Spartanomics

  • noun

the science branch of knowledge projection of fear tsuris (troubles) concerned with the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services buying the stuff you need today, tomorrow and the next day for your family.

  • verb

Meshuggah (crazy) behaviors or actions, that oftentimes arise with heart palpitations creatively as the direct result of the scarcity of means, in order to achieve certain common and normal ends. Huh? ex.: We need to brush our teeth, we still, really!!! have no toothpaste… Achh!

BTW, my Mrs., she is a BeautyCounter consultant. Click here to see how you can get safer personal and beauty products to help keep you and our world healthier.

Take a look at this photo. I walked into our bathroom the other day, and this is what I saw, no joke! From our loo to your eyes. I ran for my magical iPhone to snap this baby. And with this, comes a tale. After all, you that is why you are here …

Did you know, that when you run out of toothpaste, you can actually cut the tube in two or three parts, and have enough toothpaste to last a normal family of four at least five more days? Did you also know that when the deodorant thingy-mah-jiggy-holder falls from its container and bounces on the bathroom floor a few times and lands in the corner, a linty, hairy mess, you can remain odor free for about two weeks more, if you pick it up, wipe away the yuck, and rub it under your arms? Two weeks! And, that pump in the shampoo bottle… when that stops pouring out perfect spurts of soapy suds-making, you can lengthen and lusciously lather for days, maybe even a week if you take it off? The little straw itself holds two days worth of ‘do-cleaner! Then, the bottom of the bottle, don’t get me started! It’s robbery! In Yiddish, we call this, aroizgevarfeneh (pronounced ah-royz-geh-varf-ehn-uh). It literally means thrown out, wasted.

Extrapolate this scenario out across your personal purchases: think about the sunscreen, moisturizer, conditioner, make-up (like I would know, Nu?) caulk, paint, glue, … wait, don’t. It’s too upsetting to think of the money we’ve all put in the landfill left at the table. Look at this little Yiddisheh gem:

It is not so good with money, as it is bad without. Es iz nit azoi gut mit gelt es iz schlect on dem.

Living in the frugal lane, we’ve learned some very good money-saving tips and ideas. We’ve  all worked to change our anti-penny-pinching ways many years ago. It’s all good. And we’ve argued and cried learned and grown. Vey iz mir (OMG!), it is madness if any of you let the above actions go unnoticed! Think conservation! Teaching the kinder (children) about resources and savings, everyday environmentalism and, well spartanomics!

Big and Little, my kinder…

My glass is always half-full. Now, I think it may be even more full than I ever imagined!  What I do know:

To make promises and to love don’t cost any money. Tsuzogn un lib hoben kostn kain gelt nisht.

So try these tips. See if you save. If you have tips for us, please! Do tell! My Mrs. and me, we are trying desperately to save our money for a home. Alevai! (It should only happen!) These small humans we are raising, Little and Big, they cost a fortune! And, yes, these shanah maidels (sweet little girls), they are indeed priceless.

      

     

 

Busy, Shmizzy: Eat Together for a Better World

Folks, it’s time for a post update. We still fearlessly, tirelessly, endlessly march on, supping together in hopes of a higher purpose. Manners are hard to come by here at the Manor. This week I see that mac-n-cheese is still perceived and approached as finger food. Opposable thumbs do not impress our small humans. The Mrs., and me, our voices continue to make no sound at all to our giggly little, pierced ears who nosh (eat a little) during this very important nutritional act of derring-do. My glass, it stays half full yes, they spilled again, but I am using the metaphor now

and this is how we eat noodles
and this is how we eat noodles, in stereo with Cousin Max, at a restaurant no less, in public… Oy!

I’m always telling suggesting to the Mrs. about the importance of sitting down together to ess a bissel (eat a little). How we need to dine with the full mishpocheh (family). Studies by big machers (hot shots) like scholars and doctors all laud the big meal get together as the solution to practically all that plagues the planet (don’t get me started, oy vey iz mir).

Jointly sitting and supping brings benefits to the body, brain and overall ‘mini-mojo’ of our kinder (kids). A nice nosh (proper meal) together makes for little Epicureans that become ‘epi-curious’ eaters who will choose more fruits and veggies, and pick less fried foods and sugary beverages. If mealtime is conquered correctly, the consuming kinder (children) are less likely to kvell (be happy) over a ‘happy meal’ that is loaded with tasty toxins, added fats, oils and who the hell knows what other unsavory ingredients. They won’t hunger for the little tchotchkes (small, unnecessary plastic toys), that promote future gluttony and materialism. They will be less likely to become obese. That alone equals a healthier lifestyle with fewer illnesses. Kaynahorah (to ward off evils — like the big C, heart disease and stroke), all this magic with one familial sit down a day?

Wait! There’s more. Those same above-mentioned mavens add that clever conversation over a nice meal boosts vocabulary for our kinder (kids), which makes for stronger, happier readers. Nu? If you can survive manage regular family mealtimes as the kinder mature, higher test scores, better grades and overall academic performance are in your future.

Add an avocado to the meal, and you win top honors in Nobel nutrition.

