Wednesday, December 31, 2008
In the past, we've always had a seafood feast at home on New Year's Eve. Going out is way too expensive and I hate being on the roads this night. We'd buy a case of crab legs from a restaurant supply and then share with friends or family. It was fun, but this seems like a new tradition developing.
He's getting older and I can see the next few years as filled with gatherings like this. Pretty soon there will be girls here too, I'm assuming. I told D that if they play Seven Minutes in Heaven with the girls in my laundry room, I'll just die.
We're enjoying some Chinese food, a movie, and some guilt free Internet surfing while sharing some smiles over the giggles emitting from the basement. It seems a lot of people are staying home tonight. There were tons of people at the grocery store and at the library checking out videos. I don't know if it's the economy or if people are like us, and just want to stay close to home tonight. It feels like we've turned a page. New tradition, same location.
Funny how life marches on.
Happy New Year!
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
1/3 bar Fels Naptha Soap, grated
1/2 cup Washing Soda (Arm and Hammer, NOT baking soda!!)
1/2 cup 20 Mule Team Borax
2 Gallon bucket to mix it in
1 Quart hot water Hot Water
Mix Fels Naptha soap in a saucepan with 3 pints hot water and heat on low until dissolved. Stir in Washing Soda and Borax. Stir until thickened, and remove from heat. Add 1 Quart Hot Water to 2 gallon Bucket. Add soap mixture, and mix well. Fill bucket completely with additional hot water, and mix well-- do not skip this step or it will become a solid! You must add a lot more water--just fill the bucket. Set aside for 24 hours, or until mixture thickens. You may add additional HOT water if the mixture becomes too thick. Mix well before each use. Use 1/2 cup of mixture per load. Makes 64 loads.
Sunday, December 28, 2008
I've always wondered, does anyone feel anything, but guilt in a few weeks after the bar that they set too high comes crashing down?
Or is this really a great time of year for everyone? You know, self reflection, a clean slate, a new beginning for everyone that unites us all into one big hopeful crowd?
Maybe I'm a bit cynical. I never have made major New Years Resolutions. I take this time of year to look back on how quickly the last year has sped by, shed a tear when they do the montage of all the celebrities that have passed away this year, and then try to look at the New Year as a fresh start. I have high hopes, but no real concrete resolutions.
For the most part, I live my life without regrets. I don't spend too much time on over analyzing any failures, rather seeing it's best that I not spend too much time wallowing in negativity. It's from my mistakes that I have learned the most, after all. I do look around and laugh at all the resolutioneers crowding the gym and filling their carts with produce that they won't eat. And I do scoff at the plethora of weight loss solution commercials that crowd the airwaves.
Are you making resolutions this year? Does it help? Maybe I should take this more seriously!?!
Thursday, December 25, 2008
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Now, I know, it starts creeping back to us, that elusive sunlight, in just minutes per day. I'm still jubilant though. I'm a sunshine person. Days and days of cloudy weather can send me into a funk. The first time, after we set our clocks back in the Fall, that the sun disappears at 4:30 in the afternoon, I'm near tears.
Winter has officially arrived with this date, and for that, I am grateful. I do love the change of seasons and we've had one hummer of a snowstorm here, so there is no doubt that we will have a White Christmas. We'll have a few months of white here in lovely Minnesota! I'll be tired of the snow in a few months and desperate for Spring and green and garden planning. But, for now, I'll enjoy what we have.
And in those few extra minutes of daylight, I plan to turn my face up to the sun and smile.
Having done just that this evening, I'm glad I had this simple roast chicken in the oven. I hope you enjoy. Chicken is very Weight Watchers friendly and this one is extremely friendly to those of us that are so busy this time of year.
Lemon Pepper Slow Roasted Chicken
This chicken roasts in your oven at a low temperature for 5 hours. Be sure to plan for the long roasting time.
1 large roasting hen
1 lemon, quartered
Lemon-pepper spice blend
One medium-sized onion, peeled and quartered
Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Wash hen inside and out. Place in a large pan that has been coated with nonstick cooking spray. Squeeze lemon quarters over bird. Stuff bird's cavity with onions and squeezed lemon quarters. Sprinkle bird liberally with lemon-pepper. Roast for 5 hours, basting with pan juices if you have time, don't bother if you're too busy. Let bird set for 10 minutes before carving.
