Archive | March 2012

Buy Used Whenever You Can

A few years ago we got a free go-cart because our neighbors were moving and didn’t want to take it with them.  The go-cart had no engine, but my husband bought an engine and put it on the go-cart.  The kids had fun with it for a short while, but the chain kept coming off.  We replaced and repaired the chain, but the go-cart had a rigid suspension and on bumpy land, it would throw the chain off.  After many, many times of putting the chain back on, it really wasn’t fun any more.  Each ride ended too soon with the chain off.  The enjoyment was short-lived.

Since the go-cart wasn’t much fun and I needed an engine for our roto tiller, I won out and we put it on the roto tiller.  It works well and the kids have been mad ever since.  They are always complaining about it to this day!

Fast forward to today.   We had a neighbor who put his go-cart up for sale.  $300 for his used go-cart.  My kids were super excited.  Since we had that free go-cart a couple of years ago, we knew what we were looking for with the suspension, the engine to start easily, and that the oil looked good.

We also found out why he was getting rid of it and the reasons were that he was getting too big (he’s 17) and that their grass is on the wet side and it tears up the grass.  We have plenty of acreage, so our kids don’t need to ride in the mowed part of the yard.  Also, since he had a helmet that he used when riding, he threw it in with the deal.

We bought it used and saved $1200 over the price of a new go-cart that the kids were always talking about buying.  We considered buying a new one  a couple of times, but couldn’t part with the money.

Buying used can save a bundle.  We would normally negotiate to get a lower price, but he was a nice young man, and he threw in the helmet, and he had a fair price on the go-cart, that we didn’t push the price.  The kids don’t care whether it is new or used, they are just glad to get to ride it!

This is linked to Frugal Tuesday Tip.

History Fair

Chernobyl and a 3rd place finish!!!

My sons M and R did history fair this year.  M did the Alaskan Gold Rush.  R did Chernobyl.  They both did a great job.  M didn’t place in his 8th grade class and he was super bummed about it.  R placed third in his 7th grade class.  Of course he was super excited.  It was nice to see what a good job they can do if they just put forth a good effort.  Here are a couple of pictures.  Great job, boys!

The Alaskan Gold Rush

Field Trip

My youngest, A, had a field trip today.  They went to Run, Jump, and Play.  It was awesome.  She had a great time.  We never did anything like this on our field trips.  Granted she is only in Pre-K so there isn’t much out there that the parents and kids can do together ( a parent must be there watching their child).  This was super fun.  Here are a few pictures.We had a fabulous time!  It was well worth the $8.50 cost.  Here we are in action.  Sorry it is blurry, but those slides are fast!!!

Use Kill A Watt To Measure Your Energy Costs

We have a kill a watt watt meter that we use to measure our electricity usage.  We have an older model that requires you to do some calculating.  The newer one that I linked to does all of the calculations for you.  All you have to do is enter your cost per kilowatt hour.

I was not surprised that our refigerator, our 50″ plasma screen television, and my husband’s 7 computers that he keeps  on at all times (he’s a software engineer) were using a lot of energy.

The kill a watt can also be used to check on the energy usage of regular light bulbs versus the use of compact flourscent bulbs.

Also, remember that most modern electronics use electricity even when they are off.  The kill a watt can measure the “usage” of your devices even when they are NOT being used.  This may justify the use of a switched power strip to cut the electricity entirely.

Another possible use would be for someone interested in purchasing a solar system or generator.  You could use the kill a watt to add up all of your important devices and design or purchase a system to meet your needs.

Please note that the kill a watt will NOT measure 220 volts.  It won’t measure the water heater, the dryer, or central air conditioning.  To measure these you will need a clamp-meter.  I will consider a post on a clamp meter if you are interested.  If you are, please leave a comment!

This is linked to Frugal Friday.

I Quit My Trainer

I started working out when my youngest child turned three.  I was 42 years old, in bad shape, not sleeping well, and in bad spirits because of these factors.

