Friday, October 31, 2008

Frugal Friday

I've got lots of frugal ideas to share with you but today am short on time. We are having people over for Halloween and have spent the day cooking and cleaning and cleaning some more. As such I've just one small idea to share ...

Do you remember the babies? Well one of those babies was born today - on Halloween! Her mom must have known because she'd asked me to knit a pumpkin hat for the occasion. Well today we went to visit the new babe in the hospital. I wanted to bring something to brighten the room and almost bought flowers. But then I remembered something I'd read last night in Simple Abundance - Victorian ladies used to preserve fall leaves. I didn't have time to preserve leaves but I thought - why not a fall leaf bouquet. My yard contained several branches of intact leaves and some Russian Sage and Yarrow that hadn't yet given up the ghost. I was so pleased with the final result that I also made another bouquet for tonight's table.

So that's my single simple tip today - use what you have. You may be pleasantly surprised with the results.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Love Thursday

Every last muscle in my body aches. But in a good way. Yesterday I went to a Bikram Yoga class (i.e. hot yoga). Oy was it hot! There I stood, neatly framed in the mirror, drenched in sweat, my no longer eighteen-year-old body tremoring as it tried to hold a pose. I’m doing this for me. I’m doing this for me. I’m doing this for me. I tried to visualize a lean mean muscle machine.

Each pose was demonstrated in cartoon form on large cards tacked to the wall above the mirror; gigantic yogi flash cards. I kept glancing at the cards - only four poses left, only three poses left. I think I can, I think I can. I was definitely the caboose of the class. Others held their poses so gracefully you’d think they were prima ballerinas. Me? Not so much. I twitched, I tremored, I fell out of balance. But I made it through. I was so busy concentrating I even missed the sunrise. If one is going to get up at 5:30 in the morning it seems the primary advantage would be to see the sunrise. But this is not the case. The primary advantage is lactic acidosis - the first step to a healthier fitter self.

And why am I doing this? Why am I torturing myself? (Because it does sometimes feel like torture.) It is not about aesthetics (though a flat stomach would be a welcome side-effect). It’s about honoring my body: this vessel that skirts me though the world. Lately I’ve neglected my physical self. Without exercise I’m tired, lethargic, mentally deficient. It’s difficult to accomplish all there is to do in a day. It's difficult to think straight. And I’m too tired to care for others. I want to be a happy healthy energetic mother with happy healthy energetic kids. As such I need to attend to the Mamma’s physical and mental well being so she will have the energy and state of mind to attend to others.

I felt great after I got home. Little sis and I walked to the library. We cut through the park and took a extra time to sqaunch the crunchy fall leaves. We picked up acorns and admired their beauty. We listened to the geese honking and hollering across the pond. It was a gorgeous fall day and we were out and about to enjoy it.

Today? Today I’m cleaning house (literally). After school the kids and I are going to the track. We signed up for a three mile Jingle Bell Run in December. We need to get in shape. We are going to run. Tonight we’ll carve pumpkins and mess up everything I cleaned but it's okay.

Last week was stressful, difficult. This week less so though yesterday we got the bill for phase two of orthodontia - ouch. And though money is tight, even more so between braces and car issues, we can deal with it. Regular exercise is key. It changes my perspective. Instead of getting depressed, instead of crying, I’m choosing to look at these financial strains as opportunities. As challenges.

I’m going to ramp up Frugal Friday. Our expenses are increasing, our income is not. Time to get creative. Very very creative. Hopefully the extra cerebral oxygen will be beneficial.


I’m still slowly knitting away at my first sock. Here’s a sneak peak:


This is my 96th post - ninety six! I’d like to do something special to honor my 100th post. I’m thinking a giveaway may be in order ... maybe a bag like the one in my Etsy shop ... stay tuned!


On this Love Thursday don't forget to love yourself!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Just Trying to Walk the Line

Last week on Peculiar Momma:

The momma got sick. Pappa’s truck got impounded. Mamma was sleep-deprived and had to work all night.

