04
Nov 13

Free samples in the mail. Small in size, big in smiles.

Usually when Miss Moon and I walk over to pick up our mail, I am usually disappointed with the array of bills, hearing aid solicitations, MPP newsletters, and mis-directed mail that awaits me.

Today, there was a bill (of course – bite it Hydro One – SO tired of rate increases, time of use robbery and the eternal ‘debt repayment’ charges that increase our bill to three times our actual hydro usage. So. Annoyed). A RRSP statement (yay to having a good investmenty money guy!) and another piece of mis-directed mail.  We’ve lived here a year and a half and we’re still getting the previous owners mail. :( BUT, amid this mind-numbing collection of future Blue Box filler, there was this:

samples

Free Samples!  I love free samples.  If the sample is for an item that we will not use, I’ll donate it, but if I can find a use for it around here, I will.  Free samples are the reason that I will probably not have to buy shaving razors for a couple of years.  Love, love, love samples!  The contradiction here is that I almost NEVER take the offered samples at Costco.  I’ll let the kids (depending on what it is, of course), but unless it’s a free sample of Valium laced Vodka, I pass.

 

 


03
Nov 13

Even as a reformed retail therapy abuser, this news makes me happy. Oh, and free money always helps too.

For years, our U.S. neighbours have been able to shop for groceries, housewares, books, music, toys, etc. on Amazon.com.  Up here in Canada, we’ve been stuck with books, movies and music, similar fare as Chapters/Indigo hocks.  At least that was true, until now.  This morning, I received an email from Amazon.ca that announced that Canadians can how shop online at Amazon.ca and purchase TONNES of grocery items, specialty food items, and more.

Now, for the most part, I abhor spending money online (or at all really, except for groceries, I like grocery shopping and stretching those grocery dollars to fill the bellies around me) – the convenience mark-up ticks me right off (irrational?  Maybe, but it does).  That, coupled with being tired of spending money on products that fall apart, are cheaply made but costly to purchase have turned me off of all but the most necessary purchases.  But Amazon.ca is a slightly different story because more often that not, I use gift cards earned through Swagbucks.  Free money is the best kind of money to spend.  I wrote more about Swagbucks here (tip #5).   I now usually earn $10 to $15 a month in Amazon gift cards through Swagbucks, and while that alone is not very much, over the course of a year (think Christmas or just pick-me-up gifts) it can equate to $120 to $180 to spend willy-nilly, and when you generally do not buy everything that you want or see, it’s a total treat to spend frivolously (very occasionally, of course). ;)  Use your free money and shop during sales and you can end up with a lot of nice new swag for $0 (watch for free Super Saver Shipping too!).

Not very funny, wordy or revolutionary, but the news of the expanding product lines brought a smile to my face today, so I thought that I would share.

Disclosure: The links are referral links, but I’m not killing it with referrals, so if you’d rather just go to the sites, click here for the Canadian Amazon grocery page and here for Swagbucks. :)

 

 

 


24
Oct 13

Can I claim to be frugal while fat or am I a frugal fraud?

Strange things occupy my mind.  I’m the first to admit that it’s a bit of a rat’s nest in there, but this is a new one, even for me.  You see, I buzz around the house cleaning up, cooking and baking from scratch, pouring over the sale flyers, making my shopping list, matching up my coupons, in short, trying to get all of our financial ducks in a row.  I agonize over the smallest purchases and save like a demented miser with tunnel vision for things like Christmas and the kids extra curricular activities.

We’re a one-income family and we all enjoy the freedom and benefits my being home full-time affords our family.  Even just my availability to tend to the needs of our kids, Mr. K.B., our home and our lives, in general, without reserve is a wonderful thing.  But it does mean that we need to budget our money.  We have enough, we live well and our needs are met, but I like to think that we live smart as well.  We do not have flat screen televisions, HDTV, DVR’s, matching stackable laundry machines or new cars.  We do have the toys that we deemed important, like my beloved iPad or the Blackberry Playbooks that everyone else in the house enjoy.  We are not bereft of luxuries and entertainment.  Mr. K.B. works hard everyday while I maximize our budget by shopping the sales, building and maintaining a grocery stockpile and making solid use of the public library system and hand-me-downs.  We do this in order to have the family life that we set out to have.

