Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Writing, bread, and t-shirts? Yeah ... those go together.

Craptastic!  I had half of a post written and it dissappeared! *sob!*

Oh, well. I'm sure I can rewrite it.  I'm an aspiring writer after all (been wanting to participate in NaNoWriMo for YEARS but haven't had the time/dedication/talent/guts/insert-lame-arse-excuse-here. Now some of my mates are goading me to do it this year *waves at Rebecca and Barb* and I'm trying to firm my resolve.)

(which totally sounds like a naughty euphemism.)

(Heh. Heheheheh.)

So, where was I? Oh, the post.  Here we go:


"Wait, what?!" you ask, aghast, "Ms bread-is-the-toejam-of-the-devil is going to blog about bread?!"

Yup.  I am.

See, whilst *I* am Paleo and eschew all grains (except for, erm, bourbon), my family is mearly low carb. So I do buy bread, and being The Thrifty Mom, I buy in bulk when I find a good price (I also have a few resources for free bread).

Of course the really tightwad thing would be to get rid of bread entirely.  I have saved oodles of dough (heh, get it? dough? OK, ok, sorry) by simply weaning my family as much as possible off of all sugars: bread, pasta, table sugar, high fructose corn syrup, etc.  (Table sugar, carbohydrates, fructose, and high fructose corn syrup (of which 99% of commercial bread is FULL), are all the same poison. They fark with your blood sugar, make you fat, cause hideous inflammation which opens the door for diabetes, and heart disease - just to name two.)

But if you must buy bread, *big theatrical sigh* here are some tips on doing it frugally, LOL. ;)

First of all, I only buy 100% whole wheat bread. I never could abide that nasty, sticky, white crap bread, even when I was a kid. So I have no idea how well or poorly it stores, sorry.  I've only ever tried this with whole grain breads.

Second of all, of course, keep your eyes peeled for deals. Many stores will put their store brand on sale during the big eating holidays (which in America is EVERY freakin' holiday. Off work? 3 day week-end? Let's invite some friends and family over and inflame their arteries and jack their blood sugar up by serving huge troughs of Carbo Death Bombs, yeah!  But make sure that ground beef is xtra lean!  Don't wanna get fat!)

When my sources of free bread run dry, I seek out the Aldi. If you have one, they rawk for bread prices. Nothing here beats them (by over 20c per loaf). Don't bother with Sam's Club, BTW. Their bread prices (like all of their fresh food and meat) is, in my experience, MORE per lb/package than the WalMart next door.

Day old bread stores or bakery thrift stores are also pretty good but, alas, fewer than way back in the way back time. :(

Like with milk, grab loaves from the very back of the display (look for the change in twist-tie colours) as the shelves are 'fronted' by the bread blokes and the older ones brought forward.

Anyway, when you have scored your largesse of bread (I buy 6-9 loaves at a time), as soon as you get home, make sure all of the excess air is out of the bag (don't squish your bread!) and be sure the twist tie is nice and tight.  Then get out all of your old bread bags (What?  You don't save all your old bread bags and plastic containers?!  Start doing it now!  Those things come in really handy. Remember, if you go out and buy 2 gallon ZipLok bags to put your bread in, you have just defeated the Thrifty purpose.)

Anyway, take each loaf, drop it twisty side down into another bread bag, press out the air, and twist-tie it up tight - I double the excess over and twist the ends of the tie over it a second time - and stack in the freezer.

If you don't have a chest freezer, get one. Go right now to Craigslist and Freecycle and just ask nicely if anyone has one they're not using and/or scour around for great deals / freebies. Tell all your friends and family about how much you need one and ask them to let you know if they hear of anything. Stress your abject poverty. Don't be proud. Be up front that you don't have much dosh to spend.

I have a huge chest freezer, a refrigerator, a washer, and a dryer, ALL for free from different folks who were aware of my need.  Again, don't be proud. No shame in needing to save some bucks!  (The "I really need a fill-in-the-blank!  Mine has gone tits-up. If you hear of anyone ..." thing works for lawn mowers and used cars, too!)

When you need the bread, just take the whole loaf out of the freezer and toss it onto the table as-is (both bags on). In a few hours it will be thawed and ready to eat!  If you need a few slices in an emergency, just carefully unstick them from the loaf and lay them out. They'll thaw in a few minutes.

