We were thrilled to welcome Monica and her kiddos last week. They timed their visit to coincide with our town's annual festival, which made for an especially eventful time together. Here are some of the highlights:
Tulips in bloom
Having a pancake breakfast at our small town airport, and watching planes land and take off (Where else in the world can you get so close to the runway?!)
Lots of fun cousin time
And a whole lot more fun. I'm sure Monica will post many pictures soon! Thanks so much for coming, Monica, Emily, Rachel and Samuel. We love you!
Continuing with my routine of posting monthly about the frugal things I've done. I've had fun keeping track! If you're curious about the random assortment of items in this photo, I'll tell you at the end!
*A generous friend gave me a bag of little girl clothes *Eric used a coupon for a free Coke at the movie theater
*Best grocery deal: 10 packets of taco seasoning for $1 total (reg. 69 cents each!) *Took advantage of a rebate and coupons to buy diapers *My brother-in-law gave us a big container of fresh fruit left over from a dorm event *I made double batches of pumpkin bars and muffins, as well as banana bread
*I bought myself some nice snow pants for $2 at a garage sale
*Attended a free yoga class at the physical therapy class downtown *Cooked 2 pounds of dry white beans for white chili and other dishes; also cooked a pound of black beans *Received several free samples in the mail: shampoo, vitamins, Kleenex *Cut the boys' hair; I got a $6 cut (that I really like!) from a student *With the warmer weather, we've been walking/biking more of our errands. Love that.
*I asked our public library to purchase a book I've been wanting to read, and they not only bought it, they called me when it came in! Eric took advantage of the college's free inter-library loan program (for staff) to order a couple books.
*Combining a coupon with a clearance price, I found a cute little boy's shirt at Target for just 10 cents that I will save for a shoebox.
**Found 2 pairs athletic pants and a t-shirt for Nathan at a thrift store for $4 total
*Free Comet with rebate
*A new pair of pajamas for $3 for Nathan on clearance; a 2-pack of sleepers for Naomi at the same price
*Continuing to pack sack lunches for Nathan to bring to school--often a sandwich, cheese and crackers, and grapes. (He usually gets the hot lunch one day a week--it's been his preference to bring a cold lunch.)
*I made sopapillas for Cinco de Mayo--yum!
*I received $5 for filling out a survey about our (minimal) TV-watching habits.
*I ordered a free skirt for Natalie and shirt for Nathan using a code I found on-line.
*I got some free custard at a local shop on Mother's Day!
*We received a bag full of snack food (chips and salsa, popcorn, etc.) from some dorm directors who are trying to clean out their stash now that school is done.
*I don't normally buy those freezer popsicles, but when I saw a sign that a bag would be 19 cents after a rebate, I gave in, much to the delight of my kids!
*I stopped at the day-old bread shop and purchased 3 bags of yummy rolls (normally $3.49 a package!) for just 85 cents each.
*I went to my favorite consignment shop. There were 3 dollar bins filled with boys' shirts of all sizes, so I
combed through there for quite awhile. I picked out 6 shirts for Nathan--at a dollar
apiece--in sizes 7 and up. I also scored a brand new package of the
exact kind of white socks I buy for him for a couple dollars
off. And I got myself a super-cute skirt for $6.99. The best part was being paid to shop. I had quite a bit of credit (I'd brought in my maternity clothes last time I went) and got a sizeable amount of cash back after
my purchases. Woot
And the best deal of all (shown at the top of this post): finding free stuff college students willingly discarded outside the dorms after moving out. Our finds included a dryer rack, a hula hoop, a volleyball, 2 unopened packages of clear plastic cups, 3 packages of markers (1 reg, 1 fabric and 1 glitter--the glitter are completely unopened and sealed!!!), an unopened pkg of yellow party napkins, and my favorite: a big Rubbermaid bin with lid! (I needed one for additional winter stuff in the attic, and have already cleaned it and filled it up!)
We've had an eventful couple of days, with more on the horizon later this week!
The older kids made me some adorable Mother's Day cards, including this gem:
We had our annual pizza picnic and soaked up the sun at a fun park.
Yesterday, Naomi stood on her own for a few seconds--a first. I couldn't capture it on camera, but I did want to get a shot of this adorable outfit my grandma sent her!
