Category Archives: money

I’ll Start My Diet Tomorrow

I woke up on New Year’s Day totally and completely ready for a diet.  A financial diet.  (Please, Mamas, let’s be kind to ourselves.  Let’s just pat ourselves on the back for enduring the emotional and physical ringer of motherhood – and a two-week long winter break! – and be okay with where we are and try to drink more water and less wine and more fruit and less Skinny Pop without making ourselves crazy.  Deal?  Cool.)

My diet is one month (or two or three or infinity) of no spending except for the bare necessities (gas, groceries, Kefir, wine, and Chinese food delivery).  One month of simplicity.  One month of living with less.  This has nothing to do with being a shopaholic (don’t believe a word she says…shopaholics are liars!), but the excessiveness of the holidays has certainly left me craving a cleanse.

I would’ve started my diet on January 1st, but we went to the zoo as a family (which was lovely, by the way), and after we bought tickets, pretzels, popcorn, and lunch (for us and the giraffes), we had to walk through the zoo gift store to get to the parking where we spent another $10 just because.

When we got home that night, we found the floor was wet under the carpet in the boys’ bedroom next to the wall where the air conditioning duct enters the house.  That discovery didn’t cost anything yet, but the a/c repairman would have a looky-loo on Saturday afternoon.  The evening turned ominous after that, so we poured a drink, ordered Chinese food delivery (see list of bare necessities in 2nd paragraph), and called it a day.

I would’ve started my diet on January 2nd, but we met friends at the ice skating rink where we bought tickets and rented skates and a walker for Riley because he’s a hot mess on the ice.


(That $5 was worth every freaking adorable penny.)

We also bought snacks from the snack bar because I screwed up the time and we arrived an hour before the skate rental window opened, a bottle of water because someone was sooooo dehydrated, a pretzel, a blueberry muffin, and $1.50 in quarters because another someone wanted to “win” crap from the crap machines scattered around the rink.

Then, when we got home, I booked two nights at a local Marriott Residence Inn for when the house is tented for termites in ten days (gulp).

I would’ve started my diet on January 3rd, but we met friends at the children’s museum where we paid for parking, admission tickets, and lunch.  We got lucky at the end and snuck out the entrance instead of being forced to exit through (and spend more money in) the gift shop.

I would’ve started my diet on January 4th, but we had a babysitter.  I mean, come on!  I’d been on winter break with my (adorable, intelligent, lovely, etc.) nut-bag kids for seventeen days.  SEVENTEEN days!  I deserved a night off for everyone’s sake, didn’t I?  And after the diagnosis from the a/c repairman, I really needed a drink.  I mean, really needed a drink.  For some reason, I also had an urge to watch “Money Pit” with Shelley Long and Tom Hanks, which not only would’ve validated the crap sandwich that is home ownership, but also would’ve made me feel ancient because Shelley Long and Tom Hanks were younger than me when they made that movie and that movie was released in 1986.  1986!  Do you see why the babysitter and the drink(s) were legitimate – lifesaving, I dare say – expenses?

I would’ve started my diet today, but you see, parenthood is the ultimate money pit.  One kid needs shin guards for soccer and the other kid needs a mouth guard for basketball and there’s a preschool tuition bill sitting on my desk to the left of my laptop and it’s almost time to put a deposit down for camp and I need to go back to the grocery store because I have to pack lunches for school and I need cheese sticks and yogurt tubes and bagels and cream cheese and apples and would you believe me if I told you there is not one juice box to be found in my house?  Not a single one.

The point of all of this is that I’ll start my diet tomorrow.



Filed under money, New Years, school, shopaholism, Uncategorized

Word Problems VII

A Mama waves five one dollar bills in front of her money-obsessed three-year-old and tells him she will pay him a dollar for each night that he sleeps in his bed.  (At this point, the Mama would give him one of her kidneys for the pleasure of sleeping a night without his heavy breathing, tossing and turning, extreme cuddling, kicking, random arm slapping, and sleep talking.)  After five days, the Mama has three dollars left.  How many nights did her three-year-old sleep in his bed?

Zero.   I tricked you.  Riley hasn’t slept in his bed in more than five days.  I gave a few of the dollars to Dylan to reinforce how proud I am of him for sleeping in his bed every night.  I’ve also been thinking a lot about an article I once read about how it’s natural to occasionally prefer one child over the other.

A Mama takes her dog to the vet and pays $147 for an examination and medicine.  She decides that he – with his occasional but astrologically expensive vet visits plus his $15.99 Milo’s Kitchen chicken grillers habit and his insistence that fresh ground meat be sprinkled on his dog food – is her most expensive “child.”  After returning home from the vet, the Mama goes to the grocery store to stock up on $4.39 per jug strawberry Kefir for her Kefir-addicted three-year-old.  He’s pretty expensive, too, she realizes.  Later in the day, she receives her five-year-old’s Kindergarten school supply list, which is a multi-page document that includes 32 separate items most of which need to be purchased in multiples (many multiples).  After catching her breath and remembering the four embroidered uniform shirts, six pairs of uniform shorts, and two pairs of uniform pants she already purchased for him for school, she concludes that he is the winner.

There’s no math to calculate here.  This is just another reminder that kids (and pets) are money pits.

