As our blog has evolved from crafts, to food politics, to recipes, to weekend activities, the underlying theme remains, “How to have fun (and learn and grow) on a budget”. A theme prompted both by the necessity of our economic situations, as well as a desire to consume less, and to find alternative ways to entertain ourselves (and learn and grow), while also being creative (and apparently writing run-on sentences!).
So, you ask, “How DO you keep yourselves entertained, growing and laughing on a near-zero budget?” Well, my friends, let me give you some examples.
Anyone who knows me, knows I’m obsessed with Frida Kahlo. So, despite my Gringa appearance, I took advantage of Noel’s Mexican heritage to transform us into Frida and Diego for Halloween last year. Ironically, all she had to do was put on some clothes from her own closet, and a sun hat from mine (ah, my adorable Diego)…And sad to say, my entire costume was also in my closet….except for the fabulous red skirt purchased at the “Bargain Boutique”, a thrift store where I used to buy my doll clothes when I was 11, with babysitting money!
Noel tends to be the idea person, like, “Let’s make aviator hats out of Goodwill clothing!”, while I am good at executing and directing our projects, “Honey, you cut, I’ll stitch”. And in the case of this blog, she set it up and I seem to be the sole authoress, which makes her vulnerable to my posting unflattering pictures of her, but I digress.
Simply put, we’re a great team.
So what have I learned from our year of adventures thus far?
Did you know that the library has lots of fine DVDs, including documentaries, foreign films, and major releases? I mean, whoever tires of seeing Barton Fink or Pulp Fiction? Music of all genres can also be found at the library. Oh, and books, yes books…I’ve made it my mission to reduce the number of book boxes I’ll need to pack for the next move. Having learned to delay gratification just a bit, I now borrow nearly all the books I read from the library (Noel taught me how to navigate the on-line library system, and most books can be ordered and/or placed on hold, if I’m just willing to wait a bit). The Seattle library system often has great speakers. Again, all this for free (or at least prepaid by our tax dollars at work)!
Forget the gym membership. Just learn how to cook. Listen, Mexican dishes are hard to make from scratch (our grammas didn’t need to go to the gym…they hand-kneaded their own masa, after grinding the corn into meal), but it’s well worth the time and effort. And if you think of it as a fun project, in and of itself, then you’ll enjoy more than just the end product!
I’ve become a blog junkie, be it raw foods, vegetarian sites, spirituality, art, social activism. All free, 24/7, educational, and entertaining. I even found a really great “silly art” on-line class that I’m currently taking…$25 for four weeks, and 30 innovative assignments…I’m having a ball! (See side bar for some of my latest assignments).
Eating simple is not necessarily less expensive, although it’s a lot of fun, you’ll feel great, and it’s a creative endeavor, in the face of all the processed food that’s out there. Eating raw is expensive, believe it or not, and really time-consuming, if you want to eat anything other than salads and fruits. I for one, did not lose any weight on the 90% raw diet, which may be attributable to the pounds of nuts, seeds, raw oils, raw butters, and avocados which I decided had to be a mainstay of my diet. Oh, and raw cheese. Delish! All that said, eating raw moved me more in the direction of vegan eating (no meat, next to no dairy), and I feel good about that. AND I still incorporate as much raw food into my diet as possible (around 50%) to help those digestive enzymes, to keep my digestion in good working order, and to obtain unparalleled nutrition not found in cooked and processed foods.
The Olympic Game Farm (safari) was worth every dollar of the $20 we spent on admission. Both terrifying and hilarious at the same time, but cheaper than parachuting or sky-diving.
Yes, we really do use the silly cloth sandwich bags that we made out of fabric remnants in the back of my closet.
Baking homemade pies with blackberries hand-picked on the hiking trail is both extremely rewarding and delicious! The trick? Lots of sugar and lemon zest!
Enter local contests! It’s free and very fun!
Vancouver, B.C. is an even better city to visit when you have a free hotel voucher.
Swimming at Lake Washington is free, and exhilarating, on the 3 days a year that it’s possible, with inclement Seattle weather. Fortunately, on the one year anniversary of the day Noel and I met at Lake Washington, we had the annual heat wave, and so spent it at Madison Park, basking in the sun and bobbing on our floaties, reminiscing about the last year’s adventures.