True, the casserole may slightly resemble something your cat coughed up. Regardless of it's appearance, it tasted awesome.
Other ways we've been saving include:
My children and I are utilizing our library card regularly. We're faithful patrons to our library's story time hour and summer craft activities. Frequently, we check out books, DVD's and my personal favorite, books on CD. Cleaning is a completely different experience for me if I have a book on tape/cd playing while I do it. I encourage you to try it.
Up until this past week, my library record was flawless. This afternoon, I was chatting on the phone as I made my way to drop off an overdue 'Barney Valentine's Day speical' DVD. Distracted, I mistakenly returned my newly rented Red Box DVD. Twenty minutes later, I notice that the blasted Barney rental was still next to me, riding shotgun.
Confusion turned into the realization that I'm losing my mind as I made my way back to the library and confessed my idiocy to the librarian. Happily, she fetched my rental for me. Bottom line, the library is awesome if you're smart enough to understand and comply with its system. I'm working on it.
We've replaced our outings to Monkey Joes with homemade forts. My children laugh so hard when they're in the front room jumping on the cushions. Our swimming pool is free activity. Correction, our H.O.A.'s have been paid, so we can use our neighborhood pool as often as we'd like. We're there regularly. I'm to the point where I feel comfortable taking the kids on my own.
Date night includes skipping or shortening children's nap time in order to put the wee ones to bed early. Homemade popcorn, a red box rental and an absent baby sitter fee makes for a simple, yet effective, break with your best friend.
Garage sales: Henry's wardrobe has been suffering in a BIG way. This morning we scored on his behalf as we perused our neighbors tubs of boy clothing. Eliza was thrilled to death with her 'new to her' orange Thomas shirt. I ended up with four pairs of capris/pants from Banana Republic, $2.00 a piece.
Speaking of Eliza's Thomas the train t-shirt addiction, I have to mention an Elizaism. The moment we walk through the door, she insists on wearing one of her Thomas shirts. If we are to leave on an outing/errand and I want her dolled up in something cute, I have to promise her that when we come back home, she can wear her Thomas shirt again. She'll take her Thomas shirt off and then hide it from me to prevent it from mysteriously disappearing while we're gone. She now has three and practically lives in them.
After picking up Eliza a butterfly net from the Dollar store today, Andrew took her to a nearby park to catch tadpoles.
"Look Ali!" he says with excitement. "They're sprouting legs!!"
They were successful. The 'cookie jar' featured above has never contained cookies. It's a shame, really. Rather, it's played host to Andrew's nightly batch of fire flies and now, tadpoles. Despite both of our efforts in pinching our pennies, there are still those small purchases that will never seem justifiable. Let's just say that my days of paying someone to wax my eyebrows are over.
As for my dear spouse, last night he took Eliza on an evening errand. After tucking her in for the night, I lazily fell to the couch. That's when I noticed the chirping. It was coming from a grocery bag on the island. Inside of the bag I discovered a batch of live crickets he'd purchased to use as fishing bait.
Encouraged by my disdain of having live critters in my home, he transferred them into a plastic bottle and placed them next to my face after I fell asleep last night. For the sake of maintaining my image (lol) I hereby invoke my right to leave out my reaction to said prank. After his fishing trip this morning, I was less than pleased when he returned home with them.
"I'll take care of them." He promised. A few hours later, I went to tidy the front closet. I'm greeted, once again, by chirping.You'd think that I'd officially be "broken in" as a fisherman's wife after five years of marriage. I remember in the first year of our marriage coming across a Styrofoam blue tub in the fridge.
"Oh." I thought to myself. "Grandma must have brought down some coleslaw for us." To my horror, I discovered a batch of live worms left over from a fishing outing. Gross. Regardless of our differences, Andrew's ability to find joy in the simple things of life has brought great joy to my kids and is keeping us all entertained (whether or not we're horrified or delighted) at a lower rate. Moments ago, I shared with Andrew my intended title for today's entry. His reply,
"Oh you can do better than that. I have half a pint of chicken livers in the freezer." He wasn't kidding.