Thursday, April 27, 2017

Furry fluffy wooly spring babies

The past month has been a whirlwind of outdoor adventures; walks (LOTS of walks), yard work, digging in dirt and worm finding for little Abe, Easter festivities, and other such springy fun.

I promise you there's milk in that pop bottle
and the goat is drinking it.

One of the highlights of the past month happened two weeks ago when little Abe and I attended a baby animal class at a local farm. The class was two hours of baby animal overload (meaning overload in the best possible way). Little Abe was able to pick up baby chicks, pet baby bunnies, bottle feed a lamb and a goat, and learn lots about the animals.

I enjoyed the goat portion the most. Miss Mary put all of us in a room and then called the parents to fetch a baby goat so that each child could bottle feed their very own baby goat. I can honestly say I was a little worried I might drop the two week old armful but it was a thrill carrying the little animal to my son who was waiting expectantly with a bottle full of milk. Once all the goats finished drinking they frolicked around the room full of children and parents. Baby goats are quite possibly some of the cutest things on earth and probably because they're full of such joy and antics. 







These tiny twins are only a few hours old!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Life is simply beautiful

I delight in the absolute simplest of things: a gentle breeze of crisp fresh air, bird songs and the musician's feathered flight, spying my son inventing new games on his own, smiling at my husband while he laughs heartily at something I don't find amusing (we do not have the same sense of humor). With spring comes a vibrant display of new life; the world surrounding almost screams of the miracle being birthed everywhere. I can hardly contain the joy this seasons brings to me through the same routine things that happen every single year.

Flowers and leaves blooming after the long cold white grey winter.
Baby animals being born in every field and every barn.
Birds nesting, working, playing, singing, nesting.
Seeds being sown and sprouting to grow into miraculous plants for a summer and autumn harvest.

Now that spring is truly here, the continuous rains have transformed our dead brown world into a vibrant green wonderland, the birds are all back and bustling, and our windows are open to let in the lovely clean scents and the happy spring sounds. Today my simple self is soaking in the ordinary yet miraculous. Today is perfection.


Sunday, March 12, 2017

Two Months In

I've been very absent in blogger land which sometimes is a reflection of chaos and bad crazy in my real world. I wanted to quick check in with all you folks, people I enjoy having a little part in my life and many of you whose lives I enjoy being a small part of as well to say no chaos and bad crazy going on here, just lots of busy busy life.

Two months ago I posted the following. I just read it today and realized how completely and totally true every world of it still is. This year, 2017 still feels really new, different, and despite the busy, busy, rush, rush this has been and looks to be a happy new year.

January 11: This year feels weird. It feels hopeful but weird. Maybe it's just the way I'm interpreting the fresh feeling of newness that virtually every January holds. After all we're only eleven days in and I've been focusing not on cleaning my home, nor on losing weight, or any other respectable task but instead I've been focusing on laughter. I imagine that could give this brand new year a feeling of hopefulness. Whatever the case it has one. 
My husband and I seem to be on the same page in many areas. There's nothing normal about that. When they say opposites attract they were talking about him and me. There's something really fresh and new and revitalizing about this place of strange unity. I feel like little Abe is at a place, at an age where so many huge new beginnings lie before him. He's getting so smart so fast. He's getting so aware so fast. He's able to do so many things so much more fully. It's mind boggling to witness. I'm in awe of him. 
Also, in terms of myself I feel so calm. I think my job was giving me so much anxiety for so long, and my health suffered as a result. Now that I'm feeling content and peaceful in my daily life I can feel my back pain decreasing. I can feel strength finally starting to build up in my back after so long of feeling almost cripple (something I try and not speak of often on the blog). I'm finding more motivation for little things, granted that has a lot to do with back pain decreasing. It seems that progress can now be made in so many areas that have been stagnant for a long time. 
And I'm excited. I'm excited to live each day as it comes. I'm excited for every tiny beauty. I'm excited for all things new. I'm excited for the joy that can be had in simplicity. I'm excited just to be. There's a really lovely calm amidst the excitement and I think it's what they call happy. I am happy.
Little Abe and his daddy

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Warmth; A few hours out of doors

The gate leading into our backyard got a makeover today.