I've kept loaves for 6 weeks with no discernable changes. If you leave them too long, they get slightly hard - usually along one side - but are still fine for things like French toast, grilled cheese, egg-in-the-basket, etc, or anything requiring them toasted.  Air is the guilty party, not freezing, for this hardening, so wrap 'em up tight!

Well, I hope this helps some of you save some money!  If you have any thrifty bread tips, whether buying or storing, please share them in the comments.

PS: I am totally going to make a t-shirt that says "Bread is the toejam of the devil"!  ROTFLMAO!

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posted by MrsEvilGenius @ 11:49 am   1 comments

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Homework, artwork; when is it THEIR work?

So, Bodog and I have a slight difference of opinion when it comes to our kids' homework.

First of all, we do agree that all homework should be done at the dining room table and that we need to sit down immediately after school and do it.

Structure and routine are our watchwords, as you know, so everyone changes into play clothes and we chat about their day. I do a pot of tea and we have some noms - a small mid-afternoon meal any British will recognise as "tea" - but we go ahead and knock out all the homework while the 'school' mode is still on.

So far, so good.

The rot sets in after the homework is done, you see.

Bodog, Mr public school teacher, corrects the homework.

This drives me mad!

See, I help my children, when asked, (but never give answers), and I encourage my kids to look over their work and double check for mistakes, but I do NOT correct work.  I will go so far as to look over the work and if I see a fair number of mistakes, suggest they take another peek, but that's it.

Bodog feels that correcting work gives him a chance to teach the child the correct way of doing something.  Fair, enough; makes sense.

I feel that it's the child's teacher's job to teach him.  I want to give her the opportunity to teach my child.  In addition, I think it's wrong to send nearly perfect work back every time. This might lead the teacher to think that my child is not making mistakes and so doesn't need to be taught (fill in the blank whatever).

Does that make sense?

Also, I have a thing about my children's work being their work.  I want my kids to own their own efforts, y'know?  I gently guide and instruct all day every day.  With homework, I also help (when asked), make suggestions, point out things the may have missed, ask questions to nudge them into finding out the answers on their own - in a way, 'teaching' on the fly - but I want them to learn that their work is THEIR work and that they are wholly responsible for it, good or bad.

Take artwork.  Would you 'correct' artwork?  I'm the artistic parent but I would never alter my child's artwork or even suggest that they change it.  As a matter of fact, I recently read on someone's blog about a mom who, deciding her child had drawn something inappropriate for school, had actually changed her child's artwork herself.

I was gobsmacked.  I would never never do that!  What my kid creates is his and I have no right to touch it.  If I thought something was so offensive, I'd simply explain that to my child and give him a clean piece of paper to start over.

This brings up horrible memories of the whole "building gingerbread houses" fiasco in Boy's class where many of the mommies were actively building the gingerbread houses for their child or altering what their kid had done.

What do you think?  How do you handle your child's homework?  If you are a teacher or former teacher, do you feel differently about it?

Is artwork different from homework?  Have you ever altered your own child's artwork?  If you are an artist do you feel that it was justified because you were 'teaching' your child something?

Let me know in the comments!

PS: when you get done commenting please take our Homework Style poll over at Thrifty Mom Dot Com home!  :)

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posted by MrsEvilGenius @ 8:09 am   10 comments

Rock On, Sergeant Major Teresa King!

First female to command the US army drill sergeant school (at Fort Jackson in Columbia SC, my home town.)

You GO grrl!

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posted by MrsEvilGenius @ 5:58 am   1 comments

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Warning: construction!

I've had a revelation.

An awakening of sorts about my life and my job.  How cool is that?

So, to be brief, in the intrest of further trimming down and cutting back, I will be combining three of my blogs; this one, the dieting blog, and my farm blog.

Truth is that I just don't have time to update all of them and rather than leaving the two to languish (the farm blog hasn't been touched in ages) and fretting about it, I'm going to just post all the stuff over here.
After all, my life is interwoven with elements of the farming / gardening / repair, the dieting / health / fitness, and, of course the snarky parenting.

None of these things is my whole life (by itself) and none of these things is my job, so they don't really need separate blogs, do they?  They're all me.  All who I am.

