In an attempt to empty our deep freeze enough to defrost it, and because of my stockpiling reduction quest, we’ve been putting off a trip to Costco for months. It’s been so hard watching the coupon books come and go and to NOT jump in the car to stock up on coconut water or ziplock bags, but until this weekend I remained strong.
Finally, we could wait no longer. Well, the dogs couldn’t anyway, since their food comes from Costco. So we made a family trip to our favorite warehouse store and filled not one, but TWO carts! So now the fridge is full and the one empty freezer shelf was filled. I just couldn’t help myself! The holidays are coming, and I am determined not to run out of butter or pecans this year.
The only upside is that we managed to avoid buying even one package of meat, which is a personal best. I couldn’t avoid stocking up on parchment paper, however, since like Christmas, it only comes around once a year.
I have a good report this time around. The freezer is looking a lot more empty this month, despite the fact that I was out of town for quite a bit of it. I can’t claim credit for most of the reduction in stock, because my husband spent 11 days eating every meal out of the freezer (well, the two meals a day he eats).
By the time I returned home, I was so busy with the imminent start of my new job, I went to the grocery store once all month. Finally, the freezer is doing its job: providing meals when I don’t have time to cook. Even Frances has been doing her part, eating from the bag of sweet potatoes I froze in the spring.
The downside to not buying fresh produce is that we haven’t been eating as many fruits and vegetables. I finished off the last of the asparagus soups and ratatouille I made last summer for lunch, but I’ve been slacking on the vegetable sides with dinner. We’re finally getting some veggies from my parents’ garden, so I think the tide is turning.
I’ll be so sad when the summer stone fruits and berries fade along with the warm evenings, so I better enjoy them while I can. I guess I’ll start off September with a long over-due trip to the grocery store!
I’ve seen some bad forest fires over the years, living in the west as we do, but this year takes the cake. I guess it was overloaded with one too many lit candles!
It’s been days since we saw the mountains just across the valley, and it smells like a campfire inside the house. I’m not sure what I miss more, the blue sky or opening the windows at night to enjoy the cool breeze.
Worst of all is being stuck inside all day! We’re grumpy enough from cabin fever, and the irritated throats and itchy eyes aren’t helping one bit. What’s a mom to do?
Walks and playing outside are out of the question. What activities do you enjoy when you’re stuck inside?
How do you deal with the poor air quality in your home? We have a lot of house plants, but I’ve always thought of that as more of a long-term solution.
My daughter has had four cavities in her four short years of life. How is this possible? I can’t say we’re religious flossers, but the rest of our dental routine is pretty admirable. Regular brushing? Yep. Fluoride tablets? Absolutely. Hard candies? Not allowed.
According to our dentist, my daughter’s tooth decay could have been caused by extended breastfeeding. She pointed out that once solids are introduced, bacteria in the mouth can change and breast milk can actually cause cavities.
After doing a bit of my own research though, I have to disagree. Repeated studies have shown that breast milk has proteins and antibacterial qualities that prevent tooth decay. My older son was also breastfed until well over two years old and has never had a cavity to this day.
So what has caused my daughter’s cavities? The dentist also mentioned that sharing utensils can cause babies to get some of the strep mutans (a bacteria that causes tooth decay) that we have in our adult mouths. I have to say that we’re probably guilty of sharing ice cream an ice cream spoon now and then. Still, our punishment is FOUR cavities! That seems rather harsh!
Have you had any issues with extended breastfeeding and cavities? Have you received any encouragement or warnings from your dentist?
Everywhere I go I see toddlers and younger wearing amber teething necklaces. Since Frances is entering the “teething zone”, I became fascinated by this new trend. Well, new to me anyway. Not only have people in Europe been using these forever, but Rebecca posted about it back in 2010!
(For those of you who haven’t heard of amber teething necklaces, the theory is this: amber contains succinic acid, a natural pain reliever and anti-inflammatory that’s supposedly absorbed into your skin. The child is not supposed to chew on the necklace, a common misconception.)
After asking everyone I knew about their experiences, I decided I must try one for myself. I didn’t come across a single mom who didn’t rave about the reduced drool and, although it’s pretty hard to communicate with a baby, these moms were convinced the baby’s discomfort was lessened as well. That’s good enough for me!
Then I noticed a mom wearing one around her own neck. When I asked about it, she said she’s had neck pain from nursing for months and that the amber necklace seemed to alleviate the sharp pains. What’s more, her husband told me that when he wears one around his wrist, his whole arm felt more relaxed. Since I’ve been having wrist pain from nursing, I decided I should try a bracelet for myself.