Well, it is obvious that no maven of any sort has observed the goings on at our little corner of the dining room here at the Manor. The Mrs. and me, we do our best to offer nightly variations of healthy, overly expensive organic suppers while trying to stick to our frugalista rice and beans every night still ways. With you, I must be honest, dinners hock mier en chinikeh (drives me bat-shit crazy). Etiquette and decorum have left the building by this witching hour!

Things usually start smoothly. The girls, they clean up a bit and set the table when we beg, plead and bribe. They help bring out our food (beans and rice). We all sit, and the Mrs. and I, we ask open-ended questions like a job interview to try to get them to respond speak with us. They sit with their knees up, spread eagle (vey iz mir), and have clearly left their listening ears in the ‘OFF’ position. They seem to have their own form of communication that is specifically designed to exclude us. They use their fingers instead of utensils even for soup. In fact, just last night, I was prompted to wax eloquent on the beauty of our opposable thumbs and how they separate us from the animal kingdom in hopes they would just pick up a g-damned fork or a spoon and eat like humans.

Little, she has a tendency to lick random and incredibly disgusting things WTF. She gets up from the table an average of  267 times per meal. She may need more water, go use the bathroom, want something better to eat, have an undeniable urge to dance, jump on the trampoline, or simply incite an enormous giggle-fest with Big. And I won’t kid you when I say it, she ‘toots like a trumpeter’ at the table. My madelah (sweet little girl)!

Big, she started with the whole knees up posture. She may use a fork for a moment or two, then she will quickly resort to her more primal instincts and pick up everything with her fingers, especially condiments. She can tell a story or two during dinner, and get up to act it out, share via interpretive dance, or become totally taken in by the mishegas (craziness) of Little. This leaves the Mrs. and me sitting table-side for what must be days, weeks, months hours, getting all cobwebby, and stiff-jointed, waiting for her to finish the feast.

And mittendrinnen (in the middle of everything), Gatsby, will jump into any temporarily vacated seat, and make a quick and successful quest for any food sitting idle.

Gatsby, on the prowl
Gatsby, on the prowl

The shvesters (sisters) behavior has the Mrs. and me chugging the Apple Cider Vinegar (an excellent indigestion remedy) nightly, straight from the bottle. It’s a mitzvah (good deed) we don’t drink enough or at all!

Lo and behold, we will endure these rituals because we have put our trust in the big macher alrightniks (good people).

Charlotte, she will weave her nightly web around us. We make this sacrifice night after night with the promise that our girls will not engage in high-risk behaviors like smoking, drugs or sex ever, ever, ever. They won’t have depressed or suicidal thoughts. They will avoid bullies at school and online. They will be self-confident and self-loving and avoid eating disorders.

They will be strong, mighty girls who can lean in at any table. And they will have empathy and compassion, because each night, we do our best to make it through another make your own burrito bowl.

I wonder if there are any studies of what happens to us mom’s as we suffer go through this phase?

A bei gezunt (Live and be well).

 

Linky’s:

      

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My faith in humanity is restored!

I came home from work, and the pain in my neck was excruciating. On a scale of 1 – 10, it was a 46 (that should only be my age). Ugh! My shana maidelehs (sweet little girls) were so excited to see me; Gatsby, my furry boychik, was jumping and barking at my feet.  My Mrs., she could see the pain in my eyes and she gently kissed me on the check. Heroes welcome for certain.

Apparently, a note was left at the front door entrance to our apartment building to my attention. Big, she was very excited to tell me all about it. Someone found something of mine in the parking lot… call a phone number and they will give it to me. I had no idea what that could be and I had no intention of finding out immediately due to my ‘pain in the neck‘ neck pain. My family, they went out to a birthday party for Little’s friend — I wanted to go, but without full body cooperation, I listened to the siren song of the sofa calling my name. Gatsby and I snuggled in tightly, arranging my head just so, and I asked ‘Alexa’ to play Rachel Maddow as I closed my eyes.

A little bit later, I heard a ping on my phone, so I took a look-see. I noticed a few notes in my Facebook messenger. Delving a little deeper, there was yet another note for me from a person I did not know. It was brilliant! Take a look at this:

Someone found my wallet, and wanted to return it to me! All of the sudden, I remembered Big’s excitement and put 2+2 together… I lost my wallet.

Wait, I lost my wallet? I never lose my wallet? Nu? When did this happen? Where? How? Obviously in the parking lot…  

My penchant for the penny-wise is so strong, I only reach cash/card if I really have to make a purchase. I met a friend for coffee today, but that’s a luxury, so no wallet. I didn’t even know I lost it!  This could have easily been disastrous! 

I dialed up my very kind neighbor right away. She was so sweet and caring. She said she was eagerly waiting to hear from me and she hoped I wasn’t going crazy looking for this missing wallet… Wait, I lost my wallet? I never lose my wallet? She was at work, but her hubby was home and would be happy to deliver my missing property. I insisted that I go to him – It was the least I could do! Gatsby and I ventured across the parking lot. As we made our way, it dawned on me that the previous day, me and this boychik, we walked to the local coop for some dog food and treats. My wallet must have fallen out of my pocket on the way home… I lost my wallet?

