Monday, January 26, 2009

Mammoth Crocs

Saturday night I was over at Kristin and Michael's house for dinner and Kristin had on her new red Mammoth Crocs! I commented that I was REALLY wanting some but that they were more than I wanted to spend ($40 on the Crocs site and locally!)

She told me she got them on Amazon for $25!

I've purchased a lot of things on line, but never shoes!!! Sunday morning I found some that were various prices. I wanted a khaki or light blue pair. Both were for sale.

I choose the light blue. The Khaki were $24.99, and thus would not quality for free shipping. The light blue were $25.90 and therefore did qualify for free shipping! That made the decision easy!

I got an email today that the Crocs were shipped and will be here by Wednesday! Talk about a painless transaction!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Eat The View!

Here is something everyone can get on board with no matter what your political leanings!

The other night while looking up urban homesteading (a fascinating subject actually!) I came across

What is eat the view all about!

From the Website!

"Eat the View!" is a campaign to urge the Obamas to replant a large organic Victory Garden on the First Lawn with the produce going to the White House kitchen and to local food pantries. "Eat the View" is coordinated by Kitchen Gardeners International, a Maine-based 501c3 nonprofit network of 10,000 gardeners from 100 countries who are inspiring and teaching more people to grow some of their own food.

Ok who can argue with that! Would this not make a great statement to the American people and the world at large about eating locally grown sustainable food? The proposed garden would provide food for the White House as well as local food pantries in DC. You know there are gardeners at the White House, why not put them to use doing something (food) productive!

I recently read that the food for the president and family (not including state dinners and the like) is actually charged to the President and comes out of his yearly salary. This would be a great message in how growing your own can help defray some of your food costs.

There is also a great deal of history in this idea, including Woodrow Wilson's flock of sheep trimming the white house lawn and Eleanor Roosevelt planting a victory garden that inspired millions!

So sign up and urge the Obamas to Eat The View!

Monday, January 19, 2009

I've Been Robbed!!!!

When we pulled into the driveway today I asked my husband why he removed the wreath from the front door. He said he did not. I know I did not.

Someone stole my red berry wreath.

Right off of my front door.

The front door that has the big spotlight pointing at it. The one that has a storm door that the thief had to open to get to the wreath.

This wreath tends to shed berries when moved. When we went to investigate I actually saw some berries in the snow. My husband pointed a little way down our front path,

"Are those berrries in the snow?"

You bet! I followed the berries all the way down the walk and into the wide street. They stopped in the middle of the street. I look all over the other side of the street but obviously the perp had gotten away by car...

I was thinking, perhaps the teenagers across the street had taken it and the berries would lead me to the red-handed criminals. I imagined confronting them and demanding my wreath back and then holding it above my head victoriously as I walked back home.

Instead I stood in the middle of the road with a confused look on my face.

Tonight I put another red berry wreathe on the door and LOCKED THE STORM DOOR.

HA! red berry wreath thieves, I had a SPARE. You can't thwart my resolve to add some color to my white house surrounded by snow!

I hope you got red berries all over your car. (Or your mother's car more likely.)

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Feeling Like Laura Ingalls

"Something in the way he said it gave Laura a wild hope. She thought how wonderful it would be to go sleighriding behind those swift horses."

-Laura Ingalls Wilder
Little Town On The Prairie

Today I had to go to Canadaguia, a town about 40 minutes away. While there, I did something I have wanted to do since I was in the 5th grade! I rode in a horse drawn sleigh.

The Granger Homestead is giving 10 minute sleigh rides from now until March, weather permitting. $5 for adults, $3 for children 4-12.

It was wonderful. I LOVED It! It was a much smoother than I would have imagined and fast. (about 10 miles an hour at a medium trot) I was riding in the nicer of the 2 restored antique sleighs (this one was for passengers only and was reinforced with springs for a smooth ride he other one was also for transporting goods) We went around the homestead and through a wooded area.

They even had a fur lap blanket to cover you up. It was awesome.

Imagine my excitement when the driver told me that the horse was a MORGAN HORSE (Ok,at this point, the only person who is probably imagining my excitement over this fact is Deanna.) The Morgan horse was the first American Bred horse AND the kind of horses that Almanzo Wilder drove when he won Laura Ingall's heart! (Be still my own heart!)

It was a clear 25 degree day and I was wearing a warm coat. Nonetheless, it was a little chilly. Each week, Almanzo would pick Laura up 12 miles away when she was teaching away from home. On a nice day like today, it would have taken them 1 hr and 15 min. During the -40 degree ride that Laura describes, having to stop and assist the horses, it would have taken much longer.

We were supposed to go as a family but my daughter was sick today. Since I had to be in Canadaguia anyway I decided to go alone. It was probably better that way because I got to really soak up the whole experience. And, I liked it so much that we will definitely be taking my daughter on the ride sometime before March!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Despite Frost, Eating The Food Less Travled....

