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It’s no secret that we’re living in tough economic times so I wanted to share with you my top five tips to save money on groceries. I hope you find them helpful.
1. Know what you want to spend. Take a stroll back through your bank statement and tally all your grocery expenses from the past month, whether they were purchased at a grocery store, pharmacy, farmers market or convenient store. Now that you know how much you might spend in a given month, it’s time to decide how much you want to spend. It’s so much easier to save money on your grocery bill if you have a goal budget to work from. I set a goal of $500 a month for my family of four so that translates to $125 per week on groceries. By knowing my goal, I was able to keep focused on what I was buying and for how much and I came in at about $40 under budget this month.
2. Know where to shop. Not every grocery store has the best price on everything so it’s worth your time to figure out which stores have the best prices on what your family uses most. I’m not suggesting you drive all over the county to save fifty cents on bread. That would be crazy with the gas prices as high as they are. However if you can find a few stores all relatively close, you can save big bucks by knowing what they all do best. Here’s what works for me. Aldi is an amazing deal on staple items: bread, milk, cheese, frozen juice, some fruits and veggies, etc. Note: Keep in mind it’s predominantly store brands, only takes cash and debit, not credit and bring your reusable bags and a quarter for the cart. Then I usually hit ShopRite for their weekly loss leaders (these are sale items used to lure you in so you can buy more expensive items) if it’s something I can use, especially if I have coupons which turn a sale into a steal. Some items that I can usually get for a song are laundry detergent – I never pay more than $1.50 a bottle, toothpaste – always free with coupons and sales, feminine hygiene products – free or $1 each, cereal – with sales and coupons I can stock up for $1.50 a box or less, etc. Also don’t forget that ShopRite has some great pharmacy freebies like free prescription prenatal and children’s vitamins, certain antibiotics and some diabetes medicine. Then up here in Sullivan County we have these tiny little hardware stores called the Trading Post. The one in my town is also a small grocery store. I know it’s weird right. But while everything else tends to be expensive they have the best meat prices around. I can usually get 10 meat products for roughly $30-$40. So it pays to know which stores provide the best prices on which types of items. Then if you can coordinate them all into one trip it’ll save on gas. I start with the store furthest away and work my way back home.
3. Avoid impulse purchases. Here are a few tips to avoid impulse purchases which eat a huge chunk out of your grocery budget. If at all possible shop alone. It’s helps to be able to focus your full attention on the task at hand. You’re more likely to throw extra impulse items like sweets and treats in your cart with the kiddos there begging for things at each aisle. My husband is also seriously prone to stocking a cart full of junk food or specialty items that will hibernate in my pantry till I get sick of looking at them and throw them out. So I like to go it alone. If you have to take the kids I suggest rewarding them with a small treat like a candy bar at check out if they agree to help you stick to your shopping list. I also like to skip the junk food aisles entirely unless there is one particular thing I’m looking for. Out of sight, out of cart. Ok it’s been said to death but it’s true, make a list and stick to it. But before you make your list do an inventory of what you have. I often get extra items because I think I’m out but as it turns out I’m overstocked on that item so it’s good to know what you don’t need as well.
4. Plan for leftovers. While watching an episode of Chopped on the food network that was dedicated entirely to making new entrees out of leftovers my husband said, “You’d be great at this. You’re the queen of leftovers.” If you don’t plan to use leftovers they get thrown out and that’s a waste of money. If you buy meat in bulk, know what meals you want to get out of that package. For example if I buy the family pack of ground beef I plan for three beef dishes like tacos, spaghetti, and chili. I also get whole chickens and plan on using the leftovers in casseroles, stir fry, in spaghetti sauce or soups. I always count the number of “meals” I can get from each package not the “meats” when shopping. So whole chickens are counted as two meals, family packages of ground beef are three meals etc. allowing me to buy less meat which is really expensive. Planning to use your leftovers when you buy your groceries means that there will be less food in the garbage which also means more money in your pocket.
