Wednesday, October 19, 2011

thrifty clothes

I am extremely frugal when it comes to clothing. It is so easy to find inexpensive clothes, that I can't bring myself to spend more than $10 on any one item. Just for fun (and because I was curious.....and a nerd), I calculated how much my entire wardrobe cost. I didn't add in my pjs, underwear, or my 2 grad dresses and wedding dress (although I was pretty cheap there too). I also didn't add in one skirt and shirt and one hoodie because John bought me them and I don't know how much they cost (more than I would spend of course).

The grand total was........$350.

35 shirts
6 jeans
1 dress pants
3 shorts

Now, I had to guess on some of the stuff, but knowing myself and that everything was either on sale or free, I pretty much knew how much everything was.

I probably shouldn't be proud of this number, but I am. I love finding good deals and seeing how much I've saved makes me happy.

We live on a pretty tight budget, so I need to be like this out of necessity, but it is also the way I was raised. My mom always shopped at the thrift stores for clothes. When asked where she got something that she was wearing, she would say, "from my store." She still shops there for clothes even though her budget can afford otherwise.

I may not be the most stylish person around, but I don't care much about being fashionable.....hence, I am happy about having a $350 wardrobe.....

Anyway, here are some things I do to cut costs of dressing me and my family:

1. I buy all my jeans used (unless they are on sale for a reasonable (<$10) price). They are usually between $4 and $7 a pair and if I think to shop on the 50% off days, I could save even more. I don't usually buy other clothes at thrift stores unless it is a 50% off day because I find that I can get stuff new for close to the same prices.

2. I watch for sales at Old Navy and anywhere else online. Shipping is free if you spend over $50 and you can get stuff for pretty cheap.

3. Sometimes when I'm in Calgary I check Old Navy (now we have on here too, yipee!) and H&M, cause they both have cute cheap clothes. I also check Children's Place in the mall sometimes too - they have good end of season sales.

4. I check the sales racks at superstore whenever I get groceries (if I have time and the kids are happy.) Superstore often has clothes on sale and at really good prices (<$10 - I wait until t-shirts are under $5) and their kids' stuff is super cute.

5. I check garage sales/used clothing sales/community clothing exchanges/kijiji/freecycle for free or super cheap cute clothes.

This weekend there is a used clothing/toys sale put on by the Twins and Triplets Club in Lethbridge. I have always found great deals there and love that everything is organized together instead of separate tables for each vendor. It's from 9-1 on Sat at the Boys and Girls Club in Lethbridge.

Do you have any other tips?

Monday, October 10, 2011

mock raspberry green tomato jam

I found this recipe a while ago and was very curious about it. We have a slew of green tomatoes, so there wasn't much to lose. Here is the recipe I found from this blog:
2 1/2 cups green tomatoes, grated or chopped well in a blender
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 (3 oz.) package of raspberry or strawberry Jello
 Cook tomatoes and sugar on medium heat for 20 minutes uncovered. Turn down heat. Add Jello and cook until Jello is dissolved. Pour in sterilized jars or freezer containers. Stores in the fridge a couple of weeks and in the freezer about 6 months. Makes 2-3 pints.
Here's my documentation of my jam production.....

cast of characters (I'm feeling very Pioneer Woman-ish today).....very complex, I know... 
blend/chop some green tomatoes - I did around 2.5 cups

then it looks like this:


heat on medium heat for 20 min

I heated it for 20 min, but then it started boiling, so I cooked it for about 2 more min....just in case it was supposed to boil....but I don't know if that's necessary....

It smelled kind of weird, and looked very gross...

pour in the jello packet and stir until dissolved.

now it's looking (and smelling) a little better...

pour into sterilized jars

and enjoy

I tried really hard to like this jam. I just couldn't do it. I think that if I didn't make it, I could eat it though. I could taste the smell of what it smelled like when it was green mushy stuff boiling on the stove. Nasty. It was a minor aftertaste, but there was enough of it that it almost made me gag.

John and all of the kids thought it was yummy though, and Hadley now asks for "the jam that you made" on her toast.

