Friday, September 28, 2007

Philanthropy Thursday

Our girls have been sharing a room since J was born five and a half years ago. We finally decided it was time for each of them to have their own rooms. They have been asking for a while, especially O, our oldest. We agreed that our introverted girl, who now spends long days at school engaged in extroverted activities, and who comes home to an entirely extroverted family, needed some private space to recharge.

So last Saturday, I tackled the project myself while my hubby was at work. I really didn't think it would be that complicated. I just needed to move a king sized bed, plus end table, lamps, towels, sheets and blankets out of the guest room. Then I needed to remove a huge cabinet, a wood butcher block table, bookshelves plus books, stools, and a gazillion totes of craft materials out of my study/craft room. Should have been easy, yes?

Then, of course, I had to not only relocate everything from the girls' room into their two new rooms, but also had to divide up everything they have been mostly sharing for the last 5 and a half years---train table, small table and chairs, mini-kitchen, 4 sets of book/toy shelves, 2 twin beds, 2 canopies, a gazillion toys and games, even more stuffed animals and blankets and doll clothes, plus 2 dressers and tons of clothes hanging in their closets. Piece of cake!

It took FOREVER. Absolutely forever. Three full days, actually. My kids were blue in the face by the end. They wanted to kill me every time I said, "Okay, time to sit down and divide up the [insert category, something like "dress-up clothes"]. In the process, however, I got to sort through all of their stuff like you can only do when you move. I filled only 2 white kitchen sized bags full of trash, but I filled 3 huge, contractor-sized, black garbage bags full of stuff to donate to charity.

Yesterday, I dropped it all off at Goodwill. We are feeling much lighter around here!

Just hope for me that we don't have one of those huge meltdowns a month or so from now when one of the girls realizes that something absolutely essential to her existence is missing.

I'm sure they'll both forget all about those precious toys, right?

Wednesday, September 26, 2007


Another word I had learn for my class is "bruxism." It means "teeth grinding" though I don't know why you wouldn't just say that. Anyway, I do it and it's extremely annoying.

My dentist hates it, though he says he does it himself. He uses one of those mouth guard thingys, and he thinks I ought to use one too. Eww.

In bed tonight, I find myself doing it. Why, you ask? Oh, maybe stress? Maybe lack of exercise? Who knows? But I find myself wondering....

Does this make me a bruxist?

So in my head I start thinking about the word.

Bruxist. Bruxism. Bruxarama. Bruxability. Bruxilicious.

I can't help it. I can't sleep! Once something like this gets into my brain, I just can't help myself.

So I get up and I google it---"bruxism," that is. The first thing that comes up is the Wikipedia site so I read it. Here's what it has to say---

Bruxism (from the Greek βρυγμός (brugmós), gnashing of teeth) is the grinding of the teeth, typically accompanied by the clenching of the jaw. It is an oral parafunctional activity that occurs in most humans. Bruxism is caused by the activation of reflex chewing activity; it is not a learned habit. Chewing is a complex neuromuscular activity that is controlled by reflex nerve pathways, with higher control by the brain. During sleep, the reflex part is active while the higher control is inactive, resulting in bruxism. In most people, bruxism is mild enough not to be a health problem; however, some people suffer from significant bruxism that can become symptomatic.

Now, isn't that fascinating? Aren't you so glad you're spending your time reading my blog? And aren't I so proud that I spend my time writing it?

Quick! Call your friends! Alert the media! Let them know there's a new blogger in town and she's a fabulous read!

Yes, insomnia. It's a good thing.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Words, words, and more words

How the hell am I supposed to remember this stuff? Did anyone tell me I should have taken Latin in college? NO!

Tell me any of these words make sense---

methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus
vanomycin-resistant enterococci
pseudomonas aeruginosa
escherichia coli
streptococcus A
mycobacterium tuberculosis
escherichia coli
pseudomembranous colitis
clostridium difficile
neisseria gonorrhoeae
candida albicans
tinea capitis
tinea pedis

The list goes on and on! Oh yeah, there's more, baby. Lots more. I have a test on this craziness today. Wish me luck!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Small Regrets

Most of the time, it's the small things I do that I regret. Sure, I have some bigger regrets, but the small things are the most likely to nag at me. I guess it's because the small mistakes are the ones that are easiest to avoid and yet, I still manage to make them. Sigh.

