attract more experiences of victimization.
* If you are around someone (including media reporters) who is making negative statements about money or the economy, silently (or aloud if the person is open-minded) say: “Cancel, Clear, Delete” or “In spiritual truth, we are all perfectly and abundantly supported. I now open my arms to receive and share plentifully.”
* Engage in activities that make you happy! Please don’t scrimp on hobbies or trips, but instead look at them as investments in your happiness, which is the most important influence in your personal economic conditions. When you are happy, you automatically attract and create new opportunities. Your happiness also lifts up the energies of those around you.
* Affirm frequently: “God is omnipresent love, wisdom, and creativity. I am forever one with God’s grace and love. I am completely supported in all ways by the love of God. I follow my Divine guidance along pathways of giving of selfless service, and receiving the support that God offers to everyone.”
* Keep your thoughts about other people’s finances at a very high level. Frequently affirm that we are all richly abundant in all ways. Avoid any pity thoughts about anyone, but do give donations and support as you are guided.
* Don’t worry about HOW your finances will be supported or resolved. Remember that God’s creativity, wisdom, and love is boundless. Your prayers will be answered in surprising, miraculous, and unexpected ways.
* Whenever you get a strong intuitive lead to do something positive, follow it without delay! Remember that God frequently answers your prayers by giving you strong and repetitive messages to take action. These messages may come to you as an emotional or physical feeling; an idea or inspiration; a vision or dream; or words that you hear. As you follow this guidance, you co-create the answer to your prayers.

Today I needed it!
I also worked "Wash and Set" into a conversation! Of course it was with my new hairdresser. This is my first cut in about 9 months, and I'll have to give it at least a day before reaching a verdict. She was a very good listener, and had some good suggestions - not just for my hair, but also for my interview hair style. I think she's pretty cool, so we'll see.
It's always a trauma for me to change people who care for me, be it doctor, dentist, massage therapist, chiropractor, you name it. Once I find someone I like and can work with, I stick with that person. It took me SEVEN years to find my last hair person, who I had for 10 years. The person before that, I had for 7 years and was my first "real" hair dresser. I've only had 2 dentists my entire life. You get the point.
We were also discussing what one thing you would have as a daily indulgence, if money were no object. Mine is a daily shampoo, thus the was & set conversation. I find it very relaxing.

Here's to new hair!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Roasted Corn Chowder

In my obsessive attempt to recreate my favorite Whole Foods Soup, I stumbled across this recipe and tried it. I made a couple of mistakes. First, I started it, in the hopes that it could be done for my family while I was away late at work. Second, I used Trader Joe's Hearty Vegetable Broth. There is nothing wrong with this broth, it just lends itself to a lentil soup, or even a barley mushroom, but not a delicate corn chowder.

Today I changed it up, and while I was delighted by the result, the boys were less thrilled. Then again, they are not soup or stew kids, so I have to take their rating with a grain of salt.

1 16 oz. bag of frozen corn
1 medium onion
1 Red Bell Pepper
5 Potatoes (regular Idaho spuds)
1 1/2 Quarts Swanson's Vegetable Stock
1/2 Pint Heavy Cream
Salt & Pepper

Spread corn out on cookie sheet (this works better on a sheet pan with sides), and place under the broiler until brown. Turn the corn a few times while broiling. While this is browning, dice the onion and bell pepper and saute on med-high until the onion is a bit brown. Peel and roughly cube the potatoes. Add Onion, Pepper, Potatoes and Corn to the crock pot. Add vegetable stock to about 2 inches from the top. (you'll need the room later, trust me) Cook in crock pot on high for 4-5 hours or low for 8-9 hours. After this has cooked and the potatoes are tender, pull out about a cup of the corn - this is easy with a hand held strainer, as the corn will be floating on the top. Use your immersion blender (aka boat motor) and blend the soup. Stir the remaining corn into the soup. Leave on low until ready to serve. When ready to serve, add the heavy cream and mix. Season to taste. I ended up adding some sugar as the corn I used wasn't particularly sweet. Alternately, you could used creamed corn instead of the heavy cream, and it might give you a sweeter taste. I'm going to try that next time! I'd suggest serving with a nice whole wheat baguette, but I wasn't running to the bakery, so we went with wheat toast.