5. Cook more and serve less. It’s always cheaper and healthier to buy ingredients than prepackaged foods. Prepackaged foods are good for one meal but the same basic ingredients can be used in many meals. There was a time when I never used recipes or cooked from scratch because I thought it was too complicated. But now if there’s something I want to make I get out my cookbook or do an internet search for a recipe. By searching online you can usually read how other people rated that particular recipe before you decide to try it.
When I was in grade school I went away on a two-day trip during which we ate in a meal hall with plates of food served family style at each table. The rule was you could eat all you wanted as long as you finished what you took. Every class had their uneaten food weighed at the end of the meal and it was definitely frowned upon to be the group with the heaviest amount of wasted food. What did I learn from this? Especially with kids, be reserved with your portion sizes. It’s more cost effective to serve seconds then to scrape a bunch of uneaten food into the garbage. I also try to get a feel for how much my family will eat. If we have too much rice or pasta leftover after a meal I cut back the next time I make it. If there are no leftovers at all, kudos to the cook.
I’m always in search of money saving tips so if you have any please share or if there is a grocery store you just love, let me know what their best prices are. I think we could all use a few more dollars in our wallets these days.
I don’t want to brag or anything, but I was the nicest kid anyone could ever meet… until (DUH DUH DUH) middle school. In middle school, I think the devil possessed my body (not literally, but my parents may disagree). If there was an argument to be had… oh boy did we have it.
When high school rolled around, I stopped fighting with my parents so much and started focusing on sports and my education, but couldn’t wait to get out of the house! Then it was time to go to college. I chose a University that was two hours away and planned on living on campus, but by the second week of classes I was a full blown commuting student. I missed my parents!
I love my life here in the Hudson Valley, but I’m not going to lie, I had a very difficult time when I first moved here. I would cry at least once a day because I felt guilty for leaving my family and because I just needed a “Morgan Hug” from my parents. Honestly, sometimes I just wanted to hear someone else say “y’all.”
I was making all these major life changes at one time (life-changing weight loss, moving away, renting my first apartment, getting my first real world job) it was difficult. Not a day goes by that I don’t speak to them either by text, phone, email or skype. I’m a true only child! My parents really do mean everything to me and although we talk constantly… nothing can compare to seeing them in person.
So, over the holidays I was lucky enough to be able to travel back to my hometown of Monroe, North Carolina to visit my family. I haven’t seen my family in almost a year, so my mini family vacation was just what the doctor ordered! It’s so funny… no matter how old I get, when I’m with my parents I still feel like a kid. It seems I’ll always be my daddy’s “sweet pea” and my mom’s “Velcro baby.”
I invited my parents and aunt to come back to New York to see my new place. They ended up staying for two weeks. We had a blast! We explored the Hudson Valley and even went to NYC on New Years’ eve… We ended up in White Plains to see their ball drop because all the streets in Manhattan were closed by the time we got there, but we still had fun! Being snowed in a couple days and the close quarters didn’t help with a little bout of cabin fever, but in the end we all enjoyed ourselves.
I can’t wait for them to come back so we can go exploring the Hudson Valley again. Homemade breakfast, lunch and dinner everyday courtesy of my mom doesn’t hurt either!
I guess the purpose of this blog is to let all you parents out there know that even if you’re going through tough times with your teens, tween or even toddlers, it will get better. In my case, mother and father know best. It just takes time for us to all figure that out.
I’m calling on all the Hudson Valley Parent readers to help in this my intervention. Yes, only a control freak like me plans her own intervention. You see, I have a very real phenomenon known as baby fever. It’s very difficult for me to deal with this “condition” because being the control freak as I just mentioned before, I just can’t make it go away. It’s been on my mind so much that I’m even going to ask for your comments and advice in this “blogger-vention” to help me with my research on baby fever for an upcoming article I’ll be working on.
Ok, so it’s not like I don’t vividly remember pregnancy or having an infant. My son just recently turned 3 and thanks to his stubborn refusal to “go” on the potty I’m still changing diapers. I have a 5-year-old daughter so having both a boy and a girl means that this baby fever was not caused by my desire to have a child of the opposite gender than what I already have. I don’t pretend hovering over the toilet for 9 months was fun and no I don’t think my stretch marks are so sexy that I can’t wait to add more to the bunch. So what is causing this?
