September 29, 2011

I Turned Right.

Our bedrooms are on the top floor, and as you get to the bottom of the stairs, you have a choice to turn either left (to the desk in the dining room) or right (to the couch in the living room).

Guess which way I turned this morning?

That couch (evidence: yesterday) is becoming more and more irresistible every day, even as I make my way through what BabyCenter enthusiastically calls "the golden trimester" because apparently I have more energy now than in the first, and am more comfortable than I'll be in the third.

Says Inigo Montoya: "That word, I don't think it means what you think it means".

Maybe the kind folks at BabyCenter don't have a three year old who has nightmares that require twenty minutes of discussion at midnight, or who regularly wakes up for a five minute pee a scant thirty minutes before the 5:10 alarm.

Maybe they don't have a one year old who apparently enjoys spitting his nimmie out at 3:25 every. morning.

Or whatever - maybe they're just superheros over there who can do it all and wake up without having to pry their eyes open. Who knows?

You know what I know? Last night, after Miss was finally back in bed around 12:35 AM or so, and I couldn't get back to sleep for a while, I felt Bean move. A lot. So who cares about not sleeping?

(Also: you know what, BabyCenter? You can take your "golden trimester" and shove it. That is all.)

September 28, 2011

Me So Productive

Due to the overwhelming lure of the couch this morning, and as part of the aftermath of my bragging on Twitter Monday night, I have only this to show you:

Actual words to follow.

September 27, 2011

Project Grocery: Catching My Tail

If I were a cat, that is. Which I'm not. (If I was, this post would read: "RAWR! I HATE YOU! FEED ME! I EAT YOUR KIDS FOR SUPPER YOU NO FEED ME!)

On a completely non-cat (or crazy) related note, I have one or two (three) grocery posts to catch up on, which I partially blame on The Enormous Visit, and partially on pure laziness for the last two Monday mornings. So sue me.

Week Thirty-Seven: $219.48

How tacky is it to tell your guests how much you spent on groceries when they were at your house? I'll tell you: Very. Because I know Amy reads this here blog (Hi, Amy), and writing the figure is tantamount to calling her up on the phone and telling her we spent double our grocery budget while she and her family were at our house.

But they drove up here all the way from Pennsylvania, when they could have stayed home. And our household swelled from four to eleven, but our grocery budget only doubled, despite seven trips to the grocery store. That's pretty awesome.I can't say the food was awesome (although the Root Beer Pulled Pork was, but that's no surprise), but the company was, as was the fact that she and I mostly took care of the kids while the menfolk did the cooking, cleaning, and beer-drinking.

Bless their dear hearts.

So sorry for the tackiness, Amy. All seven of my other readers were dying - dying! -  to find out.

Week Thirty-Eight: $80.13

Despite purchasing the 106 boxes of cereal pictured here, we came in under budget. Which, given the last few weeks, is a good thing. AND, even better, we didn't have any food emergencies.


Week Thirty-Nine: $128.65

What the haul?! I think we need some close ups, don't you?

How did all this cost us only $128.65, you ask? And since we're asking nosy questions, why did we buy a box of disposable diapers?

The answers? Bum rash (not rot) and Shopper's Optimum Points. But not in that order.

We redeemed 50,000 of our precious points $11.00 in precious coupons (and an hour of our precious time) for $103.41 worth of stuff, paying only the $10.92 in taxes.

We also apparently bought a year's supply of carrots, beets, rice, and potatoes, didn't we? But for $2 a bag - that's TWO DOLLARS A BAG - for the vegetables, and $12 for the rice, how could we resist?

Ask me in a month when I (eventually) start talking Food Waste Friday again.

September 26, 2011

The Soul Destroying Sound Of Her Bedroom Door Opening...Again.

You know that sweet feeling you have after you've tucked your child into bed and closed the door, teeth brushed, potty used, story read, drink given, prayers said, hugs and kisses all around, wallets still not forgotten...

...and then you have to put them in bed five or six more times? You know, that feeling?


It's been going on for a couple of months now. Miss used to be a champion going-to-bed-er, and we're close to cracking.


