Tuesday, September 30, 2008

This Blog Has Never Been About Politics

but today Banana Boy has brought it to the forefront. Apparently, he's a Republican.

He was snuggling in bed with me tonight and an ad came on the TV.

"Aaargh! He's on all the TIME! Why does that Marak Obama have to be EVERYwhere???!" he said with disgust.

He didn't learn it from me!

That Would Be Tacky!

Pepper said to me today, "I'm glad I'm not a cork board. Everyone would be sticking me with tacks all the time. Isn't it a good thing I'm not a cork board, Mom?"

I'm so happy, Honey, that you're not.

The Last Day of Nothing

It was hard today, not to run out and spend money. What would it matter, just one day away from October 1? What's the difference between today and tomorrow?

I'll be the first to tell you (and my kids will be 2nd through 6th!) that I am not a committer. I never stick to diets. I never stick to chore plans. I never stick to resolutions. I never stick to behavior modification charts.

I didn't stick to the 30 Days of Nothing.

But I think I made a good attempt. With a few leaps off the wagon to get me through, I didn't quit. I climbed back on and tried again the next day.

We definitely have saved money.

It has been good for me to curb my impulse spending. I really really did! I even talked myself out of a few purchases by making myself wait and having time to think it over.

Some of it wasn't hard. Driving less was easy. Actually, I didn't really drive less than I have all summer. That was something I cut way back on when gas went over $3.00/gallon.

Grocery shopping less was easy. With our garden and our fairly well stocked pantry, I was able to make it through the month without really buying anything but bare necessities like fruit & milk. I did use the food I'd bought from Market Day at the beginning of the month. We've eaten all the Italian wedding soup, half the ravioli and some of the salmon. The pop tarts have made a great snack for the kids.

The challenge will be to avoid the impulse purchases at the grocery store from here on out.

The tough thing for me was not eating out. At the beginning of the month it was easy, but near the end I've been weak. I had that little mental health date last week. And last night I took the kids out for pizza as a reward for doing bonus chores over the weekend. And because I was hungry for pizza. Plus there was McYuk last week, too. Total spent on eating out this month: $130, including tips. Number of meals for that price: 21.

I didn't do the awareness of the state of the world exercises that I wanted to do with the kids. They did get into this more than I thought they would, though. They were often the ones who reminded me, when I wanted to spend money, that it was the 30 Days of Nothing. Even Banana Boy, who is usually pretty far from reality, being only 5 and not a very good listener, warned me the day we went out to lunch: "I thought this was the 30 Days of Nuthin'!"

I know some people are starting new fun ideas of a different sort for the month of October. Owlhaven is doing Love Stories for October.

In our house it will be The Month of Birthdays. We have three coming up this month and Banana Boy's quickly following in November.

Goodbye to the 30 Days of Nothing. It's been fun hangin' with you. I think you've taught me a few things. Maybe I'll see you next year.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

30 Days of Nothing: A Date

Mr. GT and I have decided that Sundays will be our date night (afternoon). Today was the first one and I was delighted to be able to see Fireproof (see my sidebar) on its opening weekend. We spent $12.50 on the tickets and then had Starbucks as a treat afterwards, courtesy of Auntie who sent me a Starbucks card for my birthday. What a treat!!! Thanks, Auntie! It was a great date! Oh, and I guess it cost us $15 for babysitting: $14 for Rose Bud (payable in text minutes for her phone for the month of October) and $1 for Banana Boy towards his I-want-to-buy-people-birthday-presents fund for behaving while we were gone.

The movie. I really enjoyed it. I normally hate to watch movies. I'm so ADD and for some reason, as I've gotten older, it's a big emotional effort to get involved in a movie. Most times, I will choose not to watch one, so I was dreading this just a little bit.

But it was a very enjoyable movie. It entertained me.

And that was the big difference, Mr. GT and I decided afterward, between this movie and Facing the Giants (which I've seen 3 times, believe it or not!). Facing the Giants moved me and changed my thinking about some things. It motivated me to change parts of my life.

Fireproof entertained me. It was funny, it was suspenseful, it was romantic. But I didn't find it as inspirational as I had Facing the Giants.

I was a little disappointed. I was expecting more inspiration for marriage. I mean it was there, but I was expecting something different. I don't want to give too much away before you've seen it.

Should you see it? Yeah! Take your spouse or your girlfriends and go see it, especially in the theaters. Send Hollywood the message that consumers want this kind of movie. And enjoy it.

Maybe it will speak more to you than it did to me.

If it does, I'd love to hear from you about it.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Please Pray for Little Noah

Posted on Kate's blog this morning

If you don't know Noah's story, read here

If you are a homeschooler, you are likely familiar with Kate's family business, Hands and Hearts.