Was it over? No! If so then what would we write about today? Lucky for you the adventure continues...

After said truck incident Mamma went to work only to find out she was the last one standing. Two other colleagues were out of town and a third too ill to work. There were 64 hours remaining in the weekend and one doctor. One sick doctor.

As luck would have it a relief doctor was willing to cover some of the night hours but couldn’t work days. So Mamma worked from 4:00 pm to 12:30 am, plodded home, caught a cat nap and returned at 8:00 am to work another 16.5 hours. Mamma was tired. Mamma was sick. Mamma was coughing up a lung. Just ... keep ... moving.

Meanwhile back on the homefront:

A neighborhood dog, Chopper, was run over in the cul-de-sac: the boy a witness. Chopper did not survive. Later the boy said to the Mamma, "I don't understand how you do your job. You see stuff like that everyday."

Mamma tried to explain. There's an internal switch used for self preservation. You flip it to turn into an emotionless automaton. The problem is that when one is tired, when one is sick, the switch gets rusty. It's harder to flip; harder to run on auto-pilot. Tears typically result. You brush them aside and move on to the next patient. Rinse. Repeat.

Somehow Mamma made it through. She finally arrived home early Sunday morning. A bed never looked better; flannel sheets pre-warmed by a labrador - pure heaven! Mamma refused to return to work Sunday. She couldn't do it. Someone else had to step up to the plate.

Sunday was a day to relax, to unwind, to forget. The Mammas and the Pappas were going on an outing. They went to a local lake to watch the salmon run and to look for bald eagles.

The outing started off well. The weather was great 65 degrees and sunny. The children bounded ahead to the inlet stream. The stream was filled with fish. The Mamma closed her eyes and took a deep breath. Ah, finally, peace and quiet. Then the family marched along the trail by the lake - right into a hoard of yellow jackets. The wasps swarmed. Pappa and both girls were stung - several times.

Run family run! And the family did run with the evil insects in close pursuit. Finally they made it to the safe haven of their car and high-tailed it to the general store in search of benadryl.

The family just prior to insect invasion

At the store everyone piled out of the car and went inside. Suddenly there was another yellow jacket. The Pappa shooed it outside and closed the front door. "No more yellow jackets!" said Mamma as she brushed her hands together in an attempt to comfort her family. Then little sis screamed. She had a stinger in her finger and another wasp was climbing down her shirt. The realization hit - the family brought the yellow jackets to the store with them.

In a writhing flailing fit the family stripped down next to the souvenir mugs. Several additional wasps were outed and annihilated.

Benadryl, tylenol and popcicles were in order - stat! The family retreated to the outdoor fire by the lake with the hopes that the smoke would repel any further attacks. The remainder of the day passed without further incident. Nonetheless this family outing was par for the course on this trying weekend.

The Peculiar family is hoping their karma will improve. They'd like to close this particular chapter in their lives.


And here is the upside:

What? You can't be serious can you? An upside?

Yes. Yes, an upside.

  1. The weekend is now over.
  2. We were attacked by insects rather than say a bear or cougar.
  3. Nobody had an anaphylactic reaction.
  4. We were not arrested for indecent exposure.
  5. We did spend time together as a family (the family who endures pain together stays together).
Here's hoping today is plain and ordinary.

Friday, October 24, 2008

The Antithesis of Frugal Friday (or How to Support Your Local Government)

Because sometimes we all need a good cry

Written from my husband's perspective:

1) Get caught in a speed trap in po dunk Oregon.

2) Miss your court date because you don't want to drive 3 hours to complain about speed trap. They've gottcha.

3) Pay ticket late. Grumble about government agencies and speed traps and corruption. Wipe your hands of the whole ordeal.

4) Wait two years.

5) Make an illegal turn.

6) Get pulled over.

7) Find out you forgot to pay an additional $75.00 fee for license re-instatement (i.e. you've been driving on a suspended license for two years).

