More to Explore

There has been a lot going on lately; in my head, at least, not so much in the actual physical world. Saturday night, in particular, when I was trying to sleep, my brain was on overdrive, so much so that I almost got up and started writing.

Some of the stuff I was thinking about came from reading articles on this website, New Geography. What a find for an armchair urban planner such as myself. I have a feeling I’ll be spending a lot of time there, and I have some posts on urban planning/cities/social issues cooking.

I’ve also been enjoying the posts over at Lean Times, a blog from a fellow member of the Facebook Non-Consumer Advocate group. She comes at the frugality issues from more of a working-class angle. Mission statement: “Lean Times exists to provide straightforward, no-bullshit advice and inspiration for people who want to be happy with what they have — when what they have is very little.”

Money is also on my mind. It’s the end of the month, which means it’s time to see how I did budget-wise. I’m not ready to post my official numbers yet, but I can tell you there is no surplus this month :(. Most of the problem came from paying off charges incurred in May, like for my birthday and… I can’t even remember what else. I stayed on budget for all the regular categories, such as groceries. Hopefully we’ll get back on track for July. My husband had a fit because he said he told me a while ago to set up an automatic transfer from checking to savings every month so that savings gets paid first, and then we’ll just have to make do with what’s left. That is sound financial advice, i.e., I know I’ve heard it from gurus other than my husband. So I did it, right then while we were talking. I am just curious to see his reaction next month if and when we do run out of money early and what he will be willing to do without…

On the cooking-from-scratch front, here are two recipes we enjoyed recently:
Sour Cream Enchiladas (I used a can of green enchilada sauce; I loved it, husband hated it. Also, I just want to say that corn tortillas are so much better than flour and I can’t believe I was unaware of them until fairly recently.)

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Slow-Cooked Ribs (I started them in slow cooker and husband finished them off on the grill, not in the oven. He said they were best ribs he’s ever had)

One more link: Kate Christensen’s blog. Her book was so good. I love her love of food. I don’t consider myself a foodie; I’m not particularly adventurous. But food is important to me. Let’s just say you’ll never, ever hear me say, “Oh, I forgot to eat today,” and it blows my mind that some people can legitimately say that. One of the things I loved about being pregnant was that (after the morning sickness went away) my senses were heightened or something and I enjoyed food so much, way more than normal. If I didn’t like the food, I hated it, and if I liked it, I LOVED it and was gushing about how freaking delicious it was.

Now my stomach is growling.

Last Wednesday we had some thrift store and Target adventures. I’ll post separately about that. Last Thursday my husband and I stayed over one night in Atlantic City for his 40th birthday. We did not get the comp room; they were already all given away by the time we called. But we got a nice room for $99 and we didn’t do too much damage to the minibar. I did have an almost embarrassing rendezvous with the can of cocktail peanuts, because it’s been forever since I could eat straight-up peanuts (my son is allergic). We went in the ocean and out to dinner and generally had a glorious kid-free 24 hours. On the way home we stopped in the jewelry store where my best friend works, and I bought some Christmas gifts as well as a necklace for me. I’m ok with the necklace because I haven’t bought any nice jewelry in years and in fact I don’t think I have another single wearable necklace right now. Jewelry for me went out the window once the kids were born — you only need to have an earring painfully yanked out of your ear once to decide that. As far as Christmas: although I would love to do away with gift-giving between adults almost entirely, I don’t think the rest of my family is going to go for it. Maybe someday.

It was nice to see this in the hotel room:

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All the green things it does. I was most impressed by the composting. I wonder what percentage of restaurants compost?

When we got back, we had another militant cleaning weekend, this time finally steam-cleaning the family room rug. It was like the sixth or seventh weekend in a row with nice weather; I got to hang yet more laundry on the line. I also found a nice dresser for cheap on Craig’s List, for our bedroom, and my husband is supposed to pick it up tonight. It’s the perfect size and it just needs some paint and a small repair. Saturday morning, I finally made it to my town’s farmers’ market, but I didn’t get to stay long because my youngest was acting completely miserable and cranky.

This week feels more normal because my oldest is at camp all day. He’s got camp this week and next; then we’re off to the Shore for a week. Can. Not. Wait.

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