Friday, November 21, 2008
So here's the thing...
I am absolutely knee deep in Christmas card orders and last minute holiday photo sessions. And since this blog is all about simplifying I am focusing on getting my orders complete for my clients before the holidays so I can enjoy them with my family.
I have some fun things I am doing for Thanksgiving and will share this weekend. One of them I got from the website FamilyFun.com. It's great...and somewhat realistic.
So slow down and enjoy the holidays. I will be back in no time!
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Andie: I don't know what I'm doing.
Ione: Wishful make-upping.
You won't believe this deal!
Makeup for $1 at http://www.eyeslipsface.com/ And not a moment too soon since my kids have taken my makeup brushes hostage and my blush is in a million pieces.
The word on the street is that Nordstrom bought e.l.f. out and they need to sell their current merchandise since they will be changing the packaging. Whatever the reason...I just scored a whole new face of makeup for a little over 20 bucks.
Enter the code ECTUTAY when you check out for an additional 25% off!
I "splurged" on a few things, but here's what I ordered:
Natural radiance blusher - $1
Brightening eye liner - $1
Wet gloss lash and brow mascara - $1
Brightening eye color - $1
2 Plumping lip glazes - $2
Shimmering facial whip - $1
Clarifying pressed powder - $1
Shielding hydro-tint - $1
Glow/fair concealer - $3
Lengthening mascara - $3
Travel makeup brush kit - $5
Dark red nail polish - $1
subtotal - $21
minus discount of $5.25
plus shipping $6.95
grand total $22.70
I love getting new makeup! I will just have to keep it out of the reach of my little bloodhounds. They can smell out anything new and destroy it in record time.
Don't need or use make-up? Then buy some plumping lip gloss for your mom/sister/wife/girlfriend/daughter for a stocking stuffer or a quick pick-me-up.
No matter what age every girl feels better with cute sunglasses and lots of lip gloss!!!
Monday, November 3, 2008
In a statement released today Barack and his sister said this about their grandmother...
"She was the cornerstone of our family, and a woman of extraordinary accomplishment, strength and humility. She was the person who encouraged us to take chances."
Don't you LOVE that! I am going to hang that on my fridge to remind me of the power we have as mom's and (someday) grandmother's to positively affect those around us.
My passion for many years was to be a missionary in Africa...to help...not to evangelize. But that dream fell short due to some medical complications. So after many weeks of counseling I came to terms with the fact that I gave up my backpack and Birkenstocks (it was the nineties) for an equally fulfilling and challenging mission of being a wife and mother to my sweet little family.
God works through us....not always in the way that we want...but in the way that we need.
So live in the moment! Share what you have with who you're with and enjoy this life!
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
So here's the scoop...
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
You know that guilty feeling you have after exploding at your children when they have (for the fifteenth time) asked for the Halloween candy in the pantry...just an example. Not that it has happened to me...today.
Or the guilt we feel after chatting with Neighbor Nancy who is the "perfect" mom and chairs the school fundraiser, while teaching her children a third language, while preparing a healthy dinner in her perfectly clean kitchen in her amazingly decorated house that is probably paid for ten years ahead of schedule just because they had the extra cash from selling the eggs she raises in her chicken coop in the backyard. You know you know someone like this...but let me tell you something - she has her dark days too. We just can't see them behind her Chanel sunglasses.
The problem with guilt is that it doesn't really do anything healthy. It is not a meaningful motivator. If you are doing something out of guilt instead of joy then you are really just selling yourself and your family short. And most guilt comes from comparing. So stop!
I always compare myself to ultra-organized moms who seem to have it all together. (Which, of course is comparing my weakness to their strength. Not fair at all.) I make myself crazy. But my sweet friend made me feel good today when she said, "the same trait that leads to your disorganization is the same trait that compels you to make Kleenex ghosts with your kids."
Sniffles...I love my friends...where are those dang tissues now?!?
So let your hair down ladies and be real with each other. You will be much happier and you won't have to pretend that everything is alright all of the time. Face it - houses get messy, kids get messy and lives get messy. It's okay. That's what makes life interesting!
