Saturday, April 28, 2012

Frugal Living - Aldi Stores

Today I made the fruit salad pictured above for $6.85 for the entire bowl.

There is a grocery store chain that I tend to forget about because they are not in terribly convenient proximity to where I shop, but I hear people talk about the great prices, especially on produce.

I went to Michaels, and in the same shopping center is an Aldi store.  They are great grocery stores.  There are a few little "quirks," but they easily offset by the savings.

First let me start with the ingredients and the costs, so you can get a feel for the price savings.

1 pineapple. $.99
7 Kiwi  $.69 total (not each)
1 qt strawberries $.99
1 cantaloupe $2.29
6 oz blackberries $1.89

Grand total $6.85

So, what's different about Aldi, and how can they sell so inexpensively?

First, they don't sell name brands.  They have their own brands.

There is no fancy shelving.

You bring your own bags and bag your own groceries.

If you want a cart, you will need to put a quarter in to get your cart.  Your quarter is returned when you return your cart.

They don't take checks or credit cards.  Cash or debit card only.

They do not take coupons, but that doesn't matter because there isn't merchandise there that you could use coupons on since they don't stock name brands.  If you are a specific brand shopper, you will not be happy with Aldi.

The stores tend to be a little smaller, so if you are looking for "gourmet" ingredients, it's likely you won't find them.  You may not even find every item on your grocery list, but the cost savings will be worth it.

The quality of the food is just as good as any name brand, and my budget likes them much better.

You can eat healthy and eat on a budget.  Check out Aldi and find out.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Seeing it done right

As I deal with my son starting down a criminal path, I can't help but look at the sweet face in this picture.

This is a little girl that I watch 2 days a week.  She brings such joy to my week and lifts my spirits whenever I see her.

My son had a crappy start to his life.  His abuse started before he was born.  His birth mother drank and used drugs during the pregnancy.  She denies it to me, but I have court reports where she admits it.  All of the boys (5 total) show physical characteristics of fetal alcohol issues.

Add in continued physical abuse after his birth, watching domestic violence as he grew up and various other things, and his path did not start out well.

Contrast that to this beautiful little girl.  She is sweet as can be.

Her parents love her completely, prepare her baby food from scratch (organic foods no less), keep a clean home, hug and kiss her often, get down on the floor and play with her and everything that good parents do.  I wonder what my son's life would be like if his birth mother had loved him enough to do these things with him.

I normally watch this little girl at her home. It is better for her to be on her regular schedule, in her own environment, surrounded by familiar things.  Today we had to leave because my daughter had a presentation at school and I wanted to see it.  Baby girl saw my husband today.  She's only seen him once or twice before this.

When you parent the kids we do, you look at interactions very differently.  She did not reach out for him or eagerly engage with him, but she didn't shy away either.  She waited for my cues as to whether he was safe or not.  When she got her verbal, and non verbal cues, she began to interact.

She is a sweet little girl, ahead of schedule developmentally, and when she cries, it's because she has a need.  She is just a joy.  When her mom leaves for her classes, she doesn't cry, because she knows she is safe with me and that I will take care of her.  However, when her mom comes home at the end of the day, it's a different story.  She lights up with a big smile when she sees her.  If mom leaves the room, Baby Girl starts to cry.  Even though she can see mom or hear her, she still is ready to be back in the arms of mom.

As much as I hate to hear this little one cry (it breaks my heart) knowing that she is so securely attached to her mom makes my heart sing.  This is one little girl who will be loved completely, given every chance in life and barring any major medical issues, will have uninterrupted attachment.  That may sound like no big deal, but in my world, it is huge!!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Being right sucks sometimes

The past few weeks have been very hectic and I've been processing a lot of things that have happened.  Fortunately for me, I have some very good friends who help me through things.

My son is currently sitting in jail.  Less than a week ago I received a phone call asking for bail money.  I've made it clear that I don't pay bail money, but he asked anyway.  I didn't pay.  Fortunately, neither did my father.

Things currently stand at 5 felony burglary charges, 3 misdemeanor joy riding charges and 1 felony bail jumping charge.  All since March 2, 2012.

Sadly, THIS is not surprising.  The rapid succession of charges is somewhat surprising.

What I have been processing is the level of my son's sociopathy.  I had a conversation with his birth mother the other night, the first ever.  Her telling of the events of the last six weeks when he re-entered her level showed me exactly how damaged he is.  Apparently he thinks nothing of trashing me to his birth mother.

However, he does the same to his birth mother with me.  During the conversation where he was asking for bail money, he told me that his birth mother had set him up.  She did turn him in for the theft.  Just a few minutes prior to calling me he told her how much he loved her, asked her for a hug and kiss and completely tried to manipulate her.  When he called me the switch had flipped.  I was the wonderful one and she was the horrible one.  I got a sob story about how he had a job, an apartment and needed to get out so he could continue to work.  It was a lie.

The longer we talked it became obvious how much he has played everyone in his life.  Deep down, there is no true and honest person inside.  He has no values or beliefs that are honest.  Everything is manipulation.

Tomorrow he will face the initial court hearing in one county, Tuesday he has a plea hearing in another county.  The end of May he has trial for the first charge, unless he decides to take a plea on Tuesday.

A few months ago I predicted he would be in jail and/or prison before his 19th birthday.  Another thing I was right on, and I'm rather sick of being right on these things.  All of it is out of my control though.

All of these charges are state level, which means prison, not county jail.  This is a new phase of parenting.  One I thought I was prepared for, but sadly, I am not.