1 cup warm water (110
degrees to 115 degrees)
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter softened
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup diced citron or mixed
glaze: 1 egg, beaten and raw cane sugar
In a mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add sugar, egg, butter, salt, cardamom and 2 cups flour; mix well. Stir in raisins, citron and enough remaining flour to form a soft dough. Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to greased top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
Punch dough down; divide in half. Shape each portion into a flattened ball. Place in two greased 9-in. round baking pans. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
Beat an egg until frothy. Paint the loaves with beaten egg and sprinkle liberally with raw cane sugar.
Bake at 350 degrees F for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pans to cool on wire racks.
Saturday, December 20, 2008
3 cups sugar
2 cinnamon sticks
6 whole cloves
3 cups water
3 cups fresh cranberries, rinsed
1 cup superfine sugar
Mix sugar, cinnamon sticks and cloves with water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Simmer for 1 minute, stirring until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat, cool for 15 minutes or so, and pour into a bowl. Stir in cranberries. Cover and refrigerate for about 8 hours. Drain cranberries. Reserve liquid, strain out cinnamon sticks and cloves and use as a simple syrup to add a holiday touch to cocktails.
Place superfine sugar in a bowl and gently toss in cranberries, coating evenly. Place cranberries on a baking sheet to dry, about 1 to 2 hours. Store in an airtight container for 1 to 2 days or package for gift giving.
Friday, December 19, 2008
Every week we give him a set amount for allowance. From that amount, though, he has to save a percentage for college and donate a percentage to charity. It's amazing how quickly that money adds up.
This year, he decided to donate to our local food shelf with the money he saved, and to do so in honor of his teachers. He decided that they all would appreciate his donation in their name instead of just one more gift card, homemade treat, or teacher themed present that they all are inundated with at this time of year.
I promised him that I would make sure his money could feed as many people as possible, so I hit Aldi while he was at school yesterday. Thanks to him, there will be soup, macaroni and cheese, and oatmeal for dozens of families.
It doesn't take long to add a few more items to your cart this time of year. Our area food shelves are struggling despite the generosity of so many during this season. Please take a moment in this busy time of year to remember those that are less fortunate than you. You may be surprised at just how many of your neighbors you may be helping.
Then mark your calendars for the less generous times of year. Just a quick reminder that you need to help restock the food shelves.
Lemon, lime and orange zest add bright, fresh flavor to gourmet sea salt. A great addition to any seafood dish from grilled fish to shrimp stir fry, and perfect for rimming margarita glasses too.
2 cups sea salt, grey salt or fleur de sel
2 tablespoons fresh lemon zest
1 tablespoons fresh lime zest
1 tablespoons fresh orange zest
Preheat oven to 225°F. Mix salt with zest and spread evenly on a baking sheet. Place in oven and bake 2 hours, or until zest is dry. Mine only took about 40 minutes, so check it often. Place in a food processor or blender and pulse until evenly mixed. I've only made this once, but I think next time I would just mix it all real well after it's cool and not pulverize it. Divide evenly and package in decorative containers for gift giving.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
A town in Iowa ran out of road salt. How this happened, I'm sure, will result in some poor chap losing his job. But, that's not the story.
They are experiencing icy roads down South in Iowa and so what did they do? Local company, Tones Spices, donated a lot of expired product to cover the roads. What did they have to share?
Why garlic salt of course!
Imagine smelling that everywhere.
You've got to love those resourceful Iowans.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
With this act going into effect February 10 2009 so many people we love will be affected: Moms who sew beautiful handmade waldorf dolls out of home, artists who have spent decades hand-carving trucks and cars out of natural woods, that guy at the craft show who sold you the cute handmade puzzle--even larger US companies who employ local workers and have not once had any sort of safety issue will no longer be able to sell their goods. Not without investing tens of thousands of dollars into third-party testing and labeling, just to prove that toys that never had a single toxic chemical in them still don't have a single toxic chemical in them."
The bright citrus flavor of this sugar is ideal for sprinkling over grapefruit or stirring into iced tea. You could even dip the rim of a martini or margarita glass in it. I think it would be great sprinkled on buttered toast, but I haven't tried that yet.
3 tablespoons tangerine zest--If you don't have a Microplane Zester, you must purchase one! I use this gadget at least a couple of times a month.
3 cups sugar
Place sugar and zest in food processor. Pulse until you see flecks of zest evenly distributed throughout the sugar. Divide evenly and package in decorative containers for gift giving.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
3/4 cup apple juice--I think apple cider would be much better, but I didn't have any!
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves--I didn't have any and the store I went to was out, so I substituted apple pie spice from Penzeys (which if you haven't checked them out, please do! Great spices!)