I pressed D9 and the most delightful man answered, in a British accent too! He buzzed me in the doorway and came straight away, with my red wallet in hand. As he handed it to me, he reached out his hand and said, “My name is Jim.” I happily took his hand in mine and smiled, gushing gratitude! He bent down and played with Gatsby. These two people who found my wallet, Kristy, and Jim, they are mensches (good people filled with honesty and integrity). And, they like my Gatsby. Dog people are good people! ❤

I love a kind human!

Today, in a world filled with chaos, hate, divisiveness, terror… I experienced the ultimate in human kindness. I saw proof that people, all people, can choose kindness.

A little bit of light pushes away a lot of darkness. A kleyn bissel fun likht pushiz a vek a plats fun finsternish. 

Kristy and Jim, thank you for my light.

I lost my wallet… My Mrs., Liz, Biz, Nona — it’s official. I’m a true part of this family! Expect a lost/stolen iPhone next, and, wait, where did my keys go? Oy vey. (OMG.)

Shalom, Ahava, and Simcha. Peace, Love, and Joy. May you all find some kindness today and every day!

      

     

      

Minimalism is Fun: Take a look

Okay, so in 2017 I (hopefully we) have replaced ‘Frugalism’ for ‘Minimalism.’ It admittedly has a nicer sound, nu? You agree? Frugalism has such a negative connotation – as if one is a tightwad. Minimalism and its glorious way, appears to offer more of a choice, well at least to me. In fact, there still is no choice. It’s what’s gotta be…

So, in a pure minimalistic bent, take a look at a beautiful outing with friends, to IKEA of all places. For those of you who have kinder (children) and don’t know, IKEA is the poor person’s Disney World. Admission is free. Climate is always appropriate. Each room brings with it a new and exciting adventure to explore, pretend and play. Whether mattress hopping, imagining living or working in each showroom, or playing hide and go seek in the ‘grab it yourself’ warehouse, it is fun for all ages.

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Oh, and ice cream (which is really frozen yogurt) is only $1. Add to the fact that on Monday through Friday, kids eat (meals, entire meals, nice meals) for free… And in this past year, they have taken that famous Swedish meatball and turned it all millennial! Yes, it now comes in a gluten free, vegan version! This is no joke!

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What is not to love about IKEA? Keep your glass half full and take a nice visit.

If time is money, I don’t have any time. Oyb tsayt iz gelt, hob ikh keyn tsayt nit.

Linky’s:

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The sun shines on everyone for free.

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Less is more.

Less stuff, please

Spend less, how?

Do it…

Memories mean more.

Always.

Clean out, share. Give.

De-clutter, free the brain.

Start anew. Now. Today.

Happiness is there for the taking.

 

Not really much more to say.

 

The sun shines on everyone for free. Di zun shaynt far itekhn umzist.

 

Linky’s:

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Loose tooth, Lost wallet, Lots of drama

Big, Little and the Mrs. Photo credit: @willowandsage1 on IG (my Mrs.)
Big, Little and the Mrs. Photo credit: @willowandsage1 on IG (my Mrs.)

This week, oy vey, has been kurtser prolog tsu a lange drame (a short prologue to a long drama). Did I mention it’s only Thursday, in the very early, dark hours of morning? So far, we have had too many fits of tsuris (troubles and woes). Here, I share only two of them… I’m certain the others will find their way to you soon.

  1. My Big, oh how I love this madelah (sweet little girl), such a tender, sensitive soul, just like my Mrs. The other day, she realizes with some excitement, that another tooth in front has become wiggly, jiggly. The top two have been missing since early spring and maybe, just maybe, one of them is budding through the surface. The very small chiclet just next to the gaping hole, it teeters just a bissel (little). In my classic ‘glass half full’ style, I talk about readying for the pending tooth fairy visit. I even channel grandpa from Hotel Transylvania 2, and comment how she is a “late-fanger, just like Dennisovich.” My Little, she laughs. Big, she becomes nervous and taken in by the pain that may occur at some point, may not. The tears, they pour like a river. The moans, academy award winning whimpers these are! And mittendrinnen (just in the middle), we are struggling through making our best effort at dinnertime (see post about mealtime).
My Big, with the gaping whole...
My Big, in happier times with the gaping hole…

The Mrs. and I, we attempt to soothe the suffering with little success. The food hurts. The water hurts. The tongue in her mouth hurts. Little, she offers up an ice pack to chew on. I whisper to the Mrs., “I think for this one, I should get the crutches, nu?” After the piercing screams of anguish dust settles, she eats. We eat. And that Little, she whispers to us both, “Try not to remind her about her tooth tonight.”

Wink, wink, nod.

Matt and Brooke, who live right below us here at the Manor, please accept this blog post as an open apology for the noise. We feel your pain too!

My Little, a sweet little jokester
My Little, a sweet little jokester madelah!
  1. Next up, Wednesday morning at work, I get a frantic call from the Mrs. She has lost her wallet. Have I seen it? Please note: I am not at all alarmed at this point. My Mrs., she misplaces things. Her iPhone, her keys, her credit card. It is not her fault. There is a genetic marker on her very DNA strand, aligned with both her mother and her sister – a truly unfair predisposition to the mis-placement of important items. Latin name, vitalgoneastrayitis. They suffer.