My Target List

Here are the things I've been waiting to buy....

Dish soap
Laundry Soap
Stain Stick
Coffee Filters
Cat food (the cats have been very patient about this)
Cat litter
Snacks for BB's classroom
Kitchen sink cleaner
Coffee Pot
A new computer (birthday present for me: I want a Macbook and have money from closing out my dad's estate to use)
Rose Bud's birthday presents: AB, LB, ITC & ES (she reads my blog!)

I did talk myself out of a new pda. In researching the Macbook, I discovered the new ITouch and coveted it! I stopped at the Apple store the other day to play with one and it is nice, but I realized it doesn't hold files the way my Palm does (ie: my booklists!) nor does it have a very useable Bible program (what I use my Palm for more than anything else). So I decided I'd maybe upgrade from my Palm Tungsten E2 to a TX (which can access the internet). Then I talked myself out of doing it for my birthday, because my E2 still works just fine. So I'll watch for a sale and wait for my current Palm to die before I upgrade.

And I discovered that I will be perfectly happy with the 13" Macbook and don't need the 15" (which Mr. GT thought I would).

Oh, and I found the most darling computer case to go along with my new Macbook!!! Want it want it want it.

So there you have it. My shopping plan for October!

I'll get around to posting what I've learned for the month in a day or two.

The 30 Days of A Little Bit

Have you noticed I haven't been here?

Um, yeah. I've been cheating.

Kind of.

Mr. GT thinks I have been cheating.

Well, I have, actually.

Let's see, I've gone out to lunch with a girlfriend, her daughter, my kids and a neighbor kid. It was a mental health date. She and I both needed it. Amazing what a glass of wine can do to make you a better mom! That and an hour with a girlfriend!

I also went out for a glass of wine with the same girlfriend plus one more the next night. More mental health work. My mental health is pretty excellent right now!

I fed my kids at McYuk one night. In my defense, I have been doing a GREAT job making supper every night so we don't have to eat out, making sure we eat lunch at home (or at my mom's!) so we don't have to eat out if we run errands, and cooking with just what we have in the house or the garden. I really haven't bought any extras at the grocery store.

But Rose Bud had a cross country meet and Daisy had piano lessons and Banana Boy had Kindergarten parent night and Sunshine had a doctor appt. all morning and my mom was babysitting. I just didn't get supper made ahead of time for my mom to feed the kids.

So I drove through McYuk. You have to know, though, that I fed all five kids, me and my mom for $7.26! I think that should count for something!

I've had Starbucks twice. But I use my Starbucks card. Once was a total lazy thing--that same day Sunshine had his doctor appointment at 8:30. I never got coffee made before we left. The other time was another mental health prop. Banana Boy and I shared a frappucino over therapy. It makes a great reward for hard work at the therapist!

I went to the grocery store and spent $80. I bought milk, 5 packs of deli ham (on sale 8 oz. for 99 cents!), 6 packs of shredded cheese on sale (hey, I have to have something to work with if I'm going to cook!), yogurt raisins and bagels for Rose Bud's school lunch and some more poo]p treats (hey, the kid poo]ps a lot!). Oh, and ice cream (on sale!) which is a total necessity. Also chicken to donate to the youth fundraiser cooking project thingy and some items to take along with the dinner I brought a wounded friend one night.

In the savings department, I made 4 birthday cards with my long-neglected Stampin' Up supplies and used 2 more birthday cards from my Current stash. Didn't spend any money on birthday cards this month!

I also talked Rose Bud out of ordering cross country sweatpants for $25. She was pretty ok with that.

Back in the spending department, I ordered school pictures for both Rose Bud and Banana Boy, $19 and $27, respectively (BB's package included a yearbook and there was no way to exclude it, hence the extra cost).

Rose Bud spent $4 going to the football game last week.

And I need to order birthday presents for the girls so they arrive in time for Rose Bud's birthday. I could just order hers, but it makes sense to order all of them and take advantage of the free shipping.

Oh, and there was a garage sale. Here's what I got:
2 pair of jeans for Rose Bud
2 pair of plaid cotton pants for RB (these are really cute and some fancy brand she likes)
2 pair of like-new Land's End wind pants for RB
1 pair pajamas for RB
5 pair of pants for Pepper (size 6 slim and she likes them)
1 pair jeans for Daisy (she's a plus size, so she's hard to fit)
3 sweatshirts /fleeces for Daisy
1 new with tags Land's End sweatpants for Daisy
1 top for Daisy
5 Land's End t-shirts for the boys ($1 each, most with tags on)
1 like-new Land's End spring/fall jacket sized for Daisy now, but in red so the boys can wear it eventually (this was FREE--there was no price tag and I asked if she'd just throw it in as a volume discount!)
1 Land's End winter coat with a hole in the sleeve for $2 (will patch hole and use as play coat now for Daisy, later for Pepper and the boys. It's Navy)
1 new-with-tags Land's End winter coat for Daisy $10
a couple of books she threw in
5 little dolls and a bead necklace kit for Pepper--free

Total: $71.25

So there you have it. The ups and downs of my 30 Days of Nothing in the last week.