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Combine pumpkin, apple juice, spices, and sugar in a large saucepan; stir well. Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer for 30 minutes or until thickened. Stir frequently.
Transfer to sterile containers and chill in the refrigerator until serving.
During the season of giving, I wonder what would provoke someone to develop such a thing. I mean, what do you get out of this, other than a bunch of really bad Karma shooting back at ya? Do you sit, in your parent's basement, cackling with glee as your middle aged paunch jiggles? You worked so hard on creating this. Think what your hard work and dedication could have done at a job (because I know you don't have one). Think of how much good would come your way if your creativity was focused on good deeds.
I'd like you to know, dear Virus Writer, I haven't cried over this. I refuse to give you the satisfaction. I know, you are a lonely, sad, miserable human being (most likely with a small weiner, bad skin, and a Star Trek collection). You'll never be anything.
Saturday, December 13, 2008
It felt bizarre to be spending money again on Friday. Almost like when you travel to a foreign country and you come home and OUR money looks funny. It looked funny to me. Swiping my check card was weird, in fact, I had trouble finding it in my wallet.
So, what did we learn?
- First and foremost, we realized that we've been overbuying groceries. Not we, it's me. I take full credit for that. I'm a produce-a-holic. I go overboard in the produce department. And we had stuff in the back of our pantry that I had forgotten I purchased. I think we're going to have to get pull out shelves installed. It's too hard to see everything that we have and I have been purchasing things that I already had on hand. So, know what you have, buy what you need, and know how much you need. Lesson learned.
- We learned that we can entertain ourselves very well without spending money. Our library is a great resource. We found ourselves reading more. Young One pulled out toys and games that he hasn't used in forever.
- We learned that we impulse buy more than we thought we did.
- We learned that we eat out too much on the weekends.
- We learned to look closer at every purchase that we make. I honestly thought we were doing that, but I think we could look even closer.
- I had my first Starbucks coffee in probably a year or so. It's pretty overrated at best and so expensive. I felt guilty knowing that I just paid $5 for a cup of coffee and, meanwhile, there are hungry people not to far from the coffee shop. I tried to think of it as a treat. It was good, but I think I make a mean cup of Joe myself and for a fraction of the cost.
I hit Aldi, Cub Foods, and Target on Friday and saved a ton of money with coupons. Did the same at Walgreens. BUT, I did something different this week. Unless it was something we really needed, I didn't buy it. A coupon is only good if it's cheaper than another brand and if you need it. If I can get free items or items that we use frequently like shampoo, toothpaste, soap, etc for super bargain prices, then I'll purchase them. Just to purchase because it's a deal, isn't really a good use of our money right now.
We were able to purchase several gifts for charity this year because of our Fiscal Fast. A young man from Young One's school is going to have a great Christmas because we sacrificed a little for a week. That feels great!
I'm sure we learned a lot more, but for now, this is what I can think of.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
I'm rambling. I'm also stuck on the word bound. Is that really a word? It's kind of like that time I walked around a Bible book store with some college friends repeating the word Bible until it didn't sound like a word anymore. Bible Bible Bible Bible. Bound Bound Bound Bound.
What does all this have to do with our Fiscal Fast? A great deal. Bear with me here for a moment.
You see. We were shopping. Scratch that. She was shopping. I was helping. It was bizarre. I mean, there I was exclaiming over things that Young One would just adore and that I would have to return to pick up for him once the spending freeze was over. And then, She, my darling mother, decided that she would just buy that stuff and give it to him herself. I couldn't argue with her she is a poor old lady with a walker and a cane (ha, if you knew my mom, you would laugh too!). I did protest that I had that particular DVD in mind the minute he came home from the theater exclaiming that it was the all time best movie in the entire history of movies and that he couldn't wait until it came out on DVD because he was going to use his allowance money and that he would memorize every special feature and possibly the entire script so that he could speak along with the movie and that Heath Ledger (God rest his soul) is and always will be the most superior Joker of all time and he was sure that he would want to be Joker for Halloween, not Joker with the painted face, but the ultimate Joker with the mask and the real necktie and the real vest, not just the printed one and that he knew that forever and ever this would be his all time favorite movie.