Except the culmination of the going to bed badness occurred - of course- during The Enormous Visit, when her two little friends (the girlies, she calls them) slept in her room with her. These girls were begging - begging - for her to shut up already and lie down so they could sleep (in not so many words).

She did not.

They seemed to have a good time together despite the lack of bedtime harmony, however, so it didn't ruin the entire visit, just the hours between seven and eight thirty pm every night.

Until the last night, when we were determined to have a nice grown-up meal after the kids were asleep, and didn't want to have to get up what felt like thirty or forty times while our steaks got cold.

So Amy and I came up with a plan - these kids would get ready downstairs. They would be so ready for bed that when we took them upstairs, the only thing they had to do was go to sleep. We shut the door on quiet kids after a very long afternoon at the local fall fair.

At six-thirty [shouts of joy and clinks of wine glasses all around].

I only had to go up there three times, once during dinner. An improvement, in my books.

And since The Enormous Visit (that would be eight bedtimes ago)? Every night, we get her ready for bed downstairs, so the only thing she needs to do once we get upstairs is give hugs and kisses, crawl into bed, and yell for us to not forget our wallets (and a new thing that involves closing the door without making any sound - strange).

And in eight bedtimes, we've had to go upstairs and put her back to bed three times.

Thank you, Enormous Visit. (You were worth it anyway.)

September 24, 2011

Lannis: Breaking My Own Rules

I am a teacher’s daughter. When I was growing up, we never -- and I mean never -- missed school.

Not only were we bus students (read: scrupulously trained to be at the bus stop on time), but my parents bent over backwards to ensure we didn’t miss any time. If we had a dentist appointment, it was scheduled for 8 am, so we’d arrive at school having missed (at most) the morning announcements.

Many times we weren’t late at all.

It sucked.

And back when I was obsessed with cared what people thought, I was paranoid about skipping school.

What would people think of me?! The horror!

That, and my parents rightfully put the fear of God in me regarding potential punishments.

Therefore, without ever having to detail exactly what would happen if I did step out of line, I was paralyzed by the apocalyptic, life-changing retribution awaiting me if I attempted to skip school.

And yes, I always assumed I’d get caught. Fear of God, I tell you.

These be omniscient parents.

(As an adult, of course, I realize it was all due to their combined social networking in a small town. I’m talking old school social networking: the kind where you know people from bowling, card parties, charity social functions, being coworkers, or simply having lived in the same town your whole life. I couldn’t breathe without a potential snot-bubble being reported to my parents before my shadow darkened our doorstep.)

Anyhow. The message settled in, and as a parent, I don’t like my children missing school. Unless they’re legitimately sick, or have an appointment that absolutely cannot be scheduled without conflict, they’re there. It’s ingrained. It’s important.

But on Monday I broke my rule. (GASP!)

Yep. A friend had about-to-expire-free-passes to Marineland, a theme park my kids have never seen. I dithered, then gave in.

September. Cool weather, not mind-numbing heat. No line ups for rides (read: boys’ patience not required). And a chance to see some amazing animals up close.

Did I mention it was free?

At the end of the day, it cost us gas (the drive was five hours round trip), $9 in deer feed (enough for four kids), an expressway toll (because I shouldn’t make navigational decisions in sight of jam-packed free highways when I have a full bladder), $15 in souvenirs, and $28 in fast food (we packed lunch, but it was five hours round trip! I needed caffeine, and we hit McD’s on the way home).

Mr Lannis figures it was $80-$90 all told. For a day out at a theme park? Including souvenirs and hot food for all? Not bad.

And let’s be honest. How often do you really get to do this?

Not watching whales. No, that’s not just watching whales.

It’s watching your kids be transfixed by magic.

And learning firsthand that belugas are big hams, too.

Sorry, Mom and Dad. It was worth it.

(We’ll play by the rules tomorrow. Maybe.)

Occasional poster at The Mrs, I'm Lannis - or Leslie, depending on which circles you're swimming. A while ago I decided that I don't care anymore, hence my general standards for life are lower than The Mrs' (but she still loves me.) [Editor: I do]

I live in a small town with my favourite people: my husband, Mr Lannis, and our two boys, along with two cats and one hamster.

