Friday, October 28, 2016

Tea Treatments

During my kid's rest/naptime, I try to get some stuff done for me. I attempt to sell things on eBay, I work on this blog, I workout, and I do a beauty treatment. Oftentimes, one or many of these do not get done, but today I was able to do a tea treatment.
First, I washed my hair in cool water. Yes, it was my kid's bathwater from yesterday. A little gross, but it saves water.
Then, I sprayed my hair with old suntea I put in a salon spray bottle. I've heard this treatment works best with black tea, but I used Tension Tamer.
I wrapped my hair up in a plastic bag, and will leave it in for a half hour.
After the tea does it's hopeful magic, I will condition my hair.
The Hubs thinks these at-home beauty treatments are crazy and yucky, but I always feel better after doing them.
The tea is supposed to stop breakage and hair loss, and make my hair shiny and smooth. It is a lot to hope for, but I've read a few other blogs whose authors swear by this treatment.
Try it and let me know.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Headaches and The Library

I'm laying in bed with a tension headache that has creeped up from in-between my shoulder blades, to the top of my shoulders and into my neck and at the base of my skull. I already took two Excedrin this morning, and I don't really want anymore.

My headache might be caused by tension but also by the weather, which is proper stay-at-home fall weather. It is low 40's and raining. Real rain, not drizzle. And cloudy, of course. Where is my hot tea?

We went to the 'train library' also known as the Morton Grove Library, which has a train table and a dollhouse. The boys love it there, so we played for just under an hour. The kids got a bunch of Halloween books and I picked up a Halloween craft book for them. We'll finally be carving our pumpkins this afternoon, but other crafts later.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Pumpkins

I recently read an article by Heidi Stevens about keeping the basic traditions alive but not going overboard and forcing people into activities. Specifically, she was talking about not driving 50 miles outside the city to the most picturesque Pumpkin Patch, but rather, being ok with and even liking the 'patch' at the corner of a busy intersection in Chicago. Her kids didn't want to spend all day in a patch, and they didn't.
I grew up with both types of traditions. We had a house in south Evanston, which is technically a suburb of Chicago, but feels more urban than most suburbs. Both my parents worked, and it was hard to find a time and even a reason to travel all the way out to farmland for apples, pumpkins, Christmas Trees and whatever other holiday items people need. We bought our Christmas Tree from the usually-empty lot about five blocks from our house. Our pumpkins were bought from another usually-empty lot about five blocks north of our church. Our apples, however, were picked at a special orchard an hour and a half (in good traffic) drive north of our home. Once a year we made the trek, for fresh apples and donuts. I'm keeping the tradition alive by bringing my sister and kids out, and meeting up with my dad. We love it.
So after church today, the kids and I met up with my mom at Windy City Pumpkins, on Greenbay. It didn't take long to choose pumpkins; there were no corn mazes or fields and we were packing up the car in about twenty minutes. We didn't get corn or Mums or haybales or any extras. And we had a great time. It was nice to be part of a holiday errand that didn't require weeks of planning and a car-load of supplies.
 Sometimes I wish we had elaborate traditions and recipes and dances and stories from The Old Countries (Ireland and Estonia and Norway and probably England). As a child and young adult I craved something more than 'just'...
 Recently (the last eight years or so) I realized the traditions we have are 'real', lovely, and activities I will carry on with my children. Our American ways are our ways, (and many of them are derived from the traditions in The Old Country) and they are beautiful and traditional and meant to be done year after year. We will be carving our two pumpkins as a family of four sometime this week. When are you carving your pumpkins?

Saturday, October 22, 2016

House Paint

The Hubs has decided its a good a time as any to paint the middle floor of the house. He and a coworker moved most of the furniture to the garage, and I had to bag up all the loose stuff we had on various surfaces. Even though its not a renovation, it feels like one, and I am hugely stressed out by the displacement of items and the disarray of our home. Also, The Hubs has stated clearly that he wants to take this opportunity to get rid of stuff. And that in and of itself is a cause of stress for me.
The Boy is very excited about the work going on, and this morning he followed his father around with a dry roller. The kids got into a scuffle about the equipment and The Hubs had to make sure they had the same stuff.
The last time we did any home improvement, the kids were way to small to do any work. In fact, The Boy had burned himself on a work-lamp while I was at work. He was a baby in a walker and I wasn't pregnant with The Baby yet. Only a few years ago, but it is literally a lifetime ago. Incredible, for me, to think about.
Anyway, the kids can sort of help now, and they are very interested in doing what their dada is doing. And lucky for all of us, The Hubs is pretty willing to have them 'help'. It is truly a learning experience.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Photos