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
If you are ever wondering where I am check here and keep up with my business happenings. But I will also continue posting NeedLess stuff.
Friday, October 17, 2008
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
So my challenge this week is to throw away or give away 12 things a day for 5 days. Just keep a bag by your back door and chuck it in there. By the end of the week you will have 60 less things taking up space and perhaps helping out someone else. I am a huge fan of passing it on.
The only things I am really determined to keep are a few very sentimental things...like my rocking chair that I rocked all of my babies in...pretty special, not going anywhere and their baptismal gowns. But the 1000 pieces of artwork and scrap paper I have saved from my first child will be getting the fine tooth this week. I have a few dozen from my middle and one from B. I seriously have two big Rubbermaid tubs of Lauren's preschool artwork. What was I thinking? More ideas on how to organize that mess soon.
Repeat as many weeks as necessary.
Just remember...Space is good. Blank is beautiful.
Monday, October 13, 2008
Ohhhh, if only I had those dishes/napkins/place mats/candles/gourds/place cards then my children will have a perfect Thanksgiving. Then when they get older they will bring all of their friends home from college because I always provided the most amazing linens and perfect turkey and stuffing. Then when they get married they will always choose our house instead of their in-laws for Thanksgiving. In fact the in-laws will feel so inferior to my autumn themed finger-tip bathroom towels that they will crumble under the pressure and join us too. As long as they do not bring their Jell-O salad.
But then I snap out of it and remember my Thanksgivings as a child...Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, the smell of my mom's broccoli and rice casserole, and the delicious pies that my Nanny whipped up without a single recipe. Sure there are some not-so-happy memories associated with Thanksgiving, but I think that it is because I had some mean cousins and used to have unrealistic expectations of this one day.
Now I know. I will try to let go of those expectations. My life is not a catalogue and I will not give into the pressure to charge NeedLess things. My children won't recall if the house was in perfect autumn attire, but they will remember that we enjoyed the day, thanked God for our blessings and shared food and fun times with our friends and family.
I have to admit it though...I really, really want to play flag football someday.
By the way...I am working on getting some fun Thanksgiving stuff together. But right now I am working on no-sew, last minute Halloween Costumes for under $10. That will be posted soon. Yeah!
Friday, October 10, 2008
You list the books, CDs, DVDs, and video games that you want to get rid of and the books, CDs, DVDs and video games that you want and swaptree does the rest.
Thursday, October 9, 2008
This is why I cannot talk politics with very many people I know.
This is what is wrong with America…people take things out of context or misinterpret or are plain ignorant and create their own version of the truth in order to scare others into being like them.
Please don’t be part of the problem and if you insist on continuing to forward these so-called “truths” then leave me out.
These quotes are completely taken out of context. I mean…give me a break. It is written in red and quadruple bolded in order to play on your ignorant fears of Muslims. My thought is “so what if he is Muslim?”
Muslims are not the enemy. Only a small group of Muslim extremists are responsible for most of the terrorist attacks. The religion is actually quite beautiful when not taken to an extreme. If you would like to learn more about Islam then you can check it out at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islam
There will always be extremists. A true Muslim is just as disgusted by the violence of Muslim extremists as I am as a Christian sickened by Evangelical Fundamentalists. Have you seen Jesus Camp? Watch it…pretty scary.
E-mails like this only spread ignorance and fear. Can you find anything uplifting about your candidate and then try to gain support that way?
Please, please…I beg you. Before you vote, investigate what your candidate will do to make a better world for our children, your grandchildren.
Vote out of conviction…not fear or racism.
Hope all is well.
P.S. – If you are interested in truth about Barack Obama give this a try…http://www.snopes.com/politics/obama/obama.asp
It was great advice.
I rarely watch the news because it makes me feel helpless and overwhelmed. I get my news from The Daily Show (kidding...kinda) and online. But I have also stopped watching all of those crazy violent shows. The other night instead of watching CSI:Miami we watched the RPS Championships. Yep...that's right the Rock, Paper, Scissors National Champioship. It made me happy.
I also have stopped listening to the melancholy tunes of my college years.
So in search for a free internet music station I found http://www.pandora.com/.
