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Mar. 1st, 2014

lornadoone

Screw It...

...I'm ordering a pizza.

Feb. 26th, 2014

lornadoone

Staying on this Crazy Ride a Bit Longer than Expected...

It turns out that Spend-Free February is probably going to need to be extended.  The thing is, Darling Husband Rob's paydays are on the 10th and 26th of each month.  So, when we started this on the 1st, we had already spent some of his previous paycheck.  Since part of this whole experiment is about actually saving money, it kind of makes sense to extend it until the 10th, so that we have two full paychecks worth of saving.

I am both cool with and dreading this.  You see, we've been doing really well.  As I've mentioned, we're good on food.  We haven't run out of anything major.  I wouldn't be surprised if we could go another month without buying toilet paper!  There are still three loaves of bread in the freezer.  But, there are a few things that are starting to run low.  To be fair, they are not essential things, but running out of coffee filters, for example, will be less than pleasant.  (That said, Brewers are problem solvers, so I'm guessing we're going to figure something out.)

March 10th is two more weeks from now.  Do we have two weeks' worth of food?  Probably.  Meals are going to start getting interesting pretty soon, though.  I'm literally considering sending baked beans in Dot's school lunch on Friday.  My personal struggle is that we have only one can of Coca-Cola left.  Yes, I know it's horrible for you, but it is kind of my vice.  I've been saving the can for a few days, but there's no way it's going to hold out for another two weeks.  Oh, well!  I walked into this with my eyes wide open.

I'm pretty happy that my kids don't exactly have a concept of time.  As long as we don't happen to mention it, they'll possibly not even realize it's March.  They get that we're not buying anything in February and are actually being pretty cool about it, but I'm not sure they're going to keep that attitude once they realize they've been volunteered for another ten days of this.  I think that Dot has the idea that NOBODY is ALLOWED to buy anything in February.  Like, it's a world-wide law or something.  I'm trying to explain to her that it's just something our family is doing, but I'm not sure it's sunk in for her.

One kind of disappointing this is that when all is said and done, I don't think we'll end up having saved as much money as I was hoping for.  We have an account that needs to be caught back up to a certain level, and my hope was that this month of not spending would make that a reality.  It looks like that is probably not the case.  Still, it will be closer than it was in January, right?!

Feb. 21st, 2014

garden

Is "Humbled" the Word I'm Looking For?

Chest FreezerToday's post is bit of a reflection when it comes to this whole no-spending thing.  It started yesterday when I finished off a loaf of bread and went down to the freezer to see if we had any more.  We live just a few blocks from a bakery outlet store, and it's not unusual for us to spend $20 and come home with four or five bags full of bread, bagels, English muffins, and possibly some animal cookies.  I figured we must be out of bread by now, though.  I mean, we haven't been grocery shopping in 21 days!

I was shocked when I went down and discovered there were still a few loaves in the freezer.  I decided to poke around in there and see what else we had.  A few bags of frozen fruit for smoothies, several packages of frozen homemade soups and chili, turkey stock Rob made at Thanksgiving, a ton of breakfast burritos I made and froze awhile back, a bag of chicken breasts...it went on and on.  Our pantry is still full of a couple dozen cans of soup, instant pudding and jello mixes, back up baking supplies, homemade jelly I canned, a zillion kinds of tea...it goes on and on.

What a freaking wake-up call!

We have not been grocery shopping in three weeks, and we still have so much food.  I'm almost kind of embarrassed.  What have I been thinking during my weekly trips to the supermarket to get things we "need?"   Obviously, I haven't been taking into consideration the things we already have.  I feel...I don't know...kind of greedy or something for having so much.

On the other hand, it is kind of cool to note that if something catastrophic happened, like, one of us lost our job, we would apparently not starve to death right away.  The mortgage and the car payments and all that other stuff aside, we'd be ok.  If there was a huge blizzard and we couldn't get out of the house to get provisions, we'd probably be just fine for a very long time (although, there would probably be less mouths to feed, because being stuck in the house together for that long would likely lead to us going all Lord of the Flies on each other).

I'm a Word Nerd...It says so right on my business cards.  But, I'm having a hard time coming up with a way to describe how I feel about these realizations.  It would be some combination of:

  • Embarrassed

  • Grateful

  • Uncertain

  • Pleased

  • Fortunate

Between that and the fact that I can pretty much "shop" in my craft room when it comes to finding stuff to make gifts or just activities to entertain us, I feel like we are either hoarders or we are kind of living our life in a way that makes sense for us.