It could be one of several things. It started in the first month I became a stay-at-home mom. The idea sort of popped into the back of my mind one day like, “Hey Erin wouldn’t it be cool to have another child and actually not have to juggle child care and work outside the home (I phrase it this way because I wholeheartedly believe that all moms are working moms). I mentioned it to my mom one day at lunch and she seemed excited at the prospect of another grand baby. If you had asked me six months ago, I was completely unwaveringly ready to retire the old uterus here. I was caring for 3 babies along with my own kids when I was running my daycare with a friend of mine. Let me tell you, my hat is off to those of you with multiples. It was like having triplets for 6 months and it was so exhausting. Then once I stopped doing daycare and starting focusing on just my own kids it made me truly appreciate them more. I can honestly say that bringing them into the world is the best thing I ever did.
Then factor in my age – I’m 32 and although that’s not old, I realize I’m headed toward the end of my baby making days. Then there’s the obvious reason for my spike in baby fever – my mom just passed away in September. I miss her terribly and although I know there is nothing I can do to bring her back, what I want in a very selfish way is to create more love in my life. I’ve lost my mom, dad and grandmother and I feel an obvious wane in the world of people who love me. It’s selfish to the core, but isn’t that really the inherent reason we have kids in the first place – to love and be loved and to live on through the next generation? I guess I just want to have something beautiful to look forward to. There has been so much sadness and loss in both my life and the world lately and I just want to have something amazing to say, “see this is why we keep going.”
So now you know all the reasons for my symptoms, now what I need is a cure. Any ideas? I have tried my best to throw logic at it. I’ve used the money objection – having a baby will make it harder financially for my family, my two bedroom house would require some remodeling to accommodate another child, and it would prolong the number of years I’d be staying home with my kids and therefore not able to contribute financially to my household. These are all things I know with my head and if I ever forget my husband is all too quick to remind me. So since he doesn’t want any more kids, I’m calling on you Hudson Valley parents to help me. Please tell me, does this feeling go away in time? Have any of you had a baby fever baby? How did you know when you were truly “done” having kids. Did you convince your spouse to have more or was it the other way around? I truly hope to find a cure for this soon.
While I’ve always considered myself to be a very frugal person, I’ve never thought of myself as a cheapskate. But that was while my household still had two incomes coming in. Once I started staying home with my kids my frugality hit an all time high. So when I saw the new TLC show Extreme Cheapskates I didn’t view it thinking great let me mock some people who pee in bottles to save on flushing their toilet (okay, so that did skeeve me out a bit), but I watched it with an open mind wondering what tips I could take away from these people who go to the extremes to save money. Here’s what I learned.
1. Spreadsheets are not a bad thing. Some people never give a thought to having a household budget and I was one of them until my family had to survive on my husband’s paycheck. The first thing I did when I stopped working was sit down, track all my expenses from the last month of our two-income life and make a budget, including what we were spending and a goal budget. I remember complaining to my co-workers about being broke all the time when I worked and although I checked my bank account every day I can honestly say I didn’t really understand where my money was going. I was shocked to see exactly how much we spent on dinning out and fast food. Eww it kinda made me sick to my stomach looking at a total of $237 spent on fast food in one month. So guess where cut number 1 went to. Yes, my husband now takes a packed lunch to work at least 3 times a week and coffee in a reusable coffee mug (score for the environment too). Item by item I went down the line and asked myself, “how can I save money here?” Here’s the summary: it took five months, but we FINALLY refinanced our mortgage, saving us $280 a month. Plus two months mortgage of not having to pay for the mortgage during and immediately following our closing means that we were able to pay off my personal loan to the sweet savings tune of $95 a month. Next up is my husband’s personal loan and then we hit the credit cards. Call it “extreme cheapskate” behavior if you want, but I even typed up a debt repayment plan which spells out exactly how I’m going to use the newfound savings to pay off one debt after another all the way down to when our mortgage will be paid off. Ok, so maybe it’s a little weird to plan 30 plus years in the future, but I figure it’s better than having no plan and staying stuck in the same debt cycle we’re in.
