Moments of Weakness

We are fairly frugal people.  We drive older cars (no payments), we don’t have cable, we eat dinner at home almost every night, we pay off our credit card each month, I use a pre-paid cell phone, and I buy all of Boos toys and clothes second hand (nd a lot of ours too).  I feel like we are pretty careful and deliberate about spending.  We talk things over together and plan for the long term.

There are times, though, when I feel like deserve a new car, a nice camera or a pimp cell phone.  I look at our friends and family and I want what they have.  Sometimes I wish we weren’t so careful with our money or that we didn’t need to fund our Roths or Boos investment account.  I feel ENVIOUS!

In these moments of weakness, I just try to think about the things I want for us and for Boo and the values that I want to teach him.  I want him to be financially secure throughout his life.  I want him to be able to go to good public schools, so we need to save money for a new house.  I want to be able to take him on vacations, so I need to cut coupons.  I don’t want him to feel ENTITLED, so we give him used toys that are perfectly fun to play with.

I want material things just like anyone else, but I also want to not have to worry about money, so I have a motivation to stay on the path we have chosen.  I still get discouraged from time to time, so I have to remind myself that I have a very comfortable life and I am so lucky to be able to be home with my baby.  I have everything I need.

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Bread Ma-cheen

I alluded to it yesterday – I bought a bread machine.  It was sort of by chance.  Let me back up and start from the beginning.

I have long wanted to make my own bread.  Our old neighbor was from Albania and she taught me to make her native traditional bread – so cool!  Then I discovered a great recipe for whole wheat bread on MSM.  She has a kick-ass bread machine and uses it to make the dough for her.  I was not prepared to spend $250 on a bread machine, so I always used my stand mixer to knead the dough and then I let is rise in the oven with a pan of warm water.  It worked fine, but I always wondered if a bread machine would really make a difference.

I started reading more of her bread recipes and she pretty much always uses her bread machine to make the dough, but rarely used it to bake the bread to completion.  That perplexed me since it was such an expensive appliance, surely it would do each step well, right?

So, I was totally waffling about the bread machine thing and had pretty much decided that I would just keep going like I was with my stand mixer and janky bread-rising setup.  I always look at the bread machines at the thrift store, thinking that if I found one at a great price, that might sway me, but none have seemed that great to me for the money.

Then, Sean and I went out to dinner on Wednesday while my MIL stayed home with the Boo.  After dinner, we stopped in to Target because I had seen clearance deals on jeans (75% off – I don’t mess around).  While we were there, I walked by an end cap and saw a big box with a bread machine.  It was a clearance end cap, so my interest was piqued.  I turned the box over and saw a 50% off sticker and $35 on the tag.

I didn’t know anything about this particular maker, but at that price I knew it wouldn’t last long in the store.  It turned out to be an online return.  Since the store doesn’t carry that item normally, they drastically marked it down to get rid of it.  I decided that I would take it home, look in to it online, and then return it if it wasn’t a good one.

Imagine my surprise when I got home and found it to be a very highly reviewed model with many of the same high end features that MSM’s bread machine has.

Above picture is MSM’s top-of-the-line bread machine.

So, I decided to keep the clearance bread machine after confirming that is hadn’t been used and that all the parts where accounted for (you can’t be too careful).  I tried my new bread machine and I really like it!  It is so nice to not have to watch the clock or set timers to keep track of the rising cycles.  You just dump all the stuff in the machine and, as they say in the industry, set it and forget it!

Wanna see my machine?  It’s a bea-ute!  It is a West Bend Hi-Rise – swanky!

I love that the pan is oriented horizontally so the bread comes out looking more normal and there are a ton of settings to customize your bread.

Now, back to the whole not backing in the machine conspiracy.  I think I understand.  The pan in the bread machine is non-stick metal and I typically bake my bread in glass pans (a tip from the Albanian lady).  The crust is not so dark or tough when baked in glass.  I may become one of those people who just uses the bread machine to make the dough.

I am off to try this recipe now – I think it will go over well in my house!

Lately

I recently found a few new deal sites that I really like.  I am a total deal hound, so I thought I knew what all was out there – apparently not!  Southern Savers is a great deal site!  I just discovered it last week and it is now my go-to site for the weekly CVS deals.  Even though it is more of a regional deal site, I really like the format of the store deal posts.

