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2009 February » Philoxenos


We have a snack problem

27th February 2009

We have a snack problem

The problem at our house is the children always want to eat. What’s up with that? We eat breakfast before 7:30am and they’re asking for food by 9am.  We eat lunch around11:30/12 and the minute quiet time is over they’re asking for a snack.

I understand that growing children need food. In general this isn’t a problem, until I start hearing this:

“No, I want square crackers, not round crackers.”

(insert whine) “My cracker is broken! I can’t eat a broken cracker!”

“Little Boy got cheese, how come I didn’t get cheese?”

“What do you mean we’re out of apples?”

You can see how it would get a tad annoying. So I’m going to figure out a way to implement a new system. The main issues are that the kids want to eat all the time and that they’re not happy with what they’re served so they whine about it. I HATE whining.

One thing I want to try is something I read about somewhere else a long time ago. Get a muffin tin and fill each hole with the snacks for the day. Each child gets a muffin tin. Once they eat their snacks then they’re done for the day. If they eat them all by 10 am, then that’s it. Just lunch and then they’ll have dinner at the normal time. Or else we have a snack time where everyone sits down together, eats the snack, and then they get up and snack time is over. They eat what they’re served, just like at dinner.

I may have to put up with increased whining for a bit but hopefully it will pay off. I’ll let you know how it goes.

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23rd February 2009

Thoughts I think when my husband works late

Bit of background: Handsome is a computer guy. I think his title is Information Services Director. So he’s the head computer guy. When things break after hours he’s the guy they call.

The story: Today in the middle of dinner he got a call. Someone’s who-zit wasn’t working. I’m grateful that this person thought to ask if he was in the middle of dinner (which he was) and so they arranged to talk after dinner was over. When we finished Handsome asked which room would be the best for him to work in so he wasn’t interrupted. Our bedroom wouldn’t work because that’s where the kids brush their teeth and all that. Not actually in our room, you understand, but in the master bathroom. Just in case you didn’t figure that out.

I suggested either the garage, which he didn’t think was a great suggestion, or the bathroom, which he also thought was a poor choice. He decided on Little Boy’s room. I wish I had a camera - Mr. IT man set up with his laptop and cell phone, sitting on the floor next to a toddler bed, surrounded by race-car covered walls. Have a caption for that photo? I ended up having to put a child door knob lock thing on the outside of the door so the kids wouldn’t keep opening the door to peek at daddy. Little Boy thought it was a new kind of hide and go seek.

Anyway. They got it sorted. Handsome and I got the kids to bed. Handsome worked (he warned me over dinner that he would need to do some work tonight) while I watched a movie and did some ironing. His ironing. I don’t iron my own clothes. I figure I always have a built in excuse of a 2 year old, a 3 year old, and a 5 year old.

Handsome was looking decidedly worse for wear about halfway through the movie. Obviously the what-zits weren’t doing their job properly. Can you tell I’m a highly technical person? After a bit longer he looked at me and said that he’d have to go into the office because the server wasn’t pinging or something like that. Whatever it was meant that other people wouldn’t be able to do their jobs because the computers wouldn’t be working properly and it’s his job to make sure that they work all the time. So, off he went.

I finished my movie. Ate a chocolate chip cookie. Refrained from eating all the chocolate chip cookies. And now here I am. Thinking.

My husband works hard, really hard. I am fortunate enough to be able to stay home with our children (I’ll admit I don’t always think it’s that fortuitous) because he works hard to support us. Some people might deride the fact that I do things like iron his clothes and make his lunch, you know, so June Cleaver-ish. But right now I’m home writing a post for my blog and he’s at work putting in his 13th hour or so of work today. Isn’t that the least I can do? To honour his hard work by doing a bit of hard work of my own?

I think I should print this out and staple it to my forehead so the next time I’m being lazy about not wanting to make dinner or neglecting to put away clean clothes so he can actually find his socks in the morning (uh, don’t ask me how high the pile of clean clothes is on the floor of our bedroom) I’ll remember that it’s part of being a team. We each have important jobs to do and when they aren’t done properly the team suffers.

So, I’m going to stop writing now and find something that Handsome can take for lunch in the morning.