Sweet...it is called the music genome project. You can create as many commercial free stations you want based on a particular song or artist. It then searches for other music with the same qualities. You've gotta try it.
... like enough running around at a breakneck speed...enough spending money that you don't have...enough carting the kids to 101 activities...enough spending hours in the same 10 square feet in your kitchen...enough multi-tasking with a smile on...just enough.
I have two...my weight and my house. If everything has spun out of control then I don't take the time to run like I love to do and the house spirals out of control. I gotta say...my weight is up and my house is a disaster. But the good news is that I recognize these signs. So now I can focus on getting life back in line.
Things are actually starting to get better, but it is hard to tell from looking at my house. (Or my bum.) But it is. I have to pull everything out before purging the unnecessary and then reorganizing what's left. Are you following the metaphor here?
Most times our lives have to explode before we pay attention to the important things.
So figure out your barometer and nip what is truly bothering you in the bud. (When I was a kid, I thought the saying was 'nip it in the butt' very appropriate now.)
Bottom line...take care of yourselves. Even Mother Teresa took one day off a week. Every single week.
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
I used to always make promises to the girls and then unintentionally not keep them. Life gets busy. I would forget (or hope that they would forget) and then I would have this negative dialogue running through my head about what a terrible mother I am and imagine the therapy bills my children would incur as adults.
So hopefully this will answer some of the questions...
Currently, My NeedLess Situation is stress. I need less of it in my life. And since a big source of my stress is money (the company my hubby worked for lost it's funding over a year ago) then I am trying to do things that reduce my spending and at the same time only do things that feed my soul.
I don't do it all. People say that to me all of the time. I don't know how you do it all? For one, I do not sleep much...stress keeps me up. And two, you should see my house right now. If you could take the top off and look down you would see an unorganized pile of clothes that need to be priced for a garage sale...folded laundry on the coffee table...unfolded laundry in the basket...dinner dishes in the sink...beds aren't made...I have a mound of work on the dining room table...and my studio is piled with empty boxes for another project I am working on...but everyone is having a great night. The laughter right now is contagious.
And that is what is important to me.
Just think about what brings stress into your life and then try to make the changes needed. For example, if you have plenty of money, but your marriage is not going well then focus on ways to reconnect with your mate. And get rid of those things that are bringing stress into your marriage. Except the kids...you can't really get rid of them yet.
Have a great National Night Out!
Monday, October 6, 2008
We cannot be all things to all people, we cannot be all things to all people...keep repeating until you convince yourself of that truth.
I used to live my life for others. Trying to do everything I could for my mom, my sister, my brother, my grandparents, my husband, my kids, my friends, the PTA committee, the homeroom mom, the preschool board, my church, my clients, my MOPS group, my bible study...and on and on and on.
And it all came crashing down last fall. I could no longer do it all and I was in a debilitating depression for months because of it. Over and over in my head I would say, "You are lazy, unorganized, and not good enough."
Why are we so tough on ourselves? I have always expected more from myself than anyone else ever has. Everyone would say. "I don't know how you do it all."...and I would just smile. But inside I was yelling "HELP! I can't do this anymore." Someone save me from myself. I brought it on by saying yes to everything I was asked to do. I thought, "No one else can do it as good as I can."
If this sounds familiar than I encourage you to slowly get out of any commitments that are stealing your joy. And only keep the ones that feed your soul. I know half of you are yelling at your computer screen, "but if we all do that, then nothing will get done." Or "one person will be stuck with it all!" Not likely. The world won't come crashing down, I promise. We are all energized by different things. And so what if we don't have a committee on every single decision or project that needs to be done.
So start saying, "No" without apology. I learned several great ways to say no from a wonderful mom at the MOPS convention. Her name is Julie Barnhill and I love her outlook on life. These are what she suggested...
Thank you for sharing that idea with me, and no.
I hear what you are saying, and no.
I understand that you would really like that, and no.
I hear you, you could be right, and no.
Thank you for asking me, and no.
I hear you, I care about you and no.
Let me tell you a little story about a man named...no.
Isn't she funny? Alright so here is my challenge. Make a list (mental or physical) of what is truly important to you so you can know when to say yes and no, thanks.
