Monthly Archives: February 2012

Trees, Worms & Other Cool Stuff

This week was pretty hectic, but in a good way. We got to do a lot of fun things.

Lake Moreau, frozen

Monday we watched Dianna boil down maple syrup in her front yard. Jillian posted about it here. It was cool to see the sap coming out into the buckets and we got to taste it before it was done. It only tasted like lightly-sweetened water, so it’s hard to imagine that at the end of the day it’s super tasty syrup.

Tuesday we went up to Lake Moreau to take the Hug-a-Tree class with our friend who works at the park. I’m glad we went since we often go hiking in the summer. After the class we walked on the frozen lake. It was sort of scary but it was fun hearing the ice “sing” as it was expanding.

rainbow trout

Wednesday we took a walk into town and stopped by the candy store. Jack told me I’m the “best mom ever” for letting him get candy.

Thursday I took Jack to a 4H class on insects. They talked about compost, worms, pollinators, and all sorts of “buggy” things.

tie dye worm

If it isn’t too snowy, Friday we are going to Albany for a science fair.

Weeks like this are great but I’m just glad every week isn’t as busy as this! I appreciate some good downtime too.

Farkle, the perfect after-dinner family fun game, especially when I win. 🙂


~happy home~ The $50/Week Grocery Challenge

Made this super tasty baked oatmeal with sweet potatoes tonight with ingredients I happened to have on hand.

I’m sure you’re already aware that one area of a budget that can always be tweaked is a food budget. Most bill amounts are pretty standard from month-to-month but food budgeting can change depending on what is going on in your life at the moment.

For instance, in December, with various meals, edible gifts, and parties I calculated that I spent close to what we used to in rent. Scary, right?! I knew after the first of the year I had to get this under control.

Two problems I kept running into were: lumping “eating out” with regular food purchases, and making excuses for why I needed to spend more. In fact, just about every month I can think of several excuses as to why I should spend more….housewarming gifts of wine, appetizers for parties, food swaps, etc.

I realized mid-month that we were on track to blow my estimated budget of $400 for the whole month. Finally I put my foot down and decided that to make up for it I would see if I could only spend $100 for the last 2 weeks combined.


Ok so here’s how it goes in our house: there are only 3 people and all of my vegetables (plus some eggs) can be acquired through my CSA share which I get in return for work for the farm. That is a huge amount of any food budget! This begs the question, “Why would you be going over in the first place you moron?!?!?” At least this is how I pose it to myself.

So, with those two things out of the way I have the following left to buy: fruit, baking items, dry staples (rice, beans, pasta, etc.), milk/cheese, snack items.

There are a few ways I’ve cut costs on those items and I’ll go into them in more detail in future posts. Basically what it comes down to is planning. Different stores (especially with coupons and sales) allow me to spend less, but I have to plan trips to those stores in my daily routine.

We have basically 7 days left until we get paid again and I’m happy to report we still have $24 left and plenty of food in our home. And in the realm of planning, I already have much of that $24 allocated for the items I’m sure we’ll need before the next payday.

Stay tuned to see if I can keep it up in March! I’m honestly a little nervous but I think I’ll be able to do it.

Recipe above comes from here.

And Sometimes It All Goes to Hell

I love this corny sign at the place where we go roller skating.

Most days are pretty awesome around here. Even if there isn’t anything interesting enough to talk about, things go pretty well. Not today.

We woke up to one of our dogs not feeling well. She didn’t want to eat, which is weird for her. I didn’t have time to take her to the vet (it’s 30 minutes away) because I had to take Jack to a class. This meant Chris ended up getting only about 5 hours of sleep (he’s on swings now) and had to take her up there.

At Jack’s class I was exhausted (I woke up with a headache that I went to sleep with) and the coffee wasn’t working fast enough. I wasn’t being very helpful when he was trying to figure out our origami project because I could barely focus myself. I was being impatient and snippy.

I didn’t get much done in the afternoon. I should’ve gone to the grocery store, put the laundry away, cooked some food. Instead I did some work on my computer, fed us sandwiches and watched Mighty B with Jack.

I should say that not everything was horrible today though. Our dog seems fine (although it wasn’t cheap to figure that out), some books came from Amazon, Jack told me that he likes math and origami, and we might make a pumpkin pie on Sunday just for the heck of it.

I’m glad these days don’t come often. There isn’t enough wine in the world….

On a Walk

Double rainbow over The Factory.

It’s seems like spring here (honestly I can’t complain too much, but I worry how this summer is going to pan out) so Jack and I decided to take a walk through town today.

It was raining on and off during the walk and we got to see a double rainbow. Actually Jack noticed the rainbow as I was trying to navigate the slushy ground on the nature trail we were walking on.

As we were out Jack kept making “predictions” about the rain. He’s wanted to guess if it was going to come back and if it would be stronger rain than before. He said he knew it would stop raining at some point because he could see where the sky was “torn up.” Basically meaning he could see that in between the rain clouds were patches of blue, sunny sky.

I was pretty impressed that he was so perceptive. Kids are weird in the way that they make you pay attention to things you normally don’t even think about.

You can barely see the rainbow peeking through the trees.

We ended up walking almost 2 miles. By the end Jack was telling me he wished we had a teleporter so we could already be home. (Thank you Star Trek!) We were both a little tired, and pretty wet, but we were glad we got out for some fresh air.

I’m glad for these little outings. I hope Jack continues to ask to do stuff like this with us as he gets older.