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21st February 2009

I should follow my own advice

I often have the opportunity to talk to people about ways they can save money on their food spending. The first thing I always say is to make a menu, then make a list based on the menu, and only buy what’s on the list.  I tell people over and over that if they do nothing else but these three things they will see a reduction in their spending simply because they’re prepared.

Want to know how long it’s been since I’ve written out a menu? Go ahead, guess.

I would say about six weeks.

At the beginning of the year I did a big shop in order to put lots of meals into the freezer, so I was basically just using what we had, no worrying about it because I had lots stockpiled. I had lots of options.

Then at the beginning of February I did a bit more shopping. Still no menu, still had lots stockpiled.

We’re now nearing the end of another month and my stockpile isn’t as large as before. We’ve used up much of the convenience food I had stored up. Now I don’t have anything to grab on the way out the door to stave off the mid morning munchies the kids always get. So we’re more likely to stop and grab something small at McDonalds on our way wherever. Or on the way home because we’re out later than I expected and I want to make sure Little Boy gets something to eat before he falls alseep in the car.

And let me tell you, friends, it definitely costs money to not have a menu.

When I have a menu, we eat more substantial breakfasts, which means that the mid-morning munchies aren’t as severe. When I have a menu, it means I have a plan, so I can start cooking dinner earlier in the day which means I won’t be asking to get pizza that night.

So, I’m working on a menu right now. And I feel empowered already! And I’m sure that Handsome is grateful. He’s a very graceful husband, moving funds around in our budget to cover my indescretion, knowing that I only allow myself to be menu-less for a certain length of time. But he only puts up with it for so long before garnishing my personal allowance. And since my personal allowance is incredibly small, that means not a very long time!

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19th February 2009

And this is why I only use my cell phone

We have a landline but only because that’s how we get our DSL. We don’t even have a phone plugged in to our landline most of the time. This morning I realised that I left my cell phone in the car last night and the car is currently parked outside Handsome’s office, so I emailed Handsome and my mom to let them know that if they needed to get in touch they would need to call on the landline, the number to which I don’t even know.

Within 20 minutes of plugging in the phone I got two calls from collection agencies for the people that used to own our number. Almost TWO YEARS AGO. We had this problem when we used to keep a phone plugged in and that’s why I just stopped using it.

One of the men was obviously very skeptical that I didn’t know who Victor Mulano was and I explained that I had owned this number for almost two years and have been getting calls for him ever since. He was like - well, he certainly never changed his number. I was like, uh, if you owed a bunch of money would you bother changing your number?? He then stammered a bit and said - uh, well, I’ll…   To which I replied - you’ll make a note of it and not call me again? Thanks.

And I hung up.

I can almost guarantee that I’ll be getting a lot more phone calls throughout the day. I’ll have to come up with some better comback lines.

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18th February 2009

uh oh

Just this very minute I had a huge blast from the past. Does anyone remember ICQ? Does it even exist anymore? Anyway, when I was first getting to know Handsome online we used ICQ almost exclusively to chat. We would both log on, hopefully at the same time, and send messages. If I remember correctly we could actually chat or just send messages. Whenever I received a message it would make a sound - uh oh!

But directly before it actually said uh oh I could normally hear my computer processing so it gave me a bit of warning that it was coming. I just came to expect it.

Well just this minute I was reading some blogs and my computer started whirring and for a split second I thought - oh I must be getting a message on ICQ.

Regardless of the fact that I haven’t used ICQ in ten years and it’s not even loaded on this computer. Isn’t it amazing how our brains work? And boy, does that bring back memories.

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12th February 2009

Moms need to read this…

Trust me, you really should go read this post.

I was nodding my head and chuckling through the whole thing. It definitely spoke to me today. Puts everything in perspective.

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7th February 2009

reading for little girls

Precious is nearly 5.5 years old. I’m having a really hard time believing that. She’s also reading a few years beyond her age. She can pick up the NIV Bible and read it and comprehend most of it, particularly the OT stories. There are some holes in her knowledge, which is no problem considering she’s only 5! We’re working on that stuff. But this makes it very challenging for me to find age-appropriate reading material for her. Some of the stuff that is at her level covers topics I don’t want her exposed to yet. Fortunately for her she still loves to read picture books, which can often be challenging because they’re written as read-aloud books, rather than personal reading.

