Thursday, March 23, 2006

Living #2

Top of my list to keep me in check is entertainment.

Cable. Can’t miss something I’ve never owned. We did have DSL once upon a time and I do miss it with a passion. So, no glorified TV for us, if the giant antenna can’t bring it into the house, then it’s not meant to be seen.

Eating out. Clay and I challenged ourselves one summer to not eat out for three months. We did it. It was a lot of work keeping food ready and resisting the urge to go somewhere real quick, but now that we live out in the middle of nowhere it’s not hard to go through the week without going through a drive-thru. However, Clay you need to start packing your lunch again dear…really.

The Most Holy Place. In this family I own all rights to the kitchen. It is mine, no touch! I learned mega amounts of wisdom from two women in Kansas that have helped me turn a jar of mayonnaise and a few rocks into a delicious gourmet meal. Let me share this simple wisdom: In nearly every baked good there are five simple ingredients that cost far less than buying the ready made mix. So put that brownie mix, pancake mix, bisquick, cake mix, bread mix (see the trend?) back on the shelf and buy yourself some flour, eggs, oil, sugar and baking powder. Yes, you might have to spend five extra minutes getting out the cook book to make the pancakes, but eventually you will know the recipe like your favorite song and you won’t want to touch those mixes with the burnt end of your wooden spoon. You also stand the chance of hearing, “Mom, I like your pancakes better than Denny’s!”

Use it up. I don’t go to the store until all supplies are exhausted. All those cans of tomatoes have a purpose and that is to fill the bellies of the people I love. If I’m going to spend a hundred dollars on groceries then we’re going to eat a hundred dollars of groceries before I drag everyone back to the store. Have a plan. Use simple books like the once a month freezer meals to get you a core of meals that you can whip out of those last few boxes of pasta.

Vinegar. This is God’s gift to housewives. It has at times replaced all these items in my house; fabric softener, glass cleaner, multipurpose cleaner, floor cleaner, starch, odor killer. And I think a gallon of it cost a buck or less. If you mix it with water and a bit of dish soap you’ve got just about any cleaner you need. One of my more amazing and cost efficient finds. The trick is in the dilution.

If you don’t shop there, you should. I used to feel like I needed to rush home and take a shower after I shopped there, but it has improved a lot. They have whole grain bread for $1.60. Next to God, Aldi’s is the reason I get to stay home with my children. End of story.


Jessie said...

I like these April. I need to do better about using everything up before I go to the grocery...I do have some odds and ends in the pantry. So, I guess I have to get more creative in using those. I agree about vinegar, recently I told Brian, "white vinegar is the best way to clean anything!"

moe said...

I just found your blog. Nice to meet you.

I noticed you are planning to give up TV. We (5 kids, husband and me) gave up TV for lent. No complaints so far.

melanie said...

I'm also going to try to use up everything in my pantry before I go out shopping again. When we moved into the new house in August we moved food from FIVE years ago that I had in my pantry from our first year of marriage when we lived in a small condo. Tonight we are going to have canned Chinese food that I bought almost a year ago. I don't like Chinese food, but when I was at Walmart it looked delicious (I was pregnant). By time I got home, it sounded gross again so it has stayed in the pantry ever since. The date on the Chow Mein Noodles says "June 2005", but in the name of April we are going to purge it from the pantry regardless.

Which Aldi's do you go to? Are the prices a lot better than Walmart?

I just started using vinegar to clean with. A couple of weeks ago I read somewhere that you could pour some into the humidifier and run it to clean out the inside. I did that and went to bed. Three hours later when I woke up to feed Jacob, I stepped outside our bedroom into the hallway (where the humidifier is) and what a shock! It literally hurt to breathe. I am still using vinegar to clean, but only when it can dry quickly. I love it for all other cleaning purposes.

april said...

Yeah, Melanie...I've seen your pantry ;)

I use the Aldi's closest to where I need to be. Watson, Fenton, Manchester. Yes, it's cheaper than Wal-mart and I don't get distracted by other non-essential purchases. I come out with a bulging cart of food, I'm talking 6 loves of bread, 2-3 bags of frozen chicken, cases of canned fruits etc and I have never, ever, ever spent more than $150.00!!!! It is rare that I spend much more over 100.00.

melanie said...


Dinner was followed up with grilled cheese sandwiches as dessert. No, you did not have to eat all your supper in order to have dessert.