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Archive for November, 2008

Apple Pie for Breakfast!

November 28th, 2008 at 06:18 pm

I hope that everyone had a lovely day yesterday! We did, and for that, I am grateful.

We joked about shopping off and on all day yesterday. The number of ads that came with the newspaper was unbelievable, and I must have gotten 20 emails with the subject heading "Free Shipping." Those retailers are desperate, but times like these just make me want to save more.

I did use the opportunity of spending the day with family to discuss the next holiday. My husband and I already discussed Christmas with the kids and the kids agreed that they would rather save money for a trip, so we're not doing much in the way of gifts. My younger children did ask for new pajamas and slippers, which I can do. And all the kids will get something from Santa, but we decided as a family that none of us really needed much.

So I talked to the grandparents, and I let them know that we would be giving them stocking stuffers... a few little treats, but not much. I asked them to do the same for us, but we'll see. I threw it out there, at least, and warned them not to expect anything huge from us.

I'm excited to get planning on the stocking stuffers and ways to be creative and frugal with the kids. I have a present box that I use to stash cool items that I find throughout the year for the kids, and there are a few things in it.

I feel really great about this. My kids, husband and I really don't need anything, save some new batteries and a new roof (not that Christmas-y, though!) We can always wear more clothes, but we don't need them. We can always read more books, but we don't need them. We can always watch more movies, but we don't need them. We have so much compared to so many.

One daughter has been saving for an electronic item for a few months, and with the sales that are going on today, she has enough money. Lucky for us, it's at a smaller store that is close by, so we won't have to be heading to malls or shopping centers. My husband has volunteered to take her, so I plan to stay home and work on Christmas projects.

We are planning to cook a turkey tomorrow. It will roast while we decorate the tree! I was amazed to read that so many consider mashed potatoes to be a favorite. Honestly, I could live without those! But I'm looking forward to the stuffing and sweet potatoes!

We made it through the day yesterday with no heat. When the pies were done baking, I left the oven open. With that, and all the people in here, it was 72 degrees when I went to bed. We're back to 63 this morning, but I'm pretty confident we can make it three more days!

And the kids are so excited because they KNOW we're going to win!! Smile And I did break the news that there isn't a prize, and they're still motivated!

Have a great day, everyone!

Thanksgiving Surprise, Problem, and Solution

November 27th, 2008 at 04:35 pm

Yesterday I got a surprise. Out of the blue, I was called for a job interview! I had applied for a job several weeks ago, but then something else worked out and I forgot about it (and assumed they found someone more qualified--I only have one graduate degree, and they could want two for this position.) Well, apparently not! Don't want to go into detail exactly... but I do have a job now...just this one is better for lots of reasons. Better pay is one of them. So I have an interview to look forward to, and I'm excited about the job. And I'm happy to be in the position where, if it doesn't work out, I'm okay since I have a pretty good job now.

The independent movie rental place near us was renting movies this morning beginning at 6AM for just $1. I found out last night when I went to get a few movies for today and tomorrow (I put the movies back and waited until today). We got there right at 6:00, and got five movies, including one for the kids that I was not willing to pay $3.99 to rent.

We are having a fairly quiet Thanksgiving with just a few guests. I had hoped for just my immediate family, but a few relatives kind of invited themselves and I felt obligated. Problem is, they don't get along! With each other or anyone else, for that matter...so Hub and I thought that the "Movie Fest" idea might keep them all busy and out of trouble a little bit. We shall see.

I need to make rolls this morning, and do a little clean up, but otherwise things are ready. We are having ham instead of turkey, for the first time ever! I love to cook! But with the guest situation, I was just not feeling enthusiastic about cooking all day for people who will likely be bickering by dinnertime. I might cook a turkey on the weekend (all those great leftovers for the freezer!) I'm hoping to find a great deal on a turkey on Friday!

I have much to be thankful for: (not in any particular order)
*Husband and I are both employed in reasonably secure professions. Last year he was still looking for a job after being laid off.
*We have happy, healthy, charming, funny, smart, delightful children!
*We have a house, cars, food to eat, clothes to wear, books to read, and pretty much everything we need.
*We have a great community of friends around us!
*My husband is wonderful. We have a great relationship and are very happy together.