If you follow me on Twitter, you might witness my issues with linear thought, road rage, spending more money on food than books, and potty mouth. Be warned.

September 23, 2011

Q & A With WilliamB...Someday.

There's a lot I want to ask WilliamB (who I met - in the internet sense - in February through Kristen's blog at The Frugal Girl). In fact, I've been pushing for a guest post for a long time, most recently yesterday.

I want to ask things like "What's in your freezer right now and what are your plans for it?" And "What absolutely HAS to be in your pantry and why?". Also: "How did you get to be so awesome?".

You know, totally on-stalkerish things.

And I figure you might have some questions too, so...shoot. Ask away. At the very least we'll get a well thought out, grammatically perfect response, which is more than anyone would ever get from me.

Facebook Makes My Life Better. No, Really.

I'm over at BlogHer today, because I want to be. Sparkle, sparkle. In about thirty seconds, I'll be closing my eyes on the couch, hoping those kids don't wake up for another half an hour.

* * *

Whine, moan. Copy and paste. Status notifications of IMPENDING GLOBAL DOOM because Facebook has made something or other public that wasn't meant to be.

Ho hum.

I clearly don't have much of an issue with perceived privacy, or I wouldn't be oversharing over here on the lovely interweb, so that debate is a...


September 21, 2011

A Fool And Her Money

Confession time. Grab something (preferably food) and sit down.

There are a few things that I have trouble not spending money on.

Now, before you get all "I know what she's going to say", this isn't one of those frugal posts that talks about the few things we spend money on because we wouldn't buy it used, or want to buy quality that will last, or something equally virtuous.

This is one of those posts that talks about overspending. Booooo.

See, I've discovered in the past few months that I'm only a natural cheapskate when it comes to some things. Things like toys for the kids.

Stop judging me. They have plenty, most of which were purchased or given to them by someone else ::coughmomcough:: and besides, I can get Jr to run the house circuit, chasing after a balloon and yelling "Bah! Bah!" until he's sweaty and panting for the whopping price of four cents a month (yes, I did the math. Stop acting surprised).

Now that we've discovered the joys of second hand clothes, I have no problem not spending money on clothes for either the kids or me or Mr, since all of us combined for the year come in somewhere around $200, shoes included.

I'm also really good at not buying books - which, if you knew me in my past life as a child-free adult - might surprise you. But I was good at it then too, I just wasn't good at not reading them to the exclusion of all else.

I'm fantastic at not buying sheets and bedding, even though I look at those pages in the LL Bean and Ikea catalogues with deep, deep longing. But if we can comfortably house seven extra people and not need to borrow or buy sheets and blankets for all of them, then I think we're set for the next few years.

You know where I have the biggest impulse control problem? (Are you still sitting down?)


Shocker, I know.

For example, I've written (bragged) before about packing my lunch for work, but lately it's been a rare occurrence (I managed to make a lunch last night, though, and it's sitting jauntily in the fridge, hoping that I don't forget it).

You also may have noticed (I know Lindsay did) the "food emergency" category in our Plan Bean budget. That's cutting back. We've had so many "food emergencies" in the last few months that it's become a problem that we should start being realistic about.

So here's what I've deduced (I'm sitting at my desk with a Sherlock Holmes deerstalker and pipe, is how deductive I am this morning): Money = Time, and not in a Rolex-clad-businessman-from-1986-chomping-his-cigar-and-yelling-"Time is money!"-into-the-phone kind of a way, either.

No, Money = Time is more like this: Didn't make time last night and don't have time this morning to make lunch? Ching. Forgot to take something out of the freezer or prepare something the night before and now it's six o'clock and everyone is hungry out of their minds? Ching. Didn't sit down on Friday evening to make a grocery list that factors in sales, coupons, and what  you need to use up in your fridge? Ching.

I can forgive myself for lots of this - I'm a pregnant, tired, working full time mother of two and wife to one, and my days are F-U-L-L. Plus, I like sleeping. A lot. Wherever I happen to find myself.

But understanding why it happens and sympathizing (with myself, which is pretty easy to do) doesn't get me closer to Plan Bean. And it doesn't help us pay down our debt any faster.

And right now I'm motivated. But I don't know how long it will last.

