Saturday, November 22, 2008

Provident Living

So, I guess my darling child does not inspire comments. So sad. I'll move onto another subject that has been brewing in my head. With this economy combined with being "starving students" now, we, like many others, have had to tighten the belt. Here are a few things that have saved us some pennies so that hopefully the dollars will mind themselves.

1. Do a load of laundry a day. A load a day makes it so that the kids don't need as many clothes. I'm sure an economist out there would say that doing a load a day could be less cost effective on the energy bill but in my house, we just don't need as many outfits, socks, underwear etc.

2. Unsubscribe to retail e-mails. Out of sight, out of mind. I don't think to click onto a retail website unless I get an e-mail first.

3. Don't go out to eat. This one is obvious and self-explanatory.

4. Drive the speed limit. This helps on many levels. Besides avoiding paying ridiculous fees on speeding tickets, I actually do get better mileage. Trust me, I know.

5. Eat in portion control. Shocking that a box of triscuits can last me two weeks if I eat them in suggested serving sizes. Hmmmm....

6. Although food is cheaper at Walmart and Target, all the "extras" that end up in my basket certainly make up for any savings on food.

7. The above applies to Costco except that I have been able to exhibit control and only buy FOOD that we actually do EAT before it expires from Costco at a cost savings.

8. Use the library. Another no-brainer. I just hate borrowing but it's working okay.

9. Throw away the volumes of catalogs that come in the mail especially before the kids see them.

10. Only drink water or milk. Soda speaks for itself and juice just doesn't do anything for us. We're better off eating the actual fruit than its juice.

11. Don't buy cold cereal. Sounds crazy but it's so expensive, increases our milk bill unnecessarily, and unless it's Fiber One or Kashi (or something like it) it's just not that good nutritionally. Everyone is hungry not more than an hour later if eaten for breakfast. Scott's note: Fiber One is colon care not nutritional care.

12. Do Flylady instead of hiring a housecleaner. This one is a bummer and is still not proving to be a replacement but I'm trying. This one is coming back to the budget as soon as I can manage it.

Wait a minute, half of these things are from my "how to lose weight" list. What's up with that? I hate it when things are so inter-related.

This is just a small sampling but I'm amazed that for once in our married life, we are able to stick to a budget successfully. That feels kind of good!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Now What?

I took this photo in raw, without a flash, played in Photoshop but now what? It's nothing fantastic. Obviously, I have more learning to do.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

These are a few of my favorite things....

Eat your heart at Oprah! Here are my most recent favorite discoveries:

1. The Pioneer Woman... (Thanks Becca for the tip!) Not only is she so interesting and brings you into her world of modern-day ranching but she is so free with her own hints and tips. Here's what I came up with after searching through her photography section:

Can you tell which is the original? Will I be brave enough to shoot pictures only in raw and never with a flash as she suggests? Oh my!

2. $.17 stamps as well as $.59 stamps. Who needs to mail things these days with e-mail and internet? Well, I do. I've been wasting money on stamps when I'm over one ounce. I've been putting two $.42 stamps. Did you know that each additional ounce over one ounce is only $.17? I'm a provident liver now!

3. Facebook. I love this fast way to have two-way communication with friends and family.

4. Rhodes frozen rolls for homemade pizzas on the grill. Take the frozen dinner roll dough out to thaw for a bit and then anyone (including kids) can stretch it out. Put a little bit of olive oil on one side, cook on the grill to cook that side, add sauce, cheese and toppings to the cooked side and put it back on the grill. Fast, easy and yummy! I've used wheat rolls too...mmmm.

5. Double burner griddle for the stove from Pampered Chef. I leave it on my stovetop and use it for everything. Who knew it would be so handy?

6. The soundtrack for Hairspray. Not sure what turned me back onto this music but I just love these songs. The true question is whether or not it will outplay the Mamma Mia soundtrack. Something to watch for.

7. Scrapbooking on Photoshop. My love of photoshop only increases as I continue to discover all it's potential but scrapbooking on Photoshop is just so fun, I can hardly stand it! I can get caught up on scrapbooking even though I may not necessarily spend the money to print out the pages at Costco yet. My finished pages are just in a queue waiting to be let out. The possibilities are endless!