Only 3 days to go.

I keep thinking, maybe it's silly to not just buy something now that we're only going to run right out and buy Oct. 1 (I have a Target list!), but then I remind myself, it's not just about going without, but more importantly for me, delaying gratification. Yes, I could buy it now, but how about I just WAIT.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

God always speaks to us with the words we need most to hear

“So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.” (Hebrews 10:35-36)

Monday, September 22, 2008

My Perfect Life

This post is for all of you out there (and I know you're there, because you've told me so!) who think I am such a perfect mom with a perfect life.

I have Banana Boy home from school today because he couldn't get it together long enough to eat breakfast and get dressed before the bus came. He was too busy shouting at Rose Bud that he was going to kill her and it was all her fault. What did she do? She nicely asked him to let Sunshine sing at the breakfast table.

I have Rose Bud who then went on to lecture me on (in front of him) how letting BB stay home from school today would result in him always wanting to stay home from school. Uh. Thanks. Your point? So he flunks out of kindergarten and gets homeschooled. More time with mom = more bonding = a more well-adjusted attachment disordered kid.

Daisy can't play outside. Ever. A dog might come into the yard. All requests for children to now go burn off their energy outside are met with whining and tears.

Pepper can't walk today because she dreamt that Daisy stabbed her in the leg with a knife (hope my social worker isn't reading this today) and so today her leg hurts. She can't walk, only limp. I chased her out to sit in the sun (without sunscreen) to read a stack of books.

Sunshine is on his 3rd set of unders and probably needs another change. He has stubbornly refused to listen to any request, command, order or instruction today. All such requests are met with "NO!" and a grin.

And the cat found my diva cup in the shower and took it to the basement to chew on.

Gross? Well, welcome to my perfect life.

At least I have coffee.

Edited to add: THIS is why I read other blogs. Thank you to Mary at Owlhaven for putting my day into perspective. And thank you to God for speaking to us through others.

Friday, September 19, 2008

30 Days of Nothing: Day 19 Rescued Again

Thank you Mom for loaning me your coffee maker. Thank you Mom-in-Law for offering to loan me your coffee pot (if I came to get it and brought the kids for a visit! :D ). Thank you AJ, for offering your pot as well.

I am back in the coffee business.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

30 Days of Nothing: Day 17

I NEED to get to Target! I must shop at Target.

Target bags are the only plastic shopping bags that fit in my bathroom and kitchen wastebaskets and I'm out.

30 Days of Nothing: A Crisis of Major Proportions

I've got plenty of coffee. A friend and I ordered coffee from a farm cooperative thingy this summer (what are they called?) and every other week had a pound of coffee delivered practically to our homes. I'm the only one who drinks it, except for one cup by Mr. GT on the weekend, so a pound every other week lasts me just fine. In fact this should last me through December, probably.

I'm stretching the half bottle of creamer my mom bought. There's still a cup or two in there. My turbinado sugar is holding out and I'm willing to use regular sugar if I have to. I'm resigned to skim milk.

The filters are getting low. I haven't counted them, but I think it will be close. Worst case scenario, I can make a big pot every other day and reheat in between.

I've got it all covered. The 30 Days of Nothing should not impact my coffee consumption by much.

I broke my coffee pot today.

I was rinsing it out and my wrist got all wild and I smacked the bottom of the pot against the separator between the two sinks.

And then I poked a hole in my finger cleaning up the shards.

The kids weren't interested in having me sign anything in blood for them.

I refuse, even though I could, to buy a new coffee pot during this month! In the face of all of the suffering of the world, my coffee pot is broken.

I'm not trying to be all holy or righteous or anything. I just recognize the stupidity of this. Poor me, American suburban mom, can't make coffee for the next (I'm counting) 13 days. I refuse, on principle, to break with the spirit of the 30 Days of Nothing by running to Target for a new coffee pot.

Even though I could.

Lots of people couldn't.

I have a young friend who is pregnant. She doesn't have a car and her boyfriend doesn't have a license. She has to bum a ride to get her prenatal care 20 miles away. What a pain! But she's doing it.