We retrace her steps. Together, we realize she has not reached for her wallet since Sunday. Three days ago. This news makes my inner frugalista do the happy dance at work, right in the conference room a little bit happy. That is a big mitziah (huge honking deal). After she and the kinder (kids) toss the house like the feds searching for Hillary’s emails and come up empty, we talk again. We narrow it down to the only two places on earth it must be: The movies or the diner. Now, I am staying very calm, while visualizing the process of recovering our soon to be, or already stolen identities. Poor schleps (fools), when they realize who they are stealing from, oy vey. Pick someone a little more moneyed, wontcha? Little, in the midst of the madness, gets all of her hard earned gelt (cash), and offers it to a very upset Mrs. These kids are just too sweet for words. Such nachas (joy) they give me.

She calls the diner, gornischt (nothing). Simultaneously, I am preparing a gentle and composed catalogue of all the places, people and institutions she will need to call in order to make this right in the world, within the next 5 to seven minutes. She dials the Plymouth Meeting AMC Mega-Metro Movie theatre, where we saw Pete’s Dragon (such a wonderful movie!). Would you believe, she finds a person, not a recording? She asks, they answer (cue the band). Whoever cleaned the theatre after the 3:30 pm show, found her wallet, fully intact, and placed it in the lost-and-found. A real mensch (truly a good-hearted person) in the midst! We are sending a gift once we find the name of our hero!

Oy, how I can go on… But for now, let’s all rest easy knowing all is temporarily in good stead. A bei gezunt (may health be with you)!

Linky’s:

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Busy, Shmizzy: Eat Dinner Together for a Better World

Folks, it’s time for a post update. We still fearlessly, tirelessly, endlessly march on, supping together in hopes of a higher purpose. Manners are hard to come by here at the Manor. This week I see that mac-n-cheese is still perceived and approached as finger food. Opposable thumbs do not impress our small humans. The Mrs., and me, our voices continue to make no sound at all to our giggly little, pierced ears who nosh (eat a little) during this very important nutritional act of derring-do. My glass, it stays half full yes, they spilled again, but I am using the metaphor now

and this is how we eat noodles
and this is how we eat noodles, in stereo with Cousin Max, at a restaurant no less. Oy!

I’m always telling suggesting to the Mrs. about the importance of sitting down together to ess a bissel (eat a little). How we need to dine with the full mishpocheh (family). Studies by big machers (hot shots) like scholars and doctors all laud the big meal get together as the solution to practically all that plagues the planet (don’t get me started, oy vey iz mir).

Jointly sitting and supping brings benefits to the body, brain and overall ‘mini-mojo’ of our kinder (kids). A nice nosh (proper meal) together makes for little epicureans that become ‘epi-curious’ eaters who will choose more fruits and veggies, and pick less fried foods and sugary beverages. If mealtime is conquered correctly, the consuming kinder (children) are less likely to kvell (be happy) over a ‘happy meal’ that is loaded with tasty toxins, added fats, oils and who the hell knows what other unsavory ingredients. They won’t hunger for the little tchotchkes (small, unnecessary plastic toys), that promote future gluttony and materialism. They will be less likely to become obese. That alone equals a healthier lifestyle with fewer illnesses. Kaynahorah (to ward off evils — like the big C, heart disease and stroke), all this magic with one familial sit down a day?

Wait! There’s more. Those same above-mentioned mavens add that clever conversation over a nice meal boosts vocabulary for our kinder (kids), which makes for stronger, happier readers. Nu? If you can survive manage regular family mealtimes as the kinder mature, higher test scores, better grades and overall academic performance are in your future.

Add an avocado to the meal, and you win top honors in Nobel nutrition.

Well, it is obvious that no maven of any sort has observed the goings on at our little corner of the dining room here at the Manor. The Mrs. and me, we do our best to offer nightly variations of healthy, overly expensive organic suppers while trying to stick to our frugalista rice and beans every night still ways. With you, I must be honest, dinners hock mier en chinikeh (drives me bat-shit crazy). Etiquette and decorum have left the building by this witching hour!

Things usually start smoothly. The girls, they clean up a bit and set the table when we beg, plead and bribe. They help bring out our food (beans and rice). We all sit, and the Mrs. and I, we ask open-ended questions like a job interview to try to get them to respond speak with us. They sit with their knees up, spread eagle (vey iz mir), and have clearly left their listening ears in the ‘OFF’ position. They seem to have their own form of communication that is specifically designed to exclude us. They use their fingers instead of utensils even for soup. In fact, just last night, I was prompted to wax eloquent on the beauty of our opposable thumbs and how they separate us from the animal kingdom in hopes they would just pick up a g-damned fork or a spoon and eat like humans.

Little, she has a tendency to lick random and incredibly disgusting things WTF. She gets up from the table an average of  267 times per meal. She may need more water, go use the bathroom, want something better to eat, have an undeniable urge to dance, jump on the trampoline, or simply incite an enormous giggle-fest with Big. And I won’t kid you when I say it, she ‘toots like a trumpeter’ at the table. My madelah (sweet little girl)!