Feb. 16th, 2014

lornadoone

Greetings from 1805

wagon_train-women360
Dear Diary,

It is day 16 on the trail...The wagon train is slowly making its way over the mountain pass.  We came across some nice gentlemen, although I had to stifle a giggle when one introduced himself as "Merriwether."  Not a very masculine name for someone in such a rugged occupation as explorer.

Some provisions have gotten low; but Mama, Papa, and the children are making considerable progress toward their goal.  At present, Papa is in the midst of his first-ever attempt at home made yogurt.  Thanks be that we are allowed to purchase milk.  Papa did make a small exception and spent $0.59 on a small container of plain yogurt so we would have the cultures to make our own.  Mama has frozen fruit squirreled away, so there is at least a small chance that the little ones will eat the yogurt when it is done 12 hours from now.

As you might imagine, it was a spectacularly simple Valentine's Day for the Brewers.  The children were forced to hand make Valentine's greetings for their peers utilizing recycled materials.  Mama, being ever in pursuit of creating items worthy of Pinterest, fancied up the Valentines a bit with some scrapbook paper and a stapler.

While Valentine's Day has never been excessively celebrated between Mama and Papa, the fact that no gifts could be purchased caused Rob to deliver to his wife the most thoughtful and perfect Valentine of her life.  It will certainly be saved amid the mementos of 2014.

Papa only spent less than a dollar on yogurt, but Mama "cheated" a bit more heartily by making a $10 donation to a friend's kid's fundraiser.  The timeframe for contributions didn't allow for procrastination until March.

Life on the trail has been busy and hectic, which has likely provided plenty of distraction from not being able to make purchases.  It's been fun to head up to the craft room and see what is to be found when things come up such as birthday parties.  Yesterday we created a "fort building kit" for a six-year-old birthday, completely comprised of things we already had around the house (a repurposed drawstring bag, two twin sheets, clothesline, bungee cords, clothes pins).

We're more than halfway to our goal, and so far we've braved the challenge quite well.  We'll see how things go over the next two weeks as our supplies begin to dwindle.  (Full disclosure:  I brought up the soup that Rob bought on huge sale something like a year ago, and we could probably survive on tomato and chicken noodle for the rest of the month if we really had to.)  We had a lot of bread in the freezer, so haven't had to make our own yet, but I suspect that's coming down the pike soon-ish.

We're like pioneers, yo.  (No, no we're not.)

Feb. 10th, 2014

logo

We Are Problem Solvers!

My six-year-old Dot thinks I can do anything.  When we don't have something we want, she'll often say "why don't you make a curtain/brownie mix/super-hero cape/nuclear reactor..."  I really reinforce that kind of self-reliance in my kids.  Instead of saying "You're so smart!" when they figure something out (although I do say that sometimes, too), I try to say things like, "I love how you thought about the problem and came up with a way to solve it!"  When we ran into some sort of problem the other day Dot told me we should think of a solution because "that's what Brewers do."  (Freaking awesome, right?)

Remember when I was trying to figure out what to do about getting plane tickets for my mom to come here?  I wasn't sure what to do because putting off the purchase would likely mean that the tickets would cost far more.  It was definitely a conundrum!

But, you know what Brewers do, right?

One of my clients reached out to me and offered to barter me a plane ticket for my services.  To me, that seems really in-line with the no-spending challenge. It took cooperation from my mom, too, as it's a standby ticket and she could end up stuck in some airport; but she was onboard with the idea.

I suspect that as this month goes on, we'll be finding more and more creative ways to solve problems that arise.
lornadoone

We're Not Going Hungry

Just a quick update on the Spend-Free February.  To be honest, I feel like it's been going really well.  I haven't felt much of a pinch at all, but then I'm the one who's generally home most of the time anyway.  I'm looking forward to chatting with Darling Husband Rob tonight to see how he's feeling about it since he's the one who has to make his own lunch at work.

The biggest time I really noticed the fact that I couldn't buy anything was when I was out running errands and realized I was really hungry.  I needed to stop by and wait at the pharmacy for some prescriptions.  (By the way, we forgot to put "medication" on our list of exemptions.  We talked about it and decided that it truly belonged on the list.)  Anyway, I found myself thinking, "Ah, I'll just grab something at the coffee shop inside while I'm waiting for my medication."  Of course, that thought was quickly followed by, "Um...no I won't!"