Monday Morning, Weekend Wrap Up again

Yesterday I took Ron on a date. We went to Lunch, and then a Play. The food was good, and the play was really funny. It was good because we needed some time for just the two of us. We don't get to spend a lot of time alone together, unless you count facebooking from two different rooms in the same house. We are techno geeks, to that I will admit. We were able to talk about what is going on for work and job searches, and discussed the possibilities of moving out of state. The only problem with that is I want to live in Key West where it is damned expensive with few jobs. I don't want to follow the hordes to Arizona because it isn't close enough to an ocean. For now we're staying put. We don't have the money to move at all. Ron is applying like crazy all over the place, now that he has his county EMT registration. I am also applying like crazy with nary a bite on my resume. This weekend, I did get the e-mail of someone who could help me polish up some things, so we'll see what comes of that. I've been told that my resume is golden, but why no noise? I am putting it out there to the universe to find me an ideal job, in a field I am both good at, and love.

Every time I walk through my building at work, this song runs through my head:

I was actually in the office yesterday to print out things that cannot be e-mailed, and it wasn't really that different from the weekdays. Lights were off, and there were a few people in. While I've certainly bitched about the place and it's politics and policies, I will miss it, and not just for the pay and benefits. I'll miss seeing the familiar faces that go with names I do not know, as well as all those I do know and have worked with over 12 years.
The kids are off from school today, and we're still trying to plan a snow trip. They went a bit stir crazy over the weekend because I needed some time to just stay home after the previous week's myriad of play dates. I'm looking forward to Mardi Gras, and hope to get a few good photos, and that the parade isn't cancelled like last year.
I did get rid of some more things via freecycle this weekend, and kept the spending to a minimum.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Sunday Stills

Decided to put in some of my Friday pics. This week was potluck, and both images are from a trip to the park.

The tangerine was a snack, and I thought the peel looked pretty cool sitting next to me on the bench.

This one is acorns in the tanbark of the playground.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Am I the only one?

Who sees a resemblance between the former VP:

And the evil villain from Raiders of the Lost Ark:

I know The Daily Show has been running with a Blofeldian resemblance, but I think the hat is what sent me in this direction. I have yet to be able to find the image I really wanted to post for Cheney, but I'll update it when I do. Images above courtesy of Reuters and Rotten Tomato. And now I am putting this behind me, and moving on.

Photo Friday #3

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

This week I was playing with color saturation. Some I'm happier with than others though.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Kids say the darndest things

The title taken from the Art Linkletter feature. Also featured today in Coachblogger's blog.

This got me thinking about all the funny and weird things my kids come up with. The best still has to be my oldest, then 4 years old, singing at preschool, "Tequila Makes My Clothes Fall Off" for his entire class, having to face the really cool Director, and knowing he learned it at a camp out the weekend before. That was followed by the discussion of where it would or would not be appropriate to sing such a song. The list of approved locations included at home, and at camp outs with the same group you learned it from. The list of unapproved locations: School, Grandma's House, and if they ever dared to take you, Grandma's Church.

We've had the occasional "dammit" slip out from the boys, and now the oldest is saying "BLEEP" instead, which is only slightly less annoying. They've gone through "Dog Dammit", "Frickin'", and "Flippin'". We've also now come to the "OMG" phase, not the phrase, the letters. I think that's a bit weird since I don't care if they actually use the phrase. The youngest went through a "What the Hell" phase when he was 3, a "Holy Crap" phase at 4 and now is found of saying everything "Sucks". I don't care for that word, so now he is saying everything is "Dull", which I find quite funny.

At one point in time, I had to go to Boswell's (a party supply store with very little parking). As we were pulling into the lot, there were 2 cars leaving next to each other and right up front and a car coming the other direction with his blinker on to take one spot. I let him go first because he was there first. He took the spot next to the curb, but parked over the line into my spot. I called him a jerk, and not even that loudly. Then the boys asked why I called him that, and what it meant which I explained. When I finally shoe horned my way in, he couldn't get his kid out of his car on my side. And we couldn't get out at all. He motioned for me to roll down my window, and I cracked it a bit. He said he would move over and give me more room, and I thanked him. As he was moving his car, I remarked on how nice he was and how he wasn't really a jerk after all. We all got out of our cars, and my youngest turns to him and says, "You know, my mom says you're a jerk." I apologized to the man, and admonished Billy for ratting me out.

