Archive for June, 2008

Diligence

There are certain things I should do every day that somehow or another I always seem to forget. None of them take a particularly long time, it’s just that somehow or another I find myself failing to do them. They are all simple things. I should stretch every morning. I should exercise every day to reduce chronic pain. I should take note of the blessings in my life and spend at least a few minutes writing.

More often than not I do each of these things intermittently. One day I remember to stretch and exercise but I forgot to spend a few minutes writing. Other days I write for thirty minutes, but forget to do everything else. It seems that I lack the steady determination and effort to perform each task every single day.

The other day my physical therapist said something so simple and straightforward that it stopped me dead in my tracks. He said I could keep paying him to work out my pain points or I could find the diligence to stretch and exercise every day. I wouldn’t be able to stop his treatments altogether, but with a fair amount of diligence I may be able to decrease the frequency of those treatments.

The truth is, whenever the pain becomes bearable again, I tend to fall back into my old ways. When things hurt I am reminded to exercise and stretch, because without doing those things I cannot function, but as soon as the pain begins to subside I fall back into my old patterns.

I am not certain how to fix this problem, but my goal for the remainder of the summer is to focus on the things in my life that really matter. To set aside time and energy to the diligence of simple, every day practices. If anyone has any words of wisdom to help me accomplish my goals… I’m all ears… I could really use some guidance.

June 30, 2008 at 3:14 AM 5 comments

Yummy Smoothie Recipes

In an effort to squeeze more fruit into my diet I’ve recently turned to the wonderful world of smoothies. I usually just throw some soy milk into the blender with a whole host of frozen fruits, but this past weekend I came across a couple of very yummy recipes. In the past few weeks I’ve been keeping my eye out for frozen fruit sales at the grocery store. Sure enough some type of frozen fruit has been on sale every week for the last month. I’ll eat fresh when it’s economically feasible, but to be honest I like the frozen variety. When you use frozen you can skip the ice, which in my opinion waters the smoothie down.

Blueberry Bliss
(2 servings)

  • 1 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 7 oz vanilla yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup ice

Place all ingredients in a blender on full power for 30 seconds. (If you use frozen blueberries you don’t need the ice.)

Blue Mango (2 servings)

  • 1/2 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 1/2 cup strawberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 2 mangoes (fresh or frozen)
  • 1/2 cup apple juice

Puree the mangoes, then add the juice, blueberries and strawberries. If you don’t use frozen ingredients you’ll want to chill this mixture in the fridge.

Apple Attack (2 servings)

  • 1 apple, chopped and cored
  • 1 banana, peeled
  • 1 handful of blueberries (frozen)
  • 1 handful of grapes
  • 1 cup of apple juice

Blend all ingredients together until you get a smooth texture.

Enjoy.

June 29, 2008 at 3:20 AM 1 comment

My 29 Day Giving Challenge Comes to an End

My 29 Day Giving Challenge officially ended a few days ago. I missed a few days in between but overall I managed to give a gift every day. Here is a break down of all of the gifts I gave:

  1. A Gift for My Husband (Night Table)
  2. A Book for My Mom (Chicken Soup for the Mother & Daughter Soul)
  3. A Gift for the Troops (Toiletry Items)
  4. Time with My Mom
  5. Donation of Sundresses and Evening Gowns
  6. A Cookbook for My Dad
  7. Dinner for My Family (Baked Ziti)
  8. More Time w/ My Mom
  9. Birthday Gifts for My Mother-in-Law
  10. Reusable Grocery Bags
  11. Two Pink, Brand-New Bridesmaid Dresses
  12. Time for Meditation
  13. A Candy Bar for a Co-Worker
  14. $3.50 Worth of Coupons to a Random Shopper
  15. Donation to the Local Fire Department
  16. Computer Game for My Brother (It was his birthday.)
  17. Computer Game for My Nephew (It was his birthday.)
  18. Anti-Nausea Wrist Bands for My Sister-in-law who is undergoing Chemo
  19. Mailed PaperBackSwap book via First Class Mail rather than Media Mail
  20. Donated Clothes to the Donation Center in North Carolina
  21. Spent Time w/ My In-Laws for Father’s Day
  22. Food for My Co-workers
  23. $4 Worth of Coupons to a Random Shopper and Her Husband
  24. Took the Broken Apple TV to the Apple Store for My Husband
  25. Donation to Fund a Child’s Trip to Summer Camp
  26. Donation to Charity to Support Cancer Research
  27. Gave a Homeless Man a Banana and a Cookie
  28. Time with my Grandmother
  29. Time to Reflect

I’m very glad I participated in this challenge. It was nice to spend a few minutes each day thinking about how I could help someone else. It helped me to recognize just how blessed my life is and just how much I have to give.

