Sunday, September 20, 2009

I'm going to assume you're genuinely interested

... is what I wrote to my sister when she asked about my grocery spreadsheet.

For a few months now I've been keeping a spreadsheet of our expenditures - grocery and household mostly. This all started because I was tired of wondering how much we were spending, on what, where was the better deal and so on and so on. Here's what I've developed thus far although I feel some tweaks in the future.

*push glasses up bridge of nose*

In my spreadsheet, size is almost always in ounces except for with green onions, peppers, diapers, etc. For us I also put tortillas in eaches because we only buy the same kinds ever - one for G, spelt or rice for me. I also made a "calculator" I drag down the side with my work. Produce and deli are almost always measured in pounds and I just needed to make it easy for me. The other tool I use is a digital kitchen scale. Last weekend we bought onions at Grocery Outlet, 4 in an unmarked green mesh bag for a fixed price. However, since onions usually go by the pound I weighed them for a true comparison. (Only Super Nerds have digital kitchen scales.) One thing to keep in mind - the weight of some deli items are only marked on the sticker attached to the item itself, no other details on the receipt.


Purchased Item Size Price Store Date Cost per ounce
Almond breeze 64 $ 2.99 Albertson's 8/9/2009 $ 0.047

Cost per Ounce is the only actual formula in the spreadsheet = Price/Size.
My handy calculator mentioned above is rudimentary: Pounds x 16 = Ounces Change the value in the pounds field and the equals field calculates the equivalent.

1.82 16 29.12

My handy spreadsheet helped verify that we're getting the best price on formula. Similac Iron Shield or something was on sale at Amazon, 19.79 for 24oz (forget the actual size). I plugged in the data and compared it to Costco - Similac was about twice as expensive. I know, Similac Iron Fist is primo baby formula but g isn't picky thankfully.

The other important organizational tip is to enter items as noun, adjective adjective. This way all the onions get sorted together when you go to compare data.


Spice, Onion dehyd
Soup, Cream of Chicken
Sausage, ground Johnsonvlle
Pineapple, cut fresh
tomatoes, diced Del Monte

Also, instead of getting up from my computer to go check weight on each item, I finally got even smarter (is that possible?) and started writing on the receipt then entering it all at once. After a while it's fun (for nerds) to go and sort the sheet by purchased item and compare where we get the best deals. It's just ridiculous to see something we bought at Costco or Grocery Outlet for HALF the price per ounce of Albertson's. For produce though, taste is a factor. G doesn't really care for the flavor often found lacking in Grocery Outlet/Dollar Store produce. I understand his position but ... I really like the deal. Now if I could just get G to go to Grocery Outlet *before* the regular grocery store we'd be saving even more.

g is almost 1! We're spending his birthday in Seattle with family. Prior to my mom's most recent round of chemo they had planned on coming down here to celebrate. With the latest diagnosis our plans changed. And quite honestly for the better. All the aunts and uncles are up there. G and I are our own family down here - we'll make the trip to see the clan. I'll have pics when we return!

(WIP made the photo - argyle baby blanket for g's cousin-to-be)

Monday, September 14, 2009

Socks: Then and Now

Wow - what a difference 10 years makes!

Blue sock: My very first sock (whoa check out that shaping). Scratchy, self-patterning yarn, slouchy, sloppy pattern. It was fun to knit at the time.

Pink sock: The beginning of a sock resurgence. Soft, soft warm cozy socks. They could use a less complicated pattern to showcase the beautiful colors but I'm not going to be picky.

Yes, the socks are short. I happen to like shorter socks seeing as how I live in the desert. However, I was more worried about making it through both socks with enough yarn. I think I'm going to work on toe up socks from now on.

I'm not particularly fond of the dark diagonal stripe and the dark big toe.
If I don't focus on it I don't see it.

Just the right length for warmer socks.
My next pair will probably hit just below the ankle bone.

My favorite part - plain old stripes :)

g matched the big sock so well I slipped it on his entire leg. Of course the over-the-knee design hindered his crawling. It didn't last long but I managed a pic.