I read in The Happiness Project about taking the time to deal with photos. Putting them in frames and albums, uploading and printing and sharing them, and making scrapbooks. The author (Gretchen somebody...) stated that it was part of her duty to do these things as an archivist and historian and record-keeper of the family. I feel the same way. I feel that it is up to me to take, print, share, upload, album, scrapbook, and memorialize all our photos. So, that is what I have been doing.
Right now I am working on printing all the photos (after editing, of course) that I took during a family reunion in July. Which means the photos taken after that have not been printed. The task is orderly and daunting.

I printed my most recent batch at Walgreens, using an online coupon making the prints 12 cents each, with the purchase of 50 or more. And I got extra points on my Walgreens card with an in-ad coupon.

Now I have to label and album those prints. Some will be given away. I truly hope I can carry on with this project.

How do you deal with (or don't deal with) your photos?

Monday, October 17, 2016

Salvation Army

As far as I know, the Salvation Army supports causes and viewpoints that I do not. Despite that, I did find myself shopping there because it is close to the house. I know, I know.
I got so overwhelmed and excited while I was shopping! I really had to remind myself to stick to my list. And I had to pull my list out repeatedly.
 I was surprised that I couldn't find any ice cube trays. I want them to make homemade popsicles (with Saran wrap and toothpicks, like we used to do when we were kids). And to freeze herbs/butter or herbs/oil.
We were able to find a cute pair of blue, Velcro sneakers for The Boy. And I got them at 25% off because they had a tan tag. I also bought him an adult-sized pair of cozy Halloween socks (25% off) and a pair of new white socks that look too big but probably aren't. Also 25% off. I spent $6.54.
Despite the fact that thrifting is always cheaper than retail, I always make sure to stick with the sales.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Sick Day Part 3

We all woke up late; too late to get to church on time. I had a fair amount of guilt about this. We don't do church during the week (although I do pray everyday), so it seems like if we miss one or two days in a month, that is actually a lot. It is probably good that we didn't go; the kids and I all have coughs. As I think I've mentioned, I'm pretty sure I'm the only SAHM at my church, and I would hate to bring an illness to the kids and moms who have to go to school/daycare/work. Perhaps this justification is a way to ease my guilt about waking up later than I intended. I think it's working.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Still Sick

I am so blessed. Yes, I am sick, but it helps me remember why choices made in my previous lifestyle were not good ones. And this sickness reminds me why I can't and won't go back to those days.
Also, my wonderful Hubs allowed to me to rest in bed since he got home last night. I was able to go upstairs and watch TV and read. I took a Nyquil around 9 and was out for the whole night. I woke up to my alarm and kid at about six. But The Hubs told me to go back to sleep. Which I did. Until about nine. Which is incredible. When I woke up, I felt much better. Not totally cured, but much better. The Hubs then took the kids to park I played at when I was a kid, Mount Trashmore, and brought them home in time for nap and snack. I put the kids to bed for their nap, and went back to bed. I am dressed, for some reason, but my hair and make-up are not done.

To boost my immunity, I am drinking my mint black tea suntea. I put the jug out on the windowsill because although it was sunny, there was no direct sunlight in my yard. On the windowsill it stayed in the sunlight for probably under an hour. Evidently, the suntea season is ending, and I refuse to acknowledge it. I left the tea out on the windowsill all night. I hope I don't get a weird tea-related disease.

Friday, October 14, 2016

I'm Sick!

I'm sick! And I always feel sorry for myself when I'm sick. The only time I don't feel totally awful is when I'm in the shower, reading a good book, or watching t.v.
I have decided that because I'm under the weather and I'm not feeling well, I will try to get my stuff done, but I will not beat myself up if I don't.
When I'm sick I tend to rely more on the home remedies. And I believe in taking the day off. We dropped off books at the library, and went grocery shopping, but now we are home for the day.
Drinking a lot of fluids is essential to getting over a cold faster. Water, obviously, but also tea with honey, hot water with honey and lemon, apple cider vinegar with water, and juice are all good options. Go easy on the sugar, so it's a good idea to dilute your juice with water.
I plan on resting, if possible, with the kids. Perhaps we can watch one of the Halloween DVDs we got from the library.
For my sake, and the sake of others, I hope I feel better soon.
What are some of your home remedies?

