Wednesday, February 28, 2007

wfmw - charitable donations

It's Wednesday, time for more tips! Don't forget to check out Rocks In My Dryer for more cool wfmw tips.

It's that time of year again...getting ready for tax season. I have a file folder that I keep in my desk marked taxes. Anytime I make a charitable donation I throw the receipt in there. If I write a check, I make a copy of it first. If it is mileage related (driving for a field trip is tax deductible) I write when, how far, why and stick that in the file. I also keep a list of what items are worth in there to account for my donations to Goodwill. Then at tax time I can pull out the folder, go through it and everything is in one place. No scrambling for checkbooks, trying to remember what happened a year ago, no wondering if I've forgotten anything. It works for me.

Monday, February 26, 2007

terra pass

I'm interested in the environment and in trying to be environmentally sensitive. We recycle (heavily), compost, try not to buy excess packaging items, try to reuse, reduce, all those good things. Our family of five generates approximately 1 33-gallon bag of trash per month. We're trying to get it down to even less than that.

Recently I learned about Terra pass after watching an episode of Living with Ed and bought one for my car*. I think it's a good thing and hope that it will spread. Having said that I was amazed when I read this article. Wow! Talk about a big publicity boost. I hope it catches on.

*I've always liked Ed Begley Jr. and think he is a good actor. His show is a bit repetitious but oddly addictive and amusing. It's also informative and I enjoyed watching it. His neighbor is Ed Nye the science guy! What could be better than that.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

grains of gratitude

While catching up on my blog reading I found this post at Overwhelmed with Joy which referenced this blog. Being the nosy parker that I am I read their posts. Doing so made me realize that I hadn't kept up with my 30 Day of Gratitude type lists. I had successfully blogged for 30 days about things that I was grateful for. I enjoyed it so much and it made me feel better so I decided to keep it up off-blog.

Lately with the weather being so cold, the kids being so cranky, my not writing gratitudes, etc I've been feeling more cranky myself. So I've decided to join in [I'd like to know who started this...I'll link to them if we can find them].

Today happens to be an especially thoughtful day for me as the service at church focused on Hungry and Homeless. My church is in the 7th largest city in our state. Unfortunately there are a large number of homeless people and many families who rely on public assistance. The readings today were from the local newspaper highlighting homeless children and their dreams, another was about a homeless man who was employed but froze to death because he slept under a highway exit, how crowded the shelters are, how people are only allowed to stay in the shelter for 30 days per year. So here are my gratitudes:

I am grateful that my family has a more than adequate home for our needs, that we are warm, dry, fed and safe.
I am grateful that my family is together and not separated due to poverty.
I am grateful that we do not have to worry about where and when we will receive our next meal.
I am grateful that my children are safe from a life on the streets.

We already have plans to serve at the local food kitchen through D's Girl Scout troop, but now I'm thinking we are going to try to do a toiletries/canned food drive in advance of serving so that we can bring these things with us when we go.

edited: Thanks to Michelle we now know that Christine at Bradys Bunch started Grateful Grains, thank you Christine for starting this, thanks Michelle for letting us know.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

clone food

I don't rant often so if you don't want to read a rant skip this post.


I am not interested in ingesting GMO, Cloned or otherwise monkeyed-with food products. I do not feel that agribusiness has any other motive than lining their pockets. Who cares if people want the right to make a choice, they seem to feel their right to make a profit supercedes that.

I also fail to understand what they hope to gain by modifying foodstuffs. Cloned cows still need to be raised and slaughtered, cloned dairy cows still need to be raised and milked. We don't know enough about what cloning does to animals what will it do to those who ingest cloned food? And what about genetic diversity? I find it somehow repugnant that agribusiness looks for the cheapest and single source solution. That's in part how we wound up with Mad Cow Disease. Someone decided that stretching cow feed by mulching up and adding DEAD SHEEP was a good idea! Excuse me but cows are vegetarians. No surprise that this did not work well. Other agribusiness ventures have tried to reduce plant diversity among food crops such as rice because it's easier for them. That's not a good reason in my book.