Here's something that happened this morning. Keep in mind that I'm always, always rushing on a school morning.

Child: (sweetly) Mom, what's wind?

Mom: What?

Child: What's wind?

Mom: (slightly agitated) What?

Child: What's wind?

Mom: (slightly more agitated) What's what?

Child: (still sweetly) Wind.

Mom: (still agitated) Wind?

Child: Yes.

Mom: (quickly) It's air that moves through the sky. Now, what do you want in your lunch?

So guess what Mom is doing right now? Yep, you guessed it. Looking up "wind" on Wikipedia and printing it out so that I can read it to the Child when she comes home from school.

Yep, making it up for it.

Hmm. I wonder if there's such a thing as a "wind" shaped popsicle?

Sunday, September 23, 2007

A Season for Strength and Courage

Today is the autumnal equinox. As we begin these first days of autumn, I must say that my kids go to the most awesome school. A school that celebrates all that is beautiful in the world.

Next week begins the season of St. Michaelmas. Our principle had this to say about the time of year we are entering---

"Michaelmas is not just a day; it is a season that extends from September 29, the Feast of Knight Michael, to October 31, All Hallows Eve. It is a time for celebrating deeds of strength and courage by facing challenges, symbolically dragons, both external and internal. It is a time for harvest, a time for work, a time for storing away that which we need for the cold dark months to come. Michaelmas is celebrated at our school through storytelling, puppetry and skits. It has become tradition for the second and seventh grades to prepare and present a Michaelmas play, usually St. George and the Dragon. Another tradition is the children playing games during the festival which require feats of skill and courage. Classes may make dragon bread. The eating of dragon bread symbolizes both the overcoming of the dragon and the assimilation into our own beings the wisdom and power of the natural world. Our Michaelmas celebration evolves from year to year as we strive to make it a meaningful and living experience for all our students, young and old."

Is that awesome or what? I can hardly believe our principle said that. It's just beautiful.

May we all be blessed with strength and courage and a bountiful harvest. Happy Autumn!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

I Just Have to Say

Thank you to everyone who showed their support and empathy when my DH was having the worst day of his career.

My poor DH is still suffering. He sent this poor mother to the hospital to be induced on Thursday afternoon, but she ended up not able to deliver until he was on at the hospital early Saturday morning. So he ended up having to deliver the baby. 36 hours later. Had she delivered sooner, another doctor would have had to deliver the baby. What horrible luck. And oh the ordeal for the mother. Laboring for so many hours knowing that your poor baby is dead.

Oh, that poor mother. Oh, my poor husband.

I just have to say that I'm grateful that he's not jaded. I know that might sound strange to all of us who were so upset by this loss of life, but there are definitely doctors who need to harden in order to survive their jobs. My hubby is not one of them. It's harder to care, of course, but so much more human. I am grateful to be married to such a wonderful man!

Tonight he's back on and please pray all goes well. Let's hope for life and happiness!

On another note, I must admit what I'm doing right now. I'm sitting at the computer, drinking a glass of wine (yes, I'm alone, unless you count my two kids) AND eating a piece of chocolate cake. My children, on the other hand, are using MY stepper and step aerobics video to exercise and have fun. I'm not kidding.

Sad and pathetic, huh?

Does this mean I qualify for slacker mom status?

Friday, September 21, 2007

So Much To Be Thankful For

My DH had the worst possible thing that could happen to a doctor happen to him yesterday---a baby died at 40 weeks. That's term. The baby actually died on his or her very due date. The poor mother, a first-time-about-to-be-mother, came into the office with her sister all elated with anticipation. She expected my DH to tell her something like, "Well, you're 2 centimeters dilated, it could happen at any time." And instead, my hubby who's known around the office as being the awesome heartbeat finder, couldn't find a heartbeat. He tried. He tried hard. He remembered that earlier that day (an omen?) he couldn't find another heartbeat, and then another. But he remembered that in a few minutes, he did find them.

But with this poor woman, he didn't. He brought in another doctor who also couldn't find the heartbeat. He perused the woman's chart. She had done all the right things. She hadn't missed a single prenatal visit. She had taken all the tests---all but one, one that many women skip---especially women who know they wouldn't personally choose abortion even if they had found fetal abnormalities. She had been to her prenatal visit just last week and everything was fine. He had found a heartbeat then. Why couldn't he find one today?

