Sunday, July 27, 2008

Wake Up Your Garden!

After a short break due to out-of-town guests, I'm back!

I found myself in a Starbucks a few weeks ago (Don't worry, I used a gift card ;-) Did you know that Starbuck's gives away their used coffee grounds for use in your garden just for the asking! Sometimes they have them already packaged in a bin somewhere. That day they had just been cleaned out by an old gentleman with a big veggie garden. I asked at the counter.

I was rewarded with a HUGE bag of grounds! I was busy that week getting ready for my guests so I didn't do anything fancy with them, I just added them to my compost pile.

You don't need a compost pile to make good use of coffee grounds. They are great for your garden too. They can be used as mulch for plants or worked into the soil to help amend it. You can top off your potted plants inside and outside with the grounds. You can even sprinkle them onto the lawn or around some bushes. There is no need for your grounds to ever reach a landfill or go down your disposal! (If you don't have a big garden you may not want to ask for a huge bag at Starbucks.)

You can even water acid loving plants with leftover coffee, not that we ever have any around here!

Sunday, July 20, 2008



As a 1930s wife, I am

Take the test!

Hmmm, as a 1930's housewife I rate poor. (That's probably because I don't make dinner or vacuum.) I will point out though that 41 was the last # in the poor category though, so if I didn't swear or if I wrote letters to my in-laws I would be average. I did get credit for garden club which is typically something women born in the 30's are STILL doing.

I told my husband who asked, "How are you as an 1830's housewife?" I guess we'll find out. I just got a form for our measurements for our costumes for October. I also spoke with the woman who told me that we'll be sleeping at the museum for 2 nights and that all I need to bring is shoes, socks, underwear and a toothbrush. She didn't mention mascara or hairspray. I'm not really that much of a get out of the shower and go kind of gal. I just don't have the hair for that.

note to self-Start investigating wash and wear hairstyles.

Monday, July 14, 2008

It Doesn't Hurt To Ask

On the way home from vacation, we stopped at a Hawthorn Suites Hotel in Ohio so that I could visit a wholesaler. When I called to make the reservation, the rooms were $124 a night.

With our AAA discount, the rooms were $111.

I've read a lot of frugality books and they always say to just ask for a cheaper rate. I figure when they tell me a rate, that is pretty much the rate. I went out on a limb with the $111 room though and said,
"Can you give me that room any cheaper?"
She said "I can give you the funeral rate for $94."
I didn't question the funeral rate. I didn't say anything about a funeral. Who even knew there was such a thing as a funeral rate??? Whatever. She wants to lower the rate, be my guest!

Then I asked if she knew where the wholesaler was in regard to Hotel. "Oh yes, are you visiting them? If you are then I can give you the room for $69!"

In a very short amount of time I saved $55 on the room. I actually saved $110 because my nephew was traveling with us and they gave us both rooms for the $69 rate. I had no idea about the wholesaler discount of course but I still would have saved $30 per room between AAA and the funeral (???) rate.

I guess it really doesn't hurt to ask!

Croc Update

Apparently everyone's children are wearing Crocs. Here are 3 email responses I received in addition to the comments in the original croc post:

"I can't believe I can actually add to this. So Kobe has some of these shoes. He's had them for a year and they look good. He wears them all the time too. I guess the tread at the bottom is worn somewhat smooth, but not so bad that I would consider replacing them. I think it's more surprising that he hasn't grown out of them."

"Let me start off by saying.... I LOVE CROCS! Not the fake ones, the real ones. Yes, they are a little more expensive (and NO, they are not made of the same material.... more on that later) I bought a pair for myself, my son, and my daughter about 1.5 years ago. My son wears them occasionally, I wear mine only in the house (bought for house shoes) and my daughter wears hers EVERYDAY! She loves them! She loves to decorate them with the Jibbitz (talk about expensive, but worth it if she likes to wear the same shoes everyday!) The tread on the bottom is only starting to wear (slightly, after 1.5 YEARS!!!! I'll take that anyday!) She is now just growing out of them (they are meant to be a little big, that is why the size is 6/7, 8/9, not just a 6 or a 7!) I just went on and bought her 4 new pairs (you spend over $100 and shipping is free). I bought her 3 different colors (to coordinate with outfits) and a Dora pair. She LOVES them all and wears them EVERYDAY! I figure if I spend only $100 in a whole year on shoes for 1 child, that is more than a bargain!
Now, about the material..... Crocs uses a patented material that does not mold, mildew, stain, or smell. It is wonderful, and the BEST part (which, Chrissy, you will love) is that when you outgrow the Crocs, you can send them back, and they will RECYCLE THE MATERIAL!!!! Isn't that great! Talk about 'Going Green'! And, Crocs also sells Crocs that are already made of recycled material! These are the best things going, in my opinion! And, my kids love them!!!!"

