Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Frugal February Update

So far, so good. Nothing more spent on groceries (or anything else, come to think of it). Last night I made two loaves of banana bread to use up the old bananas. Saturday I ground wheat and made whole wheat bread (yum, yum). There are no chips (crisps in England) in the house so we popped popcorn for a crunchy snack. We had stir-fry last night with a single butterfly pork chop cut into small bite-sized pieces for the meat.  The bottomless pits boys complained a bit, but filled up on the rice and veggies; then toast, then popcorn, and some ice cream. They really are bottomless pits! I looked through the veggie bins in the fridge to see what I have and what needs to be used up, then planned meals for this week. (Why do I go so long without making a plan!?)

Noble finally got the package of goodies I sent her, but said the bread was already moldy so don't send that anymore. The brownies made her cry with homesickness. (That wasn't the reaction I wanted.) Military mail to overseas is so slow, the only redeeming feature being that she doesn't have to pay customs on everything. 

PW goes to Marine Boot Camp in two weeks. We'll be going to San Diego (my hometown) for his graduation. He's been running and working out to get ready. 

Dr. Hair is going to All-State competition with his short film! When he puts his film up on YouTube I'll grab it and share with you. It is really good! (And that's not just a mommy's bias.)

The weather is warming up a bit, supposed to be low 50's today. YAY!!! Yesterday we woke up to snow falling, but by afternoon it was melted off the sidewalks and roads. I got out and shoveled a bit after lunch and needed only a sweatshirt. It was wonderful to hear birds singing and chirping in the afternoon.

Wherever you are, I hope today is a good one for you.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Lessons from Pain

Have you ever grown your hair out? You know, from short layers to long all one length. It's a painful process of ugly, bad hair days and VERY bad hair days. I'm attempting it right now and the process tries my patience. I'm tempted to trim it or cut it to make it easier, but cutting hair doesn't help it grow faster or longer. I just have to go through the ugly stages, using bobby pins, gel and hairspray (otherwise known as glue) to get to the desired length. It's an emotionally painful process. Just ask my husband.

So what's the lesson here? Getting out of debt is sort of like growing out your hair. There will be bad days of making do, and very bad days of doing without, but you can't spend your way out of debt. You just have to go through (not around) the pain to get to the other side. But the other side is wonderful.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Unofficially Frugal February

Seems like every time I announce on my blog that I'm doing something, I fall apart and the something doesn't get done. So this is not an announcement, it's just an observation.

I'm attempting to spend less on groceries this month. I'm making a conscious effort to eat from the freezer and pantry so I can stock up on toiletries (I'm tired of running out!). Working so far.

I'm also attempting to avoid wasting food. Today I got creative and added the last of the baked beans to the beans for burritos and added some salsa, extra chili powder and cumin. We ate them; Dr. Hair even asked for seconds, but the sweetness of the baked beans was unmistakable. There are leftovers, but only two tortillas, so I figured the beans could be part of a Seven-Layer Dip meal and the tortillas (large whole grain) could be made into a quesadilla for lunch.

I inventoried my freezer and pantry then made up a menu plan using what I have; I think I can make it through the month (thank goodness for short months) with purchasing only milk and fresh fruit.

At the beginning of the year I decided that this is the year I'm going to restock my food storage, and emergency preparedness. It's been a long time of living on the edge and I'd like to get back to where we were about twelve years ago.

Stayed tuned for more unofficial reports of frugal activities.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

One thing leads to another

A friend of my mom's told about the day she noticed some dust on the window sill of her laundry room and wiped her finger in it to see how thick it was; pretty thick, so she got a rag and dusted it, then noticed how dirty the windows were so she washed them; which led to washing the curtains, which led to sweeping the floor, but before she could do that she had to put away a whole bunch of things that were out of place; and before she knew it it was time to fix supper! I was teen at the time and hadn't yet had one of those days.

Ever have one of those days?

Just wanted to announce that my laundry room is clean and tidy again. We've had the cats in there because of the extreme cold and our Tim had barfed in the laundry sink and on top of the chest freezer. That is what started it all. Cleaning up that led to sweeping, which led to moving things around and putting things away; I cleaned the litter box before we could smell it; and found a kitchen cabinet door I had taken off that still had the handle on it which I removed and put on the drawer where the handle (wooden) is stripped. Whew. Got everything put away, all the dust swept up and the room looks roomy again! Now I can start on the actual laundry.

Although I'm behind on my other work, I thought that unclogging the laundry room was a good use of my time for this morning, what with the snow falling outside and all.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014


After breakfast we heard a really weird grinding noise and couldn't figure out what it was. The guys all went off to school and I was just getting into the shower when I got a call from PW telling me about the break-in to his truck last night. Poor guy, he filed a report with the police, but there's no hope of getting anything back or catching the perp; and he called the insurance but they won't pay for replacing anything since it was just loose personal stuff. Okay, I got off the phone and felt really cold so I checked the thermostat and it read 62. What? No heat! A quick call to TopDad and he said try turning the switch on the heater off and back on again, bye I have to get to class. Down into the basement and I found the switch and turned it off, and then back on again. The burner started up and I thought all is well. Went back upstairs and got a Skype call from Noble. I love my chuns, but sometimes I don't get anything done because of them! So what else is new? Anyway. After I got off with her, I got permission from the holder of the purse strings to call for someone to come out. I took a quick shower, then called and was able to get someone out here in short order.

Well, it wasn't the blower that pushes the hot air up through the vents; it was the other fan motor, the one that moves the heat from the burner to the heat exchanger. Learn something new everyday. So I have heat again, and I guess that's a nice Valentines present. Darn, I was hoping for something I could wear.

What else can go wrong today?