Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Cheap Date

First, forgive me for being non-existent. Truly you must. For no other reason than I said so. I am trying to get around the block here so look for my shining face on your blogs soon.

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We are trying to be frugal. We have just celebrated our sixth wedding anniversary. This would be the non-secret wedding. Heh. We didn't want to go out, because that would require babysitters which is either money or inconveniencing family. So it was to be an in-house date. Problem is, we do those rather frequently, so we wanted to make it a bit more special. Then I got a brilliant idea. (Read somewhat out of the norm but not that spectacular, heh.)

First we decided to cook dinner together because we rarely get to do that. We went whole hog with candlelight and wine. We made one of our favorite meals: steak tartare. We coupled that with absolutely delicious home fries sauced up with the sauce in this recipe: L'Entrecote Steak with Mustard Sauce. Add in a little candy and cookies at the end and we had a virtual culinary heaven.

For entertainment: this is where I get all 'out of the box' ha ha. I made it a Wii date. We don't own a Wii. I borrowed my sister-in-law's Wii and we played together for hours. Free entertainment, goofy fun over wine. Oh yeah.

It was a lovely evening to remember all our evenings thus far. Six years married, seven together, seems like a flash in the pan. Looking forward to more cheap dates.

---BTW

Wine: 12.00
Steak: 9.40
Potatoes: 1.00 (at most)
Mustard Sauce: 1.00 (at most)
Candy: 6.00
Cookies: 2.50
Wii: free!

Total cost of Cheap Azz Date: 31.90

Think about a nice dinner out and entertainment afterwards. Much much more. Can you hear the pride? Sometimes being cheap can be good. And believe me, it was romantic.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Cutting a Rug

Ok so there's this guy, he's a great woodworker. He makes all kinds of lovely things and sells them to support himself. It's a great way to make his money. He does what he loves and shares beautiful work with the world.

He makes a tutorial because he wants to help other people enjoy his craft. He does the tutorial for a small jewelry box. It's fairly easy to make, with a few instructions that may not have been intuitive. It's a nice tutorial. But its a box. Seriously. And then he says, don't use this tutorial to make your own boxes and sell them. Use it for personal use only.

Now I'm pretty sure that he's not the first person to make a box. Nor is his tutorial going to put himself out of business. And, maybe there are a few twists to it that were a little difficult to figure out, but honestly if someone took the time to sit down and really plan it, they could have done it. So why should this preclude anyone from making and selling similar jewelry boxes?

When you buy a pattern at the fabric store (excluding some indie pattern designers that have of recent started using this wording) you are not told you cannot make the items from the pattern to sell. That's up to you.

The woodworker is not real. Its an example.

I love crafting sites. I visit them frequently and have learned a ton from them. I never ever disrespect their requests when they post a tutorial. But I do feel that it's not really fair to tell people that they cannot make a tote bag, or purse, or lunch bag or pair of pants and sell them when the actual 'design' is nothing new and easy enough to figure out. Some tutorials are more complicated and really great lessons. I understand, but I still question. I don't agree with this practice because it implies exclusivity on something that is technically intellectual. Any person with enough skill and imagination could make their own and be called on a carpet that never really existed under their feet in the first place.

What do you think?

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Mommy's Nerves

They had their first day of preschool.

They got themselves dressed and looked appropriately adorable.




There was a small negotiation. G consented to leaving his blankie behind.

Dragging backpacks practically as big as themselves, they bounded into the car with all kinds of chatter about new friends and toys and stories and coloring.

Mom however took the time to remind them of the rules. And her head was swimming with anticipation. Would they cry? Would they get along with the other kids? Would they use their French? Would they listen to their teachers? Would they participate? Would they make friends? Would they have fun?

That is a lot of would.

All three arrived at the preschool and before Mom had barely 10 seconds to say good-bye, they ran into their classroom and never looked back. Mom stood watching for just a few seconds, then forced herself into the car and drove home still going over her woulds.

At home, Mom tried to work. Tried to write. She did ok. But every noise in the house made her jump and then she'd think about her minions and their day. The time that she thought would fly too fast, took longer than that. Finally she was able to jump in her car and go back to her 'not babies'.

Each child is called and allowed to come running through the door to their parent, one at a time for safety. Mom's twins were called. Only one came out. G had donned his coat and shoes and promptly sat back down to color some more. He was torn from his fun and reluctantly joined Mom.

"I want to stay at school" he whined. Mom was delighted. What a relief. Teacher informed Mom, the day was A Number One Aces. Whew.

All the way home, G and W talked and talked over each other telling Mom about the story they heard, the page they colored, the toys they played with.

Awww, now Mom worries about time, and how fast it will speed by.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Buried Treasure



This is my absolute favorite vegetable I've grown. Potatoes grow without much help. And all through the season, as the tops keep popping up through the mound you build, underneath the most wonderful thing is happening. When it's time to harvest the potatoes, it's like having Christmas to me. Kneeling down in the dirt, I won't even use gloves. Digging in to the cool soil, letting my fingernails blacken as I search for hidden treasures. Pulling one, two, more more more, delighting at finding each one. A gardener's playground.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

I Feel So Reused

So I started a crusade a while back to get this family on a more green road. The first thing I sacrificed was my swiffers. I stopped using it all together until I discovered that a felted wool sweater, cut just the size of my swiffer mopper head works like a charm. No throw away pads, one happy swiffer. (I don't use the bottles anymore since they are not refillable - I just hand spray my homemade cleaner as I go).

Then I gave up my disposable toilet cleaner heads. This was difficult for me. The convenience of it coupled with the absence of yucky toilet brushes hanging around had me in love with these things. But, I had to admit they were just not right. So, since I refuse to have those disgusting toilet brushes around, I bought myself rubber gloves (that I reuse - so far one pair in 6 months) and I use a rag and that's it. The rag is washable, the gloves get washed after each use and there I am, clean bathroom no yucky toilet water covered brush.

Then we switched to cloth napkins. What a great thing this is. I love it. No waste. The extra laundry it causes is so minimal, it's ridiculous. We use the napkin several days as long as it isn't yucky with food stuffs. So I'm not even doing extra laundry every day. Ha.

I've switched to laptop lunch boxes (bento style and BPA free) for the lunches to eliminate baggies. Another crutch of mine. We use containers and I'm in the middle of making reusable sandwich wraps like this

--picture from www.thebestofdiy.com

and reusable lunch bags and snack bags like this.

--picture from http://repurposeful.wordpress.com/

My goal for this year is to have all of us eating no waste lunches. Yeah!

Repurposing has been a real adventure. We've repurposed furniture like these. Remember this?


Now it looks like this!


Note the change from insanely grass green and blue walls to soft lemony yellow. Mmmm.

I've been goofing around with altering clothes for fun and here is a project I did recently. My mother gave me that brown shirt and it was so huge I figured it would be only suitable as a nightgown. But I liked the picture on it and I remembered I had another shirt that didn't fit well that I'd been planning to alter, so I combined them. I love hoodies. This was a fun project.



Now if I could get myself weaned from freezer zip bags, I'd have quite a few vices exorcised. Muahahaha.