With as big as it looks in comparison to the pink sock you'd think it would fit like a paper bag. Funny how it looks a little full but mostly normal. REALLY funny that I washed both socks over the weekend and the blue sock *doubled* in size. If we stay in town this weekend I'll try to shrink it with some hot water and maybe an extra hot tumble dry. Incredible.

Here's the famous Chair Pusher at work!

He's been taking a few steps here and there. Usually three steps, four today. Soon enough. I'm going to put down "Hi" as his first word. Sounds more like Ha or just H but in conjunction with the wave I think it's official. Less than 2 weeks for until our Seattle trip! Hopefully we get a San Diego trip here real soon, too.
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Wednesday, September 9, 2009

In the Kitchen

A few weeks ago I received my 35lb bag of spelt flour from Azure Standard and I've been baking and cooking ever since. To kick off the nearly gluten-free baking were M&M cookies. Since then it's been loaves of bread, cake and pancakes. I pre-made a big batch of mix.

The M&Ms were a cheap find at Grocery Outlet so naturally I put them to good use. Spelt flour doesn't have as much of the gluten as most recipes count on so to make up for that I added arrowroot flour. They turned out like real cookies!

Here's little g about a month ago. His hair looks short now with as much as it has grown! He'll turn 1 at the end of the month. He is so cute to watch ... learning, exploring, problem solving ... crawling in circles chasing after the dogs ... waving hi to *everything* ... tentatively shaking his head no ... trying new foods with only an initial shudder of surprise ... So cute!

As for the food for g though he started reacting to the jarred foods. Bananas fine, bananas in a jar not fine, rash. I have no problem making up his food - steam, food processor, spoon into ice cube trays. I get all that taken care of on the weekends and we're good for the week.

Yummy yummy fresh raspberry lemonade. My sister found perfect ice cube trays in a clearance bin - they make perfectly square ice cubes - and so thought of me. Not exactly sure why but I love them so she was right on :) The yarn here has been mostly used up in the Argyle Felted Pillow (rav). Finished last week and ready to go with me to Seattle to felt. Two more weeks!
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Sunday, August 16, 2009


Again, it has been too long since my last post. Just last weekend (or maybe the one prior) I was considering a blog "schedule" to follow. I like writing but I never liked journaling, never had a diary. But I like blogging, it's different. The pictures probably have the most impact, the possible audience makes this writing seem more purposeful and the bonus is the web friends. And so I'm back to ... how to blog more regularly. Wait a second...

Yep. Tomorrow this blog turns 2! Woo hoo! Two years - time sure flies. All right now, back to the issue at hand. Blog schedule. Well, to be honest, that's just not going to happen. I certainly don't want to make blogging a chore. Sooo I think I'll just focus on the pics and posts will follow. No more hiding my camera from myself (found in its second home on the kitchen counter). Don't "lose" the USB cable for my camera (G "found" it in its usual place). Stop leaving the camera on after transferring the pics (killing the batteries).

On to the goodies: Look what's come in the mail for me!

Korres sent me a bunch of samples to try out. Okay, I ordered the jar of cream in the middle and the sunscreen on the left. The rest is bonus! Not to mention I got 20% off through MyPoints, free shipping and I'm not sure, but I think they sent me extra samples on accident. The cute little boxes in the back row were all in the cute bag in the very back. Hmmm maybe the extra samples came because I'm now a facebook fan. Probably.

This awesome coffee cup arrived from KM as a surprise prize after the wristwarmer KAL back in February. (Jeez I'm sloooow. Here's my entry, yes they are a Christmas 08 gift for my sis.) Every morning G and I have coffee, catch up on email and do the crossword puzzle. This awesome mug shoved the former #1 mug off the table to take it's place and hasn't looked back since. Thank you KM!