The bigger girls (age 3 and 6) are doing great with the whole thing, too.  When they want something, they'll say, "In March, can we buy ____?"  It's pretty funny, actually, especially since they don't really have a concept of how long a month is.

We're still doing great on food, although we're almost completely out of any type of fresh produce.  We've got half a banana, three oranges, and a couple of really pathetic roma tomatoes, as well as a few apples that are probably not good for more than juicing or making apple sauce at this point.  I love that I have a juicer, though!  When Lucy was feeling under the weather last week and there was no from-concentrate juice left in the freezer, I was able to make some fresh juice with apples left over from Dot's birthday party.

I am a little alarmed at how quickly we're going through the snack/lunch stuff.  We've totally got enough of it to last for cold lunch to school, but we also keep getting into it for snacktime, too, so it's being depleted.  No big deal, though.  I know we're only 10 days in to the 28, but I'm still not terribly concerned about running out of food.  Last night Rob made baked potatoes and thawed out some of my homemade chili in the freezer, grated some cheese, and cut up some pepperoni and Canadian bacon for toppings.    Oh!  And cereal.  We are almost out of Cheerios, which is not going to go over well around here soon.  I try not to serve cold cereal for breakfast more than once a week, but it's been going really fast anyway.

I'd like to send a quick shout-out to my friend Ashley who stopped by totally unexpectedly this morning and dropped off a big package of fresh strawberries.  Like I said, fresh produce is not something we've got a lot of around here, and my girlies lurve strawberries!  Thanks so much, Ashley.

Feb. 7th, 2014

lornadoone

It's Been a Very Hard Day

I do have things to share regarding the Spend-Free February, but to be honest, I am going through some stuff right now, and it’s kind of overshadowing the challenge.  I’m finding myself very, very disillusioned and heartbroken.  I know that this blog is called “Something Good,” and it seems a little weird to write about something that is this Bad, but I don’t know what else to do with all these feelings.  I will say, though, that it does have a positive twist if you stick through my rantings and introspection to the end.


The Abbreviated Backstory

For those of you who might not know, a new bar opened in our city last weekend.  The Daquiri Factory is in the downtown area, and they have created a controversy that has now gone nationwide.  I’m not directly involved in it, although, I am kind of on the periphery with supporting the protests against this bar and trying to educate people about the problem.  I’ve also gotten a bit snarky from time to time (OK, a lot), with my favorite response being directly to the owner (on the bar’s Facebook page) that if nothing more comes out of this whole thing, I will stand proud that I was a part of helping him learn that there is no apostrophe in the plural from of daiquiri.

In a nutshell, they named a drink “Date Grape Koolaid,” and when told that it was insensitive to rape survivors and maybe they should change it, the owner came pretty much unhinged.  Arguments have run the gamut from you people have no sense of humor to we never meant it to imply rape and you have a dirty mind for making that association to freedom of speech, mother f*ckers! Many people decided to see the bar’s tasteless-name brand of free speech and up it with their own protest-with-picket-signs-and-everything variety.

If you want the whole story, you can check out the many, many articles and news casts that are all over the web right now.  Trust me, though, it’s ugly.

The Ugliness

As for me, I’ve been getting to know some of the protesters online, as well as trying to give a little factual information to the bar’s supporters to help them see that maybe they should reconsider what they’re doing.  It started with me saying things like “Hey, it’s not too cool to joke about rape” and escalated to the point where I responded to some guy’s complaint about us “whiney bitches” with links to stories with photos of rape victims with the suggestion that they could tell those ladies what they thought…except those ladies didn’t survive their attacks.

This…this is where my heart is breaking.  I cannot believe the number of people who are supporting the Daquiri Factory.  I cannot believe the absolutely vile and horrendous things they are saying in defense of it.  Rape survivors are being openly mocked on the bar’s Facebook page.  Hell, I was having a conversation with some folks on the protest page when two of the bar’s supporters (women, no less) showed up to let us know how fat, ugly, stupid, and sexless we all were.  They called us whores, cocksuckers, and shared the opinion that we were so unattractive that we would have to use date rape drugs if we wanted to get any action.  They also accused us of threatening them (we didn’t) and of being terrorists (um…nope).

