Archive | October, 2012

Broken promises

28 Oct

I’ve fallen off the Unprocessed wagon by eating white rice and pasta. *hangs head in shame* Also, part of a sugar cookie. I made a batch for the children’s Halloween party tomorrow (the little guests decorate their own cookies. put the kids to work!).

I joined Real Mom Nutrition’s pantry challenge, where you spend $50/week on groceries and eat your pantry supplies, and then went grocery shopping and spent $70 at Sprouts and $40 at Vons.

Also, my car needs “$1200, $1300 easy” worth of work. Curse that heating and cooling system! However, it’s STILL cheaper and environmentally than buying a new one — right?


Remembrances of thrifty finds

23 Oct

procrastinating and reading the Non Consumer Advocate blog.

She asks about great/favorite thrift store finds.

When I was in college I got a pair of shoes for $1. Sturdy, thick soles, I wore them for years. At the same store I got a warm jacket for $2. Nothing had prices; you just hauled your finds to the nice elderly lady at the front and said, “How much?” and waited with bated breath while she looked at the shoes and said, “Well, they’re in pretty good shape.  How about … [long pregnant pause] a dollar?” which she said as if she were expecting you to cast down the shoes in outrage.

Last summer, I got a long teal silk coat with the tags still on, originally priced at $120, for $5. I need to have it taken in but it is beautiful.

Once I found my mother a purse, of the exact brand she exclusively favors, with the tags still on, for $8; it retails new for $60.

#1Child found ice skates for $8 the same day that #2Child found Barbie rollerskates for $2.50. I have trained them well.

Repurposed food

23 Oct

Forgot to say that I took some neglected breakfast cereal (Uncle Sam’s depressingly righteous and un-tasty flakes, some stale Cascadian Farms chocolate O’s) and tossed it into the latest batch of breakfast cookies, where it worked surprisingly well. Since we were out of honey I used some molasses and maple syrup.  They who eat the breakfast cookies didn’t seem to notice a difference.

Had some fava beans in my salad today because they were about to turn.

Quark! and a spendy weekend

23 Oct

I made quark from Ashley English’s recipe in _Home Dairy_, which is such a user-friendly book that I am entertaining thoughts of getting my hands on goat milk and making feta. Her quark recipe uses yogurt and cultured buttermilk interchangeably as the starter. I used yogurt, since I had it, but it would be fun to try buttermilk. #2Child tasted the quark and pronounced it “yummy”. It’s thick enough that we could use it to sub for cream cheese, which would be great.

We bought some non-food items at the farmer’s market. I was getting a couple of little things ($2/each) for friends I’ll be seeing this week whom I haven’t seen in years. Since the children were with me, well … at least we supported local vendors. Total there was $10. Then in the afternoon we went to Target.  AUUUGGGHH!!  No toys were purchased, hooray, but we did pick up some small things for the Halloween party and #2Child changed her mind about the costume so another $8 was invested there because I don’t think we can get what she wants at the thrift store.  What can I say about it, it’s Target, you can’t get out of there for under $100 if you’re accompanied by children, even if you don’t actually buy them anything in particular.

There are at least 5 separate opportunities to wear costumes this year, however. I don’t recall all this hoopla about Halloween when I was a child. We certainly didn’t wear costumes to school or have school parties. Okay, end crotchety-old-ladyness.

Then we made the mistake of going to a “pumpkin patch” by the mall. Pumpkins were insanely expensive, so I negotiated with the children. But they wanted to go to the petting zoo and #2Child also wanted to ride the ponies. We spent $20 on tickets, they went to the petting zoo, #1Child had had enough. We could have saved $10. And yeah, I know, we could have saved $20 by just not going there at all. While #2Child used up the rest of the tickets #1Child went with Other Adult to the mall bookstore and read for free.

Yesterday we went to Trader Joe’s for pumpkins. 4 pumpkins at $3/each, plus 4 mini gourds at .69 cents. Yay.

The car needs more work. Curses.

Almost no-spend day

21 Oct

On the plus side, all I bought today was some stamps and some groceries, including some items scavenged from the clearance rack. Stupidly, however, I forgot to use the 20% off coupon I had lurking in my wallet. I’ll wait til the next big meat sale to break that out.

Oh, and I guess I bought a car battery. 😦

Thrift store score, eating fail

21 Oct

You win some, you lose some.  I wrote a post on Thursday and then wordpress went down, so I lost it.  I believe the gist was:

  • free lunch at work 3 days this week. Since work lunch often involves a very good salad bar, this is good.
  • some rather haphazard dinners, some of which was wasted by the children. Dang it. I thought the meatballs with fresh ginger and garlic were delicious, myself.
  • there was probably something else in there.

As for new news: yesterday at the thrift store #1Child found The Toy that #2Child has been coveting for months. New, it would be $60; I’d been looking on craigslist and ebay and seen it for @$40; at the thrift store, the price tag was $16.99; and it rang up at 50% off, so it was $8.50. You go, #1Child!

We also found some Halloween decor items, candles for the luminarias I hope to make with them, a tablecloth for the Halloween party, and even Halloween straws.

I couldn’t work out today because my car wouldn’t start. Other Adult fixed it but in the interim I took a walk with the children. We ran into a friend of #2Child’s and got invited for a playdate, which turned out to involve pizza. Which I ate, despite not being all that hungry. I also ate several of the chocolate chip cookies I made as our contribution. Now I’m carb-heavy and unhappy. Bleuch. October Unprocessed is not going well, I’ll have to shoot for November Unprocessed, I think.

Food waste, free fun, thrifting

15 Oct

An entire sweet potato went bad. Very sad.

On the plus side, #2Child enjoys my homemade yogurt with honey or maple syrup. I enjoy saving money and PACKAGING.  At the farmer’s market I got a wonderful avocado which made very delicious guacamole. OH! I checked the clearance section of the meat department and found several large roasts, 50% off, with an expiration date a couple of days safely in the future.  I bought two, stuck one in the freezer and the other in the crockpot. The crockpotted one so far provided two dinners for 4 and at least one lunch for 1 — all for $3.50.

This weekend the children and I enjoyed a friend’s birthday party (alas, not having my thrifting skills in place, I had to buy a new present — gift card) and also went to a free outdoor festival with a merry-go-round, bounce house, snacks, photo booth, and temporary tattoos. Did I mention it was all  free? The photo booth was my favorite part.

The other day #2Child and I swung by a thrift store while #1Child had a music class. I found a pair of pants for work and #2Child found some little tchotchkes. The children are not on board with the decluttering. We all went to a community rummage sale where #1Child spent hir own money; for my part, I got a skirt and two tops, a small picture frame for a print we got at the farmers market (it’s a card, but so pretty that we’ll frame it for one of the kids’ rooms — so original art for $3 including the frame!), face paint crayons, a shirt and a teapot for #2Child, all for $10, and the money supports a local food bank, so wins all around.  We went home happy.

Now to figure out how to bring in the kids’ Halloween party for a reasonable amount of money.