Hooray for the first warm days at the end of winter.


 Boy arts and crafts?

I was (am) a tomboy so this has always been my kind of arts and crafts too. 
Anyone want to take a guess at how long this will stay up? 
I'd honestly be fine with leaving it here forever.

Monday, February 13, 2017

I want to look at people the way my four year old does

This week my son had an assignment where he had to tell the story of when a visitor came to his house. Last summer two of his cousins came over to play for the day. For the assignment he tried to tell me the story of that day. I wrote it all down as fast as I could.

The point of the story was to focus on detail. He was supposed to tell his story as if someone who knew nothing about his visitors was reading it. He did a very good job telling me about how much fun they had and what they did together. But I had to ask him, "what did your visitors look like?" At first while I was writing his description down I couldn't help but want to ask him for more specific details because this was what he told me:

"Siaara looks like a sister and her is. And she looks like a friend of mine. Asher looks like a friend of mine and he looks very brave."

I didn't ask him to elaborate though and I'm glad that I didn't. It wasn't until later that day as I was driving to my mom's and little Abe was sleeping in his car seat that his description of his cousins really spoke to me. My son has a really impressive imagination. He's very creative. He's incredibly talkative (to people that he knows) and his vocabulary is extremely large. He could easily have said that one of his cousins is very tall, that she has really long yellow-ish hair and that she is skinny. He could have said that she is pretty or that he likes her face (he's said that about several different people).

I kept thinking about it and thinking about it, "she looks like a friend... and he looks very brave." If someone asked you to describe what your sister looks like or your best friend what would you say? I wouldn't say she looks like my friend but there is something about a four year old describing two of his very favorite people looking "like a friend of mine" that just makes me want to be a better person. If someone asked me what my sister looked like I think it'd be admirable to say, "she looks incredibly kind. In fact she looks like someone who enjoys making people happy. She looks like a friend of mine and she's my sister."

I want to look at people the way my four year old does. One of the things that I keep thinking over and over, with as divided as things seem to be culturally these days I honestly believe that if he'd been describing someone of another race his description would have still been what it was. I know that my son doesn't see skin color or racial differences as something that makes people different from each other. I remember last summer when a family of very dark skinned individuals was at the splash pad by the river. They honestly stuck out like a sore thumb and I remember little Abe was sort of staring. I asked him, "why do you keep looking at that little boy honey?" And I remember he turned to me and said, "because he looks really cool!" He never said a word about the boy having really dark skin. I want to look at people the way my four year old does.



Wednesday, February 8, 2017

New in February

This month is getting away from me. It's flying by. Actually if I stop for a millisecond and think about it I seem to remember January being really super busy too. Okay, never mind. This mad rush feeling is apparently normal. I'm up early and my husband and son are sleeping (nope, they just woke up). Anyhow I thought I'd try and get a post in.

I planned to focus on all things new this month. So far I've not been as focused on the mission as I'd hoped to be but I've still gotten some new experiences in.

1. I made a new dinner that my husband seemed to like and I really enjoyed. The recipe is HERE Thai turkey zucchini meat balls with a coconut milk red curry sauce over white rice. The zucchini was in place of bread crumbs and egg. I did bake the meatballs in the oven at 375 for 15m. instead of browning them in a pan before simmering them in the sauce because I knew it'd be faster to cook them all at once in the oven and I knew that they'd stick to any pan I'd try to use (I don't have any good pans for browning meat). I also used apple cider vinegar in place of the fish sauce because the fish sauce smelled nasty. I will definitely make this recipe more. It was a very delicious meal that was not that difficult to make.

2. You know those chocolate no bake cookies with oats? Everyone's eaten them at some point right? I remember making them fairly often when I was a kid but don't know what recipe I used. I have not been able to find a good recipe for them and haven't made them in years because every recipe I tried has not been right. Someone at work mentioned them the other day and I asked what recipe she used. This wasn't a totally "new" experience but this was the first time I've made chocolate oatmeal no bake cookie the right way in decades! Hooray for good old fashioned recipes turning up after decades.