Horrible picture, I know. I knew it when I took the pic but I did it anyway. I knew that I wasn't really on top of my game and if I didn't take it I'd miss out altogether. The magnets are cutely holding up coupons/papers/recipes on the fridge. Can you tell that they're the Ravelry set? So cute! Werther's - already gone. Mmmmmdelicious. One of these days I'll catch a pic of g with his fish rattle. It's one of the small emergency toys in his diaper bag that at the moment is performing its job - at some point g needed a distraction and voila! Fish rattle to the rescue! Thanks again KM! Great KAL - thanks for hosting! Maybe when we all get some more time we can do another :)

Look at the budding fiber kid! No, I don't push my fiber love on to others. The bin of yarn actually took the place of a cake of wool I had just wound. Yes, I was protecting my knitting yarn by allowing him to play in the bin of stuffing yarn. I've collected the yarn I hate, too short leftovers and gnarled skeins that aren't worth the time to untangle - all of that stuff goes into the stuffed animals. Waste yarn put to good use.
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Sunday, July 5, 2009

Seattle with Little G

A few weekends ago Little G (g) and I made our very first plane trip to Seattle. I was nervous. VERY nervous. Was he going to scream, be inconsolable, have a poopie diaper on the plane? He's a really good baby so he should be fine. What if this is the thing that finally gets under his little skin. How about all the stuff I needed to lug through the airport ... all by myself?

Well there was nothing to worry about. He was perfect. He fell asleep for both take-offs. Little fuss but no crying. Made goo-goo eyes at the little girls (which, I hesitate to say, but it made them stop crying). g even earned compliments from the other passengers. But all that entertaining made him one tired little monkey.

g fell asleep in the Combi - I love this carrier! I didn't already mention, but the stroller in the airport drove me nuts. I cried. Seriously. I couldn't get it down, up, or even to push in a straight line. It did not help that I forgot how to collapse it while at the front of the security line. I was that Mom holding up the line. A nice older couple helped even though I couldn't tell them how to work the thing. Because I forgot! Ugh. Never again. Baby carrier from here on out.

g in the sweater Grandma knit, with cousin C and Grandma

We were in town for my nephew's 2nd birthday. Grandma wrangled the two cousins for a quick photo - 9mos and 2 yrs. Fifteen months apart - the same age difference as sister F and I. No idea at all how my mom managed. C usually gets free reign of the toy room but with g there he had to *gasp* share. It wasn't easy shielding g from flying objects but we managed. Grandma has a massive play area for C with tons of toys and lots of open space to play. I called home to run the idea by G and now g has a miniature version.

The Mayonnaise Smile

g's cousin LOVES mayonnaise. Sister J spread some mayo on a tomato, C would lick it off and smile ... every time. It was so cute!

g in the arms of Sister F

It turned out to be a very short long weekend. g was less than 2 months when he met an aunt and Grandma and Grandpa. With three sisters, uncles, family friends etc., it was a bit overwhelming for him. It wasn't until the last day that he was okay with me out of his sight and stopped being so clingy. I'm trying to schedule another quick weekend before G, g and I go up to celebrate his first birthday with the family. Just 2 months away so we'll see. He made traveling easy so it's pending my work schedule. Orlando this weekend and Indianapolis in August.

Knitting: YES there's knitting going on! No! There's no pictures! I'm using Misti Alpaca on the Cable Twist socks, fingerweight so I've been adjusting the pattern here and there. I missed Grumperina's mod for sock yarn - woulda been nice. This is my second pair of socks, the first pair was over 10 years ago (loose, sloppy, mismatched). I'm learning them all over again ... and I kinda like socks now! That's tentative. I don't often wear socks here in the hottest place on earth. And I'll need to beef up my sock yarn stash....

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Puerto Rico

Back in April I went to Puerto Rico for work. (I told you I've been busy!) This was my first trip and an all-around good trip. It would have been nice to have company but it was a work trip after all. One full day of flying with 2 layovers. Seriously, by the last flight I didn't even know what city I was leaving. The plane landed well after dark, short taxi to the Hilton and.... Uh, are we at the right hotel? It says Xanadu behind the check-in desk. There are THRONGS of people in the lobby. Something is going on...

Yes, I walked right into a movie set - Johnny Depp's new movie. No, I didn't disturb the filming. There were ropes, "Shhh!" signs, security personnel and a LOT of JD fans. I finally got to my room and promptly ordered room service before they closed. I hadn't eaten most of the day. My nerves really got to me - all that running to my flights in unfamiliar airports with just 45 minute layovers. So I calorie splurged with chicken wings and nachos. The wings were okay but the nachos were not nachos. Chips and liquid cheese. Ugh.