There is a check box next to each item and then the associated coupons are  listed below each item.  You can just select the items you intend to buy and then print the list and pull out your coupons – so easy!  I have been using other sites that post all the same deals, but don’t have the same format of an easily printable list.

The other site I have been frequenting is Hip 2 Save.  The thing I like best about this site, as far as deal sites go, is that it is super current and has deals from other stores that a lot of other sites ignore.  I love drugstore deals as much as the next person, but I like to see other deals from higher end stores sometimes too.  She updates a lot, so you have to refresh often throughout the day to get really good deals.

My old standbys are still Money Saving Mom and Common Sense with Money, though I haven’t checked the latter in a while.  I love MSM for her personal accounts, videos, and recipes.  That leads to another post, because her recipes have led me to purchase a bread machine.

Over It

I have been having this feeling lately that this blog needs a direction.  I keep asking myself if I would want to read it.  On the other hand, I tell myself that this blog is really just for me and I should post whatever I want.  While I keep waffling, I will keep posting and see if I come to some resolution.

Great Game – Bad Ending

I procured Dream Chronicles at Game Stop last week and just finished it this afternoon.  I really, really liked the game.  The overall story was very interesting and the visual styling was excellent (especially for a DS game).  The game play was interesting and unique as well.  There were puzzles and elements of what I call “findin’ shit”.

When I say that the game play was unique, I don’t mean that hidden item games are unique, because they aren’t.  What I mean is that this game pulls it off very well unlike games where you are finding totally random items in a crazy-ass picture that has nothing to do with the story or characters in the game.  Like go find a fish, a bucket, a pencil, and a fan in this picture of a garden in order to progress the plot of a detective/mystery game.  You get what I’m sayin’?

I was a bit disappointed by the ending, though.  It was really built up in the story and I was really hoping for a happy ending based on all the character has to go through, but that was not the case.  Not only was it not the happy ending I was hoping for, but it was a quick cliff hanger with no further explanation or even a teaser of more to come.  They just ended things abruptly and rolled the credits.

I guess since I enjoyed all but the last 20 seconds of the game, it was a good experience overall.

…and now for the fun games!

I wrapped up 3 games in the last 2 weeks, which admittedly makes me feel like a bit of a slouch.  I promise most of my playing time was while rocking the baby to sleep and before bed at night.

Crime Lab: Body of Evidence was really good and pretty long, actually.  If you recall, I got a good deal on it at Game Stop of all places.  I needed a few hints along the way, but overall it was about the right mix of challenging and fun for me.  This, by the way, is usually my biggest complaint about games – sometimes they are painfully hard.  I don’t know about you, but I am not having fun when I am frustrated.

After I wrapped up Crime Lab, I started James Patterson’s Women’s Murder Club – Games of Passion.  Is that a long enough name?  Despite the extended moniker, the game was casual, fairly short, and entertaining.  The story was interesting and I am all about what I call “findin’ shit” games. I have had this game for a while, but kept putting it aside in favor of other things.  Now I am sorry I did that because I liked it.  It is based on a series of novels by James Patterson, who basically writes the detective equivalent of romance novels.  Maybe that explains my hesitation…

On Thursday, I took Boo out to run some errands and we found ourselves at Game Stop again (I was hopeful for another good deal) and I found Hidden Mysteries: Buckingham Palace, which has been in my Goozex held list for a while now.  It has been holding at $15-20, so I was waiting for it to drop.  Well, when I spotted it on the shelf at Game Stop for $9.98, I snagged it.  It is also in that category of “findin’ shit”.  The story was pretty light, but the historical information was interesting and the puzzles were fun.

Elementary For Sure

Sherlock Holmes: The Mystery of the Mummy arrived via Goozex earlier in the week and it was not good.  There wasn’t much of a story and there was even less direction.  The graphics were BAD and I just didn’t have the interest to push past the first bit.  Maybe it was because I have other games waiting to be played and sold, but I bailed.

Sold back on Goozex – good luck to the next person.

Saturday A.M.

It is a relaxing Saturday morning around here.  Sean made us cinnamon rolls for breakfast and we all ate together.  Now, the crib is full of ball pit balls and the boys are playing.  I am catching up on blog reading under a warm blanket.  So nice.

ball pit

Things I Love

  • My little Boo, of course.
  • My husband who gave them all to me

Thank you Mr. Bubbas!

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