My youngest brother went off to college out of state this fall, but he’s in town for the Thanksgiving holiday. He and our son are close buddies and they were so, so happy to see each other this past week. My brother and I are twelve years apart, and the two of them are fifteen years apart, so the age gap isn’t all that different from what I grew up experiencing with him. We have a really good relationship (we’ve vacationed together and run races together in the past) and my hope is for the two of them to have a similarly good relationship. So far, I’d say that is the case.
My brother was hanging around the house most of Wednesday while the kiddo was with my mother for the day as usual, and the two of them were more or less inseparable for most of the day. They’ve really missed each other in the intervening months, and the kiddo’s one question about where we were eating Thanksgiving dinner was to make sure that his uncle was going to be there. The holidays with our family makes my heart so happy, and I’m so glad the relationships are all generally good ones.
Friday’s Frugal Five
1. Not exactly Thanksgiving related, but season and someone holiday related, I picked up a bunch of new clothes and shoes from Goodwill for the kiddo. He’s starting to outgrow much of his clothing, especially his pajamas, long sleeve shirts, and socks (those brand new though), and I was able to find quite a few new good options, including a penguin sweatshirt and Paw Patrol and Star Wars pajamas.
While we were there, I also found two pairs of snow suits to go along with the snow shoes and snow boots we got him last week – the regular overalls type for $3 (half off sticker!) and $12 for the kind that has a full jacket attached to the snow pants. Of course, they look practically brand new because things like snow suits, especially in the Pacific Northwest where it only snows nominally a couple of times a year, get only a handful of wears before the kid outgrows the suit and it gets sent along to Goodwill. Hence why I will continue I buy our son’s clothing secondhand; much cheaper, almost brand new, and much better environmentally than actually buying new.
To round out the haul, I picked up a big wheel trike for my parents’ house for him for $7.99, two pairs of tennis shoes, a jacket, a few “fancier” shirts and a pair of pants for the holidays, and a stack of tiny sized books for our trip to Hawaii later this winter. All told, we spent $102, which could have likely just covered the two snow suits had we bought them brand new.
2. Each November, a church down the street from us has an event where a local 4-H club puts on an evening all about trains. We’ve never been available to check it out in previous years, but we finally got a chance to go this year and it was totally worth it. The church clears out all of the pews to make space for all of these different model train set ups as well as a bunch of different building toys and then just let all the kids come in to play.
A free event, walking distance from our house, and all about trains? Now that we’ve gone, I can’t believe we’ve missed it in previous years, but the kiddo got more out of it now I’m sure since he is a bit older. The next day he asked to go back again and was more than a little bit disappointed that it was a one night event.
3. We watched our neighbor’s cat this week while they were out of town. Again, we live in a neighborhood where we all share the care of each other’s children and pets from time to time, so it wasn’t a big deal for us to walk down the street to go feed the cat for a few days. Plus, although we have a cat of our own, but the kiddo really enjoys going and feeding someone else’s pet, even if she tends to hide when we show up.
4. My brother in law had a pair of tickets to the dress rehearsal of the Pacific Northwest Ballet’s Nutcracker for the night before Thanksgiving and offered them to us (thank you!!). On a whim, I decided to take the kiddo and have a mama son date and take him to the show even though he isn’t quite four years old yet. I figured the dress rehearsal would probably be a little more relaxed, plus we could always leave if he got antsy since they were free tickets.
On the way there, we took the bus to the monorail (which he loved: “mama we’re up above the treetops!”) and then got a quick dinner at Mod Pizza before the show started. Total cost of the evening: $16.
He does like music and dancing, so I thought he would enjoy it somewhat, and he did say he wanted to go after we watched a clip of it online, but I wasn’t expecting just how much he enjoyed it. I gave him the option to leave at intermission, but he was completely enthralled with the whole event. His one comment after the final curtain was “I’m just sad that the show is over.” First live ballet/theatre event was a total success, and now he’s talking about the next one.
I felt the odds were chancy that he would love the whole evening, but I’m so glad I made the attempt because he loved it. And I love all kinds of live theater, so I’m excited to be able to bring him in the future instead of just getting to go myself on the very rare occasion. His favorite parts? Clara and the dancing candy canes. Not such a fan of the Mouse King.
5. The kiddo was insistent that we buy buttermilk at the grocery store last week, so I attempted to make buttermilk biscuits for the first time. I think I kneaded them a bit too much, though, because they weren’t quite the right texture on the outside. Still good, but not quite as good as I had hoped, though we still did bring them to Thanksgiving brunch.
My husband also picked up a big box of Red Lobster Cheddar Bay Biscuit Nix from Costco, and we made those as well after the buttermilk biscuits and they turned out WAY better. I think this was more because I learned how little you want to mix biscuits than the fact that it was a preset box. Either way, they were darn delicious and brought to Thanksgiving dinner along with the green bean casserole I make every year.
In a previous year, I made the casserole with fancy local ingredients and fully from scratch, including the French fried onions, but it just wasn’t the same. Turns out, I really like the standard Campbell’s and French’s canned and boxed stuff to make green bean casserole. I usually prefer food from scratch, but this is one of those dishes where that just isn’t the case. And so I’m back to the standard stuff, with plenty of leftovers for me for the next week.
Monday I decided to mix it up a bit and I “ran” on the elliptical. I pushed myself to keep it at the clip I remember being required to in college, and it wasn’t as easy of a workout as the elliptical sometimes can be. I definitely felt it the next couple of days; not so much sore, but the point where the subsequent runs were a little harder than otherwise.
Tuesday I went for a short run and lifting session and then a longer run and walk on Wednesday. No workout on Thursday for Thanksgiving, but I certainly miss the pre-kid days of a good long workout before the big dinner. A decent number of steps for the day, but I didn’t work up a sweat. I did consider a run during nap time between gatherings, but it was cold and pouring rain and the gym closed early for the holiday, so I just stayed inside and paced while finishing up this post instead. We really need to get my treadmill working again.
How was your Thanksgiving, so you have any big plans for Black Friday? We generally get outside and stay out of stores, and I expect we will do the same today. Plus we have to get back out to the Peninsula for our Christmas tree soon.