But then this is where things get weird for me.  Because I’m fat.  Not super-fat, not cut-an-opening-in-the-wall-and-use-a-crane-thingy-to-pry-me-out-of-the-house fat, not lost-a-fork-in-a-stomach-roll-for-three-months fat, not even hasn’t-seen-her-toes-in-recent-memory fat, but definitely on the wrong size of pleasingly plump*, an honest twenty pounds proud of voluptuous*, and a good century beyond tiny.

For the first time in my life, I have back cleavage (not a fan, I wanted bigger boobs on my chest, not my back thankyouverymuch), and for not the first time, my thighs rub when I walk (and please don’t ask about running, because clearly, I just don’t).  But even knowing these things, I have been pleased with myself because I have not spent any serious money on new clothes to accommodate my ever-increasing girth, a cheap pair of yoga (*snort*!) pants here, a tenty long-sleeve shirt there, but no full-on retail damage.  My reasoning for not spending money on clothes has not been low self-esteem issues, or lack of funds, or feelings of being unworthy of clothes that fit comfortably.  Oh no, I have not spent money because i remind myself that: 1) I have a closet (plus) full of nice clothes and 2) I won’t be this fat for much longer (*double snort!*).

But my whole deal is about being frugal, right?  I mean, aside from the whole being surprisingly and disarmingly witty and amusing thing, I am actually frugal, right?  I have a COUPON ORGANIZER for fuck’s sakes! (Hee hee, funny aside, spell check wanted to change that to “muckrakes”  I should have let it, I’d sound all Scooby Doo’ish then).  Or maybe, as I am beginning to wonder, it is possible that I am not a pure bred frugalite as I’ve let myself believe.  Is frugality merely about saving our loonies and nickels, (since we don’t actually have pennies anymore, I’m switching it up there.  Oh and thanks for being an asshole and robbing us of our pennies, Federal Government, I’m a HUGE fan of that move.  Not.) or is it also and more importantly about conserving all resources, including money?  Like, um, well, food.  Does being overweight (a really nice way of saying FAT) make me a frugal fraud?

The answer to that is simple, my friends, yes, simple.  The solution is also simple, but makes me sad, so I’m not going into solution-mode right now.  The answer, at least the answer to me, is YES.  Being overweight does make me a frugal fraud.  I have no known medical reason for my fatness.  I have no reasonable excuse for my heft.  I have no shame in owning my fluff. And to be frank (because I get so tired of being me sometimes) being fat does not faze me nearly as much as discovering that I am a frugal failure.  This whole frugality fail really frosts my cookies and makes me fairly irritable.  It’s messing with how I see myself and who I believe myself to be.  And I really wish the thought had never occurred to me, but it did, so now I must choose a direction to take.

What am I going to do about it?  I don’t KNOW yet!  I just said that I’m not going into solution-mode right now because that would make me sad as fuck and I am trying to AVOID sad and totally EMBRACE happy.  And while frugality is a totally happy thing for me, chocolate happy trumps frugal happy.  Every. Single. Time.

So, my fraud and deception will continue.  My half-assed efforts at frugality will persist, at least for the time being anyway.  And now, would someone pass me a frickin’ Snickers bar already?

offer-moral-support-encouragement-ecard-someecards

*In fairness, I feel compelled to add, that my definitions are my own and that my beloved husband does NOT agree with this classification of my size.  To his credit and to my delight, he loves me the best at exactly the size I currently am and this holds true at any point in time.  Skinny, thick, fat, fatter, fattest – for him, all of my sizes are created equal, which, while I struggle to understand how that can possibly be, I most definitely believe and appreciate that it is true.

Now, would someone please bring me a shot of Reese peanut butter cups, a pint of salt and vinegar chips and a Snickers bar chaser?  Pretty pleeeease?