8) Watch second police car pull up.

9) Be surrounded by police.

10) Watch police impound your car.

11) Walk the rest of the way to work to call wife. Keep in mind your wife worked all night. She's sick. She had a long long night in which she had to call the police on a loony bin client.

12) Have wife bring passport and social security card to DMV with pajama clad four-year-old in tow.

13) Pay $75.00 re-instatement fee - cash only. DMV has an atm. Pay off label atm fee.

14) Pay $25.00 for new license because police took old one.

15) Go to police station. Pay $100.00 for impound release forms - cash only.

16) Go to impound lot. Attempt to retrieve car. Attempt to write check. Cash only.

17) Drive to atm. Remove additonal $165.00

18) Drive back to impound lot. Retrieve car.

19) Put court date on calendar. Hope the $504.00 of tickets will be reduced.

20) Go to work in attempt to replenish hemorrhaging bank account.


The moral of this story? Don't be fooled. We all pay taxes in one form or another. Sometimes they're hidden.  Sometimes they're overt.  


I'm trying to put a positive spin on this one but am coming up blank. All I can come up with is ... at least my local government is well funded. Very well funded.


I hope others out in bloggerville are having a wonderful and frugal Friday!

Addendums to the day:

1) When you open the refrigerator and the bottom door shelf falls off spewing it's contents all over the kitchen by all means replace the shelf and put all the contents back in place.  Because the shelf definitely won't fall off again the next time you open the refrigerator, right?

2) Know that today is not your day.  Welcome the Charlie Brown cloud floating over your head. Accept with love the bathroom towel hook that decides to spontaneously disassociate from the wall.   Run your finger over the big gaping hole.  Try to look a the bright side - now you get to learn to plaster and dry wall. 

3) Do not turn on the television.  Do not watch the stock market eat away your retirement.  JUST DON'T DO IT! 

4) Know that when you get up, tired as you are, to fashion a lunch for your child that said child will be sound asleep when you return with her meal.  

5) Just close your eyes and take a nap.  Good night bloggerville, good night. 

Thursday, October 23, 2008

What I do not understand ...

Man has walked on the moon; "Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed."

Jim has a prosthetic hip; “a Tapered Titanium Cementless Femoral Component in Primary Hip Arthroplasty.”

My house is on Google Earth; “the rocket control mechanism uses the inertial guidance system to calculate necessary adjustments to the rocket's nozzles to tilt the rocket to the course described in the flight plan.”

E-mail is received minutes after it’s sent; “Eventually, the packets reach computer Here, the packets start at the bottom of the destination computer's TCP/IP stack and work upwards.”

Animals are cloned
; “we can create an exact genetic replica of a cell, tissue or animal” down to the last A T G and C.

Mice grow human ears; “Progenitor Cells Isolated from the H-2Kb-tsA58 Transgenic Mouse.”

I can change the channel from across the room; “The chip is packaged in what is known as an 18 pin Dual Inline Package, or a DIP. To the right of the chip you can see a diode, a transistor (black, with three leads), a resonator (yellow), two resistors (green) and a capacitor (dark blue).”

I’m freezing yet febrile, every cell aches, my nose is raw; “there is no medically proven and accepted medication directly targeting the causative agent, there is no cure for the common cold.”


It' official. I'm sick. Everyone else is healthy so I am apparently the fomite this round. I'll have to care for myself then brace to care for everyone else.

Last night I made soup for my soul; heavy on the garlic. I also downed several cups tea with lemon, honey and fresh ginger. Let me tell you - this leads to several trips to the bathroom. Sneezing on a full bladder is NOT a good idea for any woman who's had children.

And instead of reading tea leaves I read my tea bag:

I do hope it's true. I'm going to do my best to love my family and myself as I wade through this murky wet tunnel of parenting and work, sleeplessness and sickness. I can't wait to come out the other end. When I do I'm going to dry off and leap into a pile of gorgeous autumn leaves.

