Friday, February 25, 2011

How Cheap Are You Part II

13.  Baking soda makes a nifty facial scrub.  Actually, you can do anything with baking soda practically:  wash kitchen counters, use as a shampoo, use as a toothpaste, deodorize your garbage disposal/sink/fridge/shoes, add to your laundry, and of course, cook with it.  And it costs like, under a buck.

14.  Olive oil mixed with a little Castor oil makes an excellent face wash. It takes off make-up like magic - yes, even contraband Mary Kay lipstick!  Get a little empty bottle, fill with about 3/4 olive oil, and top with Castor oil (look for it in the laxatives aisle).  With the remaining Castor oil, if you happen to be ten months pregnant, drink with orange juice.  This will cause you to be violently ill and give you P.T.S.D. whenever you see orange juice for the rest of your life, but if you're lucky, your little baby squatter will evacuate the premises.  Not mine, but I tend to have disobedient babes, even in the womb.  Anywho.  Back to the face wash:  put a dollop in your palm, massage into skin, and use a very hot washcloth to wipe off.  If you have super oily skin, my friend Aerie says to up the Castor oil content and add some tea tree oil.  Castor oil is surprisingly drying, so don't be scared that you will have pizza face.

15.  If you still need moisturizer after that (I do, because evidently I am a crone), I recommend what Genesis and I recently found at a fancy pants beauty store: Epinsencial protective face balm for babies.  It's awesome and only $6 if you can find it.  It has the cute lil Eric Carle caterpillar on the front and is free of parabens and petroleum and full of organic aloe, licorice and zinc.  Yes, I did just take balm from babies.

16.  If you have a fine at the local library there are several ways to avoid it:  write a scathing letter to the librarian because it was not REALLY your fault that you returned a book to the wrong library, make sure every member of your family has their own card so you can rotate them when a fine gets high (works especially well if you have a family of ten like I do), or bring in canned goods to work off your debt (I guess if they don't have that particular program then they will just look at you like you have grass growing out of your ears, but it's worth a shot).

17.  Use vinegar to mop your floor.  Make sure you have pickles on hand for when people tromp through and muse, 'Man, I could really go for a pickle right now for some reason...'

18.  Vinegar is also good for hair.  Also makes you want pickles.

19.  When your fruit juice bottle gets down about a 1/3 of the way, fill with water. Repeat until the juice is so watery no one wants juice anymore, thus freeing up space in the grocery budget for Cheezits.

20.  Hide Cheezits in your closet so they last longer.

21.  Reuse gift bags.  It's especially fun to bring a gift to a house warming party in a Victoria's Secret bag, or a wrap a teen boy's present in a It's A Boy! bag.

22.  I used to carefully peel off the stamps that hadn't been postmarked over to reuse.  But I hardly get anything with actual stamps on them these days.

23.  Find friendly homeschool teens who will give your kid lessons for something - anything - for a fraction of the price that you would pay from anyone else.  I like to pretend this is helping them as well, but it's really for selfish reasons that I want my kids to ride horses and play piano.

24.  Buy the absolute cheapest curtain rods, used cameras, window blinds, and picture frames you can find, just to name a few.  These will fall apart, break, hang crooked, be the wrong size, and never work, causing you to work on your patience and inner peace.  You can't put a price on that.  You can add to the fury control by driving twice as far to get these gems as you would to buy the ones that actually fit and work properly.  Don't forget to buy the curtains down a size from what you really need in order to save $3 so you can work on your not-cussing skills, and if the camera you buy is the fourth piece of junk you've bought your daughter leaving her to look at you with large, sad brown eyes and say with a tremor in her squeaky little voice, 'It's OK, Mommy...thanks for trying...I'll just draw the picture from memory...' then that'll really keep you from being prideful and uppity.

25.  Garlic is cheap and good for just about anything.  Sore throats, bad stomachs, coughs, vampires, and unwanted drop-in visitors.  My husband is Italian and therefore finds it better than my old perfume, BCBG.  Who incidentally, decided to let me be vile and stinky by discontinuing the only perfume in history that I love.  If I smell like garlic from now until eternity, take it up with Max Azzria.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

How Cheap Are You?