She was young. She was healthy. He tested her for drug use. Negative. He thought of all the possibilities. Negative. She had done all the right things. All the right things. He has lots of women in his practice that don't do the right things and their babies live. She had done all the right things.

Her baby died. And my DH cried.

Shit. I cried. I told a friend and she cried. Who carries a baby to term just to have the poor thing die? What sad and perverted version of our existence allows this kind of thing to happen?

And ya all wonder why I'm in a pissy, I mean, thankful, mood?

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Philanthropy Thursday

Okay, okay, okay, I know I missed it again! What is it today? Friday? Maybe it's still Thursday night as I write this. Yes! I think it is. Whew!

Again, I got caught up in my own selfish existence. Did I get a chance to sit down with my daughter today and discuss what cause she'd like to support? Did I ask either of my daughters what good deeds they might like to perform today?

No, I did not. I wish I could claim that it was because I am a slacker. Oh, those wonderful slacker moms. The enviable slackers. What I wouldn't give to be a slacker. Sigh.

But let's see.....I did donate $25 today to partly because I'm just in a pissy mood. I'm sick and tired of the politics in our country. I'm sick and tired of the fact that our troops are not yet home and I'm absolutely sick and tired of people like Bill Maher---someone who has the audacity to compare public breastfeeding to public masturbation, someone who I thought was on our side, someone who I enjoy watching, turn out to be a misogynist pig. I can't stand it and I'm sick and f-ing tired! (sorry to Mary Alice---really, I love that word---maybe I should have said "I'm sick and ferociously tired?")

Okay, so 25 bucks isn't enough. I know it's disgustingly not enough. I get it. But I'm in such a pissy mood that I have no idea whether or not this money will go to the "right place." Should I really have donated more than that?

Then I spend half the day (or so it seems) on the phone with my BIL who just had a restraining order placed on him by his ex-girlfriend. Oh my stars. The details would put you in your grave.

Then my poor hubby, my awesome, thoughtful and sensitive hubby has a horrible day at work. And that topic absolutely deserves it's own post.

And y'all wonder why I'm in such a pissy mood? Maybe I'll have an epiphany at 2AM. If I do, you can bet your bottom dollar that I'll be up writing about it.

A Much Better Day?

Okay, so I've gotten some feedback---how do you go from "sad, sad times" to "a fabulous day?" I guess I must have some of those 7 year old hormones you may have read about. You know, bouncing from one emotion to the next in a heartbeat?

A more appropriate title for today's post may have been A Much Better Day.

Whew. I'm feeling calmer already.

Fabulous Day

Oh, the difference a day can make!

First, J had a play date with two of her classmates, two girls. I got to enjoy a full car ride of singing, and giggling, and little girl talk. I literally said nothing the entire car ride (and those of you who know me know that this is quite a feat in itself as I am usually probing my children's friends for information about what happened at school) and I just sat back and enjoyed the happiness of these precious girls.

Second, and most importantly, I received an unexpected, and extremely wonderful phone call. A family member, someone close to my heart, read my yesterday's post (Just Different) and called because he was bummed that I was sad and just wanted to check in and see how I was doing. He assured me that we were loved and that if there was anything we needed to talk about then we should definitely call. And he reminded me that family members are the ones we are to trust in times of stress and that no matter what I said, no matter how emotional or seemingly irrational, I should feel comfortable expressing these feelings.

Oh, the relief! I definitely felt love today.

It was a good day.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Just Different

I had a meeting last week with the school psychologist and special education director to discuss my child. Very stressful. As mothers, we always blame ourselves when something goes "wrong" with our child. Blame indeed.

That was Wednesday. On Sunday, I discussed the situation with someone who is close to my family and has a background in these issues. Someone who loves my children and presumably loves me. I assumed that this person would want to hear not only the "facts" as I presented them but also would be willing and interested in how I felt about said "facts." I was wrong. Dead wrong.

This person said that my expression of emotion made her uncomfortable and she wondered why I didn't talk to someone else instead of her. She also said, in what I interpreted as a patronizing tone, that I was "just different" than people she was used to talking to. My husband, who participated in the conversation and who is pretty typically male in his comfort level with emotions, said that I absolutely did not reveal too much, that I did not show too much emotion. He assured me that it was/is a very emotional situation and that he would have guessed that I was right in assuming that I could confide in this person this way.

