Thursday, February 26, 2009

My Frugal Philosophy

I have been trying to figure out my frugal philosophy for a LONG time. I see Meredith with her envelopes and her budget and I think how far off I am from that. I see Stephanie with her garden and her animals and I think of how I am no where NEAR that. I see any number of mamas on the Frugal blog roll and I think that perhaps I should move my little patootie off of it because many of the things I do and much of how hubby and I live is NOT frugal.

But then it occurred to me that frugality is a choice we all make. How we choice to use it or practice it is entirely individual. I will give you an example.

Monday was a day of extravagance. I bought really expensive tea at Teavana. I bought makeup at Sephora. I had lunch with Natey at the Cheesecake Factory. I bought him some new cloths at Baby Gap. Now I did have gift cards for Teavana, Sephora, and Gap but I bought beyond what the gift card covered. And I am ok with that.

To contrast that last night and this morning was an exercise in frugality. I was out of bread and skim milk. Sure I could have run to Wawa and bought bread and milk, but instead I mixed up some powdered milk and made a loaf of bread. This morning I stopped at CVS to get a prescription filled. I had a coupon for a free $25 gift card with a new prescription and I had a coupon for 1 free month of the medicine I had the prescription for. I also picked up a bottle of shampoo using a free coupon. This meant that I walked out of CVS with my meds, and a bottle of shampoo and CVS paid me $25 to do it. I then headed to McDonalds for a free cup of coffee with a coupon.

A contradiction to be sure. Does this make me a hypocrite? Maybe it does... but what I have decided is that for me frugality is a set of tools in a special tool belt. I pull the tool belt out and put it on when I need it... I don't wear it 24/7.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

SHHH... Don't Tell Hubby...

But I had a date with my boyfriend yesterday. We had lunch at the Cheesecake factory, just the two of us.

Isn't he dreamy?

Thursday, February 19, 2009

My Men part II

Chocolate Chip Bread

Last week, Lisa posted a recipe for chocolate chip bread. I decided to try it with a few minor modifications. I used 2 cups of white whole wheat flour and 1 cups of AP flour and I used heavy cream instead of milk (I had it in the house and wanted to use it up).

Here is the batter waiting to go in the oven:

And here is is cooling after baking:

It is a wonderfully dense and filling bread (one slice for breakfast is MORE than enough) and it is not overwhelmingly chocolaty which I like.

I don;t have a picture of this but, once I cut into the loaf I discovered it had a bubble in the middle. Oh well, I will have to try again.

I wonder... what would like be like if you omitted the chocolate chips and swirled Nutella through the batter before baking? Hummm.... I might have to try that next.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

More Cloth Diapers

People who use cloth diapers will freely admit that it is easy to get addicted. I can understand why... the diapers are just so darn cute! And there is always that whole "better for the environment" thing.

I am certainly not going to try to go to cloth full time, but if Nate and I am going to be on our own for the day and mostly around the house, I think he will be in cloth.

I am very happy with my BumGenius 3.0, but thought that I should try a few other diapers to see if there were any I liked better and to pad my stash a little. The 6 diapers I had were not getting us quite to the end of the day.

So I placed a couple of orders and this is what I got:

1 Bum Genius Organic One Size All in One (in ribbit with velcro)
1 Swaddlebees EcoNappi One Size (in the cow print)
1 Blueberry Minki One Size (in blue camo)
2 Bumwear One Size (1 in white dino and 1 in light blue dino)
1 roll of Kushies Diaper Liners
1 Bag of Charlies Soap Powder

I have to wash everything this weekend before I can put it all into action. The diapers are so CUTE though, I can't wait to see how well they work!

I will post a picture of my stash later... promise.

What I Learned... from breastfeeding for a year

I think it is safe to say that Nate is officially weaned. We had been stepping down gradually, at his pace and following his cues; and last week I stopped offering him to boob at bedtime and he never asked for it again. It has been about a week and nothing, my milk is gone, so I think the deed is done... we have weaned. I am also exceeding proud that Nate has NEVER touched formula. [I don't really want to start a debate, and I am glad that formula exists so that babies who, for whatever reason can't breastfeed don't die... but I really do believe it is second rate nutrition and that is screws up babies' systems (digestive, immune, etc.) in ways we don't even know about yet.]

I realize that all over the world and all over the Internet and the Blogspere women breastfeed their babies, some for years and years and years... look at Milkman in Toni Morrison's the Song of Soloman... but in my world and in my circle of friends, I can think of one... ONE other person who has done this. And I went back to work while doing it. I am not looking for recognition, lots of people do this, I know, but I am saying that it definietly isn't the easiest thing to do and here are a few tips that can make it easier:

1. You can never have too many breast pumps: I started off with one, a Medela Pump in Style which I lugged back and forth to work every day. Then I started to feel like a pack mule on top of a dairy cow hooked up to the milking machine, so I bought a second, less expensive pump to keep in my office. I bought the Lansinoh double select breat pump (which is EXACTLY the same as the Ameda pump only less expensive) and kept it at work. My life was that much easier not having to schlep a pump with me... well worth the money.

2. Buy Good Nursing Bras: Please note that I did not say expenisve nursing bras. Mine were not expensive, I bought them at Motherhood Maternity and Target. Dont be sucked in by the people who say you can cut the nipples out of a tank top (Sorry, Mrs. Fussy Pants, I know it worked for you but with the size of my chest this was NOT going to happen) buy nursing bras that are the same style of bra you wore before your were nursing. If you like the sprots bra style buy that style in a nursing bra. If you like no underwire, buy a no underwire nursing bra. if you like underwire... you get the point.