Chocolate Oatmeal no bake cookies
combine in sauce pan and bring to boil for one minute
(continue stirring for one minute boil)
1 stick of butter
2 c. sugar
1/2 c. cocoa powder
1/2 c. milk 
remove from heat after one minute and stir in
1/2 c. peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla extract 
Finally add
3 cups of oats
Then plop on parchment paper on cookie sheet to cool and set
Yes, these cookies are incredibly unhealthy. But they are exactly what I think of when someone says no bake cookies and they were a wonderful addition to the bitterly cold month of February. (They are also my husband's favorite cookie and I'm very happy to have finally made the correct recipe)

3. For little Abe's Valentine card making project I laid out a large sheet of postal paper on the kitchen floor. He used a long string to drag through several different colors of paint to paint lines all over different colors of construction paper. After the paintings dried he cut hearts out of them. This was a new craft that we haven't tried before and he highly enjoyed himself so this definitely makes it onto the new things in February list.

4. At work we sometimes get stock in on tiny little pallets. The regular large pallets get sent back/ re-used/ recycled but the tiny little pallets always get thrown out. I've been wanting to take one home but I've been too reluctant to ask permission (even though I knew it'd be fine as long as I asked). I finally asked permission when I saw one the other day and I'm pretty excited to have some FREE nice clean new wood to use for either crafting or simply for my little guy to hammer nails into. This was a new experience for me because before now I've just been too reluctant to ask. I think we might use the wood to make a bird house.

There have been other little things but like I said I have not been as focused on all-things-new as I'd hoped to be. This month is just flying by. I want to make sure and fit in lots of little things though. Like painting my nails a new color or wearing an outfit I hardly ever wear. I definitely want to go somewhere I've never gone, like just into a store I've not been in or to a neighboring town we've never explored. There is plenty of month left for tons of new experiences. I just need to remember to fit them in and be on the look out for opportunities.

I hope everyone in blog land is having a really great (if not jam packed) February.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

A tiny month of things I love

Valentines day is kind of, hmm, to be honest, well it's kind of lame. I never actually dated anyone in high school thus I had to watch all the girls around me getting flowers and candies and balloons in school on valentines day every year. I remember it being a unique sort of torture. Truly it was awful.

This year will mark fifteen years of marriage to a really funny man who is incredibly talented (he's an incredible singer song writer) and who is quite sensitive in a vulnerable sort of way but he is NOT sentimental. He thinks valentines day is lame too and he has this serious issue with buying flowers because quote, "they stink and they die." (I LOVE flowers)

To recap I'm not much a fan of valentines day but I do have a bit of fun posting about "things I love" on the blog in February. I'm a pretty big fan of love.

I don't doubt that most of my posts this month will be about my son (who is in time out right now actually) and I think I can do the theme great justice by starting out the "things I love" with The Mouse and the Motorcycle. He and I have been flying through chapter books this year (all of one whole month so far). The most recent book we read was Beverly Cleary's, The Mouse and the Motorcycle.

I personally really enjoyed the book but even more so I loved reading it to my son. Hearing him request each day that we read it brought such joy to my heart. I want him to love books and to love reading. I feel like I've been putting a significant effort into nourishing his love of reading over the past several years. Now that he's getting excited about reading chapter books together, now that he's specifically requesting that we stop whatever it is we're doing at any given moment so that we can sit down together and read, I love it!!!

We finished reading The Mouse and the Motorcycle on Sunday. Little Abe has really enjoyed most of the chapter books we've read but he seemed to enjoy this last book the most. On Monday we had plans to go to the library to return the book and get the sequal, Runaway Ralph (Ralph is the mouse who rides the motorcycle). We never ended up going to the library because little Abe decided that we really should read the book again. His exact words were something like, "You know mom, at first I didn't really think I'd get into that book so much. But actually I really actually LOVED it!"

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

January Numbers Are In

This is the first real "Numbers are in" post I've done in a long time. Spending was pretty high this month BUT at least I accomplished my goal of tracking it all again.

