Sunday, August 31, 2008

No new Stuff Year August-Book Buying Birthday

It's time for my monthly roundup for my No New Stuff Year.

I received some birthday money and promptly spend some of it on books. 6 books in the month of August. I can't even tell you the last time I bought 6 books in a month. I rarely go into a bookstore like Barnes and Noble because I find it so seductive. Coffee, new clean exciting books. All kinds of possibilities. For a book lover it is an easy way to part me from my money. I prefer the library. I can usually muster up the same kind of excitement if I remember that at one time all of the books there were new and shiny. Best of all, they are FREE.

But I digress. I bought 6 new books. 2 new eBay books that I wanted for reference and the entire Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer. I only bought the books as I've been chomping at the bit to read them and the waiting list at the library is LONG LONG LONG for these books. So as my summer treat I read them for my vacation. I could not put them down! If you've read them let me know because I'm dying to talk about the ending and have run across no one else who has read them!!!

Anyway, I plan to sell the set on eBay because I really don't need 4 huge books taking up space on my bookshelf and these aren't really books that I would keep and refer back to. Aside from the books, nothing new!

Monday, August 25, 2008

I Go On Vacation More Than My Dentist

Paul recently noted that I’m on vacation all the time. I’m not really but the day I left for this vacation by the water I had an emergency dental appointment that was none too pleasant. To distract me, the dentist talked a lot-The Olympics, Michael Phelps daily dietary requirements and my vacation. He asked how long I was going for and was absolutely SHOCKED when I said 2 weeks.

He then proceeded to ask if I go on any other vacations during the year. I went to Marco Island for 10 days this past Feb (Thanks to the generosity of my in-laws) and then we went away for 2 weeks in the beginning of the summer to see family. The week before this vacation we went to the casino for a free overnight with my grandma and her partner. (Separate rooms) and I spent all of $5 gambling. All told I am spending 39 days on vacation this year. My dentist then asked if I had a job! I told him no. Again he was shocked! He told me he only ever goes away for 3 or 4 days at a time a few times a year. He works in a private practice. My husband is a teacher.

I imagine my dentist makes more than my husband. And he’s his own boss. Why on earth can this guy only take off 3 or 4 days a few times a year?

How is it that I am able to take more vacations than my dentist? Let me tell you.

Obviously having a husband with the whole summer off is plus and grants you the ability to do a lot of things you would not otherwise be able to do. Last summer I decided that even if we didn’t have a lot of extra cash, we do have time and we should really use that to our advantage. I like to be places and see stuff and didn’t want lack of a lot of vacation money stop me!

We also

Go on cheap vacations. I love this little cottage we are in but seriously, these are not plush accommodations.

Stay with family. I’ve been to Florida, Michigan and Ohio and have seen the sights in all of these places without spending a dime on a place to sleep.

Take advantage of free offers from others. If invited to a free night at a casino we’re going even though we don’t gamble. We left our daughter with my parents, stayed in a nice hotel and took advantage of the pool (which hardly anyone does at a casino so we had a nice quality place almost all to ourselves) How nice is an evening away where someone else pays for your meal and you don’t have to make the bed. I can have fun just about anywhere!

Don’t eat out a lot. (Trust me, I LOVE to eat out!)

Don’t buy a lot of stuff on the actual vacation.

Pack a lot of picnics (So far on this vacation we’ve picnicked at the lighthouse and had a dinner picnic while fishing on the dock here)

See a lot of free things. Museums, Piers, Parks, Gardens, and Wineries (even a fish hatchery this vacation!

Look for a lot of low cost things. We have a zoo pass and noticed that the zoo up here has a reciprocal agreement-guess where we are going on Wed!

We spend time together just exploring

We like little things. Today we went swimming at a local beach and then stopped at a local produce stand. It was enough of a morning for me to be having a good time.

We actually have a library card for the town we are in and go there a few times during our stay.

I understand that not everyone wants this kind of vacation, I get that. Trust me, I’ve been to the Waldorf and would like to stay there again. I’ve had really expensive meals and I really enjoy them. Sometimes when you go on vacation you want to be pampered and not worry about the cost. But for me, now, the cost IS a factor. When I started this blog I noted that sometimes you have money and sometimes you have time. I have time and I’m making the most of it without a lot of cash!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

On Vacation!

Hi all,

I haven't fell into a spending frenzy somewhere! I'm off on vacation! Check back though because I'll probably highlight some of the frugal fun we've been up to!


Saturday, August 9, 2008

My Pioneer Digs!

Today we went to Laura Ingalls Wilder Day at the Genesee Country Museum today and got to see our pioneer cabin for October.

It was rustic!
I'm getting the idea that we aren't really prosperous pioneers.
Bridget thought we had the wrong house.

But then we walked around to the other side.
The bed. (it's across from the kitchen) The first thing I noticed was that YOKE and the BUCKETS. Do I have to wear that thing? Is trekking water men's or women's work???? Later Deanna said "Did you feel the bed? You better feel the bed!." So I felt the bed. Full of straw. I hope they change that straw. Oh well. I probably get to do that.

