Archive for June, 2010

Dry Clothes Outside.

Monday, June 28th, 2010

We did tons of laundry today.  At least 6 or 7 loads.  Our poor air conditioner has been struggling to keep the house cool from the 90+ degree temps outside and here we were adding to the heat indoors by running the dryer all day and night.

I finally ran out to Wal Mart and bought clothespins for the clothesline that we haven’t been using all year.  We found we can fit about 2 loads of laundry at a time in the line and that it takes about 2 hours to dry in this heat. 

Save Money by Air Drying Clothes

So why haven’t we been doing this all along to save some dough?  Two reasons: pollen and mosquitos. 

I have very sensitive allergies and hanging out clothes in the spring and fall is out.  If you can’t tell by the picture, our little 1/3 of an acre lot has about 40 trees on it.  This isn’t counting the other 40 trees in all our neighbors yards as well.  That’s alot of pollen in the spring! 

The other problem we have is with mosquitos.  They literally hover outside our glass door waiting in line to suck our blood when we come out.  I think I saw one wearing a little bib once.  The solution? Those clip Off mosquito repellants.  Wow! Those things work like a charm.  They have a little fan that disburses some sort of repellant and instantaneously – NO mosquitos.  Of course, we are careful to keep that stuff away from me and the growing baby.  We don’t want 2 headed children or anything.  That leaves the clothes hanging to the hubby, which is perfectly fine with me! :-)

Frugal Tip of the Day:  Save money by drying your clothes outside!  They will smell unbelievably fresh.  To avoid having them dry hard and crinkly, use liquid fabric softener in the wash.  If you don’t have a dispenser, buy the Downy ball.  You fill it with softener and throw it in the wash.

Coupon Revival

Sunday, June 27th, 2010

Coupons have a second chance in my house for 2 reasons:

1) We finally got a subsription to the Sunday paper.   Having the paper delivered to your house makes it more convenient to keep on top of the coupons.

2) My husband has gotten involved.  He not only goes through the coupon inserts, but he goes through all the store flyers cutting out their coupons too. 

We’ve been sitting together on Sunday nights matching coupons to store sales and making out a shopping list of sorts for me to tackle throughout the week.  He also watches the little one while I “dash” out to clean up with my coupons.  It is amazing how much extra time and effort is involved when I have to shop with the baby.  My hubby has been very supportive of watching him while I shop at night so I can 1) get a break from the baby and 2) get out of the house!

Anyway, I am on an about face from my earlier post cursing coupons.  We’ll see if we can pinch a few more pennies this week.

Where do you play during a heat wave?

Saturday, June 26th, 2010

Wow! It is hot around here.  We reached 100 degrees this past week.  100!  That was a record breaker.  Average temps are supposed to be 86 degrees. 

After a week of being stuck indoors trying to stay cool, we all had cabin fever.  I had the bright idea of going to the park, right after breakfast, before it got too hot today.  After one gratuitous swinging shot, we left with our tails tucked between our legs as it was already in the low 90s.  ick…

We had a quick swing before he melted in the heat.

Oliver was plenty mad to be back in the house again.  We decided to make a family trip to the kids museum downtown so he could blow off some steam. 

The frugal in me balked at paying $100 for a family membership to this museum last month.  However, at $5 per person per visit, we have nearly made up the cost of the membership in less than a month.  Was the $100 worth it?  Heck yes!  This museum is 2 floors of fun, adventure, exploring, and make believe for kids of all ages.  They have a small “crawl corner” where Oliver and I rest with the wee ones and a larger enclosed play area full of make-believe stations (a grocery store, a fire truck, a hospital, a post-office, etc…).  They also have water discovery play stations an outdoor garden, a large arts and crafts area, and a child-size sports area.  I haven’t even touched on the other 50% of the place.  Long story short, it is nice to have a place to go a couple times a week where Oliver can play and be around other kids. 

Our son is too darn cute sometimes!  When he is in the baby area he is usually the largest child there, but when he is anywhere else he is a small fry.  Ignoring his size difference, he loves to be around the “big kids” and will actually follow them around the play spaces.

Relief from the heat

Finally, some relief from the heat!  He loves, loves, loves to play in water.  He could stand there splashing for hours if we let him.

Sewing Maternity Clothes.

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010

We are almost to 18 weeks and out of nowhere I finally got my baby bump.  Yay! I can finally wear my maternity clothes again.  I LOVE those stretchy pants.  If I could, I would convert all my pants into stretchy top pants.  No more buttons and zippers. 