The next day was an unintentional free day for me. Yes, it was nice to enjoy the tropical island, but I saved the company money by leaving a day early *including* the cost of an extra night at the hotel. To get myself out of the room in the morning (remember, I'm alone and would have been perfectly happy staying in my room) I picked up Starbucks in the lobby and walked around with my camera.

Nice, family-friendly beach but not overly so. I didn't hear screaming, splashing kids. None of them tried to run me over or get tangled underfoot. But they were having fun. Lots of activities and play areas kept them entertained. Although my little guy wasn't with me, I was keeping an eye out for ways to travel more extensively with the little guy. The only kid thing I can't speak for is food. Banquets were included in the trade show and the only meal I ate otherwise was at Morton's.

The hotel wasn't all beach; there was a meditation garden area. Lots of tropical wildlife like the peacock here. Hmm, I don't remember significant bugs... not bad! After my photographic tour of the hotel I stopped at the pool cafe/bar for lunch. Some sort of burger with a stellar mojito. Yum! (Had to sample the rum.)

The work stuff turned out great. Speaking half Spanish made my brain hurt but I sold product! My next trip is in a few weeks but it's Orlando this time and most of my industry friends will be there.
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Saturday, June 13, 2009

Catching Up

It seems as though quite a few of the blogs I follow are coming out of hibernation. Well here I am joining the trend. Months ago now I picked up a ball winder!! Wow. Where have you been all my yarn life?

Notice the digital scale? LOVE IT. Easy way to gauge what's left of a skein and really easy to split one. I had put off this project until I got a 50% off Joann coupon (why pay full price?) because I needed to split a skein for my sister's Christmas gift. (No, 2008 still but it's the last one.) Second deadline is fast approaching. I visit the fam at the end of the month. Thankfully we're taking a day trip over to New Mexico tomorrow. Pics maybe ... Don't want to commit to too much now :)

Jack and I at Seaside on Mother's Day weekend. He loves the wind but by the time we took this picture he'd already figured out how tasty the sand is. He wants down by the look on his face. (Daddy picked out the Encinitas gear on our last CA trip.)

He was sooo excited when the water came up to us. He was jumping up and down, splashing. SO CUTE!! BHE finally got to see the little guy play on the beach. The previous day he was taking our new surfboard out for a test ride.

Mother's Day breakfast at Lemon Beach Grass Cafe. Yummy fresh squeezed grapefruit juice and a wonderful meal with the family. Jack is sampling water here although the straw is preferred.

This is Jack perched on the new board, ready to sample some more sand.

RAWR! -Jackosaurus

Jack having his first bite of food. Just like the straw, I think he'd rather chomp on the spoon.

More pics sometime soon so I can get up to date. Jack will be 9mos at the end of the month. He and I are going up to Seattle for his cousin's 2nd birthday. Should be a fun time. Half of the family hasn't met Jack yet so its about time. Of course Jack will appreciate the party venue - a sandy beach.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Encinitas 09 - Trip #1

DH is out. BHE is in.

DH will now go by the moniker Best Husband Ever. Because he is.

We were in Encinitas this weekend because I had some work stuff to do in Anaheim. Went into the weekend with a bit of the ickies. Runny, stuffy nose, mild headache, sore throat, nasaly voice - A real nice how-do-you-do. Shake my hand and take your chances. Yep, meetings were great. Regardless, I performed. But that's enough about work.

Breakfast and coffee at Pannikin. I love that coffee. BHE bought some beans for home :) And then surprised me with matching Pannikin mugs. :) :) Awesome coffee and crossword puzzles make me look forward to our mornings.

