Friday, June 29, 2007

Tightwad Gazette

"The Complete Tightwad Gazette" is one of my favorite books. It is a collection of newsletters over a period of six years. Ryan thinks I am a little crazy for reading it or perusing it as often as I do. But honestly it is a great read.

The whole premise of the newsletter (and therefore the book) is that frugality is a great way of life and can help you achieve your dreams. Amy (the author, who I feel is a kindred spirit and therefore I feel entitled to take the liberty of referring to her by her first name as if we were great friends) loves a challenge and she looks at being frugal as a great way to use her creativity - to fix a household item in need of repair or turn a failed batch of jam into something else useful and edible, etc.

I like Amy's no nonsense approach to life, parenting, decorating, organizing, etc. She is an upbeat person with a sense of personal responsibility - which I like. I also enjoy her sense of humor and her great drawings. Another aspect of tightwadding that I really appreciate is environmental. The whole idea that if you consume less you are causing less waste. I like her approach to recycling more than just bottles and paper - she finds new uses for all kinds of things. And I must say I am jealous that her family eats so well (and on so little). They have a tremendous garden and they can the surplus to use throughout the year. I have a few memories of eating home canned peaches and apricots and I can't remember anything store bought tasting quite as good.

For many years I have been a closet reader of this book with only Mary (I hope she won't mind me outing her) as my fellow tightwadder (I sent her a copy of the book for her birthday as soon as I discovered it - there are several other readers of my blog who almost received the same gift for your weddings, birthdays, xmas, etc.). My hope is that by telling the world that I am a proud tightwadder, perhaps other friends and family will join in the movement - it is really much more fun to be thrifty with friends. I do realize this is not for everyone, so do as Amy suggests and check it out from your local library first.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Good and Tough

Life is both good and tough. I think the hardest thing to figure out is what you really want and what *really* makes you happy.

Recently I have been feeling like I am missing a part of me - like I lost some part of me when I became Audrey's mom. I love being her mom, but I also love being me. I know the two aren't so separate but sometimes I feel like I am only her mom and not me - especially as a SAHM. I feel like this isn't quite coming out exactly how I am feeling it, but I am still going to try to express it - though perhaps rather ineloquently.

I have tried to jump into projects and things that interest me and I have really enjoyed them. Even so, I wonder if I wouldn't be happier working outside the home. I have talked to a couple of good friends who have pointed out how difficult it is for parents who are both working full-time. I agree and I think part-time would be ideal. That would give me something that is just mine and still lots of mommy time.

But then the idea of missing Audrey's cute giggles all day long, her hugs and kisses and tackles (yes she loves to tackle both me and her daddy) kills me. I love reading with her and running back and forth in the house holding hands and playing with the race cars or cuddling up for a movie. Would I *really* be more satisfied with my life if I am missing those moments - even a couple of days a week. I just don't know.

Not to mention the thought of putting her into a stranger's care is somewhat terrifying. And yet I have many friends (with extremely happy, smart, well-adjusted children) who do that and have great experiences with it. I could see Audrey enjoying playing with other children all day long and doing just great or being overwhelmed and just crying for mommy.

So how do you know what really makes you happy in life? What trade-offs are worth it for you and your family? Everyone just says "follow your heart" - but what if your heart wants to lead you down several paths at the same time?

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Fitness Contest

Mary, Desiree and I are having a 3 month long fitness contest. I am really excited about this one. Mary and I used to always do contests as a way to motivate ourselves, but recently they just haven't been working out very well. We couldn't really think of anything that was both affordable and motivating. So when Mary called and told me that she and Desiree were trying to come up with a good contest, of course, I was in like Flinn (as they say).

We are blogging our contest at, should anyone be interested in following along.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Banana Muffins

Audrey used to love bananas and eat at least one a day. But now the novelty of eating what she has peeled herself has worn off and we have too many bananas. So the other day I decided to make banana muffins. I decided to try a new recipe from my Cooking Light cookbook. They were the best banana muffins I have ever had. The difference was wheat germ - it gives them a fabulous flavor and texture.