September 20, 2011

Paperwork Mountain

The Enormous Visit? She is over.

She left our fridge a little emptier, our house a little messier, and our wallets a little (only a little) lighter. But she was (if you'll allow the phrase) super-duper awesome, and I wish she was still here.

(Enough with the she already, okay?)

I have some pictures. They're awesome.

But today, now that everyone's left, the kids are in daycare, and I'm using up another precious vacation day, I'm at my desk. Doing this:

Being a bookkeeper for a business client who is your husband, and trying to smoosh it in around visits, kids, cleaning, eating, living, and sleeping on the couch is kind of hard. Especially when you're (pauses to count on fingers) eight months behind in reconciling the books.

See you in a few weeks.

(Hey, sometime soon I'm going to show you a picture of my toilet. Excited yet?)

September 17, 2011

Lannis: Schnazzy Cheapo Clothespin Bag!

I am very busy and important. 

OR, I'm busy with The Enormous Visit, and am having too much fun to write anything. But Lannis isn't.

Isn't too busy, that is, not isn't having fun. 

Although she might not be. But - knowing her - she probably is.

* * *

And now for something completely different — a quick and dirty sewing tutorial!

Yes, you read that correctly.

Today, I’ll show you how to make this —

From (get this!) a dollar store tea towel and a repurposed baby clothes hanger!

(Hm... frugal and quick, so maybe not as different as I think?)

Anyhow. Quick backstory. While browsing on Pinterest, I found a lovely clothespin bag sewing tutorial, and I got all heady and inspired. (No, I wasn’t drunk. Maybe.) Just look at it (photo courtesy of —

Adorable, yes?

My own clothespin bag was a hideous drawstring bag whose previous incarnation had been toting indoor shoes to and from work.

And, like the doofus I am, the drawstring that held the bag closed up tight was also the one it hung from at my clothesline.

Yes, I know what you’re thinking: “the weight of the clothespins inside would consistently pull the drawstring closed.”

Where were you years ago when I decided this was a good idea?

Or when I passively moved it from the old house to the new one and still didn’t correct that annoying opening?


Every time I’ve hung laundry in my own household (::coughcough::about eight years::cough::) I’ve fought with that stupid drawstring. Yep.

I needed a new bag! And here I’d found a lovely little drindl bag tutorial online —

But then, I remembered: I’m me.

If I could muster up the ambition to do it in the first place, it wouldn’t turn out the way the picture shows, because nothing I sew ever looks the way it should.

Shortly thereafter, I was browsing at the dollar store and inspiration struck. No, no permanent injuries, none that I’m aware of. Yes, I’ve always been this way. Wait, was that an insult?

Onward. For this project, you need:
- 1 tea towel
- 1 clothes hanger
- the ability to sew a straight line

Note on the clothes hanger: It will need to fit within the width of the tea towel, when the towel is folded in half lengthwise. I used a repurposed baby clothes hanger, but a clip-style hanger for pants would work. Or cutting a plastic hanger to size would work, too.

Note on sewing a straight line: Nobody’s checking your work, I swear.

Start by spreading the tea towel length-wise on the table (nice side up), and folding the ends in to meet at the center (nice side now hidden inside).

Pin that center edge, and sew from the top down, leaving a gap in the middle as the opening into the bag. It should be a large enough gap to comfortably fit your hand and to be able to easily store your clothesline spacers.

Check it:

I recommend reinforcing your seams by sewing everything twice, just in case.

Then! Then, you pin the ends flat, and sew the bottom straight across. When you sew the top across, leave a 2 cm gap for your clothes hanger’s hook to stick through.

(Why the hell are clothesline and clothespin considered words but “clotheshanger” isn’t? Grr.)

And now the sewing part’s finished! Just turn your project right-side out, and thread your hanger through the opening so it is inside the bag and its neck rises out of the tiny gap in the top seam.

All done!

And yes, it fits all this!

Not too shabby for $2, eh?

Oh, and did I mention that $2 bought two tea towels and a dishcloth? Yep. I heart the dollar store. That’s where that pitiful matching bow came from — it had tied the whole bundle together. And now my clothespin bag looks like the most miserable kid in the school yard, but it’s functional!

