Wednesday, September 8, 2010


We're It's time that Ari gets a nod in the address. Come on over!

Back to School (for lack of a witty title)

Hello, all!

We started our new school year yesterday with a bang. Or actually, with the absence of a bang, which I prefer; often the first day of school is met with a lot of sadness/apprehension/skepticism around here. Remember our "first day" photo from last year? Cole told me the other day, "Mom, when I think about starting school, it feels like my worst nightmare. And like my best day EVER." I guess that about sums it up.

But really, can you blame them? School for boys typically means having to give up the stuff they like (playing outside) for the stuff they don't (working sums and practicing handwriting), and so I understand the apprehension...conversely, I understand that on some level they are desperately bored and hopeful that this school year will bring some wonderfully messy projects and possibly another Greek War Ship made entirely of ice cream, whipped cream and frosting (a favorite from last year!).

Oh, and I am hopeful too. I still only have one child that is legally obligated to be schooling, and a gaggle of other wee ones that want to be included, but not forced to work. Ah, the complexity of homeschool! We are also coming off of nearly 6 weeks of 'making do' while Justin has been working out of town, and we are preparing to move for the first time in nearly 7 small task for people as 'packratty' as my beloved and me. It's a bit of a whirlwind. Big shout-out to my Big Sis who brought her two ones up to add in the chaos for an overnight...and then returned for another visit a short two weeks later to help with our yard sale. B: We are ever so thankful for your help and for all the fun!

Guess that's all for now, as I've just noticed the two-year-old is sitting in front of the oven LICKING IT. Apparently a bit of parenting is required.

Friday, July 30, 2010

20 A Day: Day 11

Well, here we are on Day 11 and still limping along. I will confess that I am in the hole $20 at this point--there was one day at the beginning of this week that I actually had all the groceries for lunch & dinner, but was just too wiped by the afternoon to make up the bread dough--which of course was the basis of our dinner. We swiped a twenty and bought Subway sandwiches for everyone. We could have made it. I could have cooked a big pot of oats and called it good. But it was Day 5 or 6 and we were hitting a wall, tired already of all of the work required to live on so little!

But for the most part, the experiment is going well. We've managed to do just fine with meals (other than that one little hiccup...which actually provided the next day's lunch, too, now that I think about it) and even add in little bits of gasoline here and there, toilet paper, and a birthday gift.

I'm going super-economy on meals though, folks. Like, taking a roast chicken and making it into three meals economy. My new favorite dinner is grilling up a whole mess of veggies (my eggplant, zukes, onion, and bell peppers from Haggen), mixing up some bread dough and making flatbread rounds that we cook on the barbecue until they are hot and puffy. Then I dump on some of the vegetables, add a sprinkle of mozzarella (2 pounds at Costco for only $3.99!) and put the lid on the 'cue for another minute to make it all melty and yummy. The vegetables are my favorite part, but I'm pretty sure Justin & the boys would be more than content to just live on the hot grilled flatbread.

Other favorites we've had this week are Trout Pie and a sweet onion quiche, made with the Walla Wallas that are on sale everywhere. The boys didn't go for the quiche, but Justin and I ate it for three days. And the Trout Pie was gone that night--it's a big seller every time I make it (I'm sure only due to the fact that it's a Jamie Oliver recipe...). Maybe I'll post that recipe tomorrow, in the event that anyone else has a sweet neighbor like we do that provides them with fresh fish all summer long!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Heard Around The House

Cole: "I know how to make a chicken bomb! You take a roast chicken, and put some dynamite inside..."

Sorry, folks. He walked out of the kitchen after that. You'll have to imagine the ending on your own.

Friday, July 23, 2010

20 A Day: Day 3

We went out as a family yesterday morning to the library to restock our movie & book shelves (free entertainment) and stopped at Haggen on the way home so Mama could restock a few of the refrigerator shelves. For the bargain price of $25, we bought:

1 can of pine-orange strawberry juice, 3 packages of bagels, 4 pounds of carrots, 3 cucumbers, 1 eggplant, 2 heads of lettuce, 1 package of cream cheese, 3 pounds of tomatoes on the vine, 1 pound of zucchini, 2 red bell peppers, 2 orange bell peppers, and 1 yellow bell pepper (can anyone guess what dinner I'm envisioning?). It felt good to leave the market with an entire twenty dollar bill still in my pocket.

Breakfast: Omelettes with sauteed mushrooms, sauteed sweet onion, and cheddar.
Lunch: Bagel sandwiches with cream cheese, tomato, cucumber, shredded carrot and mustard, and juice.
Dinner: Hamburgers (Birthday leftovers again) and pasta salad.

Start of Day: $45
End of Day: $20

Quote of the Day:
"When Ari is a toddler, I'm going to teach him. I only like babies. I don't like toddlers. Toddlers get into your stuff and mess everything up. I just like taking care of babies" --Smack-In-The-Middle Reuben, age 4

Thursday, July 22, 2010

20 A Day: Day 2

We did much better with our stipend yesterday-- only spent coins out of the coin jar for a cup of coffee at Small Group last night.

Breakfast: Oatmeal with brown sugar & raisin.
Lunch: Hotdogs (left over from Cole's birthday on Sunday...we're going to be floating on that food for a while!)
Dinner: From-scratch pancakes with fresh berries and fried eggs.

Start of day: $25
End of day: $25

A grocery trip is on my horizon for today; I've moved from Find-A-Recipe-That-Sounds-Good-And-Buy-The-Stuff-For-It meal planning to Read-The-Ads-Buy-What's-Cheap-And-Create-From-It meal planning (I typically use some combination of the two). I am armed with $45 and will be looking at every display with a critical eye...

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

20 A Day

I've implemented a sort of social experiment around here: to see if we can live on twenty dollars a day. (Maybe "social experiment" isn't the right phrase? Monetary experiment, possibly? Though before too long we may begin fighting over the last piece of bread and then it will be more social than we desire...)

I digress. The twenty dollars doesn't include housing, or heat, or any of those things: the bills are paid. I just wondered what it would be like to give ourselves a $20 daily allotment and try to live within it. The money needs to cover groceries, household purchases (diapers, laundry soap etc), gasoline, and spending money. I set a single twenty dollar bill out every morning and whoever needs something can grab it and spend it. If there's any left over, it gets added to the next day's twenty...and so on. We're going to try it for about 3 weeks and see how feasible it is. I'd love to eventually get to the point where we are providing so much of our own food that a Grocery Budget is nearly non-existent.

Day One:
Breakfast: Oatmeal with brown sugar & raisins.
Lunch: Two loaves of homemade bread, fried eggs, yogurt with berries from the garden, watermelon, lemonade (left from Cole's birthday on Sunday).
Dinner: Barbecued trout (caught by the neighbor), basmati rice pilaf, salad.

Spent: $10 at the grocery store (a bag of rice, a half gallon of organic whole milk, green onions and cilantro for the pilaf.)
$5 at Dairy Queen--Mama needed ice cream, and Daddy says 'you shouldn't eat alone'...

We had so much food floating around from the weekend that I thought we'd at least be able to get through the first day without spending, and yet there is only a fiver left. This may prove more difficult than I anticipated.