Luckily there are some food producers who agree with consumers like me. Such as Ben and Jerry's, Dean Foods and others.

If you don't wish to have cloned foods in your pantry you can let your representative know by joined the Consumer Action Alert sponsored by Citizens for Health.

Thank you for reading, rant over.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

wfmw - bulkfoods

There is a wonderful resource available on the internet called They have beans, cereals, dried fruits, spices, cooking supplies, and more. Steve's favorite is the corn nuts but I like it for a number of things like tvp, barley flakes and such. The best part? Shipping is only $4.95 no matter what size your order is. That definitely works for me.

Check out Rocks In My Dryer and see what Shannon and others find works for them!

Friday, February 16, 2007


Well I've managed to figure out that I didn't have to change my template colors. Which is good because I liked them. The page settings are different and several options that I used to have, that I liked, are gone. Still trying to figure out how to get them back. Tempted to switch to WordPress but don't have the time right now.

Oh well, beggars can't be choosers and I am blogging for free right now so I'll just plug away and see if I can retweak this thing back to my preferred setup.

Thanks for your patience...we now return you to your regularly scheduled...whatever you were reading.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

ouchless knitting

I was browsing for leaf patterns for our knitted flower project and found this.

I guess if you can't remember to water your plants this could be a good option for you.

wfmw - receipts

Here we are another Wednesday and more tips coming your way. Don't forget to check out Rock In My Dryer and see what Shannon and folks have shared.

My latest works for me is probably not new to most people but is turning out to be surprisingly effective. Saving receipts. I used to save only receipts for things I thought I might need to exchange (for sizing) or for warranty information. A couple of times I've been caught short by needing to return something without a receipt.

Apparently in my area there is a new twist to returning without a receipt which allows the merchant to not return the sales tax you paid. Someone I know tried to return something two weeks after purchasing it and it had alread gone on sale. She was only given the sale price in return, they wouldn't even let her exchange it for the correct size!!! She had to take the lesser price and then buy the correct item which was NOT on sale (go figure).

I now have receipt envelopes in my monthly folders in the filing cabinet. Every single receipt goes into the envelope. Cash receipt for gas? In the envelope. Grocery store receipt? In the envelope. This way I will eventually have one year of receipts but if I really need a receipt I should be able to find it. I'm thinking of refining the system further to go through the receipts and get rid of grocery, gas, etc but we'll see if I get that organized.

At least this way if I need a receipt I know I've got it because I've got ALL of for me.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

stitching what?

Tonight was Stitch Sisters, ahead of the big storm that is supposed to be coming our way. Luckily we managed to squeeze in a meeting and a chocolate being almost valentine's day you know. We had red gumdrops, hershey kisses, chocolate gooey cake with real whipped cream and chocolate cupcakes with butter cream frosting and pink and red sprinkles. Mmmmmmmm. Hard to eat and knit at the same time but we mostly chose to eat so that wasn't a problem.

The temperatures have been steadily dropping and the wind picking up all day. Plus it feels a bit damp and humid. As I mentioned there is a big storm coming. One of the ladies mentioned that she was feeling a bit chilly. So I jokingly mentioned that G, one of our fastest knitters, was going to make us all thermal underwear. She mis-heard me and said "purple underwear?". R heard half of the conversation and said, "who's underwear?", and it just got funnier from there. As I was writing this I thought to try to post a picture but the google search was not pretty so I left it out.

We're getting close to done with our next goodwill project. Every year we try to make something for the Church where we meet since they so kindly let us meet for free. We're making flower lapel pins for the ladies luncheon in April. I've REALLY got to get off my rear and start making leaves for all of these flowers. Hopefully I'll find some green yarn in my stash and be able to begin making them. I figure I'm just going to make triangles in different sizes and then we'll stitch them on to the pins. One sister, J, is making felted flowers and they are coming out so beautifully it's really fun to do projects like this. Then we'll need to come up with another charity project. I'll try to remember to take a picture of all of the flower pins to post here when we are done.