My math’s not as spiffy as the Mrs’ but I *think* that means this entire project cost me less than $1, a repurposed hanger, and about 10 minutes of sewing time.

The hardest part? Hauling out that damned sewing machine...

Occasional poster at The Mrs, I'm Lannis - or Leslie, depending on which circles you're swimming. A while ago I decided that I don't care anymore, hence my general standards for life are lower than The Mrs' (but she still loves me.) [Editor: I do]

I live in a small town with my favourite people: my husband, Mr Lannis, and our two boys, along with two cats and one hamster.

If you follow me on Twitter, you might witness my issues with linear thought, road rage, spending more money on food than books, and potty mouth. Be warned.

September 15, 2011

The Enormous Visit, Or How To Be The Perfect Hostess

Yesterday, I stayed home from work. I sent the kids to daycare, and mentally luxuriated in all of the Things I'd Get Done before I picked them back up and our guests arrived.

I even thought I'd get a blog post in, and some pictures taken that have been holding up other posts for too long, since I was actually home in daylight hours.

More fool me.

BUT, this house is cleaner than it's been since May, AND our house is fuller by three adults and four kids, so I'm happy. (That would be a nine year old, two five year olds, a three year old, a two year old, a 17 month old - Jr, the only boy - and an assortment of thirty-something year olds)

Which is funny, because I used to be a little uptight about houseguests. Not the guests themselves, you understand, but the having of them. The making sure everything was perfectly clean, every moment was wonderful, and every meal was gourmet.

Yesterday, when I was telling one of our friends about it (Jeff, of "Jeff and Amy", and also of "the perfect steak"), and he summed it up perfectly, and I will now pass along his insightful wisdom and pretend I was the one who came up with it:

There's a difference between messy and dirty.

And that just about sums it up, although I'm about to expand on it just a little. And possibly make a t-shirt.

In the afternoon, the kids played, and played hard. It was messy.

 Last night, the eleven of us (Eleven. Of. Us.) had spaghetti and crusty bread and apple crisp for supper. It was messy, homely, and good. There were leftovers. (The sauce was made from the tomatoes in our garden unafflicted by Bum Rot)

So these days, my hostess philosophizing (deeply informed by the messy vs. dirty principle) is this:

Clean, then Relax.

We're having some fun times up in here.

September 13, 2011

Christmas For Cheapskates

Can we talk about Christmas for a minute? Here, smack dab in the middle of September?

Sure we can.

One of my recurring anxiety dreams is that it's Christmas morning and we've somehow forgotten to buy or make presents for our family. It happens once or twice a month.

I'm pretty sure that retailers already have their Christmas stock and planograms in the back rooms already, and have agreed this year to put them out on October 1st, so it's not very likely to come true, but still, I dream.

And the thing is, the title of this post should read "Christmas For Cheapskates Who Love Christmas", because I do. I really, really, really do.


And we can get into all the reasons not to like the version of Christmas that includes overspending, and overeating, and overexposure to relatives we may or may not want to be exposed to at all, as well as the big commercialism thing that everyone wrings their hands over, and the arguments over pagan antecedents and who really owns it all, but I can't control any of that.

So - to repeat - I really, really, really like Christmas. The big reasons for me, aside from the fact that it marks Jesus' entry into the world and sets the stage for the remarkable truth of Easter - involve food (naturally), family (especially now that my kids - some of them anyway - are old enough not to eat tinsel), and gifts.

You heard me, gifts.

Don't tell me you don't like getting presents. I like it. I don't get many anymore, which is as it should be when you grow up. But I like the ones I get.

I also like the ones I make - and I have some good ideas this year, but probably not enough time to pull them off.

But the ones I really like are the ones I've saved up for.

That's right, the whole point of this post is to tell you something you probably already know: we have an account strictly for Christmas, and we put money into it every week.

The fact that we're shopping with a budget and with money that won't show up on a bill in January is almost as exciting as the food for me.


September 12, 2011


No Project Grocery this morning - we're in the throes of getting things ready for The Enormous Visit this week, and there's still more grocery shopping to come.

"Getting things ready" has included cleaning, laundry, menu planning, a pantry tidy-up, a desk clean up (that's not done), and - inexplicably - a dining room rearrangement complete with picture hanging.