This past Thursday, in 10 degree weather, my girl and I headed out to the Farmer's Market!

In January!!!

This year, for the first time, in a neighboring town, they are experimenting with an indoor market once a month through May. It's called the Long Season Market and the idea is to encourage eating/buying locally through the winter months.

I've said before in this blog how I love eating local food and this was an awesome way to do it.

When we walked in to the Artisan Church we could smell the wonderful aroma of quiche, chicken and a myriad of hot food items for sale. I was so sorry that my husband was home making dinner at that moment!

There was a local winery, a bunch of various vendors and a band.

We bought
-2 Buttercup Squash
-2 Bunches of Hydroponic Arugula-My favorite green!
-A loaf of hearty multi-grain bread
-Crispin Apples
-Apple Cider Molasses
-Some molasses cookies from a man named Brian who claims to make delicious cookies with quality ingredients-And he's not lying! Those were the best molasses cookies I ever had-It's a good thing we bought the 3 pack rather than the dozen because they would have been gone just the same today. I think I'll be going back just because of Brian!

It was much smaller than a traditional Farmers Market but it was intimate and the people there were just so happy to be there-The feeling was nice, cosy and happy. The veggies actually did not look like the ones in the picture because there was a lot of squash, apples and root crops.

After we walked around we sat (well I sat and my girl danced) and listened to the Wild Root String Band. It was so funny because most of the people there were really crunchy-I mean only die hards are going out in 10 degree weather to buy local squash-I told Jacquie that I am SURE I was the only person there with a child wearing Disney Princess Boots!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Not every company is a greedy bastard

With the exploits of Bernie Madoff in the news daily and in the wake of the sup-prime mortgage implosion, one starts to feel like every corporate entity is a greedy bastard. That everyone is out only for themselves and the customer, consumer, person, human being be dammed.

In the past 2 days I have been pleasantly surprised at two companies here in my own community that are disproving that stereotype.

This past summer, during the $4 gas crunch, my garbage company, Choice One Disposal, instituted a $6 fuel fee. It irked me but was understandable. As gas prices have come down the fee was still there. When I paid my last bill, with gas less than half of what it had been, I wrote a little note on the bill saying that I trusted I would not see the charge next month. Part of me was serious. Part of me was feeling snotty because we all know that once a company charges for something, you'll never stop paying for it.

Wasn't I surprised when yesterday the company CALLED me. Called me to tell me that, I would not be seeing it again because they are taking that fee off. Seriously, when has that ever happened. What company calls you to tell you good news???

In even bigger news today I heard that the (BEST IN THE WORLD) local Grocery Store where I live, Wegman's , is giving out FREE ANTIBIOTICS to anyone who needs them from now until March 31st.

Free, as in, no cost to you. TO ANYONE.... That is what I thought was so awesome. Everyone qualifies. We actually have great insurance so perscriptions are not a worry to us, however, there are a lot of people who don't qualify for any kind of assistance that feel the crunch when they need a perscription. This is great for them. What a nice move by Wegman's

I think my cynical side has softened a little today!

Monday, January 5, 2009

I didn't buy a lot in 2008

Well my no new stuff year is over!

I didn't post updates for Oct-Dec but it went much the same as the other months. I hardly bought anything new. I fell down a few times but nothing to be ashamed of!

It was a fun challenge for myself and I learned a few things:

1) I probably don't buy a lot of stuff to begin with. I didn't feel like my life had taken a huge departure from what it was normally like in the first place. It did stop little impulse purchases. That was nice. And I can't even remember what kind of stuff it was that I didn't buy so clearly this is not stuff that was worth my time in the first place.

2) Gently used items are the way to go-This summer I went to more Garage Sales than I probably have in my entire life. I do eBay and in the pursuit of inventory I came across more stuff than I would ever use! (I did NOT buy it all of course!) Home decor, Yankee Candles, Garden Implements, Light Fixtures, Children's Clothing. If you want it, I guarantee it's out there. And I guarantee it's cheap. (though I have yet to find a children's wicker set like Jeannine did! Although I did find a darling children's wooden Adirondack chair) I'll post some garage sale wisdom closer to the season this year. But really, if you have a problem with used items you need to consider that once it's at your house, NO ONE can tell the difference. I bought a beautiful large Terra Cotta Pot at an Auction last week. At the garden store this would be at least $30. I got it for $1!!!! It's in perfect condition. With plants, you'll think I bought it new and be jealous of me!

3) I HAVE ENOUGH. I really have enough stuff. I wanted for nothing this past year (Well maybe an electric deer fence) But I actually FOUND a ton of great deer fencing on the side of the road that I will be able to use come spring. I do have enough. You have enough.

