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Archive for August, 2012

Is this too girly for a boy toddler?

August 27th, 2012 at 10:08 pm

I like this cabinet - inexpensive and good size for my soon to be 2 year old. He could reach each drawer and he loves organizing and playing with drawers.



I think it is pretty, but do these small pink accents rule it out for a boy toddler? (It is generally pastel in color, so I cannot decide). His room is painted yellow with light blue curtains.

Those gender assignments of color are so arbitrary... but one has to live by society's rules.

So I don't know. What do you guys think?

$0.08 super-healthy breakfast

August 27th, 2012 at 04:07 pm

At the time when food prices are going up and up, this is one of the last undiscovered bargains.



And this is the price in a pricey NYC supermarket, in the loose grain/nuts/granola sections. Without packaging, even organic grains are very cheap.

And steel cut oatmeal is very healthy -- high in soluble and insoluble fiber, iron, contains protein, lowers your cholesterol, unprocessed food. And $1.60 can provide more than 10 2 people portions, making the price about 8 cents per breakfast. (you can't cook less than 2 people portion in the rice cooker, does not come out well). I don't know the price of an apple in your location, but those are generally cheap too, and 1 baked apple mashed in to the oatmeal provides plenty of sweetness for 2 people.

Downside -- if you don't know how to make it in your rice cooker, making steel-cut oats is time consuming. I have a Zojirushi so I just set it (with a sliced apple, that bakes up nicely for natural sweetener) and it makes it for me perfectly, to be ready at a time of my choosing.

Very expensive month.

August 22nd, 2012 at 03:05 pm

in August we have
-- Geico semi-annual bill due $980
-- DH life insurance annual bill $800+
-- I bought LO bunch of fall clothing
-- Wedding, birthday, friends visit
-- Credit cards due from our July-long trip to Asia
(that's a big one)
-- And we bought a 50" 3D tv (not an impulse, we were thinking about it for a while, and had our 26" for the last 5 years), we got an apple TV too, together totaling $1,400

wow.
I did not keep track of expenses but I know we are over by a lot.

I will definitely track and try to stay within the budget in September!

What is a NEED and what is a WANT?

August 21st, 2012 at 04:36 pm

Recent article got me thinking about it. There is a lot of grey area here. (I'm not yelling, but using quotes in a title screws up post formating, so I had to use caps).

Sure, a trip to Hawaii and premium channels are a want. But in so many categories it is so much less clear.

The "health and safety" criteria still leaves a lot of things open to interpretation. Even things like diapers. Clearly a need? Well, it does not pass the "health and safety" test. If you think of it, it is clearly about convenience. When I was a baby, many mothers washed and boiled cotton diaper inserts after the baby went to sleep. And what did women do during their period before this century? So, it can be done. It is just WE REALLY DON'T WANT TO. So we just consider it a need.

But is it? Than everything we just really unwilling to do constitutes a need. And if we couldn't get our budget to balance, we still would not cut those things, because they are "needs". People would not cut similar conveniences to not add debt. But, if you were in a developing country and your choice was not "debt vs convenience" but "your child crying from hunger vs. such convenience" you would do it!
It is just one example, I'm trying to show that we all think of things we want and things that we are used to as needs. No one is immune from it.

Shelter -- is a need. But living in the neighbourhood you want and having a room for every child? You might feel strongly about it, but how much of it is a need?

Food is a need. Is healthy food a need? To what degree? Is organic food for a child a need? After you read about farmed fish practices, or allowed pesticide use you might feel that way, but others might argue on this point.

The list goes on and on. It is so subjective that it is impossible to separate your budget into needs and wants. So most budgets are about what you personally want, what you find important. and "need vs. want" budget allocation is mostly moot.

Now I hate pickles!

August 16th, 2012 at 06:11 am

After cleaning up the fridge I was about to be done, when I knocked over a container of pickles, filled to the top with pickles and brine! It was one of those plastic ones (not the ones you fill yourself, it came sealed in one, and it had a strange lid and it did not stay on well).

Pickle juice went everywhere and there was a puddle of it on the bottom.
There was like a liter of that stuff all over the fridge! And, of course, it smells.

So after I was done I had to start all over again, using up a roll of Bounty and almost entire container of Clorox wipes, and most importantly my time until 2 am. I had to clorox few times every surface and nook, disassemble every part, take out every drawer and wash it with dishwasher liquid in the sink, dry it...

I had to toss organic veggies from the lower drawers -- otherwise the smell would have remained.

Now I am exhausted and behind schedule on other cleaning I was going to do since I don't have the baby tonight.

No rest.

My fridge now:




Nice place to get baby cold weather clothing.

August 14th, 2012 at 03:54 pm

I'm stocking up for the season ahead. Here are my finds for today.




Columbia fleece jacket $19.93


Matching Columbia mittens (same color as jacket) $9.93


Matching Columbia hat $12.93


Pants that I think will work nice with the jacket.
$14.93


Life is Good thermal top $7.83

I got all of these at REI outlet -- is a nice place to check out for sales on quality brands.

After being good and not eating out, big expense in two days

August 13th, 2012 at 09:56 pm

Yesterday was a wedding of a good friend.

We gave pretty close to the minimum - $300

Today we went out for lunch with 2 friends visiting from florida - $120
We treated them, I wanted to thank him for doing me a favor a while back.

And today, we are going out to dinner for my MIL 60th birthday (she chose a very reasonable restaurant that she knows WE like, where for 3 of us it will be less than $100). I wonder if this is so that we don't have to spend much.

She also wants to buy herself hiking shoes (I want to buy them for her).

But these are things I am glad we are able to do. Activities with friends (good people that we like and respect, not just random hang-out buddies) are not among the things I want to cut. And I'm glad that minding our money enables us to do this.

Which fabric would you choose?

August 11th, 2012 at 05:59 pm

I bought a comforter for my baby from Scandia down, but it is not a standard size, so I have to have the cover custom made.

I'm looking at some fabrics, and thinking which ones to choose. They are all organic cotton, so it is just about the design. Too many choices.

I thought I'd put it to the vote here:



















I'm home for a week now and we did not go to eat out.

August 9th, 2012 at 03:02 am

I'm back after my 31 day trip and adjusting. I've been home a week. I want to do more things and am ok spending on things we appreciate and make us happier.

I also have set a record not eating out -- a whole week we did not go out except for lunches at work. That is very atypical.

I will try now to go out only when we want to go out and know will fully enjoy it, not going out just to get out of the house or not make dinner. We are still free to do it, we are just being more selective. So I don't feel it is a sacrifice or that I'm depriving myself of anything. On the contrary, we will enjoy when we go and will have more to spend freely on things we like more. Oh, and I am making quality meals with first-grade healthy ingredients. That is one of the main benefits.

Today though, I am alone, so I just made a very basic meal with one left over lamb chop and whatever I found left in a fridge.

It took 5 minutes, not any more than it would have taken to buy Chipotle on the way home.
So I'm keeping it up and it is easier than I thought.