Big, she started with the whole knees up posture. She may use a fork for a moment or two, then she will quickly resort to her more primal instincts and pick up everything with her fingers, especially condiments. She can tell a story or two during dinner, and get up to act it out, share via interpretive dance, or become totally taken in by the mishegas (craziness) of Little. This leaves the Mrs. and me sitting table-side for what must be days, weeks, months hours, getting all cobwebby, and stiff-jointed, waiting for her to finish the feast.

And mittendrinnen (in the middle of everything), Gatsby, will jump into any temporarily vacated seat, and make a quick and successful quest for any food sitting idle.

Gatsby, on the prowl
Gatsby, on the prowl

The shvesters (sisters) behavior has the Mrs. and me chugging the Apple Cider Vinegar (an excellent indigestion remedy) nightly, straight from the bottle. It’s a mitzvah (good deed) we don’t drink enough or at all!

Lo and behold, we will endure these rituals because we have put our trust in the big macher alrightniks (good people).

Charlotte, she will weave her nightly web around us. We make this sacrifice night after night with the promise that our girls will not engage in high-risk behaviors like smoking, drugs or sex ever, ever, ever. They won’t have depressed or suicidal thoughts. They will avoid bullies at school and online. They will be self-confident and self-loving and avoid eating disorders.

They will be strong, mighty girls who can lean in. And they will have empathy and compassion, because each night, we do our best to make it through another make your own burrito bowl.

I wonder if there are any studies of what happens to us mom’s as we suffer go through this phase?

A bei gezunt (Live and be well).

 

Linky’s:

      

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I can fry a couple of eggs on my abdomen, can you?

sizzle, shmizzle
sizzle, shmizzle

I can also pop corn on my face. Pretty impressive you’re thinking, ha?

Warning to all male readers: I am about to delve into the anatomy of a hot flash. This may mean talk of lady parts (though doubtful), cycles that coincide with the moon, and all things related to estrogen, and the natural biological process of what I call, estrogen-not.

You’re still here. Nice. After all, you have wives, moms, and daughters. You’re a real mensch (good-hearted person) for staying! So, as I was saying, my body has run cold my entire life. Blue fingers and lips when it’s 89 degrees in the shade…no joke! I wear many layers of clothing all year round. And yes, I’m at that age where that mysterious metamorphosis  materializes.

I remember back in the day, getting happy when I got carded before entering a bar. It’s the exact same feeling now when the doctor or lab technician says, “Do you still get your period honey?” Go Girrrrrrrrrrrl!

It’s crazy, from the moment that first red dot appeared, I despised it. My parents, they made such a taka mitziah (big fucking deal) out of it – took me out to dinner? My mother, she told the waitress. Attention Judy Blume: you, God and Margaret did not help me to prep me for a scenario like that. “I’ll have the nova platter with an everything bagel, toasted lightly, cream cheese on the side; Morty, he’ll have the stuffed cabbage, and my daughter, she got her period today!” That was a long time ago, but the memory is etched in my brain.

And now, look at me, saving energy by cooking on my sizzling body parts! I’m finally one hot momma! At first, I had maybe 3 hot flashes, and that was it. I thought, well that was easy! Today, I get my schvitz (a deep, heavy sweat) on maybe 8, 9, 23 times a day (and night). This schvitz emanates from the subterranean parts of my core and rises both up and out simultaneously. Toxins and impurities run scared from every molecule of my being.

While this little body convection oven starts cooking, my heart, she races. Archetypal fight or flight heart palpitations, like the saber-toothed tiger is running after me, mittendrinnen (in the middle of ) every fucking thing. My fingers, they tingle (which is good, because I have to flip the eggs to cook evenly). And a perfect coating of sweat covers every single square inch of my person, from the waist up. I’m lichticheh (lit-up) and radiant. They don’t call this a flash for nothing! As quickly as she starts, she’s over. After, I get a little bit chilly. Oy vey iz mer.

Does this mean I’m an alta kocker (literally, the term means an old shit, but over the years, pleasantries have reduced the term to more akin with, ‘old fart’)? Hell no! I think age is a just a state of mind. My Little and my Big, they keep me young. I’m reliving the childhood I missed get with them, and loving almost every minute of it. And, I gotta stay young to take care of my Mrs.

For now, I’ll make eggs, or pop popcorn, and take solace in knowing that I am still being responsible and frugal for my family. Spa, shmah! For a schvitz like THIS, it would cost an arm and a leg.

Note: no eggs were harmed during the writing of this post. And Alannis, isn’t it a bissel (little bit) ironic that when my eggs cease to produce, I can scramble, poach, sunny-side up and over-easy like a pro right atop those ovaries? Next up, omelets. 

Nu?

Linky’s:

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The Frugal Foursome Rant: An Update

Little and Big, with O. and S. Free fun for all!
Little and Big, with O. and S. Free fun for all!

Shhh. This weeks rant is a day late, and , well, a dollar short…

Last year, I shared a post that left me very vulnerable and open, in a good way. Authenticity at it’s finest, brought to you as many times a week as I can type. What, you want I should lie? Like sleep doesn’t already keep me awake at night…and you, my therapists, you should be able to take it.

