Weekly (ish) update ~ by Sam

So, I’m a few days late with the weekly update.

We are still trying to get in the swing of things at school.  Already, one kid has had 2 sick days, but she is back in school today, so things are looking up.  On the subject, I have decided that one way we are going to save money this year is by staying well.  Seriously, I don’t even want to know how much money we spent on doctors last year.  Now, I am not sure exactly how this is going to work, but I am trying to give everyone good, healthy meals, pushing orange juice, fruits, vegetables, and avoiding processed foods as much as possible.  When they are sick, we are trying very hard to stick to more natural treatments and avoid antibiotics, so our immune systems can recover from last year’s (and some years preceding it) attack.  I don;t know how much it will help, but I am adding probiotics to our smoothies, and making sure everyone takes vitamins.  Wish me luck.  My kids get sick so often, the receptionist at the clinic is like family.  Each visit is about $60, then there is the cost of meds, on top of that.  So, I figure, if I can just keep everyone well ~ and manage to avoid falling over and breaking parts of myself ~ we should save a good chunk o’ change.  We’ll see.

Last Saturday, we threw together our annual Island Day party, and I made a little cake for Kaia (finally…almost a month after her birthday).  I was a little worried about the cost of that, but we kept it simple, asking folks to bring a dish to share, if they liked.  I put out a veggie tray, cheese and crackers, egg salad, Hawaiian rolls, chips and salsa, and provided margaritas, soda (made with our Soda Stream, so cheaper than canned or bottled drinks) beer and whatever else happened to be stocked in our bar.  Friends brought 7-layer dip, white bean dip, and more beer.  I was a little worried about entertainment, since we sort of dropped the ball on that one, but a bunch of the kids pulled out instruments and jammed in the parlour, and they invented a game like ring toss, in which the goal was to throw a lei and have it land around somebody’s neck (I think this will become a new regular game). Everyone seemed to have a good time, and we really didn’t spend much money.  In fact, we never even pulled out the pizza crust, sauce and cheese, which were my back-up plan, should we run out of food.  So, we had pizza the next day.  We also forgot to pull out the salad, so we made that up the following day.  Turns out, some of the shopping I thought I was doing for the party helped get us through the week.

hmmm…so, I have talked a little about the money we spent.  How about the money we haven’t spent?  Saw a sectional sofa we LOVED at Costco for $750.  $750!  Really, an incredible price for this particular sofa, but, if we are gonna throw $750 at something, it ought to be one of the bills we ran up while buying our snazzy new house.  So, as much as we loved it ~ and as much as our sofa is sort of falling apart ~ we walked away.  It was hard.  It’s still hard.  I keep almost going back and charging it.  But I won’t.  I think.  I hope.  I mean…it IS a really good deal…and our sofa IS falling apart.  I kid you not ~ springs just spring out from under it at any given time.  Shane has repaired something like 12, and there are currently 4 broken ones.  It’s a little crazy.  But, we have debt to pay off, so we will try to be good.

Another thing we have not spent much money on is getting rid of the giant colony of ants that want to live in our house.  I have tried EVERYTHING I can think of, but nothing deters these buggers.  I tried using chalk, peppermint and bay leaves to deter them.  That helped a little bit.  I released ladybugs to wipe out their aphid farm in my mint plant.  I mixed borax an sugar to make my own ant bait.  Still waiting to see if that works.  In the meantime, just wiping, mopping, putting away food and shooing them back  out the door whenever I see them.  They are tenacious.

One thing we DID spend money on this week was a stereo cabinet.  This is something for which we have been keeping an eye out for some time.  We’ve been checking craigslist, yard sales and thrift stores for good deals, and we finally found one.  I was even able to talk the proprietors of the thrift store down by $40.  They agreed very easily, so I am thinking I should have made an even lower offer, but I still feel like I got a very good deal.  We gained a piece of furniture that is solid, useful and attractive, so I feel it was an excellent purchase.

We continue to chip away at the debt, and are hopeful that we will pay off justice’s bass and actually OWN it within the next few months.  Still trying to whittle out enough money from our monthly budget to afford health insurance.  We’re getting there.  Trying to save the tomatoes from hideous leaf-legged bugs, so we don’t lose too much money on the garden this year, taking care of our fruit trees, and starting to think about Winter vegetable planting.  Also looking into some (small, but helpful) money-making opportunities for me ~ things I can do from home, most likely, and on my own schedule.  Will keep you posted on that.

Now…if only I could talk Costco down by three or four hundred bucks on that sofa…

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