Saturday, December 29, 2007

Frugal Friday on Saturday

Topic: Books

Audrey at A Small Corner of Nowhere didn't just talk about Frugal Friday, she jumped right in.

And she hit a subject near and dear to my heart (and almost every homeschooler's heart, books!)

Hop on over and read her post.

Her post got me to thinking about some things. I don't use the library as much as I could/should. I think 2008 we'll strive to improve that.

I don't use the library that often because when we study something and I look for books, half are checked out, and it's usually the good half that are gone. Well, our library does have a system that you can place holds on books. So being organized would be the key to avoiding that problem. Organization is also the key for requesting ILLs so that they arrive when we want them.

I love to buy books, but as Audrey points out, we are disappointed with so many. My latest book purchase from Amazon cost $80ish. We got several books, but the one that Thomas really loved was the Eyewitness Africa book. That is one that he has read from cover to cover more than once. Facing the Lion was his second favorite. So only two of the books I bought satisfied Thomas. The rest, although not waste, was waste. lol

Another issue I have with buying books is that I have only one child. I don't have a bunch of kiddos to pass the books on to. That really does make a huge difference. If I had a house full of kids, I could see purchasing more as I'd get more bang for the buck.

I buy a lot of books at garage sales. We only have one thrift store in town, and the past couple of years their book selections have been dismal. I like to look for used books online, but with shipping, that adds up. Our Rotary Club has an annual book sale in the fall. Our library also has two book sales a year, and books are cheap. Other than that, we'd have to travel to a nearby city to find decent, used books. My small town does not have a book store!

Audrey also discussed the use of credit cards. I want to quit using credit cards this year. Impossible, for a homeschooling mom in a small town that has to order a lot online. My idea was to start a separate checking account of my own. Proceeds of anything I sell will go into the account. I'll budget so much per month to go into the account as well. I will get a check card/credit card to use with it so that I can buy online. The only difference is that I can't spend money that's not in the account. That will force me to choose very carefully what I actually buy. That will also make things easier for tax time, because in Minnesota, we get to claim our educational expenses on our state income taxes.

Friday, December 28, 2007

The Homer Simpson Rule

Awhile ago, our family was gathered in front of the television watching The Simpsons. We like it, we think it's funny. It doesn't take much to amuse us.

The particular episode we were watching had a kitchen trash can that everyone walked by, carefully added their trash, then walked away. It grew taller and taller and taller. Finally Homer put something on it and the whole pile went crashing.

That's when Bart and Lisa did their irritating laughs and reminded Homer of the rule: He who knocks the pile over has to take out the trash.

Well, I think we've been watching too many cartoons. The past few days I've been walking by our recycling pile, carefully adding to it, and so has Bob and Thomas. Surely, it has got to come down tomorrow. I wonder who will knock it over.

Frugal Friday

I've been toying with the idea of having a Frugral Friday post every week. I need it.

It seems that I've worked us up into a little bit of debt with which I'm not comfortable with. It will take awhile to get it paid off. That's a New Year's resolution or just a plain common-sense goal.

Time to visit my bookshelf and dust off my dated Tightwad Gazette books. I won't, repeat, won't be making popcicles out of the grape jelly jar reminants. I don't remember if that was in her book or if she mentioned it while on Oprah years ago, but ewww.

It's tough being a single-income family these days. It's even tougher when the mom of that family likes to buy books. And other stuff. And has an "I'm deserving" mentality.

I've put lots of thought into this for awhile: how to save money. I have lots of ideas floating around in my head. I don't know if many would save or not. I have to balance with my energy expenditure -- is it worth it. I need to start scouring the web for up-to-date skinflint sites. I need inspiration.

Next Friday I'll start with real posts on how I'm going to save money, reduce debt and feel a little better. For now, smoke will be coming from my ears as I think this through.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Goodbye, Jerry Lee

Rest in Peace

Monday, December 24, 2007


Coal for Jerry Lee!!!