My kitchen! My husband asked if he would get to cook and they told him a big fat "NO". So I guess this is ALL MINE. I didn't get a good picture of the food drying and hanging from the ceiling. That looked like fun.

Another corner of our humble abode. I'm guessing that the girl who actually knows how to card that wool next to her doesn't come with the cabin. I hope I get to spin because I actually have always wanted to learn to do that. If I could spin some wool and then knit it into something that would be neat wouldn't it!!
Now for the animals. I don't think that guy is the caretaker so that is up to my husband. That is our chicken coop. There was also a pig. They told us that my husband will be taking care of the animals. He mentioned to me later today that he thinks those animals smell. Oh well buddy, too late, there is no going back now!

They don't look smelly do they????

Friday, August 8, 2008

My Mukka

If you know me at all, then you know about my almost unnatural love for coffee drinks! Any kind of coffee drinks. With friends. At a coffee shop. Or with a book, anywhere.

For my birthday this year my husband got me The Mukka Express! It is an all-in-one cappuccino/latte maker. It works like a traditional Italian Espresso pot but has a top that holds milk and a neat little valve that steams the milk! REALLY STEAMS it! (I once had a cheapie machine that didn't do squat as far as steaming the milk was concerned!) This makes a really authentic cup of gourmet coffee!

We saw it at a friends house. From Williams Sonoma for $99 plus shipping. My husband got a NEW ONE IN THE BOX from eBay for $50 and free shipping! The directions says it makes 2 at a time and I guess that is true if you are using a normal size cup. At any rate, I will break even after 10 cups!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Dilly Beans

The food from our CSA seems to be really piling up around here.

At first we were getting a pretty manageable amount each week that would quickly be eaten. As the growing season has progressed, so has the amount of food each week! Very neat considering it's only costing us $10 per week!

Not one to let food go to waste, I have been freezing it and this week I made Dilly Beans. We had them this weekend at a friend's cottage and I thought I would try my hand at this myself.

2 lb. fresh, tender green beans
Break tops and stems off beans; leave beans whole.
2 c. water
2 c. white vinegar
3 tbsp. pickling salt
Heat to boiling.

4 heads of dill
4 garlic cloves
Hot red pepper flakes (I used hot cayenne's that I had in the freezer)
Pack uncooked beans lengthwise, tightly, in sterilized, hot pint jars. Add 1 head of dill, 1 garlic clove and a pinch of red pepper flakes to each jar. Pour boiling liquid over and seal jars immediately with hot lids. (I also processed them for 10 min in a hot water bath-I'm always a little wary of just sealing with a hot lid.)

Makes 4 pints. Dilly Beans will be ready to eat in 6 to 8 weeks.

This was cheap to make as I used about $1 worth of green beans, I grew the garlic and dill myself and had the peppers from a friend in the freezer.

Don't they look pretty!
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Tuesday, August 5, 2008

I'm Not Buying It! June & July Update

Nope, I haven't gone off somewhere on a spending frenzy!

I've been busy with guests, weekends away, garage sailing, my birthday-You name it. I've been too tired to blog and feeling not all that frugal anyway!

So back into the swing of it with a roundup for June and July for my NO NEW STUFF YEAR.


At the end of June we went on a 2 week vacation to see family. Prior to that I had purchased nothing new. The day before there was a shameful trip to the dollar store where I bought a bunch of stuff totally against my principals to pull out for my daughter every once in a while during the 1200 miles that we drove. I probably only spent $10 but it was complete crap. While on vacation, a reproduction pioneer type bowl was mine for $9. Oh yeah, in the interest of full disclosure there was an ill fated trip to Ikea (Thank god we don't have these near me, I would be in therapy.) where I dropped about $115 on various things that I probably really didn't need like lights and a canopy for my girls room, various storage things, spice jars (oh yes, thought I. I do GROW my own herbs, wherever will I put them????) All crap from China. I'm ashamed.


I think I'm pretty clean here. I did buy new (real) Crocs for my daughter. Oh yes, I also purchased a handmade (by a homeschooling woman in CA) Pioneer dress for my girlie for Laura Ingalls Wilder Day at the museum this weekend (she will also wear it for Halloween and to visit when I'm a pioneer! And Soap. FIVE Handmade bars of wonderful soap from Etsy. Technically this is ON THE LIST of stuff I'm allowing myself to buy but technically, we were not out of soap either. I bought it as a birthday present for myself! I'm so hooked on this stuff!

So I'm halfway through this year and I'll tell you, this really isn't that hard. (when you cheat!) But really, I think I'm doing pretty well. I am realizing I probably don't buy that much stuff that I don't "need" to begin with. So perhaps I've set a really easy goal for myself. I have also been having a lot of fun garage sailing this year so anything I bought second-hand I don't need to tell you about!