Julia has a pair of real crocks. Doesn't wear them everyday but I'd say 3-4 days out of a week. She's had them since spring and they seem to be holding up pretty well."

Ok friends, thanks for the input! When I was at Wegman's this evening I looked at a pair (yes, my grocery store sells Crocs!) and the bottoms do seem to be a bit harder than the ones we have. I also really like the Soles united program that Jacquie was referring to as well.

So maybe Crocs are not a Crock!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Its a Croc

Or maybe not!

I went to buy my girl a real pair of Crocs ($24.99) in the beginning of the summer. She was between sizes and none of them really fit her. In the mean time my mom got her a cheap pair for $7.99 at CVS.

I love these shoes. I think they look really cute, she can get them on and off by herself, a real help and I wash them almost every night in the sink and they look great the next day.

However, she's only had them about 8 weeks and the tread on the bottom is wearing thin. Granted, she does wear them almost every day. Soon she's going to need new ones because she'll have no traction. 8 Weeks per pair of shoes does not strike me as a good bargain (at any price). I'm left wondering however, if this would have been true of the real Crocs. They seem to be made of the exact same material. They are 3X as much. I have no issue spending more for the next pair if they last longer than these ones.

My own Crocs lasted me a summer and into the fall but they were the sandal type and I didn't wear them all of the time.

So, does anyone whose children have Crocs have any advice on this one. Usually I think I have the frugal answer. Today I don't.
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Thursday, July 10, 2008

I'll Have A Large Order Of Medium Wings Please

On the way home from our trip we had to pass one of my sacred places-The Village of Fredonia. More specifically, SUNY Fredonia, the place where Jen and I will tell you, we had a better time at college than anyone we know. (Probably anyone ever.)

Of course we stopped. Of course I went to Pizza, Wings and Things and ordered A LARGE ORDER OF MEDIUM WINGS. The best wings ever. A magic recipe. You have to get the medium ones to make sure you get that special combo of tangy and spicy. I would love to know how many of these I've consumed in my lifetime because I bet it's a lot. (see that phone #, it's still the same and I still know it if that tells you anything!) Probably 500. Mostly eaten at night. Possibly eaten drunk.

A few years ago Jen and I went back and approached the guy who was behind the counter and begged for the recipe. He said "um OK, it's Open Pit BBQ sauce and red hot." That's it. The secret is out people. Make these wings at home for yourselves. (Although they won't be as good unless you eat them with Jen.)

In 1993 (you do the math, I can't bear to.) these wings were $6.75 a dozen. Today they are $13.09. We used to use our laundry quarters to tip the driver. $13.09 for a taste of my past, I would call that a bargain.

A quick tour through the town & school with my husband, nephew and daughter wasn't nearly enough. I needed to walk around and drink it in but we had been driving all day and wanted to get home. I was practically weepy and everyone in the car was very patient being that they could not quite grasp the enormity of this place for me. The last time I was there, Jen and I knocked on the door of my Freshman dorm room and harassed the girls inside. We asked them if they were having a great time there. We later decided they were not having as much fun as we did. Clearly I can't be trusted there. I start feeling wild and reckless like I did in college.

I can't even drive through this place without my heart breaking a little. It's a good pain though-Kind of like eating a large order of medium wings.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Ohio-Free Stuff Abounds!

I've never been to Ohio before and truthfully, was not sure what Dayton has to offer. It turns out it has A LOT to offer and most of it is free.

My BIL is an officer in the United States Air Force stationed at Wright-Patterson Airbase. In addition to being the home of Aliens from area 51, it is also home to The National Museum of The United Stated Air Force. This is an enormous museum that is open daily and is FREE TO THE PUBLIC! People come from all over the country to see this place. It was awesome. We saw stuff from the Wright brothers to the space program and all points in-between. It was impressive, and sad and thought provoking and fun. There was a wonderful Bob Hope exhibit and a somber Holocaust display. I could go on and on but you get the point. There were A LOT of planes!!!

Another wonderful thing about Dayton are the Five Rivers Metro-Parks. This is a group of 25 publicly funded parks around town that are ABSOLUTELY free. These are not just your run of the mill swing set parks. We are talking arboretums, kids sensory gardens, fishing, biking. This is some impressive public infrastructure. Most notably (to me!) was Carriage Hill Metro Park, which is a working 1880's farmhouse.

There were gardens and a house tour, an old fashioned play house for kids, animals, a penny candy store and a really really well done learning center. ALL FREE! They also have seasonal programs throughout about life on the farm. How jealous am I that our family lives so close to this little gem!

Also on our summer tour was a really huge Flea Market for the eBayer in me and a trip to what I think must be the biggest grocery store in the world, Jungle Jims. 6 Acres of food from around the world. They even have a section JUST FOR BUTTER. That tells you how big this place is! Very fun!

Tomorrow ends this leg of the tour. Onward home with a few little stops along the way!