Two Transformers walk into a restaurant.  A while later, two Transformers walk out of the restaurant but only one has a head.  How many heads are missing requiring someone (Mama) to go back inside the restaurant to look for it at their table where a lovely party of six has already been seated and served drinks and appetizers.  Bonus question:  How many iPhone flashlight apps are required to successfully find the Transformer head under the table?

One head, three iPhone flashlight apps, and one lovely family with a sense of humor and the wisdom to know that if I didn’t walk back to my car triumphantly with Starscream’s head, it was going to be a rough ride home.

A Mama vows to pack light for her weeklong trip to San Francisco.  With less than 24 hours to go, she’s still considering three pairs of jeans, four black tops, three sweaters, one jacket, two dresses, three bags, and (gulp) six pairs of shoes.  (She likes to have choices.)  She intends to fit all of this plus her husband’s clothing and shoes into one suitcase to avoid paying for more than two checked bags at the airport (her children are sharing a second suitcase.)  How many glasses of wine will be required for this Mama to calm down, breathe deep and channel her inner Simple Mama, remember that if she leaves some room in her suitcase, she can channel her inner Shopaholic Mama in San Francisco, and realize that, if necessary, she can pilfer some space from her boys’ bag.

Two glasses should do it.

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Filed under bedtime, math, money, packing, toys


I need to update you on a bunch of random stuff, including the casserole, Father’s Day, my financial, um, situation, the garden, and summer goals.

As it turns out, my casserole leftovers were quite yummy.  It tasted so much better than the night I cooked it.  In other words, it got better with age…

…just like Mike.  Happy Fathers Day!  We started the day with cards and pictures:

Dylan made this picture of a spider web for Mike  – yes, a spider web – at camp:

Then omelets with hot Italian pork sausage, baby spinach and mozzarella (Mike’s request), turkey bacon, Morning Star veggie sausage patties, and croissants (Dylan’s request):

Made by Yours Truly!  I may need some casserole practice, but I’m damn good with eggs.

Then Mike went straight to his computer to do computery things.  (For comparison’s sake, on Mother’s Day, I went to the mall and bought a pair of expensive shoes.)  About Mike’s role as a dad, I can say this:  He works his butt off to provide for his family (and he’s a gifted paper airplane maker to boot), and Dylan, Riley and I couldn’t be more fortunate and proud.

Later in the afternoon, I took the boys to Target to give Mike some space and to buy a zillion and one things, including Mike’s Father’s Day presents from the boys.  Apparently, Mike requested a really awesome Beyblade with sharp edges and a Star Wars Snowspeeder.

“Daddy’s gonna love this,” said Dylan.

I’m gonna love this,” said Riley.

(Editor’s note:  I wasn’t going to buy any toys – as if these kids need any more – but Daddy insisted.  He did.)

We ended the day at our favorite local bar & grill to celebrate with three generations of current and future dads:

Cheers to Grandpa Tom…and to Uncle Ken and Grandpa Barry who we’ll see in San Francisco in ONE MONTH!

On to less celebratory topics…

My spending:  I added up my household expenses for the week and, well, I don’t really want to talk about it.  Just know that I’ll be adding it all up on a weekly basis for a while.  Back in my Weight Watchers days, keeping the food journal was always the deciding factor in whether or not it was a successful week.  I’m hoping the same will be true here.

Now let’s talk about the garden, another slightly depressing topic.  On Saturday, we completed “Take Two” of our garden project.  Not “Phase Two” (the herb and vegetable garden); rather, “Take Two.”  Almost all of the flowers I planted a few weeks ago died.  Green Mama, I am not.  Mike planted new flowers yesterday afternoon without gloating too much (just a little bit) about how all of the flowers he originally planted survived and all of the flowers I originally planted died.  Boo.

Good luck, Take Two:

We (Mike) also planted a beautiful yellow Bromeliad plant Dylan’s teacher gave me at the end of the school year as a thank you for being the classroom’s healthy snack coordinator.

Supposedly, these plants are hard to kill.  We’ll see.  Mike planted it, so I’m hopeful.

A quick “Summer Goals” update:  I bought a “Captain Underpants” chapter book for Dylan.  After initially rejecting the book because it was “black and white on the inside” and asking me to bring it back to the store and buy a toy instead, which made me a very Angry Mama, Dylan let me read a few chapters before bed last night and He. Loved. It.  By the way, there’s a lot of poop, fart, and wedgie humor in this book, which is fun, but we made a deal to only do “poop, fart, and wedgie talk” at home when we’re reading the book (just like how we only pee on trees in our backyard).  We even did a pinky shake to ensure compliance.

Finally, here’s the “Who shot J.R.?” cliffhanger:  I have less than 72 hours to pack for a four-day family trip to Legoland.  Yikes!  Those of you who know my history of packing anxiety are well aware of what a frighteningly short period of time I’ve left myself to get my s–t together.  (New readers can catch up here:  “Everything AND The Kitchen Sink” and “Mastering the art of…”)  Will I get it done?  Without blowing my budget?  Or losing my mind?  Is this all just a dream?  Speaking of which, last night I dreamed I was pregnant again!

To be continued…

p.s. The pregnancy dream isn’t the cliffhanger.  That really was a dream.

Anyone watching the new “Dallas” on TNT? 


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Filed under anxiety, books, cooking, dads, Father's Day, food, garden, money, packing, shopping, toys, Uncategorized, vacation