Category Archives: Mindfully Frugal

As Wide as Plumber’s Crack

Plumber's Crack

We figured that turning 40 would bring a new level of enlightenment, liberation, and freedom.  We embraced holding menus farther from our face, releasing our inhibitions, and taking cat naps without feeling guilty. It’s been wonderful!

After 20 years of marriage, my hubby and I also relish the small things… like the sports-bump-belly-jump. We try to find comfort in the simple life… like a glass of wine with our home-cooked dinner, catching up on episodes of Shark Tank and Modern Family, taking an afternoon stroll, and eating ice cream in our jammies. The “ice cream at home” part is really an intentional attempt at no frills frugality… The swirly white stuff at DQ can cost over $20 bucks for a family of four.

Last night, we reached a new level of enlightenment… We have entered a generation gap as wide as plumber’s crack.  Picture this scene…

8:45 p.m. Wife at home playing war (card game) with 13 year old daughter.  Hubby zips through grocery store for key banana split ingredients… he approaches the check stand.  As the cashier rings in the whipped cream – beep – they have this exchange:

CASHIER: Hey dude, how’s it going?

HUBBY: Great, thanks.

(chocolate syrup – beep)

CASHIER: Any big plans this evening?

HUBBY: Just a big date at home (chuckle, chuckle)

(Not realizing that hubby always laughs at his own jokes, cashier blushes. Clearly lost for words. Fumbles through remaining items to be scanned: cherries, nuts, pineapple, strawberries.)

CASHIER: (finishes transaction, pregnant pause…) Well, take it easy, Mister.

(As hubby left the store, he realized that he’d entered a generation gap as wide as plumber’s crack.)

Thankfully, we are uninhibited, unrestrained and we no longer care if we are unrefined.  We enjoyed a delicious round of banana splits, in our jammies, with our kids.

Plumber’s Crack – all the 40-somethings are doing it!


© 2013, The Musing Maven, all rights reserved.

Sheriff Intervention on a Snow Day

Sheriff on Snow Day

The weather forecast calls for up to a foot of snow in the next 24 hours. As I watch the flakes coming down, I am reminded of a couple proud parenting moments from the past…
When my son was about 5, he had a friend over for a play-date on a snowy day. It was white-out conditions, and the boys begged to let them make a snowman. We agreed on 10 quick minutes in the snow… I figured it was just long enough for them to have fun, but not long enough for hypothermia to set in.

The snow that day was coming down in huge puffs of cotton-like flakes. As I watched the boys from the warm side of the window, I realized that the snow was the perfect consistency to make sno-cones. I took a quick peek in the freezer and found a concentrated fruit punch that would work perfectly for sno-cone syrup. Then, I tossed two plastic cups out to the boys and told them to fill them up and pack the snow real tight.

When the boys came in, they first warmed up with hot cocoa, and then asked me why they needed to fill those cups with snow. I explained the sno-cone idea…  It was one of my proudest mom moments that I’ll treasure forever.  (For those of you judging… it was virgin snow… no traces of yellow, scouts honor!) I learned that day that if you pour concentrated juice over snow balls, it will make tantalizing home-made sno-cones.

Juice Concentrate Sno-Cone

Another awesome memory involves taking a van full of kids sledding… behind my mini-van… in a school parking lot.  It was a blizzardesque weekend. The parking lot was vacant. I didn’t feel like hiking up the hill with the kids, so it seemed only logical to tie the sled to a 25 foot rope and pull them in circles.  The kids were having a great time. I used common sense and didn’t go over 5 mph. About 40 minutes into our fun, a sheriff pulled up. Luckily, he was originally from Minnesota and could relate to my parenting choice. He apologetically informed me that the police department had received a call from a concerned resident.  Needless to say, the fun for that day came to a screeching halt. But, the memory will live on forever. Thank goodness for the cop’s Minnesota roots – otherwise, I might now be found on America’s Most Wanted!

I won’t ever claim to be the safest and smartest mom on the planet. My claim to fame will be loading the kids with fun memories that they can share with their grandchildren.

Well, the snow is piling up… time to go make some snow angels!

Snow Angels

No Frills Frugality…

No Frills Frugality

Loving what I have, and having what I love… it’s a challenging concept. There is so much that I want… so much that I need!  In reality, I have everything that I need —  food, clothing, shelter, water and clean air. Yet, daily there are reminders of all the things that I should have… bigger home, better car, latest technology, puffier lips, slimmer hips…

So, living in suburbia with a mortgage, cars, activities for the kids, vacation, weekly entertainment, and the wide array of perks to indulge in on a daily basis… How do I get to a place where I am not being over indulgent?

Honestly, I have no clue. I’m just a blogger, mom, and active participant in this over-indulgent culture.  However, through the years, I’ve learned to embrace change through baby steps. Every motion starts with a mental leaning forward… Just as every fire starts from a simple spark, change comes from just one tiny step at a time.

Here are some NO FRILLS steps I’ve taken to embrace FRUGALITY in our home…

  • Family night out at the rec center for some basketball, wallyball, swimming or cardio challenge
    (We pay for the membership anyway… might as well use it!)
  • Having a dinner plan by 2 p.m. Most days this involves simply pulling some form of protein out of the freezer and at least pondering a healthy side dish. Physically taking something out of the freezer tends to save us about $40 bucks on dinner. Not a bad walk across the kitchen…
  • Encouraging our kids to earn their own money by doing extra jobs around the house AND THEN expecting them to pay for their own entertainment. (Side note: I think being consistent on this is more challenging for me than for the kids. They love feeling empowered to own their budget.)
  • When I get the feeling that the house is getting outdated, stale, old… I do a deep clean. It’s amazing how lifting the dust invigorates our surroundings. My laptop comes in handy to watch movies while I work.  What? It’s still being productive!

YIKES! It’s 2:30 p.m.  I better go pull something outta the freezer!

What are you doing to embrace No Frills Frugality in your life?