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All posts for the month July, 2016

Appointments: Days Only

Published July 22, 2016 by lynn k scott

While I respect any business owner’s right to set their own hours, work when they want to work and run their business on their terms, not all parents stay at home during the day.

This is prompted by a local add I saw from a photographer, who was giving away a photo session for “tween” girls:  ages 10-12.  It was supposed to be empowering to the girls and help them see themselves in a different light.

The sessions are only held for a limited time.  However, all the sessions are only held during the day; Monday – Wednesday; no nights or weekends.  I let her know we’d have to decline, because I’d only have on Friday, during the day off (which I requested).

I received a very nice “PC” response.  “Yes, I totally understand that would be difficult! I’m a working parent as well, so my studio is open during the week…”

Ok, stop right there.  As a business owner, you are not in the same class of “working parents” as those who report to someone else.  You are your own boss, you set your hours, so please do not think you are comparing apples to apples, because that’s simply not accurate.

For my family too, weekends are family time.  However, I sit on a board for a non-profit, and sometimes my weekend schedule needs adjusting.  I think it’s equally important for young girls to see that if a woman wants/needs to work, that there are businesses who accommodate their schedules and are open during non-traditional work hours.

If the medical industry has finally started to figure this out, I think the majority of businesses can as well; or at least make an attempt to do so.  It’s just really frustrating, as a parent, that my daughter loses out on many opportunities because so many local businesses and community organizations only give priority to those parents who stay at home or are free during the day.

S-t-r-e-t-c-h ….

Published July 19, 2016 by lynn k scott

….those grocery dollars.  It never fails…expenses keep coming in, paychecks seem to get smaller and yet your family insists on eating…and more than once per day!  It seems it’s a never ending food cycle.

I feel your pain and understand completely.  While I only have three mouths to feed, my daughter is pretending she is at least two people and we haven’t even hit the teen years yet!  There is hope.  There are ways you can stretch your food dollars bills.  Odds are, you have heard of some of these, but hopefully, at least one suggestion will be new.

The first option is coupons.  Yes, I said, and you might dread it; but they work.  I used to be an extreme couponer and in CA, that’s not easy.  However, there are deals to be found you just need to know how to access them.

  • Read the coupon policies for the store(s) you shop.
  • Learn how to stack coupons:  a store coupon and a manufacturer’s coupon used on the same item.  If the item is on sale….WOO HOO…maximum savings!
  • Read the coupons.  Some will only let you buy four of the same item in the same trip or same day.
  • Match coupons to sale items.

Next…shop multiple stores.  I know some will say, “I don’t have time to make several trips.” I respond with your wallet can’t afford you not to (true for many people).  Don’t drive all over creation.  Plan your trips and hit several stores in the same area.

Use saving apps on your cell phone.  Have you heard of ibotta?  It’s almost like coupons on your phone.  Granted, there is a pre-selected group of coupons to choose from.  You simply click on the items you use.  Sometimes you watch a 10 second video, other times you answer a question or sometimes the item unlocks immediately.  You can save anywhere from $0.25 to a dollar or more.  You simply purchase the item, scan the UPC code, take a picture of the receipt and “send”.  Once you reach $20.00, you can cash out your earnings.

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Another app is the savings catcher on the Walmart app.  You simply scan your receipt into the savings catcher and it will scan other stores in the area.  If the item you bought was cheaper somewhere else, you get the difference.  When you cash out, you can do so right to your phone and the cashier can scan the bar code right from the phone!

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There are many more apps, including apps from your grocery store, but I’ll stop there.  Ask your friends and family which ones they use.  I know my friends who hate to clip coupons will use the apps instead.

Shop local.  Learn where your local produce stands are.  They are typically local to your community and tend to have some great deals.  The one close to my job, I can get 10 pounds of potatoes for $2.00 almost all year long.  I can get Granny-Smith apples usually under $.50 a pound.  Go where the savings are.  You’re helping a local business owner meet his financial obligations too!

Buy fruits and vegetables in season.  To this day, I still meet people who have no idea what that means.  “In season” is when the fruit or vegetables are grown and harvested.  For example, cranberries are common and cheaper in the fall.  Blueberries are in season, right now, as I type this.  You can pay $1.98 for 18 oz. of blueberries in season, compared to $4.00 for the same package when they are out of season.  Know your seasons and plan your meals around them.

Buy meats that cook low and slow.  That sounds a bit odd to people.  However, the tougher cuts of meat such as pot roast, corned beef, stew beef, etc. tend to be cheaper than the nicer cuts of meat; tri-tip, london broil, etc..  They require longer cooking times and normally at a lower temperature.  If you don’t have a crock pot…GET ONE!  They come in very handy for these cuts of meat, will cook all day without you standing over them and will be fall off the bone tender when you’re done.

What’s in a name…brand that is…There are just some brand named items that are equally as good in the store brand version.  Stop paying for advertising of the brand and start thinking about the item.  Are the primary ingredients the same?  Odds are they will work or taste the same too.  Read labels and see what I’m talking about.  I’m not saying to give up your favorite shampoo or favorite snack, just know, the store varieties have something to offer.

