Sunday, January 24, 2010

When you give good, good things come back to you

This week, hubby brought home all that olive oil, and today I passed it out to the families. Lucky me, two of my friends brought me goodies in return! I got multiple bags of salad, loads of broccoli (I spent the day blanching broccoli and freezing it for later, the unusable bits are fed to the ducks), some apple cider (YUM!!), and snackies. Mmmmmm.....

Goes to show, you send out good, and the good comes back to you.

Also a reminder to me to check out Gleaners. In Oregon, we do not have Angel Food Ministries (a food provider to purchase limited food items for a very low price. I only WISH it were available here! Check on the web to see if it's anywhere where you are.). But we do have Gleaners. You pay a one time fee (quarterly or yearly, I can't remember which), it is limited by income, only so many people may join (there is a cap in each group). There are some other rules (for each family, you have to agree to give part of your portion to an elderly family, you have to take 100% of your portion, you can't "pick and choose" what you want). With Gleaners, you never know what you are going to get. I was on it years ago, as a single mom, and once we got loads of yogurt, another time, lots of soy milk, or bunches of rutabaga's. I have no clue what to do with that! You get to be really creative with what you get from gleaners....or, you share with others.

Worth checking out in these times.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Community Classes

My littlest one has been DYING to take fencing classes. Fencing, y'all. (First off, I am an artistic person, bookish by nature. How in the world did I end up with two boys who like sports is totally beyond me. Someone up there has a terrific sense of humor!)

Uh-huh. Well, fencing sounds a wee bit "high-class" for this mom. My oldest is already in hockey, and let me tell you, that sport will kill you.

Local community centers have classes. All kinds of classes. FENCING classes. Shock the ever-lovinness off of me. Fencing. Knock me over with a feather. This particular class is held one county over, meaning we drive a little and pay a slightly higher fee, but still significantly less than a fencing league would be. And there are beginning classes and intermediate classes. Very cool. The gear is provided by the instructors as well (thank you, Lord!).

I am also impressed that they limit the class size. My son's class has only 8 people in it, and there is the instructor and an assistant. Not too shabby! All in all, for a community class, I think it's worthwhile to look into.

So, for those of you out there interested in checking out a new hobby or sport, its worth looking into the local community center and seeing if they offer a class. You may as well dabble there and see how you like it!

And isn't he cute in the fencing outfit?

Thursday, January 21, 2010

When trying to save a bucks bites you in the

well, you know the rest.

"Thank you for your order!" Oh really??

Ordering replacement checks from Current. I've ordered from them before. I checked the prices from several different places in December. I like to get duplicate checks, I always order two boxes, and that typically lasts me a year or more before I have to go through this drama again. Current still has reasonable prices, plus, since that is who I most recently ordered from, they should still have all my current (no pun intended) information.

So I call up. Wait on hold FOREVER. (Yes....I refuse to order on-line. I may do a lot of things on-line, but I hate ordering things on-line. I also refuse to pay my household bills on-line. Just accept that about me.) Finally get a hold of a human (sweet!). Nice lady. I am in the middle of trying to keep my two boys from killing one another, but I place my order. Two boxes of checks, plus some labels. No big deal, right?

The labels arrive yesterday. Mailed to my home, but with the wrong address printed on them. Very confusing to me. I call Current up. Wait on the phone FOREVER. Finally get a hold of a human being. Oh, yes, on the day that the order was placed, a note was made that the address looked wrong, but the labels were still put out, with the note that when I called to complain that they were wrong, new ones were to be issued. Ummm, are my CHECKS going to be wrong? Oh, no. Those should be correct. Well, okay. As long as the checks are okay. I can live without labels, but I really need the checks. I am down to the last two checks, I really need them.

Checks came today. I open them up and look them over VERY CAREFULLY since the labels were wrong yesterday. Lo and behold. They got the phone number wrong. Another call to Current. By now, hubby is mad. He thinks I am being too nice, so he takes over the phoning duties for this. From what I can gather, they told him that I gave them that telephone number (why in the heck would I have done that? I guess when I gave them the bogus address I decided to toss in an incorrect phone number as well?). My husband is mad as a hatter about the whole situation. Just flaming about it.