These very same people keep telling us “It’s just a name!  It’s just a drink!  Why are you so upset?”

I’d like to say that I’m particularly proud of the fact that I cast myself as the comic relief in that conversation, and when they threatened to plaster pictures of us all over Facebook, I asked them to please pick ones from before I cut my bangs, as I was regretting my recent haircut decision.  I posted some Kumbaya lyrics when the protesters were getting all lovey-dovey with each other.  And when one of the “trolls” said we couldn’t possibly get laid without using roofies, I told her that might be true but that we’d never even joke about doing it because “THAT WOULD BE GROSS AND WRONG.”

I’m really trying to stay above the fray.  I’m really trying not to sink into the mire and the muck.  But, it’s hard.  And when I am referred to as a “bully…”  Well, anyone who knows me or reads this blog will suddenly have a clearer glimpse into how faulty these folks’ view of reality can be.

Where I’m Going with All This

Sure, this controversy started over a name, but for me (and I can’t truly speak for anyone else), it’s not about the name anymore.  It’s not even about free speech.  It’s about common decency.

Let’s say you’re walking down the street and you accidentally bump into a lady carrying some bags.  Maybe you bump her kind of hard and she drops one of the bags on her foot before it spills on the ground.  She says, “Ow.”  Your general response would be to say something like, “Oh, I’m sorry.  Are you OK?”  At that point, you would quite possibly also pick up the things she dropped and hand the bag to her.

This situation, however, goes more like this:

This guy is zig-zagging down a crowded sidewalk and “accidentally” bumps into a lady carrying some bags.  He bumps her kind of hard and she drops one of the bags on her foot before it spills on the ground.  She says, “Ow.”  The guy responds by knocking her down, telling her that her foot couldn’t possibly hurt, stealing her purse, and calling his friends up to come over and go through it to make fun of its contents.  Oh, and while he’s at it, he’s going to insist to his friends that SHE bumped into him, and even though they all know he’s kind of a jerk, it’s a lot more fun to go along with his version of things.

That last part, though.  I don’t know if that’s an accurate analogy because I cannot wrap my brain around what these people are thinking AT ALL.  Sure, they have the right to free speech.  They can totally make rape jokes all day long and half the night if they’d like.  It is, as has been posted so very many times on the bar’s page, a free country.

But why?

Why would you want to say those things?  Why, when a bunch of people came forward and said, “Hey, that’s really mean,” do these people feel like they should keep going and going and going?  Why on this big, green earth would this be the battle that these folks decided was worth fighting?  Why is there such a desire to defend the right to be horrible?

There are a lot of words being thrown around, like “butthurt” and “feminazi.”  There are a lot of questions being raised about people’s educational backgrounds and understanding of the rules of grammar.  There are conversations happening about what the right to free speech is all about.

But why?

Why is it so important to these folks to make jokes about rape, to tell rape victims that they should shut up or get tougher or that they “probably weren’t” really raped anyway?  Why is that what is important to this group of people?

I am so incredibly disillusioned right now.  I am drowning in my realization that so many of the people walking the same streets as I am are apparently carrying around an incredible darkness within them.  I’ve seen glimpses of it before, but this situation has allowed them to out themselves.

I am grieving for the knowledge I have gained through this experience.

It Goes Both Ways

I’d like to point out that repugnant behavior, while definitely a staple of the supporters of the Daquiri Factory, hasn’t been limited to that side of the controversy.  I’ve seen people who claim to be supporting victims suggest that various friends of the bar patrons should be “graped” and so forth.  I made a point to call that shit out, too, just so you know.  Not only did I publicly say “shame on you,” and “you sound even creepier than the bar owner right now,” but I also sent the person a private message and explained  my point of view.

For the most part, though, the protestors have been incredibly respectful.  OK, OK, so we’ve continually made fun of the fact that people who go to the Daquiri Factory don’t seem to realize that “you’re” and “your” are different words.  That said, it’s also been made incredibly clear that no one involved with our particular group is to use violence, damage property, or—generally speaking—be a twat.

The folks on the Daquiri Factory’s page are making fun of the folks on the boycott page because the boycotters have actually been trying to find job openings for the employees of the DF.  There’s concern that maybe some of the employees feel stuck there because they need the job.  There’s also the idea that if the place ends up being shut down, it’s pretty awful for those people who depended on the place to have no income.