We were wrong. I gambled and lost. I revealed "too much information." But I'm confident that there's not a mother in the universe, at least one that is currently mothering young children, who would find my comments TMI.

It's frustrating to say the least. And it leaves us feeling like we have one less person with whom to confide. One less person who we trust. And one less person who we can count on in times of family stress.

It is a sad, sad time for us.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Philanthropy Thursday

Okay, so I know it's not Thursday anymore. But this week I've had more to do than any other week in recent memory. It was stressful!

Let's see.....we raised a barn (more on that later), I met with the school psychologist and special ed teacher to discuss my child (that's a year's worth of stress in one day right there). We had sod delivered and my hubby, who normally works ridiculous hours as it is, had to put in an extremely complicated sprinkler system and do it all in record time since the sod would die if he didn't. We had the BIL situation which is way complicated---can barely even go into it. We had an unexpected, but very pleasant, out of town visitor, and then expected visitors. We had the first 2nd grade parent night. I had my first exam in my new class, and even taking a class at all is new to me since I haven't done anything like it in the last 7 years. Of course, we had all the normal stuff---school, dance, playdates, etc.

I had planned to let my youngest daughter pick a philanthropy project, but it just didn't happen this week. So instead I did two things that I really think should count. Really. They should.

First, I finally, finally met those neighbors I talked about in last week's post. Now granted I didn't bring them a welcome basket, or cookies or even my phone number, but still! I met them, didn't I? Give me a break!

My second good deed on Thursday is a little more complicated. But it boils down to a few things---restraint, patience, picking up a bird and delivering it to safety, staying enough involved to show you care but not enough that you lose your mind, learning to text on my phone, lots of hugs and smiles, and playing the good cop when you really didn't want to play at all.

Sigh. I love Thursdays.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

September 11th

Is it September 11th again already?

No matter how many years it has been, it still never fails to hit me.

My parents used say, "I remember where I was and exactly what I was doing when JFK was shot," and "when we landed on the moon" and it always bored me to tears. I never really listened and I never really understood the impact it must have had on their lives. Until, of course, our generation experienced 9/11.

Unfortunately, just as I was when my parents repeated once again where they were when John Kennedy was shot, my children will probably be bored when I tell the story. They will have no idea how much this event, this series of events, shook our world. Shook our confidence, our security, our trust in who and what we are and what we are all about. Shook us to the very core of our beings. They will have no idea. Because they will have grown up post 9/11. They will never know what it was like before.

I remember exactly where I was and exactly what I was doing. It is a boring story really, especially compared to the stories of the people who experienced true tragedy that day. But I'm telling it anyway.

O was just about 14 months old and I was already almost 4 months pregnant with Julia. We woke up early that day, early for us, because I had an appointment. In my usual fashion, the first thing I did when I came into the kitchen was to turn on NPR. How else was I to stay connected to the outside world now that I was a 14 month veteran of SAHMomdom?

I heard a few things on the radio that sounded odd. Very odd. But they didn't quite register in my brain. I was busy getting cereal and the like splattered all over my kitchen by my child. And I remember hearing the radio.

What's interesting is that the way I remember the day is that it was Terry Gross on the radio. Maybe there's something in my mind and in my memory that wants it to have been Terry Gross. Someone soothing like Terry.

But in retrospect, it probably wouldn't have been her. She was usually on in the afternoon and this was morning. This radio host had been interviewing someone live and was completely thrown off and seemed like she didn't know what to say. She sounded so strange and unsure of herself and her questions. And it was happening right then. During the interview. News of the events were continually rolling in and I'm sure they were getting bits and pieces of it as they were attempting to conduct this interview. IT. WAS. HAPPENING. RIGHT. THEN.

I vaguely remember leaving to go to our appointment. We had an appointment to meet with someone to discuss refinancing our mortgage. How mundane. I quickly got O dressed and we headed out in the car. By the time we got to the loan office, I sort of realized what was happening---though "realizing" is quite an inaccurate way to describe it. It was still very blurry and undefined. Then, in the waiting room of the mortgage company, I heard a few people say things like, "You know it was those damn Middle Easterners. They hate us, you know" and things like that. And I wondered, "Could this be true?"

O, of course, was oblivious to it all. On the way out of the office, she explored a small landscaped area and fell and hurt her knee. She had that cut and the resultant scar for months. Months. And it always reminded me of 9/11.