While I was up in Anaheim ALL DAY on Saturday BHE and Jack motored around everywhere. Foot and stroller that is. The local weekend bazaar, Leucadia Pizzeria, a Hawaiian place he talks about, Encinitas Surfboards. They had a lot of fun. Next time I'll run around with them. But BHE surprised me again with some goodies - Flips (he calls them Slaps) from the Hawaiian store and then he outfitted our little family in Encinitas Surfboards attire :) He and Jack got T-shirts and he picked out a pale blue hoodie with pale purple logos for me. I love it! He knows Mom is always cold and Baby Bear is a hot little bugger.

Encinitas Surfboards logo on my awesome new hoodie.
Jack's excited to get out of the car seat. Well, probably excited just to be held by Mom.

Sushi at Tomiko's capped off my long Saturday. Amazing sushi. He knows where to go and what to order. I resisted the pressure to have "good" sushi in AZ for so long but I finally gave in. After having sushi in Encinitas this one time it will be never until I give in again. The restaurant is next to the Best Western and from searching, they might be kind of related now. That is truly the best Best Western if that's the case. BHE was there the first night Tomiko's opened. He would know.

Jack was great through dinner. But as good as he is he can only take so much of it. (That applies to all of us, doesn't it?) We cut dinner short before it was too late. I nursed and then collapsed into bed. I would have gotten 9 hours of sleep if it weren't for the darn time change.

Sunday morning after coffee we headed to the beach for some pictures. We happened upon a surf competition and it was truly awesome. Little Jack will be out on a surfboard as soon as he can swim.

The tents were for individual schools and teams.
New slaps too. Can you see the gold stickers on the toe? I didn't until I saw this picture. Nerd.

BHE knows how to get great shots of the surf.

Jack was a great little road tripper. The drive over was quiet then he fed and slept all night. The drive back was a bit longer and the sun was in his eyes so he was fussy. As soon as the sun went down he fell asleep and was fine the rest of the way. I'm ready for another trip to Encinitas.

Woo Hoo! It's windy! We stopped at a rest area just outside of LA - where it's still green and not boring brown. Jack loves his bug from Auntie FR.

AHHHH! Look at the size of the bug! Clean it off!
Okay, maybe we were (I was) getting delirious but I had a good laugh. :)

Friday, February 27, 2009

These Days

These Days by Nico is one of my favorites I forget that I love. From a movie that I loooove - The Royal Tenenbaums. (Intriguing bio there on Wikipedia.) The song itself is haunting or wistful or both, mesmerizing. Not exactly a representation of how I feel these days. I just love it :)

I drove by a new LYS today completely by accident! Knit Happens just HAPPENS to be near my salon and PRACTICALLY on the way home from work! It was a beautiful, sunny day today and I should have stopped in but I was running an errand for work and I just feel guilty doing that.

Click on the link to their blog real quick - they have a snapshot of the store and it looks just awesome. There is no way I could hop in real quick on lunch!

A new FO - The froggy bath mitt for my nephew. (Yep, still working on Christmas 08) Fun, easy, quick. I'd knit the hand a couple inches longer if I knit this one again. It's just not a comfortable fit; it feels short.

Notice the hole by the eye? Yeah, it bothers me and there's a few other tear ducts if you will. I just figured that's what happened when you picked up stitches and knit. Welllll maybe when you do it wrong. Didn't find out I was wrong until after I was done. My previous method had me knitting INTO the work so that the stitches on the work were pulled wonky on the needle. What I should have been doing was put the new yarn on the needle by pulling it THROUGH the work. I think this will fix some of my problems.

And here's a little Jack for you. He's 5 months now but these pics are about two weeks apart.

He loves his car, handed down from his cousin. He's walking pretty well, jumping which just looks weird and drooling on everything. He's worse than the dogs before they get fed in the morning.

It looks like they added some bumper stickers - Starbucks, Army - I have to go look for our RunGP stickers ....

This is a race weekend. I'd like to finish a second man cap this weekend maybe. We'll see.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Who Wants Some WEBS?

Check this out: There's a contest over at KnitPurlGurl. She's giving away WEBS swag! Right on! Sure to be a nice pick me up for the lucky winner.

I've seen some interesting blogs recently (the look but I'm always running across great content, too) I'm inspired to change the look of my blog...

