Saturday, December 6, 2014

First Weekend of December

"It's the weekend.  Finally."  I wonder why people say that.  It gives the impression that weekends are relaxing.  That may be true for some people, but not for moms.  Moms are busy 24/7/365.

Today was grocery shopping day.  I'm starting a new system of grocery shopping every 2 weeks instead of weekly.  It involves plenty of planning so I don't have to run to the store every couple of days because Oops!  I forgot something.  It means menus for two weeks, careful examination of what's already in our pantry, and a precise list.  I did it two weeks ago, and not only did I save money, I didn't make any trips to the grocery store; the one time I realized I'd run out of green peppers, I improvised and used half of a red pepper I had in the fridge.  It worked.  I avoided the stores all Thanksgiving week and especially on the dreaded Black Friday.

I'd been to Winn-Dixie on Thursday to find specials, and left disappointed.  I managed to get a few things, $20 worth.  My goal is to spend no more than $300 for the two weeks; a hefty goal for a family of four, but I've found it's attainable.  Since I'd already spent $20, I wanted to stay under $270.  That way there would be $10 left in the budget for emergencies.  I hit Walmart first - I not only needed food, there were a few cleaning items like floor cleaner and furniture polish I had to pick up, toothpaste, hair dye, that sort of stuff.  I spent a total of $125, but since my cousin had paid me $20 for taking her kids to karate last month (she didn't need to; I love taking the kids for her.  She insisted.  I relented) I spent $105 from my food budget money.

Then I went to Costco.  I needed to return a meat thermometer - oh, I have to tell this story!  About a month before Thanksgiving, I found a meat thermometer with a small timer at Costco for $20.  I'd seen Alton Brown use a similar one in one of his Thanksgiving Good Eats episodes, and I thought the price was great.  Those things go for $50 and up at other stores.  So I picked one up and looked forward to roasting my turkey with the meat thermometer telling me the internal temperature every moment.  I brined my turkey the night before (again, thanks to Alton Brown), and started the turkey, with the thermometer in place, at 450 degrees for the first 30 minutes.  That seals the juices in the meat and gets that beautiful color we all want on the skin.  At the end of the 30 minutes I lowered the temperature to 350 degrees and went to check on my turkey.  The meat thermometer had melted!  I was shocked and appalled!  How could this happen?!  My daughter asked me, "Are you sure it was oven safe?" to which I answered, "It was supposed to be!  What kind of meat thermometer isn't oven safe?!"  Well, apparently this one wasn't.  Upon reading the instructions, it stated that the thermometer was to be used to test the meat by poking it to see what the temperature was.  Except that's ridiculous.  Anyone who cooks knows you don't poke meat while it's in the oven or when it's just been taken out; the juices will flow right out and the meat will be dry.  The turkey turned out fine, but as far as I was concerned, the thermometer was useless.  I returned it to Costco and they quickly gave me my money back.  I then did my shopping there (meats, toilet paper, coffee, etc) and spent $154.  I used the $20 to pay part of it so I only used $134 from this month's food budget.  All in all I spent $259, leaving me $41 for any extras I might need for the next two weeks.  Not bad, huh?  I must admit I was very pleased.

Yesterday my son got home from work and immediately went out with his friends, so he didn't eat at home.  My daughter had her church office Christmas party so she didn't eat anything either.  That means we are having leftovers today.  Which is fine with me: less cooking on a Saturday, yes!

My oldest worked all day today, and the two younger ones went Christmas shopping together.  Mom was told to stay home; wonder why? ;-)  That's cool, because Mama had the house all to herself.  And what does Mama do when she has the house all to herself?  Pamper herself, of course!