Franci and I haven’t been wearing our amber for long, so the verdict is still out on our success. However, we’ve decided to do a giveaway for an amber necklace from Amberbeata!
Amberbeata teething necklaces come in several colors and styles and have a sturdy screw-style clasp. Each bead is knotted so that the whole string won’t come unravelled if it breaks. The bracelets and necklaces come with a certificate of authenticity so you know you’re getting real amber.
Whether you’re loving your current amber necklace but want something more stylish, or if you want to try out this natural remedy for yourself, you can enter our giveaway up to four times.
Each comment counts as a single entry:
Remember, each comment you leave (up to four comments) is another entry! Winners will receive the pictured Amber Teething Necklace.
This contest ends on Tuesday, August 27th, and is only open to U.S. Residents.
One month into my quest to buy less food and make space in our freezer and I’m making progress. I did end up buying more than usual during my shopping trips, but I hit the grocery store about half as many times. If I were as organized as Rebecca, I’d crunch the numbers and know for sure if I came out ahead. Maybe next time.
I think one of my biggest problems is that I have a hard time compromising on taste. For example, I bought crackers even though I already had some because I prefer the taste of water crackers with the goat cheese terrine I made for the 4th of July. I also bought ingredients for the dessert I wanted to make from scratch, even though I had plenty of frozen cookies. On the plus side, we used up some frozen ground beef and I ate several helpings of frozen ratatouille during the week. I’m trying to prioritize things that will be replaced soon during the summer harvest, and my latest count says I’m almost there.
Rummaging through the cupboard, I saw that there was very little road trip food so I ended up buying sandwich makings. In retrospect, I could have had PBJ sandwiches but I just thought of that this minute. I bought ingredients for a family reunion dinner since I didn’t have enough of any one thing for 40, but we managed to eat quite a bit of frozen stuff in the days leading up to the trip. It was so nice not to have to spend time cooking during a busy few days, and there wasn’t any food left in the fridge that would have spoiled in our absence.
One great thing about having tons of frozen treats (like cookies and roasted nuts) is that I was able to give goodies to our hosts. Plus, I didn’t have to rush out to the grocery store when we got home because there were plenty of frozen dinners and dried fruits.
Whether or not I actually saved money this month is questionable, but we did make a nice dent in our freezer.
Some people might call my husband and me hoarders, but we prefer the term “stockpilers”. We don’t save old newspapers or have 20 cats, and you probably wouldn’t know we had a stockpiling problem if you came to our house. One look in our garage betrays us, however. For every open case of toilet paper, there’s an unopened one behind it.
Things got a little worse as my pregnancy progressed. I read too much into the advice to “freeze some meals” and froze 100 dinners instead. And that’s not including the frozen lunches I stashed in the deep freeze! I also made sure our pantry had triples of everything we use, as if I would never set foot in a grocery store again. Since I like to cook, and I go to the store weekly for fresh produce, I make dinner most days and the freezer and pantry remain overflowing.
I finally decided to do something about our overstock because things are going to start expiring. And like Joy and Rebecca, I loathe to waste anything! I got sick last week because I refused to throw away a hard boiled egg that was questionable! Actually, what finally pushed me into this commitment is the motivation to save for a down payment on a house. Our current rental is too small for the three of us, and we hope to have another kid soon. Unless we want to drive each other crazy, we need more than one bedroom.
Rebecca, with her tales of eating on less than the cost of an iPhone plan, gave me the idea. I need some accountability. If I decide to write about it, maybe it will actually happen. So once a month I’m going to update you on my progress. If I’m lucky, maybe I’ll manage to curb my shopping and beauty product addiction as well.
I hope you’ll provide me with lots of advice in the comments!
After a full summer day at the park, my children arrive home then coated in sand and cracker crumbs…and often partially wet from running through the fountains, but it’s far easier to clean them up then the entire house. They are then gloriously hungry, tired and ready for bed (Even if the summer sun is still pouring in their bedroom windows at 8pm.)
4. Swimsuits. Our favorite summer parks have water features that can keep my kids occupied for hours.
5. Towels. These will possibly be totally soppy, sandy, and disgusting by the end of the day, but it’s nice to have them on hand.
7. Band aids. Somehow this small piece of flexible plastic seems to convince my children that their wounds are instantly healed.
9. Mom gear. If I am going to spend six hours at the park, I have to remember those items that will keep me content. For me it’s almonds and chocolate, sunglasses, a charged cell phone, and maybe even a book.