A guy from school is a trainer.  He loves all things athletic, especially biking.  He invitied me to come on a run.  I did.  I made it about 50 ft. before I thought I would die.  In order to impress him, I kept going.  We did 4:1, which is when you run 4 min., then walk 1 min. repeat over and over until you cover your desired mileage.  That first day we did about 2 miles.  It was the longest 2 miles of my life.  No Joke!  I was proud of myself for keeping going as best as I could.  I kept at it and eventually I was doing regular workouts.

I kept training.  A few moms joined us on our journey.  We would do a longer run on the weekend and workout on our own during the week.  Then some moms would hook up for an occasional  workout during the week.  We now have about 12 in our group.  We can usually hook up for a workout with someone who wants to work out at the same time and do the same activity.

Our trainer gives us the workouts for us to do.  We were doing them religiously in the beginning, then slowly over time we did some of his workouts, some of our own etc. based on how tired we were, what our next race was etc.  We also met with them once a week for speed workouts.  The problem is that I don’t really care about speed.  I am happy to be working out regularly.  I know I am slow and I am ok with that.  We were meeting really early in the morning once a week.  I couldn’t sleep the night before because I was afraid I would over sleep.  I was dragging all day and couldn’t wait to get to bed.  It took a couple of days to recover.  After 2 years of this, I realized that I can do the job myself.

I am working out regularly.  I am able to work out when my kids are in school.  I have no real reason to get up that early.  It was giving me more stress than I needed.  It was hard to come to this decision, but I think at some time, I have to be responsible for my own journey.  My time is now.

The ball is in my court.  I will  have to be responsible for my fitness.  I think I can do this and I will!!

Do you have a trainier?  Do you think a trainer is necessary?  I would love to hear about what you do to stay in shape!

Pinewood Derby 2012

We had the Pinewood Derby this weekend.  My 1st year Webelo, T and my Tiger cub S, were in it.  It is usually a good time, but our cars are never very fast.  We try to let our boys do as much of the work as possible.  My husband cuts out the cars, but he lets them sand and paint with spray paint.  They enjoy doing this, but they aren’t very detail oriented.  They are happy to draw out the design, sand for a couple of minutes and use the can of spray paint.  That’s about it!

Each year there are a couple of cars that seem to be awfully good for being done by a child.  This year, 10 out of about 30 were obviously not done by a child.  It is unfortunate.  My kids don’t even want to do it next year because they just can’t compete wth these awesome cars.

My husband said it was a competition of the fathers, not the kids.  The rules weren”t enforced.  They are supposed to use the parts in the box and there were obviously rules broken.  The only rule that they enforced was the weight.

It is a shame.  It could be a lot of fun.  It seems the more our Pack becomes established, the less fun parts of it become.  Maybe it is because I am getting older, maybe it is because it is our 4th and 5th boy doing it.  I don’t know, maybe I am just getting tired.

Consider Insurance On Glasses

We have a son, T, who is 10. He has worn glasses since he was 19 months old.  His eyes were fine up to 17 months old and then one day his eyes weren’t following at the same speed.  Within a week, his eye was turned in to the corner and didn’t come out until we got his glasses.   We got the referral from the Pediatrician right away, but we had to wait to get in to the Opthamologist.  This was the hardest 2 months ever.  Once we got the glasses, I thought all of our problems would be over.  WRONG.  First, he wouldn’t leave them on…because he wasn’t even two…then he finally realized that he could see with them which was good.  But then we would find him without the glasses and have no idea where the glasses were.  He usually wasn’t any help in finding them.  We had enough sense to buy the insurance which covered breakage, but not loss.  We LOST several pair because he took them off and set them down somewhere and couldn’t remember where.  He lost a pair out in our woods.  He even ate the nose pieces off of the glasses for a while.  After the losing them phase, we have had the ” rough, tough, boy” stage where he is super rough with them.  He has broken several pair.  The latest break was 2 weeks ago.  The insurance covered the break, and all we had to pay was $20 for the front section of the glasses.  Otherwise since the glasses were over a year old, we would have had to buy a whole new set of frames.

We never buy the extra insurance on TV’s, electronics, etc.  But having a boy who wears glasses full time (only takes them off to sleep) has made me glad to have the insurance.

I’m sure every situation is different, but it has been a blessing for us!

This post is linked to Frugal Tuesday Tip.