Thursday, November 13, 2008

Frivolous Spending?

Okay, being a SAHM for me means a lot of sacrifice. A lot of waiting for things. A lot of not getting things at all. Which is fine with me because I am blessed with the opportunity to stay at home with my kids, they still are well-clothed, well-fed, and well-housed (plus can have little extras like the toy trumpet Z1 wants). This is *more* important to me than all of the things I could have by working outside the home.

But there is one "fluff" thing that I really want. It's not a big ticket item like a laptop (which I dream of having one day). It's actually pretty small. It's a Coach Wristlet. Something small enough to hold my phone, keys, ID and a little bit of money. But it's sophisticated in it's function. It adds a little bit of class and elegance to something as mundane as taking the kids to the playground or going grocery shopping. Of course, practically speaking, I won't be getting it. Especially if I want to get this sports bra to get my workout on (which is indeed a necessity). But it's nice to look at. Drool over.

I'm glad that I'm at a point in my life where I can easily distinguish between needs and wants. It's taken me a while to get here and sometimes I do give in to my wants but 99% of the time, I'm a disciplined spender. Frivolous spending just can't factor into my life at this point if I want to stay true to my priority of taking care of my children 100% of the time.

Maybe I'll put away a little each month to get the dang wristlet. Maybe. ;)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Fitness

I woke up today at 5:15 AM. It was pitch dark but I knew that I would have a solid (almost) 2 hours to "do me". So guess what? At 6:30, I popped in my old Denise Austen VHS (yes, I still have tapes and a working VCR) and I worked out. Or at least I tried to.

I learned two things:
1. I am out of shape. Not a little bit. A lot. If the isht really hit the fan and your girl had to run to safety, I might as well give it on up. I ain't running nowhere. You should have seen me huffing and puffing and sweating. Hilarity!! But on a serious note, physical fitness is *key* to emergency preparedness.
2. I need a real sports bra. Wearing my regular bra just will not cut it. Yo, my "girls" were straight assaulting me while I was jumping around exercising. Made me wonder if grown azz women are really supposed to be jumping around. And the bra I was wearing was painful enough for me to quit after about 10 minutes. So I'm going to save up to get an Enell sports bra. I'm a large bra size (you will never find my size in the store--always needs to be specially ordered) and they say for larger chested women, this is *the* bra of choice. So off I go to drop another $60 on a bra (which is what I typically spend).

Whatever which way . . . I want to get back to a size 9/10 which is what I was when I got married. I'm a 13/14 now. I'm ready to put in the work and I finally have a schedule that gives me a clip of time to exercise.. I have collected tons of articles on how to tone a postpartum body (you are not supposed to do crunches or sit ups). Except for eating one too many cookies, my diet is balanced and I don't overeat or eat out of boredom (having to make everything you eat helps with that). I know that after Z1 turned one, the weight dropped like it was hot. I think my metabolism picked up once he wasn't relying on me solely for his nutrition (I didn't have to hold so much weight). I'm hoping the same happens now . . .

Oh, and I was worried that I would wake the family up because the bedroom is right next to the living room. But the tape was on mute and only a faint light was on. They didn't hear me jumping around and everyone woke up at 7:00. I think I can make this work! I know I can!

Helping My Skin Glow

I watched a little bit of Oprah yesterday and they had dermatologists on there. I was a little disappointed that they didn't show women of color but, I admit, I only watched the first 15 minutes. But anyway, my skin has been presenting some challenges recently and I've been thinking about how I can correct it without spending money I don't have.

I used to have really oily skin which I had learned to manage quite well and which was on it's way to being "good skin". And then the babies came. Now my skin is really dry most of the time and, interestingly enough, I'm dealing with acne breakouts again. Thankfully they are not the breakouts of my teenage years (all over/not one area of my face pimple free). So it's time to redo my skin care routine to try to get my skin back to glowing. I had tried honey as a cleanser before but it seemed to jerk around with my allergies. I'm trying it again and moisturizing (or sealing in moisture) with jojoba oil. I did it last night before bed, no allergy flare ups and my skin looked really good this morning (not ashy). I'm going to keep it up for a week or two and see if it will keep breakouts at bay. The hubby uses ground oats as an exfoliant--I might get into that too. The exfoliant that I had been using (by Queen Helene) I think is a little too harsh. My face feels tight and brutalized after using. I'm going to recommit also to doing a facial mask on Saturday although I'm not really sure if the ones I have are good for my skin (again after doing it my skin feels tight--but I think that might actually be the point of masks, I'm not sure).

Now for the dry skin that's made worse by winter, I broke down and bought some Eucerin. At least I'm not itching all over the place. I don't think I'm ready to make a full-fledged foray back into the world of chemical cosmetics but my scalp and hair are dry and sore enough that I am going to also have to break down and try Head and Shoulders to see if it will help some. This is as I wait to see another dermatologist (and what the first dermatologist I had seen recommended).