I have a friend with a homeless son. He has a job and a car. But it's not enough to cover rent. Their grandson is living with them so he can attend school regularly. He doesn't like it. He wants to be back at his old school with his old friends.

I have a friend who is homeless. She has four kids and a job. She was supposed to move into a new rental and so she let the old one go. The new one fell through. The kids are living with their dad so they get to school regularly. I'm not sure where she stays.

I have a young friend who couldn't live with her parents. Bad news. Her grandma took her in and that worked out fine until the grandma got too sick. Now she had nowhere to go, so her ex-boyfriend offered to let her stay with him and his mom. Only he had a condition for her living there. She is only 17. She was left with no alternative but to move in with her unstable dad 100 miles away. She would have been a senior this year. She would have graduated. She was one of the sweetest and most hard working kids I know. I don't know how she's doing now.

My coffee pot is broken. That sucks.

As Pepper informed me this morning, I'm "going to have a COURAGEOUS headache!"


Monday, September 15, 2008

30 Days of Nothing: Day 15

Whoo Hoo! Whoo Hoo! I saved $25 today!! Because I really wanted THIS and if you bought it together with THIS, it could be yours for the low, low price of $16.80. Of course, because it's eligible for Free Super Saver Shipping , I would have had to buy something else for $8.20.

But I didn't!

Hence, $25 goes in the jar!

Whoo Hoo! Whoo Hoo!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

30 Days of Nothing: Day 13b--Garage Sale Find

My mom came over today and since she reads my blog, she brought me some coffee creamer.

Background you need to know: My mom is practically known by name at TJ Maxx, Marshalls, Goodwill, St. Vinnie's....you get the picture. She is the consumate bargain shopper. It's what we did for fun, she and I, when I was a teenager. We'd come home, lay it all out on the couch for my stepfather and wow him with how much we had saved (we got $4 million worth of stuff for $37.50!)

So she brought me coffee creamer because she felt sorry for me, suffering and not able to buy any.

Isn't that sweet!?

I thanked her joyfully and took the creamer. It felt...a little sticky and half-full.

Jokingly, I asked, "Why is it not full? Did you get it at a garage sale?"

Actually, she did.

Luckily, it was her own garage sale last weekend. It was left over.

Hee hee.

Thanks, Mom!

Oh, BTW, I ate at work again today. There was a bowl of black bean chili that was poured and not needed and sat there about half an hour (yeah, I'm not one of those salmonella-paranoid people and I thaw my chicken on the counter, too!) I ate it. Except we're really not supposed to. So I paid for it. $3.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

30 Days of Nothing: Day 13a

Today hasn't really happened yet, so I can only report on what has come before. Here's the email Mr. GT sent me this morning:

Almost halfway through the month – documented receipts only:

Groceries $85.81 monthly average is $480

Fuel $117.92 monthly average is $350

Household $41.55 monthly average is $290 (this is where Target falls)

Medical $6.45

That’s it.

I did cave last night and have fish and french fries last night at work. $2.50 not saved.

An Exciting Opportunity to Help Women in India

PLEASE don't just dimiss this post! PLEASE at least go read the information and consider signing up to participate. It says the deadline is Sept. 12, but that has been extended and you have until Sept 23 to get involved.

Sonlight Curriculum, the company we use for homeschooling is partnering with Mission India to raise $200,000 for literacy education in India, particulary among women.

It's explained so well here and here, so I won't go into a lot of detail here.

Before you run screaming the other way at the thought of donating MORE of your hard-earned cash in these tough times, let me tell you what your commitment needs to be:

Pennies. Nickels. Dimes. Quarters. All you have to do is collect your loose or spare change for 8 weeks. No cappucinos to give up. No checks to write. Whatever is in your pocket goes into your rice bag.

There are also education materials available which I encourage you to sign up for. You'll get a weekly email including these and a package in the mail with your rice bag.

You know how close to my heart India is. I am always excited for any opportunity to learn more about this beautiful country so I can share it with my boys. The Indian people are so full of pride and spirit and drive. And some of them are so very poor with little opportunity. India is also a thriving, growing country of people of fabulous intellect and skill, but like in America, there are people who have and people who have not, but the opportunity to go from being a have not to a have is much less in India.

Anyway, even if you don't collect anything, please take this opportunity to learn more about the India I love. Sign up.


Friday, September 12, 2008

30 Days of Nothing: Day 12

Blah Blah Blah. I was tempted. I wanted Starbucks. I wanted a burger and fries at work. I wanted a candy bar at the grocery store. I wanted to stop at the liquor store to replace my wine box (chill....I buy about one box a month and often I share some of it!)

I still buy milk. I still buy gas. I bought paper plates to donate to Banana Boy's classroom.

