Wednesday, November 25, 2009

He's got my sense of humor

Here's the joke B-man told me today:

B-man: Knock knock
Me: Who's there?
B-man: Knock knock
Me: Who's there?
B-man: NO! You say, knock knock who.
Me: Oh. Knock Knock who?
B-man: Knock Knock
Me: Knock knock who?
B-man: NO NO NO! That's the joke! I just say knock knock.

Then he laughed for ten minutes.

Yep, definitely my sense of humor.


Green tip: ditch the veggie bags. I find I don't really need them as I buy veggies on a need-to-use basis for the most part so I'm not really buying huge quantities of the same thing. Do I really need a bag for 2 lemons or a rubber banded bunch of asparagus? And for those times when I do need a bag (loose berries, anyone??), I throw it in my purse when I'm done with it to reuse next time I need a vegetable bag at the grocery store.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

How I finally broke the coffee habit

So, over the past few years I've developed this bad habit: going out for coffee. It seems so innocuous at first, a good cheap pick-me-up treat. But here's why it was bothering me:
1) It's expensive. Sure, it's just a few bucks here and there, but it adds up, especially if I'd go three or four times a week.

2) It's not healthy seeing as I'd get sugary drinks or add a thousand sugars to regular coffee. Too many empty calories wasn't doing anything to help me drop the baby weight.

3) It's bad for the environment. Idling in drive-thrus, forgetting reusable cups, using straws and coffee stirrers and individual packets of sugar.

I knew all this, but I was still having trouble breaking the habit of going out for coffee. So I linked it to something else I wanted to do: switch to organic milk. As anyone who reads my blog knows, I'm a big fan of organic and locally grown food. However, I'm a bigger fan of not living beyond our means. In other cases, I've been able to make choices. For example, humanely raised meat is far more expensive than regular meat, so I control costs by eating a lot less meat. I buy in-season fruits and veggies, which tend to be less expensive than out-of-season. But we drink a lot of milk. Switching to organic milk adds about $40-$50 a month to our grocery bill. I love milk, the kids love milk, and I use a lot of milk for cooking and baking. Cutting back on our milk consumption wasn't really a valid option for us.

So I linked the two in my head (and budget!). Cutting out all the coffee stops easily freed up an extra $50 a month. I've been doing it for almost two months now, so I think it'll stick. I feel good...we switched to organic milk, I broke the out-for-coffee habit, and I kept our budget in line! Win-win-win!

And I should admit, it's not that I'll NEVER get coffee out again. I mean, I still pop out occasionally with a friend, or grab a coffee with TK on a weekend while we're out and about. But now it's a special treat, something I do once every couple weeks rather than nearly every day.


I'm thinking of including related or unrelated "green tips" at the end of my posts from time to time. Who knows if I'll keep it up or not, but it's just something that I've been thinking of. As I've mentioned numerous times before, I'm a fan of small steps. I make little changes, because it's relatively easy and eventually, enough little changes add up to big changes. Anyway, feel free to use 'em or not...I'm pretty non-judgmental about it all. What works for me and my family might not work for y'all. I'm just getting them out there! And please, share the green tips that have worked for your family, too!

Okay, here's my first tip: when we make coffee at home, there's usually some left in the pot. Instead of just dumping it down the drain, we've started freezing it into ice cubes. Then I can use them to make DELICIOUS homemade frappuccinos! Just add some coffee ice cubes, milk (or half and half if you're feeling wild), and a few teaspoons of sugar to a blender, and blend until the ice is well-crushed. To make it extra special, drizzle some chocolate syrup down the sides of a clear glass, then pour in the frappuccino. Looks pretty, tastes yummy! You could also use the cubes to cool down hot coffee without watering it down. I bet it would also make an interesting Baileys or Kahlua on the coffee-rocks :) I can't verify that until I've weaned Z-man, but you better believe I'm going to be trying it next fall!

See, pretty painless, right? Just finding a use for a common leftover in our house and getting into the habit of being aware of food waste. Plus, making these coffee frappuccinos once every week or two keeps me from missing my coffees out too much!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Of dragons and dreams

The big boys and I were sitting around, playing with a "magic wand", pretending to turn each other into things. N-man said, "I don't need a magic wand. I don't want to be anything but what I am. And I'm a dragon."