Think about it...how will you ever win? What is the evidence? I know some amazing people who had terribly absent parents and then I know some people who had very involved and caring parents and they are miserably negative and exhausting to be around.
So in the coming days I will be blogging about some great resources I found out about and how to manage our expectations of ourselves and our families.
If I met you at convention and you are just now joining us then welcome! I hope to start a movement of slowing down and loving life!
Thursday, October 2, 2008
I am headed off to my very first MOPS convention. I am so excited to meet new mommy friends and gab with my girlfriends who are also going. There are ten of us in all! Yeah, so fun!
Keep watching because I will be blogging from the convention and maybe I will have some cool new ideas or some funny stories to share. Who, me? Stories? Never...
Happy Anniversary Boos! Yeah for nine years!
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
So what to do? Even when I had Maria, Maria, as amazing as she is, we still couldn't get it all done.
This makes me draw one of two conclusions.
1. We have too many clothes or 2. I am going about it the wrong way.
I was chatting about this very perplexing situation with one of my girlfriends and she had an interesting suggestion. Each person in the house should have their own laundry basket. Then do one basket of laundry per day. If it doesn't get folded just put the basket back in their room and have them either fold it or hang it or wear it.
That makes since...there are five of us and on Saturday I could wash towels and sheets. Rest on Sunday. "You know... because of God." (Twenty NeedLess points to anyone who can name that quote about a pair of missing "Sunday" panties...probably just gave it away.)
Anyway...chime in. How do you do laundry?
Warning...no comparing my life to a hamster in a wheel...I am very sensitive about that. I am not a rodent!
I changed my domain name to http://beneedless.blogspot.com/
Mostly because when you put together the words "needless experiment" it looks like "need less sex experiment." Not quite what I am going for.
Hopefully this won't be an issue for any of my readers...if you really need a support group for the "oversexed" I am sure there is one out there. But this blog is for us ol' married folks.
ha ha ha ha ha ha!
This is our schedule...
9:00 am - Free draw on dry erase board
9:15am - Circle time (days of the week, weather, songs about our theme, shapes, letters, etc)
9:30am - Dance time (turn on the music and rock out while I get our activity ready)
9:45am - Activity/Craft time (usually very simple stuff...art caddy anyone?)
10:15am - Clean up and have snack
10:30am - Put on a video or tv show that can teach them something while I blog :)
After that I try to get them outside and playing.
That reminds me I need to check Craig's List for a swing set.
Check out the eyebrow...that's singular...eyebrow.
Why I do Mommy School
I used to have this list of questions that I would casually work into a conversation with moms at the park/mall/preschool to see if we could be friends. You know things like..."Did you see Oprah yesterday?" and "How old are your children?" and most importantly, "Where do they go to school?"
With most of my questions there wasn't a right or wrong answer. I was listening for how they answered it. Except for one question..."Where do your children go to school?" If they answered, "Oh, I home school." Then I would discreetly pinch one of my kids to make them scream and then we would run for the car.
Seriously? I can't be friends with someone who home schools. She is probably amazingly organized and patient and brilliant and disciplined and all of those other things that I am not.
But here I am teaching my two little ones at home because sending them both part-time to preschool would:
- cost $600 a month in tuition, and $150 in supply fees each semester
- plus gas to get there and back twice a day, which means that we would have to keep both cars (My goal is to become a one car family.)
- plus the stress of getting them up and dressed and there on time
- plus packing a "peanut-free" lunch
- plus buying teacher gifts, director gifts, party favors, and treats for every holiday
So I have decided to teach them at home and socialize them by being involved with my awesome MOPS group each week on Tuesdays. Which by the way is the only day I am allowing myself to use the car. We'll see how that goes once it gets cold. I am a wienie in the cold weather.
Bottom line? I am LOVING it!!! We have so much fun and are closer than ever. I don't answer the phone or check my e-mail. It is just an hour and a half of undivided attention for them. They love it too.