It wasn't until we were home and I was smart enough to turn on the TV and see pictures, that I fully realized what had happened. Could this have happened? Did this really happen? What's going to happen now? I found myself talking to the TV. Yelling. Crying. I called a few people on the phone. We cried. We speculated. We wondered why it happened. We cried. Then back to watch on TV and stare and stare and cry and yell for hours. How could this have happened?

It was definitely a day I will never forget. No one will ever forget.

Sit a spell, young child of mine, and let me tell you about it. And don't go telling me you are bored, child. Because we will never be the same.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Sisterly Negotiation

I love it when my kids actually negotiate their way through a situation! The alternative, of course, is to fight---kick, scream, pinch, whine. It's not pretty. Here's something that happened today:

Scene: We're in the car, the two girls and I, on our way home from Target. J is eating the rest of her big pretzel and O has already finished her snack. All of the following dialogue happens in nice voices. Very nice voices.

O: Can I have some of your pretzel? I'll give you something for it.

J: What will you give me?

O: Something of mine that's special to me.

J: Like what?

O: Whatever you want. Maybe something like one of my gems or crystals or shells.

J: Maybe that purple crystal? the one you got for your birthday?

O: No, that's too special.

J: How about the purple dolphin?

O: No, that's too special too.

J: How about that purple shell?

O: Okay.

J: Okay, here's some pretzel.

O: Can I have more?

J: [silence]

O: I'll give you two things.

J: What else will you give me?

O: How about that green plastic crystal?

J: Okay. Here's some more.

I loved it! I was so tempted to intervene with one of my typical praises---"I like how well you two are working this out. This is very nice for Mommy to hear." But I held back. You never know what can interfere with nice, calm, sisterly negotiations. You might think you said or did something completely innocuous and the next thing you know, they're screaming. Screaming! If you don't have two girls, or if you didn't have a sister yourself, you can't possibly imagine how horrible this screaming can be!

So I saved it for later. And we had ourselves a peaceful, almost beautiful, sisterly negotiation.

Happy sigh.

Sunday, September 9, 2007


People say I'm opinionated. As if that's a bad thing. As if!

I mean, what's wrong with having an opinion? What's worse than a person who can't formulate an opinion? You ask them something and they say, "I dunno." I say to that, "Okay, well, then, think about it. I'll give you a minute."

It's quite simple really---

Step One: Think about the topic critically.

Step Two: Search your soul, your heart, your mind, and decide how you feel about it.

Step Three: Verbalize it.

How challenging is that? This is not that difficult people!

We watched a really cute movie last night titled "The Astronaut Farmer." There's a scene in the movie when Mr Farmer asks a young man what he'd like to do when he graduates from high school. It goes like this---

Farmer: Whaddaya wanna do when you get outta here?

Kid: I dunno.

Farmer: Whaddaya mean you don’t know?

Kid: I dunno.

Farmer: Well, lemme tell ya somethin’. You better know what ya wanna do before someone else knows it for ya.

Is that terrific advice or what? It's the same thing with opinions and ideas---

You better know how you feel about something, what you think about something, before someone else knows it for you.

Yes, I have an opinion. Let me tell you about it.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Philanthropy Thursday

If you haven't already, get on over to Jen M's blog ( click on the eBay link, and bid on her ring to support Hurricane Katrina victims who are still suffering.

Or pack up a bag of clothes you don't wear anymore and donate them to your local women's shelter.

Or bring some cookies over to those new neighbors who've lived here for 3 months and you still haven't introduced yourself.

Or sign up with your local PTA. You'd be amazed at the wonderful things they are doing nationally.

Or do what I'm doing, and enlist your children in the process. Today, we decided to support my eldest daughter's favorite cause. Dolphins. Save the dolphins!

We went over to and adopted a dolphin. You can actually do that! You pay a mere $50 and they send you a certificate and a picture of your dolphin's dorsal fin, plus some educational info on bottlenose dolphin ecology. It's really quite the deal. They use your dough to help protect the seasonal dolphins who swim through Santa Monica Bay.

In any case, do something! No matter how small. It is Philanthropy Thursday after all!

Did I just rhyme?

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Bad Mommy

O got in trouble at school today. Her teachers didn't make a big deal about it, but just wanted to let me know what had happened. The worrying parent that I am, I ended up speaking with the assistant teacher for 30 minutes about the problem.