In other words, today, I probably would have dropped quite a bit of money at Target. It just seemed that everywhere I turned there were things that Young One would just love for Christmas and that, being Target, everything was relatively inexpensive. He's not asking for much, if anything this year. And, being eleven, was a bit perplexed by the fact that this was so. He just found out the magical secret of Santa Clause last year, so perhaps this is part of it. So, I told him that it was part of growing older and that soon you realize that it's not about the receiving, but the giving and that he was getting to that age. Christmas should be about the giving, and I'm excited to surprise him. Not spend a lot of money on surprises--what kid wouldn't just love a pony?-- but opening each gift as they were intended, gifts, not fulfillment of a list of requests. THAT to me, is so much more fun. At a certain age, if you make a list, you can pretty much tell what's in each and every box by the specific shape or jingle when you shake it or whatever, anyway. So, this year, for me, the giving to him will be so much fun, since he's not dropping ANY hints this year (that HE'S aware of anyway!)
(I'm not sure I'm being clear here. I had my first caffeinated coffee today in ages and I feel like I could type enough words to cover the world!)
I think what I'm trying to say is that I've never gone out shopping with the intention and the dedication and sheer will to not spend any money. This was really eye opening. I don't shop for recreation. I will shop AND buy for fun, but not just go out looking. It was bizarre. And I survived and mom survived and, although she got really tired walking around and looked about ready to fall over by the time she got back in the car, I think she's getting to know the world again. Hopefully, in a few more weeks, I will no longer have to chauffeur her around town.
I'm starting to think that this fast just might do what I hoped it would. I think I am going to be much more mindful of my spending. Even more so than a cheapskate like me thought. I think I'm going to focus more on what we actually need and I've found out this week, it's a heck of a lot less than I thought it was.
I also learned that I really don't like tagging along on a shopping trip. In fact, it remind me of the eternities that I spent as a child having to run errands with my mom. Perhaps she's just paying me back for the time I took all the price tags off of the canned goods in her cart while she wasn't looking. (Remember price tags?)
I'm just tired and I can't imagine how tiring it must be to be someone who, through no fault, NO CHOICE, of their own, is treated like a second class citizen in this great country of ours.
If I were gay, and I married a woman, what would you care anyway? How would my legal marriage affect you in a negative way? If I had children, they'd still talk to your kids at school and tell them that they have two moms, even if I wasn't married. And you know what? The kids wouldn't care.
I want to know, why do YOU care so much? Can someone please honestly answer that? Because honestly, it's about as un-Christian as it comes to openly hate others like that.
Don't speak the Bible to me, I'll counter you verse for verse. My Bible is dog-eared, written in, underlined, and most importantly, read and used. I spent years in college studying it. You want to quote verses? Bring it on. You want literal interpretation of the Bible to become the norm? Then read Deuteronomy. We'll have to start stoning women again. The Bible says insects have four legs. Seen any of them lately? I could go on and on.
The ultimate message of the Bible is love and when you use it against any of God's children, you are sinning. Oh yes, you are. Face it.
God is love. Jesus preached love and tolerance. He lived amongst those that you turn your faces from. Jesus hung out with the prostitutes, the lepers, and I would pretty much bet there were a few gay people there too. He loved unconditionally. Please don't call yourself a follower of Christ if you cannot do the same.
Gay people come wired that way. Just like eye color, handedness, and the color of the skin, it's all programmed in from the time sperm meets egg. It's not a choice. Would you choose to be persecuted, ridiculed, attacked, beaten, sneered at, stared at, and denied the rights of any other citizen of this country? Would you choose to live in fear?
Gay people have been around since the dawn of time. I pray for a future where it will no longer be an issue. In fact, I'm very certain that the fights of today towards equality and the legislation aimed at segregating people will be just be silly memories to our children.
Families are families. Love is love. So many gay families take the children that the rest of you have cast aside. The broken down, used up foster kids floundering in the system become whole again with the love of two parents. Who cares if they're the same sex?
So, put your hate away. Go back and really read your Bible with new eyes, cause you're doing it wrong and God is watching.
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Will this spending freeze actually result in our spending more money at the end of it, kind of like celebrating your weight loss with a blow out at a buffet? (And no, I've never done this.)
I guess time will tell.
Don't be intimidated by the length of these directions. It goes together really quickly. Make it a family project and you'll have a great, messy, fun time! I DO NOT recommend eating any gingerbread house (however tempting).
5 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ginger
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cloves
1 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1 ¼ cups molasses
2 eggs, beaten
In large saucepan, melt shortening on stove over low heat. While shortening is melting, in a separate bowl stir together flour, salt and spices (if using for cookies, add 1 tsp. baking soda). When shortening is half melted, remove from heat and continue to stir until completely melted. Add sugar, molasses and beaten eggs. Mix well and quickly (to prevent eggs from cooking). Add molasses mixture to flour mixture. Mix well. Dough will be soft. Cover and refrigerate until firm enough to handle.