Saving money is an art form.  I thought I was good at it, but it turns out I am simply good at not spending it.  This  alone does NOT, in fact, mean I have heaps and heaps of the stuff under my floor boards.  Alas.  But here are some ways I've found to save a buck and you're welcome, little students, for the tips:

1.  If you rinse off the toddler's boogers from the paper towel you used to blow his nose, you can totally use the same paper towel to wipe the table.  Who's with me?  Can I get an amen?  Hello?

2.  If you are in the J.C. Penney dressing room and you are the only one there and you find a Mary Kay lipstick on the floor, go ahead and keep it.  Now, now, don't get all weird on me; wipe that bad boy off with a tissue (or that same paper towel) and plop it in your purse.  Your Magenta lips will thank you someday when you need a little pick-me-up.  I think I just heard the sound of divorce papers rustling...honey?  HONEY!  Fine.  I'll throw it away.  But do you KNOW how expensive Mary Kay is?  I was only thinking of our cosmetic budget after all.

3.  If you have a guest house that numerous people have stayed in and you are responsible for cleaning that guest house and you find a facial moisturizer in that same guest house, go ahead and keep it.  I mean, even if you could figure out who it had originally belonged to, it's not so important that you would be obligated to mail it back to them, right?  I mean, it would be shameful to waste.  How many Olays had to be oiled to get that consistency and creamy texture anyway?

4.   Clothes pins make excellent baggy clips for things like chips and half full bags of frozen peas and such.

5.  I've tried the no shampooing thing.  Yes, this is a thing.  Evidently, us Americans especially wash our hair freakishly often and use really bad things on our hair to do it.  Besides, anything that involves getting my hair wet as infrequently as possible and is free to do,  I am all in.  At least until 6 weeks later when I start to resemble Ali Sheedy in The Breakfast Club.  I finally gave in and that crazy soft hair you get from a creamy conditioner was heavenly indeed.  So although I can't do the no 'poo thing, I do love the dry shampoo you can get at Walmart for a mere $4.77.

6.  Never order drinks when you go out to eat.

7.  Or just never go out to eat.

8.  Have at least one short, undersized child who can wear the same size clothes for years on end until they fall apart.  Sorry, Roosky.  Maybe someday you'll grow and you can have a new skirt or something.

9.  Buy all your family's clothes used.  Even socks.  I draw the line at underwear.  Oh OK, fine, my husband drew the line at underwear.  Not only did I hear the divorce papers rustling, I heard the pen scratching along the paper as he signed em.

10.  Make food from scratch.  I've only used a cake mix once, and it made me mad.  Add eggs?  Oil?  Are you kidding me?  How is this easier?  If I had eggs and oil I wouldn't need a mix, would I?  So, Betty Crocker, you what?  Added the baking powder in for me?  Wow, that's a real time saver right there...Pfft.

11.  You could do like my friend, Mariah, who gets an adrenaline rush from the adventure of running out of gas because she sticks like glue to her fuel budget no matter what.  Then she calls the cops, and get this, they come pick her up.   Yep.  Every time.  When I run out of gas in the middle of the Utah nowhere, with three small children, one dog, and an ever decreasing in size bladder, and I call the cops, what do you think they do?  Oh, they come by all right.  They come by to say 'Hope you figure this out soon.  Give us a call if no one comes to get you by dark.'  Never mind that I don't know a soul in Utah. Never mind that I have used bad language in front of my impressionable youngsters who now need therapy.  Never mind that I had to pee in a Dixie Cup in the back of the van, also causing more reasons for the youngsters needing therapy.  Never mind that while I managed to squeak out a 911 call, I get no cell reception in Utah.  Never mind that this was the same trip that evidently was put together by Satan himself, involving huge freak snow storms, shut down highways, no visibility, no husband to calm my frazzled nerves, a raging yeast infection, and a drive that shoulda taken 1-2 days taking 4.  I don't wanna talk about this anymore.  The point is, maybe you can save a buck by running out of gas.  I, sadly, cannot.

