Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving ... wherever you are!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Rissie Grace is Thankful For …

Thanksgiving is tomorrow and I’m spending it with my family. The various responsibilities have been doled out, and we’re each doing something that we are fairly good at. Nora is making the deviled eggs and the twice baked sweet potatoes potatoes. Mother is baking the pies and fixing the stuffing. Daddy is mashing the potatoes. Spencer is opening the can of cranberry sauce. As for me, I’m responsible for the turkey, the brussel sprouts AND setting the table.
Setting the table for thanksgiving is really one of my favorite things. It’s nice to pull out all the plates, silverware, glasses, napkins and candles that never get used at any other time. It’s also fun to make place cards, and tell people where to sit (like we’re at a wedding with 500 people). The place cards shown above are from Martha Stewart (left) and Country Living (right), and they are both very nice, but I like this idea from Blonde Designs. They put a card at each place with the person’s name and a space for them to write what they are thankful for. Even better than that, they have provided a template so you can make your own.
Now, let’s see … what am I thankful for?
· family
· friends
· faith
· job
· books
· car
· peach pie
· ikea
· a hot shower
· magazines
· a blanket right out of the dryer
· hand cream that smells like jasmine
· a laugh that makes my sides hurt
· etc. (this could go on all day)
Total Cost: $0 for a place card that reminds you to be truly thankful.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


I love the idea of Thanksgiving. Preparing a delicious meal while watching Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, setting a lovely table, remembering all our blessings, eating slowly (or slower than normal), playing some sort of game, watching some sort of game, doing dishes together and then slipping into unconsciousness after finishing a piece of pecan pie.

It’s gonna be great! What are some of your favorite things to do on Thanksgiving?

Total Cost: $0 to “look-forward-to.”

Monday, November 16, 2009

All Put Together

Did you know that on National Geographics website, you can do jigsaw puzzles? All of that beautiful, award winning photography just sitting there for you to put together. A very nice alternative to solitaire or online sudoku.

Total Cost: $0 ... and you never loose a piece.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Snack Drawer -- Before

Among my friends at school, I have a reputation for having beautiful, healthy and appetizing lunches. It's all true. I like delicious food, and I try to make it look as good as it tastes. The only problem is, this has not extended to afternoon snacks.

It’s worse than it sounds. I don’t like the tasteless, prepackaged, preservative laden snack foods found at the grocery store. So, my snack drawer lies empty. But that doesn’t stop me from getting hungry and heading down to the break room to scavenge for tasteless, prepackaged, preservative laden doughnuts. I am ashamed.

To remedy this, I’ve decided to do a snack drawer overhaul. I am now on the hunt for beautiful, healthy and appetizing snacks that are also shelf stable. Do you have any ideas?

Total Cost: $5 a pound for dried apricots … it’s a start!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

There's no such thing as a free lunch ...

... but aparently there is such thing as a free breakfast.
Last night I got a text from Suzie -- "tomorrow there are free hotcakes and sausage @ mcdonald's from 6 - 9."
Free? Yep!! Is there a catch? Nope!!
Well, this I had to see. I pulled into the parking lot around 8:00 while on my way to parent teacher conferences, and could tell by the length of the line that I was in the right spot. When I finally got to the counter I meekly asked for the free hotcakes and sausage meal. The girl handed me a bag full of food and I was on my way. A free breakfast! sweet.
Now, I have to say that eating at McDonald's doesn't exactly meet my criteria for "living large," but it was warm and yummy and free. It could be worse.
Total Cost: $0 for a truly free breakfast.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Neat and Comely

Ah fashion! It is the great dichotomy for every frugalista. How does a clever, beautiful, fashion forward woman look amazing on a small budget? There is much to be said on this subject -- and I hope to say a lot of it -- but tonight I will be brief.

Keep it clean! Remember this description of some very happy people: “they did not wear costly apparel, yet they were neat and comely.” (Two points if you know where that quote comes from.)

Total Cost: $0 to think about doing the laundry.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Gotta Walk

The sun is out and I'm going for a walk. See you tomorrow!

Total Cost: $0 for a dose of vitamin D.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Folded Up Nice and Neat

This week in Geometry, we have been talking about the mathematics of origami. The assignment was then to make something out of paper using the the basics of geometry. The things they came up with (i.e. found online) were quite lovely. There was a lotus, an antelope, an owl, a heart, a rose and a cup (just to name a few).
Origami is so beautiful, it can be used in decorating. It could add interest to a bookshelf, window sill or table. Take the Irish Elk by Robert Lang. Wouldn't that look lovely on a shelf next to a collection of National Geographics? How hard can it be to make something like that?! All you have to do is follow the marks on the fold pattern!

Hmmm. Maybe I'll just stick to cranes.

Total Cost: $3 for a ream of paper to make 1000 cranes ... for luck!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Give Me a Lecture

Anne Fadiman is one of my favorite writers. I’ve read Ex Libris a couple of times, and frequently quote from it when I’m trying to sound funny AND smart. So, when I heard that she would be speaking at MCW about her book “The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down” I knew that I had to go. (I haven’t read it yet, but I know the gist of the story.)
I like lectures and book tours. They are a great way to get involved with the community AND learn something new. Since this particular lecture was given at the medical college it was primarily directed toward members of the health care community, but even as an “outsider” I still gleaned some important points that I can apply to my own work. For example, she said that doctors should try to see the illness from the patient’s point of view. This can be done by asking “you” questions – how do you feel? what do you think caused this illness? what are you trying to improve your health? Each of these questions allow the patient to be more involved in the care process. As for myself, I can ask these questions to students to let them be more involved in the learning process – how do you feel about class? what do you not understand? what are you doing to understand it better?
After the lecture, there was reception where I discussed with friends and had Ms. Fadiman sign my notebook. All in all, a good Monday night.

Total Cost: $0 for pearls of wisdom and three cookies (yes, I had three).

Monday, November 2, 2009


When I started college my parents told me not to “major in minors.” I think that was good advice for choosing a career, but not for choosing food. In fact, when it comes to food, I think it’s a good idea to do the reverse. That is, go big on vegetables, grains, etc. and go light on steak, chicken, lamb, etc. Not only is it cheaper to eat this way, but I’m pretty sure it’s better for you.
This past weekend I found some brussel sprouts at the farmers market, and roasted them for dinner. Pretty good if I do say so myself.

Total Cost: About $1 per serving when you make the "side dish" the "main dish."