26
Aug 13

Through the kindness of others, applesauce is made

When we moved to our dream home just over a year ago, the one thing that we had to leave behind was our beloved apple tree.  The year prior to moving, that tree produced a bumper crop of apples, so I learned how to preserve and started canning them.  Deacon finished the last jar of Apple Butter-sauce about a month ago and my cupboard has been bare and my heart has been heavy ever since (not that it was all eaten and enjoyed but rather because I had no more to offer) . applesauce2013 But then, a very kind neighbour of ours posted some pictures on Facebook of her apple and pear trees.  They were lousy with fruit.  Seeing all those apples and pears, just waiting to be canned for later consumption actually made my heart lighter.  And it was not even my fruit (Yes, it does occur to me, rather regularly, that I have issues.  I welcome and accept them.  They keep true insanity at bay). So, I commented on the photos and this very generous neighbour invited my smalls and me over to her place to pick as much as we liked, once the fruit was ripe.  Oh. My. God.  I was almost giddy with excitement and started to take mental note of my canning supplies. While we were away on vacation this past while, this angel of fruit sent me a message through Facebook letting me know that some of the bounty was now pickable.  So, this past Friday, my smalls and I stopped over and picked a sample of apples.  The kids had a blast and didn’t want to stop, but half of a re-useable shopping bag later, I managed to drag them out of there. And on Saturday, I canned.

Water and vinegar wash.

Water and vinegar wash.

Seeded and quartered, ready for cooking

Seeded and quartered, ready for cooking

I skipped a few steps in the pictorial, but this was the end result.  Nine pints of lovely applesauce :)

I skipped a few steps in the pictorial, but this was the end result. Nine pints of lovely applesauce :)

We are still trying to figure out where to plant some fruit trees of our own, and when we do, and if we are lucky enough to have them produce edible fruit, sharing the bounty will be a given because there are few things more satisfying than eating food that you’ve grown or picked or prepared and shared.

Well, it’s official.  I’m not a teenager any more.  Because if I were, I would totally be rolling my eyes at me right now and scoffing “that is soooooo lame” while flipping my hair back and checking my pager. *smirk*


24
Aug 13

I went on vacation and things exploded around here

I came home to Keswick only to find that my garden vegetables converted into the vegetable equivalent of ‘Girl’s Gone Wild’ meet ‘Welcome to the Jungle’ zucchini nation

contrasting veggies

mondo zucchini

mondo's mini-me

unripened heritage tomatoes

They're supposed to ripen and be purple, but so far they all look green to me.  Must be from hanging out with the zucchini bullies.

They’re supposed to ripen and be purple, but so far they all look green to me. Must be from hanging out with the zucchini bullies.

These were our normal zucchinis before our vacation.  Large, but not ridiculously so.  Apparently, my presence stunts their growth.  Perhaps the universe is telling me to stay on vacation?!?

These were our normal zucchinis before our vacation. Large, but not ridiculously so. Apparently, my presence stunts their growth. Perhaps the universe is telling me to stay on vacation?!?

More about our vacation later, but in a nutshell, we DROVE to Florida, we DID NOT do DIsney, our kids had a FABULOUS time, and gas station washrooms in the South see A LOT more action than their counterparts to the north.

Now, I’m off to find some kick-ass recipes for zucchini pickles, this family can only eat so many cookies ;)

 

 


02
Aug 13

My Cleaver-y weekend. No, I didn’t stab anyone

Ed. note: This post was started on Sunday night, my iPad refused to co-operate (when did it become one of my kids?!?) and I could not finish the post or really do much of anything.  I went to bed in a funk and am just now feeling like giving the post another shot.  So, on my better behaved laptop, here I go.

This past weekend, I gave Mrs. Cleaver a run for her domestic goddess crown.  On Saturday I had a zucchini baking marathon.  Cookies, bread, muffins, mini-muffins, I baked ‘em all.

This:

Another prolific zucchini season - go bees, go!  Now, go find the tomato plants!

Another prolific zucchini season – go bees, go! Now, go find the tomato plants!