Place in mold and bake as mold manufacturer directs or:
Remove dough from refrigerator when firm enough to handle. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll dough onto aluminum foil. To prevent aluminum foil from slipping, wipe counter with wet sponge then smooth aluminum foil over damp counter. This will prevent the foil from slipping while dough is being rolled out. Working with a small handful of dough (about the size of a baseball), roll dough onto aluminum foil that has been sprinkled with flour. Sprinkle dough with flour to prevent dough from sticking to rolling-pin. When finished rolling and cutting, LEAVE your piece on the foil and simply lift the foil and place on cookie sheet.
After baking and cooled, simply remove the foil from the back of your baked piece. IF DOUGH IS TOO STIFF, MICROWAVE FOR 10-15 SECONDS TO SOFTEN THE DOUGH. Roll dough to about 1/8” thickness. Place gingerbread house pattern pieces onto dough and cut-out dough pieces (don't forget to cut out windows). A pizza cutter works great for cutting out walls and roof sections. Remove excess dough pieces. Lift entire piece of foil and place on large cookie sheet.
Place cookie sheet in oven. Check frequently to prevent burning. Bake until golden brown. Large pieces may bake as long as 14 minutes. Smaller pieces might take 6 – 7 minutes. To prevent from sagging, bake roof sections until dark brown, almost burnt. When dough pieces are done baking, remove baking sheet from oven. Quickly lift foil from baking sheet and place on a flat area for gingerbread pieces to cool. If pieces have distorted while baking, while still warm, run knife or pizza cutter along sides of walls/roof sections to create a straight edge. If pieces have curled up during baking, while still warm, gently push edges down to lay flat. With gingerbread pieces still on the foil, let cool overnight. Next day – gently peel foil off of gingerbread pieces. You are now ready to assemble, or add windows!
Unused dough may be wrapped in plastic and refrigerated for up to 2 weeks (bring to room temperature and knead briefly to use again).
Royal Icing - Cement Frosting
3 tablespoons meringue powder
6 Tablespoons warm water
1 pound powder sugar
½ teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon Vanilla or Almond flavoring
Note: 3 egg whites may be substituted for 3 tablespoons of meringue powder. Omit the water if using real egg whites.
Because this frosting dries quickly, and very hard, this is the recommended frosting to use for gluing together the walls and roof sections. Keep all utensils completely grease-free. Combine all ingredients, mixing slowly with stationary mixer until peaks form. Beat at high speed for 7 to 10 minutes. This is important for the frosting to be soft enough to use with pastry bag.
This frosting is fast drying – keep bowl covered with a damp cloth. If icing is too thick when using fine tubes, add a few drops of water. For thicker icing, beat in a little extra confectioners sugar.
Store leftover frosting, tightly covered, in the refrigerator for weeks. Re-beat before using again (if using real egg-whites, the frosting will not keep its cementing properties after the initial beating).
This recipe makes about 3 ½ cups of glue frosting.
Frosting Tip: When working with egg whites or meringue powder, keep all utensils grease-free. Any oil or grease will break down the frosting mixture. Note that the "decorators frosting" contains grease (shortening). When decorating, it is helpful to keep one bag exclusively to be used for "glue frosting", and another bag to be used for the decorators frosting. This helps to keep grease away from the "glue frosting".
Monday, December 8, 2008
This has been such an interesting experiment for our family. I have a feeling we're going to do this again and again. Maybe not for a whole week, maybe the next time we'll shorten it up. So far the benefits have been:
- Cleaning out the cupboards, the refrigerator, and the freezer.
- Using our brains and not our money for entertainment
- Being more resourceful
- Young One has learned tremendous things so far. I'll detail more at the end of the week, but I think he's looking at money and how he entertains himself in a very different way.
- And the bank account is looking good!
The biggest thing I've noticed so far, is that we spend a little here and a little there and it all adds up. I was in a huge rush to get out of the house this morning. If we weren't on a spending freeze, I would have grabbed an Egg McMuffin and coffee at McDonalds. That's something I rarely do, but I just didn't have the time to eat this morning. I didn't though. I grabbed some cinnamon raisin bread and after dropping Young One off at school, toasted it at my mom's house. I had to take her to two doctor's offices and to a medical supply store this morning. When I dropped her off at the first doctor's office, she suggested I go shopping for a bit. I probably would have if I wasn't on this fiscal fast. The other day when we were out at the library, we headed home to have lunch. Quite often when we're out as a family on the weekend, we'll eat at a restaurant and/or buy snacks. Trips to stores for quick errands can result in impulse buys. It just all adds up.