Basically, I'm spoiled! If I sit right down and think it over, this 30 Days of Nothing isn't really hard. We've got plenty of food in the house. There is ice cream and chocolate chips and wine and there is money for gas and milk in the check book.

I feel kind of phony with this whole thing. So I'm saying no to Starbucks. Yay, me. I'm saying no to a cheeseburger at work. Yay, me.

There are people who can't get to work because they don't have money for gas. Or can't take their child to the doctor because they don't have health insurance or cash to pay. There are people somewhere who have not eaten today.

Poor me. No Starbucks.

It's like a little game. It IS a little game.

I lamented to Mr. GT at the beginning of this that we really hadn't planned ahead and 'stocked up.' Just fine, he replied. People on a truly limited income don't have that luxury.

I miss my coffee cream.

Sour cream would be good on our beans and rice tonight. At least we have cheese.

I don't think my kids have noticed at all. Rose Bud maybe a little.

Maybe we're going about this all wrong, but I'm considering this sort of a failed experiment. Should we be suffering? Is that the point? You make up your own rules.

I said I would post about my goals for this project at some point, and here we are at Day 12. Time for goals!

Goals.... goals....

For myself, I'm finding it useful to curb my impulse spending. That was one of my goals.

I'd like to increase our awareness and empathy for some of the tough roads people in other parts of the world have to travel. We haven't done any of those projects yet. What is is like to eat only rice every day? Or at least rice at every meal. What is eat like to eat nothing but a small cup of rice all DAY? What is it like to drink unsafe water? What is it like to walk a mile or more for clean water? What is it like to really have to make an effort to worship our God? What is it like to be afraid to?

I think those were the two biggies for me. I'm not sure what Mr. GT is getting from all of this.

Oh, BTW, despite having canceled the order, his pop tarts came in today! Guess we'll be eating organic brown sugar/cinnamon pop tarts when we've run out of everything else.....

And then God says to me....

“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4)


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

30 Days of Nothing: Day 10

I forgot to mention that one day we had to buy more poo[p treats.

You know, for when Sunshine does it right, instead of in his unders. Which, I may add is happening all the time now. Doing it right, that is. Thanks to the poo[p treats.

But we were getting low. (Partly because he shares them with me. I figure if I have to wipe his poo]py little buns, I should get a poo[p treat, too! And if I have to clean out unders, I get TWO!)

So off to the grocery store I went. Chocolate is really the only reasonable poo[p treat, and I had seen a big sale on Hershey Kisses when I was there (for MILK!) on Sunday. Often, if you get there early enough on Monday morning, you can double-dip the sales because they already have the new sales entered in the computer but they haven't yet taken out last week's sales. You can still stock up on the things you forgot to buy last week and get the new stuff, all in one trip.

Alas, I was too late. Hershey Kisses were no longer on sale. And boy, has the price of chocolate sky-rocketed! So I was good and bought the Milky Ways on sale, even though I don't like Milky Ways.

Necessity? I think so!

PS Funny Mr. GT story. He comes home from work and Sunshine, who has been really wanting a poo[p treat all afternoon, since we came home from the store, but who is all pooped out for the day, brings the dish of treats to him.

"Daa-eee! Poo]p!" he shouts, holding up the dish, which really means, "Daddy, Mama bought new poo[p treats today and they look so yummy and they are in this dish and I want you to see them and open it and maybe one will fall on the floor and I will have to eat it!" (he's a boy of few words)

Mr. GT, being Mr. GT, takes the dish, sees it is filled with brown lumps, cracks the lid, takes a whiff and says, "POO[P! EWWWWWWWWWWWW" making a terrible face.

Sunshine erupts in gales of laughter. Silly Daddy. "NOOOOOO!" he says. "Teet! Teet!"

No money saved.

Thank God For Small Blessings

Blessing #1: Rose Bud, who was a very sweet sister to do her little sister's nails, way back when Pepper was recovering from her tonsillectomy
Blessings #2: Here is Sunshine, pretending to go to work (ie: pretending to be me--remember? I waitress part-time)
What's the blessing, you ask? That this is NOT REALLY what I have to wear to work!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Blessings #3: The picture doesn't really do it justice, but I had to change a lightbulb today. In our vaulted ceiling. A big light bulb. Guess what happens to a lightbulb that falls from 10 feet up and bounces off the computer table? Yeah. A big mess.

The blessing? It was the BURNT OUT lightbulb and not the brand-new $14 apiece lightbulb!
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Tuesday, September 9, 2008

30 Days of Nothing: Day 1,304

I'm a little messed up on my days, so let's just confess that dh bought milk and bananas and pears on Sunday. He did buy the 10 cent/lb bananas that are a hair past their prime, so we got 3.7 lbs of bananas for 37 cents! Milk is a necessity (in fact, I was supposed to stop for some today and forgot!) and fruit is too. Pears were on sale.