Lastly, for the purpose of this post anyway, make a list and stick to it.  If  your like me, you make the list of needed items and then forget it when you’re ready to go shopping.  Once you’re primarily done with the list, put it in your purse, pocket, with the car keys…somewhere you will remember it.  If that hasn’t worked, many cell phones are able to record lists or notes.  There are even cell phone apps that are strictly for shopping lists.

So there is a handful of saving suggestions; just the tip of the savings iceberg really.  It’s enough to get you started, at any rate.  If you have suggestions on making those grocery dollars stretch, please feel free to leave a comment.  There are so many more options available than this humble list.

 

A Week’s Meal Plan

Published July 19, 2016 by lynn k scott

I am a working mother, wife, and an all around domestic goddess.  Ok, that last title is normally reserved for the weekend routine, but hey, I like the way it sounds, and quite frankly, I rock that title!

Being the only cook in the family, I am the one to come up with dinner ideas, making sure they are gluten-free and that my family, who are just a tad stuck in their dinner ways, will actually consume what is made.

I popped into the grocery store last night after work.  Ok, so I drove there and walked in, but “popped” sounds so much cuter, not to mention fun.  I wasn’t planning on spending much, and only went a tad over what I anticipated (go me!).

My daughter was with me, and as we were walking up and down the aisles, she said, “hey Mom…how about breakfast for dinner”.  Seeing as I would be starting dinner around 6:00 p.m., I thought that was a great idea.  So we had eggs, hashbrowns, bacon and toast.  Easy-peasy and I could crash early, seeing how I started my day at 3:00 a.m.

Then I caught a few sales and decided to buy the rest of the week’s meals

  • Monday:  Eggs and Bacon
  • Tuesday:  Tacos and Spanish Rice
  • Wednesday:  Grilled Pork Chops and Baked Potatoes with sauteed green beans and carrots
  • Thursday:  Baked chicken wings; half will be coated in wing sauce.  Served with rice.
  • Friday:  Grilled Tri-Tip and Scalloped Potatoes and corn on the cob.

Now all of these meals are homemade.  I don’t buy premade dishes, for the most part, esp. not at dinner.  As we will be home before 5 on Friday, I saved the longest prep dish for that day.  The homemade scalloped potatoes take a couple hours to prep and cook, but are so worth it.

It’s also nice to know how to plan different aspects my week, knowing how long dinner will take to make and clean up.  I am so pleased with myself, I need to make this a habit instead of a just picking a few meals for the week and winging the rest of the dinners we will need.

“Understanding”

Published July 19, 2016 by lynn k scott

I was reading a yummy post on What’s For Dinner Moms? blog and it reminded me of my 2016 word:  Understanding.

I had almost completely forgotten about it as the pressures of home and work have kept me extremely busy.  So, I am taking a minute to see how my 2016 word has been working out so far.

It’s a bit more than half-way through the year.  Lots has happened and you’d know more about what if I was a better blogger.  Regardless, I think “understanding” has shown through in many ways; to date.

Without getting political, I have a better understanding of where my friends’ political views stand.  I don’t agree with some of them, but I can follow their reasoning.  It’s also helped me to understand where I do and don’t belong.  I was feeling on the fence about certain groups I was in.  Learning some new information helped me know that it was time to distance myself, in and in one instance, leave a group I thought was right for me.

That being said, a friend, has been very inspirational and looks for the good in others.  I have gained more understanding into what my triggers are and am working on trying to see the other side of the coin, if you will.  I’m trying not to judge as much, which in turn, leads to a better understanding of people and the situations they are going through.

For the most part, “understanding” has been a very appropriate word and it suits 2016 well.  I will be selecting a new word for 2017, so join me closer to the new year to see what I have chosen.  You too could join the “ditch the resolution and pick a word” club.

If this has intrigued you, and you’d like a word for 2016, go ahead…select one…see how it plays out for the rest of the year.  If you’re not shy about it, I’d love to know what word you chose.

Did I Cave?

Published July 18, 2016 by lynn k scott

I like to consider myself an old-school parent.  I raise my kids with understanding, but don’t tolerate a lot of BS and will call them to the mat when they think they are going to get away with something.  As I only have one child left at home, I still have to temper my views with keeping up with today.

In comes the debate that plagues many of my parent friends:  when do the kids get a cell phone.  My daughter is 10.5, very mature for her age, and up to a few months ago, a snowball in hell had a better chance of not melting than she did in getting a cell phone before she was a teenager.

If you ask her, I’m the “mean” parent. I do most of the rule enforcement, handle school issues, run the household and put up with very little.  Heck, she even nicknamed me, “the funsucker”.  No lie…go ahead and laugh.  I did and thought…right on…I’m doing my job as a mom making her into a responsible kid.