I think I will be much more conscious of that kind of spending now.
This has been a good thing for our family.
Saturday, December 6, 2008
This Fiscal Fast we're on caused some troubles today on the home front. Young One was out of sorts all day. I had planned a day of fun freebies. A trip to the library, to hang out and look at some of the ginormous books that we'd never carry home (or be allowed to check out). I thought we'd pick a few movies, maybe check out a museum pass (basically free entrance to many of the Minneapolis/Saint Paul area museums), and take out a few movies. Young One wanted none of this. He pouted, chose one Simpsons DVD, and then glowered from an armchair behind a giant Spiderman book. I nixed the idea of heading to a free museum. I didn't want to deal with the PoutMaster all day long.
We had planned to make our gingerbread house, an annual tradition, this weekend. But, it was a hard sell. I mixed the dough myself and put it in the refrigerator to chill. Time for a mother son talk.
Basically, he told me that he was sick of this no spending money thing. That he wanted to go out and do something fun and that most definitely involved spending money. That Christmas couldn't come fast enough and he just wanted to buy a video game or go to the movies, or go to an arcade, or go out for lunch at some kid paradise. And he knew he couldn't. And it sucked.
This opened the door to a very interesting conversation. We talked about how fun can be had without money. That we have a house full of things to do and that if we get bored enough, we'll get resourceful and start finding things to do. We talked about how much money we have spent in the past without even thinking about it and that we have to be more mindful of our spending. We talked about how we're very fortunate to have all that we do and to have the income that Dad brings home. We talked about what it would be like to have nothing.
We talked about how we'd like to share our abundance.
We talked about how long it is until Christmas. And how, even as an adult, it's difficult to wait for things. We also talked about how time seems a lot longer when you're a kid and how I could remember what an eternity it could be until your birthday or Christmas.
We talked about the superiority of Rock Band over Guitar Hero.
We talked about Homer Simpson's obsession with donuts.
And then, we talked about how keeping busy will help the time pass. And we talked about the importance of discussing our feelings and how pouting and grumping around doesn't work very well. We talked about the importance of communication.
Then he and his dad went out and had some man time, drooling at ginormous TVs, and playing demos of video games. I baked the gingerbread house pieces while they were out and thought long and hard about whether we really are materialistic. Maybe we've been in denial all along?
Friday, December 5, 2008
Probably not the best idea to start this spending freeze during the holidays. Or maybe it is. Maybe this is the BEST time to try this experiment.
While making some Christmas presents today, I realized that I didn't have enough of one crucial ingredient for the end product. Ugh. I thought I was going to have to wait. But, no!!! What Cheapskate Guru Jeff Yeager said in his book would happen. You just might finally use something that you haven't had the need to or didn't even know you had. I searched my cupboards, and sure enough, I did have a second box of the missing ingredient.
Looking into my pantry, I am amazed at how much food is really in there. Much of it has been there for a very long time. Bought for a recipe and not used, purchased on sale at a can't be missed price, or just impulse buys. My pantry is full. And I'm very excited about it getting some clearing out this week.
Young One is fully on board. We talked to him about this experiment last night and at first he seemed a bit worried. We assured him that we have plenty of money, that this is just something we're trying to clear out our cupboards a bit and to focus more on experiences and not stuff. Once that was talked about, he was just fine. I watched him start to ask for something or to go somewhere a couple of times, but then the gears shifted in his brain and he remembered our fiscal fast, and we ended up talking about something else.
I got to thinking this afternoon that I have the luxury of making this fiscal fast a choice and that so many people in our country, in our world, do not have the choice or the ability to live this way on a whim. It's day to day life for them. This week has already been very enlightening.
D came home tonight letting me know that he needs to get a haircut in preparation for a very important sales pitch next week. We did agree that work related expenses would have to continue (client lunches, gas for the commute, etc), I think he should let me cut his hair. I'm pretty good at it. I've been cutting Young One's hair for years. This would be the one time, though, that the clipper guard popped off and he ended up with a runway down the middle of his head. I guess I'll allow it. Client pitches mean you've got to look good. I'll let this one slide.
Something to think about: only 1/3 of the world's population is well fed. The rest are nutritionally deficient or starving.
Taking a little time to play with words, to play with food, and just to play!