June 26, 2008 at 3:10 AM 3 comments

Frugal Do-It-Yourself Homeowner Transports Screen Doors on Subway

Imagine dragging 4-by-4s, screen doors, a six-foot section of picket fence, a lawn mower, a 75-foot garden hose or a six-foot stepladder onto the Washington, DC metro. That’s exactly how one do-it-yourself homeowner transports supplies from the hardware store to his home. Unwilling to pay for the cost of a pick-up truck rental and unable to convince a cabbie to give him a ride, one Maryland resident has repeatedly resorted to transporting supplies on metro.

If you have ever ridden on the Washington, DC metro system you will definitely get a kick out of this story. It’s difficult enough to carry grocery bags onto the train. I can’t imagine lugging around a large screen door or a lawn mower.

June 24, 2008 at 2:57 AM 1 comment

Our Money Sailed Away

Being the good person that he is, my husband recently arranged the night’s festivities for a good friend’s bachelor party. The plan involved six groomsmen boarding a boat and sailing around Annapolis for a few hours. The boat books quickly, so my husband purchased tickets a few nights in advance. He charged the entire bill, ($222), on our credit card. He fully expected the other five party goers to pony up their share of the money. (Roughly $37 a person.)

On Saturday he headed to Annapolis with two other guys while a second car followed along with three others. My husband parked the car and walked over to the dock with time to spare, but the other bridal party members, including the groom, were no where to be found. My husband asked a crew member to wait just one more minute, but he was told the boat must go. Moments later the groom appeared, but the boat had already sailed away and with it went our $222.

Of course, none of the party goers offered to pay for their tickets. One guy told my husband he only had $4 in his wallet. He explained that his wife wrote a few checks that he was unaware of and that he was left with $8 in his checking account and $4 in his pocket. My husband figured it was fruitless to ask him for the $37.

Having missed the boat the men decided to buy some food and beer and head back to the groom’s house for a backyard BBQ. Clearly the guy with only $4 in his pocket was not planning on contributing to the event. When they went to the grocery and liquor stores he did not offer any money.

I’m not sure if my husband was more frustrated at losing $222, or at the guy who had no intentions of contributing to any of the festivities. When he got home he asked, “Did this guy think everyone else was going to pay for his activities?”

Needless to say my husband came home around 11 o’clock upset and angry over the entire event. I think I was as frustrated, if not more frustrated than he was. If I were in his position I certainly would have asked those guys for the money. $37 a person is a decent loss, but it’s nothing compared to $222 for one individual.

Before we went to bed I tried to console my husband. I reminded him that being a member of the bridal party always costs a significant amount of money. I once paid $260 for a bridal dress that was never worn. (The wedding was canceled after the made-to-order dresses were purchased.) I don’t know if this made him feel a whole lot better. He sighed and rolled over.

June 23, 2008 at 2:23 AM 2 comments

How My Cat Forced Me Into a Life of Voluntary Simplicity

Eight years ago my husband picked up two little kittens from the Washington Humane Society. At the time my husband, (then boyfriend), lived alone in a small two bedroom apartment. The kittens were prone to scratching, but we bought them two large scratching posts and for the most part they kept their claws off the furniture.

A few months after their first birthday my husband and I bought our first house. We transported the kittens from the apartment to the house very carefully. We read that cats can become very confused and fearful when confronted with new surroundings, so for the first couple of days we kept them locked up in one of the bedrooms with all of their favorite toys, scratching posts and kitty beds. After a few days when they seemed eager to venture out we gave them free reign of the house.

For the first few months in the house I didn’t notice anything unusual. Then one day the smell of cat urine began to waft through the living room. Sure enough one of the cats was using the corner of our living room as his own personal toilet. I immediately drove to the store and bought the household cleaners that suck up cat urine. I sprayed the carpets and let it soak in. Every time the cat sprayed I cleaned up his mess. I read every site on the Internet and followed all of the instructions, but the cat continued to spray in that corner. A few months later I discovered that the previous owners had a cat that urinated in that same exact spot. As soon as I heard this news I pulled up the carpeting.

In retrospect I should have acted more swiftly and decisively. I should have pulled up the carpeting immediately. Up until that point the cat only urinated in the litter pan and the corner of the living room, but when that carpet was removed he began to urinate all over the basement. After a few weeks there he began to urinate in other parts of our living room as well.

Now I realize that this is utterly disgusting and I would not wish this curse on my worst enemy. There is nothing more foul then the stench of cat urine. A lot of friends and co-workers told us to put the cat back up for adoption, but for better or worse we could not get rid of him.

The carpet was the first thing we threw out of our house, but it would not be the last. He unleashed his wrath on the downstairs bar, two dressers, two lamps and three living room chairs. Everyday I was forced to throw something else out of the house. If something accidentally fell on the floor he’d urinate on it, so various towels, blankets, and shirts also went out to the garbage.