Food grocery spending was a bit higher than normal (we tend to average $12 a day). There certainly wasn't any food stocking up done but I think we ate a bit healthier than normal. That always raises costs a bit especially when I have to factor in my husband randomly bringing home healthy items here and there that cost a pretty penny. Ugh, he does not know how to be frugal!

I don't think we did bad at all in the food out category.

The pets category consisted of one bag of dog food (with a free one in tow). Since I don't include medical in the average daily spending I have NOT been tracking our eldest dog's insulin and syringes expenses here.

I did some stocking up in the toiletries and cleaning categories. The stock up does raise spending for this month but will help in months to come.

And I had to buy new pants for work (in the clothing category) and I picked up a few really good deals on clothes for the kiddo.

Food Groceries $397.27: an average of $12.82 a day
Food out $73.76: an average of $2.38

Pets $29.15: an average of 94 cents a day
Stuff $12.93: an average of 42 cents a day
Toiletries $24.93: an average of 80 cents a day
Clothing $36.87: an average of $1.19 a day
Cleaning and house supplies $65.78: an average of $2.12 a day


Average daily spending for 2017: $20.67

It was a pretty good month here at the $12 a day household but goodness it was an expensive one (more like $21 a day) and it's pretty hard to believe that it'll be February already tomorrow. Wow!

Monday, January 30, 2017

February Plans (Just slow down mommy)

Okay, not really plans. This is a goals post.
I'm hoping to fill February with new. New places, new food, new activities, new hobbies, new crafts, new books, new words... okay, I could probably just keep typing forever. My goal for what always seems like the coldest month of the year is all-things-new; to add some spice to the winter.

I actually have a three point checklist of things to focus on this month. Each day this month I'd like to ask:

  1. Did I experience something new today? What was it? (February focus)
  2. Did I laugh today? What made me laugh? (January focus)
  3. Did I rush my son? Do either of us seem less stressed? (Something I want to work on)
As far as question number three is concerned I've noticed that I'm regularly telling my kiddo to "hurry up." Regularly, like A LOT. I'm seemingly always rushing him along. In noticing this I've realized that A.) I have very little patience and B.) I'm teaching my kid to always be rushing. He definitely operates on his own timeline (as all children do) but when I really stop and observe his timeline I actually like it more than mine. His way of doing things includes more fun, more savoring, more joy, and quite frankly I don't want to "instruct" any of that out of my four year old.

In February along with noticing laughter, and focusing on new, I want to just slow down. I think I might actually like February this year.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

WAR OF MONSTERS AND THE GOOD GUYS (HUMANS)


Written by four year old little Abe:

Wonka and his friends Mump, Munk, Nunk, and Moniegulungie, they went to space to find some snacks to eat. They didn't find snacks. They just found humans. Then Wonka and his friends said, "Ooh, let's try to eat them." 
The humans said, "What do we do?!?!" and then someone found a bomb in their pocket and then they threw it at the monsters. But the monsters didn't blow up. They even got more madder. One of the other humans found a sword and he stabbed it in the monster. But the monster even got more mad. Then there was a huge war between the humans and the monsters Wonka, Mump, Munk, Nunk, and Moniegulungie. 
The humans got a big stick and they threw it at Wonka and his friends. The monsters got more and more madder than last time and then the monsters threw the huge stick at the humans. Then the humans died and the monsters ate them. Wonka and his friends Mump, Munk, Nunk, and Moniegulungie said, "Yum!" 
The End

__________________________
Transcribed almost word for word with only a few "and then"s omitted.


I think the moral of the story is that you can't fight off monsters with a big stick?

Saturday, January 28, 2017

January Goals


The new year is already aging. The month of January is drawing to a close even though I'm not so sure I've accepted that it's 2017 already and not still 2016. My goal for the month/ first of twelve new year's resolutions was simply to laugh more. What a neat and enriching goal it's been. 

