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Saturday, June 14, 2008

Day 153 and Paying it Forward

As you can see, I made it home safely. The trip was great and lots of fun. Most important of all, I didn't get lost once. LOL!

Have you ever seen the movie, "Pay it Forward"? It's a really good movie about a child who starts something where he does something kind and asks the next person to do something kind and it just snowballs from there. So this evening, when I came back through Enid, I stopped at Aldi's to get my grocery shopping done before coming on home. When I got there and looked through my purse and in Tom's car, I didn't have a quarter for the carts. (I keep a quarter in my van just for getting a cart at Aldi's). So I dug up 25 cents and was going to go in and ask the cashier for a quarter. As I was getting my bags out of the backseat, a lady comes over to me and says "do you need a cart, ma'am". I said "yes, thank you" and reached for my 25 cents. She just shook her head and smiled and left. I know it was only 25 cents, but it was just so kind! When I got done and ready to leave, I looked around for someone to give the cart to, but there was noone, so I just left it there with the quarter in it for the next person to find and use. Hopefully, they'll pass it on to the next person. Even if they don't, it made me smile that a total stranger was so nice to me and then I was able to be nice to the next person.

Happy birthday today to Hailee, our great-niece. Hailee's 5 years old today!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Day 152 and Feeling Guilty

Di's comment yesterday got me to thinking. I do have a tendency to feel guilty about getting away and relaxing or enjoying myself. Take Monday for example when I couldn't relax even though truly there wasn't much I could be doing with no power on. I mentioned recently that I've been rereading a book on burnout for child care providers called "Finding Your Smile Again". In that book, the author talks about how little time caregivers find to do things for themselves. As one of the exercises, he has you write down a list of things you've done for others and then a list of things you've done for yourself in the last week. Not surprisingly, the list for others was very long and the list for myself was embarrassingly short. Flylady, who I am also a huge fan of pushes the same thing-finding time for yourself. I'd say it's not just child care providers, it's moms in general who don't find time for themselves to get some breathing space. What can I do to find some time for myself? What would I even do in that time for myself? Last summer, I started walking every morning but my asthma put a stop to that. So my goal for the next few days it to brainstorm some things I can do just for me to relax.

I am leaving today at 3:00 to take Serenity's car to her in Norman, pick up Tom's car, and then going to OKC with a couple of friends to spend the night and attend a child care conference. Should be great fun! If I can, I'll post tomorrow night when I return. Otherwise, I'll "see" you all on Sunday.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Day 151 and first I can drive 55 update

Last night I filled the van up for the first time since we started the driving 55 experiment. We had driven about 120 miles in it when we started so this wasn't a true test, BUT, the mileage went from 20 mpg to 24.61 mpg! That's a pretty good difference. That's about 75 miles per tank extra, or 1 1/2 trips to Enid, or almost two trips to church and back, or about $12 saved per tank of gas! I'm anxious to see what the next tank shows and I'm anxious to try it out with Tom's car. I haven't noticed a huge difference in the amount of time it takes to get to church and Tom said he thinks it's adding about 5 minutes to his commute.

Tomorrow I'm going to OKC to spend the night for a child care conference on Saturday. I'm so excited! This is my first overnight trip since last August with my friends.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Day 150 and what is that loud sucking sound?

Well, it's the sound of our vehicles sucking all the money out of our emergency fund. LOL! We finally got Serenity's car back today. After I pay for the parts, it will be $384 total! On May 2nd after we got our tax rebate, our baby EF was full with $1000. Now it's down to $220! In the last 5 1/2 weeks, we've had $780 worth of car repairs. UNREAL! Once again, thank God for the baby EF and it's time to get busy refilling it. So I guess for now any extra money that we make goes into the EF instead of the debt snowball.

Last night, I made homemade chicken fried steak, oven fried potatoes, and garlic bread for supper. The chicken fried steak was at Tom's request using one of his Valentine's coupons. It's a recipe from my Dining on a Dime book and it uses hamburger meat and is very good. It is a little time consuming and messy, but very tasty. For tonight I've got sloppy joes going in the crockpot, not sure yet what we'll have with it.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Day 149 and Menu Planning

As you know, I've been rereading my Tightwad Gazette book to get inspiration on our journey. Today I was reading about the Dacyzyn family's "pantry principle" where they shop to replenish their pantry, not for a specific menu. I like that idea in theory, but I've never been very good at following it. The way it works is that they have a price book to watch the rotation of items on sale and when it goes on sale, they stock up on it. Then each night whoever does the supper dishes decides what tomorrow night's supper will be (this gives them time to set it out to thaw, to soak beans, or whatever). That has just not worked well for me. I do better with the menu planning by making up a menu for a couple of weeks before I go grocery shopping by checking the sale ads and our freezer/pantry and working from that. I think this is a prime example of doing what works for you and your family. Right now with the heat, I'm having a hard time motivating myself to stand in the kitchen and cook so I need to be finding cool recipes or crockpot recipes that I can just throw together. Share with me what works for your family!

A true confession: We ate Sonic last night. There it is. No excuses, we just did it. At first we were going to do it because the power was out, but the power came back on so we didn't have a good reason/excuse, we just did it anyway.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Day 148 and Feeling Powerless (HA!)

Well, we'd been home from church about 10-15 minutes last night when our power went off. It came back on and went back out a couple of times overnight, and then was out until 5:30 today. I have no idea what happened, but it was an interesting day! I couldn't keep kids without power so I lost income, I didn't have a vehicle (still no word on Serenity's car) so I couldn't go anywhere, unless I wanted to walk. I didn't want to so I stayed home. I kept feeling like I should be doing something, but Natasha said "Mom! You got an unexpected day off, try to relax and enjoy it". It's so funny when my kids put me in my place.

Hope all my friends and family had a great weekend and happy Monday!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Day 147 and I can Drive 55

Does anyone remember back in the late 70's-early 80's when they reduced the national speed limit down to 55 to save on gas cost? Does anyone see that in our future again? I've been reading how it will increase your gas mileage, Tom read it could improve it by as much as 3-4 mpg. That could really add up. So I've decided to conduct an experiment and I've asked Tom to play along. I'm going to try going 55 on the highway through my next tank of gas and see how much difference I can tell. I know the van usually gets around 20 mpg.

Tonight we are having an FPU update to see how everyone is doing. I'm excited!