This way I'll be able to not worry about which blog my post belongs one and just farkin' post. :)

I just ask you guys to be patient with me if I go off on a ramble about the livestock sale or an angry rant about some stupid diet article, OK?  I promise to mix it up.

Working on changing the look a bit, also, so don't be startled. *grin*  Y'all know I have to tart stuffs up.

Oh, and the posts from the other blogs will suddenly appear over here (the past posts), so don't let that throw you!

Ta for being patient!

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posted by MrsEvilGenius @ 8:36 am   0 comments

Sunday, September 13, 2009


I was just reading a news story about a woman who took home the wrong baby and got to thinking that this must be a common maternal nightmare fear.  Luckily, the error was corrected within an hour and this lady and her bub were reunited quickly.

But, fess up, y'all all had the same fear didn't you?  That you'd take the wrong baby home.

But MY concern was always that they had switched mine at birth not that the one I took home was wrong.  I mean, by day two, when the drugs wore off, I could recognise my own baby. When each of them first nursed I memorised their faces.

Is that just me?  Is it a breastfeeding thing?  Was it just because I'm an artist and am very visually oriented?  Or am I speaking from over-confidence, and in actuality, couldn't have told for sure which baby was mine?*

At any rate, I'm fascinated that this might be a nearly universal misgiving in mothers. I wish I had the time and means to do a study.

Everyone tells me that my children all look alike. I find them entirely dissimilar ... as if they had all come from different families. Heck, I don't think they even look like me and Bodog!

I'm not suggesting, of course, that my kids aren't my kids, I can just see, now, how these sorts of thoughts could creep into any person's head. Up till now I just figured it was my own paranoia, LOL!
The response must have a bioligical origin, it must be an instinct to be sure that we were nurturing our OWN genetic carriers.  Since our particular branch of the primate tree has lost the ability to identify our newborns by smell - as our dog would her puppies, or my sheep their lambs - we must do so only by sight; and a random, blonde, caucasian, newborn human, squashy and screaming, looks pretty much like another.

It's not hard to see how the mix-ups of yesteryear (when it did happen every now and then), where the wrong child was actually raised by another family, could happen.  We are at the mercy of our own instincts and visual memories and the hospital staff and proceedures!

So, come on, give over. Have you ever looked at your child and had the fleeting, serious, doubt that she was really yours?  Were you anxious in the hospital that you had the right baby?  Or were you one of those lucky ones whose mom had flaming red curly hair and whose baby daughter popped out her spitting image, hair and all?  Leave your story in the comments!

Identical enthusiasm for consuming sugary Icees!  That proves it!  ... yeah, they're Bodog's spawn.
*of course since my smallest babies weighed in at 9lbs and 9lbs 1oz  (Bitty Girl and THCTD) and my largest at 10lbs 8oz (Boy) and the other two (Bulk and Fiver) at just under 10lbs, I could always identify mine by size alone. *rolls eyes*  "No, no, he's that BIG wriggly grub at the back!  Yep, that's mine!  Pass him over here, wouldja?"

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posted by MrsEvilGenius @ 7:18 am   5 comments

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Today on the "Diet DUH" report:

"Doctor's efforts to fight childhood obesity not working."


Duh-huh, people.  No shit, Sherlock.

"FRIDAY, Sept. 4 (HealthDay News) -- Researchers are recommending that officials in the United States, United Kingdom and Australia rethink their efforts to combat obesity in children because the current strategies -- emphasizing healthy diets and exercise -- aren't working.

In a study released online Sept. 4 in BMJ, Australian researchers followed more than 250 overweight and mildly obese Australian children who visited their general practitioners between 2005 and 2006. A total of 139 were given counseling over three months about changing their eating habits and increasing exercise; the other 119 did not get such counseling.

Parents said the kids who received counseling drank fewer soft drinks, but they didn't eat more fruit or vegetables or less fat, and they didn't lose significant amounts of weight.

The researchers reported that brief, physician-led intervention produced no long-term improvement in body mass index, physical activity or nutrition habits.

The counseling isn't harmful, the study authors noted, but it doesn't seem to work and is expensive.

"Resources may be better divided between primary prevention at the community and population levels, and enhancement of clinical treatment options for children with established obesity," the researchers concluded."

