Wednesday, December 30, 2015

New Year's Resolutions

It's the New Year, and we all try to make it a better one in some way, right?

If your New Year's resolution has anything to do with paying down debt and saving money, I have a treat for you! The Kindle version of my book will be FREE (you don't have to sign up for Kindle Select) on Jan 2, 3, and 4. Why then? I figure by then everyone has settled down enough from the holiday to order it!

What if you don't like e-books, and want something papery to hold and smell? If you order through this link and use code Q7QRAE5N, you'll get $2 off the list price of $9.99!

Just consider it my little way of helping you with your resolution to save money in the new year!

Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas!

And what a Merry Christmas it is here!

You know why?

My dear husband is finally employed again! He starts his new job making dehumidifier systems for indoor pools on Jan 4.

It has been long and stressful - after all, he's been out of work since April, and we've been relying on savings, side jobs, and food stamps ever since. We've made it through with $600 still in the savings account, and we had a bit of Christmas money set aside for the kids since January, so while we couldn't give to extended family the way we usually would like, we were at least able to get the kids some nice things for Christmas. That last little bit of savings should keep us going until his first paycheck comes in - I feel like along of Christmas, we should have celebrated Chanuka this year - the savings has lasted a lot longer than logic would say it should have! Of course, between my book sales, very occasional Uber driving, Fivver gigs, and Jake doing construction jobs for friends and family, along with us almost never buying a non-need item or going out to eat (unless family was treating us), we've really stretched dollars from dimes.

We're all relieved here. I mean, it's not like our worries are over - he starts at a low beginning wage, but within 6 months his salary will be close to what he used to make as an electrician. Meanwhile, we've been used to spending nothing except paying bills, so we should manage OK until he starts getting those raises.

Whoo hoo!

If I weren't pregnant, I'd hoist a glass of (cheap) red wine - I can't, so you drink one for me, OK?  ;)

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Holy moley, that's a lotta clothes!

I put the word out that I'd be happy to accept any used maternity clothes, and a friend of a friend just came through in a HUGE way!

Well, I should say first that another friend graciously offered her maternity clothes first, but I'm about 4 or 5 inches taller than her and at least 60 pounds heavier, even when I'm not pregnant. So as sweet an offer as it was, my 5'8" self couldn't fit into size Medium petites.

My other friend had a friend who was all done having kids, and passed along 2 HEFTY bags STUFFED with adorable maternity clothes in Large and Extra Large. Some cold weather clothes, some warm weather clothes, some pretty dressy dresses, and even a maternity swimsuit!

2. Hefty. Bags. Stuffed. I started washing them (like I always do with new or new-to-me clothes), and it was 4 large loads of wash all on it's own!

That's about double my current regular wardrobe, and way more clothing than I'll even be able to use. So I've asked another pregnant friend of mine, who's due in March, if she could use some of the cold weather clothes (still waiting to hear back). If she can't use them, I'll have to find someone who can - this is more than my closet can hold!  :)

Friday, December 4, 2015


Before Thanksgiving, the Silence of Mary home (a charity my family works with) does a massive giveaway of turkeys, food, and other needed items to families, either directly or through social workers who came to pick up donations for them. And when I say other items, I mean there were coats, blankets, PILES of hand knitted hats, gloves... whatever the Silence could round up that they knew would be needed in the winter.

I took Daniel to volunteer with me that day, so he could see how many people were in need - and they are all through the year, not just during the holidays, but this day is a particularly big drive. He was very helpful, too, carrying bags out to the cars and suggesting different food items to take to the families.

One thing he didn't see, because the Silence is so careful about filtering the donated items, were expired, buggy, or dusty food items being given to the poor. They're really careful to check for expiration dates (and they usually re-write them in large numbers on the top of the can or box, so rotation is easier), and if something is given that is expired, it's thrown away.

Gasp! How wasteful! People could still use that if they were desperate, right? I mean, it's just a "best by" date - I wouldn't eat it, but it's still usable, right?

C'mon. These are human beings, and they have dignity and taste buds. If you haven't touched that dusty old bag of navy beans in the back of your pantry, what makes you think they'll get it and say "yay, protein!"? Why would they feed their children expired, rancid, Bisquick? You might think you would IF you were really poor, but have you ever been that poor? It's depressing! And being given awful food that no one else wants because people felt bad about throwing it away? That's even more depressing.

See, I saw a nice thought online today. A reverse Advent calendar, where instead of taking something out each day, you add a donation item for the food bank. And someone immediately commented "oh, this is good - I need to clean out my pantry anyway!". If your pantry needs to be cleaned out, eat the food or throw it away, if it's that old. But please don't use the food bank as a way to throw away food without throwing it away. If you want to give, then give fresh, palatable, easy foods. Add a box of Oreos while you're at it - I know, obesity crisis, but it will make someone feel cared for. Like someone actually wants them to be happy, not just grateful.

Now, if you've been couponing at CVS and you have a bunch of free goodies that your kids won't touch, by all means, donate them. I guarantee you, toiletry items will be appreciated just as much as SoyJoy bars - it's hard to buy toiletries when you're getting by on food stamps, since there are no programs to help people afford shampoo and toilet paper.

But please - when you give, give things that you would like to see in a bag if you needed food. Someday it could be you at the other side of the food pantry counter.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Whoops - I have a blog, don't I?

Hi guys!
I have very few excuses for not writing for so long. I mean, my computer was "broken" for a while - thankfully it just needed a new charger cable. And there was Thanksgiving and stuff. Oh, and while I never ACTUALLY threw up, I sure felt like I would at dinner time every day for quite a while there.

But now? I'm feeling a lot better, and my computer works again, so I'm back!

So I guess I should go back and think of the cool stuff I did while I wasn't posting.

I bought a fair number of maternity items at Community Aid on half price day - 2 pairs of maternity jeans, a pair of stretchy long pants, a pair of stretchy capris, and 5 maternity tops, all for $19! And a friend has a bag of maternity wear for me to pick up later tonight - she's smaller than I am, so I don't know if anything will fit, but she assured me she had a blend of sizes in there. Being only 13 weeks along, I'm still able to fit into all but my smallest jeans for now - every time I pull a pair on that I can't button, they get folded up and put in under bed storage.

I rode my bike in the "Christmas" parade that actually happens before Thanksgiving here. No, I don't know why, go ask your mother. But to my absolute delight, I now have another mom within biking distance who has a Virtue School Bus, and we rode ours side by side along with the Bike Harrisburg/Recycle Bicycle group. I wrapped the cargo box in wrapping paper and added a bow, but she had hers decked out like Thomas the Tank Engine! (She wore it better.) I wish I had gotten photos! But I had Daniel along as my passenger, and he got to give high fives all along the parade route.

Tristan is trying to quit naps - he didn't nap at all yesterday or today, and I'm not sure who suffers the most by it. It's lousy all around.

The family is sharing a nagging cough that doesn't go away for weeks at a time - I'm the current sufferer. And I can't use anything super heavy medically to get rid of the cough, so I'm trying tea, honey, cough drops, essential oils, and sleeping upright, all with limited success.

I know this has been a scatterbrained post. Hopefully the next one will be better.