Yeah, funny how they take after their parents...

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Crappy Day

Today was stressful and crappy. It's just hitting me that I'm being laid off soon. I have been looking for work with no bites at all, and if I don't work, my family will not have food, housing, or health care.

It could be worse, I am getting a severance package, but that will only last so long. Time to buckle down again and be uber frugal! Today I put hamburgers and veggie burgers on English muffins because that's what I had on hand. Why waste money on hamburger buns when I have something else that works? I also use these little gems for mini pizzas for the boys.

The oldest is going to drive me insane. He desperately wants to be in the school talent show with his best friend. However, the best friend will not be in town for either the dress rehearsal, nor the talent show itself. I have been trying to get my son to realize this and come up with a back up plan. I think tonight I finally got through, as he has now decided to do a puppet show of the 3 little pigs. The only obstacle to overcome now is the puppets we have are finger puppets, and those don't really translate well in a school auditorium. Oh, and the dress rehearsal is in 2 days.
I think he may not be in the talent show after all and it will break his heart because in his mind, he was born to be on stage. Last year, he did Tae Kwon Do, including a board breaking. His dad wants him to break several boards this year and he just wants to sing and dance. Of course dad is at a class tonight and not having to deal with all of this. The brain storming alone is making me want a drink.

The youngest just wants to play video games, and I need to decompress, but I'll go read to him. I haven't had enough sleep all week because Ron is working and leaves the house before the boys get up. Today he came home as I was on my way to Tae Kwon Do, and left for Bio31 as I pulled into the driveway. Luckily tonight is not the lab, so he'll be home early (hopefully). I volunteered for a chocolate tasting that will earn money for the boys' school. I know - boo hoo for me...

Good news is one of my employees got an internal job offer today, and I am very happy for her. Her new boss was very nice and is encouraging me to move to Dallas, because that's where the company is focusing IT. I've been to Dallas. It's too far away from the water. So I applied for an internal job in Miami to make myself feel better. I don't want to move. My family is here, the kids school is here, and I LOVE the program they are in.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

I feel like I should say something

Today, for the first time in a long time, I am PROUD to be an American. I am proud to be a member of the Untied States. I am full of hope for this nation to regain the respect we earned, and will need to earn again. I look forward to being an independent nation, not borrowing from other countries to fund wars. I loo very forward to the end of international wars where people die every day because of money, power and oil. I especially look forward to having a President I can look up to for his integrity and intelligence. I crave a leader who will lead.

Today I wept during the inauguration. I was moved by so many images, none the least was the sight of our 44th President, and the feelings of happiness and hope for our nation!

If you did not watch this earlier, you really should:

Monday, January 19, 2009

Reflections on America

I saw this today, and it started me thinking about the U.S.:

This song, written by Woody Guthrie and sung by millions of school children is considered subversive by many for all of the lyrics you probably don't know. And in looking it up I've found that it was sung, with all of the verses, by Bruce Springsteen, Pete Seeger and Tao Rodriguez during Obama's Inaugural Celebration at the Lincoln Memorial just two days ago, which I just watched:

I teared up and got the chills just watching this, I can't even imagine what it must have been like to actually be there. Amazing. Woody wrote about what he saw and what he knew, and this song was written as an alternative to America the Beautiful. Woody was watching people starve to death, and not be able to feed, house or clothe their families. Farms were going under, there was no work to be had. Any of this sounding timely and familiar?

Obama is standing for hope and unity, and I will work toward that end as well. I want our country to be the United States again, I'm really tired of being the divided states. In fact, I remember on 9/11 saying to one of my coworkers that the simple goal of terrorism is to divide the nation. The fact that we were only united to save our own bacon, yet divided on everything else leads me to believe that they met that goal. I hope now we can turn that around.

