Funny but True

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1. A friend recently posted on Facebook about how what a teacher says can shape your future. Today I said, “STOP picking your nose”. I hope that sticks

2. What’s it like trying to take a poop with a three year old? FALSE. No one poops with a three year old.

Including him.

3. Being married is… having your husband put his keys two inches away from the key bowl.

4. I now understand why Marge Simpson always went, ‘Ehhhhhhhhh”

5. When someone tells me they found “themselves” on a trip someplace exotic, that’s nice. I lived in Spain for 4 months. They didn’t have peanut butter. I wanted to go home.

6. Show me where on Amazon I can purchase time to shower….

 

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The Ridiculous Guide to Bed Bath and Beyond

Bed Bath and Beyond’s slogan is right; these items go waaaay beyond what you thought you’d ever need. Here’s some “lifestyles of the rich and the famous” shit to spruce up your Jetson’s house and remind yourself that, yes YOU, are the 1%!Dog feeder

Now you can feed your dog treats while away and talk to your dog from your iphone! No need to come home and spend quality time with your pet. No guarantees that the device will help you to stop your dog from eating his own puke.

Cat laser toyThe cat’s outta the bag, and now has the high-tech toy he always needed. No more longingly staring at birds out the window or swatting around that basic bell toy you bought last year. Check your facebook while your cat plays hands-free! Would probably work for young children too…. but both the cat and the kid will like the box more.Dog Ugg   There’s a refuge crisis, but that’s okay; you can still buy Sherpa-lined PJs and a cable-knit sweater by Ugg for your furry friend. These guys are dressed better than most humans.

Moisturizer

Instead of the ol’ “boiling a saucepan of water and inhaling” trick, you can spend $150. Darth Vader would’ve benefitted.

Pooporri

Nothing better for your bathroom buddies than Christmas-scented poo.

I actually think I’d rather just smell the poop…

Virtual reality

Virtual reality! Now you can completely disassociate from the world’s woes. No need to worry about the current humanitarian crises and children going hungry, you can unplug by plugging in. And you can look like an idiot doing it too…

 

 

 

Frugal AF: Baby Edition

  1. Invest in cloth diapers. The average parents spends $2000 on disposable diapers. We spent roughly $400 to purchase 20 cloth diapers, which we are now re-using with our second kiddo.IMG_3733
  2. Look at resale shops for cloth diapers; they last a long time and can be resold.
  3. Ditch the expensive diaper detergent, use Original Tide Powder. It cleans better than the special diaper detergents we tried, and is half the price.
  4. Always buy diapers with coupons. Check the internet before going to the store.
  5. Buy an IKEA crib that converts into a toddler bed. Ours cost us 150 dollars with the mattress. It’s lightweight, has clean lines, and still looks like new (4 years later).Gulliver crib
  6. Don’t buy a changing table. Put a changing pad on top of set of drawers that you’ll use for much longer.
  7. Buy bouncers, swings, high chairs, and other baby gear at resale shops, online off of Craigslist, or from garage sales. We received a new bouncer from our registry that neither of our children liked… not worth full price.
  8. Better yet, borrow baby gear from a friend in between children!
  9. Check goodwill or secondhand stores for clothing. There’s really no reason to buy new, especially when babies grow so fast.
  10. Breastfeed, if you can. Formula is EXPENSIVE
  11. Buy a used breast pump motor, purchase new parts.
  12. Invest in a stroller that is made to last. Bonus points if it’s secondhand.
  13. If you’re going to a baby store, bring coupons. BuyBuyBaby accepts Bed Bath and Beyond coupons (owned by the same company). Our closest BuyBuy even takes them expired.
  14. Know the lowest price for something new; many stores will honor another’s coupon or lowest price.
  15. Register for the things you really need; skip the froo froo baby blankets, curtains, crib skirt, etc. You’ll probably get multiple baby blankets anyways.
  16. Baby washcloths are kinda annoying. Get normal sized ones. Please.
  17. Skip the diaper pail. Use a trash can with lid (I like one’s with a foot pedal so you can open it while holding a poopy diaper). Buy large wet bags for liners. These are also great with cloth diapers, and can be thrown in the wash. IMG_3732
  18. Cloth diapering? Sew your own wet bags with PLU fabric.
  19. Skip the expensive baby lotion. Virgin Coconut oil is cheap, safe, and lasts forever. If you’re cloth diapering, coconut oil won’t coat your diapers and repel liquid. IMG_3730
  20. Make your own baby food. Use an immersion blender.
  21. As cute as those diaper bags are, buy a regular backpack with lots of pockets. We bought an Eddie Bauer backpack and never looked back. Much cheaper, and much easier to carry!
  22. Instead of a bottle warmer, just microwave some water and dunk that bottle in. Boom. Done.
  23. Wipe warmers are kinda silly. Rub a wipe between your hands or blow on it a bit if you’re super worried.
  24. Skip the rice cereal. Would YOU eat it?
  25. Skip purchasing ALL the teething stuff you see: your kid is most likely to want to chomp on a frozen washcloth over that super nifty multiple surfaces teething toy.