Then I'm going to keep a promise to myself. I'm going to create time for me. For exercise. For yoga. My body needs a thirty-seven thousand mile tune-up. Then I need to keep up with proper maintenance so I reach that coveted hundred-thousand milestone. Baby steps. Baby steps.

Happy Love Thursday Everyone!

Monday, October 20, 2008

A couple of weeks ago I dipped my toe into the sock knitting pool and fashioned a pair of fuzzy feet. These felted socks are deliciously cozy and I’ve been wearing them non-stop. There is something very fulfilling and Mr. Rogeresque about coming home, removing one’s shoes and donning a pair of handmade slippers. It’s instant relaxation, a flipping of the switch; “Welcome to downtime!” purr the slippers to my feet and my body melts. Pure heaven! I’ve since knit but not yet felted a second pair and cast on a third. Fuzzy feet will be spread across the continental United States this holiday season.

In knitting these slippers, however, I realized it’s time to attempt a pair of real socks. My sock basket is woefully sparse as most of my footwear has been kidnapped by my children. I need some socks that are unmistakenly irrevocably mine. All mine.

Then this morning I logged on to my Google feed and saw Soule Mama’s autumn socks knit from the Yarn Harlot’s Basic Sock Recipe. I had sock yarn. I had needles. I was ready to go.

So instead of, say, taking a shower or getting dressed I cast on a pair of socks. I drove my son to school in my pajamas. At 7:15 in the morning when the sun was just peeking over the horizon this felt moderately reasonable. My twelve-year-old may have been fully dressed and ready for his day but hey this was my weekend and it wasn’t fully light yet so I had some leeway. By 9:00 am, however, when the sun had fully exposed itself and folks were out and about in their suits and ties or jogging outfits or whatever it felt a bit indulgent to still be wearing the Nick and Nora gnomes. Did this stop me? No. I gifted my neighbors with my full pajama laden glory as I drove my daughter to school. Fortunately I did not have to exit the vehicle once we arrived. I’m not sure the PTA moms would approve of my fashion acumen.

And, truth-be-told, it is now 3:00 in the afternoon. You guessed it. I’m still wearing my PJs. I’ll have you know I am not a total bum. I’ve done about a bazillion loads of laundry, loaded and unloaded the dishwasher, vacuumed and cleaned one bathroom. And I’m still working on that sock. Perhaps I’ll change before dinner.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Frugal Friday

Last night we messed up. I was tired. I just couldn't do it. We went out to dinner. $70.00 to feed a family of five. Granted that included margaritas. The margaritas were good. All margaritas are good. But the food wasn't that great. It certainly wasn't worth the money with or without alcohol. Tonight we're having proscuitto chicken with fontina cheese and grilled asparagus. Tonight's meal, including wine, will taste much much better and cost a fraction of last night's dinner.

If you are smarter than I and elect to spend your $70.00 on something other than mediocre Mexican food here is what you can get:

A yellow chair: $15.00
(lovingly photographed here and blogged here )

A green bookshelf: $10:00


A yard of material: $1.00
A large shabby-chic table cloth: $3.00
A Christmas ornament for the neighborhood holiday exchange: $2.00


A vanity table that perfectly matches the other furniture in your daughter's room: $15.00


A brand new apron: $3.00


And ... you'd still have some money left over to buy something homemade from my Etsy Shop.


It's really all about how and where we spend our money isn't it? I hope all of you are smarter than I and have a Frugal Friday!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

"Mr. Duffy lived a short distance from his body."

--James Joyce, Ulysses

Yesterday 4:45 pm

She’s bawling. She’s angry because I have to go to work. She wants me to walk her into ballet but didn’t get ready in time. She doesn’t understand why I don’t work only between the hours of 10:00 am to 3:00 pm while she is otherwise occupied with scholarly pursuits. Then I could attend to her needs, shuttle her about at will and generally perform my motherly duties. As it stands I am going to work and will be there all night. She is not pleased. She does not care about the mortgage or food on the table. All she knows is I am leaving and will not return until morning. I deposit her, bawling, on the steps to ballet class.