Mr. GT also bought cilantro one day to aid in the crafting of homemade salsa from the garden tomatoes.

Other than that, we've been fairly purchase-free.

My box of wine is getting pretty low....... If Owlhaven can count a gallon of ice cream a week as a necessity....

Story Problem of the Day:
If a dad normally buys bananas at 49 cents a pound, how much will he save if he buys 3.7 lbs at 10 cents a lb during the 30 Days of Nothing?

Enter your answer in the comments and don't forget to show your work!


Monday, September 8, 2008

The Bleeding Ahem

As anyone who has been reading either of my blogs for a while knows, we've been potty training. Well, Sunshine has been potty training (the rest of us have been PT for a long time!)

He likes me to sit with him in the bathroom as I wait for the happy dripping and tinkly sound, so I spend a lot of time looking at his ahem. (Yes, I know perfectly well it's appropriate name and for the record, we call it appropriate name in our home. But to avoid attracting a whole new readership of weirdos, for today's purposes it will be his ahem.)

And he has an adorable ahem! It's in its natural state (would YOU send your 3 year old in for that surgery??) and like every other part of him, it is cute.

Anyway, today while sitting on the floor staring at the ahem and waiting for it to do its thing, I noticed it looked a little raw around the edges. Well, I thought to myself, maybe it's getting a little chapped hanging out in those damp-all-the-time unders. I asked him if it was owie. No. He wasn't complaining about it or about using it, so I forgot about it.

Fast forward to after dinner. I am once again spending time in the bathroom with him. As I'm pulling down his pants, I see a clot of bright red blood in his unders, right where the ahem would rub.

I look at the poor ahem and it too is covered in little globs of bright red. I scream for Mr. GT to come quickly and look.

He comes running and I explain how poor Sunshine is bleeding. Sunshine has no comment and seems to be enjoying all the hullaballoo.

I carry him, pants half-mast, to the other bathroom where there is better light. Mr. GT looks a little squeamish. Not having an ahem myself and not feeling the least bit squeamish, I get my face right down there for a good look.

Sure enough, there is blood rimming the tip. But where is it coming from? Mr. GT looks worried and about to faint (remember the tonsilectomy?).

I grab the box of wipes and start to gently clean it off. Sunshine is now getting into the spirit and starts wailing, "OWWWWW!"

I take a closer look at the wipe.


Why does it look so.........textile-ish?

"Look at this!" I shove the wipe in Mr. GT's face.

Suddenly it dawns on me. The child is wearing brand new took-the-tag-off-this-morning red sweatpants.

He's bleeding red fuzz!

Of course they couldn't have been blue or green sweatpants. It would have all been obvious so much sooner!

I'm just glad his little ahem is ok!

Laugh away.

Annoy Someone You Love

Title totally stolen from Christine's blog where you should run right now and read the article linked HERE.

It's good to THINK!

30 Days of Nothing: Day 7


Mr. GT always changes his own oil, so this is no savings at all today. But it was cute. Sunshine got his little toolbox and a few tools and came outside to find Daddy under the truck. "Sunshine! Tools! Sunshine tools," he informed Daddy. Bless him, Daddy let Sunshine take all the lug nuts off the tires with his wrench (pretend, of course) and poke around under the hood with his screwdriver.

Savings for Days 5 & 6: $3.50 each night at work that I didn't buy my dinner there. Total: $7.
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Friday, September 5, 2008

30 Days of Nothing: Day Four

Whoo Hoo! Did I save money today!

We'll cut right to the chase.

We left the house at 11:30 to pick up Banana Boy at school. Ate lunch at my mom's (thanks, Mom!) Savings $5 if BB and I would have gone to Mickey D's for a dance through the dollar menu (see, I'm cheap to begin with!)

BB and I drove to town for his appointment and I REALLY wanted to stop at Starbucks. Or Target. Or the half-price bookstore. OR ANYWHERE I COULD SPEND SOME MONEY!!!!!

But for our purposes here, we'll just count Starbucks. $4.50.

We ran a couple of errands since we were in town (60 mile round trip from home) and I picked up a prescription. Necessary $6.

Dropped BB back at my mom's so I could run some more errands in our town. Went to the library. Oops. $1.80 in fines. Plus Rose Bud has $1.20. Must be more careful about that, especially since I can very easily renew my books online from the comfort of my desk. Totally unnecessary spending: $3.00

Picked up a newspaper and soda for my mom, but she paid me back.

