Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Free Magazines

Some frugal blogs clued me in to this site where you can earn points for free magazines by watching little infomercial/commercials. Guess what I did last night while Dr. J was working on his dissertation. I watched probably 45 minutes of infomercials in two minutes increments and earned myself a year subscription of Good Housekeeping and Ode which as far as I can tell is an environmental magazine. So to some of you this may seem like torture but I have a confession to make. I actually kind of like infomercials. Pre Netflixs when Dr. J would go out of town I'd spend many a night watching late night infomercials. I can't sleep without my hubby, what more can I say.

CSA - Week One

This summer with some great encouragement and a monetary incentive from some friends we decided to join a CSA with farmer Bob. He takes money at the beginning of the growing season for a percentage of his produce. Each week until November we pick up our share of the produce. The positives are it is organic and local grown. You pay up front so it is a little pricey to join (hence why we needed some gentle prodding from friends) but the positives are:
1) We've already paid a significant portion of our summer veggie and fruit cost. Which when you are not going to be making any money and are living off your meager savings for the summer is a definite plus. Hopefully between this and our garden we can really cut our food bill.
2) We have a steady supply of organic produce.
3) We are helping to support local agriculture in our area. That is better for the environment and better for our country as a whole. There are a lot of things that I enjoy about living in a global economy but it makes me nervous that more and more of our food is coming from outside sources. What if a terrible natural disaster occurred or some horrible war or famine and we had to rely on our own stores again. Also once all the food in our country comes from other areas we are at the mercy of whatever those countries want to charge. It just makes me a little anxious. Most of my life I lived on the outskirts of towns right next to farms or orchards. The sad thing is though we wouldn't live in an area for very long before the farms were bought up, the fields leveled, and houses built. We are losing some of our best farmland and the knowledge on how to do our own produce. Bad idea if you ask me.
4) It's fun and will help supplement my own garden which truth be told is mainly a salsa and spaghetti sauce field :)

Above is our haul for the week. I'll post pictures each week so you can see what we are getting and what we are doing with it. This week we got 2 lbs of rhubarb, 1/4 pound of spinach, 1/4 pound of salad greens, and a bunch of garlic greens. Just like your own garden this one starts producing more and more as the season goes on.

Friday, May 23, 2008

New Shoes

A few months ago I wrote Sketchers a friendly letter that said, "Hey my husband loves your shoes but I'm never going to buy him another pair because the fake leather on the heel cuff wears off really early leaving the shoe looking like crude even while the rest of the shoe has lots of wear left." OK so maybe it was borderline hostile but this was the third pair of shoes that this had happened with and I was getting pretty darn sick of it. A customer service rep responded and told me that I could send the shoes to them and they would look over them to see if it was a manufacturing defect, ie their fault. I said sure thing and took the two pairs we still had, one brown, and one black and sent them off. So poor Dr. J was without two of his favorite church shoes for a couple months. After about six weeks I got a letter back from them saying they needed more information and could I please call them between the ridiculous hours of 1 to 5 pm Pacific Time. It took us several days to remember to call at the right time but when we finally did we got the good news that Dr. J could pick out two new pairs of shoes up to $69 dollars a piece off the sketcher site and then if we just called in the codes on those they would send them out. Well it took a few more weeks for Dr. J to get himself on the site but he finally did and found these two pairs of shoes that he really liked. Unfortunately they were 70 dollars a piece. He called the costumer service lady up and asked about them. She said no problem and ten days later they were here. Pretty spiffy if you ask me.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

How Tired Do You Have To Be...

Yesterday I was sitting on the couch with Doctor J. We were reading some book that had a list of girl names. I turned to him and said, "Next time we have a daughter let's name her this name." Then we both started laughing. In my exhausted state I had pointed out the name of our own dear 17 month old. I knew I liked that name when I read it :)

Thursday, May 8, 2008


We went to a Cinco De Mayo party this week and I decided to take Posole, a dish that my fabulous Aunt Salina makes for most of our family get togethers (especially around Christmas). I slow cooked 1/2 a pork roast, three tablespoons chili powder, chopped onions and garlic, and a huge can of hominy for two hours. Then I chopped up the pork into little cubes. Finally I chopped cilantro and limes and brought shredded lettuce. I don't know how it went over. A friend of mine called me over and said, "So this is the only thing here that taste authentic Mexican. Is it?" His wife said, "He is trying to pay you a compliment if you can't tell in that muddled sentence" :) Haha. Anyway the thing I think is the saddest is that I didn't properly explain the dish so most people just ate the soup plain but the thing is that it is the extras that really make posole good. The cabbage really gives it a great crunchy texture, and the cilantro and lime a great flavor. Thanks Aunt Salina for giving me a taste for this :)

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

A Little Bit of Painting

Organization has always been a problem in my house. We live in a two bedroom townhouse with two kids and two adults, one of whom has two work areas (desk) in his bedroom. So space is at a premium. We are always trying to figure out how to fit our stuff into our house. Until recently the children's books were a huge part of the problem. They were sitting onto of their dresser and about three times a day I would have to pick them up from where they had fallen off the side or behind the dresser. They were always getting knocked off when I got clothes out. To be honest it was just a mess. We decided there was nothing to do but get a shelf. The problem with this is that summer is quickly approaching and since my husband will not be working this summer but will only be writing on his dissertation our fund level is at an all time low and so pretty much the only type of shelf we could afford would be a particleboard fake number that probably wouldn't make it until Winter. Lucky fate smiled on us we came home a few days ago and found this little guy sitting out by the dumpster. So the thing is he really looked like he belonged in the dumpster, but we dragged him over and determined he was suitably strong to do the job. I cleaned him off and then went off to the hardware store to find some non white paint to cover him (Dr. J was anti white). Surprisingly paint is extremely expensive. Alright not new furniture expensive but elven dollars for a little pail...ouch! While I was shuffling along complaining about having to spend so much money on a dumpster find I happened upon the mis-tint shelf. Eureka! I got the little pail of paint I needed to cover the dresser for three dollars. So for three dollars we have a shelf to hold all the books and the top is big enough to hold the overflowing basket of stuffed animals. It is a win/win. Now I just need to haul the rest of them from downstairs and we will be in be one step further from the mad house!

Another place we have really struggled is what to do with our shoes by the front door. For years we had a shoe basket that was literally overflowing with the rich bounty of dirty shoes. Every time we went anywhere all the shoes would be dumped out and we'd be tripping on them as we walked out the door. The whole situation was driving me crazy. Dr. J and I both wanted something different but most of the other solutions we saw were way out of price range. Then IKEA hit. While I was in Utah my sister and I wasted a morning browsing their shelves. I saw this and knew I had to have it. It cost less then ten dollars and I just loaded it in my suitcase and hauled it home. Three days ago I covered the pine wood with a walnut stain to better match the sofa. The thing I like about it is the shoes are all out of the way but it is easy to see where they are so that all the shoes don't have to be thrown out to find pairs. Of course my shoe loving one year old will often pull them all off to play walk around the house in every pair of shoes I can find but I think that is just something she will probably need professional help for :)