Friday, October 31, 2008

Saving Money

I have been wracking my brain trying to come up with ways to save money. We have a new baby on the way and our income doesn't seem to be keeping up with the increasing cost of food, electricity, and supplies. Something has to give. I mean, we already cloth diaper, I nursed our daughter, I buy used clothes and housewares, we try to not eat out as often as we used to, and have been trying to save energy and heat by the standard methods. But still, I'd like to spend a little less, if I can.

After cutting down on non-essentials, you have to start looking at what you're paying for the essentials, right? I can save $10 on an oil change by showing up before 10am. That's great, but can I save EVERY DAY?

My first thought was, COUPONS! So, I searched the internet for tips on shopping with coupons. The fist thing I learned was that internet coupons abound! You can print coupons for a lot of things these days. Having access to a printer, this sounded like a great idea. Then I tried to go shopping with my new coupons. They didn't work! My local store will not honor internet coupons. Crudola.

Well, I guess I could still use real, commercially printed coupons, right? Well, yes, if I want to take the gamble that the $2 I pay for the Sunday paper in order to obtain said coupons will pay off in more than $2 worth of coupons for things we already buy. Snort. Yeah, how often do YOU see coupons for Rice Milk, Tofutti, and beer?

So, pretending that I could get my hands on coupons that would be useful to my family, I decided to learn about the tactics of using coupons. The number one tip listed on all of the sites is to shop on "double coupon" days. I had to look VERY HARD to even find a store in town that had "double coupon" days. The thing is, you have to read the fine print. Our store has one day a week when they will double coupons, they accept coupons up to $0.75, you can only double 5 coupons per order, and in order to qualify for coupon doubling, you have to buy more than $25 worth of items before the coupon items are included. That sure is some pretty big savings possibilities there! (insert heavy sarcasm here)

What's a girl to do?!

I have decided that I will start making my own laundry detergent. Tide is $7 for a box the size of two paperback books stacked together. With children, you wash a LOT of laundry. That little box doesn't last us too long. When we start up on diaper laundry again in three months, I'll be in need of LOTS of detergent. I was surfing one of my cloth diapering forums today and came across mention of making one's own detergent for diaper laundry. Tada!

This is the website/recipe I found with great recipes for laundry detergent.


And after reading this website, I have learned that I can do one load of laundry for a penny if I make my own! A penny! When was the last time you bought anything useful for a penny?

I think I'll make a powdered detergent instead of a liquid. Liquids are dandy, but they require that you have a bottle with a cap to store them in, which I am fresh out of! I do, however, have a 5 gallon bucket of laundry detergent that I am almost done with. It will hold homemade detergent nicely!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

LaRue (or Calliou, as A calls him)

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It looks like LaRue will be with us a little bit longer. Both homes that he was potentially going to have backed out. Poo. Well, maybe not poo... we are rather pleased to have him as a guest!

LaRue

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Monday, October 27, 2008

We Went Out for Prime Rib, and Came Home with a Kitten!

We have a new foster kitten, named LaRue for now.

We literally went out to eat prime rib and came home with little LaRue.

The restaurant, Tavern LaRue, is literally out in the middle of nowhere. It's on a country highway with trees and greenery all around. As we pulled up, we noticed a tiny kitten sitting along the edge of the road. We got out of our car intending to shoo the feral cat off the road, but the kitten made a bee-line for us.

As soon as I picked him up I knew he was not a feral cat. He rolled over, closed his eyes, and began to purr and knead the air in front of him. This was a house cat. Or rather a house kitten, as he looks to be about 8 weeks old.

We asked in the tavern if they knew him but they thought he had been dumped by someone. Isn't that nice? SO, we took a Budweiser box from the tavern-owner and plopped the kitten inside for the ride home.

I have two leads on new homes for him already, which is good because my poor horomone-driven heart wants to keep any stray infant that comes near me. Goodness knows I don't need two babies in the house at the same time!

I"ll upload images later, as blogger seems to not like me right now.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

"All done" does not mean "all done"

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We're going through the terrifying twos.

A is really trying out her independence. She no longer listens to direction. She no longer comes when called. She's learning to ask for things and expects to get them. I want her to learn to communicate, so if she asks politely, I will usually oblige her.

HOWEVER I draw the line at "all done." If the girl tells me she's all done with something, I take it away and move on. We've always done this, from the moment she learned to say "all done!" This week, however, she's decided to play with the phrase. And I"m not playing along. Needless to say, we've had some tears and it really isn't any fun at all.

Take last night:

"All done, applesauce."

"are you sure? No more?"

"all done."

"You're done eating?"

"Yes!"