Fizzlepop Berrytwist: WTF?

axel school1. “Is that poop or peanut butter?” (Smells sleeve)

2. “Hi Mom (parent of student). Just wanted to let you know that your son pooped in his pants today. Then scooped it out. And threw it on the floor”.

3. “Stop eating the ground salt. For the fourth time.”

4. “No, you cannot wear shorts. It’s winter. In Wisconsin”.

5. “Next time you change your pants, please don’t do it in the middle of the school hallway”.

6. ” I haven’t showered in…”

7. “Honey, please stop using the tape measure to poke me under the bathroom door. Momma just pooped and has to weigh herself. This is very important”

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8. “Fizzlepop Berrytwist”. The name of a Pony in My Little Pony. I shit you not.

 

Frugal AF: Laundry Hacks

A penny saved is a penny earned. Here’s some laundry hacks to save some dough.

  1. Unless you’re a huge clean freak, you probably don’t need to wash every article of clothing every time you wear it (other than your underwear). If it’s not visibly dirty or stinky, just put it back in the closet. If you don’t notice, no one else will.
  2. Tide Powdered Detergent: so cheap and amazing. We picked this up for cloth diapers. It’s the best.
  3. Line-dry EVERYTHING, but especially heavy, thick items that take your dryer lots of energy to dry.
  4. Switch out dryer sheets for wool dryer balls. Dryer balls last forever, decrease static just as well as dryer sheets, don’t contain messed up chemicals, and speed up drying time. And if you want to get all crunchy granola, you can add a couple drops of essential oils to the dryer balls for some fresh smellin’ duds.
  5. Use your bath towels more than once. You’re clean, right?

A Momma’s Ten Minutes After Work

10 Minutes

The smell was rancid and thick. As soon as the door squeaked open, the smell socked me in the face. The dog had had diarrhea again, ten minutes after Nick sent the text “Dog crapped on the rug”. Painstakingly, slowly, muscles twinging, I lowered the car seat and the sleeping baby to the ground, skirting the dog dropping in the middle of the entryway, quietly thanking the poo gods that the door had not worked as a broom and swept the disaster across the tile when I came inside. With the baby still snoozing (ah, the little successes), I quickly paper-toweled and citrus-sprayed the offensive leavings, tiptoeing and shooshing around in my socks as I sprayed and wiped, sprayed and wiped.

The smell of citrus cleaner thick in my nose, I lobbed the crunchy plastic bag onto the porch, slowly closing the door with a soft ca-chunk. Usually upon arriving at home, the baby would last roughly five minutes before the effects of the rocking and swaying car and worn off. But he was still asleep. Golden silence, mommy success! I thought, as I turned on the sink and scrubbed my hands, in my mind eviscerating any leftover poo particles like a doctor scrubbing up for surgery.

Then it came.

Thunk- thunk- thunk!

The damn cable guys were knocking at the front door! For the third time in two days. Quickly I ran to silence the dog, protector of the realm; but my “quickly” was too slow. Four rumbling barks escaped the excited canine at the thought of impending strangers attempting to enter his house! Roff ROff ROFF!

Waking up the baby.