The bar’s supporters continually refer to the protesters and boycotters as being “selfish,” of not thinking of anything but their own agenda, of having no cares but pushing political correctness.  To me, the fact that there is a whole thread devoted to looking for jobs for the people caught in the crossfire tells me a lot about the character of those who oppose the bar.

Several people have suggested that the owner, Jamie Pendleton has orchestrated this whole thing from the beginning to make money.  That he somehow knew he would create this big controversy and it would bring him all this cash.  To that I say, "baloney."  Read what this writes.  My feelings are that he's an egomaniac who stumbled into this and is now milking it.  Don't get me wrong, he'll take credit for it while it's working, and if and when it fails, he'll blame everyone else.  (Seriously, this guy considers himself a victim and takes zero responsibility for any of his actions.)

I hesitate to say this, but I kind of feel like it's the elephant in the room...This guy shows nearly all of the classic behaviors of sociopathy.  I certainly do not have a psychology degree, but if he was Brittany Spears, it seems likely the courts would have appointed him a guardian by now for his own financial protection.

The Light at the End of the Tunnel

To be honest, I really thought this whole thing was going to blow over.  I didn’t even get involved in it for the first few days.  I figured the guy would get some publicity but would change the name (because, c’mon, it’s a rape joke).  I was really, really surprised when that didn’t happen.  It wasn’t until I started seeing all the support he was getting that I realized this was a Really Big Deal.  Like, this kind of is our lunch-counter sit-in.  This is our bus boycott.  This is our opportunity to make an actual change.

That’s why I said to stick with me to the end if you wanted to get to the Something Good.  To be honest, I have been overwhelmed by this.  I feel utterly defeated.  I am a survivor of sexual assault as a child and date rape as an adult.  I have PTSD as a result of my abuse, and you can bet your ass I’m all sorts of triggered by the constant stream of rape imagery, horrid comments, and such going through my Facebook feed this week.  I’ve told myself repeatedly that I should just walk away for my own sake.

But, I’m choosing not to.  Because you know what?  There are probably thousands of people in the country (the world, as I have learned that this story is international) who never even knew what “rape culture” was before this happened.  I’m not an idiot.  I know that many of them who have learned the term in the last few days are finding ways to believe it doesn’t exist (one of the best so far is the constant reminders on the Daquiri Factory’s page that it’s not in the dictionary).  However, there are a whole lot of people who now know that it does.  And they will join the fight against it.

One of the saddest things I keep seeing is people saying, “If you want to stop date rape, then watch your drink closely, don’t walk alone, blah, blah, blah.”  It’s ALL about how the woman (or sometimes man) should keep herself from getting raped.  NONE of it is about teaching respect for others, to keep your hands off others, that only “yes” means “yes.”

So, I have cried a lot today.  I have screamed and cursed and dreamed of moving away.  I am disgusted that Jamie Pendleton is making money off of this.  On the other hand, he is doing more to educate the country about the existence of rape culture than just about anyone right now.  And that is Something Good.

If you're not sure what "rape culture" means, this is an excellent introduction.

Feb. 4th, 2014

lornadoone

Cat Poop and Other Things

Day three of this adventure went by well, with the exception of figuring out what to do about the plane tickets.  I'm working a couple of ideas right now, and I'll share when a decision is made on that front.  No matter how it goes, it will be awesome to have my mom here helping out with the girls while I work a more rigorous schedule for a while.

What am I saying?  Day three didn't actually go all that well.  I just remembered that I went downstairs to discover that the washing machine is broken.  And, it's broken in a sort of probably-can't-home-repair it way.  But, I'm going to give it the old college try.  I'll also get Darling Husband Rob on looking into seeing if it happens to still be under warranty, although I'm not really holding my breath.  Should be interesting.

There's another little hiccup that's going to require some creativity on our part.  My never-ending to-do list informs me that I forgot to buy a new litter box for the cats.  We're needed to add another one to the house because, frankly, our cats are passive-aggressive jerks.  Now that the baby is old enough to understand that what's in the box isn't Almond Roca, we'd like to put one downstairs and see if that helps.  (I am so grossed out by the idea of where we have to put it, but it will be less horrifying than what is currently going on.)  So, it's time to conjure up some sort of litter box solution that will work until we can actually purchase one.

