Saturday, September 25, 2010

Day o' Deals

I have been so excited for Arizona's garage sale season. That's an understatement. I have been exceedingly, oozingly, irrepressibly ecstatic. I've even been curbing some normal expenditures lately in order to better justify the spending, I mean SAVING spree than will ensue.

Today I voluntarily and quite cheerfully arose at quarter to six to begin this thrilling season of madness. (Okay, Charlie woke us up and I still laid in bed for a while, but without the typical crankiness or denial, so still impressive.)

This morning's sales were not everything I hoped them to be, but I am just warming up here, and I had Kyle and the kids in tow to slow me down (the kids, physically; Kyle, financially). Still, I have great hope for the coming Saturdays, and we still managed to score a few sweet deals, like Kyle's brand new, leather Samsonite portfolio bag (which he has been needing and on which he was previously thinking of blowing $40) for $5. Also an area rug for $1, assorted cute clothes, shoes, books, and puzzles for me and the kids for cheap cheap.

Not without emotional difficulty on my side, we wrapped up the morning's scavenging to take Erik to gymnastics class, and may I just say that I was beaming with pride at his performance today. He is, by leaps and bounds, the quietest, lowest energy kid in the class, and with the slowest reaction time, but I think the teacher appreciates having just one of the calm, "obedient" type. It was with some hesitation, but he participated in ALL of the activities today. I wish I could bottle up what both he and I were feeling in the moment that he'd just walked the entire balance beam (with only a little assistance). I saw all twenty teeth in the smile he flashed me, and I was so incredibly proud and thrilled to see him feel that way. For a reserved, introverted, easily-intimidated kid like Erik, these are not small accomplishments in the building of his confidence. As I cheered silently throughout class, exchanging enthusiastic thumbs-ups with him across the gym, I had an impression that "this is the best of experience." This feeling is what motherhood is about. It's what life is about. Erik and I are as opposite in disposition as humans come, and we're learning to make quite a swell team.

After class, we picked up Ellie and Charlie and found our way to Imagination Avenue, a mini play land that was basically as cool to the kids as Disneyland. It was an activity sponsored by the Thunderbird Wives and Children Club, so we all got in free (thanks, Kyle's tuition!). Plus, Ellie established a friendship with a little girl who shares her affinity for puffy skirts and ponies, so I quickly exchanged contact info with the girl's mom.

Tonight I am transforming back into a party-planning fiend, with deluxe soirees in the works in honor of Ellie's b-day, Erik's potty training graduation, and penny-pinching (for all the student wives in the area). But first, I made a [not so] quick run to CVS pharmacy to pick up just a little bit of this and a little bit of that...

...for a grand total of $3.54, including 10% sales tax. (!!!) This was admittedly my very best stash of steals to come from CVS shopping, and it felt very good. It was the cherry on top of my delightful day of deals. (Not that I eat sundaes topped with cherries anymore.)

Speaking of the health-freak diet, I want to pleasantly report that eating super healthy was very hard at first, but it has gotten easier already, and I can tell the whole family's taste buds and/or bodies (minus Kyle's) are adjusting in an encouraging way. For example, I made a very broccoli-heavy dish a couple weeks ago, about which even sweet garbage disposal Ellie gently shared, "It's not my favorite, Mom, but thanks for making it." She almost always says things like, "Mmmm, this is the most delicious dinner you have ever made!" or "This is my favorite food!" even when it's a salad. She doesn't really mean it, of course, but she likes the praise that follows her positivity, and she does finish all her dinner every night, so no complaints here. Anyway, Ellie didn't like the broccoli, even after I added cheese, and Bob even threw most of his in the trash. Tossing food is not only the first of the Goodwin family cardinal sins, but it was also pretty insulting. I froze the leftovers with little intention of serving them again, but I couldn't bear to toss them myself.

Well, tonight I thawed and served them again, with more marinara sauce, and ERIK licked his plate and asked for seconds. ERIK J. LARSEN! And then the kids raved about the nutty-seedy-power bars I made in lieu of dessert, calling them cookies of their own free will. I've been weaning us off of sweets, and though yogurt was especially difficult, there hasn't been the gnashing of teeth and throwing of tantrums I expected. The kids' requests for cheese and highly processed foods tapered out without great effort on my part. The greatest evidence has been in our smoothies, though. I've been using less and less juice and fruit, and more and more spinach and greens, and they're still getting slurped dry, so we are definitely on the path to victory.

I still plan to write my story on this sudden lifestyle shift, as I'd like to document my progress for my own sake. If there's any interest in recipe reviews, let me know and I can include those as I go along, as well.


sara said...

I'm smiling like a proud mommy over your CVS run. Seriously. I am so proud of you! Good job with the garage sales too! Keep it up!

Joe and Christie said...

Recipes--yes, please!
I feel like our meals are pretty healthy, but I'm getting bored making them. You and Kristin should author a cookbook and use the proceeds to visit meeeee! No seriously, I would love it if you both compiled your recipes and insider secrets.

I thought of you yesterday because I went to a mom and baby clothes swap and had the time of my life. The Asian instincts were shockingly strong. Joe made fun of me for reviewing my "winnings" multiple times on the way home (and then at home, if I'm being honest).

Miss you!