2. We are living in a disposable world and I am a “reusable” girl (sung in my head to Madonna’s “Material Girl”). You name the product and we use it and throw it in the garbage - napkins, paper towels, paper plates, cups, cleaning products (though it makes me sad how much I love my swiffer duster, I’ll simply try to use that cloth up till it’s good and filthy). We all do it and we don’t think much of it. But here’s the rub, while we’re out there disposing of everything we use, we’re also treating our money like it’s disposable too. If you’re a millionaire that’s fine, but I don’t know anyone personally that can afford to just throw hard-earned money in the trash everyday. So here’s what I’ve been doing, call it “extreme” if you want but nobody batted an eye when our grandparents did it. Think of unmatched socks and worn out shirts as your friends. Yes, I’m bringing the rag-bag back for cleaning. Also I use, (gasp) “real” plates, silverware, cups and yes cloth napkins. Ok so I’m still working on using the cloth napkins more, but it’s baby steps. I get a little laugh at the commercials that claim a brand of paper towels are as soft as cloth while at the same time, striking fear into the hearts of all us germaphobes out there by warning of the contamination that comes of using cleaning cloths because they might spread germs. Hello, that’s why you wash them. And the paper hand towels for your house that makes me laugh because surely we all want to feel like using our restroom is as sanitary as the one at the local gas station. I’m really not trying to mock so much as open some eyes. The truth is that it’s super hard to give up all things disposable. My husband still laughs at me while I wash my used tin foil.
3. Haggling is not an embarrassing thing, or if it is I’ll take my embarrassment down to the bank and deposit it with all my savings. I’ve haggled $500 off the asking price of each of my last couple used cars. Yes I drive used and I pay neither a high car payment or a high insurance payment. If you don’t ask, the answer is always no. I called my cable company and told them I would have to cancel service if I couldn’t get my bill to $100 (that’s internet, phone and TV). Of course my husband would have a heart attack if he came home to his TV playing nothing but static, but they don’t know that. Guess what, it wasn’t that hard to talk them down. I tried the same for my credit card company. After explaining to them that no 19% is not a ”competitive” APR and a “member fee” is not acceptable I canceled my card. If they had valued my 13 years as a customer they would have done more to keep me. Thankfully I had no balance on that card. Side note but there are a lot of little money traps we fall into because we simply don’t pay attention, like my husband and I paying for a P.O. Box we’ve kept 8 years after moving to our townhouse where our mailbox is at the top of our road and costs nothing. As a bonus it’s not necessary to unstrap two kids and bring them in to the Post Office and restrap them and drive home. Sure $44 is not a lot per year, but the point is that it’s our money and if I want to prove to myself that I respect money I can’t just go throwing it away.
3. Free is for me. Hand-me-downs are my favorite. My sister, friends, and co-workers have all given me hand-me-down clothes for me and my kids. I keep the next season of clothes in a trunk in my kids room and when the time comes for “new” clothes I “shop” at home. No lines, no people all up in my personal space, and no debit to my bank account. That to me is sweet. Beyond this I think coupons are helpful if it’s something I can use. ShopRite is pretty good for loss leaders on personal hygiene products and laundry detergent. Provided you are not a slave to a particular brand there is no reason to ever pay for toothpaste or ever pay more than $1.50 for laundry detergent. However, my feeling is if it’s for an item you won’t use, and can’t reasonably use up in your lifetime (think “Extreme Couponers” another show on TLC where people hoard items in every nook and craney of their houses) it’s not a good deal. I also keep an eye out for promotions that can save my family money, like ShopRite’s free children’s prescription vitamins, which will save me $10 a month. I know big deal right, well that’s $120 left in my bank account at the end of the year. I think small to save big. Just like the old saying, “if you worry about the ounces the pounds will take care of themselves. Ok so in the show “Extreme Cheapskates” they show many people dumpster diving for food and household items. The whole eating out of the garbage idea doesn’t appeal to me no matter how free it is. But I have been known to scoop up good curbside freebies like a Little Tyke’s picnic table for my kids. If it’s clean and usable, what’s the harm in keeping something out of the landfill?