3. Use Technology to Your Advantage: Nate and I did not have an easy start. His latch was poor, my nipple flat, not to mention my boobs were bigger than his whole body! Enter the Nipple shield. This saved... literally saved us. It allowed him to latch and kept me from getting too sore too soon. There are rumours that the nipple shield is bad and many lacttion consultants and La leche League people will tell you not to use them, but the data they are working off of is old. New data (Chertok, I., Schneider, J., & Blackburn, S. (2006, March). A pilot study of maternal and term infant outcomes associated with ultrathin nipple shield use. JOGNN: Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, & Neonatal Nursing, 35(2), 265-272) says they are fine, not detremental, and may actually be beneficial! If it helps... use it! [Had I know about this little doohickey... I would have tried it too].

4. Do Your Research and Ask For Help: No woman is an island and as I have said long before I got pregnant... Just because you have the quipment (breasts) doesn't mean you know how to use it. if you don't want to hire a lactation consultant, ask a friend. If you don't want to go to a LLL meeting, check out their mom-to-mom messag boards. Check out, the interent if Full of useful info and support.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Nate's First Birthday In Pictures

You can see pics from Nate's first birthday here and here (if you are interested, that is).

Friday, February 06, 2009

Go Red for Women & a Pledge

Today is national Wear Red Day in support of the American Heart Association's Go Red for Women Campaign. Heart disease is the #1 killer of women in America, above breast cancer, above lung cancer and yet for some reason we still think of it as only effecting men.

I am lucky that to this point in my life I am and have been relatively healthy, with the exception of one not so little thing... my weight. I am fat. I can admit that. I have a completely unhealthy and out-of-wack relationship with food. I don't know if anyone else know how truly out-of-wack it is, but I do and the time has come to do something about it.

I was fat before. A few years ago I hit my breaking point. I joined WeightWatchers, I lost 25 pounds, I was happy. Since that last weight in I have gained... 70 pounds. I can't beleieve it when I put it into print... 70 pounds! How did I do this to myself? I was very tempting to write "How did I let this happen?" but I didn't "let it happen" I DID IT TO MYSELF.

Well, the time has come to undo it. Today is a day to honor your heart and that is what I intend to do. I will for the next 30 days committ myself to following my doctor's prescribed eating plan. It is very simple and it is not a diet.

Breakfast -- Eat it!

Lunch -- Eat it!

Dinner -- Eat it only with half the "usual" amount of carbs and no bread

Dessert -- Sundays and your birthday

In between these meals... drink water and don't eat.

What I like about this plan:

-- I can eat what I want for my meals and not restrict myselft to salads and "diet foods."

What will be difficult about this plan:

-- Dessert only on Sunday :( (this is my problem, I am a sugar junkie and it just isn't healthy)

But I have some amazing motivation to stick to this plan and it is right here.

I will be adding a box on my sidebar to track my progress. Any words of encourangement and support would be wonderful and appreciated. And to anyone who wants to join me in the 30 day pledge, I say welcome!

Wednesday, February 04, 2009


I am and always have been an avid reader. Surprise, surprise I know, I am a librarian after all. So it has really weighed on me that since Nate was born a year ago I haven't read anything longer than a magazine article.

That was until Friday night. I started and finished a book. The first book that I have finished in a year... and boy did it feel good. The book in question was Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott.

I had read the review for Living Dead Girl [which is a YA (young adult) books] in Booklist and ordered it for the library's children's collection. I was intrigued by the plot and wanted to read it myself.

Now, YA books are typically aimed at a teen audience and this book is recommended for 16 +, but in actual practice YA books are read by tweens. I will admit that I would think twice before I would let a tween read this book. I couldn't put it down, the (fictional) story of a girl's experiences living with the pedophile who abducted her and who tries to keep her prepubescent with pills and waxes and little girl clothes. But the graphic (but not explicit) descriptions of what the abductor has her do would be a little traumatizing for an adolescent.

I would highly recommend this book to adults, but I don't know about the typical YA audience.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Cloth Diapering

Before Nate was born I amassed a cloth diaper stash. Then hubby and I decided not to cloth diaper and I sold off all of my stash except for a few random items which I sent to a friend who just had her second daughter.

It was on the same day that I dropped the last of my cloth diaper stash in the mail that I went to Target and saw the rack of Bum Genius diaper and I bought one.

Here's the deal. Although hubby and I decided that we were not going to cloth diaper, I really really really wanted to try it. So I bought the diaper, washed it, and used it one day when it was just Nate and I. I was pretty darn impressed. Nate is a soaker, and the Bum Genius did not leak at all! I was hooked. I figured that even if I didn't cloth diaper all the time, just doing it one day a week (like Mondays when I am off) would make a difference. Hey, that is 6-8 less diapers in a landfill.

So here is the system I have worked out.

Nate wears cloth diapers on Mondays. I have the washer filled to the small load level and every time I change a diaper I put all of the pieces (inserts and covers) in the washing machine to soak. If the diaper is just wet it goes right in the washer. If it is poopy, the solids get shaken off into the toilet. Flush. Then the diaper gets dunked and swished in the toilet again (flush before being thrown into the washer to soak. I know there are people out there that say you don't have to dunk and swish. I say that with my kid, you need to. I will stop there.

Once nate is in bed and back in a disposable, I run the washer on a cold prewash with no detergent and then a regular wash on warn with minimal detergent. The diapers are then hung to dry. Two weeks in a row and so far so good.

I bought one of my Bum Genius from Target and the other I bought at Cotton Babies. They have great package deals and even factory seconds (2 of my diapers are seconds and I can't tell the difference, seriously.)

Anyone else dabble in cloth diapers? Thoughts? What about the diaper liners. Do they make poppy diapers more manageable?