Sunday, February 11, 2007


Hmmmm, I was catching up on blog reads and came across the needs game from Hanna. It looked interesting although I figured I wouldn't find anything. Boy was I wrong.

How to play:

1. Google *your name* needs
2. List the first 10 items
3. Giggle

Here's mine:

Mira needs: listen to her father (I swear I am NOT making that one up) in order to achieve it's goals (apparently there is a Foundation Mira that trains guide dogs for the blind -- who knew?) know how to identify the raw images (really?) heal
[all] Master Speed and Force Deflection/Force Redirection (Star Wars - wow!)
...Anne Stuart more than Anne Stuart needs Mira (don't know who Anne Stuart is but okay)
...or to very garbled (wrong) input data (didn't make any sense to me either)
...the clout only her sister's ad agency can bring (if I had a sister that is)
...needs to work on her projection (yup) enumerate the links belonging to minimum cuts(coming right up)
...a complex intensive calculation of the maximum flow (help!)

Your turn next...what do YOU need?

update - multiple items

Lots going on and I haven't been posting lately. In no particular order the recent events are:

1. Blogger finally got me to switch to the new version. hrmph! I'll have to poke around and investigate. I had resisted as long as I could, I'm not a fan of beta software and quite frankly these days I don't have massive amounts of time to waste spend working around bugs. Hopefully all the complaints that I had read about from other readers are now a non-issue.

2. Went to FL for a week. Lovely, lovely, lovely. Can we say warm? Steve stayed home with the girls while I took a few days R&R. V was happy for me that I got away. D wanted to know why I was going without her. I told her it was so that I would miss her while I was gone. And I did miss all of them but I very much appreciated the peacefulness of being in a different place and being spoiled by my aunt.

3. I've been busy with my new business grains&more. It's an exciting venture for me and I'm really learning a lot. I've had a talk at a local mini-conference of organic/natural food producers and will be giving two classes in the upcoming months. One on baking with grains (not baking bread thought) and the other on what else can you do with grains-soups, stews, etc. So I may not be blogging much as I organize this new venture in my life.

4. Reading!!!! As some of you may remember I had joined the Winter Reading Challenge. Had a whole list of books to read. Still plugging away but there have been some changes.

a) I did manage to read The Memory Keeper's Daughter while I was in FL. My aunt had recommended it to me and had a copy for me to read. Good story, very engrossing. I will confess that I was a little disappointed in the ending as I feel that it was a bit rushed. But the story was very well written and thought provoking in some areas. Definitely worth reading.

b) I had mentioned that I received a copy of Reason for Hope: A Spiritual Journey for the holidays. I am thoroughly enjoying this book. I find it to be easy to read and should be finished soon.

c) Steve had taken a copy of Freakonomics'> Freakonomics out of the library and recommended it to me. Surprisingly I really liked it. I had thought it would be dry, boring and statistical. Instead it was interesting, insightful and thought provoking. Lots of amazing connections that I never would have thought of, written in an easy to understand style. Good stuff.

d) I've also been reading crockpot cookbooks. Now that cold weather has finally appeared I find myself using it more and more. The Healthy Slow Cooker It's very good - I've already made a couple of recipes and enjoyed them. I like the way Judith Findlayson writes. The other is Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker. Lots of good looking recipes in this one. I've been enjoying browsing through both of these cookbooks for winter meal inspiration.

5. Weather? cold (see #2 above). It's been in the single digits and teens. Winds howling, the woodburning stove is not keeping up. Thank goodness for modern heat. And sunshine. At least if it's bitter cold outside it's sunny so it looks nice.

No promises on when I'll blog again, but I will try to duck in and out for a brief note here and there.