The list I compiled for ways to focus on laughter and to try and laugh more was as follows:
  1. Read funny stories, funny poems. We've read funny stories each day. I'm really enjoying this part of the goal.
  2. Watch funny movies. Not many were watched but this did add laughter to the month.
  3. Tickle regularly. I might have tickled little Abe less than normal but there was still tickling and giggles and this is towards the top of things that cause laughter in my life.
  4. Tell jokes. Little Abe's jokes don't really make sense but I still laugh. I tell him jokes that I think are funny and he doesn't get them and doesn't laugh. This wasn't a very effective strategy for laughter.
  5. Discover/ sing silly songs. Or sing normal songs in a silly way... either way we laughed.
  6. Document on the blog one moment of laughter each day. I thought I'd blogged a bit too much about funny things and backed off. I probably could have kept it up though just for my own pleasure. It's funny how sometimes we forget to use our blogs for ourselves, when at least for me, that's why I blog in the first place.
  7. Remind myself to laugh. I totally did this and as silly as it is and as odd as it felt it was a good practice. I laugh in my head so often that I miss the physical benefit of laughing out loud. I did remind myself to laugh throughout the month. Who would have ever thought that laughing is something you can practice/ get better at.
  8. Take photos of laughter. I was looking forward to this idea a lot but my camera is on it's way out, like not working properly at all and I basically took no photos this month.
  9. Make time to be less serious. I think I did this, less intentionally but still I did it.
  10. Read a book about laughter. I read two books containing at least bits about laughter.

I've pretty much already noted the results of this goal. I feel that noticing laughter all month was incredibly enriching and impactful. This January, a very gloomy, very cold, usually somewhat heavy feeling month was filled with much more joy then I'm used to. I seemed to delight in little things (something I strive to do) much more regularly and easily then I generally do in the midst of winter. Normally by now winter depression is beginning to set in and I'm starting to fearfully dread February's arrival. I'm not scared of February this year. I'm kind of looking forward to it. Haha, I feel like something is wrong with me.

In conclusion January's goal was a big fat success.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Sunshine

I just wrote a long post that was all: heavy, heavy, gloomy, gloom, gloom.

And then I said, "nah." and drafted it.

As the years pass, I am coming more and more to understand that it is the common, everyday blessings of our common everyday lives for which we should be particularly grateful. They are the things that fill our lives with comfort and our hearts with gladness -- just the pure air to breathe and the strength to breath it; just warmth and shelter and home folks; just plain food that gives us strength; the bright sunshine on a cold day; and a cool breeze when the day is warm.
-Laura Ingalls Wilder

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Weekend warmth

Our spot on the globe, a very chilly spot this time of year and statistically gloomy spot all winter is right now experiencing a lovely little warm spell (we're said to have less sun throughout the winter months than most places on the planet AND this winter has been recorded as having had less sun then normal... imagine living under a very cold rock for five months). It's been extremely rainy for days but the warmth yesterday and relative warmth today are wonderfully invigorating. My little man spent a good deal of time digging in (and flinging) mud in the backyard yesterday. It's funny to think of him outgrowing this favorite activity of his but it's inevitable. In the mean time I rather enjoy watching him play in mud. Hmm, maybe he'll be an excavator or archaeologist and dig in mud for a living.

I've been getting along much better this winter than most. Partly because of the job change (it's amazing what walking away from misery can do for a person) but I like to think it's also partly because I'm actually focusing on being happy. It's also amazing what concentrating on a thing can do for a person.

We'll spend the remainder of this weekend relaxing and at the top of my list for today we'll be getting outdoors again. Hopefully there will be more lazy backyard breathing fresh air time. It'd be nice to take a long family walk as well. And I imagine little Abe and I will walk our Bozzy around the neighborhood before Daddy comes home. Three quarters through January 2017, it's sure been a busy one but it's also been the happiest January I can remember for a very long time. I'm actually not dreading February this year. I always dread February.

____________________________________________

Spending Sat:
Sweatshirt - $10.80
Small toy bag - $2.93
Groceries - $35.69

Average daily spending for 2017: $21.63

Friday, January 20, 2017

Week Three Spending

This month has been busy. Between kindergarten, swimming lessons, gymnastics, work (which is exhausting), cleaning at my mom's, and trying to maintain my home I am tired. Happy, but tired. Ah, that's life. I just about let the past week's spending get away from me. Granted I have not been doing a great a job being frugal but I NEED to at least keep track. Just basic ground rules of budgeting right there.