Natalie cracked me up (as usual) yesterday. We were walking back from the bakery (She treated me to a donut for M Day!), and suddenly she stopped and started pumping her legs up and down. She said she was getting more energy to make it the rest of the way home. What a hoot! Here's her goofy reenactment:
Lastly, Nathan graduated from kindergarten last night. How cute are the little robes?! He still has a couple weeks left of school, but we're proud of how well he's done this year, and the program was very cute.
Love these kiddos! I am grateful for these sweet moments.
I mentioned a month ago that my dad was about to begin a rigorous new series of treatments, and today is the last one. We are so proud of how he has continued to have a positive outlook in the midst of all this, and we are thankful his side effects have been minimal. We continue to pray that the treatment would be effective in attacking the cancer cells in his body!
We are the support crew for Dan -----/Pepaw! Love you, Dad!
I feel the need to admit one of my parenting flaws: I do not like to play pretend. I certainly did as a kid--Monica and I spent hours playing dry cleaner, restaurant, dentist, etc. Nathan's never enjoyed playing house or much else in the way of pretend, but Natalie is more than making up for it! She wants to play pretend. all. the. time. It's a daily struggle for me to find the balance of indulging her whims, having her play by herself and finding other activities that we mutually enjoy.
I start to feel twitchy the moment Natalie pulls out her doctor kit or what she calls her "hair solution" bag (for playing salon). My general method is to set a limit--we can each have two turns of being the doctor and two of being the patient, etc. I do make myself play for awhile because I know this is her favorite way of playing, and that pretending is important for learning and development. But it's one of the many areas where I have to fight my selfish desires that would rather be doing something else.
How about you? Do you/did you enjoy playing pretend?
I don't recall where I saw the book Garbology
mentioned, but I was instantly intrigued and added it to my reading list. I skimmed some of the historical material, as that did not interest me as much as the latter part of the book that detailed people who are purposely and successfully reducing their trash output.
Despite my desire and efforts to be less wasteful, I am appalled by how much trash my small family generates each week. Part of the problem is that our recycling capabilities are limited here--we can only recycle #1-4 plastics, and the biggest offender in our trash can is paperboard (cracker, cereal boxes, and the like). It pains me to throw those boxes away! For the plastics, I actually save up a bag of yogurt tubs (#5) to bring with me when we drive to see my parents. We don't have curbside recycling for glass, but we thankfully have a local place we can drop it off.
Reading books like this reminds and inspires me to make more of an effort to reduce trash. The author states in the book that "American communities spend more on waste management than on fire protection, parks and recreation, libraries or schoolbooks." YIKES!
Towards the end of the book, the author shares the story of a family in California who produces just a mason jar's worth of trash each YEAR! Though I don't aspire to that level, seeing as we
produce more trash than that every DAY, I admire their commitment. You
can read some of their waste-reduction tips here.
Here are the Garbology author's top 5 tips for being less wasteful:
1. Refuse. (This action point encourages you to decline freebies you don't need--pens, trinkets, etc. I typically fall in the middle of this, though freebies can be SO tempting!)
2. Go used and refurbished. (Not sure if we've bought anything refurbished, but we definitely are big proponents of buying used when possible, including appliances--our computer and fridge both come to mind, not to mention smaller purchases like clothes and toys.)
3. Stop buying bottled water. (Done--we all have refillable water bottles. We do sometimes acquire disposable water bottles when Eric refs a basketball game, and these can be nice to have on hand for traveling guests.)
4. No more plastic grocery bags. (We avoid these 80% of the time; however, I do like to have some plastic bags on hand for the diaper bag and other dirty jobs!)
5. Focus on cost of ownership. (Don't buy cheap short-term stuff; invest in long-lasting purchases. This one is more tricky, and I'm not sure how I'd evaluate us on this one. Definitely room for improvement!)
I'd love to hear your thoughts on (your) trash output and these (or other) tips for being wasteful. I'd also be very interested to hear what you can/can't recycle in your area.
Today marks 6 years since I've been blogging! Over the last few weeks, I've had several post ideas related to the number 6, but honestly I'm just not feeling any of them. I considered not posting today altogether, but I hate to mess with tradition!
Though the frequency of my posting has decreased with each year (and child), I am grateful for the space this blog has provided for me to process, to keep in touch, and to dialogue with others about things that are important to me.
So even though there's no giveaway today, no clever "6" theme, please know I mean them when I say these six words:
*wife, mother, daughter, sister, aunt, friend, child of God
*homemaker, sweet tooth, Colorado native living in Iowa
*striving to be a better steward of what I've been given--time, finances, relationships, opportunities, abilities