One Ton of Mayo

According to a friend, we’ve made what constitutes “a typical Costco miscalculation”. The exact size of the miscalculation: 1.8 L. Of Hellmann’s mayonnaise.

This means:

100 toasted tomato sandwiches, or . . .

7.5 chocolate cakes, or . . .

30 hair treatments, or . . .

15 each tuna, salmon and egg salads, or . . .

. . .  what else?

I’ll admit it: I have been making a lot of “Emergency Chocolate Cake” (my own cupcake version with chocolate chips), but this stuff expires in April of this year, and I don’t know if I can make enough cakes by then!

So, the question: what would you do with one ton of mayo? Or 1.8 L of the stuff, to be exact. Any ideas I’m missing for fabulous uses for mayo?

I’m back!

So sorry about the long absence, my loyal readers, but there have been some things keeping me busy these last few weeks. Number one is the arrival of number two: our adorable new baby, Nicholas. He was born at home after just over 2 1/2 hours of intense labour on Oct 3, the night of the full moon. We had some marvellous grandma care for more than a week afterwards, and are just now on our own–the four of us–to figure out how life has changed with Nicky’s arrival.

Before the birth, I had a terrible cold that laid me up for over 2 1/2 weeks, and which included a sinus infection and a pulled chest muscle–from coughing! How wimpy is that?! But the baby kindly waited until all was healed to make his arrival, thank goodness.

In other words, I haven’t had much time or energy for blogging these last few weeks. But now that things are more or less settled, I’ve been feeling the urge to fill you in about how our frugality collapsed over these last few crazy weeks.

First of all, when I got sick I basically stopped planning meals, which meant every day at around 4 pm we’d ask, “What’s for dinner?” and frantically rush out to Hartmann’s to buy ingredients, or, grab the phone and order a pizza. We had some wonderful help though–my sister-in-law made us a scrumptious dinner of risotto one night and brought it over, and my mom made quite a number of dinners (she came a few days before my due date, and stayed on for nearly a week after Nicky was born–six days late!), including a fantastic huge stew and a delicious mac & cheese, each of which lasted us more than 2 dinners.

I’ve cooked dinner the last two nights though, which has made me feel so good–like I’m really back on track and fully recovered (despite still wearing clothes that are as close to pajamas as clothes can get, and not venturing more than a few blocks from my house). I’m thinking I’ll do a meal plan for the rest of this week and see how that works out.

Another failing point was my cloth tissues and cloth wipes: during my cold, and especially during my sinus infection, I blew my way through about 7 boxes of tissues that I had previously picked up at Costco. The cloth supply just couldn’t keep up with my tap of a nose, but I still stand by them for day-to-day use.

Also, I haven’t been making bread. The bread from the grocery store is great-tasting, but so expensive!! And despite the cost, we still go through a lot of bread. Now that I’m back, I plan to put on a batch today.

So, within these failings, is there anything that we’ve kept true to? Surely there are some wins among the fails?

Well, although we did buy one box of disposable diapers for the little one, we are now starting to use the cloth diapers I bought (for a fantastic deal!) from a friend. There are several kinds we hadn’t tried before, and we’re just getting our groove with them (babies go through SO MANY DIAPERS!!!), but I feel good that we’re starting off right. With our daughter it took us 11 months before trying cloth.

And overall, we really haven’t bought very much stuff for this baby. In fact, we got rid of a few items that weren’t really necessary. Once our little girl started climbing up the changing table, we got rid of it and started to change her on her bed or on the floor. That has not changed with Nicky, and it’s just one less piece of furniture to worry about.

We also sent our crib to my sister, who is expecting in February. We didn’t use it much with our first, and with a bassinet borrowed from my co-worker, we haven’t missed it with this little guy.

We did, however, buy a single mattress, which will go into the new bed that my family so kindly bought for our girl. We haven’t set up the bed yet, but the mattress is now on the floor of our bedroom, where my husband has been sleeping while I am up on the big bed with the 2 kids. For now, whatever allows the most of us to get the most sleep, is the winning situation! Eventually we’ll hope our little girl will spend more time in her own new bed, but we don’t want to impose too many changes on her all at once during this already-crazy time.

And another win was that we scored a bunch of furniture from our basement “free-cycle” in our apartment building: a virtually new Poang chair and ottoman, and an Aneboda chest of drawers which is now housing all of the new tiny diapers and receiving blankets.

Also in that find were some useful and pretty wooden boxes and a huge butcher-block cutting board that fits right on top of the freezer (both also Ikea). Thanks neighbour!

So that’s it! My frugality update for the  last month or so. I’ll try to post as often as I can, even

The cost of being disorganized

I have a big confession: I’m not a very organized person.  Actually, this one comes as no surprise to anyone who knows me.  My house is messy, and in places (beside the stove, under the couch, under our bed) actually dirty.  We have too much junk in our storage locker downstairs, and too much junk on the shelves and in the closets upstairs.  

There are many downsides to this, which I will get to in a moment, but one of the up-sides is that I feel and appreciate every little improvement I make.  Every step I take towards a cleaner, tidier, more organized house, makes me feel very good about myself and my house.

For example, I recently cleaned one shelf in our closet.  It’s the shelf with our towels on it, and if you’ve visited my house I’ve probably shown it to you.  It makes me feel good every time I look at it.  My hope is that this enjoyment will motivate me to tidy up other areas of the house.  

Because, as you can see from the title of this post, disorganization is costing me!  Here’s a list of just a few of the costs of disorganization.  It is also a good recipe for Tear-Water Tea.

Time

– I spend too much time looking for things.

– While I might save small amounts of time not cleaning places like under the couch, whenever I do get around to the job, it will take a long, long time, and possibly some specialty tools to do it properly.

– I have to spend time shopping for things that have gotten lost or broken or ruined.

Money

– Sometimes I have to buy replacements for things I’ve lost or broken.

– Late fees for library books.  More than a couple of times, I have lost a library book for several weeks, resulting in huge fines.  Once, I lost two books, seemingly forever, and ended up paying the replacement fee.  I found them later stuck with baby spit-up to the bottom of the car seat.  Yuck.

– Replacement gifts for things that have gotten ruined while waiting to be given.  This one hurts a lot.  I bought a book that I left on the table, and coffee got spilled on it.

– Late bills that I thought we paid, but actually just put on my desk beside the computer with the intention of paying them.  This costs in a few ways: late penalties, reduced credit scores, and having to pay a big honkin’ bill a couple months later instead of more manageable amounts more frequently.

– As Frugal Dad mentions, the space that is currently cluttered and filled with unused space, as well as some of that clutter, could be making us money, or at least, could be giving us enjoyment instead of stress.  The closet filled with out-grown baby toys and clothes could be housing my non-maternity clothes which would make my own closet a lot roomier and more pleasant to go into.

Peace of Mind

– It stresses me out thinking about all of the nooks & crannies & piles & boxes that will some day need to be cleaned and tidied.  My purposeful enjoyment of the spaces I HAVE cleaned is supposed to replace that stress, but I still feel it.

– I hate thinking about all the stuff we own, that’s just sitting there, filling up space.  I hate thinking about how we’re going to get rid of it all.  Re-purpose it, give it away, sell it, garbage it?  There are downsides/complications to each that are hard to face when you’re facing a mountain of stuff.

So there you have it.  A pot of Tear-Water Tea, and a bunch of reasons not to be like me!  I hope this post motivates me (and maybe you too) to get in there and clean something today, even if it’s just one shelf of a closet.  It will reduce the time-, money- and peace-of-mind-stress that is lurking in the clutter.