I heard that Beyonce is going to sing an Etta James song, "At Last" for the Obama's first dance. Why wasn't Etta herself invited? I know she's still around - I saw her in concert a few years ago, and she was AWESOME! Of course, that was before her gastric bypass, and I think she's lost some of the lower end of her range since then. But still, she is around and still performing.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Sunday Stills Challenge

So last week I joined the Sunday Stills challenge, and spent this week looking out for things to enter today. These were also in my Photo Friday set, but the challenge this week was color.

This was in the front walk of a neighbor's home on one of may walks.

These were in the front yard of a different neighbor's home, and I thought it was cute and whimsical. I got another shot at an angle, but I liked this one better.

Can't wait to see what this week's challenge brings!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Thanks to my kids

I now have this song stuck in my head:

I suppose it could be worse - they've been on an AC/DC kick for a while and all I heard for a week solid was TNT. While I can appreciate the song, it somehow becomes a bit satanic when your 5 year old comes into the office singing "I'm a power load".

It's Saturday morning, and the 5 year old has a friend over, while the 8 year old is pouting that they won't play with him. It's the classic 3 child thing where one is always feeling left out. Right now they are in the back yard, the 8 year old is playing guitar and the 2 younger ones are running around with toy guns. At least they are all in the same area, and interacting. It looks like the oldest is trying to direct a play involving rock-n-roll and weapons. He is always trying to direct a play about something. Last night we had 2 girls over - friends of the 8 year old, and they all made up a musical. The only part I know is that there was a song about one girl being an angel, and the other being the devil. I guess it starts early!

Had dinner last night at Redcoats, it's a newish British Pub downtown. It was pretty packed, so that bodes well for the place. The food was a bit pricey for pub grub, but I got to have a well poured Boddingtons, so that makes up for it.

I joined Facebook this week after several invitations over the last month. Now I'm reconnecting with lots of people from high school, and I'm getting friend requests from people I seriously do not remember at all. I feel really bad for not remembering, but I have to figure out if these are work people, HS people, college people - I guess if I haven't seen someone for over 2 decades, I lose the picture of them in my mind.

If anyone knows how to set up Lego Star Wars 2 for DS in multiplayer, I'd be grateful for the info, I've tried it a bunch of times, and spent 30 minutes this morning surfing around for the answer, to no avail. Finally found the book for the game, and then the boys fought over where to go in the game...

Friday, January 16, 2009

Photo Friday #2

This week in photos was more productive, and I got some shots for Sunday Stills competition.

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

I'm also starting a couple of sets with neighborhood cats and hidden doorways. I did a few different times of day, and have included some from pole climbing class. Overall I was pleased with the images, but I still ditched a great deal of them because my mind was all over the place while shooting.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Ha, I survived!

Well, I did it, I survived pole climbing class. Three Motrin that night, and 3 more the next morning, and I'm still a bit sore, but not bad. It was more fun than I thought it would be and one teacher said I'd be a good tech. I suppose I could go in that direction, should I still be searching for an IT job in a couple of months. At least I have the training!

I did miss spending time with the boys, as I didn't really see them for a few days, and I've been tired from the 14 hour work days. Add to that the fact that annual appraisals are due at work, and I'm being shoved out the door, so my folks are suffering because I have no voice whatsoever to leadership, and it's made for a rather crummy day.

The pluses for today? I got to walk the boys home from school. And I had a Vice President of the company offer to be a referral, and help me in any way he could. That made me feel better about myself!

Frugality update? None. I've been eating junk again. I've got to break out of this cycle!

I said I'd put the post it car photos in on Friday, but I actually wasn't that pleased with them, so I'm adding them today. I think I'll send them to Art Car too, see if they make it up.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Man am I beat!

Another day, another 14 hours of work! At least tonight is the last of the training for a while - and tonight? Pole climbing! I'm taking the camera and going to shoot from the top of the pole (if I make it all the way up).

Last night, on my way home I thought saw a bunch of hooligans putting masking tape on a neighbors car. I was wrong, it was Post it notes! Hysterically funny, and I'll have the pics in my Friday post.