He said it with such confidence and matter-of-factness. He's totally happy to be himself, which today happens to be a dragon.


This reminds me of the very first time I got on the internet (I mean the kind of internet kids today would find recognizable). It was 1995 or early 1996. That school year TK and I lived a thousand miles away from each other while he was in his first year of grad school and I was finishing up my senior year of college.

Let's be clear...I'd used the internet before that. Email was already a favored form of communication, and TK and I kept our phone bills down by chatting online. I'd browsed around text-based discussion groups, joining conversations on a whole slew of insane (and inane) topics. My roommate in college was actually one of the very early trolls, posting inflammatory comments and reveling in the attention it brought. And yes, in real life she was just like you'd expect from someone who trolls, though that's a story for a different day.

I'm talking about my first time browsing websites. It was a much different web back then. Many websites were cobbled together by techies and geeks with various degrees of proficiency. The results were often intentionally, or better yet unintentionally, hilarious. I went down to visit TK, and while he had class, I played around on his computer, taking advantage of the ethernet connection in his dorm room. In a very first glimpse of the time-suck the internet would become, I killed an hour and a half surfing the web.

One website I came across has stuck with me all this time. It was a loving tribute to dragons, put up by some guy who really, really liked dragons. The highlight of the page was a fairly long essay this person wrote about how awesome dragons are. The conclusion really sold it, though. I still remember it: "Do I want to be a dragon? Stupid question. Of course I do."

I love it. The way it completely misses the reason why it's a stupid question. Though to be honest, I suspect that if I ever met this guy, we'd get on great. And more and more often, I'm beginning to suspect this is how N-man is going to be. No, I don't mean a colossal dragon-loving nerd, but someone whose brain works a little off-kilter of everyone else's, but he remains blissfully unaware of it.

It's so amazing to watch the kids grow and develop their different personalities. B-man is also growing into an amazing little person, though in a completely different way. That'll have to be a topic for a different day if I ever hope to get this posted.

For now, though, I'm done feeding the baby and off to play with the big kids. For today, am I a dragon? Stupid question. Of course I am.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The parenting book of superlatives

Forget an instruction manual, new parents should be given a book of superlatives to study up for when they have preschoolers!

Here's how my day goes:
Kiddo 1 or 2: "Mommy, what is the biggest animal?"
Me: "The Blue Whale".
Kiddo 1 or 2: "Mommy, what's the biggest animal that isn't in the ocean?"
Me: "An elephant"
Kiddo 1 or 2: "What about dinosaurs?"
Me: "Well, dinosaurs are extinct. There are none that live on Earth anymore. But the biggest dinosaur was the Argentinosaurus."
Kiddo 1 or 2: "Was it bigger than a blue whale?"
Me: "Nope! The blue whale is the biggest ever!"
Kiddo 1 or 2: "What's the biggest fish in the ocean?"
Me: "The Whale Shark"
Kiddo 1 or 2: "It eats tiny food!"
Me: "Yep!" [Don't think we haven't read a number of books about whale sharks!]
Kiddo 1 or 2: "What's the biggest bird?"
Me: "An Ostrich"
Kiddo 1 or 2: "No, no, I mean a bird that can *fly*!"
Me: "Google to the rescue!" [Appears to be some type of albatross, if we're not including extinct birds]

Seriously, I'm going to know the "biggest" of everything! And I'm sure soon they'll be asking "smallest", too. I think I need to bust out a nature section of a Guinness Book of World Records...

Monday, November 9, 2009

Unintentional Best New Insult

Today N-man waved his magic wand and said to TK, "I turned you into a pink monkey ball".

Now, N-man was definitely thinking of a bouncy ball, but I don't care. This is my newest're a pink monkey ball! It works as an expletive, too: Pink Monkey Balls!

I'm ridiculously easily amused.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Dratted Time Change!

N-man came into our bedroom at 5:30 this morning. He happily exclaimed, "It's MORNING!" I, who had just gotten into bed 15 minutes earlier after being up with Z-man for well over an hour replied grumpily, "No it's not. Go back to bed."

N-man went over to TK and said just as happily, "Daddy, It's MORNING. Mommy says it isn't but she's wrong. I see the sun."

Daylight savings time, I say, shaking my fist in the air.