On the "This Is Awesome" front, however, this experience has prompted me to take care of something that has been on my radar for 3+ years.  You see, when we moved into this house, we put a bunch of stuff in the dining room closet and started referring to it as a pantry.  And by "pantry," I mean "a crowded closet that has a ridiculous number of precariously balanced boxes, many full of woefully outdated food, not to mention all our board games, a card table, a couple of booster chairs..."  (You can see why we went with the more succinct title of "pantry.")  Anyhow,I went through that bad boy this week!  I had a cupboard/shelf thing in the basement that I brought up and some plastic containers in the craft room and created a much more organized space where you can actually get to the food without knocking over bags of flour or dropping jars of expired baby food on your foot.

To be fair, it's definitely a temporary solution, but considering what we've lived with up to this point, t's kind of awesome.  And I didn't buy anything to make it happen!

Feb. 3rd, 2014

lornadoone

S#!t Just Got Real

Yeah.  So.

We're facing our first real conundrum when it comes to this whole "no spending" thing.  You see, my work life is about to get CRAZY.  Like, C-R-A-Z-Y.  I have three absolutely huge projects starting this week and extending through the end of April, in addition to my regular clients.  To make things even more interesting, my Mother's Helper is about to have hip replacement surgery and will be out of commission for a while.  In trying to figure out how to make everything work, I called my mom and asked if she would be interested in flying here in March and being our live-in "Granny" (Grandma + Nanny) for a couple of months.  It took her a few days to check her schedule and make a decision, which makes perfect sense.  Unfortunately, the decision came yesterday.  You know, in February.  The month where we're not buying anything.

Like, say, for example, plane tickets.

This leaves us in a bit of a predicament, and we're not sure what to do.  Under normal circumstances, I would buy the tickets now in order to get the best price.  Leaving it until later possibly means the cost will go up considerably.  I would only be able to buy them about a week before she flew if I waited until the spending fast is over.  So, it makes sense to buy them now.  BUT, we're not supposed to be buying anything this month.  One of the reasons for not buying anything is to save money, though, so it's kind of silly to end up paying more for tickets.  On the other hand, part of this is also supposed to be about seeing what it's like to  go without, gt creative, etc.

I've definitely tried to get creative:

1.  Have Mom buy the tickets now and reimburse her next month
2.  Consider it a purchase by my business and not the family
3.  Wait and buy them at the higher price because that's what people do when they don't have the money to spend in advance
4.  Buy the tickets now because, duh.

Option one would technically be ok under the rules, but it sort of goes against the spirit of the challenge.  Option two isn't quite as technically sound but is reasonable because it truly is the business that would be flying her here.  (I suppose I could combine one and two...)  Option three doesn't seem like the smartest, but it does seem the most in-line with the challenge.  But day-am...it could end up being a few hundred dollars difference, which might be worth making an exception, which is why there is an option four.   It would be so much easier to know what to do if plane tickets didn't constantly change prices and I could just compare what it is now to what it would be then.

Rob and I are not quite agreed on which option to take, so I'm hoping to think about it a bit more.

I'd be happy to hear any feedback you folks might have.

Feb. 2nd, 2014

lornadoone

First Day, First Lesson Learned

So, yesterday I said that we didn't do much to prepare for the spend-free month, aside from some lunch-y stuff for school and a perplexing amount of broccoli.  It turns out that I probably should have also thought through my promise to take the girls to the Dollar Store on Sunday.  I told them last week that I would take them to pick out something with the money they earned last week, completely forgetting that Sunday was the first day of February and our spending fast.

Uh-Oh.

Here's the deal:  I don't break promises to my kids.  It's kind of a thing with me.

Like I said:  Uh-Oh.

So, we all talked about it and decided a compromise was in order.  Well, the 6-year-old did.  The 3-year-old is going along with it despite her preference for immediate gratification.  The deal is that they can continue to earn money throughout this month, and we will see how much they save up and will put it to use AFTER our spend-free month is over.  This actually works out great, as I'm still able to keep my word to the girls while also allowing them to experience what it's like to save up for something.  Yay!

As for Rob and me, we managed to hang in there pretty well on our first day.  We've each discovered something we wish we would have bought before this adventure began.  (Mod Podge for me, razor blades for him), but so far, so good!

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lornadoone

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