I just sat down and tallied up the past several day's spending and added it to the rest of the month. I feel like there are two small purchases that I missed but I can't find them. Spending is much higher this month than I'd like it to be but I have stocked up on some household items AND we went out to eat the other night and the total was WAY more then I'd expected. We got fajitas at a local Mexican restaurant and honestly the total should have been around $30 plus tip, so about $36 and it came out to be $48 (with tip). I'm pretty sure my husband's beer made up for all that extra (One very large beer). Geesh!

The food out category jumped from $0 for the first two weeks to $73.76 (from three occasions) in the past week. We also got frozen yogurt yesterday after little Abe did awesome at swimming and I picked up McDonald for he and I this afternoon. That's the only fast food we've had this month. (I'm not a big fast food fan anyhow)

Well that's the latest spending rundown. And now I feel accomplished for having tallied up the spending for this past week despite the totals.

Food Groceries $222.88: an average of $11.14 a day
Food out $73.76: an average of $3.69

Pets $29.15: an average of $1.46 a day
Stuff $10: an average of 50 cents a day
Toiletries $24.93: an average of $1.25 a day
Cleaning and house supplies $65.78: an average of $3.29 a day

Average daily spending for 2017: $21.32

Busy busy bloggers

I'm finding myself laughing at myself this morning. The last post here was a quick check in almost a week ago commenting on how little motivation I had last Saturday. I've not been by blogger much since then because I've been so overwhelmingly busy. Forget motivation, who needs motivation when you can't even keep up with yourself and now I scroll through the reading list on blogger and see that I'm certainly not alone in my having been too busy to post.

It looks like we're all having a VERY busy January. The Hawaii Planner has made a very big, time consuming purchase (congratulations again). I imagine Sluggy running around in circles at full speed with her arms flailing as shes trying to take care of everyone in her family, and taking care of a person who is out of commission is a full time job without needing to still run the household. Anne's been hosting the whole town at her place. Between work and homeschool it sounds like Jennifer doesn't have a moment to breathe. And shoot, SAM is running all over everywhere doing all sorts of everything with her daughter. Should I go on???

I hope blogger isn't displaying a reflection of how this year is going to be. We all need a serious vacation already! I'd ask who is hosting but it seems we're all way too busy for that. Haha! I'd like to encourage everyone (myself included) to carve out some extra relaxing me-time at some point this weekend. We need it!

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Saturday Syndrome

I... need... motivation.

I'm planning on not leaving the house today but I feel like there are one billion things to accomplish here. I better go make a list and a pot of coffee.

Ooh I can write, "post to blog," on my list and check it off first thing.
Ahh then I can write, "make pot of coffee," and check that off.

Most boring blog post ever!
Check.

Happy Saturday everyone!!!

Friday, January 13, 2017

Two week spending report


Two weeks in, almost. January has been cold (duh, right), icy, and busy. 

Yesterday little Abe SHOULD have had his first swimming lesson since summer. He and my husband went to the YMCA. Little Abe got all ready, changed, showered, they sat down at the pool and then someone told them that lessons were canceled because school had a snow day. I guess you could call it an ice day. Almost all the snow melted Wednesday and we'd had freezing rain all night. The whole world was covered in a VERY slick blanket of ice and so, No school. We didn't know school was canceled.

I'd bought a small toy for Abe Wednesday if swimming lessons went well Thursday. (My child is very shy with strangers) My husband gave him the toy even though lessons were canceled. Well, that was a waste of $6. Anyway, that's a long story to report $6.

The spending categories I record here are as follows:
  • Groceries 
  • Food out 
  • Pets
  • Stuff 
  • Toiletries
  • Clothing
  • Christmas
  • Gifts
  • Cleaning and house supplies
  • Garden


I think everything I spend money on fits nicely into these ten categories. I assign Christmas and Garden their own categories only because I'm interested in seeing where those two things end up each year. I guess you could call those special interests.  The only things I don't tally here are car expenses, educational expenses, and health expenses. Oh, and of course bills. Everything else I spend money on gets reported here. My husband's spending on himself is not included.