Well, it’s time I let you know how the ‘path less purchased’ is going:

Live Lean:

  • Slash the budget and stop the hemorrhage.  As much as I’d like to say we have fully coagulated, even formed a scab, we are still bleeding. Maybe we need that nice, Dr. House to help us. Or Susie Orman. We rarely go out, and when we do, it’s a pizza or the diner—no extravagance here. Despite Ich macht a labent (I’m making a living), the cost of our life is still out doing my income. This keeps my metabolism revving, and leaves me a bit ferklempt (choked with emotions). Our biggest expenses still come from Doctors…because of me, I’m a pain in the neck, chronically and literally, and the best progressive education around, at the Miquon School, for the kinder (the kids). Two things we cannot stop attending to.
  • Cut the cord. Goodbye Cable! Done! And we couldn’t be happier. Savings here, ~$200 per month! We have wi-fi, and we stream, like all the cool kids!
  • Eat home, brown bag lunches, snacks and beverages, avoid quaint coffee culture. This has a steep learning curve. Stopping for ice cream, a bottle of water, c-o-f-f-e-e, snacks, all very difficult. We rarely eat out. We make rice and beans. Beans and rice, rice, with beans, and sometimes beans and rice. Thankfully, we are veggies and love this! No sacrifice! Little and Big, they get hungry, and thirsty, even after our well thought out bag of noshes (snacks and drinks) has been consumed. Oy! When we have nothing for me to bring for lunch, I wait until dinner. I allow myself one cup of coffee out per week. My coffee klatch, dear friends back from our barista brewing ‘Buckaroo days…are well worth every penny.
  • Sell the house—downsize, move, rent. Living life the Manor way. It’s an adjustment for us all. We have no idea whose basement has what of our stuff or how long we will be here. But, we carved a savings of about ~$1200 per month. 
  • Make memories, give experiences, learn to live well with less.  Major improvement! My wonderful machetanum (in-laws) gave us a membership to the Morris Arboretum. It’s like our backyard, without mowing or pruning. We have been there zillions of times and keep finding new things to fall in love with and explore. We are making wonderful memories and enjoying outdoor play together!
Coffee Klatch <3
Coffee Klatch ❤

Lean On:

  • Leave senseless money squabbles behind. Better. ❤ We find ourselves on the same page so much more often than ever before. My Mrs., she has come a long way!
  • Share the burden of stresses that I hold so deep and internal. The Mrs. and me, we kibbitz (talk) more about a lot of things. A stolen moment here, a quick sentence or two there—we’ve even texted each other while on the sofa. The best thing for me, when I hear her laughter. Priceless…
  • Recognize that ‘thrift maven’ may come in stages for those of us that are more ‘spendy’ and less frugal. And with this one, we bicker less. Win, win! Baby steps lead to long strides.
Yarn bombing At the Arboretum!
Yarn bombing At the Arboretum!

Lean In:

  • Control what I can control. I’m trying.
  • Always lead by example. Words I try hard to live by.
  • Keep my ‘cup half full attitude. A veritable Mary Poppins, I am.
  • Work hard and make the time to play hard. We all need more play.
  • Set goals together for a purpose, because some may just find the simple act of saving for savings sake boring. Oh savings! I should only live long enough to be bored by you!

Financial stability, I am searching for you around every corner. I am working hard to have you in our lives again. We will be fine. Things will improve. Time and karma.

 

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Thank You so much Su, from EthanEvelyn.com! #FabFridayPost
Thank You so much Su, from EthanEvelyn.com! #FabFridayPost
Pass the Sauce #AgentSpitback #Linky Party
Pass the Sauce #AgentSpitback #Linky Party

It’s been a bumpy road, but we’re still driving!

image

On Saturday, the time had come for me and the Mrs. to turn in her car because the lease was up. I was concerned because the car was, let’s say, very lived in, with a lot of memorable experiences . It was totally ‘kid-ified.’ To her amazing credit, the Mrs. did a bang-up clean up in the nick of time, and it showed rather well.

On our drive over, der kinder (the kids) in tow, my agita (anxiety, in Italian I think?) was palpable and we were all desperately in need of a good laugh. It had been a rough week for multiple reasons, least of all our need for frugality.

I put my hand on the Mrs. shoulder while she was driving and said, “Honey, when we get to VW place, the ground is the limit!”

The Mrs., she started with a small chuckle, and landed into a nice, hearty gaffaw! We all started laughing, and so began our new journey with the greatest sound my ears can ever hear.

Laughter is the best medicine.

 

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linky 3-4-16 #FabFridayPost
linky 3-4-16 #FabFridayPost
Linky Live #ABitOfEverything @agentspitback @MrsGrohl14 Week 19 TY
Linky Live #ABitOfEverything @agentspitback @MrsGrohl14
Week 19 TY

 

 

Yesterday was a bad day, so today will just have to be better!

What number do I call?
What number do I call?

Warning: Yesterday was a bad day, physically, emotionally, and all the other ‘–ally’s’ you can imagine. Little, Big and the Mrs., I apologize for any shortness or biting sarcasm that you were subject to. I try hard not to have this happen, and I know that I am merely mortal.

It started bad from the get-go. The sleep thief, gonif that she is, must have stolen whatever good was needed from my slumber. My body did not feel good and that made Tai Chi difficult. My balance was off and my neck throbbed. Other body parts didn’t line up to cooperate so much either. I pushed through it. Coffee, made expertly (by me) thick and strong, seemed useless. I needed a day like this like a loch in kop.