Yesterday 11:00 pm

I’m amputating my second tail of the night. This one is necrotic. The odor turns the hardest of stomachs. My nose is inches from the source. I hate tail amputations. This is how I make a living. I need a shower.

This morning 1:30 am

My feet hurt. I’m a wuss. Three of my employees are pregnant. I can’t imagine how they’re feeling. I sit and try to write coherent records.

This morning 7:00 am

We are checking out our overnight patients; discussing blood transfusions, diarrhea, broken bones and glucose levels. I can’t wait to go home.

This morning 8:25 am

I’m the morning carpool. We should be in the car. We should be driving to school. Instead I am sweeping the floor while my daughter dresses. Little sis will join the parade in her pajamas. She has no where to go. I’m exhausted. The night has sucked all creative marrow from my bones. I can’t do Love Thursday. I have no photo. I don’t know what to say. I look down and see this:

My life might be full of trash but the trash is full of love.

Happy Love Thursday!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Gone to the bees ...

I have hand eczema. I’ve had it for years. I’m careful with hand creams, avoid perfumes and harsh chemicals yet my eczema persists. It can be eradicated with steroids but not without significant side effects. And as soon as the medication is stopped the disease returns. So I’ve learned to live like a leper. People recoil when they see my out-stretched hand. They fear handshake transmission. At work I feign bite-wound injury. People don’t mind shaking a hand munched on by a bacterial laden cat. But eczema? No way!

Then last week I had a terrible flare-up. My eczema was more than a cosmetic disturbance. It became a painful and crippling entity. My hand throbbed, weeped and had shooting pains. It was hard to function. Clearly something had to be done. But what? Your average person, a smart person, would go to the doctor for a prescription to get the flare-up under control. But not me. No.

I decided to make a natural cure-all hand cream from the internet. It must work, right? If it is written it is so. And all I needed was beeswax, honey and olive oil. Pure. Natural. Simple.

Forever frugal I printed a 25% off coupon and headed to the craft store for beeswax which I found in the candle section. I’ve never worked with beeswax before and learned a few things I will share with you now:

1) Beeswax bars are impossible to cut or break apart without some sort of power tool.

2) Beeswax melts quickly over the stove.

3) Bars that stick out of the pan will drip over the side and all over the stove.

4) Beeswax is highly flammable (I had a small stove top fire and luckily nothing else).

5) Removed from heat beeswax quickly re-coagulates.

6) Beeswax does not come off with soap and water.

7) Beeswax does not come off with vinegar.

8) Beeswax does melt if doused with boiling water.

9) After a boiling water dousing beeswax will form into small beads, redistribute over the stove top and adhere to the surface.

10) The Cat in the Hat has nothing on me.

11) I do not have Thing One or Thing Two for cleaning assistance.

12) But I do have the internet.

13) Citrus essential oil (in this case grapefruit) removes beeswax.

14) Beeswax, honey and olive oil make a lovely paste that does indeed improve eczematous lesions.

I’m only a few days out with this concoction and my hand is healing. Only time will tell if this salve is an actual cure-all. I did, however, made a connection with a local beekeeper and have a source for free beeswax should I want it. If my eczema continues to clear I’ll likely be performing additional chemistry experiments in my kitchen. Perhaps I should stock up on essential oil.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Frugal Friday

Many of you think the sky is falling. I want to clonk you on the head like the V-8 commercials. *Clonk* Please don’t be Chicken Little and convert your paper losses to real ones. If you need the money and need it now by all means pull it out. But if you’re a long-term investor like me then ride this out. I’ll be with you sitting on the surfboard careening towards the rocks. I’ll hold your hand. Our stomachs may lurch and leap into our throats but that’s the thrill of the ride. The tide will turn before we collide. Have you ever ridden a roller coaster? Did you crash? No? See - people pay good money for this type of excitement. Today it’s yours for the taking.