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
1. Spend Less, Save More.
2. Only nurture relationships in my life that fill me up.
3. Focus on experiences, rather than "stuff."
4. Spend more time with my children and husband.
5. If it doesn't feed my soul then move on.
Specifics (updated 1.9.11)
1. Learn to say "no" more often when asked to give of my time.
2. Only spend $125 a week in groceries and $50 on weekend dinners & entertainment ...yikes!!
3. Only use cash...double yikes.
4. If we can do it ourselves, than do it...but if it causes more stress* for me to do it then consider hiring it done.
5. Practice the Sacrament of the Present Moment.
*Before going back to work in 12.08 I had given up my housekeeper and lawn men in order to save money, but I am happy to report they are back! It gives them another client and us piece of mind knowing we won't have to spend what little time we have together as a family mowing the lawn or deep cleaning the house.
So all of this is in good fun, right? But I have very high expectations that The NeedLess Experiment will catch on and we will form an international community called "The NeedLess Society." We will be featured in Real Simple Magazine, Oprah will invite us to lunch and we may even win some sort of award...perhaps something that rhymes with "global cheese guys."
As a family we have this ever-evolving list of things we want to do together.
It's the 2030 List.
It is a list of things we want to do, places we want to travel and other experiences we want to have before the year 2030. That is the year our youngest kiddo should be graduating from college (no pressure B) and we figure by then Lu will be 28 and well on her way to having her own family. (snif, snif, I can't talk about that right now.)
It is a variety of things including:
learning to snow ski, growing a garden, going to a U2 concert, attending a World Cup match, reading To Kill A Mockingbird as a family, working on a dude ranch, seeing an opera at the Sydney Opera House, Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, touring Italy on bicycles and on and on and on.
One that I am particularly excited about is to surf in Hawaii. So recently I came across this website of how to surf. What an amazing gal!
Isn't it great how we all have gifts that we can share with eachother!
With the holiday season coming up, let's think of the gifts we can share or experiences we can give rather than the goofy "stuff" that we buy.
These cookies are so yummy. I can't even tell you why, but their simplicity makes them undeniable. I have made them several times this month and my friends keep asking for the recipe, So here it is...
They are called Share the Joy Oatmeal Cookies for two reasons.
First, they make a bunch! For my house I usually cut the recipe in half. I know I could freeze the other half and save for later...but I would eat them all! Secondly, you can share the joy by adding your favorite things in them...chocolate chips, pecans, raisins, m&m's or my personal favorite...toffee chips.
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
2 cup flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
4 cups old-fashioned oats
1. Mix together first five ingredients
2. Add dry ingredients.
3. Drop by teaspoonfuls on cookie sheet
4. Bake at 375 degrees for 7 minutes (6 minutes for soft, 8 minutes for crunchy)
Monday, September 29, 2008
Friday Night Friends
Stop worrying about your house not being "ready" for company and start living in it! Have a Friday night friends potluck! Invite your friends over for hors d'oeurves and cocktails and have everyone bring something. Or if you have children just keep it simple...pick up pizzas, make burgers on the grill, or in the winter make stone soup. Remember that children's story? So fun!
The goal is to focus on the relationships and not obsess over the cobwebs on your ceiling fans. No one cares. And if they do...repeat after me..."They really aren't your friends." Run the other direction as quickly and calmly as possible.
Start this Friday! Bon Appetit!
Yesterday we went to the pumpkin patch at our church to let the kids play and pick out some "baby pumpkins" for a scarecrow project we will be doing later in October. Don't worry...I will share all of the details with lots of pictures when we get around to doing it.
Here is what you should ask yourself...
1. Is it to the detriment of my body, mind or spirit?
2. Is it to the detriment of my family's finances, safety, health, or spirit?
3. Is it filling a hole that needs to be filled with love?
a spa pedicure...
If the money and time spent on a pedicure is to to the detriment of your family's finances or time together, maybe not such a good idea. But if you have plenty of money and time to spend getting a pedicure then go right ahead.
a bottle of wine...
If you do not have the money and you are using it to numb a problem...probably NeedLess. Not an alcoholic and have plenty of funds then go right ahead and grab a girlfriend and reconnect. Remember...relationships are what make life worth living!
shopping at the mall for a new handbag or clothes or even stuff for the kids...