Because nothing says "welcome, stay awhile" than pictures on the wall, right?


In the midst of the busyness, some non-essentials (at which Jr was present, but apparently not photogenic).

A tea party:

The Eagles' first regular season game:

And, of course, playing around with the new camera. Which I'm still not going to tell you about. Because I want to lie down.

September 10, 2011

Lannis: Chickening Out

All I have to say about this is TRIPLE GAH!
* * *

Some days coming up with post topic is easy — I can only imagine how The Mrs feels, having to fill the other days; I only have to cover one.

Some days, though, some days I’ve a great rant, or an anecdote that’s fabulous — one not at all inappropriate (probably).

Those are good days.

Other days, I sit, staring at the wall, then the laptop screen, then the wall, and I can’t recall what I ate for breakfast, or whether the dishwasher is clean, let alone something interesting to relate on a Saturday post.

It’s like writer’s block, except my cure for writer’s block has always been to switch gears and work on another project.

That doesn’t exactly help when I’m trying to fill a specific niche.

This morning, though, I went to hang laundry on the line, and saw this —

It was huge!

Like, the size of a loonie! And it darted at me!

And it looked at me crosswise, like it was trying to figure out if the best tactic to induce maximum paranoia would be to leap onto my face and scare the bejeezus out of me, or whether it should shimmy up my leg and under my shirt...

And it was monstrous. Striped like some genetically altered tarantula, shrunken slightly to a more inconspicuous (yet still abnormally large) size, streamlined for increased speed...


I might have done the stereotypic girlie thing and whined and pouted and vibrated on the spot until Mr Lannis came to rescue me.

(He tells me it was relocated to the front lawn — but that bad boy was fast! There’s a good chance he’ll have returned by the time tomorrow’s laundry goes up... eep!)

I wish I could say only a few of those panicky jitters were feigned.


I grew up in a small town. I spent my summers outdoors. I am not squeamish. I used to capture toads (big ones!), I’d try to trap mice if I could. My parents used to tell me to stay away from the notorious skunk-den stump because they knew me too well.

Nope, not squeamish with nature. Unless it comes to creepy-crawlies. And I’m usually good with spiders, even indoors. (They’re all named Peter. Hands up if you know why.) Tiny spiders, I’m good with.

But not this enormous arachnid!

He’s huge!

He’s probably better at math than I am!

I mean, he must be smart to survive long enough to get that big!

To have this guy hanging out in the same place I’m about to hang my laundry not only gives me the heebie-jeebies standing in proximity to put the clothes on the line, but the idea that he might decide to go for a walk and get caught in the laundry, to be inadvertently relocated indoors...?



The irony to this story, of course, is that before Mr Lannis had to come to my rescue and relocate that hairy behemoth elsewhere, I was busy taking photos of our fridge.

Yes. The mysterious contents of the Lannis household’s fridge.

Because Mr Lannis had gone on a jaunt to the grocery store the day before, to pick up items imperative to his everyday eating habits (and no one else’s).

That’s three dozen eggs. And cartons of whites.

He eats six eggs a day, and that’s before adding in his egg white shakes.

Yes, every day.

Yes, I’m serious.

Yes, he’s a crazy health nut (and I maintain he works out enough for the both of us).

Yep. So. There I was, gathering photographic evidence in order to write a silly post about how he maybe probably should have married a chicken.


And then I realized he did.

Occasional poster at The Mrs, I'm Lannis - or Leslie, depending on which circles you're swimming. A while ago I decided that I don't care anymore, hence my general standards for life are lower than The Mrs' (but she still loves me.) [Editor: I do]

I live in a small town with my favourite people: my husband, Mr Lannis, and our two boys, along with two cats and one hamster.

If you follow me on Twitter, you might witness my issues with linear thought, road rage, spending more money on food than books, and potty mouth. Be warned.

September 9, 2011

Need vs. Want

Remember the shoes? The totally unnecessary, boy-do-I-want-them, no-I-don't-need-them, surprise! back to work gift from Mr?

Of course you do.

Now they look like this:

This is me, making a sad face. (Eating dry cinnamon toast crunch in the dark at 5:45 in the morning, if you must know.)