Little, she woke up in some state of mind! Unfortunately, it was the same one she brought with her to bed the previous night. Magically, she started right in, not skipping a beat or missing a refrain from the prior cockamamie behavior. Some days, my little pisher can really carry on.

I searched deeply, counting backwards from 10-Mississippi to zero and back again, breathing consciously. My sunny disposition was nowhere to be found. Is there a locator app for that? I was tired and my body wasn’t right. I had one bar left on my occipital stimulator, so I knew that by mid-day, I would run out of power (I did). Not so good for a day before a snowstorm. G’zai gezunt…

I made school lunches from bits and scraps. Our kitchen held a startling resemblance to Old Mother Hubbard’s place. This is no dig to the Mrs., as we are artfully trying a new pennywise purchasing plan by food shopping just twice a month and holding to a fixed dollar amount. We still have some work to do here. (Insert feelings of failure, as said family provider. Some breadwinner…I know, but like I said, I had a drecky day.) Big’s Friday lunch remains were still in her lunchbox. Let’s just say, yogurt that sits ‘outside the box’ for three days does not yield a good result for anyone when the container is uncapped. Not an aroma fit for my dicey stomach. Oy. 10-Mississippi…

Luckily, Nona loaded us up with bagels and some fixings yesterday. It would be PB&J for Big, and due to Little’s allergies, sunflower nut butter and honey. Since I wasn’t spit-spot on, I mistakenly made both sandwiches peanut butter. Luckily, I checked myself, thus preventing a possible predicament of anaphylaxis (phew). I quickly made a third bagel sandwich correctly for my shana Little. Vey iz mer! 10-Mississippi…

The commute to work had its usual share of crummy drivers and folks giving me the finger for going the speed limit. (Really, when was the last time you either ‘shot the bird,’ or were on the receiving end of one?) I shout, “Gai cocken afin yom (go shit in the ocean)” from the top of my lungs in the car, windows closed. 10-Mississippi…hey, no one shot me with a bullet, so that alone was a mitzvah! Sunny Dee, is that you? Nope, just my sardonic wit trying to raise a smile.

NPR and XPN were still in the midst of their radio fund drives. Ugh…Just look at the damned scenery and breathe it in. 10-Mississippi… My commute traces the same locales that make up many Thomas Eakins paintings. It’s beautiful no matter the weather, my mood, or the mean-spirited, speed racers that occupy the road with me daily. Smidgeons of Jonas were still around and I was able to find parking close to the office. All good. 10-Mississippi…

I get to work, fire up the computer and start the day. I completely fake feeling fine and dandy with everyone. No one even raises an eyebrow or questions this; I am that good. As I walk downstairs to talk with a co-worker, I spot a mouse, flat-out dead in a trap in the kitchen. Of mice and women. 10-Mississippi…

Enough already. No more kvetching

Today is Tuesday. It will be a better day. I think Sunny Dee, my inner Mary Poppins, is back. Body still crapy and I’m still faking it, but that’s okay. I’m an expert. Snow dusted the cars last evening, so the 4-8 inch hype (one place where size matters…) from the weather advisory folk was wrong. The kinder will be disappointed. No Olaf building today.

I’m about to try some Tai Chi. Hope you all have a good day.

 

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Frugal Schmugal

from Luka
from Luka

The holidays are headed our way, no bones about it. While I do not care to keep track of how many shopping days are left until Christmas, I do know all too well, how many days left until payday. And that is just an icky, new feeling that I must get used to. We managed through those eight crazy nights of Hanukkah; I suppose the big red-suited man will let us fly by too.

from Neko
from Neko

Please, do not for one moment feel bad about us! We are doing the very best we can right now, and I know we are not alone. Tough times, tough measures surround us all. We are very grateful for what we have, and more importantly, who we have surrounding us with love, joy and support both during the holidays, and year round.

Thankfully, Little and Big don’t really ask for a lot. They never have. We are just in ‘Living Lean’ mode, and with that, will come a special frugality to the season that should not be misconstrued as ‘Grinchism.’ We got through it last year, and I guess that means we should be even better at it by this year? This year, the Mrs. and me have not even argued about a budget. We both know its bubkes.

The boys, with Santa
The boys, with Santa

I love the holidays, as viewed through the eyes of Little and Big. I grew up on latkes and menorahs – a jelly donut was a big deal for my Big and me. Of course, a purple tree, blinking lights, ornaments…it’s a huge WOW!

On Christmas Eve, Toffey will spend the night. We will make egg-free cookies for Santa (sorry big guy, Little is allergic) together – a few for him, a few for us. A ‘nice nosh.’ We will sup together. And we will all wake up early in our jammies, and see the surprises that Santa has left for us after his magnificent voyage across the world.

Here at the Manor, luckily men have been outside working on all the chimneys in our building for the past several weeks. I expounded on all the ‘white lying’ of the season by telling the girls that they are readying them for Santa, his elves and the reindeer. Yes, this haimish’a Yid buys in. I hear the bells ringing on the polar express and love the look on their little joyous faces on Christmas morning.