Turned into this:

Zucchini muffins big and small

Zucchini muffins big and small

and this:

zucchini cookies and more muffins (so yummy!)

zucchini cookies and more muffins (so yummy!)

and finally this:

Zucchini bread.  The last two loaves were in the oven when I took the picture, so, in your head, double this picture  ;)

Zucchini bread. The last two loaves were in the oven when I took the picture, so, in your head, double this picture ;)

And I still had two zucchini’s left!  I individually wrapped and froze most of the baked goods for future snacks for my smalls.  Yesterday, I harvested four more zucchinis (zucchini? zucchina?), baked another loaf of bread and a dozen muffins (with chocolate chips this time – very special treat day!) and this morning I sent four more to work with Mr. K.B. for his co-workers.  Whatever I do not get to bake, I will shred and freeze for winter baking. Yum!

If anyone is looking for some killer zucchini bread/muffin or cookie recipes, just let me know and I’ll post them.  I have a kick-ass vegan recipe that tastes absolutely meat-a-tarian (but is not) and reduced sugar and fat recipes that taste totally sweet and chunky. :)

But that was just on Saturday.  On Sunday, I made three separate batches of this:

♫ ♪ I'm jammin, I'm jammin, I'm just a jammin' fool.♫ ♪  Why, yes, I probably do need sleep.  And medication.  And probably not in that order.

♫ ♪ I’m jammin, I’m jammin, I’m just a jammin’ fool.♫ ♪ Why, yes, I probably do need sleep. And medication. And probably not in that order.

Three types of jam, one afternoon.  Blueberry, reduced (significantly) sugar, Strawberry, reduced (also significantly) sugar, and Blueberry-Strawberry no-sugar added jam.  (B.C. blueberries, yum!  Thank you, Sutton Sobey’s!)  And you know what?  It was not that hard to make.  Or scary.  And it did not take all day, no one was injured and only one jar didn’t seal, and since it’s already been eaten, six days later, I’m calling my adventures with Jam a success.  But, of course now I’ve really started wishing for fruit trees of our own!  Apple sauce season is almost upon us and I can feel my apple peeling muscles getting all excited. :)  I think I may need to get out of the house more often. ;)

I  know that Mrs. Cleaver is shaking in her well-heeled shoes now.  I’m getting to her, I just know it!

But now, it is Friday.  And it’s taken me a whole week to blog about last weekend.  I hope to do better this weekend. Maybe.  We’ll see.

Happy Friday!


05
Jul 13

These bananas are RUINED! This whole GMO thing may be starting to hit home

I do not pretend to know very much anything about GMO’s in our food (reading up on the subject is on my To Do list, that it’s a long freaking list, so I have not gotten there yet) and I’m certainly not a farmer, plantation owner or even a very good gardener.   But I am a seasoned enough eater that when I buy bananas for my kids (from Costco, no less), neither they nor I expect to find this:

What in the WORLD happened to these seemingly NORMAL bananas?  This ain't right.  It just ain't right.

What in the WORLD happened to this seemingly NORMAL banana? This ain’t right. It just ain’t right.

Are there are any Bananaologists, farmers, really smart monkeys or actually is there anyone out there who can tell me what in the sacred name of Chiquita is wrong with this banana and why does it have this hard rust-red core running through it, rendering it not only scary to look at but more importantly, completely inedible?  This is not the first banana that we have had like this, and I fear it will not be the last.  And in a house that goes through a minimum of four bananas a day (and more usually five or six), not only is this food waste, which I really try to avoid, it is also a waste of our money (I am NOT driving back to Newmarket to return the bananas – to spend $5 in gas to return $1.69 worth of bananas is NOT a sound financial decision, yes?)

So, please.  Can anyone tell me what is wrong with this banana and should I be concerned about more than merely the financial violation against my family?  Should I actually be buying “Organic” bananas (not one of the ‘Dirty Dozen’)?

And yes, I am painfully aware that many of the sentences in this post are entirely too long, but it’s late, I’m tired and when those two variables intersect, my  mind works in LONG sentences. Judge if you will.  It does not change the fact that we are facing a potential banana crisis, which I for one can only say must be more important than my stupid run-on sentences, no?

