On days like this, when the sky is so heavy with clouds that we never glimpse the sun, and the wind is cold and damp, and it seems like winter will never end . . . I think of Eminem. I guess I don't mean the rapper himself so much as the character he played … Continue reading The City of Slim Shadies
The silver lining of being mildly disabled for months after a car accident is that I've had lots of time for reading! I'm grateful that I had the type of concussion that makes computer work difficult but isn't hampered by reading on paper. Here are some of the books I've read. I'm giving away my … Continue reading Book Reviews and Giveaway!
Welcome to the March 2015 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Day in the Life This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have given us a special glimpse into their everyday. *** There are three main things I do … Continue reading A Day as Mama and Data Manager
This is a guest post by Nicholas Efran, nine-year-old son of 'Becca and Daniel. He wrote this article for the June 2014 issue of the Colfax Communicator, his school's newsletter. (Mr. Sikorski is the principal.) We hope it inspires other kids to start recycling things that are getting thrown away in their schools! Three third-graders … Continue reading Recycling Used-Up Pens and Markers
We aren't sports fans in our family. Exercise is good, but we're not much interested in playing sports and even less interested in watching sports. But we live in Pittsburgh, a city with three professional sports teams that are a major focus of the local culture. We can't help noticing when one of the teams … Continue reading Saving Money on Sports Fan Gear
The United States Postal Service has had a rough time in recent years. "Snail mail" just seems so slow, now that we can do a lot of things online. FedEx and UPS have made their services more convenient to use, so a lot of people no longer choose the post office as their method of … Continue reading A Positive Experience at the Post Office
Here's what we did when we saw a bunch of ripe apples dropping into a neglected parking lot near our home.
Many of the foods my family eats most are purchased from the bulk section of the East End Food Co-op, our local health-food supermarket in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. You do not have to buy a membership to shop at this co-op, but members get a discount in exchange for a one-time payment, which is a pretty … Continue reading Buying Bulk Food in Reused Containers
I've had some shoe trouble in the past couple of years, since Keen stopped making that style I raved about. All I want is a pair of black leather shoes that are comfortable for walking, don't smash my high arches, look good with skirts or jeans, and don't have Velcro. (I hate that ripping sound … Continue reading Great Shoes at a Fraction of the Price!
My grocery-shopping strategy attempts to maximize the quality of food we get for our money, and one key tactic is shopping at multiple stores. Since I have limited time and don't like to waste gasoline, I want to make sure that in each shopping trip I get all the things we need that are best-priced … Continue reading Multiple Shopping Lists: Key to Grocery-Shopping Sanity!
Our seven-year-old Nicholas recently had a party. He also has attended several kids' parties this year and has come home from every one of them with a bag or bucket of items that he considers treasures and his parents consider crap--you know, cheap plastic toys made in China and low-quality, over-packaged candy and gum. We … Continue reading A Different Party Favor–thrifty and earth-friendly!
Warm weather is here, and I'm looking forward to summer! We won't be taking any big vacations; most weekdays, I'll be going to work in my office as usual, and our seven-year-old Nicholas will be attending art and natural history day camps at the Carnegie Museum while his dad works from home. I take a … Continue reading Public Transit and Summer Fun (Plus tips on vacationing in Pittsburgh!)
[UPDATE: Port Authority Transit now offers annual, monthly, and weekly passes or cash debit on the ConnectCard, which you can refill online. It's even more convenient than the paper passes were! Also, we no longer have zones; all trips are the same price.] In my purse is a 2"x3" piece of paper that is worth … Continue reading The Beauty of a Bus Pass
No, no, I don't mean those tawdry movies--I mean the musical theater productions put on by many real-life high schools every spring. My family sees at least one every year, and we always have a great time, for just $3 to $10 per person with all the profits going to a good cause. The amazing … Continue reading It’s high school musical season!
Today is the entertaining tips edition of Works-for-Me Wednesday, but I don't feel very well equipped to give advice on entertaining since we don't have guests nearly as often as I'd like; I'm one of the people who needs to read the host's article "Entertaining Even When You're Reluctant" and possibly the book she mentioned, … Continue reading This Crowded World
1. Pittsburgh has the topography of my dreams. By this I don't mean, "I always wanted to live in a place with steep hills and confusing street layout!" (I do enjoy it, but that was a gradual discovery after I moved here, not a reason to move here) but I mean that Pittsburgh when I'm … Continue reading 7 Quick Takes on 1 Dream
UPDATE: It's 2015, and we're beginning our fifteenth summer with the Kretschmann Farm! We got a crate full of spinach, three kinds of lettuce, radishes, rhubarb, parsley, and multi-grain bread on Wednesday, and we're bringing a big salad with Spicy Peanut Dressing to a cookout tonight! I cleaned up and updated this post for Real … Continue reading Why We Love Community-Supported Agriculture
On the first and third Tuesdays of the month, our church offers a short service followed by potluck dinner. Attendance usually is small, between 5 and 20 people. In order to get there on time, I have to rush from work to pick up my five-year-old son Nicholas from his preschool and trust that the … Continue reading Tuesday Potlucks
UPDATE: Eight years later, I'm linking this Lenten inspiration to Hearth & Soul . . . and I'm thinking about how I can reduce the plastic coming into and being discarded from our home this Lent! I'm also going to make more of an effort to read the Bible to my three-year-old daughter, who has … Continue reading Local Lent diary
We live three blocks away from an Orthodox Jewish synagogue and within a mile of several others, so there are several Orthodox families on our street. Some are more friendly than others and occasionally chat with us about children, pets, or gardening, but in general they socialize with each other and don't mix much with those … Continue reading I got to be a Shabbos Goy!