We had a lovely Christmas Eve dinner. Bob bought wonderful steaks, and I baked some potatoes and warmed some brown-n-serve rolls. A nice green salad complimented the meal.

The table was set with my finest. Great-grandma's wine glasses, grandmother's salt and pepper shakers, mom's candle holders. A beautiful silver table cloth that I got especially for Christmas, and bright red plates.

It was perfect. For us. Not for a magazine. Bob was outside grilling, and I had just put the bun basket on the table. I turned to do something, turned back around and we were missing three dinner rolls.

Was it Jerry Lee or Apollo? Apollo is growing by leaps and bounds, but there was no way he could have reached the rolls. Jerry was the culprit. I didn't get mad, I actually chuckled. I threw some more rolls in the oven quickly.

When Bob came in, he was not happy. He doesn't want a dog grazing from our table. I told him to cut him some slack, he's dying after all, and we'll laugh about it some day.

We sat down, Bob gave a beautiful prayer, and we indulged in our Christmas Eve feast.

While we ate, Jerry kept pacing to the counter and back to the table. Bob informed me that he had purchased a pack of steaks, so there were four, not three. He grilled the fourth and figured we could have a steak sandwich for lunch tomorrow.

We finished our meal, Bob and I went outside for a minute, (after-dinner smoke) then came back in to put food up and clean up. On the counter, clear against the wall, was the plate where the steak had been. Some how, some way, Jerry Lee had got to that steak and had himself a nice Christmas Eve dinner.

It's mind boggling to both of us how he was able to get it. Our dog, the very dog that we've been struggling with "the" decision all week, who has labored breathing, gets out of breath easily, and is not doing so hot, was able to get to the back of the kitchen counter and steal a steak.

We will laugh about it some day. I sure hope he enjoyed it.

I think he needs a lump of coal instead of the nice, juicy bone we got for him for Christmas. Silly boy.

Okay, secretly, I'm overjoyed that he did such a naughty thing. His days are numbered, we've had "the" discussion a few times, and when we do, he seems to rebound and recover fast -- as if he knows. It has been a wonderful gift that we have been given so much extra time with him. He was only supposed to live until October 15, according to both vets. His being here was a wonderful Christmas gift.

I just hope Apollo did not see him in the act. We don't want puppy learning naughty things!

We really have been struggling with our decision. I just ordered him new medications, and I have been ordering a month's worth at a time. This time I ordered 15 days' worth. We pick up the second puppy, Tesla, on the 27th. Two puppies might just do him in. Then again, I have caught him bouncing around in the snow with Apollo. We have only seen him in pain one time, and that was when we had the first talk. I was going to call the vet the next morning, a Saturday. The next morning, he was fine. That Sunday, he was running up and down the stairs.

This is so hard. However, I am so thankful that we have Apollo and soon Tesla. Their arrival into our home takes the focus off the sadness. They've brought us joy when we really needed it. Apollo has definitely given Jerry a run for his money. If I dare say it, I think Apollo has given Jerry further will to live. Jerry is a jealous boy, and he wants me all to himself. So he gets right up, stands in front of me to protect me from the cute little puppy. He has barked at the puppy with the puppy was mouthing too hard on his humans. He has growled a few times when he didn't want to be disturbed yet the puppy wanted to crawl all over his head. He has given up all hope that the puppy will actually leave.

I love my Jerry Lee. I hope he enjoyed his steak. We will laugh and laugh about this for years to come, when we're remembering him fondly. I won't give him coal, but I do think all will be forgiven tomorrow and he'll get his juicy bone.

Jerry's being here for Christmas is truly the best Christmas gift this family has received this year.

Merry Christmas

I want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas.

While I am a Christian, I do have a great sense of humor. I didn't hear any cursing in this video, which is why I'm posting it. I find it funny because I can never remember the words to songs -- ever. I always invent my own. So this was very in line with who I am.

May Santa be good to you all.