I’m not suggesting we all become “cheapskates” in the negative sense of the word. I like to try to live by financial expert Suzie Orman’s philosophy of ”People then money, then things.” Meaning you take care of the people in your life first, build up your money, then you buy the things you want. We can all learn something when we put our needs first, appreciate what we have, and save for what we want.
If you know of any great money-saving tips, please share because I’m always looking for new ways to save.
So at my daughter’s fifth birthday I had a small group of family and friends over to my house, which is a two-bedroom townhouse in (sigh) Sullivan County. One party guest questioned my husband (while I was out of the room) about when we were going to buy a “real” (cough, back pedal) um “bigger” house. It’s been stuck in my head for awhile now. This is a person that has never been to my house before and although I can appreciate that some people’s filters are a little looser than others, it still stings.
It’s been my goal for some time now to practice the principal of wanting what I have. It’s so easy to get caught in the trap of wanting more, more, more, bigger, and better until you either get spun off the hamster wheel or end up so dizzy you don’t know which direction you’re facing. It is comments like these that sting the most because they focus on the very epicenter of the wheel – “the American Dream,” a.k.a homeownership.
My husband and I bought our townhouse at the ages of 25 and 24 with absolutely no help from anyone. At the time, it was a choice between finding another rental or buying. When all the rentals we looked at fell short of what we wanted, we decided to buy. We bought what we could afford at the time. We had a five-year plan. We would sell after five years and begin our quest again for the elusive “bigger, better” house. Fast forward eight years and we’re crushed in a pitiful economy, and most of the houses for sale in our neighborhood are not moving, so we’ve recommitted to wanting what we have, and remembering all the things we loved when we bought this house- an open concept floor-plan, a small, but manageable backyard, a spacious fully finished basement.
Sure, I get jealous sometimes when I see things in other people’s houses that I wish my house had and it seems that there is no end to the photos on Facebook of friends’ large houses with huge lawns and stainless steel appliances. But I beg you, my friends, to remember that sometimes the “rest of us, you know those of us who rent apartments, own trailers, or townhouses or duplexes,” we who seem to find ourselves “locked out” of the “American dream,” are getting smothered here. There are many sizes and shapes that a “home” comes in, yet we all forget that it’s the family inside that home that makes it one, not the house itself. A house is just an empty vessel without the people who bring it to life.
There are far too many people who are struggling to “survive” the “American dream” these days. They are facing foreclosure on their homes. In some cases it’s because they felt they “deserved” that “American dream” house with the hefty price tag to boot.
Five months ago, the small business I started failed to thrive and I had to pull the plug. I’m now able to stay at home with my kids who are still little (5 and 2 1/2) in large part because we bought our townhouse when we were young and our incomes were smaller. I am able to live the life I want thanks to my smaller and yes, less “ideal” home. But when I hear comments like the one at my daughter’s party, it’s not hard to start to feel smothered all over again. While I want the “ideal” house one day, what I want is the ideal home life. So all I’m asking for friends, is please be kind with your words. We don’t all have to want the same things in this world. We just have to want we need and what we have. The rest is just gravy.
October is, by far, my favorite month of the year… Sweater season gets ushered in by the cooler weather, trees are adorned with colorful leaves, candy apples and cider make their first debut of the year and the Yankees are in the playoffs.
There is no doubting the fact that I’m a sports junkie. After all, my first word was baseball. I’m passionate about several things, but baseball and hockey top the list. Major League Baseball has been running the same postseason commercial for the last million or so years… The theme of the advertisement is “you can’t script October,” meaning that anything can happen in playoff baseball.
From Don Larsen’s perfect game, Reggie Jackson’s three homer game to Aaron Boone’s walk-off homerun against the Red Sox (please don’t remind me of the 2001 playoffs)… it’s true, you can’t predict what’s going to happen in baseball. So last night, my boyfriend, Bill, and I went to Game 4 of the ALDS (That’s the “American League Division Series,” for all you Mets fans that aren’t sure what the playoffs are!).