So far this month I've spent in the following five categories:

Food Groceries $164.20: an average of $12.63 a day
Pets $29.15: an average of $2.24 a day
Stuff $10: an average of 77 cents a day
Toiletries $24.93: an average of $1.92 a day
Cleaning and house supplies $44.93: an average of $3.46 a day

Average daily spending for 2017: $21.02

Looking at the short list of categories I'm happiest to report that there's been no spending in the food out category over the last thirteen days. No coffee shop coffee. No pizza (except homemade). No food or snacks out. That's always a fun accomplishment.

The other thing to note is high spending in toiletries and cleaning supplies. I have stocked up on some things this month but the stock up makes me so happy. Being the frugal gal I am there are some things I hate buying not on sale when they run out. Toilet paper (which I have not stocked up on yet) and laundry detergent are two of the biggest annoyances. Whenever I have to purchase either of those things full price because we've run out I get so beyond annoyed. I've gotten a pretty good stock pile of laundry detergent this month at a pretty great price. There won't be any full price last minute detergent buying here anytime soon.

A portion of the toiletries spending this month is face soap for my husband. He uses a certain kind/ brand and I never know when he's out (and don't think to randomly buy soap for him). Basically I almost always end up buying face soap for him full price. We now have four containers of it from a pretty good sale so I think he'll be set for awhile.

All in all, I'm really happy with this month's spending so far. Groceries is a tad bit high but we haven't eaten any food out. So I'm calling that a total win. Pets is right on track. Stocking up on toiletries and cleaning supplies. We've a free bag of dog food from finally hitting the buy 12 get 1 free deal. And there would be spending in the Christmas category but I  purchased $35 worth of stuff on clearance with an $11 store reward making it all free. Great way to start the year!

You know one thing that is kind of strange, despite inflation and adding a person to our family our average daily spending on food groceries has been pretty darn close to an average of $12 a day for over five years. Hmm, I guess I aptly named this blog oh so many years ago. Hehe!

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

I am happy

This year feels weird. It feels hopeful but weird. Maybe it's just the way I'm interpreting the fresh feeling of newness that virtually every January holds. After all we're only eleven days in and I've been focusing not on cleaning my home, nor on losing weight, or any other respectable task but instead I've been focusing on laughter. I imagine that could give this brand new year a feeling of hopefulness. Whatever the case it has one.

My husband and I seem to be on the same page in many areas. There's nothing normal about that. When they say opposites attract they were talking about him and me. There's something really fresh and new and revitalizing about this place of strange unity. I feel like little Abe is at a place, at an age where so many huge new beginnings lie before him. He's getting so smart so fast. He's getting so aware so fast. He's able to do so many things so much more fully. It's mind boggling to witness. I'm in awe of him.

Also, in terms of myself I feel so calm. I think my job was giving me so much anxiety for so long, and my health suffered as a result. Now that I'm feeling content and peaceful in my daily life I can feel my back pain decreasing. I can feel strength finally starting to build up in my back after so long of feeling almost cripple (something I try and not speak of often on the blog). I'm finding more motivation for little things, granted that has a lot to do with back pain decreasing. It seems that progress can now be made in so many areas that have been stagnant for a long time.

And I'm excited. I'm excited to live each day as it comes. I'm excited for every tiny beauty. I'm excited for all things new. I'm excited for the joy that can be had in simplicity. I'm excited just to be. There's a really lovely calm amidst the excitement and I think it's what they call happy. I am happy.

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Food groceries $8.11 (Mon & Tues)

Average daily spending for 2017: $20.87

Sunday, January 8, 2017

The hoarder and the aftermath

Two doors down lived a hoarder. In just a few short years he filled the entire house with things, floor to ceiling. He filled the entire garage with things. When the three story home and garage were packed to the brim he began to fill the backyard with things.

The hoarder rode a bicycle around town all day and brought back loads of street corner finds, dumpster finds... I don't think he purchased any of his hoard, or at least not much of it but he spent seemingly his every waking hour on collecting.

Despite how important the things seemed to be his home began to crumble. Weed trees along the edges of the house and garage started to grow into the roof. Portions of the hoard barely contained in the front porch began to push out windows. The hoard had officially taken over. That's when the city stepped in.