And remember the adage buy low and sell high? Yesterday after market close I bought more stock for my retirement portfolio. I’m dollar-cost averaging my way through this mess and hope to make some money in the future. My husband rolled his quarterly bonus into his 401K. Have these stocks and funds declined? Probably. I haven’t looked. The market is falling again today. It will continue to fall for some time. But it will come back. And, honestly, if it doesn’t then we’ll all be together on this sinking ship and I’ll stop thinking about the market and figure out how to swim.

Investing is an activity for a person with a strong constitution and time to wait. Turn off the television. Put down the paper. Yesterday I bought stock then baked a batch of cookies while catching up on This American Life. We will all be fine - eventually.

This is not to say that you should not save and conserve money. As such here are my frugal tips for the week.

1) Make your own holiday decor. Typically I buy one or two decorative items a year. I buy these things on deep discount after the holidays and save them for the following year. But this year I’m not even going to do that. Instead I’m tapping the creative bones of the internet and will be making holiday decor.

Check out this tutorial for a fall bunting from recycled newspaper. We’ll be making this over the weekend.

2) Force your own bulbs. The days have been cold and grey over here. We are in for a long season of political and economic turmoil coupled with crummy weather. What better way to lift your spirits than with flowers.

I’m currently re-blooming an amaryllis bulb saved from last year. Hopefully it will bloom around Thanksgiving. And I ordered Paperwhites from I got 25 bulbs for $18.20 including shipping. Hint: sign up for their newsletter for a 10% discount.

Plant in simple thrift store containers or containers from around the house and you’ll have a fantastic inexpensive holiday gift. Containers not so pretty? Wrap in gift wrap. Small paint cans work great. Check out these tin can herb pots. They could easily be used for forced bulbs.

Worried about forcing your own bulbs? It's easy! Here's a great set of growing instructions. Five containers of bulbs for less than $20.00; I know what my kids’ teachers are getting for the holidays.


Not only did I bake cookies. I also made another bag. This one, sewn from thrift store fabric, is for my knitting projects. These bags are supposed to be re-usable grocery bags. Perhaps I’ll get around to make some for actual shopping one of these days ...


Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Love Thursday

When I brought this kitten home it was temporary. For that matter when I brought this dog home it was temporary too. The kitten was tiny and therefore kept sequestered from the dogs. I wasn't sure what the dogs would do. They live with cats and have a healthy respect for cats. But the kitten was teeny. Then one day I fell asleep on the couch and Little Sis let the dog in. I woke up to a wrestling love fest.

My dogs are in heaven. This cat actually likes them. He pays attention to them. He plays with them. And the dogs help to calm the perpetual kitten hyperactivity. It's a match made in heaven.

The moral of the story? Don't discount those who look or act different than you - you may be missing out on the biggest love fest of your life.


Check out other stories of friendship at Shutter Sisters. Happy Love Thursday!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Wackadoo Wednesday

One would think knitting, unless in the framework of a knitter’s circle, would be a solitary endeavor. Not so. I’ve come to realize that anytime I choose to knit in public I am on display; a live museum exhibit. I should carry an easel with an illustration of the final product and adequate copy such that the basic knitting process is explained. This is a knit stitch. This is a purl stitch. Felting is the process of knitting a very large object and shrinking it - think Shrinky Dinks. Perhaps I should also don a bonnet, long dress and apron to complete the effect.

I also need to catalogue a set of witty knit related anecdotes to share with my adoring public. As it stands my conversations are incredibly dull and go something like this:

Yes, I’m knitting.


No, I’m not knitting booties.

Oh it’s a felted bag. You knit it large and then shrink it.

Yes, ha ha, knit purl, knit purl.

I don’t think my grandmother knew how to knit.

Yes, knitting is a good occupation for mothers.

And on and on . . .