I spent a ton of money on gadgets and devices to stop the cat from urinating outside of the litter pan, but none of them worked. One afternoon as I was walking yet another item out to the garbage I had an idea. I couldn’t bear to take another perfectly good item out to the trash because of this cat. I decided to donate the majority of the stuff in our house before the cat could destroy it.

I went on a mission. I removed clutter from every single room in our house. I cleared the counters and donated or discarded just about everything from the floor. Our house was not particularly cluttered to begin with, but after the cat’s indiscretions the house became sparser than ever.

After removing the majority of stuff from our house the cat miraculously stopped his bad behaviors. (I figure he simply didn’t have anything left to mark.) Since that time I have kept the house as clutter free as possible. I refuse to purchase anything that won’t fit in the closets or dressers. If I have to create additional storage downstairs I know he’ll urinate on it.

At first I cleared the house because I had no other choice, but after awhile I realized that I didn’t miss any of the stuff I had removed. What was originally forced simplicity has now become entirely voluntary.

June 22, 2008 at 3:29 AM 3 comments

Inexpensive, All Natural Skin Care Treatments

The summer weather has arrived and my skin is already breaking out from the heat and humidity. None of my usual remedies appear to be working so this afternoon I turned to the Internet for an inexpensive, all natural solution.

I found a remedy I liked and gave it a try. I sprinkled a half teaspoon of baking soda into my hand. I added a few drops of warm water and gently pressed the mixture it into my face. After a minute or two of light facial massage I rinsed the baking soda off of my face.

It’s too soon to know whether or not it’ll work, but I figured it couldn’t hurt to give it a try. The drugstore was charging $5 – $10 for similar solutions, and this concoction cost me nothing, because I already had baking soda in the house.

As I was poking around the Internet I found a few other inexpensive, all natural treatments that looked interesting.

Puffiness & Dark Circles — Steep two cups of green tea. Remove the tea bags and chill them briefly in the freezer. Squeeze the excess water out of the chilled tea bags, lie down, and place them on the under-eye area for 10 minutes.

Hyperpigmentation — Apply plain yogurt to your face three to four times a week. The lactic acid in the yogurt is a natural exfoliant.

Chapped Lips — Mix a dab of honey with brown sugar. Apply to lips and gently massage back and forth with an old toothbrush. This combination will kill bacteria and help skin retain it’s moisture.

June 21, 2008 at 2:47 AM 3 comments

Neglecting My Blog this Week

I totally neglected One Frugal Girl this week. I didn’t post Monday, because I was still catching up from my extended weekend in North Carolina. Tuesday night my meditation class was so amazing that I stayed an extra hour after class to talk with the teacher and a few of the students. Wednesday night I met a friend for dinner and watched the new Sex and the City movie. Tonight I ended up working late on a voluntary work project that is a little less voluntary than it used to be. It’s been a great week, but here it is nearly midnight on Thursday and I am just getting around to poking around on the Internet. Hopefully I’ll get around to posting tomorrow.

June 20, 2008 at 3:44 AM Leave a comment

A Few Moments of Quiet Pleasure

A few weeks ago I came across a children’s book in Ross called Funky Things to Draw. Something about it’s pink and purple cover called to me. I picked it up and walked straight to the checkout counter. I usually analyze purchases in detail, (even small ones), but this time I didn’t hesitate.

My niece and nephew are too young for it right now, but my brother liked to draw as a child and I figured his children might share similar interests. I brought the book home and added it to their special gift drawer. The drawer is right beside the sheets and towels in our linen closet, so each time I folded the laundry I glanced over at the pink and purple cover.

A week or so ago I felt compelled to pull the book out of storage. I found the perfect notepad and began to draw. I’m not exactly an artist but I enjoy spending a few minutes alone with a pencil and paper. When I’m finished I take my drawings upstairs and show my husband. So far, he’s been able to identify all of the animals in my pictures, which I take as a very good sign.

June 17, 2008 at 3:11 AM 1 comment

Renters Steal the Strangest Things

The rental company for our beach home provides a welcome basket to each of our guests. In my personal opinion it’s a sad excuse for a welcome basket. It contains two rolls of toilet paper, one roll of paper towels, a dish rag and two pitifully small bars of hand soap.

This season I decided to leave a few basic necessities out for our guests. These included two bottles of dishwashing liquid, (one brand new, one half-used), a half-used bottle of laundry detergent, twelve rolls of toilet paper and a stack of garbage bags. I also provided four bottles of Softsoap® hand soap. I placed one, brand-new bottle in each of the three bathrooms and one half-used bottle near the kitchen sink.

When we returned to our vacation home this weekend I noticed that all three of the brand-new hand soap bottles were missing. Even stranger the half-used bottle of hand soap was still sitting beside the sink. Why would a renter steal three bottles of hand soap? Did they leave behind the fourth bottle because it was only half-full?

Over the last few years we’ve had a number of items taken from our home, but three bottles of hand soap is certainly the strangest yet.

June 14, 2008 at 3:00 PM 3 comments

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