Went to work, BUT, before I left, I ate dinner first! This is a huge area of unnecessary spending for me (and unnecessary calories!). We get our meals for half-price during our shift, but even so, it's $2-4 each night I work. We'll call it an average of $3, so 3 more saved there.

And Mr. GT has a little story to share. He is in charge of ordering for us from our local food coop. Last month he ordered, as a treat, a case of organic pop tarts (er, toaster pastries, if you want to be legalistic). They were out of stock with the last delivery and were supposed to come in this week. Again they were out of stock. They offered him a different flavor, but he declined and actually cancelled the order. Savings: $23 (that's a lot of toaster pastries!) They totally would have been a treat (mostly for me-- I LOVE pop tarts!) and we absolutely didn't NEED them.

So, today's savings: 5 + 4.50 - 3 (library fine) + 3 + 23 = $32.50.

Oh, Mr. GT also bought chicken feed this week. Necessary.

And we're going to start putting our savings on little slips of paper in a jar on the table to keep track. Good idea I got from someone else (sorry, don't remember who right now) who is doing the 30 Days.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

30 Days of Nothing: Day Three

Justify, Justify.

Today I justified some spending.

For starters though, I didn't pay the $20 the PTO wants for the middle school. Now granted, I'm only putting it off until October, so I think I might just as well have paid it. In any case, I'm grateful for how they do their fundraising. Instead of having a stupid send-your-kid-around-with-an-order-form-for-some-chintzy-product fundraiser, they just ask you for $20 per family. Pure profit, no muss, no fuss. I am happy to pay!

On to the justification.

The K-5 schools, on the other hand, sell Market Day. Mr. GT, upon finding the flier on the island one day, immediately threw it away. We don't buy a lot of convenience food to begin with and at first glance, it is very expensive. We try to eat mostly local and organic foods although he's better at shopping that way than I am.

But it's a fundraiser, so I'm willing to look into it. I fished it out of the recycle bin (it was buried pretty far down!) to see what they offer.

Today I called up the lady who heads it up to find out the profit they get. 10% is what the school makes. Then I went through the flier finding things that we would actually use that were a good deal. Here's what I ended up with:

Alaskan Salmon Steaks $3.59/lb Seemed like a good deal.

Breaded Mozzerella Sticks $3.19/lb I can't buy string cheese for that price and I thought these would be a nice treat for afternoon snack once in a while. Plus there was a promotion for a free (something that will make a good Christmas present for Grandma) if you ordered 3 items from this page. 3 orders of Mozz sticks fit the bill and I got a $20 gift.

Italian Wedding Soup on clearance. The kids love this for lunch. We'll try it. I love finding food on clearance! I think that's such a funny concept!

Cheese Ravioli $2.75/lb. This is something we eat fairly often and this seemed a good price, so why not buy it here and support the school?

All the items I chose were on sale this month, so that helped to make them a good deal. I also have a coupon for $1 off my order (whoopty doo! But a dollar's a dollar)

I'm going to count the $6 I shaved off my order once I went to review it before I hit "Buy" (I took out the oven-ready shrimp and added an extra mozz. stick) and something else I can't remember, and the $1 coupon both as savings for today. I'm not counting the $20 because I'm just going to spend that next month.

Today's Savings: $7

30 Days of Nothing: Day Two


Today was the first day of school. Bananan Boy only goes to Kindergarten in the morning. My bright idea was to pick him up on my bike. We only live 5 miles from school.

That's, let's see.....$1 in gas each way, right? So I saved $2.

Today was the first day we hit 90 degrees! pant pant.

I don't know what I was thinking. Am I glad I did it?

It WAS a beautiful day. There was a nice breeze, so we weren't too hot. Daisy rode along with me and I put Pepper (still recovering from her tonsilectomy) and Sunshine in the bike trailer. I bungeed BB's bike to the back of the trailer. Daisy and I had fun biking together.

Once we got to school, LittleHey's mom was there to pick him up (he's only going a half day, too) and she thoughtfully agreed to take Pepper (all 47 lbs of her!) home with her.

Banana Boy biked 4 miles without complaining before he said, "I'm hot. I'm tired." So I let him ride in the trailer and bungeed the bike back on. Unfortunately, the last mile and a half is the most uphill. pant pant.

But we did it and I'm not too sore today!

LittleHey's mom offered to pick the boys up tomorrow. sigh of relief.

Savings today: $2

Oh, I am also going to add to the savings for today the price of a box of snacks from the store. I made Banana Chocolate Chip muffins for snack today. I hate baking and it's so easy to keep boxes of Teddy Grahams or Triscuits or something similar in the cupboard for the kids to grab on their own. I don't have to be involved. I don't have to bake anything.