And I really had to poop…

Frugal AF: Kitchen Edition

Put down that paper toweling! Here are a couple of frugal living changes you can make in the kitchen, without having to completely turn yourself into a yoga-loving millennial hippie… 😉 Nobody (read: no mama) got time for THAT

  1. Meal plan for the week, stick to the cheap, and actually follow through. If you’re going to have chicken breast one night, use the leftovers the next couple of days in new meals. I.E. chicken quesadillas, chicken bacon avocado sandwiches, etc. Bonus points if you can use things already in the frig, like those extra tortillas you know you have…
  2. Plan to make leftovers for lunches. Stop crying and actually eat those leftovers.
  3. Freeze extra that can be frozen. Those tortillas you have floating around in the frig I mentioned above? You should’ve frozen those.
  4. Ditch constantly using paper towels. Make the jump and buy dishtowels. Now, don’t straight up ditch paper towels completely  – it’s important to have that extra stash for the super gross things, like when the dog pukes on the carpet. Again.axel towel
  5. Invest in cloth napkins. World Market, Target, WalMart have ’em for cheap. And you get to feel fancy. Extra points towards green living.
  6. Regardless of how hipster it is, use mason jars as glasses. If you’re not using them to can things you grow, use them for drinks. I absolutely suggest letting your children use them; the heavier the glass, the more your child has to concentrate on holding it. The better the feedback from the object, the less likely your child will drop it. Trust me.
  7. If glass containers aren’t your bag, IKEA sells super cheap children’s bowls, plates, utensils, cups, etc. I use them in my classroom for snack and they hold up well.
  8. Stop buying bottled water. Use a water bottle instead. Less plastic waste. If you’re nervous about lead in the drinking water, research and purchase an affordable filtering system.IMG_3704
  9. Make your coffee at home and use a travel mug. If you absolutely have to have barista-brewed, still bring your mug to keep it green.
  10. Invest in reusable containers. Ditch the ziplocs for washable sandwich bags and Tupperware for one-time use containers. Tip: You can throw many brands of reusable sandwich bags into your washer if the cloth outside becomes dirty. Tupperware sets are usually on some sort of sale at Target.
  11. Buy foods in bulk. Costco Costco Costco. This also saves on throwing away tons of packaging.pretzels
  12. Decide whether to buy a whole food or a food individually prepared; for example, you get the most bang for your buck when you buy a brick of cheese versus individually wrapped cheese sticks. Invest in a cheese slicer.
  13. Do a bit of scientific observation. Our fav grocery store sells our kid’s cereal for a dollar MORE than Target, and Target frequently has sales on the brand as well. Keep a mental (or physical!) list of price comparisons to know what’s cheaper where.
  14. Invest in a foodsaver, and buy meat when it’s on sale.
  15. If you have a chest freezer, buy meat (think half a cow) directly from a butcher or farm.
  16. Be a bit ridiculous and save that half apple of half banana that went uneaten. If the banana still has the peel, store it in the fridge to keep the fruit flies away. The only part that will get yellow is the exposed end. Chop it off and you’re good to go. Same with the apple. This is especially important with picky toddlers who apparently can only eat half of anything…

Frugal AF: Health and Beauty

  1. Buy mid-range (think Target brand) razors. Cheapos will cut you up, and name brands just work your wallet.
  2. Look for sales and coupons on razors (hollaaaaa Target!). If you favorite brand doesn’t usually offer coupons, time to change up.
  3. Better yet, invest in an electric razor… if they don’t scare you…
  4. Remove disposable razors from the shower, so they don’t sit in excess moisture. Dry them off and keep them on the counter, or in the medicine cabinet if you have kids (or cats).
  5. A little rust on your razor freaking you out? Rub it off with a bit of aluminum foil. Be careful not to rub too much and scratch up the blades, or you’ll get that “chicken skin” look.
  6. Ditch the expensive shaving creme. Use conditioner. It works just as well.
  7. If you have relatively manageable hair, use Suave. It’s cheap, and there’s always coupons.  An Aveda hairdresser asked what products I used with my hair, and I responded, “I wash my hair like, twice, a week… with Suave”. I dry shampoo and use a straightener, so my hair goes through a lot. Suave stands the test. Suave’s the shit. IMG_3701
  8. If you haven’t guessed it yet, use Suave body wash, or whatever’s cheap. I have terribly dry skin (ezcema), and I’ve noticed really no difference between Suave and other brands.
  9. Get your makeup on sale. At Target. You’re there anyways. Mary Kay is a crock of shit.
  10. Don’t really care what your soap looks like? Refill the ol’ standard plastic pump bottle with the large bulk soap that you skillfully hide under the sink. Costco is the BEST for bulk liquid soap, as long as you don’t mind suffering the suburban death that is driving your mini van to the Costco. Just be careful, your mother may find the empty bottle upstairs (which you haven’t refilled in days…) and recycle it… IMG_3703