If you are paying with credit and trying to portray a lifestyle that you cannot afford...definitely NeedLess. If you have plenty of money and your ego does not rest upon the tags of your clothing or accessories then go for it.
Seriously though...do you really need to spend $300 on a pair of shoes? Could that money be better spent feeding a homeless person? If you think I am harsh, then sorry. But to me the only thing worse than buying designer knockoffs is spending money on things to feed your ego.
Have a great day!
I wanted to end on a sweet note...soapbox no longer needed.
Saturday, September 27, 2008
1 apple, sliced and diced
3 1/2 c. water
2 c. oatmeal (non-instant)
1 tsp. butter (more or less to taste)
1 tbsp. packed brown sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 cup chopped walnuts, pecans or almonds
1. Put apple, water and salt in medium pot and bring to boil
2. Boil for three minutes
3. Add oats
4. Turn to simmer and lightly boil for 5 minutes
5. Take off of burner and add remaining ingredients
6. Divide among bowls and top with a little milk, if desired
Thursday, September 25, 2008
So far they are...
1. Eat dinner together as a family each day. (pray and play high, low, ha!)
2. Focus on our mental, spiritual and physical health individually and as a family.
3. Enjoy what you do, do what you enjoy. (aka - soccer, piano, art, dance)
4. Give of our time and treasure.
5. Cut spending to mostly needs and only buy with cash.
6. Manage our expectations - there is no such thing as perfection.
last updated 1.09.11
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Friday, September 12, 2008
I looked back at the bread store purchase and realized that, yes, I saved over $8 on three items (2 bags of donut gems and a box of cherry pies) but I would have NEVER purchased those in the past. So really instead of saving eight, I wasted three. I came to the conclusion that if it is something you don't or wouldn't normally purchase, even though it is a great buy, then you really aren't saving money - aka NeddLess Savings.
This week I vow to get back eating healthy and to figure out how to do it on my budget.
We'll see how it goes this afternoon.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
We don't need everything we think we need.
When discussing the experiment with one of my friends she told me about Angel Food Ministries website. What an amazing and generous organization! It is a national, non-profit grocery co-op with thousands of host sites. Check it out!
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
A Documentary Day is one of those wonderful days that everything is smooth sailing and you wish you had a camera crew following you around to capture the sheer genius of your mothering. Other days, Hidden Camera Days, stink. Everything keeps going wrong and spiral down, down, down until finally you look for the hidden cameras because surely someone is behind this madness.
Unfortunately, today I was seriously looking for those cameras.
Tell me if you can identify.
At 4:30am my six-year-old climbed in bed with us because she had a bad dream.
Right as I dozed back off around 5:00am the dog started making noise because he wanted to go for a walk. So I took him for a walk.
Got back right as the toddler was waking...gave him a sippy cup of milk. By then my preschooler was up and wanting her chocolate milk and "shows."
Started packing three lunches since Lu had school and the little ones were staying for lunch during my MOPS steering meeting. (If you have not heard of MOPS and you have preschoolers check it out and find a group near you! It is awesome!)
Then I spent thirty minutes making an egg casserole and muffins for my MOPS meeting. As I went past the kitchen to take a shower my plan was to turn off the casserole in the lower oven and leave the muffins baking in the upper oven. I would then go take a shower, get dressed and arrive back in the kitchen to perfectly prepared breakfast treats for all of my friends. I would be the envy of all the mothers.
Instead I turned off the muffins and left the casserole baking. So I arrived to underdone muffins and a burned casserole.
Dressed the kids and rushed them into the car. We had fifteen minutes to make it on time to the meeting and get set-up for the amazing guest speaker I had arranged months earlier. (Are you exhausted yet? Just wait...)
We pull into the parking lot as I receive a call from the speaker informing me that she has been "throwing up all morning and couldn't make it." I thought to myself, "Of course you are. Why wouldn't you be?" But I told her no problem I would improvise and to feel better.
I hussled down the sidewalk with an overcooked casserole, two back packs, a purse while holding the hands of my little ones when I realized that my strapless bra was now around my waist.