Current is going to re-issue checks, but refuses to admit that they did anything wrong. Uh-huh.

My lesson? I won't be using them again. Their prices might be fine, but Checks in the Mail are comparable (I looked, and they are!) so I will be trying them the next time. Hubby insists that next time we will use the bank.

I hate buying checks.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Passing on the love

A bit of a rant.

How is it that we live in a country that is so wealthy that it can throw away perfectly good food? I don't get it. I just don't get it. Toss it out.

My husband works as a repair tech. He is in and out of warehouses all the time fixing equipment. So he comes across items that are bound for the dumpster. And from time to time, he rescues some for me (liberation!) and brings it home.

Yesterday, it was olive oil. OLIVE OIL. Quart upon quart of it. I don't know about you, but olive oil is a dear commodity in my household. I dole it out carefully because those teeny bottles are seven bucks a piece! And here, he brought home QUARTS of it. That they were throwing out.

Still sealed. There is nothing wrong with these bottles. Maybe the box that they were in was smashed, or maybe one bottle in the box got broken, but these bottles are fine. So why throw them away? I don't get it!!

Anyway. Entirely too much oil for me to use by myself. And I am not that greedy. I am passing on the love to the rest of my couponing group at church (love you girls!).

We are all in this together.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Deals at the grocery store

I love getting a good deal. Absolutely love it. But today was an exceptionally good day.

I got $61.96 worth of groceries, plus a prescription, and all I paid was the $10 dollar co-pay.

The store has a coupon for a gift certificate of $30 if you transfer a prescription. I just so happen to have a prescription that I take monthly. I transferred that prescription over, and got my $30 gift card.

This store also had some specials that were only good for two days, like the cereal for $1.50 a box, combined with a coupon, buy one, get one free. That and a few other good store coupons, and manufacture coupons. It all adds up to some terrific savings.

Think about it....except for the prescription, all the stuff in the picture was basically free to me. And that, well, that makes me so very happy!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Asking for help (pets)

This is a tough subject for me.

I had to put down my sweet-heart this weekend. She has been my companion, my friend, for years now. I got her as a rescue many years ago, to keep me company while my kids were over at their dad's house. I was never sure how old she was, I was told she was 2 when I got her, but she may have been older. As of this weekend, she was 11.

She fell off the second-story deck at my parents house two summers ago. Just rolled under the rail while trying to get a treat. Ever since, she has had health problems. This September, she developed cataracts. By the end of October, she was totally blind. In December, she just had lost all zest for life. She spent all her day sitting beside me in the chair, not even moving for thrown dog treats. Running into the fireplace, falling into the pond, hitting the walls.

She had begun biting hubby and I when we tried to feed her. And last week, she started attacking the other dogs in the house. For no reason, other than they walked past her. Poor, miserable, girl.

I checked with a few vets for prices. Then, I went and asked at the local farm store to see if they had any suggestions. A kind, older man helped us there. He suggested a veterinarian who is farther out of town whom he had used several times, who was fairly priced. He told us that she did good work with animals and he recommended her.

A week later, I called up. I set up the appointment. On Saturday, I went in and did the best and kindest thing I could for my sweetheart. The Beavercreek Animal Hospital were kind and supportive. Everyone treated us with respect. I had as good of an experience as I could get (considering the situation).

My point? When it comes to our pets, we do want good care for them. But for me, I still have to fit that care into my budget! Which means calling around and trying to find the best price for their care. Visiting my local farm store, asking people who they recommend for vet services, this helps me out.

But won't change the fact that I miss her and love her. Give your pet a hug!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Happy birthday, baby boy

My youngest turned eleven today. ELEVEN. (I am way too young to have an eleven year old, let alone a teenager. Just say'n.)

