The Light at the End of the Tunnel

I got word the other day that my daughter has been assigned to the school around the corner from me for preschool in the fall, an all-day, five-days-a-week program.

This was not a given, because pre-K in my town works by lottery and there are other programs at other schools she could have ended up in.

I was excited, because this means that come the fall, I can walk all three kids over to the same school (pre-K, K, and 3rd) and they will all stay there all day, every day.

I’ll be kid-free from 8:15 am to 3:00 pm every day. No babysitters necessary.

Kind of hard to imagine. Nobody running up to me and head-butting me in the butt while I’m doing the dishes? Nobody jumping on my back and trying to ride me like a horse while I change the other one’s diaper?

The cat, just this second, puked on my bed, as if to say, You’ll always have MEEE!

Today is Tuesday. This week feels pretty unscheduled compared to last week. I just have to get the Box Tops done and pick up a birthday present for a party on Saturday. I haven’t been feeling well, though. Last night, the kids had chicken nuggets and mac and cheese while my husband and I ordered Chinese. So tonight I need to cook for sure.

We had a nice weekend. Friday, I was able to get to Whole foods and get a few things, including paprika. I threw out a lot of old spices when I cleaned out my pantry, and I’m trying to buy them as I need them now, in small amounts. You can do that at Whole Foods:

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No more spending $6 on a jar of something that hardly gets used!

With the paprika I was able to make this Buffalo Chicken Potato Casserole for dinner Friday night (for the grown ups). For the kids I just did plain chicken and mashed potatoes, and broccoli. The casserole was delicious, and more importantly, it was something different.

Saturday, I took the kids on a shopping odyssey that ranged from Village Thrift to Burlington Coat Factory. We arrived home right at the beginning of the snowstorm, which was good because it turned out to be more snow than expected. I made Neiman Marcus cookies during the snow, with the two younger kids helping. I used my friend Mike’s recipe that I’ve had for a million years. It is a little different than the one on the Internet. I felt an intense need for a few quiet minutes of eating cookies, drinking hot chocolate, and watching the snow fall. That night, one of the kids’ friends stayed for dinner (such as it was, Spaghettios), and then when it was time for him to go, my son bundled up and pulled him home on a sled. It was one of those moments where I could squint and pretend we were living in Vermont.

Sunday, due to a few factors, I was in a Bad Mood, so after a massive reorganization of the playroom (which I had started Saturday), my husband did the smart thing and let me chill in my room for a while. Later on we went to my parents’ for dinner, and my oldest went to the SpongeBob movie with his friends (thanks!). After the playroom cleanup, we had a lot of trash on the curb, and my sell pile is starting to take over the living room. I might have to just take some stuff to Goodwill.

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Today I need to get my seed order in the mail. Here’s my rough garden plan (not to scale!):

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I’m ordering some hollyhock and zinnia seed too. I need to figure out if I’m going to make my own seed starters or just buy a kit again. My tomato seeds arrived from Rutgers yesterday and I really want to get stuff going.

Also on the list: figure out a few tax issues, catch up on the February decluttering calendar, buy new shoelaces for my son, sign him up for Little League, schedule dentist appointments.

In budget news: We had a deficit for January, due to paying off Christmas stuff and also those bounced check fees. So I carried that into February, which, for being a short month, is turning out to be crazy expensive. I had to pay $400 to the school district to hold my daughter’s pre-K spot; $560 for oil (and will need it again soon thanks to the polar vortex); $500 to Macy’s to avoid incurring deferred interest on the bed I bought last year (at least that is now paid off); a whole bunch to my credit card to pay for the new contacts and bridesmaid dress I bought in January; a deposit on the house in NY where we are staying for my cousin’s wedding in September; and some tax stuff. So, although I’m doing good this month on groceries and the other variable expenses, it hardly matters. Maybe March will be a more “normal” month.

One thrifty thing I’ve been doing a lot lately (inspired, again, by the Nonconsumer Advocate, and perhaps Little House on the Prairie) is cutting open various containers to get the most out of them. Cutting open the tube my foundation comes in yielded another two applications, at least. Did the same with my moisturizer container. Anybody else do this? It’s amazing how much is left in there. Sometimes, with things like a large yogurt container or a jar of salsa, I pretend I’m Ma out on the prairie. Would Ma let those last couple tablespoons go to waste? You bet your bonnet she would not.

2 responses to “The Light at the End of the Tunnel

  1. I cut open lotion bottles and use a spatula to consolidate! I accumulate 3-4 discarded bottles (because the level is too low for the pump to work) and then consolidate to fill at least 1/2 of another bottle! Our budget is super tight, and lotion is a commodity here 😉

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