Granted, I've been wearing these shoes every day since May 2nd - well, all the days I was at work, anyway - but surely I might have been able to expect a slightly longer lifespan than four months?

Bah! Upholstered shoes. Who needs them?

But I do need shoes. And I want to buy new ones. Sorry, that should read "waaaaaant". It's that bad.

Instead, I did some closet diving and found these old friends:

And they're fine. Not new, but fine.

Need trumps want. This time.

(Ha, ha. You thought I was going to tell you that I bought a new camera.)

(I did. But that's another post.)

September 8, 2011

Hello, My Name Is

I'd like to introduce myself, but I'm small and malicious and want to make you play a little guessing game first.

Here we go:

I'm small (but you already knew that).

I'm a very unattractive shade of pink.

I make very disturbing grinding noises whenever I'm turned on, or asked to do anything remotely complicated.

I eat batteries for dinner. And lunch. I also have two breakfasts every day, and guess what I eat then?

I'm one step up from a disposable version of myself.

Know who I am?


Hi. I'm the Nikon Coolpix L19 (in pink).

 And I want to take blurry pictures of your children.

September 7, 2011

Five Reasons I Love Our Midwife

Reason One: Food
Our first appointment for Baby Bean was at Mr's favourite pub. I had the lentil burger with sprouts and goat cheese. So did she. Enough said. Except that it's not - she makes the best toast I have ever eaten in my life, and it's one of the many things I'm looking forward to after Bean makes his or her entrance.

Reason Two: Home Sweet Home
She would wash my sheets...if we chose a home birth, that is. We haven't, but the sheet cleaning is mighty tempting. As it is, one of the prenatal and a few of the post natal visits are here at my house.

At. My. House.

Reason Three (as if I need another): Unremarkability
We don't do drama. Somehow, we've been blessed with two and a half very boring, unremarkable pregnancies and births. Part of it is genetics, part of it is just a blessing, and part of it is the smiling calmness that is Sarah.

Reason Four: Zombies
Four in the morning, first labour with Miss (it hadn't really started yet), and the three of us watched Shaun of the Dead. How can you beat that?

Reason Five: Herself
If you know her, you love her. That is all.

We may have planned to make something fabulous for her multiple times, and never did. I may have had a Christmas basket ready for her last year, and never got it to her.

Gratitude FAIL.

September 6, 2011

Plan Bean

Yes indeedy, folks. It only took about three months or so (six, if we're counting the time we knew we were going to make baby number three but hadn't gotten around to it yet) to come up with The Plan.

What's The Plan, you ask? The Plan. You know?

The one that maximizes the next 147 days (uh, plus or minus) of salaried work that I have left until Baby Bean makes his or her appearance, along with the following 365 days of paid maternity leave.

The one that turns me into a mom at home instead of a mom at work.

The one that turns The Mrs into a personal finance blog.

Ha ha. Funny joke. Personal finance blogs don't have food in them, so no dice.

I might have already been using this spreadsheet since 2009, with one or two updates:

But now it's time to get (more) serious about tracking our expenses, with some new, let's-be-realistic categories written into the budget, including (gasp) $500 into savings every month.

Oh, I do love me a good spreadsheet.

Now to actually do it, instead of playing with cells and formulas...


September 5, 2011

Project Grocery: Hungry Again?

Well hello, fine internet people.

If I were the kind of person to have a webcam installed, and you were the kind of person to watch a webcam, you might have died of boredom on Thursday and Friday. I know I did.

You know what I mean. I spent those days (and - if we're going to be completely honest here - some of Saturday and Sunday too) lying on the couch, watching TLC - the Big Mac of the mind.

Now that I'm back in the land of the living and part of my prodigious - even legendary - appetite is back, I can stand to post about food again.

This food, in particular:

This picture represents 14,600 Shopper's Optimum Points (oh, bless 20x the points days when I need deodorant and cleaning supplies), $84.22 of our $130.49 in grocery shopping purchases (yes, me on the couch = $46.22 worth of extra trips to the grocery store), and some of the stock up for our Very Exciting, Five Day, Five Adults and Six Children House Party in two weeks.