(Note to self: find stroller on Craig's list.)
At the meeting I won the MOPS Meal silent auction. Yippee! It was a prepared meal from one of our mentor moms. It was a steal at $12 and my plan was to take it to a friend that night who I had promised dinner since they had just had their fourth baby the week prior.
Hang in there it is almost done...thank goodness!
I arrived home at 3pm soaked from the torrential downpour that occurred for the approximately ten minutes I was loading my car at the church. As I opened the door from the garage into the kitchen I was shocked to see that the floor was covered in glass. Apparently our new dog, Henry, somehow got on top of the counter and licked the mixing bowl clean right onto the floor.
Lu steered the younger two away from the glass as I started sweeping it up. Afterwards, I vacuumed the floor to ensure that every shard was up. The sound of the vacuum sent Henry tearing into the garage. And what had I left in the car with the doors open to unload after I brought the kids in? The meal, of course.
So when Henry came tearing through the kitchen with half a tortilla hanging out of his mouth I just sat in the floor and screamed. Which was actually quite a relief. And since the kids were playing in the back of the house and the vacuum was on they didn't even hear me.
So I screamed again.
Sunday, August 31, 2008
We went to our amazing church and heard a beautiful (as always) sermon from pastor Jack. He spoke about Rawanda and the work he will be doing there over the next 3 weeks. What a tragedy. I can't beleive that we just stood by. It makes me very sad.
We will add them to our prayer book.
After church we usually go out for lunch and spend around $20. Instead we came home for some mac-n-cheese and leftover pizza. No big deal. It actually worked out better since Bennett went down for a nap shortly after lunch. Lauren needed new shoes so Mike took the girls to Target. Don't you love Target? Cute stuff at great prices and you don't have the "Wal-Mart" guilt.
Dinner: Meatloaf, dijon potatoes and green beans.
Old habit: Going shopping on the weekends as an outing. Spending money for entertainment.
New habit: Do things together as a family that doesn't involve spending money. Today we went on a bike ride through our neighborhood.
Saturday, August 30, 2008
So after a morning of summer cabin fever we loaded up the kids and headed off to the zoo. It was a no cost trip since I have a membership for my photography business.
It was great! We packed snacks and drinks and loaded the wagon so we didn't have to rent one there. But the pressure to buy something around every corner was exhausting. Dippin' Dots, souvenirs, photo booths...they even charged to pet the sting ray. Really?
I just kept telling the girls that we weren't going to spend our money on those things. I felt a little like a loser. But I keep telling myself that it is all in how I present it to them and myself that will create new habits...and hopefully leave some of those old ones behind.
P.S. - This chimpanze threw a rock at some international tourists that were mocking him. Pretty funny. And free!
Dinner: Take and bake pizza and salad ($10)
My children eat sprinkles on just about anything. At first, it was just to help them eat certain things - oatmeal, malt-o-meal, green beans, whatever. And really how much sugar could they really add? (Don't answer that...) So sprinkles are my idea of those little things in life we can do to just make things more fun, more memorable, and a little sweeter.
I will add more each week so check back often!
Friday, August 29, 2008
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Being a triathlete was a dream of mine since I was a teenager. It was one of those unspoken goals. Like being a Rockette, or country music singer or sous chef in Paris. I didn't share it with too many people since I couldn't swim the length of the pool and didn't own a bike.
So like I stated before, I tend to be a little competitive. Therefore, I couldn't just borrow a bike. I had to go to buy one...a really great one. Which has been displayed beautifully in our garage since baby three made himself known over two years ago.
A friend of ours started training a few months ago, so I let him borrow it. And then when I had the idea for the experiment I asked him to trade me...his wife's trail bike and baby trailer for my road bike. It was an awesome deal all around.
While our oldest was in school today I took it out for a test "errand" run. It went well...really well! Maybe I can talk the hubby into selling our second car.
Bike, don't drive: 8.1 miles
Walk, don't drive: 1.4 mile
Photo coming soon...
This has been a loooong week. And it is only Thursday.