Today at the library I picked up a copy of one of the American Girl books. We have the set of three movies that have come out and we all really like them. Some great topics are covered and offer lots of stuff to discuss. Anyway, Precious is currently sprawled on her bed devouring that book. Samantha is her favourite doll so far and she’s enjoying reading more about her.

I’m hoping that we can get her an American Girl doll for her birthday. Of course by then she will have read all of the books from the library, but I know that she’ll still enjoy the doll.

Anyone have suggestions for good reading books for her, considering her age?

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2nd February 2009

so much for using up my stockpile

You know how I posted here that I was going to take the pantry challenge and just buy the necessities in order to use up my stockpile?

Apparently I lied. Or else just forgot.

There is something about having a lot of food in the house that makes me feel secure. I’m sure there is some psychological issue here that I need to figure out.

I did some shopping over the weekend and I now have as much food in the house as I did at the beginning of January. I’m still totally within my budget (and we reduced it again for Feb) but I have a lot of food.

I think part of the issue is that, after a while, it takes a lot of brain power to be creative and use up the food that I have left. And right now I don’t have a lot of brain power. Going to the gym early in the mornings kinda zaps me. By 7pm I’m wasted.

So. We have a lot of food. I won’t shop any more for the rest of the month, except for milk and fruit and veg.

Speaking of food I need to get some more work done in the kitchen. I feel motivated for some reason.

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2nd February 2009

Found on Facebook

I found an old friend yesterday on facebook. A friend from college - she was probably my best friend.

Somehow we lost touch. She did come to my wedding but moving overseas and all that kinda put an end to that era.

I found her last night on Facebook and asked her to be my friend. This morning I saw that she had added me and just now I had a chance to read her wall. I discovered that just last week she was released from the hospital after two weeks recovering from surgery to remove ovarian cancer.


I was flabbergasted. I believe my mouth was hanging open. I’m merrily going about my life, worrying about things like how to coffee stains out of my shirt and one of my old friends is struggling for her life.

Kinda puts things in perspective.

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1st February 2009


Have you ever gone to the supermarket on Superbowl Sunday? Me neither. Remember I’ve been out of the country for nearly ten years.

When I got up this morning and opened the paper and saw the great deals that Vons had going on, including a $10/$50 purchase, I got excited. I talked to Handsome about it and I decided to go in the afternoon.

I should have known something was up when I got the front of the stoor and there weren’t any trollies. Not a single one.

I walked in and saw lines that were going down the aisles they were so long.

I got all my stuff and got in line. I just picked one randomly because I had to start in the aisles and couldn’t compare line lengths. Guess what number in line I was? Just guess.


While I was in line I starting adding up my stuff to make sure I had $50 worth of stuff. I knew it was $50 before manufacturer’s coupons, but not sure if it was before or after Vons coupons. I quickly added a bag of chips, just in case. Good thing too, because I was right on the border. We’ll take them to a party later today.

So, I spent approximately $35 out of pocket and saved $85, according to my receipt. I should have saved an additional $1.50, but I forgot two of my coupons. I hate it when I do that!!

What did I buy?

3 x Cheerios = 1.88 each minus $1 off 3 coupon

2 x Kleenex = $2 total, minus $.80 coupons

2 x Glade candles = $3, minus $1.50 coupon

2 x Kraft cheese = $3.98 (and this is where I forgot the two .75 coupons! Which would be a great price for cheese)

1 x white bread = $.69

17 pounds of ground beef = $28

2 x avocados = 1.36 (and if you were wanting to make fresh guacamole today, NONE of those avos would do it. They are rock hard)

1 x 64oz apple juice = $.99

1 x potato chips - $1.69

1 x frozen pizza = FREE with $25 purchase

Total after coupons: $35.89 (remember, I got $10 off $50 purchase)

So now I have a lot of ground beef to deal with. I want to make some hamburger patties to freeze and the rest I’ll just freeze in 1 lb bags.

And I will remember next year to not shop on Superbowl Sunday. Or at least wait until the game has started.

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