The city cleaned up the outside hoard two times, billed him for it, and then I hear they put a warrant out for his arrest for not meeting a court date. He moved out when he got in trouble. We (the nosy neighbors) don't know where he went but I've seen him riding his bike around town with bags full of things dangling from the handle bars. I can only assume he's now collecting at a new residence.

I know his sister took responcibity at one point. I'm not sure if she was trying to get him out of trouble but for several weekends in a row she had a dumpster brought to the house. Men who worked with her husband were hired by her to clean out the kitchen. Several dumpsters later the kitchen was emptied.

I watched as the bank put a foreclosure notice on the front door. Weeks later, now in the frigged cold of winter a group of people are clearing the house out once again. I don't know who they are, if they bought the house at auction, if they were hired by the bank or the city; This time they're getting rid of everything. From morning to night for the past three days they've been filling big black garbage bags with the hoard and throwing them into the backyard. It's been awhile since the backyard pile was in place but the enormous pile of black bags is familiar to us neighbors, even though they've a very different purpose now.

Not once, as far as I know, not once did the hoarder himself get rid of anything. He collected. He stored. He worked feverishly to fill every inch of the home with stuff, with things, to insulate it with collecting. Yet now, tireless hour after tireless hour, through the smell (I've seen many face masks sported over there), and the filth, through the horrible neglect and pointless piles the collection has been removed by so many different people who I can only guess detested the chore.

The whole scene hits me in a strange way since I spent eleven years of my life in a home that collected its own hoard. After the bank foreclosed on that house it was demolished. But I can still remember the stench. So many of my childhood relics were lost to that house. I despised that place. I'm glad it's gone. But watching the scene two doors down I can't help but feel bad for the hoarder. I honestly feel really bad for him but somewhere inside I'm also furious at the disease, I'm furious that so many other's have had to clean up his mess. There's no reason for it. There's NO good reason these people should have to be wasting hours of their lives over there, with those big black bags, and dumpster after dumpster. Something about it infuriates me.

This is where I take the scenes I've watched play out two doors down over the past few years and think about myself. I can't help but wonder if there's anything that I collect, anything that someone else has to clean up after. The first thing that comes to mind is how ridiculously opinionated I am towards my husband's family. It's almost as if I collect opinions that I won't let budge, opinions that do taint me like the hoard pushing out the windows on the front porch at the hoarder house. And I think my husband is the one that has to clean up after my collection. Maybe clean up isn't the right expression but in a way he has to deal with the weight of it. How much time do I waste on things that don't matter, things that just create messes and who ends up dealing with it in the end? Honestly though, that's just the first thing that comes to mind. I hope I'm not collecting things that others will ever have to clean up after.

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Sunday spending
Food groceries: $28.48

Saturday, January 7, 2017

First week behind us (Spending update)

This felt like a really expensive week. I had to purchase dog food yesterday BUT it was the 12th bag in the Buy 12 get 1 free cycle so I picked up a second bag for free. Our food groceries spending averaged out to $10.44 a day but I spent an additional $12.88 on cleaning and household supplies (Rite-Aid purchase not tallied here). 

Not included in the average daily spending (because I don't include "education" type spending) are the swimming and gymnastics classes I signed Abe up for at the YMCA. Yikes! Expensive but worth it.

Also, I FINALLY signed up for Rite-Aid's plenti points program and placed two orders online (with free shipping). I spent $44.93 on various toiletries and $32.05 on laundry detergent. I earned two $20 rewards and used one. Thus I'm deducting the $20 from toiletries which now come in at $24.93. Everything purchased from Rite-Aid was on sale so including the $20 in plenti points that I used, my savings rate was around 60% for the two purchases combined. I'm pretty happy with a 60% savings rate.

Food groceries: $73.08
Cleaning and household supplies: $44.93
including: Trash bags
Index cards
LOTS of laundry Detergent
Light bulbs
Toiletries: $24.93
dog food: $29.15
(free bag)

Total for week one of 2017: $172.09


Average daily spending for 2017: $24.58

This was definitely an expensive first week but I did some pretty good stocking up (not on food) and got some pretty great deals.