My question is: does his birthday have to fall so close so Christmas every single, blasted year?! I have a hard time finding Christmas presents for him each year, and come his birthday...I am typically out of ideas.

Some years, I find lots of ideas. Or I can discover what he didn't get for Christmas, buy it on clearance, and give it on his birthday. This is fresh out of ideas.

Books? Nope. No new ones that he wants. If I buy what he doesn't want, he won't read it anyways. Toys? If he doesn't like it, he won't use it! Video games? He got a bunch at Christmas time, and doesn't need any new ones right now. What is a mom to do?

My solution? Cash. I know this particular kid. He can hold onto cash for quite a while! I've seen this kid hold onto money for a few months. So for this kiddo, giving him cash is a great option. I know he will save it for something that he really wants a few months down the line. Plus, we won't end up with less appreciated items that take up space. Win-win!

Happy birthday, wee one. Hope this year is a good one for you. (But don't grow up too fast.)

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Resolution time

It's that time of the year. When resolutions are made. Maybe they are kept, maybe not. But it is a good time to reexamine our lives, if nothing else.

Most of us think about our weight, or our health. I get that. I have a few pounds to lose. I'd love to disappear a size or two.

But the truth of the matter is, why do you want to lose weight? Some people lose weight to please others, or for a reunion. Others lose weight to fit into a dress or outfit for a particular occasion. For me, I feel more comfortable in my body when there is just a little less of it than there currently is right now.

Next thing...I need a goal. We all need a goal! Otherwise, where is the end point? It needs to be realistic. Attainable. For me, I know what my goal is.

Okay, so I have a goal. Set myself up for success. None of this weird stuff, eating fake food, starving myself, going on fasts, skipping meals things. Sure, that would help me lose weight in the short-term, but I would also lose muscle mass, possibly bone, give myself headaches, make myself cranky, and likely be unable to sustain that kind of weight loss. A better choice is eating healthy.

Fresh fruits, pinto beans I cooked myself with salsa to taste (I am skipping the "refried" step), green salads, smaller portion sizes. Watching those sneaky things, like beverages. Fruit juices can sound good, but drink a lot of it and they can have a lot of calories. I love coffee, but adding creamer? I'm sticking with black coffee for now.

I'm also gearing up to walk again. It's been a bad month for me and walking. With the kids out of school, and the rainy, wet weather, well....I got out of the habit. Today, I was forced into walking to work when I locked myself out of the house (and my car). Opps! Good thing I live close to work. So I walked there and back. Good exercise. I really should do that every week.

Anyway. That's my resolution for the moment. Trying to eat healthier. Nothing too crazy, just cutting back my portion size, adding in more fruits and veggies, drinking more tea, less juice. That, and walking more. Let's see if I can be back into my skinny pants come late spring. A girl can dream, right?

Friday, January 1, 2010

Welcoming in the New Year

It's officially 2010, and we can all say good-bye to 2009.

Here is hoping that 2010 is better economically than 2009 was!

Regardless of the national or world-wide economy, my hope is that every reader and follower finds a wealth of blessings in the upcoming year. An abundance of friends. The security of a job and steady income. Having a home, not just a house to live in, but a home to reside and make a family in.

I hope that everyone enjoys good health. My family, personally, has gone through the wringer with the health stuff in 2009. Skinny-boy broke his arm, my husband had surgery. It's just been a year for it. So....good health with NO SURPRISES in the year 2010 is what I am praying for all.

I wish for you the blessings of having full cupboards. That they are overflowing with goodies for you and your family. For wisdom to know how to cook and use the items in the cupboards to make yummy things for your family to eat. And to have enough that you can give some away.

For the gardeners: the wish for an abundant, overflowing harvest. So much that you don't know what to do with it all! Adequate rain when it's needed, sun at the right times. For no bugs, no fungus, no rot. May your garden be filled with the humming of bees and the movement of worms, and the growing and blooming of produce.

Those are my wishes for everyone in 2010. Blessings to all! Be well.