The oldest decided to try out for the school talent show by singing the ABC's in a very low voice, so that it sounds like he's burping. The coordinator told him to find something "better". I'm sure she meant more appropriate, as we have been telling him. The kid knows so many songs, we keep telling him to just pick one! Last year he did a Tae Kwon Do demonstration and broke boards. After that, the kids who had been bullying him left him alone.

Because I was at training, Ron had the pleasure of witnessing all of the stage moms at school. He couldn't believe it. I just shrugged. I know them, and I've been there. As a result, I get the rest of the rehearsals.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Monday Morning, weekend wrap up

This weekend FLEW by! I read 2 books that I got for Christmas; Plum Spooky and Tales of Beedle the Bard. I highly recommend both! The boys spent the weekend playing on the tire swing and riding scooters. We all went to visit my folks, because I had to see my dad and he looks great! I guess this was the artery that was making him so tired for so long. He said he feels better than he has in a very long time, and this angiogram was healing much faster than the previous four. Took the boys to Cafe Art and decided that it is too expensive to go on any regular basis. I will post photos of our projects when we get them later this week.

Frugality update: Got alot of laundry done, and switched to cold water - for the frugality of it. Freecycle brought my youngest a pair of baseball cleats for the upcoming season. Grocery shopping found me searching for bargains, but no meat to buy because I am using what I already have on hand.

Went on two photo walks and wasn't particularly inspired, but the walks were good anyway.
Started entering Sunday Stills competition, and we'll see what comes of it.

I have two more nights of training today and tomorrow, and I'm bringing my camera - it's pole climbing class!

Ron is pissed that I don't ever want to watch movies with him, so I'm going to take him to see a play.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Photo Fridays start today

I am starting a new Friday feature here - Photo Fridays. Like you couldn't have guessed from the title...

These will all be photos I have taken during the week. The goal is to take more pictures.

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

Update on life and family - My dad had a heart incident Wednesday, that got him a ride in an ambulance, and a stint placed in an artery that was 90% blocked. He is feeling WAY better and at home today. This is a man who smoked for probably 45 years, didn't drink, but thinks steak and eggs is an appropriate daily breakfast, and fried pork chops and scalloped potatoes is a good healthy dinner. I am really glad that he will be around a while longer and I hope he will take care of himself to ensure that is the case. I've spent the week in training, which meant 14 hour days because I was also still working my regular job. Some of the photos this week are from the place I was at. It had some pretty cool industrial stuff to look at.

Frugality update - Found the tire in the tire swing photos above while walking the boys home from school. Already had the rope - total cost $0, and as you can tell, it is being thoroughly enjoyed. Ate leftovers for dinner, polishing off the meatloaf and mashed potatoes. Last night was leftovers too, as I'd been 2 days of free time in the hospital. Mended a pair of pants and 2 stuffed animals - the pants by machine, and the animals by hand.

And I will leave you with one of my dad's jokes, which he told to his nurse in emergency on Wednesday:
Three guys die on Christmas day and arrive at the Pearly Gates. St. Peter greets them and says, "In the spirit of this holy day, I will let you in, no questions asked, but only if you can show me something related to Christmas."
The first guy pulls a lighter out of his pocket, lights it, and says, "Candles!" St. Peter looks doubtful, but lets him in.
The second guys pulls out a set of keys, jangles them and says, "Bells!" St. Peter shakes his head, sighs and lets him in.
The third guy rummages around for quite a while before pulling out a pair of lace panties. St. Peter raises his eyebrows, and the guy says, "Well, these are Carol's!"

Good weekend to you!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Something to make you smile, and more rambling

First a video that always makes me smile:

I love this song, and often find it running through my head. This is preferable to the usual song that gets stuck in my head:

Yes, the Ethel Merman version. Though, I do LOVE Ethel, if she's in my head for more than an hour I get a headache!

Last night at training, we witnessed a guy in pole climbing class lose all of his strength, and fall over backwards on the pole. Luckily, he was safety strapped in. He was up there for over an hour, and there was Fire & Rescue and ambulance on the scene. He was okay once he got to the ground, but all of the instructors were working to get him down, as were all of the emergency folks. After that, everyone was exhausted, and not much got done the rest of the evening, and I couldn't type or sleep when I first got home. My pole climbing is next week, and there is NO WAY I am going up that high - he had to have been 20-25 feet up. I'll go 2 steps, maybe 3.