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Savers

One of my rules for living a thrifty lifestyle is to see if I can get stuff used before I might have to buy it new. So we headed out to Savers, a thrift superstore. The one I went to is located in Glenview, but it is well worth the drive.
Everything there is so well organized! The sections are easily identifiable, and they sell smaller items in groups. Last time we went there, I was looking for silverware, and all my options were grouped into well-organized bags lined up along a peg board. This time, I almost got distracted by the peg board in the kid's department. There were sets of flash cards, coloring books and crayons, and all manner of learning tools, art supplies, and games. I remembered that we have many items like them at home, and was able to steer the kids away from the area.
The Boy loves 'spooky stuff', Halloween, thrift stores, and decorations. So he really kept busy looking at the new and used Halloween items. He has a great eye for interesting and quality items.
We found a pair of sneakers in the next size up, because it seems that his shoes now are getting too small. I just noticed he has matching blisters on the tops of his toes, so I'm feeling bad about my mothering right about now. I bought him a pair of size 10 (!) lime green and blue sneakers. For $5.99.
The Hubs needs work sweatshirts, and I found a pullover hoodie for $3.99.
I got The Baby and myself new sunglasses for $1.99 each, although I think the cashier didn't ring up one of them.
We got a sad-looking 99 cent Styrofoam tombstone for our afternoon project/Halloween d├ęcor. We'll be painting over it and putting it up in the yard.
For Halloween, The Boy wants to be Spiderman again, which is awesome because his costume is still a little big. (I bought it at a church rummage sale for $2). I was able to get him a new mesh/polyester mask for $5.99 today.
We also got a vintage-looking wooden wall hanging that says "Trick or Treat" with a big kinda scary-looking bat. For 99 cents.
And I took pictures of the couch they had, and sent them to The Hubs. Ever since we realized the dog has been sleeping on our couch while we are out, The Hubs has been looking for a new couch. I forgot to check the price, so I called them up and the friendly 'associates' (that's what I was when I worked retail) gave me a price check. $29.95. For a couch!
I have their store-card, which so far hasn't gotten me any discounts, but the wonderful cashier scanned it for me anyway.
This place is great! Their prices are higher than yard sales, and some other thrift stores, but their organizational skills saves a lot of time. I will be happy to schedule a time to shop here again.
Happy thrifting!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

eBay

I'm feeling a little discouraged. Possibly even a little stupid and disorganized.
Harsh words, but it seems that I am harder on myself than I would be on anyone else.

I have recently started selling on eBay. It is not garage sale season (here in the Midwest, garage sale season is short-lived, sadly), and I thought selling online would be a good way to make a little money and get rid of items as I clean out my house. While listing on eBay has proved easier than I thought, it turns out calculating the shipping cost is not. It has taken me several items to realize I need to look at the estimated shipping cost eBay provides on it's listing page, and add that amount to the recommended price. Why not charge shipping to my buyers? I'm not sure how they would pay me for a known unknown. And when I shop online (very rare) I love me some free shipping. So in an effort to hook buyers and actually sell my stuff, I decided to always offer free shipping. Turns out, this decision has cost me. Literally. I have paid more for shipping than I have gotten paid for my items. I'm running a dang charity over here.
It is very discouraging but I'm going to try to learn from my mistakes and keep on keeping on.
Additionally, I have gotten creative with my shipping receptacles. Today I shipped a puffy vest in an orange bag, inside a Food4Less paper bag. I, of course, have been on the lookout for boxes in the alley and I have decided that I would prefer to ship my items in once-used receptacles. It allows me to get creative with the recycling. Because of this creativity, I always write
"This is your eBay purchase"
on whatever I am shipping. God forbid someone thinks its a mail bomb.
Lastly, because I don't have a printer, I choose to handwrite my shipping labels, which does not allow me to get the eBay shipping discount.
Maybe I'm too much of a dinosaur to be taking on this 'momtrepreneur' endeavor.