Speaking of maternity clothes, I am 60% finished with my first sewing project.  I am making a maternity top for my 20 year reunion this summer.  I think the fabric is nice, but my husband says I look like a big bumblebee. 

My sewing class on Tuesday nights has worked out great.  I wish I had the time and energy to sew at home though.  Even in class I get so tired that last week I sewed the wrong arm pieces together and I have to spend the weekend picking out every last stitch. 

Has sewing been worth the investment?  I’m not sure yet.  The class cost $80 through our local community college and the supplies/fabric probably cost me about $60.  Granted, these are startup costs and I hopefully only need to purchase fabric/notions/patterns in the future.  The cost of making the top alone has been $24.  A nice maternity top in the store retails for $40-$60.  I should factor in the time spent sewing, but I think the pleasure derived from making my own shirt negates those costs.

We’ll have to wait and see how it turns out.  I’ll be finished with the class in 3 more weeks.  If my shirt is wearable, then score!  If not, then I can always dress up as a fat bumblebee for Halloween.

Weeding the Garden: Day 2

Sunday, June 20th, 2010

Helping Mommy Water the Garden

Day 2 of our mission to clean up the garden was cut short by scorching sun and hot temps.  The best we could do was to water the garden and drag the mulch out of the shed.  Of course working at 12:30 PM probably didn’t help, but we had to make daddy a nice father’s day breakfast/brunch and celebrate a little. 

My son LOVES, LOVES, LOVES to play with water.  I gave him the hose and let him have at it.  We got some water on the plants and most of the water on him, but at least it kept him cool!

He loves splashing in the water

I filled a large dishpan with water so that he could splash in it.  He was thrilled!  Mini-science lesson: What happens when you throw stuff in the water?  Does it float or sink?  We tossed everything in there from pine cones, grass, rocks, and sticks to my flip-flops.  I think I spent more time playing in the water with the baby than actual gardening.  That’s okay – it was HOT outside and we were losing all our shade.

Soaking Wet Baby

After about an hour, the little one had enough.  He was soaked to his bones and his diaper probably weighed 10 pounds from all the water.  He literally stood up without any prompting, made a bee-line to the house, climbed the porch steps, sloshed across the deck, and started banging on the glass door.  Smart kid!

Luckily we were able to water the garden fairly deeply and my hubby dragged the mulch out of our spider infested shed for me.  We will have to tackle the rest of the work another morning…

Pregnant Gardening

Sunday, June 20th, 2010

Planting a garden in my first trimester looks like this.

So this is what happens when you plant a garden in your first trimester!  I can barely tell my plants from the weeds or the lawn for that matter.  Many moons ago I planted jalapenos, purple egplants, a tomato plant, and a smattering of herbs.  I left room for my seedlings (Thai pepper, basils, eggplants, and cilantro).   I promplty went into hibernation for 2 months and voila!  I have an overgrown garden.  If it wasn’t for the continual rain we’ve been getting, my poor plants would have shriveled up.

Armed with mosquito coils, bug spray, sunblock, and a hoe, I tackled weeding my garden today.  It turns out that this will be a 2 day job!  My darling son came out to help me and bless his heart, he ended up covered in dirt from head to toe.  I wish I had a pic of the after, but my camera battery died.

My son helping me in the garden.

I think he dug out more dirt from the garden than weeds! 

I had been putting the weeds into the pot as I pulled them and when I turned around, he had been pulling all the weeds out of the pot and throwing them back into the garden!  It was too funny.

After several hours, we finally made some progress.  We had to call it a day as the temps climbed into the 90s.  We will go out tomorrow morning and finish up our project.

All the empty space in the front of my garden is for my seedlings.  The rest seems to have survived!

I have tomatoes!!!  So far for the amount of work that I have put into the garden the payout is incredible.  I should have a dozen or so fresh tomatoes in a few weeks and I’ve already been harvesting my herbs for cooking.  It’s getting to the point where I can start drying the excess for the winter months. 

Tomorrow: Pull rest of weeds, clean up mess we made today, mulch, and plant seedlings.

Clipping coupons is not for me.

Monday, June 14th, 2010

Okay.  So in the very early days of my blog, I touted clipping coupons as a way to save money.  There are entire coupon clipping blogs and websites that do nothing but tell you how to save using coupons.  There are books and dvds about how to use coupons.  There was even a lady on the Today Show last month showing how she always pays less than $10 for $100s worth of groceries using coupons.