Number one, O great medical / dietary community, and for the thousandth time, DIETARY FAT ISNT THE PROBLEM. So thank goodness they didn't eat less fat.

Number two, (and here's the 'duh' bit) YOU'RE TALKING TO THE WRONG PEOPLE, PEOPLE!

(Sorry to shout, but this is just so stupid.)

Let me go ahead and say this, for the record. It's the cure for childhood obesity. Srsly. What a revelation and I'm sharing it with you, the medical community!  I'll even type ... really ... slowly ... so ... you .... can ... get ...it.


Blue's Cure For The Childhood Obesity Epidemic:


Yup.  That's it. That's all.

Don't speak to the kids. What kid listens to anything a random grown up has to say anyway?  Don't expect the community to do something miraculous and cure obesity.  Certainly don't look to the government!

No. Obesity begins at home.

Starting with what Mommy stuffs in her face whilst pregnant (Krispy Kreme anyone?), to what she offers baby the day he's born (breast milk which is naturally packed with nutrients and fats [milkfat] and very low in sugars [lactose]?  Or formula which is loaded with soy, grains, and sugar [corn syrup]?

Parents decide whether they will feed their babies vegetables first or just start with the sweet fruits ("because she loves them and eats so well when we feed her peaches 3 times a day!" They decide whether to only put milk or water in the bottle or just say "Forget it!  He's crying and the juice always settles him down!"

Parents decide whether to make turkey and cheese sandwiches on whole wheat with carrot sticks or whether to just toss a Lunchable and a sports drink in their kid's book bag, or worse, just let them eat the swill that the school serves (hey high fructose corn syrup sauce katsup is a vegetable, right?)

Wake up, world. Snap out of it, medical community. Open your eyes, dieticians.

Parenting can END childhood obesity.

We just have to tell parents the truth. Let them know what sort of crap they're feeding their kids. Educate the public on the dangers of soy and seed oils and HFCS.  Help them fight the food industry and the government nutrition standards and demand good food in the stores.

What do you think?  Is that all it takes?  Just parents stepping up?  What are your suggestions for ending / fighting childhood obesity? I'd love to hear your thoughts!

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posted by MrsEvilGenius @ 8:03 am   5 comments

This week sucked, can I get a new one, plz?

Wow.  What a super bad week I had!  Bodog was ill, my kid's school enacted some super stupid policy changes, Google decided that I can no longer submit product feeds, and the folks who do some of my t-shirts shat out another nugget of idiocy to keep us both from making money. w00t!

And yesterday was the sucktacular epitome of a craptastic week!  It was!  Bodog, 1) insisted that he was fine to go to work, then, 2) insisted he was fine to go get comics (in Columbia SC), THEN, 3) had a low blood sugar episode in an entirely different city*.  So I got to have a semi-hysterical convo with EMTs on my cell whilst struggling to finish cooking my children's supper all the while wondering if I was going to have to drive us all 1/4 way accross the state in the middle of the night to retrieve him.

Next week's gonna be super much better, yeah?

Yeah.  Has to be. 

So did anything good happen, Blue?  You promised to drop the all-venting format, here, remember?

Oh, yeah.  Hrm.

Well, my tractor's still running (though my truck is not). I chugged around on it the other day (the tractor. I didn't just sit in my truck making chugging noises, lol). Terribly cathartic, that.  You just can't be in a hurry on a tractor.  You are forced to take it easy and enjoy the scenery. 

I got some hay (delivered) thanks to the fabulous new people I'm getting hay from. (I hope we're friends forever and ever *smooches*!) and, I must say, having several huge bales of hay surrounded by happy, quiet, cudding, sheep (the goats are never happy OR quiet) really really reduces my stress levels.

I got a cool design done yesterday and got an idea for another one. I'll share both when I get 'em up.

OK, that's three, is that cool? :)  Now here's the v. best things from this past week:

Yup, my two baby boys, Bulk and Fiver! Bulk (left) didn't get in to 4K so I have these two wicked wee villains-in-training all day with me. Here they are in their steampunk goggles ready for Evil Genius training:

Cool!  I'll confess to being sort of glad that my Bulk didn't get into school. I'm dreading the day that Fiver goes in. I don't know what I'll do with m'self.

Right. That's it for today. Hopefully your week went better than mine and ALL our coming weeks will be fabulous!

