Sunday, December 9, 2012

Meal Stretcher Monday - Water

A big tip for saving dollars at the grocery store: DRINK WATER.

I know what you're thinking. Slow day for recipes, huh?

It's not that. (Well, it's not JUST that). An acquaintance asked me for advice on saving money on drinks - specifically juice boxes for school lunches. I had no advice to give, as I always pack my son off with a bottle of water.

Each of us has a water bottle to bring wherever we may go. Daddy has blue, Mommy has purple, our older son has Spiderman, and the Toddler of Terror has Thomas the Train. Simple.

(To be honest, the Spiderman and Thomas ones are getting kinda grungy. We're replacing them for Christmas).

There are a lot of benefits to packing water bottles in lunches, briefcases, and backpacks.

1) Water is good for you. It helps keep your organs functioning well, flushes toxins from your body, and a lot more stuff. Just ask the Mayo Clinic. Water also has no calories, no fat, no sugar, etc.

2) Water doesn't stain when spilled. Anyone who has tried to scrub fruit punch out of shirts, pants, carpets, or MY CAR can understand why this one is important.

3) Water doesn't sour if you forget about it. There is nothing worse than pulling the scary, forgotten sippy cup of milk out from under the couch, or the seat of MY CAR. Twice the kids have spilled a cup of milk and either not noticed, or chosen not to tell me. (Weeks. That stench lasts for WEEKS. No matter how hard you scrub.) Nothing beats driving a long commute to and from work in the vomitous stench of decaying dairy.

4) Water bottles are refillable. So we might spend ten bucks on a bottle, but it will last for years with very little maintenance. Ten bucks worth of juice boxes would likely last a week or two at best.

5) They're eco-friendly. The absolute worst is looking at a mall trash bin filled with disposable, single-serve water bottles destined for a landfill. Pointless.

6) CHEAP! (C'mon. That's why you're reading this blog, right?) Think of it this way: I buy a $10 Nalgene bottle and don't pay for a single drink after that.

Every single day at work I drink 32 ounces of water and don't pay a dime. Years ago, I used to buy a bottle of water or a soda from the drink machine. That was between 12 and 16 ounces, and cost me a dollar a day. With 180 days in the school year, that was $180 a year. Now, I'm down to $10, and it will last me several years.


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Glasses I Can Afford

I just got new glasses. And I'm not broke. (Amazing).

The last time I bought glasses was over 3 years ago. They were $350.

Yeah. That's why I haven't bought them in over 3 years.

Are we serious, America? To see I need to buy a pair of $350 glasses? Is this a hoax, or are functioning senses supposed to be a luxury item?

Anyway, off the soap box and on to better things. While poking about on the internet, I came across a few people on Ravelry discussing Zenni Optical. According to one woman, she bought glasses for all five of her kids for under $135 TOTAL.

"Hogwash!", I say. "Impossible!"

"Nope", she and others replied. "Zenni Optical."

So I go there, and find a whole bunch of super cheap frames.

(Note: I don't mean "cheap" in the crappy way that my husband means it. I mean a marvelous bargain. My husband and I have already discussed this word usage. I'm still right.)

But can you get a good pair of glasses if you can't try them on? How will you know how they'll look?

They have a solution for that! Apparently you can upload your photograph and "try on" the frames. Niiiiice.

So I found these:

I liked how they looked, even on my bad picture, so I decided to give it a shot.

The thing is that I have a wonky prescription. Technically one eye is near-sighted while the other is far-sighted. Best part? Zenni Optical actually shot me an email to confirm that my prescription really is that wonky and I didn't just enter it wrong. Right on.

Two weeks later, I have my new specs!

Aren't they pretty? Guess how much they cost. Seriously. Give it a try.

Fifteen dollars. FIFTEEN BUCKS.

I have never, in my life, seen a pair of $15 glasses that weren't crappy drug store reading glasses.

The frames were $10, the lenses were free, and I paid an extra $5 for an anti-reflective coating. Sweetness.

I took this picture with my low quality webcam to show you how they look on me.

I tried to get a better picture, but the toddler photobombed me.

I also got these sunglasses.

They were more expensive - $28 ($23 for the frame, $5 for the tint).

With $5 shipping, the whole order came to less than $50.

You're impressed. I can tell.

Now, go forth and buy yourself some adorable new specs. My job here is done.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Wound Care Ointment

To be filed under "well-whadya-know", something fascinating happened this week.

Here's the background: my five year old boy, Leo, has a nervous habit. He constantly runs his lower lip over his upper one. He does this when he is anxious, tired, occupied, sick, etc. When he has a stuffy or runny nose, it he does this so much that his lips and the area above them become really chapped and abraded.

This week Leo had a bad cold. He was in such rough shape that his whole mouth was raw and bleeding. Of course, since he's 5, he just kept rubbing and picking at it and making it worse. In the past I have tried antibiotic ointment, lip balm, vaseline - all to no avail.

Remember the homemade vapor rub I made in the spring? I'm still working through that one little jar. It's great! It's about the same consistency as a lip balm, and I decided to try that on Leo's mouth. It has the same ingredients as other balms I was reading up on, and at least would help clear his nose.

IT'S WORKING!!! The cuts have healed, and the raw, red ugliness is almost completely gone! Why didn't I think of this sooner?!

This is now my go-to for scrapes. It's on the Toddler Terrorist's skinned knee, my chapped knuckles, and a little cut on Leo's forehead.

I'm happy. Especially because it didn't cost me anything extra. I already have a jar of it.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Free Ear Warmer!

Poor Husband. He favors these skull caps for winter that I refer to as Batman villain hats, and his latest one just totally crapped out on him.
See? It fell apart right at the top.

So, it's destined for the trash, right? WRONG! I'm waaaay too cheap for that.

First, I unfolded the hat into the a long tube...

Then folded the sides to the middle...

Then folded the whole thing in half and put it on.

Heck, yeah! His loss, my gain!