The Finally Finished Floor

We have been planning to replace the flooring this year since we bought the house two years ago. Really, the carpet should probably have been replaced sooner than that, but as with all the maintenance that had been deferred on the house, the carpet seemed a much lower priority than painting the exterior of the house and tackling the water issues in the backyard and much less fun than starting a garden. So, the carpet waited, threadbare and trampled underfoot.

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The Self-Cut Haircut

The last time I got a haircut about eight months ago, I was an anxious ball of blah. I had biked over to a local Great Clips and surrendered myself like a sacrificial victim. For one, I don’t usually have access to a car during the work day because my husband needs it for his commute and we’re a one-car family and all. For two, I’m cheap, so Great Clips it is. For three, I genuinely feel anxious and uncomfortable whenever I need a haircut.

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Teaching a Teenager How to Grocery Shop

One of my foster kiddos is turning 18 in May. She’s nearly an adult, and we’re trying to ensure that we’re helping her acquire some valuable life skills while she’s living with us. We’re all hoping that she’ll be reintegrated with her family before she turns 18, but we can still teach her fundamental life skills… like planning for a week’s worth of groceries and appreciating the cost of those groceries.

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DIY Thrifty Giftwrap

When the medical bills hit, we talked about forgoing gifts this year for Chanukah and our anniversary, but we ultimately decided against it. We set a budget instead, and there’s no room in that budget for wrapping paper, let alone the premium kind with thick paper and swirls of shimmery colors. For me, part of the joy of giving a gift is handing someone an unidentifiable box and watching the anticipation change to happiness, a revelatory process that is rather lacking without the mysterious swathing around it.

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Going No ‘Poo: 11 Months Without Shampoo

my hair and II haven’t used prefabricated shampoo or conditioner in almost a year. In fact, I haven’t used anything that remotely resembles shampoo or conditioner, but I can pick up my “hair products” at the grocery store. During these months, no one has politely informed me that the rats have moved into my hair or started leaving well-intended yet anonymous notes about personal hygiene on my desk at work.

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Chunky Pumpkin Veggie Chili

As the weather cools, I start craving both sweet and savory pumpkin dishes and returning home to a house that smells like a spicy chili had been slowly cooking in a crock pot all day. Last year, I searched and searched for a pumpkin-chili recipe that (1) was vegetarian, (2) used chunks of pumpkin, (3) used a crock pot, and (4) was still a chili and not the sordid conflagration between a chili and a dessert with cocoa powder or pumpkin pie spice. I didn’t find such a recipe, and the closest recipe I did find called for ½ cup of butter AND ½ a cup of olive oil. (No wonder it got rave reviews!)

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When Opportunity Knocks, Make Applesauce

Every week, I scope out the bargain bin during our grocery run. I don’t always score any finds, but I regularly find discounted buttermilk for Lee’s favorite breakfast: biscuits and gravy. Buttermilk seems to last forever and a day beyond its expiration date, so I feel a thrifty thrill when I pick up a jug for 75 cents. As medical bills pile up, the need to be frugal has intensified. Mustacheian May has turned into the Year of Mustaches.

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