Last night’s game was speeding right along. Neither the Yankees nor the Orioles were doing much offensively. It was a 1-0 Orioles game going into the bottom of the sixth. Luckily, Robinson Cano was able to get the Yankees’ first RBI of the game to tie it up at 1 going into the seventh. At this point it was 10:30pm. I remember looking around and seeing tired faces of moms, dads and school age children.
Eventually the game went into extra innings… 13 of them to be exact. Not a single person (that I could see) left the game early. It was [almost] reminiscent of the real stadium. Everyone was on their feet each time the Yankees stepped up to the plate. The one thing, besides the game itself, that stuck out to me was this little boy, who was cheering right along with the best of ‘em the entire game. He couldn’t have been more than 7 years old.
The game ended well after midnight, but there the little boy was, sulking in defeat after the game. He and his parents stayed for the entire game! I wondered how tired the little boy would be at school today. If he’s as tired as I am, shame on his parents.
That being said, I can’t say that I blame his parents. When I was in school, my parents allowed me to stay up for sporting events. I never really had a “bedtime,” mainly because I loved to sleep. There were several school days where I was sluggish because I stayed up watching sports the night before, but you know what… I enjoyed myself.
When I was in high school, the Yankees played their first game in Japan. I woke up at some obscure hour in the morning just to watch the game. It was unforgettable, but I thought I was going to die of exhaustion during math class. I always wonder how parents decide when late is too late. If the little boy was at home last night instead of at the game, would his parents have made him go to bed or did they want him to witness legends in the making?
“But mom, it’s only the sixth inning!” What would your response be if your child said this to you on a school night? Personally, I’d let my child stay up to watch the game and bet on him falling asleep on the couch before the final out.
Our beautiful Hudson Valley is in full bloom. Have you noticed? The roadsides are graced with the presence of Queen Anne’s Lace and periwinkle hued chicory. It’s a feast for the eyes and it’s one you can bring inside and have fun with! Any white flower can be changed with the assistance of your kids or grand kids, some food coloring, and water filled jars.
What you’ll need…
Glass Jars (from your recyclables) ~ Food Coloring ~ Queen Anne’s Lace ~ Daisies ~ or any white flower from the garden or roadside ~ Water ~ Children
This is a great project because not only is it fun and lovely to watch, but it doesn’t take any exact science or measurements.
This is a great opportunity to teach your children that
Red + Yellow = Orange ~ Blue + Yellow = Green ~ Red + Blue = Purple
Then if you really want to rock their socks, go ahead and put…
More Blue than Green to create Aqua ~ More Yellow than Red for Coral ~ and so forth, have fun!!
Squirt a bunch of food coloring into your jar of water and you will increase the intensity of your color, add just a little for pastels.
No need to fill the entire jar, only fill your jar or glass 2 inches full.
Let your children squirt away, don’t even worry about how much or how little they put in!
During the course of a day you will see your white blooms turn into a rainbow color! Daisies will become speckled and give off a somewhat tie dyed effect. Each year my kids are thrilled to see their flowers change before their eyes! nature’s magic
If you would like, when your flowers have reached their desired hue you can press them within a phone book. Cut them at the head and place between the pages. Put some weight on top and let sit for 4-6 weeks. When they are dry and crisp, frame and hang for a living memory in your home, or gift to a grandparents!
Note to moms: this craft can be used to decorate baby showers, weddings, and other summer parties! go ahead, make a bouquet of all your rainbowed hues. For intense colors use Wilton’s color gel from the cake decorating isle in ACmoore, or craft section of Walmart.
This is a fun project full of hands on and parent/child collaboration. There are a lot of parent steps, but your children will be more than happy to assist you and watch as the project goes on. Recommended for ages 4 and up. Make these now so you are ready for your 4th of July weekend! it’s coming faster than you think
Step # 1 Rubber band both sides of your shirt as to define a bottom, middle, and top. Cut both ends off of a walmart bag… the handles and the bottom so that you have an open plastic “tube”.
Place tee inside the tube so that only the middle is inside with both bottom and top of tee hanging out.