Had coffee this morning with a dear friend, and it was so nice to get caught up. I was telling her of all the serendipitous events lately, and she agrees that it is wonderful when it all comes together. She's going to do a Tarot reading on me the next time we see each other. I had been thinking of her all weekend, and she contacted me yesterday. Pretty cool how that works!

Found more frugal sites in a web surfing frenzy last night:

Some of these are dubious:

This is pretty cool:

And I've decided to take all of the crappy t-shirts that are totally unusable as shirts, and if I actually like the designs, I'm going to make a quilt out of them. I have no clue how to quilt, but I bet I can find info on line, or a quilting class nearby. Because I don't have enough to do...

A big shout out to MoJo. An angel in my time of need. She is fabulous! And more serendipity in my life!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Monday and too much working

Today I did my usual work, starting at 8 AM. I added in some on-line training (5 hours worth) in between the other work things, and then went to live training for Phone Repair. That's right, this desk jockey is possibly going to be doing a stint as a repair tech for the phone company. I have my boots and everything! The training was fine, but it was 8 hours on top of what I'd already done. That puts me at a 14 hour day today. Plus I didn't get to see my boys after they'd gone to school. I already miss them. Tomorrow, I think I may have to sleep in.

Oh, and I snapped the cable on my parking brake, while it was engaged. While on dinner break from class. With the 3 other students sitting in my car. I was able to pull out the shredded remains, and feel around for the release clip. In the dark. With no flashlight and no offer of help from said passengers. Although the one guy offered to call AAA for me. I said never mind. So I knelt in a parking lot, with my head under my steering column, and one hand on the clip, and the other holding down the pedal. I managed it all in under 5 minutes - you read that right, FIVE MINUTES! We were on our way back when one of the passengers spilled an entire large coke in the back seat. So tomorrow I will be off to the shop for a cable, which I will install myself, and I will be washing both the inside and outside of the car.

Frugal parts of today?
Spent only $ on my sandwich from Togo's (less than $5). Brought my own drinks.

I did make the slow cooker roasted corn chowder for the family. It was bland and not very thick. Next time, less broth, more potatoes and maybe some cream. No one liked it, so I will try to revamp it tomorrow with seasonings, drain off some of the liquid, and add potatoes and cream. I am not going to throw it out though, because that would be a horrible waste! If all else fails, I throw in some lentils, as that's a bit what it tastes like already.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Sunday free crap Sunday

Today was OK.
Went shopping for flannel sheets for the boys. They like mine and have been asking for some. Found them at Target for $15 a set. Also found Bamboo sheets for me, for the summer on sale for $45.

On the forefront of Yankee Frugality, I made a 2 lb. meatloaf, mashed potatoes and green beans for dinner. This is one of the boy's favorites, and will be another dinner later in the week. I used to buy the meatloaf and potatoes ready-made in the deli section of the supermarket. That would have cost me $14.07 before, and only last one meal. I made it all by hand, and it cost me approximately $10. A savings of $4, but really a savings of $9 if you figure that it only cost $5 for the one meal. Not bad, but I think I can do better by buying larger quantities of ground meat and freezing what I don't use immediately. I also started buying frozen chicken breasts, as that is the only part of the chicken they eat.

Also filing this under frugal, I found the oldest's old Tae Kwon Do uniforms, that now fit the youngest. His name is on the lapels (if you can call them that) in Sharpie. I seriously think that is on purpose, so that they cannot be handed down. Well, I'm not into buying new uniforms when I already have the size I need. I got out my Bleach pen, and after 3 treatments with an old toothbrush the blue sharpie came out. the black sharpie is being a bit more stubborn, so it's on treatment #5, which should just about take care of it. I also bleached out the youngest's, so I can hand that down to a family who might need one.

