The Weekly Ramble

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites. We participate in other affiliate programs as well. For more details, please see our disclosure policy.

The weekly ramble: where I blog like it’s 2004.

weekly ramble 117

Is anyone else really, really sleepy now that the time changed? My kids have not had issues, but I sure have. Wow! I’m ready for a nap every day by noon. Remind me next year how hard this week is so I can just plan a vacation!

Speaking of vacations…. chances are looking pretty slim that we’ll make it to Europe in the spring. We only have about 1/5 of the money saved, so I don’t think it’s going to happen. I’m trying not to let that thought creep in, but I may just have to adjust my expectations. Maybe it will be next fall or the spring of 2017. One can always dream, right?

FishPapa and I’ve had weekly money meetings lately and are sobered by the increase in expenses. Our rent went up; car insurance for a teen driver is not free; groceries don’t appear to going down in price; and I’ve already been tempted to turn on the furnace. (I’m not sure how that happened, but I went from flaming hot 24/7 to chilled to the bone really, really quickly.) We also need to think ahead to next year’s college expenses and life in general.

We also had the discussion about how the washer/dryer must be tempting fate. They’ve got to be reaching the end of their life span. The set prior to the current set lasted five years. We are now closing in on SIX years. It may be too much to hope for that they live forever, right? So, we need to start shopping so that when they do die, we’re ready. Because really? I don’t know that we could live more than a couple days without them. Right?

Needless to say, we are trimming back so that we can save more and give more. We’ve traded our nicer $40 date nights for $8 at In-N-Out Burger — and you know what? They’re just as much fun! Living on one income doesn’t have to be dreary.

weekly ramble 117 (1)

I did spent $10 on this new blanket. I figure what I spend in warmer things we will earn back in gas and electricity savings. You have never felt anything as soft as this blanket. Promise. Found it at Ross. I’m hoping that I can have a full rest day on Sunday and just cuddle up in it all day. So soft!

Feeling sleepy all week made it so hard to be productive! But, we’ve got two holidays next week, so maybe, just maybe I can catch up. Monday is FishBoy15 Day and Wednesday is Veteran’s Day. Our kids’ birthdays are always school holidays. 😉 FishChick turns 9 on Saturday, and my sister’s family is coming. Can’t wait to hang with them. While I love to have the whole clan together, it’s nice to just be able to focus on one branch of the family tree at a time.

FishBoy14 and I just finished reading the Odyssey for his history and literature coursework. I surprised myself by not being able to put the book down! I don’t remember it being a romance when I read it in school — and I’m not sure that FishBoy14 sees it that way — but it really is! Penelope and Odysseus’ love for each other is really sweet.

money making mom

I’m also reading my friend Crystal’s new book, Money Making Mom. I’d already preordered it when I received this fun package from her full of candy and a book! How fun is that? I’m hoping to give you a full review in the next few weeks, but I’m only about halfway through. Already, I know it is a great manual for those starting out in creating a home-based business. While I’m not just starting, it’s got me thinking about ways that I can be working better.

Crystal and I found each other through blogging back in 2008 when we were in the midst of getting out of debt. She and Jesse were great encouragers to us to keep fighting the good fight. And it was nice to hang out with people who understood our frugal/cheapskate ways! We have some wonderful memories of hanging out with their family.

Crystal was also super instrumental in my becoming a professional blogger. She’s a sharp one, that girl, and gives great advice. So, I’m looking forward to finishing the book this week.

weekly ramble 117 (2)

This is one of my most prized possessions. It’s Limoges china, a luminary with all the monuments of Paris that I bought right before I went home from my year abroad. The monuments light up when you light the candle inside.

As you can tell it’s super dusty. How do I clean it without ruining it?! That’s like 20+ years of dust.

I figured you guys would have some solutions for me. So lay them on me. I’ve been hesitant to get it wet all these years because it seems really porous. But I love it and want to take better care of it. Help a girl out?

In other news, we’re heading to my in-laws for Thanksgiving. My freezer cooking will be all about Make-Ahead and Freeze Thanksgiving Sides. I’ll be sharing the plan in tomorrow’s newsletter. So be sure to check your inbox. And join me on Tuesday for a Freezer Cooking Chat on Facebook!

So, there are my random ramblings for the week. Can you tell I haven’t had a nap today?!

Meanwhile, here’s what’s been happening on Life as MOM:

Here’s what’s been happening on Good Cheap Eats:

celebrate simply cropCelebrate Simply: This year I’ve put together a FREE 4-week e-course to help you get organized for the holidays, and most importantly, celebrate simply. You can register for the course here. The course begins November 16.

New this week:


This month’s meal plan is out! Grab A Month of Good Enough for Company Meal Plans for four weeks of meal plans, grocery lists, make-ahead tips, and company-friendly appetizers and desserts.

What have YOU been up to this week?

Read Newer Post
Read Older Post


  1. Some thoughts:
    Central heat: what is the temp in the home? can you lower it, esp at night/when all/mos are out? are you wearing warm slippers, a jacket/fleece/sweater? can you just use a portible heater in a main room? fireplace?
    food: more vegetarian, more soups (will help you feel warm, too)
    teen drivers: in our home, teen driving is a privelidge (sp?) and kids are expected to pay for the jump in auto ins, ditto their own car, the gas, maintenance/repairs, taxes for it
    teen financial dependance: are you weaning kids off from financial dependance? by 16, in our family, they are responsible for their own entertainment costs, aforemention auto costs, personal care/grooming/hair cuts/make up/special shampoo etc
    washer and dryer are vital in a home: check for deals on them, try habitat, get the word out that you are looking to replace yours as someone may have one of these to unload as the other 1/2 of the set died and they are replacing both so that they match

    • It’s always interesting to see how other families employ frugal tactics. I love how there is so much diversity. Each family is different and unique and each has it’s own financial priorities.