12.  You can reuse tea bags.  This will not fly in my house because my inner city youths have a British granny inside their tough looking exterior, and not only are they tea lovers, but they have now discovered loose tea.  You just haven't lived until you've heard a 6 foot tall black teenager holler across the house,

'YO!!  What dog took my tea ball, man???  You young bulls better be keeping outta my Lemon Ginseng Honey FrouFrou or I be takin you down!'

That's at least Part One of my money saving tips.  Just call me the Yoda of the thrift shop.  Teach you, I will.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Happy Birthday, Abe

It is Winter Break here in the middle of the mitten.  Oh so needed for these poor, poor schoolkids, who have been to school approximately five minutes in the whole flippity flip year due to Fog Days, Snow Days, Slippery Road Days, There's A Tornado Warning In Chicago Days, Misty Days, Excessive Sunbeams and Rainbows Days, and other legal (evidently) holidays in this here whackado part of the country.  Thank goodness Winter Break is followed by Spring Break A SCANT FOUR WEEKS LATER.  Now typically I feel quite sorry for the overworked, underpaid school marms out there, but I am starting to get suspicious of all this free time they're getting; if it goes to their heads and they get a taste of freedom they might never come back from whatever casino or vineyard or nightclub they disappear to.  And if they don't come back, by crikey, all these gremlins will have to stay home and then I will be forced to eat their faces.  It's my natural defense mechanism when annoyed beyond belief and reason.

I have even been forced to promise a trip to the mall 45 minutes down the road.

I hate malls.  I avoid malls with every breath I take.  There is nothing good about malls...seriously, I am wracking my brain and can come up with nothing.  The stores are overpriced, the food is bad, it's full of cooties, and those are pretty much the highlights.  It gives my husband Post Traumatic Stress flashbacks from when he slaved at Radio Crap (where you've got answers, they've got blank stares).  But the Teen Queen used all her powers of persuasion to convince me that the mall is better than sitting around the house all day, listening to manly young adults pass gas in a competitive fashion.

She may have a point. 

But I refuse to enjoy the mall, instead dropping off older kids to waste their allowances on greasy pizza and to stalk cute people of the opposite sex, while I go ransack Goodwill down the road, wasting my allowance by adding to the world's largest collection of clothes (I go for quantity, not quality) and avoiding people of the opposite sex, even without my wedding ring which, sniffle, bit the dust the other day.  That was a really long sentence.  Forgive me.  The thoughts of the mall fry my wee brain and I am incapable of writing coherently.

The snow here is melting crazy fast.  The sun is out and if the wind weren't blowing so hard, it'd be a fantastic day.  The little ones all spent time out doors yesterday, even way past dark, taking flashlights and scaring each other with tales of full moons and werewolves.  My kids are weird.  I am looking forward to experiencing a Michigan spring soon - the last of the four seasons I haven't seen yet here.  In Idaho we had two seasons:  winter and summer.  In Wyoming we had all four but they were named a little differently than your typical spring, summer, fall, winter.  Instead the residents called them Almost Winter, Winter, Still Winter, and Road Construction.

Miss all of you, my Western peeps!  Those of you in Idaho, I will see you in April.  Please don't let your children have changed, because then I'll cry and we all know how much I dislike crying.  K.  It's agreed.  Thanks for adhering to the rules, I really appreciate it.  

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Guess whose article got picked up by a homeschooling magazine/newsletter?  Mine did...

click here to see which one. 

OK, OK, it's just the e-zine version, not the one you can pick up at Barnes and Noble and say "Looky, looky, I know this author!" but still.

Writing a bio was fun.

I think I'll do my own obituary.

Friday, February 11, 2011

My Brain (Tis a silly place)

This week was spent at a Biblical Counseling Training seminar thingajig.  It was fantabulous, but it was also ten hours a day of sitting in the same chair listening to lectures.  Now, here's the part where you all remember something about me.