Here is what I don’t so much love:

  • The lack of sleep – in fact, my sleep bank may very well mirror my…well, you know
  • We have less charitable giving to offer this year
  • We cannot yet get the girls, us, an addition to the family in the form of a new pug. We are so very grief-stricken by the tremendous loss of Atticus and Eli.

Here’s what I do love:

  • My kids get to celebrate both Chanukah and Christmas, so the magic of the white haired man rocks in this house
  • When I asked them what they got last year from Santa, they had no idea – but they did remember the experiences we made together and the joy of the people we shared them with
  • Toffey is making a beautiful tradition with us on Christmas Eve, and he swears up and down, and sideways too, that he never, ever sees or hears Santa come in at night with our haul

So, frugal schmugal. We do the very best we can. We make memories, not bills. We enjoy the time-shared.

Wishing all of you, the very best of the holiday season!

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The Post Do-Over Days

The days that follow a ‘do-over’ hold unnecessary stress for all of the family. The pain gonif strikes on its own schedule. Azoy. Time was carved out and stolen. It does not come back easily. We stay cautiously optimistic, not knowing when the thief returns…

Sunday 2

“Mommy, are you better?” Four little words. Oh how to answer these sweet little faces. Super Mommy powers to the rescue. Grab your land legs, “Of course sweeties!”Sunday 3

Little, Big, Ema and me need some fun.

A nice day. Crisp, autumn air.

A babbling brook. Discoveries abound.

Crunching leaves underfoot. Running over bridges.

Peeping in windows. Making believe. Making it real.

Bumping into fellow Miquon tots.

Sunday 1Jumping across the creek rocks. Slipping into the cold water.

Oops! Giggling, then freezing. No fear here.

A time like no other.

Beautifully, fantastically brought to you by mother earth.

Guilt free. Gelt free. Frugally fantastic.

What’s not to love?

Little, Big, Ema and I had fun.

Hey pain, “Gay kocken affin yom!

 

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Learning to Live Lean, Lean on and Lean In as two moms and two girls

Subtitle: Not a diet

Maple Acres 2

This has been a tumultuous year (or two) in our family. Loss. Pain. Change. Fear. Panic. Anxiety. Surgery, job loss, death, sweet soul-mate pet losses, friend loss, financial insecurity, personal insecurity, moving out of our home, living week to week, working two jobs, missing my family, start-up sorrows, sleep deprivation…and now, just for fun, lets add mice (of which my partner has the greatest of phobias) in our new humble abode…okay. Bring it on…this is life and we all have our proverbial hand of cards to play.

It’s been messy. It’s been tearful. Well ‘F’ that—we’ve sobbed enough tears this past year; but not enough that they don’t keep flowing. It’s been– the kind of year where you can truly recognize what family means and who your friends are.

Through all of this, there must be some lesson that can help me to redefine what success and failure actually mean. This requires lowering the volume on the often loud, and thunderous narrative that takes place in my head. You know that voice…I am trying with all of my might, wit and Mom-superpowers to fully grasp that feeling like a failure and failing might actually be two different things.

As a family, we’ve had to change a lot about how we live each day and exist in today’s ‘ca-chinging,’ credit card culture. Frugality does not come easy for all. So very hard to do when you have two adorable, loveable and well deserving girls (insert that failure feeling here). So hard to do when it hasn’t always been the way we’ve done our life. When prior salaries have had different places to insert a comma.

Enter the new world of our frugal-foursome, wear we live lean, lean on, and lean in.

Live Lean:

  • Slash the budget and stop the hemorrhage. This requires tremendous discipline in thought and outcome (and the realization that we are still bleeding)
  • Cut the cord—goodbye Comcast, hello Netflix
  • Control has to win over convenience, which is really just a luxurious money suck—Eat home, brown bag lunches, snacks and beverages, avoid quaint coffee culture
  • Sell the house—downsize, move, rent
  • Kill the guilt that fuels spending and brings on a different kind of guilt—make memories, give experiences, learn to live well with less. Discover the joy, contentment and happiness in ourselves and with each other

Lean On:

  • Seek ways to continually course correct our new ‘lean awakening’, leaving senseless squabbles behind
  • Share the burden of stresses that I hold so deep and internal
  • Recognize that ‘thrift maven’ may come in stages for those of us that are more ‘spendy’ and ergo, less frugal

Lean In:

  • Control what I can control
  • Always lead by example
  • Keep my ‘cup half full attitude,’ even when I question the what exactly is in the cup
  • Work hard and make the time to play hard—it’s just as important
  • Set goals together for a purpose, because some may just find the simple act of saving for savings sake boring

Are we better? Are we fixed? No. Are we always on the same page? No. But we are wiser. And with that wisdom, there have been moments, sweet joyous moments of pure bliss.

There’s no going back. Yes, we would like some more financial stability. Yes, we would like less pain, and most certainly (and quickly!) an absence of vermin. But for now, we are where we are and we are constantly becoming who we will be. We are a beautiful work in progress.

We know together that one cannot buy good parenting or good partnering. Frugality and discretion won’t change our love for one another as we walk the path less purchased. We will definitely stop along the way to welcome the happiness in the small moments as they appear.

More to come on this, I am certain.

Out, damned mice.

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