I spoke to O about it and she didn't have a lot to say. Then, at dinner, when Daddy was home, I told him what had happened and filled him in on the discussion that I had with the assistant teacher. O again didn't have much to say even though we asked her some questions about it.

After she excused herself from dinner, she went off into a corner of the yard and worked on something. We didn't think much of it because she's always engaged in some sort of "project." A bit later, she came to us and told us there was something she wanted us to see. We walked over to the area where she had been working and she pointed to a heart she had drawn in the dirt with a stick.

"This is a heart for Daddy," she said. It had an O and a D inside it, for O and Daddy. Then she pointed to another heart she had drawn in the dirt, and said, "This heart is for J." It had an O and a J in it. Then she pointed to a square and said, "And this is for Mommy." Daddy asked, "Why does Mommy get a square and not a heart?" She answered, "Because she's a bad mommy."

Honestly, my first reaction was to yell at her and storm off. Fortunately, I refrained, took a deep sigh, hugged her and said, "You're mad at Mommy, huh?" Of course she was. She felt I had betrayed a trust and had "gotten her in trouble" with Daddy, even though I'm much more the disciplinarian in our home. But of course, there's no way I wouldn't share this kind of information with her daddy.

Oh, my poor sweet introverted baby, living in an extroverted family. Thank goodness we are finally starting to understand you.

Later, she came to me again. She had something to show me. This time, I got a heart too, complete with a K and an O in it.


Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Goodbye Summer

We started our summer with a trip to Mexico with friends. Lots of friends!

Then we celebrated Father's Day in Sedona.

And Mongo and Papa came to visit.

We played lots of dress-up (pictured here as Batman and Batgirl),

and took two trips to Lake Powell.

We celebrated the Fourth of July,

and O's 7th birthday.

We camped up at Alta Lakes,

and spent a week in Telluride.

Then we spent two weeks in Chicago visiting family.

And then home again, for a daytrip to Slide Rock State Park,

playdates with friends,

bike rides,

and a trip to the county fair.

Finally, we had a Labor Day lemonade stand,

and a run through the sprinkler.

Along the way we laughed and played. We stayed up late and slept in. We relaxed and enjoyed.
We will miss you Summer! See you next year!

Monday, September 3, 2007

What Does This Say About Me?

Scene: 4 friends sitting around a table, sipping cocktails and munching on chips and dip.

Friend: (standing up) Can I get anyone anything?

Me: I'll have a glass of wine. Oh, and some water. I mean, some water in a separate glass. Not in the wine. You know, (using hands to shape 2 separate glasses) some wine in a glass and some water in a glass.

What does that say about me? I mean, what kind of person needs to qualify their request for water like that? (see post dated Aug 29th)


Sunday, September 2, 2007

How to Save Money

A friend and I were talking the other day about the sacrifices we made to stay home full time with our children. D was in medical school when we had O and I had been the sole breadwinner. I decided to stay home full time with her anyway because, honestly, the thought of leaving her with someone else almost killed me. I was 33 years old. I chose parenthood. Our parents' generation maybe had kids because that's just what you did, but for me, it was a choice. And I chose to be the one to actually do it.

Of course, we struggled financially. Really struggled. We lived on student loans at first and a ridiculously meager resident salary later. We knew though, that there was a light at the end of the tunnel. We knew that eventually, D would graduate from medical school and residency and finally, finally make some decent money. There are certainly some items on this list that I wouldn't have felt comfortable doing had we not had that light at the end of the tunnel. But it took us until O was five years old to start making money and in the meantime, we had another child. It was not easy. Not easy.