Lately, my lil miss has been helping out with the dogs; getting them on and off their leashes for potty breaks, cleaning up after them, cuddling with my 3 year old pup, who thinks he’s 8 months old again.  She helps in the kitchen, does her assigned chores without much complaining, and is really a pretty good kid.

When I decided we weren’t going to homeschool and I put her in a very small, but private school, that meant, I didn’t really have sitters on hand.  Now, because school is out for 5 more (loooooong) weeks, she hangs out at my office with me.  I have some friends who take her from time to time, but she’s with me 90% of the time.  I know she gets bored.  So, she takes my phone to keep herself entertained.  I know what she’s watching and she knows I know.

That being said, I wanted my phone back.  However, it’s easier for her to be less disruptive if she can call into my private office and I can go to her versus her coming to me.  So, I told her dad we were getting her a phone.  By, “we”, I meant me.  Now, I’m still paying for my phone.  I wasn’t about to be doing the same for a 10-year old…heck no!

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Did my research and I was able to add a Go-Phone to my plan.  So for $80, she received an 8 Gig phone with a 5 megapixel camera.  It’s a Samsung and it’s not too bad, but a good “starter” phone.  However, there are several stipulations that go with this new phone.  Remember, I’m the “mean” mom.

  • She no longer gets an allowance.  She was getting $3.00/week if all her chores were completed.  Well, that’s about what her monthly phone bill will be so, I pay that.  She must continue to do all her chores.
  • She must maintain good grades.  She is a good student, but has to work for it.  She tries to slack off.  For spelling test, “I got this, Mom”.  She honestly thinks she will learn through osmosis or something.  Yup, she flunks a spelling test or doesn’t study to my satisfaction, she will lose the phone for a week at a time, so she can concentrate.
  • Lastly, attitude.  She’s a female, pre-pubescent (Lord, HELP ME!) and she’s my daughter and becoming well versed in sarcasm.  So, when the attitude goes awry, her phone goes away.

She has to turn in the phone every evening before going to bed.  Her phone stays with my phone.  There will be no staying up playing games, when she should be sleeping.  I think this will enhance her responsibility.  Oh, and this was the way I got out of thinking about her having a hamster.  That alone was worth the $80, if you ask me.

So did I cave?  Naw….I don’t think I did.  I think getting your child a cell phone is really dependent upon your family dynamics and the child in question.  As their parent, you can only decide when the time is right.

 

Sweet Tea

Published July 18, 2016 by lynn k scott

I am a native New Yorker, who now lives in Northern California.  My mom was also technically a “Yankee” but spent half her life in the South.  If you ever heard tell of her childhood, half of the kids were born in the North and half in the South.  She said, “we fought our own civil war”.

One thing my mom always enjoyed was homemade iced tea.  There are many ways to make iced tea.  Pour boiling water over tea bags, quick steeps, long steeps, etc.  My favorite way to make iced tea is to start with sun tea.  Why should I pay to turn on my stove, when the sun is a natural resource and with a little planning, I will never run out of tea; especially in the summer.

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My mother preferred her tea (and coffee) unsweetened.  I prefer sweet tea, myself. However, one simply cannot take a glass of cold,  unsweetened tea and add some sugar and call that sweet tea.  Having not been raised in the South, even I know that much.

As previously stated, I don’t make my tea on the stove.  However, having been a bartender in my youth, I prefer to make a simple sugar mixture to add to my tea.  One cup of sugar to one cup of water, stir, heat until sugar is dissolved.  Simple!  Then, I let it cool and add it to a container to add to my tea. I like to reuse the Martinelli’s apple juice jars; perfect for simple syrup.20160711_204127.jpg

Over the years, I have discovered that the quart-sized mason jars are perfect for this.  I make a half-gallon of tea at a time, simply by using two quart jars.  I just add three decaf tea bags per jar.  I use decaf only because my coffee is caffeinated and I drink tea into the evening.  I need to sleep ya know.

They now sell plastic lids for mason jars and they are the best ever for making the jars reusable.  Ok, so that was the canning nerd side of me, but you get my point.

Normally, once i get home from work, I bring the tea in (set out before I leave for the day).

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I add about 1/8 cup of simple syrup.  It’s really a personal taste.  Add as little or as much as you like.  Then I add some lemon juice.  I’ve always loved lemon iced-tea.  Maybe that’s not part of the sweet tea most people know, but again, I’m technically a “Yankee” for this venture, and in the true spirit of being a New Yorker, “I did it my way”.  So, in goes the lemon.

Put the cap back on, shake it up and there you have it: sweet (lemon) iced tea.

WordPress Meet and Greet – All Bloggers Welcome

Published July 17, 2016 by lynn k scott

Reblogging is a great way to promote your blog and find some new ones.

HarsH ReaLiTy

Well this is the third post I have done like this so far and I have seen some great connections. I’ll keep doing these off and on and I think they provide a great way for “active bloggers” to network. This post now has over 2,000 active bloggers waiting to connect in it. I encourage anyone looking for new blogs to view or people to converse with to browse through the comment section and network.

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