I won't ever make it again just cause we don't eat a ton of jam and I don't like it....but if you are not a picky jam eater and have a bunch of green tomatoes, it's worth a shot!

Friday, October 7, 2011

fake ideals

My brother posted a link to this video on our family facebook group and asked us for our thoughts. It's about the portrayal of women in the media and how it affects us. I thought it was very interesting and made me think a lot about how I feel about myself and my appearance. There are two parts to the video and it's about 40min total - definitely worth the watch.

This portrayal of women is everywhere. It really is impossible to escape. While watching this, I was reminded how happy I am that we don't have tv - we just have netflix. I'm by no means anti-tv, but I am grateful that we don't have commercials playing in our home every day. Too bad we can't just live in a bubble.  

I might write more about my thoughts on this's late and my brain isn't working.

For those of you with working brains, what are your thoughts?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

zoo day

John had another follow-up appointment in Calgary with his shoulder surgeon. He's back to full-time work and everything looks good. Yeah!

We decided to take advantage of him getting a day off and mileage paid for, so we hit up the zoo. We cashed in some airmiles to get the tickets, so the expedition was almost free.....except for the overpriced food at the zoo.

It was super cold

So we went to the butterfly conservatory and rainforest first

the lens kept fogging up

 The kids were getting tired, so John led them on a dinosaur hunt.

explaining that she was just pretending to get bitten by the dinosaur

luckily we found this cart - we wouldn't have seen everything if we didn't

John enjoyed the cart a little too much maybe - he rode it down a few hills (with 3 kids in there somewhere too)

back to looking at animals...



looking down at gorillas


park pit-stops...

look Mom - no hands! - haha

she's got her hands mean pouch

Sadly, this is the only photo graphical evidence of my existence on this zoo trip......

Sunday, October 2, 2011

messy house

We ate at a neighbours house tonight and toured their lovely home before dinner. As I was touring, the whole time I was thinking "I wonder if their house is always this clean?" Am I the only one that struggles with a clean house? I doubt it, but sometimes I feel like it.

Here are some of my theories as to why I struggle with keeping our house clean/tidy:

1. We have 4 kids under 6 years old. Enough said.

2. I'm a bit of a perfectionist. You would think that would make me have a clean house, but it actually is a de-motivating thing for me. I only feel satisfied with the state of my house when it is ALL clean. This means no clutter and everything in it's place. This is obviously impossible. Just typing this I realize how ridiculous it is. I need to really internalize how ridiculous this is and be happy with being able to tidy up here and there and be satisfied with that.

3. I also feel like I need to want a tidy home for the right reason. It should not be because I want to fulfill this illusion of a perfect mother and wife who always has a clean home, kids perfectly groomed, and a healthy homecooked meal on the table. I need to want to be orderly because of the spirit that it invites into our home. Things are more peaceful. Children are more content. I need to find joy in this aspect of motherhood and help our children learn to work. I also need to care more about our children's state of being, than our house's. There will be plenty of days after the kids are gone that the house will stay clean and organized. I just googled for this poem. I've never heard the whole thing before. I love it. 

Mother, O Mother, come shake out your cloth,
Empty the dustpan, poison the moth,
Hang out the washing, make up the bed,
Sew on a button and butter the bread.

Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?
She’s up in the nursery, blissfully rocking.

Oh, I’ve grown as shiftless as Little Boy Blue,
Lullabye, rockabye, lullabye loo.
Dishes are waiting and bills are past due
Pat-a-cake, darling, and peek, peekaboo

The shopping’s not done and there’s nothing for stew
And out in the yard there’s a hullabaloo
But I’m playing Kanga and this is my Roo
Look! Aren’t his eyes the most wonderful hue?
Lullabye, rockaby lullabye loo.

The cleaning and scrubbing can wait till tomorrow
But children grow up as I’ve learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down cobwebs; Dust go to sleep!
I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep.

- Ruth Hulbert Hamilton

The end..........not sure if any of this made sense.......but whatev..........