Since I'm not doing a turkey today, I'm craving the side dishes that go with it...mainly stuffing and sweet potatoes, my favorites. What dish is a "MUST HAVE" on your table for Thanksgiving?

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Filling the freezer while I have time!

November 26th, 2008 at 02:32 am

Today was pretty quiet around my house. It is not like this very often, and I welcomed it!

I decided to make cookies to stash in the freezer. I made at least 15 dozen cookies, three different kinds. I made some chocolate chip cookies (two different kinds of chocolate and cinnamon added), oatmeal with crannies, and snicker doodles. And I have one more batch started, but it has to sit for a few hours.

My thinking was this: We are approaching that time of year when we are constantly invited somewhere and I feel compelled to take either a hostess gift or a treat to share. Too often, I'm scrambling at the last second to cook something, or I'm tempted to dash to the store for a purchase I don't really want to make. I have some really, really nice boxes that will be perfect for filling with cookies and tying a bow around, so I will plan to use those. If I have a pretty box of cookies to take, I won't feel obligated to purchase something more expensive like brie or wine. And so few people I know still bake.

The other thing is that this (approaching) time of year is so busy that I don't know when I'll have time to make cookies again, and I do like to have at least a small stash for kids' lunches.

Now, I just need to figure out how to LOCK the freezer so that my children, darlings that they are, do not gobble up my supply!

I hope this doesn't count as cheating...

November 24th, 2008 at 03:45 pm

Okay, yesterday morning when I was drying my hair with the hair dryer, I aimed it down my shirt for just a second.

We had friends over for dinner last night. With all the activity and warm bodies and the oven on briefly, the thermostat said 70 degrees when I went to bed. Lovely.

This morning, the temperature inside is 63. It's nothing like cozy and comfortable, but it's not horrible, either. I can live with a little discomfort for a few more days. I'm actually afraid that I might have to turn it on for Thanksgiving because my dad will be visiting, and he will be annoyed already because we don't have cable. No heat might put him over the edge! (Years ago, back when we were students, we didn't have cable. When DH and I both got jobs, my dad's response was, "Well that's great. Now you can get cable!" ...which we didn't! Not a priority for us.)

A group that my children are actively involved in just raised their fees. I normally pay $650 quarterly, and they notified us yesterday that the rate is changing to $750, due December first. I'm not thrilled. First of all, did they have to raise fees right before Christmas? And second, how about a little more warning? I've been planning that $650 in my budget for quite a while. Of course, I will pay it, but I may look into another group for the future. No, it's not my last $100, but it was $100 I wasn't planning to let go of just now!

The kids are out of school all week, so I'm hoping to have some nice quiet time with each one. I have always had each child choose one dish to make for Thanksgiving. My oldest has been making pies forever (not my favorite job), kid#2 makes cranberry sauce, kid #3 makes bread or rolls, and kid #4 usually makes something different every year. Time to get cooking!

Still no heat

November 23rd, 2008 at 07:01 am

I'm pretty determined to make it until December 1st without heat! Today it was only 60 in the house when I got up at 6AM. I made some hot tea, grabbed a blanket and sat down to work to take advantage of the quiet time before the kids got up.

Even the kids are on board with the no heat thing. They keep asking if we are "winning the contest" and I keep saying "I think we are!" Of course, they don't realize that the prize is a lower power bill! We are in Northern California, and the weather has been really mild this year. Last week it was in the 70s, but I think we're done with that kind of weather now.

I hope to get lots done tomorrow, even if it's cold in the house... (and no spending required)
-plan menu and grocery list for Thanksgiving
-start a couple of Christmas craft projects
-carefully examine the financial obligations for December
-have some reading time with the kids
-do some homework for some professional development projects I'm involved in
-laundry and a little housecleaning
-run

Thanks to all the bloggers before me who inspired me to finally begin to write on the empty blog.