We had the ingredients in the house (including 3 brown spotty bananas just screaming to be mashed into muffins!) so it was just a matter of getting off my lazy buns to make the muffins. Yay me!

So I'm adding $2.59 to today's total.

Savings today: $4.59

Monday, September 1, 2008

30 Days of Nothing: Day One

This morning we reminded the kids that we'd be challenging ourselves to commit to spending only on necessities for the month of September. We had a good discussion about what was a necessity, sort of. Rose Bud, being 12, is not really on board, especially since I told her she was responsible for making her own decision about the spending she does at school. I'm not going to force her to participate when she's away from home. I don't even want to force her to participate when she's AT home. But hey, she's a part of the family!

One interesting point Rose Bud brought up was why we hadn't stocked up on things. Mr. GT pointed out that people who live on a limited income don't have that luxury. We're just going to make do with what we already have available to us in our pantry and freezer. It might be a little tricky. A tiny bit of stocking up might have been a good idea. We haven't done a big shop in a long time, so our stock is a little meager right now.

So all was fine and good. We didn't go anywhere today, just hung out at home.

Until this afternoon, that is.

It was hot and humid today; probably the hottest it's been all summer (figures, since school starts tomorrow!). The neighbors decided to go to the pool. It's the last day it's open for the season. Rose Bud asked but I suggested she see about bumming a ride with the neighbors.

See, I have this thing about changing everyone into swimsuits and slathering 5 kids with sunscreen. Ok, four, because Rose Bud does her own. Mostly doesn't do her own. It feels "YUCKY" so she tries to get away without putting any on. So I hate to slather four children and feel guilty about the sunburn of the fifth. Then we have to collect all the towels and all the goggles and I have to get into a swimsuit. And put on sunscreen. It's YUCKY! Once we get to the pool, I am all aflutter over the two middles being in the big pool shallows by themselves and Rose Bud in the deep by herself and hoping Sunshine decides this is a good day to remember to poop in the potty and enjoying the sight of my giant white thighs beneath me....

It's a fun time!

Rose Bud didn't bum a ride and I took a lovely nap with Sunshine. When I woke up she was immediately there to beg to go to the pool. I thought, "What the heck! I'm a GOOD mom and it's the last day of swimming season. I will take my (four big) kids to the pool! What a good mom am I!"

Lots of jumping around and cheering from the peanut gallery.

And then Mr. GT says, "How do you all plan to get INTO the pool????"

Huh? What do you mean? I have money. I worked this weeken....... oh.



I was really disappointed, and the kids didn't get it at all, at first.

And then I reminded them. And I was MAD! I WANTED to go to the pool! I wanted to be a really good mom!

I struggled with how to justify spending $6, just this once, and I couldn't figure out a way.

The kids all got really quiet and Rose Bud KNEW what I was going to say. I watched her face go from joy to shock to sadness to anger.

I asked, "What is the RIGHT thing for us to do?" They all agreed it was not to go.

I mentioned that $6 was enough to support 3 people somewhere in the world and reminded them we were going to give away the money we save this month.

I pointed out that we had committed to this experiment and we needed to honor that commitment.

Banana Boy was blissfully unaware there was even a discussion going on. Daisy and Pepper looked sad.

Then I thought of running in the sprinkler. AND having root beer floats.

Daisy, bless her little heart, was right away on board and if Daisy was on board, Pepper was on board. Sunshine was now able to participate, too! And Mr. GT is always happy to have a Root Beer Float!

Rose Bud, on the other hand, was devastated. She cried. She wailed. She negotiated. She thought of other ideas (like riding her bike to the pool and paying for it herself). Unfortunately, we didn't think this was a safe idea.

We set the sprinkler up in the front yard and it happened to be next to the tire swing. Pepper sat on the swing and swung in and out of the sprinkler. Daisy took Sunshine through over and over until he was a shivering, teeth-chattering ice cube. Banana Boy went in once we turned the water down to just a tiny shower. Rose Bud protested the whole time.

I felt badly for her. I would have been just as mad at that age! I would have been furious. What a dumb idea! Parents are always doing these crazy things! I'm sorry she was so disappointed.

But when it came time for RB floats and I announced that only the kids in the sprinkler were getting any, she opted to cool off and get wet.

Mr. GT taught everyone a cool squeaky trick to do with their straws and things were peaceful once again.

I had thought this would be a piece of cake. Eh, we just won't spend any money. We just won't buy anything. This is not going to be as easy as I thought.

an interesting aside: Here is today's Bible verse on my blog: “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.” (Proverbs 22:6) Teaching the lessons is the hardest part, but I pray the fruits will be worth it.