P.S.  Sorry if that sounded cranky.  I’m actually quite put-out with these mutant bananas and although I took Costco’s advise and put them into the freezer, I can’t help but feel uneasy.  Someone please tell me that it’s over exposure to the sun, or seasickness or jet lag that caused the banana (and others like it) to fall ill.

P.P.S.  Just re-read that and must admit that I now sound insane.  So I’m going to apologize again and then just stop talking/typing.  So sorry.  Stopping now.  Right Now.  Still here.  Damn.  Fine.  I’ll hang up first. NOW.

 


11
Apr 13

Five frugal things that I have done this week

I work hard to save my family money everyday.  I shop the sales (always with a list!), price match, coupon and cook from scratch as much as possible.  We reuse and re-purpose and up-cycle as much as we can.  So, I should have more than five frugal things that I have done to save money, stretch the household budget and reserve resources everyday.  Some days I do.  Other days I do not.  But, always in the back of my mind, I’m thinking up better and more cost-effective ways to run our family and manage our budget.  So, with that in mind, here are five frugalicious things that I have done this week:

1) Hung our laundry to dry inside (I have been doing this for a couple of months now, since Mr. K.B. built a killer drying rack for me.  I have not used our dryer once and it has cut our Hydro bill by at least $30 a month – sweet!)

I love this rack.  It folds flat for easier storage, holds at least two loads of laundry at a time and will dry two twin-sized comforters at once.  It is just the best!  :)

I love this rack. It folds flat for easier storage, holds at least two loads of laundry at a time and will dry two twin-sized comforters at once. It is just the best! :)

2) Prepared all meals at home, dinners made from scratch (lasagna, jerk chicken with rice, pork loin roast with pan gravy and veggies), lunches are leftovers and sandwiches etc, breakfasts are cereal, bananas and milk.  Snacks are fruit, veggies and yogurt.  It is amazing how much food you can buy and prepare for the cost of just ONE dinner out.

3) Took my pre-school aged girls (one is mine, the other I watch three days a week) to a free program at the local elementary school aimed at preparing them to enter Kindergarten in the fall.  It is an excellent program, I highly recommend checking to see if your local area has a similar program if you have babies heading to kindergarten soon.

4) I re-wore my yoga pants (*snort* yes, I wear yoga pants even though the very thought of actually doing yoga makes my hair hurt.  And yes, I am aware of the absurdity of wear yoga pants for everyday living, but they are comfy  and they fit.) Hell, I wear running shoes but would be hard pressed to tell you the last time that I actually ran. I’m a walking fashion contradiction (or disaster). Being at home with the kids means that unless one (or more) of them vomits on me or uses me in place of tissue (happens more often than I care to reveal), that I don’t really get my clothes dirty, so I can wear them more than once (undergarments excluded – ewwwww!).  Saves time and money because I’m not washing and hanging clothes unnecessarily.

running

5) Made use of some coupons for Garnier Body 7-day lotion which resulted in getting purchasing six bottles for $11.14 (including HST), instead of $20.14, the “sale” price, that is a 55% savings.  Anytime I get purchase things that our family uses, eats or needs for 50% or greater off the retail or sale price, I’m a happy mama.  (Oh, and by the way, the Garnier Body Intensive 7 days lotion line is FABULOUS.  It is my new ‘go to’ lotion for dry skin, I have tried them ALL and this is the first one that has made a difference for me.  Wal-Mart – $2.97 Rollback right now, SDM had a tear pad coupon $3 WUB2 but there are other coupons for this product out there because it is still a relatively new line.)

Loooooove this lotion!  If you try it, let me know what you think of it!

Loooooove this lotion! If you try it, let me know what you think of it!

So, that’s a glimpse into my frugality this week. ;)

 

 P.S.  If you’re not ‘Liking’ The Keswick Blog on Facebook or ‘Following’ along on Twitter or checking out The Keswick Blog on Pinterest, then you’re missing out on micro-blogging that happens when time or circumstances do not allow for a full-blown blog entry :)  Come on over and share the insanity!
P.P.S.  Apparently The Keswick Blog is on Instagram now, find thekeswickblog there to see some random things that do not make it to Facebook or the blog - Too. Many. Sites. Where will it end?  *thud*

01
Feb 13

UPDATED: Shopping online at Well.ca goes well, not so well.