It also represents $164.49 in actual dollar value, but we had $10 in Sobey's points to use as well as these babies, baby:

Not the donkey or the truck, fascinating and exciting as they are. No, these babies are something I was almost at the point of giving up on in despair (or in a snit, anyway, if not despair). Loblaw's finally sent me my gift cards for spending $20 on cereal and chips. What a reward.

Okay, that's enough. I'm even boring myself now. We're eating sausage pasta, pork tenderloin sandwiches, Jane's Chicken Curry (I didn't quite have the inspiration last week), and lots of leftovers this week.

On Saturday, I mustered up some energy to work on Plan Bean, and on Sunday, Mr and I had a long chat about wants, needs, and big ticket purchases.

It was more exciting than it sounds, and YOU get to hear about it this week. Who're the lucky ones now?

September 3, 2011

Lannis: The Lucky Ones

I'm not dead, nor am I in the hospital. But I did just spend a day and a half watching the mental equivalent of eating seven Big Macs in one sitting: TLC. What is it with babies, armless people, wedding dresses and Kate Gosselin? Anybody? 

Mr says it's the girl version of Spike TV, and at first I thought "no way, you're totally wrong". Spike is boobs and punching and cars. TLC is babies and weddings and drama.

Oh. They ARE the same.

And now, some Lannis. Because one crazy isn't enough for this blog. 

* * *

Mr Lannis and I have a deal: we don’t celebrate.

Our birthdays are three days apart, and our youngest was born three days after that. It’s a freaking week-long birthday bonanza around here, and we focus on the kidlets, of course.

Also? We’re cheap.

I’ll bake a cake, make his favourite meal. Maybe we’ll buy a DVD we’re both interested in adding to our collection.

The Mrs doesn’t have the corner on the cheapo market, no sir-ee.

Besides, we know how to have fun without spending money. As I restrain myself from inappropriate comments, please see visual evidence — my all-time favourite photo of us (circa 2001):

The only dollars spent that day were in developing a roll of antiquated film to display this adorable sideshow.

So when it comes to our wedding anniversary, we have a deal: we plan to go somewhere (Paris, or a dreamy island of sandy beaches) for our tenth. Somehow, over this past weekend, we managed to hit number seven.

Seven? Already?!

God bless that man, because I am not always an easy person to live with.

And Lord knows, if ever there was a year in which I was a trial, it was this one. Without going into details, suffice it to say we were both duly reminded that we need to be more appreciative of each other. We are partners first, parents second.

And I definitely appreciate Mr Lannis. I adore him to pieces.

And not just because he makes it possible for me to write “spoiled princess” in the occupation field on paperwork (SAHMs: do this. It’s much more satisfying than “homemaker”. Trust.)

So when I came downstairs to discover him proffering my favourite Tim Horton’s berry smoothie with a “happy anniversary!” kiss?

I bawled.

Over a three dollar smoothie. Yep.

Again, without details, I’d had a rough week. And Mr Lannis knew this. He also knows our deal (no celebrations). And I’ve said before: he gets a pretty good pass in the romance department.

(Also? I think he is secretly tickled when he gets to be the rock in our relationship.)

But really? I didn’t just bawl. I crumbled. I melted.

And he panicked.

Not because I was crying, but because he’d arranged for the neighbour kids to come over in the next few minutes and now I was a puffy mess.

I’m not a pretty crier. Pale and blotchy, that’s me. One tear = highlighted streak down the cheek and instant bloodshot eyes. I’ll save you from the description of the full-out Ugly Cry. Because truly, it’s called The Ugly Cry for a reason.

Why were the neighbourhood kids coming over? Because it was our anniversary, of course!

And cheaper delivery doesn’t exist —

Occasional poster at The Mrs, I'm Lannis - or Leslie, depending on which circles you're swimming. A while ago I decided that I don't care anymore, hence my general standards for life are lower than The Mrs' (but she still loves me.) [Editor: I do]

I live in a small town with my favourite people: my husband, Mr Lannis, and our two boys, along with two cats and one hamster.

If you follow me on Twitter, you might witness my issues with linear thought, road rage, spending more money on food than books, and potty mouth. Be warned.