Knitting these days is slow :( I overdid it the other day knitting 4 inches of 2x2 rib for a hat while I was waiting for my husband to get back from Vegas. My wrists and thumbs hurt so I'm *trying* to take it easy. I'm also pretty sure eliminating gluten, corn and potato will help too. (It has in the past, that's not just a pipe dream.)

Thursday, February 12, 2009


This is my 100th post!

And my first KAL!

And my first magic loop project!

And my first (major) experience trouble-shooting a pattern. It was a puzzle from the start and I do mean the very start - cast on 42 stitches so you have 24 stitches on each needle. Errrr. But I trudged on, frogging again and again. In the end the pattern was quite banal; the yarn makes it. Do use Noro or another awesome yarn if you knit this.

Noro's color striping is a bit unpredictable though I know this; I'm not a Noro virgin. Because this is going off to a sister that I suspect craves balance I didn't just knit straight through the ball. The first mitt ended with that really cool aqua and the second was going to turn to rust and yellow. With plenty of the aqua still in the ball I just switched over to the other end of the ball. Easy, I like the look. I think she will too....

Except I don't know which sis will be wearing these yet. I'd like to mail off all the knit gifts in one box, all together and let them figure it out. Meh. But I'm finished in time for the deadline. And that's a real accomplishment these days.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Etsy Goodies

Is it Tuesday because I think it might still be Monday. I am totally lost already this week.

Hurry and catch
NH Knitting Mama's sale! It ends this Thursday 2/5. (It's February already?)

A friend of mine set up her shop:
Hope Ink
Beautiful artwork. As described on her page: "...
sharing the beauty and truth of the Scriptures in fresh and whimsical ways." She has an amazing hand that I've always admired.

Monday, February 2, 2009

A Note To Mom


This is your Christmas present (2008). I know you've already read about it and that's my fault. I tell you to go see my blog yet I post details of all my Christmas knitting. Now that you're on Ravelry, too, I will post in code from here on out when knitting gifts. ...well, starting after this post.

Here is your Felted Oven Mitt! The card taped to the fridge is from the Surfrider Foundation. Big G donated and got a bunch of cool bumper stickers and this handy little card. Little G loves to stare at it.

Remember this yarn? I think you made a Lucy Bag for FR and this was the leftover. Beautiful Manos colorway. I doubled it with a dusty rose (I know you hate the color and the name of the color but it matched beautifully) from Creative Focus. Pricier wool than Lamb's Pride, but that's what Jessica Knits stocks. Next time you're here we'll catch them on a day when they're open. Cute little shop.

Look how close I was to running out of yarn. I was seriously sweating bullets. That ONE STRAND is all that's left of the Creative Focus. *wipes brow* Jeez.

And I'll go out on a limb here and vote this pic as your favorite. It's the pre-felted mitt in it's over-sized glory. No? Not your favorite? Why in the world, you ask, would I take a pic when it's huge and disproportionate? Well, two reasons: 1) This was its home for weeks. Probably the same time frame in which Peggy was knitting her Felted Oven Mitt and attempting to felt in her front-loading washer. (Peggy - this piece was the most difficult one I've ever felted. More than THREE full cycles!!!) 2) Take a close look at the colors. I started on the first ball and loved the bright colors. Moved to the second ball and was disappointed that the colors didn't pop like the other ball. Couldn't tell in the balls and still can't in the finished piece. Guess it works!

Here's a little treat for you. Just another Christmas gift (2008) I'm working on (for J, I think). I finished the Tudora (orininally for her) but I really wanted to start these Noro Mitts. I'm supposed to be part of a KAL (knit-a-long) but I am most likely waaay behind everyone. I have frogged this piece too many times. Once with just 4 rows remaining. I'll try to catch up - I have a trade show to go to in LA. Just an overnight trip but I'll have a lot more time there than I do at home. My goal is to at least finish this one and start on the next. The last bit of finishing news: I blocked one more piece of the Surface Woven Tote. I would have done the whole thing but I ran out of pins.

When I get back I will make an extra effort to get your mitt out in mail. Hopefully by then it will be dry. (That sucker is thick!) I'll probably call you sometime today to get you to come read this :)