Scroll down for the update

Being a self-proclaimed frugalite, I try to limit how much and how often I shop – in real life and online.  Just because I’m in my jammies and snuggled up at home, does not necessarily mean that I am saving money and shopping online is spending the same money that I try so hard to save out in the real world.  But every now and then, I’ll shop online, either because a deal comes along that I just cannot pass up ( read: I rationalize it and justify it until it is more of a life saving measure than just another purchase) or it is something that I just cannot purchase locally.  The former is more often the case than the latter, but either way, I end up shopping online sometimes.

I had been hearing the hype about Well.ca on various “frugal” websites for a while and never bothered to check it out.  Because I’m looking for ways to spend LESS money, not ways to spend MORE money and the less I know about a new place to spend money, the less money I’ll spend there.  See?  I’m all kinds of logical.  But then, last October, Well.ca had some kind of sale on and I gave in, clicked the link and started shopping.  They had some hand cream that, while kind of smelly, really did help my hands, so I bought that.  And they had a lip balm from the same company that I thought would be good for the kids with chapped lips season quickly approaching.  So I ordered that as well.  A few other small things and I paid for the order (using a coupon code and the free shipping offer) and waited.

But not long.  The order came quickly via Canada Post and was well packaged.  The enclosed packing slip had a jaunty ‘Thank you! :)’  in blue pen ink to give the whole “Well.ca” experience a more personal touch, or so I thought.  The products were as described and at the end of the day, a fair price.  I opened one of the two lip balms (I wanted to try it before putting it on the kids), when I squeezed the tube gently, the end of the tube exploded and the product oozed out.  Um, yeah.  So totally not happy about that.  But, the upside was that I bought from a ‘reputable’ company, right?  Reputable companies stand behind their products and make things right when things go wrong, right?  That is what I thought too, but nope, not in this case.  I emailed Well.ca and explained what happened right after the lip balm blew up and this was their perky reply:

“Hi Allison!

My name is Angela and I am a part of the Customer Care Team at Well.ca. Thank you for your email! I’m so sorry to hear you had a poor experience with Zim’s Crack Creme Lip Formula. Unfortunately we are unable to accept returns on opened products. I’m very sorry for the inconvenience this may have caused. If you would like to contact the manufacturer they might be able to compensate in some way because you didn’t enjoy their product. I have included the manufacturer’s information; their phone number is 1-800-319-2225 OR info@crackcreme.com.

If you have any further questions or concerns, please do let me know and I’d be glad to help in any way that I can.

Have a great day!
Angela

Well.ca — Customer Care
customer-care@well.ca
Toll Free: 1-866-640-3800″

Yes, well, um, sure, I see.  But Angela, I did not purchase the possessed lip balm from Zim’s.  I purchased it from Well.ca and as such, it would seem to me that Well.ca should make it right for me, as their paying customer, and then they should deal directly with Zim’s about the defective product.  If I buy a television or a back scratcher, or a pot holder or a mascara from Sears  or The Bay, or Amazon online, and it goes horribly wrong, none of these other online retailers give me the number of the manufacturer and tell me to “have a great day!”  No, they take the product back, refund my money or exchange it for another product that is not ass-backwards and then tell me to have a great day.  And you know what?  I will then have a great day.  Because the company that I ORDERED from, and PAID, made things right for me and will deal with the headaches with the manufacturer INSTEAD of making ME do it.  And I appreciate that.  And I will spend money at those stores again.  And again.  And (sadly, yet very likely) again.

Does

Well_ca-Logo-=

dollarama

on steroids?

This experience leaves me with the opinion that Well.ca takes nearly as much responsibility as Dollarama does when they sell you a defective or sub-par product.  That’s right.  None.  Except that you know exactly what you’re getting when you shop at Dollarama and you roll the dice and take your chances.  Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose your dollar store-loving shirt.  But that one difference, of Dollarama making sure that you know UP FRONT that if the s.h.t.f. with your purchase that you are on your own, makes it somehow much more palatable.  So, I continue to spend money at Dollarama, when necessary.  Well.ca?  Meh.  Not so much.  Despite the fact that their “Opps! Sucks to be you!” email reply was upbeat, cheerful and perkily peppered with cute and fuzzy exclamation points (!!).

zims

Hero or Zero? T.B.D.