Roll your tee inside the bag up tightly. Fold down ends of bag so that they are directly over the rubber banded tee area and rubber band again over top. This insures that no dye will get into the middle section of your tee.
Step # 2 rubber band the top of and bottom of the tee in any way you would like. You can evenly space the rubber bands one after another which would make stripes, or you can pinch pieces of your fabric up which would make firework type patterns. You may be asking at this point what your children are actually doing… I had my children count with me each time I wound the rubber band so that they felt involved and could practice their numbers. My 6 year old could do the rubber bands himself with just a little assistance. I also had them hand me the rubber bands and choose weather they wanted stripes or firework patterns.
Step #3 pour half your container of RIT dye into a bowl, if you have powder only use half of the box. Add 1/2 cup of salt to each bowl. Mix these with hot water and stir. Let your child do the stirring.
Step #4 Let your child hold their tee like a upside down “U” shape and put the bottom in the blue bowl and the top in the red bowl. Let sit for 5-10 minutes.
Step #5 Pull tee out of the dye carefully and squeeze out on an open laid out trash bag, then move over and lay onto another trash bag as to not put it into the colors you have squeezed out.
Take care here not to mix colors.
Your children can wear plastic gloves and help squeeze their tees. I used another walmart bag.
Step #6 Rinse in warm water each side separately until they run almost clear.
Step #7 Do not cut off rubber bands yet or your plastic bag. Hang on a line to dry. When mostly dry (damp) cut off your rubber bands, open tee, and hang to complete dry. When completely dry wash in your washing machine each separate tee on cold.
Step #8 Optional Step… if you want, here you can cut a sponge into a star shape and let your child puffy paint stamped white stars onto their shirt. This is great if your child wasn’t able to participate enough in this project or if you wanted to do this ahead of time for your younger children and then present them with the tee to decorate.
Don’t forget to praise your children as they help you with this project. Completing projects and helping out, builds good self esteem. Smile, laugh, and have fun!
Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, HcG Pills, B12 Shots, South Beach Diet, Grapefruit Diet, Phentremine, Hydroxycut, Nutrisystem….
Been there, done that.
The day I started 7th grade was the day I started my first diet. Prior to that day, my diet consisted of pizza, fried chicken, candy, soda, potatoes and lots of pasta. In my family, the way you showed someone you loved them was by cooking them a great meal. Every Sunday my entire family would meet at my grandma’s house to eat a huge meal and play cards… only we’d eat so much that we would fall asleep after the meal and forget to play cards.
I was always big for my age… I just never realized it until 7th grade. My problem was not a lack of exercise; I’ve played organized sports all my life (my first word was baseball for crying out loud)! My problem was that I had a family that showed love with food. My grandma would keep me after school until my mom picked me up. I’d eat a snack that was probably big enough to be a meal, then go home and eat a large dinner.
The day I realized that I was overweight was when one of the girls I cheered with said to me, “WOW I can’t believe you can touch your toes, you’re so fat.” Thus began my journey through yo-yo diets and failed attempts at losing weight.
I literally tried every single diet out there. At one point, I was starving myself on the “lemonade” diet and only drinking a nasty concoction of hot water, lemon juice, cayenne pepper and honey. I’d lose 5 lbs after dieting for months, get discouraged and start eating again.
Finally, it clicked for me (Stick around for my next blog to see what my new “diet/lifestyle” is all about). I got serious about losing weight and lost 12o pounds in a little less than 2 years. But there is still one major problem… Even though I’ve lost 120 pounds and I’m at a weight I would have died to be at 4 years ago, I just don’t notice the difference.
I’ve had body image issues since middle school. The teasing and constant nagging about dieting has taken its toll on my mind. My parents were great… don’t get me wrong. They loved me unconditionally and always encouraged me to be the best person I could be. We very rarely talked about weight (except when my mom and I dieted together). The ridicule came from other kids.
Here’s the take home point I’d like to make: If you’re a parent of an overweight child, don’t make a big deal about their weight. Don’t over analyze everything they eat. Don’t criticize them. Trust me, they get enough teasing from other kids, they do not need it from their parents. Take all the junk food and unhealthy items out of your home and start cooking healthy family meals. Don’t say you’re going on a diet, just say you’re trying new recipes (better yet, say nothing at all). Take family walks together or play a family game in the back yard.