I've been taking cod liver oil (high Vitamin A and D) but only sporadically. So I'm recommitting to it in hopes that it will help my skin along this winter. Blech.

Basically I have my feelers out trying to find inexpensive ways to help my skin get back to glowing. Now, I know genetically I'm prone to acne and I do have a lot of dark marks and acne skin (big pores, etc). But if I can at least have skin that's not dull, that's pimple free, moisturized and healthy, I'll take that. I know also that my skin probably won't wrinkle and crack as I get older (my mom is in her late 50s and still has acne issues but not one wrinkle) . . . so I'm just trying to make sure that I'm wrinkle and crack free well into my senior years.

Oh, and I'm thinking of cutting my hair into a dark caesar. The hubby is against it but honestly, my hair has fallen out a lot, is patchy and combing it pulls out a lot of hair every time. I was hoping that as it grew, I could maybe find a few dollars to get kinky twists put in (I look good with longer hair but not necessarily hair that hangs down--full hair styles complement my face). But my hair is uneven right now, I can't say that it's actually growing (there a times when my hair stops growing altogether) and honestly the money for a style is not in the budget. DH could cut it and I think it would be neat and very manageable. We'll see.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Bread Refigured

I posted here about the bread I've been baking. You can see that the recipe calls for vital wheat gluten which is expensive at Whole Paycheck. Recently I've been ordering it online from Amazon.com. The latest order I placed was with a seller on Ebay (and saved about $5.00) but due to some clerical errors, it took about 2 1/2 weeks to get here. Anyway, me trying to be as prudent as I can be in these times, realized that I need to conserve the vital wheat gluten (VWG). Since it's clear that I cannot eat the veggie sausages I make from VWG as they make my whole insides knot up and go crazy, that means that one batch of the veggie sausages lasts twice as long (I make them for DH for breakfast) which is great. I also decided to modify the bread recipe to include 1/3 cup less VWG and 1/3 cup more whole wheat flour. The result: a heartier bread that is still light, fluffy and tall. I'm quite pleased. So here's the bread recipe, doubled and refigured.

Tall Sandwich Bread
2 1/2c warm water (105 to 115 degrees Fahrenheit)
2 T oil
6T sweetener of your choice (I use turbinado)
2 t salt
2 c white flour (I use King Arthur unbleached all-purpose)
3 1/3 c whole wheat flour (I use King Arthur Whole Wheat Flour)
2/3 c vital wheat gluten
3 t dry active yeast
8 T ground flax seed

Mix with a bread hook in the Kitchenaid on Speed 1 for 8 minutes or until gluten is well developed. Transfer dough to a lightly oiled bowl. Turn dough to coat with oil. Let rise till doubled (about 1 hour) in a warm. draft-less place (I place a bowl of hot water in my oven and cover dough with a damp towel). Punch the dough down, transfer to a lightly floured surface and roll into a rectangle about 1/2" thick. Tightly roll the dough as if making cinnamon rolls, tuck the end under and pinch closed. Transfer to lightly oiled bread pan. Let rise again. Bake for 40 min at 350 F. Transfer freshly baked bread to cooling rack (remove from pan).

Upcoming New Project

I have so much on my mind right now, most of it very personal. I'm genuinely tired and I need a break, away from everything. But that's just not going to happen.

Anyway, Z1 has a friend he met at the playground, a cute little girl who wears her hair in pigtails. She's 3 years old (4 in December), adorable, and the two of them get along famously. I have 6 skeins of Sugar 'n Cream cotton yarn in the Tea Rose colorway. It's been sitting in my yarn bin for over a year now (I scored it at a thrift store for I think $3 or $4). I haven't been able to figure out what to do with it although I realized it would work best as something for a little girl--I just had to find the little girl! Even though it's six skeins, it's not really a whole lot of yarn but it is enough to make a cute little sweater. I'm trying to decide between two sweaters: Eyelet Yoke Cardigan and Swing Thing. I think I actually prefer the look of the Eyelet Yoke Cardigan more but it is not knit in one piece which means I would have to do some seaming and I hate seaming. Maybe because I really suck at it. I was checking it out on Ravelry and a lot of people knit it in one piece. I think I could do that but honestly, I'm so tired right now that I don't know if I could deviate from the pattern with good results. Still, I like it so much I might try. Swing Thing is a tried and true pattern (I really love how LTK patterns are written and they get rave reviews all the time) although I don't think it's as cute. What do you think?

Eyelet Yoke Cardigan

Swing Thing



It looks like it will take 3 1/2 skeins of the yarn so I have 2 1/2 skeins left over. I think I will do a little hat to accompany the sweater. Can you think of another idea for the left over yarn?
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