It was time to color my hair again anyway.  My natural hair color has become black with white highlights.  Not to my taste :P.  For the past year or so I'd been coloring my hair light auburn, or as my hairdresser calls it, 6R.  I do my own hair coloring; I'm sure my hairdresser would do a fabulous job, but not for under $10 which is what a box of hair color costs.  I told her what I wanted and she made her recommendation.  I've been sticking with it and it's a nice color. Today while I was at Walmart I went to pick up my usual box of L'Oreal Excellence Creme when I spotted a Clairol product from their Expert Collection called Age Defy.  When this girl saw those words...let's just say it caught my attention.  The product promises hair that looks 10 years younger.  I was prepared to color my entire body if that worked ;-).  I decided it was worth trying, and I looked for my color, 6R.  There wasn't any, just one box of 5R left.  5R is medium auburn.  I figured the stuff had to be pretty good if this was the last box left. I also figured, "How different can light to medium auburn be?"  I'd done both medium and dark auburn years ago.  It would be fine.  I bought the box, the house was empty, the timing was perfect.  I got to work.

The first step with this hair color is a pre-treatment, to get the hair ready for the hair color.  I went ahead and put that on, then started mixing up the color.  If you've ever colored your own hair, you know the drill:  tear the tab off the plastic bottle, open it up, open the tube of colorant and pour it into the plastic bottle.  Then shake and apply.  So that's what I did.  I did a double take when I opened up the colorant, though.  Y'all, it was orange.  Like jack-o-lantern orange.  Now, I've been coloring my hair for 20 years, and I'm fully aware that the color that comes out of that tube is not the color my hair will be.  But I had never seen this bright orange color coming out of a tube of colorant before.  My colorants had always been on the purple side for auburn, and trust me, this was not purple.  I checked the box again, just to make sure I had the right color.  Yep, medium auburn.  I was already prepped and ready to go, and I wasn't going to stop.  I began applying the color.

It was much more runny than I was used to.  I'd been using a creme hair color; this one was liquid-y and messy.  I worked a little more slowly pouring the orange fluid on my head, till my roots were covered.  Then I set my timer for 40 minutes.  My hairdresser told me I need to keep the color on my hair for about an hour, otherwise the auburn looks more like pink on my grays, uh, I mean, white highlights.  I figured I'd leave it on my roots for 40 minutes, then on the rest of my hair for 15.  In the meantime I watched videos of other girls styling their hair, waiting to see what mine would turn out like.  If the color was good, I'd be thrilled.  If it wasn't, I'd be watching TV preachers till I could get it fixed.

By the time the first 40 minutes were up I could see the color had mellowed into a reddish brown, and I breathed a sigh of relief.  I finished coloring the rest of my hair, washed it, and when I looked at it I thought, "Wow.  That is way darker than I expected."  It's not what I would call medium auburn.  The color reminds me of cherry wood, or maybe mahogany.  Can I just say, I LOVE IT!!!  Oh my gosh, it is the perfect color for fall!  I'm so glad I got the wrong color, and didn't doubt the orange!!

My beauty regimen continued with exfoliating.  A few weeks ago Target had a sale on Neutrogena products, and I was able to get their Microdermabrasion System for $14.99.  Best investment I've made.  As I've mentioned before, my skin has been changing, and I've had to change along with it.  I'm dealing with redness for the first time in my life, and my pores had become enlarged which is not attractive.  The system promises younger looking skin from the first use, and like I said, that gets my attention.  Besides, the price was better than even Walmart, so I jumped on it.  From the very first time I used it I noticed how different my skin looked.  I've used it for a month now and I'm not joking, my pores have gotten smaller, my skin feels smoother, it looks healthier, and I only use it once a week.  It's like I spoil myself for a few minutes, and get phenomenal results.  What woman doesn't like that?

I finished up by giving myself a manicure and pedicure.  Since it's the Christmas season I thought something sparkly was in order.  I painted by toe nails and most of my fingernails with a glittery gold tone nail polish, then did my ring fingers on both hands a deep dark burgundy.  I love how festive it looks!

It is just so cool to look in the mirror and like the way I look.  I think this hair color is a keeper.  Now it's time to get back to my regular routine:  wash the dishes, then pop in a Christmas movie before bed.  Feel beautiful!

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