Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Mele Kalikimaka

We were in Hawaii for Christmas this year, thanks to Average's mom's generosity. She gave money for plane tickets and reserved housing for her five children and their families. We were only there for five days but managed to fit a lot in, including snorkeling, a luau, visiting a black sand beach, Volcanoes National Park, and the Place of Refuge (a historical site).






It was a fabulous trip, and Sweet Pea LOVED playing in the water, or "simming," as she called it. It was hard to get her in the water the first day but by day three we could barely drag her out to reapply sun block. She also loved tagging along with her cousins and getting to hang out with so many aunts and uncles all in one place.

The plane ride was a little rough, just because we couldn't afford to buy her a ticket if we didn't have to, and she still technically is young enough to be a lap baby, although when she napped she had to be laying across both her dad's and my lap. She kicked the seat in front, made a few high pitched screams, knocked the snacks off the table, head butted me (accidentally), grabbed our neighbor's drink, and talked endlessly about airplanes, school buses, Auntie Jen and Auntie Rachel and Auntie Hilary, Elmo, pretzels, water, and milp. But really, we couldn't have expected anything better. She never really cried, and she slept for about an hour of both the departing and returning flight.

This trip was our first experience using regular disposable diapers. We brought one bag of gDiaper disposable inserts, but used those up after the first couple of days. We only checked one bag between the three of us and decided it wasn't worth it to us to pack a full supply of cloth. The disposables were pretty amazing to me in terms of how small and trim they are, and how the tabs work, but I think they smell weird and are pretty gross when they are full of pee. The whole chemical gel thing is just kind of yucky to me. This is one situation where I am glad disposables exist. Although we probably spent just as much buying diapers as it would have cost to bring another checked bag, we didn't have to lug them through the airports or worry about washing them while on vacation. We have been back in cloth since bedtime last night and it feels good. Potty training is on my mind for sometime in the next couple of months. I think I am going to use the 3-day method. Any advice?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Cheapest Dinner Ever

Tonight we had a lasagna that cost $.79, some carrots and radishes with salad dressing, and home-made (from our trees) applesauce. The whole dinner, for three adults and a toddler, cost less than two dollars. I have been working at getting our food expenses down and this is the cheapest thing we've done yet! I've GOT to get back to the Grocery Outlet for more Buitoni frozen lasagnas before they run out. I think the reason for the sale at the G.O. is that the box is labeled to hold two lasagnas but there is only one inside.

We've been doing really well at eating inexpensive dinners since Sunday, actually. I should have been taking pictures!

Our menu has been:
  • Sunday night we had pork buns that a friend brought for my husband's birthday the day before, along with green beans that a relative had brought for Thanksgiving dinner and never cooked (frozen). I cooked the green beans with some onion (5/ $1 - and local!) from the Grocery Outlet, and some soy sauce and they were pretty good. We also had the applesauce, which I made on Saturday from the last of the apples that fell from our latest-blooming tree. I don't know how much the pork buns or beans cost but our expenditure was about $.25.
  • Monday night we had turkey sandwiches (leftover from Thanksgiving) on whole wheat bread, and butternut squash soup. The soup is somewhat pricey, for soup that is, - like $3 or $4 for a box - but Sweet Pea loves it and it is organic and pretty healthy. We also had a sliced red pepper. Probably $7 total for the meal.
  • Tuesday night we used the very last of the turkey in burritos made with dried beans that we soaked (probably $.50 worth, at $1 per bag, and we had lots left over). We used the last of the red pepper from the night before, some Tillamook sharp cheddar (spendy!!$$), sour cream, lettuce, and a variety of spices for flavor and filling. Average made the burritos big and just one was enough for me. He had two, and Sweet Pea ate a lot of beans, which she loves, as well as cheese and turkey, and we all had frozen blueberries for dessert. I'm estimating $4-5.
  • Tonight = super duper cheap lasagna, explained above.
  • The plan for tomorrow is tuna steaks (also from the Grocery Outlet, 2 for $2.49 frozen) with rice. I'm not sure what the vegetable will be. 
  • Friday will probably be a frozen pizza (2 for $5) and salad.

Right now I am super excited about being able to spend this little on food for our family while still eating filling, fairly healthy meals. However, next time I go shopping I might not find as many good deals, and I bet we'll end up going out sometime in the next week or two due to being too busy or not planning ahead enough. But heck, we can afford it after this week, right!? And then there's that car we need to buy......

What's your favorite inexpensive meal plan? Give me more ideas!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Thankful For the Weekend

This has been a busy week.

On Monday, on my drive to work, I hit a patch of ice as I was coming around a curve and onto a bridge, and slid all over the road before hitting the bridge barrier with the back right side of my car. We just found out yesterday that it is a total loss. Boo. Although Average thought it was a grandma car, I really liked my 98 Camry. It served us well for the past 4+ years and spending time on looking for a new car was not on my list of things I was hoping to do soon.

In other news, I had two meetings with doula clients this week. It is so exciting to be working with expectant families as they prepare for the births of their babies!

Today is the birthday of my husband, a.k.a Average. He is 29 years old today! He was able to get the day off work, so we actually have a 2-day weekend together, and he is enjoying himself laying on the couch and watching the Civil War. If you don't know what that is then you are not from Oregon.

Yesterday afternoon Sweet Pea came down with a fever. She had a rough night sleeping the night before, and again last night. Luckily we all were able sleep in today. We are nursing lots and giving her a fever-reducer when she will take it. She doesn't seem to feel sick currently but her nose is pretty stuffed up. Right now she is laying on the couch with her dad watching the game.

I don't have any photos to go with these bits of news, but I do have a few photos from Thanksgiving to share.

After the Thanksgiving Day 5k. Left to right :me, Sweet Pea (she rode in the stroller), Average, his sister, her husband, and another brother-in-law. It was a fun run to do as a family and ended at an indoor wave pool where we played for an hour or so,
The turkey-frying apparatus

My husband's beautiful apple pie