And a gentleman did say that to me today ...”knitting is a good occupation for mothers.” After he left I pondered his comment. What is a mother? In the rawest sense a mother is a woman who has had sex. At least that’s how most of us ended up in this predicament. (For those of you who still believe in the stork I’m sorry for the spoiler. Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy are all real. Trust me.)

So a mother is a sexual woman. We all know there are other factors such as conception, pregnancy, etcetera that are necessary to complete the picture. But I began to wonder - is knitting a good activity for only mothers or for all sexual women? And if so what is the sex to knit ratio? Do sexual activity and knitting increase in tandem?

If these occupations have a direct linear relationship then one would expect “working girls” to have a thriving side business in knitwear. However I’m having trouble proving this theorem. For the life of me I can not find Mabel’s Knitting and Whorehouse on Etsy.

Therefore I must assume an inverse ratio exists between knitting and sex, which, truth-be-told, makes more sense. I mean, really, who has time for both? And if knitting and sexual activity hold an inverse ratio we can also extrapolate that knitting is a good activity for mothers because mothers should not be having sex. This too makes sense because knitting mothers ought to be wearing aprons and bonnets. And really who wants to have sex with someone in an apron and bonnet?

Happy Wednesday everyone! Anyone else feeling wackadoo?

Monday, October 6, 2008

Hope, Faith and Charity

The stock market is plummeting. Business has slowed. The world is in turmoil. I am nervous. Very, very nervous.

I'm leaving the house at 66 degrees. I'm turning off all the lights. We're visiting the library. I'm stocking up on ramen. And I'm making a donation to my local public radio station.


If you have nothing, you have nothing to lose.


Here's one of my favorite Bob Dylan songs. May we all find shelter from the storm.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Frugal Friday

Warning: Especially if you are a man this post could qualify as too much information.

I'm a Diva!

Last month I bought a Diva Cup. I hesitated before I bought the cup. I'd seen these cups at the health food store. I discounted them as hippie contraptions that wouldn't work and waste my money.

Then I read many many glowing internet reviews. I liked the idea of it; the idea of an environmentally-friendly replacement for maxipads and tampons. And I found a great deal at South Coast Shopping. I decided to give it a go.

My hair didn't instantly dread. My armpits didn't sprout mini-bushes. I didn't start seeking patchouli like a vampire seeks blood. No. Instead I am that woman in a flowing dress running, skipping and jumping through a field of flowers. A light scarf flutters in the breeze behind me. Okay since it's autumn I donned a pair of tights, clogs and a handknit sweater. But you get my point. I feel FRESH! And CLEAN! I love it!

The insertion was a bit awkward. You fold it into a U-shape, insert then twist so it will pop open. I wasn't sure it was placed right. I wasn't sure it popped. I wasn't sure it was going to work. But it did. No leaks. And it's comfortable - I nearly forgot it was there. You can sleep with it in. And you can run and jump through a field of flowers.

I strongly recommend you give it a try. The best price I found was at South Coast Shopping. Google South Coast Shopping plus coupon for even deeper discounts. (And no I'm not getting paid in any way for this promotion).

Keep in mind there are two different sizes of cups - buy the one that is right for you. It's a frugal, environmental and clean choice!


Back to the razors (for the last time). My razor lasted three weeks. I think it would've lasted longer had I not accidentally left it in the shower. I will continue to religiously dry it after each use.

I also found a great deal on razors this week. My local grocery store had a handle and set of three razors on sale for $5.69. Then they had a manufacturer rebate for $5.00. Razors for twenty-five cents a-piece; heck yeah! I immediately filled out the rebate form when I got home and stuck it in the post box.

Was it worth it? I figure it took about ten minutes to fill out the form, cut out the upc symbol and mail it. Ten minutes = $5.00 or $30.00 per hour. It's worth it to me. And with my razors lasting three to four weeks - even better.


Now here's the part of my day that bordered on cheap vs frugal. The envelope I used to mail the rebate was sent to me as a self-addressed stamped envelope for a promotion. I wasn't interested in the promotion but saved the envelope because it was a perfectly good stamp. I simply taped a new address over the old. Voila! Forty-cents saved. A penny saved ...