*When bodog's blood sugar drops it impedes his brain function, including memory. If he's alone and driving he'll often forget where he is and where he's going and simply drive until he feels so bad he has to pull over.  Last night he ended up in a whole 'nother city.

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posted by MrsEvilGenius @ 6:15 am   2 comments

Friday, September 04, 2009

Wherin Blue makes up her mind

Ok, so I'm having a bad day / week / life.

I'm still reeling from the recent changes to my income stream (that'd be changes of the much, much LESS income variety), which launched me into a desparate scramble all summer to try to re-group.

Well Summer is a time of rest and relaxation and free time, right? Erm, I guess for other people it is.

Anyway, to cut out the whinging, the short story is that I was just as busy all summer; raising 5 kids; washing clothes, dishes, faces; wrangling with farm problems; enacting whatever repairs I could around house (can you say TWO toilet problems?); dealing with broken appliances (oven), broken equipment (tractor, lawn mower, weed eater, chain saw ... shall I go on?), and broken house (roof) and scrounging for the money to pay for it all.

Then came mid August and the school paper work, school meetings/orientations, school FEES, school supplies ($$$)...

Blah, blah, blah, yadda, yadda.

So I've spent the last several months in a guy-wire taut state of (dis?)stress, incredibly busy, and all the while trying to play catch-up with, and apply bandaids to, my business. It seemed like that every time I got started on a solution, another change or obstacle would come up and I'd get farther behind.

What I desparately need is time. A time machine would be lovely, really. Doesn't even have to look like a Tardis or anything - although that'd be awesome.

But nobody has a time machine and I realised that I needed to shake it off, buck up, and get working.

To that end, I decided to cull some of my blogs, combining ones that could be, dropping others. If I've very little time to blog then fewer blogs means more chances of more of them actually getting a post. And we all know that search engines love fresh content.

Then I got to thinking about my blogs and blogging and how many of them (this one in particular) had degenerated into occasional forums for my venting. Whilst I always reserve the right to vent on my blogs, that's pretty effing boring to read all the time. I mean, really.  I'm looking a right bitch and I'm really NOT. srsly.

My blogs used to be about me, my family, my life, all augmented by my thrifty thoughts and parenting opinions (in the case of this one) or healthy lifestyle and fitness tips (my diet blog) etc, etc. What happened to that?

I think I know.

The problem is the new idea that everyone has to get rich overnight with social media. Seems like every mommmy blogger, every fitness blogger, every whatever-your-niche blogger is out to write as much STUFF, and sell as much STUFF, and get as many comments, and as much traffic as possible. Then they all get on Twitter and retweet their blog URL obnoxiously a half a dozen times and greedily look for more followers.

Everybody is obsessed with making money. Everybody does interviews and goes to conventions and makes You Tube vids and podcasts and writes mediocre books ... and nobody is actually talking to each other.

Now, don't get me wrong. I am intensely interested in making money as well. My kids eat a LOT of expensive whole foods. My drafty old house runs power/gas bills into the $300-$400 range. Heck, I desparately need a blow torch - an Evil Genius without a blowtorch? Pathetic!  And I AM in business for myself. On teh internetz.

But that's not why I started blogging. And that's not how I enjoy blogging. And that's not how I want to be known, damnit.

I've no problem with dropping the ocasional link in if it has to do with what I'm blogging about, or even if I'm particularly proud of a new design. But my blogs will always be primarily for me to chat, cry, vent, or try to make you laugh. Even my one blog that will be devoted to my business, my art, and my t-shirts will be full of ME and my foibles.  I'll resume posting pics of my kids and stories about me and my life and my tinfoil hat opinions.

I'm gonna post pics of partially nekkid blokes, lolcats (they'll be naked too); and sometimes write about things that might be controversial. I'll also keep throwing out the random link or t-shirt (or etsy stuffs if I can ever get started!)  But most of all I want to talk to YOU.  I wanna hear about what you think about what I think. I want you to agree or disagree, and say so. I might learn something.

If you wanny buy a funny t-shirt from me, thank you in advance; if you just want to read some crazy stressed-out chick's weird opinions and weirder life, then that's fine, too.


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posted by MrsEvilGenius @ 1:05 pm   5 comments