4) Sometimes it IS nice to buy something. In Nov my aunt took me to lunch and to my favorite country type store and bought me lovely early Christmas presents. All told the outing cost her about $100. I felt like queen for a day. I had forgotten how nice it is to get something new that I wanted. I realize that I NEVER, hardly ever, splurge on myself to the tune of $1oo. I'm not thinking I need to do this a lot, but really, $100 2x a year won't kill me.

There is nothing inherently wrong with stuff. It's the overabundance of stuff that becomes a problem. I think we all need to strike the right balance of stuff within ourself that considers our needs, budgets, moral implications (whatever that is for you) and what will and will not truly make us happy.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

I have A LOT of Dishtowels!

Yesterday my mom gave me a bunch of her dishtowels/kitchen towels as she thinks she has too many! I took about 20 and added them to my even-larger-than-hers stash!

This may sound excessive. The truth is I go through A LOT of dishtowels.
I almost never buy paper towels. I use a clean one for each meal prep (usually 2 for the dinner prep/cleanup.) We also use almost all cloth napkins. Before you faint I'll tell you those napkins are clean and folded-They are not (nor will they ever be, ironed.)

That isn't to say I NEVER buy paper products. I usually do buy paper products for guests as our napkins are less than perfect at this point. I find when I do buy paper products we tend to go through them rather quickly and I feel like I'm throwing money in the garbage.

My dishtowels are less than perfect too but they are not meant to be a decoration. I pretty much use a dishtowel until it looks REALLY bad and then I use it to clean the bathroom or something before I toss it. I really and truly have a few that I KNOW I got right before I got married 11 years ago! Now that's frugal!

Another reason we use them is to avoid the waste/pollution created in the manufacturing process and the waste created in the disposal of such items. Not to mention remembering to stock up on said items when we run out.

We are only 3 people so all of these dishtowels/napkins only generate one load of laundry per week. I imagine if you were buying paper products for a lot of people it would still be cheaper to do say, 2 loads.

You can come by these almost for free-Ask you mom or your grandma-They probably have tons in a closet somewhere. Cut up old towels. DON'T go and buy 20 new rags! This past summer I got a bunch of napkins that looked brand new at a garage sale for $0.10 each. I recently knitted a few dishcloths for my mom from cotton yarn that I already had. There are about 100,000 of these patterns free online although at this point I have no need to make anymore for my mom or myself for a long time to come!

Don't worry if you visit, I still DO buy flushable toilet paper!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Get Abundant Veggies Into Your Kids!

This time of year, after an excess of too much food and fat, many of us start thinking about eating more healthy. This should go for getting your kids back on track as well as they have probably been eating as badly as you have! (Although my girl has not been slugging eggnog like it's water like her momma....)

Last year 2 books came out which I love for getting veggies into your kids, Deceptively Delicious and The Sneaky Chef. Both are all about sneaking good-for-you fruits and veggies into stuff your kids normally eat.

I'm actually blessed with a good eater. She used to be a GREAT eater, but over the past year she' s become a little more picky than she used to be. Even though she gets her share of Fruits and Veggies I feel like the more I can get her to eat the better!

Tonight we had the in-laws over and for dessert I served Applesauce Muffins with Carrot puree. They had an oatmeal topping and mixed into the batter and were suitable for anyone, not just kids. Some other favorites of ours include breakfast ice cream made with banana, plain yogurt and avocado and chocolate chip cookies with a can of garbanzo beans added to the batter-Those are so good!

The books do have similar recipes but are different enough that I find them both useful. I actually bought them last year because they were in such high demand at the library. This year you could probably find them there easily.

Both authors are big on low fat so the recipes contain low or no fat yogurt/Cheese, etc and trans fat free margarine. As I don't personally recognize margarine or low fat cheese as food I just substitute butter and real cheese and whole milk yogurt as we like it better. Everything else is pretty basic and most of the recipes can be made with things you probably already buy!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year!!!

Happy New Year!

Like my new look? I recently decided to change the theme of this blog just a smidge. I think Living Beautifully, Frugally is something that is pretty ingrained in my makeup-Not something I'm likely to change any time soon. I also sometimes think that the title/theme is one that could be self limiting.

If you've ever seen The Secret or any of the many books on creating your own life and believe in that stuff-And I do (not in a hocus pocusy kind of way-but in the idea that what you put out comes back to you. ) Anyway, I sometimes wonder if Living Beautifully Frugally make sure that I always have to do exactly that!

So I'm changing my focus a little. I'll still be frugal and still report on that in this blog-But I'm going to do it from the perspective that abundance is all around us, all the time, and that it need not be just a monetary pursuit. That I have so much to be thankful for and so much that enriches my life!

So here is to a full and abundant 2009!!