This sittin in a desk thing is tough.  My handwriting got steadily worse throughout the week, my tailbone I am convinced, is bruised beyond recognition (although I suppose I wouldn't be able to identify my own tailbone in a line up now that I think about it), and I am fully expecting to come down with The Black Lung, which will have passed onto me from the lady across the aisle who was hacking up her kidneys.  My back aches.  My eyes are crossed from concentrating.  Also, I'm concerned I will not retain anything of what my employers spend several hundreds dollars for me to learn.  I refuse to go to staff meeting this week, for fear of being put on the spot.  I can't go anyway.  I have The Black Lung.

My memory is notoriously hideous.  Most people don't remember anything before they were two or three.  I don't remember much of anything from before 1995.  There are some jumbled images of jelly shoes, friendship bracelets (and my mom saying, 'take those nasty things off, you look like a Christmas tree!'), the singer Tiffany, tight jeans with zippers on the ankles, The Cosby Show, and our pet chickens.  My sister says all the time,
'Hey, do you remember when -'  pause.  Sadly shakes her head, 'Nevermind.  Of course you don't.'

The only logical explanation is, I was abducted by aliens at some point.  They erased my memories to use for their own selfish, ill gotten, alien-y, purposes.  Evidently this runs in the family (the abduction thing) because not only is there some whackado alien sighting expert in Texas with the same last name of my maiden name (I'm not kidding, google Landrum), but Gianni has a huge, inexplicable terror of flashing blue lights.  And come on, we all know UFOs have flashing blue lights.  Those I remember, savvy?

Anyway, in attempt to find enough real estate space in my brain, I figure I need to do an inventory of what is taking up all my gray matter and do a little spring cleaning.  Two piles coming up.  One to keep and one to kick to the curb.

1.  Song lyrics.  This kind of knowledge is important because it's amazing how often I need it.  Just the other day I was having a heated debate with four different girlfriends over who sang When I Look Into Your Eyes.  The problem was, they were all thinking of Bad English, which was in fact, correct, but I was thinking of Firehouse's song of the same title (or close) and anarchy ensued.  You are welcome for putting that song in your head.

2.  How to thread a sewing machine.  I just think muscle memory is cool.

3.  How to drive a stick shift.  Because forgetting would be embarrassing.

4.  Long division.  Because it's like the only dang thing I can do on a fifth grader's math homework, so it's really all I can contribute to their education at this point.  Unless they want to thread a sewing machine or know who sang When I Look Into Your Eyes, which in my opinion, is more important than knowing what time the dumb train arrived at the station anyway.  Don't they have train schedules if you have that kind of question?

5.  How to find the best deals EVAH at thrift stores.  This is true knowledge, folks.  Anybody can shop at Walmart.   It takes skillz to shop at Goodwill, and by golly, I have those skillz in spades.

6.  French braiding.  Which is also muscle memory, so I'm not sure it counts, but just in case, I want to keep it.  Because I like doing hairstyles in my sister's hair that make her eyes pull back to the back of her pointy little head and fasten it with a scrunchy (the braid, not her eyes).

7.  Tim McGraw.  Lately he's been looking a little less panicked in there. Sweet little fellow.  A little twitchy, but sweet.


1.  Two years of Latin that MY HOMESCHOOLING TYRANT OF A MOTHER MADE ME TAKE.  I retained nothing actually, so apparently I tossed it all already.  This was proven when Mike asked me once what E Pluribus Unum meant. I yelled out, "Seize the day!"

I don't think I'm college material.

2.  How to tie a cherry stem in a knot with my tongue.

3.  Every single line in The Princess Bride, Willow, and the Leo DiCaprio version of Romeo and Juliet.  I am too old and too happily married to be crushin on Cary Elwes, Val Kilmer, and Leo anyhow.  Why are you rolling your eyes and bringing up Tim?  This is my blog, you're not allowed to talk.

4.   How to speak Pig Latin.  EizeSay the ayDay!  No, wait.  I don't think that's right.  See?  I DIDN'T EVEN RETAIN PIG LATIN KNOWLEDGE!!!!  There is something wrong with me.  I need a cat scan or something.  Maybe I have amnesia.  Maybe I'm Jason Bourne. Maybe I can kill you four different ways with macaroni.  You'd probably better be nice to me just in case.

That's all for now.  There was more, but I forgot.