As for Zim’s (the manufacturer of aforementioned lip balm)?  Well, right now, the jury is still out, but I think that I will be receiving a replacement product in the very near future.  If it happens, I will update this post because it would make them one company TO absolutely deal with in the future.  What about you?  Where have you shopped and been pleasantly surprised or woefully disappointed?  What did you do about it?  Have you gone back since?

Honour.  Integrity.  Value.  Accountability. And Free Shipping. Oh, and Online Coupon Codes.  These are just a few of my favourite things.  But free shipping and coupon codes ain’t worth much if I’m stuck with broken down crap (and chapped lips) at the end of the day.

UPDATE:  Zim’s totally came through and sent me TWO replacement lip balms.  And you know what?  I LOVE the product and I LOVE knowing that they are a company that stands behind their products.  Woooo Hoooo!


04
Oct 12

Another reason why I love living on the fringe of Keswick proper (and once again, I narrowly escape the po-po and lock up)

The other day my four smalls and I were on our way to Tae Kwon Do when what catches my eye on the grassy part of the roadside?  Something red.  Very red.  And lots of it.

I jam the brakes bring the van to safe stop, slam it into reverse carefully and cautiously back the van up.  And what did I find?

TOMATOES!  Tonnes of them!  Dummy here was too excited to take a “before” picture, so here is what was left after I took all of the ones that looked completely intact :)

And yes, I know.  Before those of you who actually know me and my long history of hating on tomatoes that were not in the form of Heinz ketchup, let me explain.  I’m a grown up now!  I still won’t eat a raw tomato under threat of death, but I do make a pretty good homemade sauce and will totally not hurl if a slice of one finds its way on to my hamburger or sandwich.  I eat it.  I deal.  It’s called maturity people. But I don’t have a lot of it, so please don’t test me on it. I will fail.

Anyway, this is the bounty I recovered:

Free Keswick tomatoes – about 10 pounds of them – wooooo hoooo!  I left about twice this behind for being less-than-perfect.  I can really be a judgmental bitch sometimes (or maybe that’s a mental bitch – I dunno – I got free tomatoes!)

and I abracadabra’d them into about 10-12 cups of diced tomatoes (frozen, not canned) and about 10 cups of yummy, delicious sauce.  For basically free – just a little time and effort (and a whole lot of excited energy – LOL!)

Sauce for days! Mmmmmm mmmmm good! Even my Deacon licked his plate clean and he’s my boy that always asks for his spaghetti without sauce! Chef Boy-ar-who?

But before all of this sexy sauce making and tomato dicing occurred, I committed a minor Criminal Code violation.  Well, technically I did and then I undid it pretty quick-like, but if you cut through all the bullshit, I done did it.  I stole bananas from the grocery store.  But then I went back and paid for them.  So I’m either a really honest person who made a mistake or a really crap thief with an attention deficit disorder.  Or both.  Or neither.  Does it matter?  Really?  I mean, I didn’t have to do any hard time, the police weren’t called, there was no cavity search and no one was hurt - hell, even the store was paid in full for the $1.75 worth of bananas that I had stashed under my stupid Wal-Mart special stroller and promptly forgot about while paying for the over-priced pull-ups for Ms. M.  So really, who was hurt?  Other than me?  Paying too much for overpriced pull ups was painful (but not as painful as I imagine a cavity search would be, so I’m counting my blessings, honestly!), but I’m not the type to hold a grudge, so yes, I returned to the store and paid for the bananas that my babies were going to consume the next morning.  I just couldn’t stomach the thought of feeding them all that bad karma with their legit and innocent Cheerios, you know?

Unstolen bananas just look cleaner and taste better, you know?

So, what have you found, scored or unstolen this week?  Everything counts, everything makes a difference to your bottom line – your financial one or your karma one ;)


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