I'm now a firm believer in freecycle. I cleaned closets and the toy room, and found new owners for a Duplo set, a couple boxes of toys, toddler towels, and boys clothes and jammies. Now they are being used by people locally, and I don't worry about some corporation making money off of something that was previously purchased, or about them sitting in some landfill. I've gotten some clothes for the boys that way too! I think of it as the modern day equivalent of a seriously large and local family. I have no nephews handing down clothes anymore, as my 8 year old is the same or larger clothing size as them.

Of course, not a day goes by that I don't wonder what kind of supervision the boys are under while I'm away. Tonight I found that the oldest cut a giant hole from the middle of a blanket that was folded in his closet. I think their father was playing too much WoW, and not listening to what was actually happening in the house. I'm no super mom by any stretch, but I can figure out when they are getting into mischief, and I know when to take them outside to burn off energy. I asked that they go out and ride scooters while I was gone, and since their father is studying, he could sit in a chair outside and study while they rode up and down the side walk. As soon as I got home they begged me to go riding. I guess their father could only take it for about 10 minutes before taking them back inside. I was out for 45 minutes with them. I guarantee there would be not a hole in a single blanket if they'd stayed outside.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Was listening to Coast to Coast on the First, when there are predictions for the new year, and this quote struck me as just what we need to do: "A return to Yankee frugality. 'Use it up, wear it out, make it do, do without.'" So I did what anyone would and Googled it. I found this page and I think it's AWESOME!

I also found a similar reference here with the image below:

It must be time to pay attention. The economy is a disaster, and I'm looking for a job. To cheer me up, I turned to food as I always do, but this time I wasn't eating a bag of chips, or a pint of ice cream.

I hauled out my slow cooker and looked for a recipe for Roasted Corn Chowder. I love the Whole Foods version, but not the price. I found one to try here, and I bookmarked the site to go back to for more. In researching the recipes, I found some good ones on the Whole Foods site, but alas, not my favorite soups that they sell :-( and only one for the cooker, but it isn't even remotely vegetarian.

The boys went to see Bedtime Stories today while I cleaned the house. Whee for me. I can't complain, because I can only clean the house when I am totally alone, and have the music loud. I got almost everything done before the boys got back too! Tonight, we are going back to the pot luck, and invited some friends over for spaghetti - Ron is trying Aida's recipe for the sauce and it smells wonderful cooking away!

There was a time, when the economy was good, and we all had well paying jobs that we would actually go out to eat. At nice restaurants. Most of those high end places are still in business, but the middle of the road ones (in both price and quality) are long gone. Now if we do go out, it is almost always a family friendly place with the kids (Think IHOP and Hooters). I'd much rather go to a non-franchised place, but the cost of a possibly bad meal is a bit prohibitive. Maybe I can schedule a date and get a Grandmother to watch the kids.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

I suppose some resolutions are in order

Happy New Year to you!

Me? Oh I started the NY with friends and my boys, as is my tradition. My current dilemma is whether to address the underage drinking that had been taking place at the party. It was the host family's 17 year-old son, his girlfriend, and their friends. It was also another friend's 18 year-old, Naval Academy son. I'm not sure why, but it bothered me less with the post High Schooler. All the kids slept at the house, but I'm not entirely sure where they all slept, and I'm pretty sure it wasn't alone.

I'm certainly no prude and I did my share of underage drinking, partying and sleeping with people. However, I'm thinking my 5 and 8 year-old didn't need to see any of that happening in a parents' house (or garage, to be precise). The mom of the family was very upset this morning and apologized to us all. I have always thought that she should either address these issues within her family, and if she doesn't like what is going on, she should work to change that. Or, if she doesn't really mind what is going on, she should say so, and tell people that is how she rolls, and not act appalled.

My dilemma is whether to address this with my kids. It's a fine line between making it seem attractively forbidden, and stressing that "It's not OK to do this" in our house even if you saw it last night. My 8 year-old knows the rules to beer pong, but not from last night's party - it was from the 18 year-old's HS graduation over the summer. I know he had limited exposure to last night's teen events, so I'm thinking of leaving it alone for now.

On the other hand, he was telling the rules to sis today, and she blanched and told him in no uncertain terms that it was not cute, and highly inappropriate for a kid to know anything about it at all.

I guess Mother-of-the-year is out for me in 2009 too. And a slideshow of the Event:

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