10. Friends. O.K….these don’t really fit in a beach bag, but having a few friends for a casual playdate make the entire experience so much more fun. Children get to see their buddies and parents get a chance to celebrate the victories and failure of parenting. (Hopefully while laughing hysterically at both.)
Have I missed any key components? Are you packing cloth diapers, wipes, and other baby gear at this point as well?
How can you make Father’s Day special for a new dad while you’re sleep-deprived and have no time to shop? Honestly, I don’t even really remember our first Father’s day celebration as a new family, but after consulting my husband, these are the things he was most wanting back in those early days of parenthood.
Framed photos. Snap a couple shots of baby with dad (and grandpa too, if he lives close), print them out, and slip them into frames for an easy, but special, gift. If you have more time on your hands, make a bound photo book online.
A personalized picnic. Whether it’s gourmet potato chips or homemade pasta salad, your fellow has a few special entrees that may not cross the dinner table on a regular basis. Pick them up, pack them up, and head out for a hike..or just an afternoon at the park.
A date. Every dad (and mom!) deserves some time off. Create a homemade gift certificate for an afternoon or evening out. Do a babysitting trade or perhaps leave your tot with family so the two of you can hit all of his favorite pre-baby hang-outs. (The picture above is of a special date we had six months ago. We hiked the same trail we took on our first date!)
An Ipad. My husband claims that this gizmo is extremely practical for fathers taking the 3-5am shift. Sitting in the rocking chair while watching sports highlights made those late nights infinitely more bearable. This seems to be the least sentimental and the most expensive item on my idea list, and yet it is the thing that my husband most adores.
Do you have special Father’s Day traditions in your family? Any glorious gift ideas to share with the rest of us?
Our sloping backyard is full of lilies, winding paths, and decorative rocks without any space for swings or a trampoline. In the past my kids have found it hard to run spend hours in the garden without breaking into whining fits.
This summer, a few simple tricks have changed the entire dynamic.
Adopting a plant: The kids each got to select a few special flowers and one apple tree each from a nursery this spring. They helped with transplanting the new additions and have been very excited about watering and watching as blooms appear. Sometimes just asking them to go check on their plant is enough to get them outside, where they become distracted enough by blue jays and beetles to stay outside. (The picture above is from four years ago when my son was happy to drag his monster trucks through the garden for hours.)
Hunting for treasure: At thrift stores I pick up loads of colorful marbles or trickets and then hide them all over the back yard. The kids spend extended periods of time searching for loot (each having their own territory to avoid turf wars) and then hang out on the deck comparing and trading their treasures. When they later forget about said loot, I collect it from the corners of their bedroom and hold another treasure hunt!
Picnicking with popsicles: Sometimes just offering them a home blended popsicle (full of hidden vegetables and healthy fruits) is enough to get them out in the backyard.
Building fairy houses: Gathering up moss, twigs, and tiny flowers for fairy domiciles is something that can capture my children’s attention for hours. One house can easily start a fairy sub-development, which means that I get more time to garden!
Making a personalized garden spot: As you can see, at our old house, my son’s favorite spot was always in a tree. I haven’t done this yet at our new house, but am planning on letting each of my kids pick a special place in the garden that they can make their own. We can put down a stepping stone for them to sit on, ring it with the shells we collect from the beach at Grandma’s house, and finish by planting some of their favorites nearby. I would be happily willing to put cheezy gnomes, dragonflies or other such garden art if it meant they were excited about their garden spot.
Moving worms: I know this sounds slightly weird, but my kids love digging in dirt, finding worms, and then moving them to their favorite plants. Since they know worms help break up soil and make room for roots to grow, they are certain that this is hugely beneficial to their adopted plants. (I’m not sure it’s beneficial for the worms…)
Doing a bug scavenger hunt: This doesn’t have to be sophisticated, but giving young children a list of four different bugs and letting them search under rocks and bushes can take a very long time. (Again, this translates to hours of watering/weed pulling) Also, no bugs have to be caught and kept in glass jars…only to die tragic deaths later on when we all forget about them.
Eating straight out of the garden: I don’t expect to get a harvest of sweet peas, blueberries, strawberries, or raspberries, because I know they’ll be consumed before they ever make it to the kitchen. It is a thrill for my kids to literally eat the fruits of their labors and wonder at how much better garden food tastes than anything we buy in the store. That’s enough to get them back out there next spring!
Have you make a science out of getting your kids involved in gardening? What other tips do you have to help get your people in the garden for hours on end?