Can you tell that we are big fans of hiring things out? In fact our three favorite words are "hire it done." Which is how it should be given the fact that we are both small business owners. We do not have much time and the time we have we want to spend with each other and our children. But...and this is a big but...all of this "hiring it done" is to the financial detriment of our family, which is the definition of needless. I can no longer justify not saving for my children's college fund, but spending close to $500 a month in maid and lawn services.
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Anyway, today during soccer practice he asked if I was still doing the race. I told him no and proudly explained the need less experiment. He looked at me like I was crazy. Such a bummer. But really...I know how I am...if I did the race I would need to spend money on the entrance fee, and I would need better running shoes, and a couple new jog bras, and probably an ipod since I would be running so much. And definitely some winter running clothes since I only ever really run in warmer weather. So before I know it I will be out hundreds of dollars. Let's just be conservative and estimate it at $400 in savings.
This same sweet friend also invited us to a concert and a ski trip. The ski trip is going to be our one splurge for the year. It is an annual daddy/daughter trip and we really strive to teach or children the importance of experiences rather than material objects. Last year was the first time they went and Lauren still lights up when she talks about it. Which is a lot more than I can say for the Lite Brite that she received for Christmas last year. It is still in the box.
As for the concert we are going to be out of town visiting family.
Dinner: BBQ chicken legs (instead of breasts) leftover pasta, and green beans
Walk, don't drive: 1.44 mile
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Today was the first MOPS meeting of the year. What an amazing group of women! This is my fourth year involved in this group and they feed my soul and rejuvenate me. (This will be my only break from the two younger kids since we decided to pull them out of private preschool saving us $550 a month in tuition, $200 a semester in supply fees and $30 a week in gas driving back and forth.) After my MOPS meeting I usually went through a drive through for lunch for me and the kids. I have always been a dollar menu kind of girl so that only saved me about $7.
Dinner: Green beans and a package of Knorr stroganoff with some of the ground beef from last nights dinner. (Don't worry I took out the beef before adding the taco seasoning.) We ate al fresco and focused on talking about our day instead of the food. It was great! We even let the kids run in the sprinklers when they were done.
Walk, don't drive: 1.4 mile
a bit of history...
My husband and I have been together sixteen years (married for nine) and have done everything pretty much on our own. Right out of college we lived in a city where we earned less than what we needed to survive. So we charged the essentials like food, gas and clothes for our jobs. We were both quickly promoted and within a year bought a house. So instead of staying in the apartment and paying off our debts we bought a little house in a great neighborhood. And that has seemed to be our pattern for nine years. We have spent about 105% of what we make. Not a whole lot more, but just enough that over the years it has added up.
Monday, August 25, 2008
As for the pressure of back-to-school shopping...
Last year we spent around $300 at Gymboree on back-to-school outfits and probably about another $200 at Children's Place and of course paid on credit. So this year I resolved to only spend money on what she needed...and the truth is she didn't need much. Her clothes from last spring still fit and were in good shape so we just bought a few items at Marshall's...new shoes, 2 new shirts and a pair of shorts for around $50 which we paid for in cash. And she looked and felt great!
But I have to tell you I really, really had to fight the urge to follow the August tradition of a back-to-school shopping extravaganza. But in doing so we saved $450.
I did have a moment of weakness and bought her a really cute backpack and matching lunch box and had them both monogrammed for a grand total of $60. Which is a lot for a bag for a six-year-old...but it was in June...before we started the experiment...and I paid cash.
Dinner: Crunchy tacos, beans and corn. I forgot the cheddar cheese ($4) and normally I would have called Mike to pick some up on his way home, but we did without. Note: Tacos with mozarella aren't so tasty.
Sometimes I get wrapped up in it. I know this because I am a natural born competitor. I want to be the best at whatever the perceived competition is at the time. But I am done. I am done living my life as a competition. I am done spending money I don't have just to keep up appearances. I just want to live a simple life and be okay with the fact that others may see me as weird or bizarre or the worst yet...poor and socially inept.
So here it goes...the "NeedLess experiment." I am calling it that so that I can realize that we do in fact need less than we know. We have become so fixated with stuff that it is clogging our spirits from being who we were meant to be.
Follow me on this journey in the "quest of less."