And a realization. You've probably read that dryer sheets can be used for dusting and cleaning. It occurred to me these don't have to be unused sheets. I pop them in the dryer and they do their job. Then as I'm folding laundry I pull out the dryer sheet and dust something. Anything. Double-duty for the dryer sheet and my house is slightly cleaner to boot.


And finally - a healthy frugal recipe. This is the meal we pull out when we don't know what's for dinner. It's quick, easy, healthy and inexpensive. The ingredients can be kept on hand in the pantry and freezer. And it's tasty too.

Brown rice
Frozen stir-fry veggies (I like the kind with asparagus)
Soy Sauce
Olive Oil (optional)

Make rice according to package directions (a rice cooker is great here). Place veggies in a large saute pan with small amount of olive oil on medium-high heat. Cook until heated through. Add a splash of soy sauce - cook until reduced slightly.

Plate rice and veggies. Top with cashews. Serve.

Thank you everyone for all your well-wishes about my dog. She's still missing. We're headed back to the Humane Society today.

It's raining here. We're all cozy inside with apple cider, soft blankets and knitting. I only hope 'Tosh is somewhere cozy too.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Love Thursday

"Old dogs, like old shoes, are comfortable. They might be a bit out of shape
and a little worn around the edges, but they fit well."

-- Bonnie Wilcox 'Old Dogs, Old Friends'

We have three dogs. Two younger mutts and a geriatric border collie - Natasha. ‘Tosh is skinny and feeble. She eats and sleeps, eats and sleeps and has accidents in our laundry room. Monday night I was cleaning yet another mess and thought to myself I’d be nice to have my laundry room back. You see, Natasha is not long for this world. She’s old and deaf and does not respond if in a deep sleep. We lean in close and stare at her chest waiting for the rise and fall. We’ve wondered how she will fare through the winter.

And then Tuesday night she disappeared. This a dog who never leaves the back patio let alone the yard. She’s arthritic and weak. I can’t imagine she’d go far. We searched the yard. Of course it was dark and none of our flashlights worked. So I marched around the yard with my laptop as a light source. Fortunately a kind neighbor loaned me a flashlight but the search was fruitless.

Our house is flanked by an empty lot. Yesterday I searched the lot looking for her body. No luck. We went to the humane society - no ‘Tosh. I called work (The Animal Emergency Center) - not there. I put an add on Craigslist and filed a missing dog report. Today we put up flyers.

I am concerned. But my concern is different than if I were looking for a younger dog. I’m more worried about her being alive than dead. I don’t want her cold, hungry and wet. I don’t want her scared. I want her to be safe whether that is in life or death.

Today I have my laundry room back. But the house is lonely. So we will continue to search for our sweet old dog whom we’ve known and loved since she was a puppy. And we will continue to hope she is safe, one way or the other.


Happy Love Thursday!

I hope each and every one of you knows the love of a good dog.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

On Risk Taking . . .

"And the day came when the risk [it took] to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom."
--Anais Nin

"Do what you love and the money will follow." --Marsha Sinetar

"A little bit added to what you've already got gives you a little bit more." --P.G. Wodehouse


I've decided to open an Etsy shop for a few of my handmade items.

The very first item to be listed is this Earflap Baby Hat for little ones 3 mo to 18 mo. It's knit with superwash wool (i.e. warm, soft and washable) and it's lined with softer than soft fleece. As baby grows the fleece lining can be removed allowing the hat to expand and fit a larger head.

Go check it out if you are so inclined. :o)

Do you believe in fate? My left brain does not. And yet, when I'm thrifting, my right brain takes over. I expect things to jump out at me; to say "Here I am! You came for me today." I ask the universe to show me the way.

And so here are some items from my latest thrifting binge:

A book on writing, a book on simple abundance and joy and a pile of new fabric. I wonder where they will lead ...