Most importantly… THINK ABOUT HOW YOU TALK ABOUT YOUR WEIGHT AND LOOKS IN FRONT OF YOUR CHILDREN. If your child hears you saying you’re ugly, need a face lift, need to go on a diet, etc. they’ll soon be saying the same things. Be positive about all the great things that make you who you are. If you’ve got laugh lines that you want to get filled in, don’t complain about the laugh lines in front of your children… be thankful that you’ve had a lot to laugh about during your lifetime.
Please check out our health section for more information on body image, dieting and encouraging your children to exercise. In my next blog I’ll discuss how I lost 120 pounds!
Thanks for reading,
|Opening gates to the Millbrook Tribute Gardens|
Sometimes it’s nice to experience the finer things in life.
Sometimes you just want to take a trip to where the rich and famous live.
Where we live is great.
I love the creeks, the daisies, and the rough country view of the Gunks, but sometimes I crave grey poupon instead of spicy deli mustard. Sometimes instead of rockclimbers, bicyclists, and hippies, I like to see men in plaid cardigans swinging golfclubs, meticulously pruned hedges lining wimbledonesque tennis courts, sprawling mansions with gate and guesthouses, and let’s not forget old women with surgically altered necks and giant sunglasses walking show poodles. When you have a child that screams at you, “I’m a monster!” It’s nice to visit a place where wild things are tamed. You can sit back and relax, observe and reflect a bit, learn maybe.
I grew up on Long Island, where you drive out to the Hamptons to see these sights, but now our replacement “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” destination is Millbrook, a town that has been coined the Hudson Valley’s lowkey version of the Hamptons.
In Millbrook, there are polo fields, country clubs and there is even a Sotheby’s. The men hanging outside the local deli are dressed in very good taste. The entire town is in very good taste, charming, very gentle, genteel, and loaded.
So it makes sense that Millbrook has the most impeccable park I have ever visited. We’re talking sand that literally sparkles below the swingset, two waterfalls cascading into a Koi pond, tall beautiful shading trees honoring fallen soldiers from WWI, and most impressive of all –pristine public bathrooms with teak side tables and artwork on the walls. Millbrook Tribute Gardens is a great park for any family to visit with its beautifully landscaped grounds and upscale playground equipment.
Just make sure you tell your husband not to change your kid’s diaper in plain sight in the parking lot. Mine started doing this when I wasn’t paying attention, and while the man walking by in the purple polo shirt and white shorts didn’t say anything, he must have thought we were unrefined, ill-mannered, let’s shout it out to the rafters “poor” out-of-towners. But who really cares? It’s a public green space. All can go and enjoy no matter your socioeconomic bracket. Is that spicy enough for you, white shorts?
Anyway, I shouldn’t really be angry at white shorts because he is the one paying what must be astronomical taxes for a place like the Millbrook Tribute Gardens. Let’s face it, most playgrounds are pretty boring for adults. Millbrook Tribute Gardens stands out as being a nice destination for the whole family.
When you’re in Millbrook, make sure you check out the Trevor Zoo too. Read my blog about the zoo‘s newish parking lot. What’s with me writing about bathrooms and parking lots…?
Goodnight. I love you “M” & “R”. Big Kiss.
- Hudson Valley Kim
|Waterfalls and koi pond.|
Millrook Tribute Garden honors fallen soldiers. This plaque lists these soldiers’ names and shows where each soldier was honored with a tree in the park’s Court of Honor. Visitors to the park benefit from these trees’ shade and beauty. Take a moment and reflect.
Sand that sparkles
I’d never seen this playground digger before our trip to Millbrook. My husband had them growing up and said that was because he was from Port Washington and I was from Ronkonkoma. Ahh the class wars continue!
|A little sad when you think that all of these trees are symbolic of fallen soldiers….|
|Good inexpensive local deli. Their competition offered a pint of fruit salad for $15. I bought a meal for the family here for the same price.|