We wipe her hands and face, take off the bib, get out of the chair, and BOOM! "More applesauce!" Um, no. "WaHHHHH!!!!!"

Come bedtime, it was no better. "Okay, it's time for a bath! Get naked!" She gets naked, sits on the potty, brushes her teeth, and I run the bathwater. When I put her in, she stands there and cries, "more potty!" I finally figure out that she wants no bath at all rather than more potty. SO we move on to PJs and stories.

Halfway through the second book, "Dada kisses."

"So you're done with stories?"

"All done."

"No more stories, you want to move on to kisses and night night?"

"Yes, kisses, night night."

Okay, I guess... it's 20 min before bedtime due to the skipped bath and short story time, but she says she's done... And 5 minutes later, we're crying over going to bed.

"More stories!"

"no, you said you were all done. Night night now."

"NO! More stories!"

And on and on and on... I had to hold my ground even if I didn't like it. She knows what "all done" means and has to learn to use it appropriately again. Soon enough, she won't have the option of getting back into the highchair or having more stories because Little Sib will be needing to fit into the schedule, too. Sigh. It just doesn't make me feel so great, dealing with temper tantrums because I say no to something. LOL. WElcome to parenthood, eh?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Cloth Diaper News

I officially packed up A's cloth diapers and training pants this morning. Sniff.

A has only had one accident since Monday morning! SO, we're on to undies at day, pull-ups at night, and no more cloth! I did find it difficult to bring myself to buy disposable training pants for the 2 or so she'd actually pee in each week, but cloth just wasn't practical anymore. It's been really rough over the past three weeks trying to wash just one or two cloth diapers/trainers every 3 days and finding other hot-water-safe laundry to add to it.

I'd say that I'm going to miss it, but I won't as the new baby will be wearing all of the teeny tiny cloth diapers in just 3 months!!! Yay! I did the final round of unpacking and sorting the little things and realized that I officially have enough of everything I will need for baby #2.

I received a surprise diaper package in the mail last night, too! I belong to an internet community for cloth-diapering parents. We have a forum where moms can post lists of things they need or want to try. Other moms can then send hand-me-downs to the appropriate families. I was lucky enough to recieve some tiny diapers for our new baby last night! Yay! Now it's my turn to send out a package.

I have a bag of diapers, covers, and inserts/doublers to pass on to other people. I've sold some of it but now it's time to start gifting it to others. There are things that worked for us and things that I have realized I don't like enough to use again. Someone will get some use out of it, though, so let's spread the wealth!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Tinkerbelle is not a vegetarian


According to my daughter who is 22 months old, Tinkerbelle is NOT a vegetarian.

A little background info is needed to appreciate the humor in this. My daughter has a book called _The Gas We Pass_ by Shinta Cho. It's a very nice honest book all about gas, farts, toots, etc. It details what they are, where they come from, why they smell, and all sorts of useful things. Normally, I'd say that this book is appropriate for a 6 year old or older, but A just keeps pushing the envelope and so I've started in on books that I was saving for her for later. I get tired of reading the same board books 10 times a day!

One section of the book discusses why farts smell bad. It tells us that when you eat meat, eggs, fish, and chicken, your farts smell bad. It also says that when you eat sweet potatoes and beans, your farts do not smell bad. Pretty interesting stuff for a not-quite 2 year old.

Fast forward to yesterday morning. We had finished our morning potty ritual, including a reading of the Potty Book. A approached her changing table and started digging in the bin of undies that we keep there. She pulls out a pair of Tinkerbelle undies and proclaims, "Tinkerbelle! Stinky."

"Why is Tinkerbelle stinky?"

"Tinkerbelle toot." (Tinkerbelle had farted.)

"Oh!"

"Tinkerbelle eat meat."

To which, I just about fell over laughing. She not only knew that Tink had farted, but that her fart smelled bad because Tink had eaten meat. I had no idea that she had grasped that whole diet/odor connetion quite so well!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Potty Training, part II

We're trying again. We got off track a month ago and have been struggling with the potty ever since. It seemed like we couldn't get A to hold it long enough to find it worth working at. If I set the timer for 45 min, she didn't always make it. If I set the timer for 30 min, she fought me all the way to the toilet. I didn't think I could win, so I stopped trying.

Then, yesterday, I spoke with our daycare provider about it because A has near-perfect days at daycare and falls back during the evenings. K said that she noticed our troubles began when A had a stomach bug and we went back to diapers from undies. She recommended that we go back to undies.

So, I went home and put A on the pot. Afterwards, I let her choose her own undies to wear. Between 5pm and 7:30pm, A pottied 6 times, with NO accidents! She even told me twice during dinner when she had to go, and then did! I was so proud!

I hope we're back into undies for good!