8. Printing 12 x12 pages at Costco. Obviously related to the above favorite thing. Costco is the cheapest and handiest place so far to print out 12x12's. I'm waiting for the prices to be reduced even more but that hasn't happened yet. The only risk is protecting the pages from being crushed by flats of chicken broth and raw hamburger juices.

9. Having the kids conduct family home evenings (not lead the music but actually conduct). This has brought new life to our FHE gatherings. To hear the kid in charge 'welcoming everybody' and 'turning the time over to so-and-so' is so funny and endearing all at the same time!

I'm sure there are more but I can't think of them right now. On another exciting note, I have to take Ben after school to a recording session where he is singing in a school choir that is recording a new primary song for the church. Why do I think this is so cool that I am almost getting emotional about it? I'll post more details when I hear more.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

New Favorite Author

I rarely recommend books. I love, however, when I am recommended a book that I instantly adore. This is what happened when a good and trusted friend gave me the book Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen. (Can I mention your name trusted friend?) She happens to be friends with the editor who recommended it highly to her. It's a unique tale and truly magical! It's pretty clean and just a sweet story.

Imagine my glee when Sarah Addison Allen's second book, Sugar Queen, was just as delectable if not more so than her first! Oh joy, oh rapture! I can't wait for her next book to come out in May of 2009. Check it out for yourself on or wherever you like to shop for books and see if it's something that would suit your fancy too!

I just tried to "friend" Ms. Allen on facebook. I hope she wants to be my friend. I'm determined to get her to Utah for a booksigning.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

In Need of an Actuary

Isn't an actuary a person who measures risks? I need my risks calculatecd on my chances of getting a speeding ticket. I just got my 2nd speeding ticket in only two months and all in the same city! What on earth is going on? Well, besides apparently I don't know my speed zones, I am starting to believe that Provo Police has me under surveillance so on the rare chance I actually leave my house, they've got me covered. During most of a week, I exist in an area that includes short of a 2-mile radius. What are the chances of getting a ticket when I am on the roads so infrequently?

Just a helpful note, the speed limit on University Parkway between the stadium and the baseball field is 30 mph. I made sure and questioned the schoolboy, allegedly a police officer, who pulled me over about this. Why is it 30 mph when there isn't a house or neighborhood in sight? His answer was that it was because it was a school area. Yeah, a school full of ADULTS you ding dong. Just get your backpack on little boy, hop on your bicycle and scoot along. (Don't worry, I refrained from saying the latter.)

So, if you happen to be behind me getting very impatient as I'm following absolutely every speed limit...TOO BAD! You'll have to take it up with the officer who is likely not far behind me.

Scott, have fun watching the kids while I go to traffic school. Apparently I need it since studying the DMV booklet hasn't seemed to help in the slightest.
Some photos from a day playing in the leaves to end on a good note...

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

The Sock Round-up

Today I have spent an inordinate amount of time finally facing that laundry basket that has all the leftover stuff in it. Stuff = mismatched socks, clothes I don't know if should be tossed, doll clothes, etc. As this isn't a favorite task, as indicated by my procrastination of it, my mind went adrift asking many rhetorical questions.

  • don't waffle irons have power switches?
  • does my cute little baby insist on climbing on top of the dining table? Or the piano, for that matter.
  • is it that when I do laundry, my 4 year-old has 15 pairs of underwear and my 7 and 10 year olds only have maybe 1?
  • do I think my PC is much easier to use than Scott's mac?
  • does our cat insist on sleeping in Grace's crib?
  • am I so excited about seeing a flock of 20 California quail in my Utah backyard?
  • doesn't it snow already? We are ready!
  • does Scott drape his pants on a chair only six inches from the closet instead of hanging them?
  • is Emma so cute when she looks at the rain turn to snow outside and says "the sky is all out of rain"?
  • is it when I tell Sarah that I wish the laundry lady would come, she answers in a not so nice tone, "THAT'S YOU!!"?
  • didn't Scott run my photo through Photoshop before posting it on our blog?
Well, there are many more but that about covers it for the moment. Here are some unrelated photos for fun....