My Beef with Rachel Ray

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Recently I managed 20 minutes to watch television while nursing my 6 month old son. Instead of watching yet another episode of Roseanne, I switched to the basic channels. After some scrolling, I came across Rachel Ray’s show. Loving the fact that she puts cheese on EVERYTHING and I live in Wisconsin, I put down the remote.

Fast forward.

Halfway through the show, after organizing all your white-middle-class crap and making white-middle-class tacos and advertising her white-middle-class select brand dog food called “nutrish” (as if the show couldn’t get any whiter), she featured a woman who talked about getting out of debt and getting control of your finances.

A white, middle to upper class woman.

Now,  I am white, and middle-class by society’s standards based on what my husband and I make as teachers, but this woman was the epitomy of WASP-iness.

Her blonde hair shashayed around her shoulders, her white, furry vest catching loose ringlets and holding. Perfectly make-uped, she brought out her props. A piggie bank. Giant index cards.

This lady put me over the edge; off my ledge of passive, semi-interested daytime television viewer into the swirling waters of WHATTHEFUCK. This woman advised that by 30 years old, everyone should have at least one year of their salary saved up.

As if.

My stomach clenched at the thought that we are SO far behind this savings goal. This woman must be completely disconnected from the reality of a millenial’s financial situation. While I have a great job and great benefits, I have jack shit.

No, take that back. I have DEBT.

Not the, “I bought too much shit because I wanted to keep up with the Joneses in my cute suburban home” debt (I live in the city by the way), but the, “I went to graduate school and wanted to have children before I was 50 and could actually afford children” type of debt. I live in a small home in Milwaukee county, and everything this lady said did not apply to me. I felt more like Roseanne from the 1980s sitcom; I should’ve watched THAT instead.

While yes, I should be following the 50-30-20 model, I have exorbitant daycare costs to contend with, two small children, a mortgage, and student loans from graduate school. So does my husband, who is also a teacher. We have two dependable cars, which we are still paying off. There’s no way we can start saving money, and still get through the summer months, until our children are out of daycare. And even then, we’ll be in our mid-thirties and waaay behind where blonde-hair and furry-vest Rachael Ray lady says we should be.

Ms. Thang also suggested the envelope money system, where you put cash into envelopes and once it’s gone, it’s gone. I get this idea, it’s a great budget tactic, but how can I pay my bills in cash? The electric company is going to think I’m running drugs, shoving cash into envelopes. Or a doomsday hoarder. My grandparents had a stash of cash hidden in a little desk in their kitchen; they were prepping for the next Great Depression…

So where is the financial advice for the millenial with student loans and came into adulthood already straddled with debt? I guess that’s still forthcoming, maybe next episode.

Just kidding. THAT definitely won’t be featured on Racheal Ray.

But those tacos still looked damn good.

Sh%$ My Students Say

IMG_31731.Five year old working on illustrating a picture. “Roma, RO-ma-ma, GA GA OH LALA, Baaaad rooomance”. Colors frantically

2. My three-year old’s teacher comes up to me. “Your little man told me, loudly for all to hear, that the baby bit your nipple and you screamed”

3. “Ms. Ashley, why is your face always like that?”

4. “You look ugly without your glasses”. Walks away thoughtfully

5. “I forgot about not talking in the hallway” Said loudly, in the hallway

6. “We stayed home because my daddy’s too lazy to get up. He slept, like a sloth. We watched cartoons”

7. “What da fuck?” Says Spanish-only-speaking student. Rest of children at table: “Fuck? Fuck… fuck….”

8. While reading this book (picture below), student pauses. “Oh my god, that hen’s HUGE”… said with disbelief and slight disgust

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9. “Cuba? Is everything square there?”