Here's my advice on how to do it:
  • Do not have cell phones, cable, or magazine subscriptions.
  • Do not buy organic produce or free range meats.
  • Do not make car payments. Drive only old, used cars.
  • Do not hold life insurance policies.
  • Carry only the most basic phone service and the most basic car insurance (only what the state requires).
  • Make no contributions to savings or retirement plans.
  • Buy all your clothes resale or at Target and Walmart.
  • Shop at Walmart (even though it may be against your values).
  • Trade children's clothing in at a local resale shop for store credit to buy more clothes when needed.
  • Use cloth diapers or buy generic.
  • Do not buy kleenex, disposable wipes, paper towels, cotton balls, or q-tips. Use cheap, bulk toilet paper for all of those needs and wash your own washcloths for wipes.
  • Make meal plans and use every single ingredient in your fridge and pantry.
  • Never, ever waste food. Ever. (I was absolutely psychotic about this). If the bananas are going, make banana bread. If you don't have the rest of the ingredients, mix with another fruit or juice and make smoothies, or pour into popsicle molds and freeze for dessert.
  • Do not shop until there's absolutely nothing in your pantry and fridge. You'd be surprised at what you can whip up from nothing. If it's rice and beans for dinner or homemade bread and frozen green beans, that's what it is.
  • Do not buy anything that's not on sale and/or the generic brand. Go to three stores if you have to, but don't waste a lot of gas doing it.
  • Do not buy cleaning supplies. Only buy what you absolutely have to. I'd use water for windows and mirrors, and Bon Ami for everything else. Bon Ami costs about $1.00 a can. I'd buy only Bon Ami and generic dish soap, and splurged on dishwasher soap. Some weeks, I'd hand wash the dishes since I didn't have money for dishwasher detergent.
  • Do not buy anything extra for the house. If you don't truly need it, don't buy it. That goes for clothes too.
  • Do not replace anything that breaks if you don't absolutely have to. Most likely you don't really need it.
  • Whenever you're running short on cash for groceries or gas for the car, hold a garage sale. There's always something you can sell (we did this a ton).
  • Do not ever use credit cards. Ever. If you don't have the cash for it immediately on hand, do not buy it.
  • Do not join a health club, or buy memberships at local zoos, botanical gardens or arboretums.
  • Do not repair anything that breaks on your cars. If you don’t truly need that door handle or that a/c, don’t pay for it.
  • Do not pay for childcare. Ever. Join a babysitting co-op and swap kids for free.
  • Never go out to eat. Cook every meal at home—all three meals of the day.
  • Do not buy anything that’s a convenience food or comes in convenience packaging.
  • Make homemade Christmas cards and gifts. Have your children create gifts for people who will appreciate them. Make homemade thank you cards.
  • Buy bulk whenever possible, but only if it’s truly a savings and only if you think you’ll truly use all of it.
  • When debating between two food items that are both on sale and/or the same price, read the label and pick the one with the highest protein content. It will keep you satisfied longer.
  • Create a list of things you want or even need but can’t afford and ask for these things as gifts. Be as practical as possible. Include on this list grocery store gift certificates, and Target/Walmart gift certificates. Don’t ask for anything for yourself. Make it something for the house or extra stuff for the kids, e.g. clothes, swimming lessons, etc.
  • Don’t pay for haircuts. Cut your husband's and children’s hair yourself and don’t get your haircut---wear ponytails.
It wasn't easy. And I wouldn't recommend it for the faint of heart.

But it was worth every minute!

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Pesto Recipe

Why does this always happen? At 2:00AM I have a wave of genius and come up with something great to write about but by morning I'm not nearly as articulate. I may even still have the idea, but it's not flowing out of me the way I expected it to. That happened to me today and so I'm posting a recipe instead.

This is my recipe for pesto pasta. My entire family loves it. Even my finicky little girls. My parents rave about it, friends always love it, so I hope you love it too.

Pesto Pasta

Note: Quality ingredients are the key to this recipe. Do not substitute for cheaper ingredients! It will not be the same! p.s. Trader Joe's has all of these ingredients at good prices! :-)

1lb. of the pasta of your choice---(pesto makes a good cover for that healthy whole grain pasta---no one can tell!)
approx. 4 ozs of fresh basil
½ cup of toasted pine nuts (pignolias)
2 cloves of finely chopped fresh garlic
1 cup of grated parmigiano-reggiano -- (if the hunk doesn’t cost at least $10 at a regular store, then it ain’t the good stuff!)
dash of salt
2/3 cup of premium extra virgin olive oil

Boil water for pasta. De-stem, wash, and dry basil. While pasta cooks, add basil, pine nuts, garlic, grated parmesan, and dash of salt to a food processor and blend. Slowly add olive oil until all ingredients are nicely mixed. Drain pasta (do not add oil) and immediately combine pesto to the pasta. Serve with extra parmesan, pine nuts, chopped garden-fresh tomatoes, freshly ground pepper, and kalamata olives (or anything else you feel like!), and of course, a bottle of very crisp, very cold Pinot Grigio!

Thanks to Lucky Candice ( who says she actually appreciates recipes! (it's not just a cop-out when we have nothing else to write about!)