My comment?  Bah, humbug.  On the triple coupon days, I toted all my little coupon filled and category sorted envelopes down to the store and still spent $80 on the same amount of stuff.  The only difference from normal?  Now we have $80 of “name brand” and fru-fru stuff.  I have dish soap that smells like lavender.  I have deoderant that smells like perfume.  I have weird fruit gels that I’m afraid to try.  I have all this strange stuff because I had a coupon…

Now people tell me- only use a coupon for the things you buy.  Well, I rarely see coupons for things we use.  Maybe the problem is that we are too set in our ways or are not adventurous enough.  We like what we like and we don’t want to deviate.  I’ve been using the same face cream, toothpaste, shampoo, deoderant, dishwasher soap, handsoap, dish soap, and toilet paper for the past 10 years.  I’m 37.  My butt has been there and done that.  It prefers Scotts 2 ply toilet paper over all others.  Who am I to argue with my ass?

I think the last straw came when we were at Wal-Mart this past Saturday.  Having memorized my coupons by now, I felt a rush when my hubby needed shaving cream, shampoo, and deoderant.  Finally!  I pulled out the coupons that I had been sitting on for months just waiting for this day.  They were all expired by 2 weeks.  There went $2.50 in savings and my coupon box had to be rescued from the trash by my husband.

Ever the penny pincher, he has gently suggested that we get a subscription to the Sunday paper so that we always have current coupons.  He has also asked me if I want him to buy me that Today Show woman’s book on how to buy groceries for next to nothing.  I told him to go ahead as long as he doesn’t mind walking funny for a few weeks if you get my drift.

Nevertheless, I am going to give it another try.  We finally have a subscription and I have the current Sunday paper in hand ready to cut out the next batch of coupons.  I GUESS that if I see a coupon for something we use, I should just go out and buy it IMMEDIATELY rather than wait until we need it.  I’ll let you know how it goes in a couple months…

P.S. If anyone out there has ANY tips for me please send them my way.  I cannot believe that I can’t figure out how to maximize my savings using coupons.  Talk about the little things in life that make you feel small.

My baby is 1 year old!

Sunday, June 13th, 2010

A week ago, my baby celebrated his first birthday.  He is now an official “toddler”.  Feeling nostalgic, I browsed through all 1,5000 photos that I have taken since the day he was born.  I cannot believe how much he has changed over the year!  I also cannot believe how much love I have for the little guy.  It is hard not to hug him, squeeze him, and kiss him every second of every day. 

To all those prospective parents out there, enjoy your child every minute.  Time really does fly.  I am excited to see what the next year has in store for us.  If he was this much fun as a baby, his toddler years have got to be a riot!

I would like to share some photos from his first year. 

Rejoining the human race.

Thursday, June 10th, 2010

I have taken a hiatus from blogging for the past month or so to work on my “big project”.  So what have I been working on?

Making a baby! 

We found out near the end of April that we were expecting a bundle of joy.  I then immediately fell into the first trimester funk of gagging and vomiting for about 7 weeks straight.  Combined with my sudden onset of narcolepsy and having to take care of my little boy, I had zero capacity to do other tasks such as, cleaning, cooking, blogging, and showering.  Seriously, my husband would hose me down outside a couple times a week.

I am now in what is known as the best part of pregnancy, the second trimester.  The nausea is fading away, I suddenly have more energy, and I only need to take one nap a day.  I also have an interest in reaching out and touching people again (hence my first blog entry in ages) and am dying to reconnect with old friends over decaf coffee sans squirmy child (so sorry I disappeared for 2 months).

When I left my job in March I had no idea that I was already pregnant.  Would it have changed anything?  Maybe.  I might have worked just a couple more months to sock away 3 or 4 more paychecks.  Realistically though, I couldn’t have taken having Oliver in daycare one more minute than he had already spent.  With that said, living frugally has taken on a whole new meaning for us now.  We need to do or die, as they say, with another hungry mouth joining our table.

In the upcoming week, I have some questions to answer for you.  1) How is my garden growing?  hint- I’ve made a profit already from one of my “crops”.  2)  Where can I get baby stuff for pennies?  hint – The next round of kids consignment sales is coming soon!  3)  What ever happened to all the homemade soaps and stuff I made earlier? and 4) Is making your own bread from scratch really worth it?

hanks for hanging in there with me!  This should be an interesting summer…

p.s. It’s a girl!

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