  2. I love when I’m nursing my baby and the Weekly Ramble is updated! 🙂

  3. Remove dirt and dust with a dry artists paintbrush, preferably a soft sable brush. Dry cotton or wool cloths will catch on rough surfaces, leaving filaments of fibers behind. If that is not enough, then soak a cotton swab in water and clean the surface. Do not soak unglazed china in water. Never use bleach to clean china/porcelain items. In the short run they will look nice and white, but over time it will yellow the china.

    • You took the words out of my mouth, Janet!

      Hope you find a way to clean your beautiful luminary there, Jessica. It’s gorgeous!


  4. Yeah! The Weekly Ramble!

  5. Cold and tired is a little weird for hyperthyroid isn’t it? Maybe time to check the meds and bloodwork again. I was diagnosed with Graves’ about 12 years ago – I remember being hot more than usual and having trouble sleeping.

  6. Tern driving: I was expected to pay my car payment/gas/insurance/mainenence from the time I got my license and bought my first car at 15. (Back in 1999!). Clothes and extra grooming supplies were expected to be paid by me at age 14, same for most families I grew up with. I got good grades, played 2 sports and worked my part time job at a burger joint, and still managed to pay my car off by high school graduation and still have a little nest egg of $4,000 when I moved out for college. I really think being required to work for my car, clothes, college, etc., at a young age made me the saver I am today, and made me take better care of it and work harder in college. Just my two cents.

    • Good for you!

      That was my experience as well. My son’s experience is a little different since due to work permit laws and homeschooling, he couldn’t get a job until August. We don’t feel that is fair to ask him to pay for insurance at this point since he hasn’t had the opportunity to pay his own way. While he’s still figuring some of these things out and getting used to college, we are figuring out the back end, how much things cost, what’s fair to ask of him, etc. Insuring him is our way of securing a third driver when we need it. He doesn’t ask for extras and has always been an able body to help around the house, babysit, etc. We’re feeling our way through all this. If he were a demanding kid, we’d probably have a different attitude about it. 🙂

  7. I really think each family has to make whatever work for them!!!!!!!!!! Our children dont have to pay car ins till out of high school but they also didnt have the highest paying job either. They pay their gas & the “extra” clothes they want. Meaning any/all that is beyond nessisty. Our oldest 1 1/2 out of high school has a nice nest egg even w/ paying all his ins. car/health. pretty frugal for the most part. I dont know how to clean your piece but hope you can figure it out its beautiful.

  8. On the washer/dryer, I must be really tempting fate! Our set is about 18 years old and still going strong, though we are only a family of 4. For what it is worth, this summer I noticed our clothes were not getting as clean and the washer had an odor, even with keeping the lid up between loads. I did some internet research and found some suggestions as to how to clean the washing machine. I didn’t have time to strip the machine down. I really cleaned the inside and ran some empty loads with vinegar. The clothes look better and the smell is gone.

  9. I wonder if compressed air, the type you use to clean out electronics, would work to dust out the nooks and crannies of your luminary

  10. I was just wondering what your thoughts were about home warranty services . Our home is 11years old and we have had to replace just about everything. Our bank offers one and we found a good one through Sears. This option allows us to make repairs at a lower monthly fee that will remain stable rather than overwhelming us with large repair costs. We recently had to repair our garage door and our 1year old refrigerator whose warranty had expired only 2 months ago. The total cost for the refrigerator was a whopping $900 and the garage door was $500 (some of the repair was made through a groupon which lowered the final cost). We have had our own home for over 23 years and have dramatically seen a drop in quality-and the lifetime of products we have purchased is surprisingly short. The cost of repairing the appliance is virtually the same as replacing it. The cost of making these repairs versus buying warranty services seems to lean us towards buying the service. Sears will fix our refrigerator for $60/month and anything else that breaks and with another $60/visit.This service includes a furnace inspection twice a year. If the repairs are not possible, Sears will replace the appliance. After having our hot water heater break down and having to replace a washer, dryer, and refrigerator in the same 3 month period I am thinking this is the way to go. Anyone have an experience with this type of warranty?

    • What I’ve always heard is that you’re better off putting that $60 away in the bank each month and self-funding any repairs that come your way from that fund. If you put it in a separate account, you’re less likely to touch it. Hopefully, others will have input for you as well.

    • We have a home warranty, and I’m not really impressed. We don’t plan to renew next year. The warranty is tricky–you can only replace the appliance with the exact same. Forget upgrading to a more energy efficient model, etc.

      In addition, you have to use the home owners’ warranty company’s service men, which isn’t always good. You have no choice in the matter.

      Finally, they’ll only replace something if they find it is completely broken. Our air conditioning unit is 18 years old and on its last legs. It’s using so much energy, but the home owner’s warranty company won’t replace it until it completely dies.

      You’ll likely have out of pocket costs even with a warranty. We had the warranty replace our hot water heater when it died, and we still had to pay $400 out of pocket to cover other expenses like the bracess that hold up the hot water heater, etc. The warranty literally ONLY covered the hot water heater.

      I’d do like Jessica suggests instead and just put money aside every month.

Thanks so much for participating in this conversation about "a mom's life."

This is a place where moms can be themselves. Remember that each mother's path looks a little different. Please keep your comments respectful and kind. Reasonable minds will disagree in a nice way.

So let's talk about it, using "our big girl words."

Share Your Thoughts