Monthly Archives: January 2016

Chap 6, Post 3 – Thrift sometimes takes a bit of work


1stacks of groceries second

Thrift sometimes takes a bit of work. 

Getting our month’s worth of groceries, and Sharon and me, wedged into the old silver Mustang was a challenge, especially since much of the food was in those cardboard boxes with the fronts cut out.   Things just wouldn’t stay inside or stack very well.  We managed, though, with much repacking, rearranging, and as always, much laughter and mutual teasing.

 “Why didn’t you tell me that box wouldn’t fit in the trunk?”

“You know if we eat three bags of cookies and two boxes of cereal, right now, everything would fit in the back seat just fine.”

Finally, everything in those two buggies was in the car, and so were we.  In the front seat, Sharon rested her feet on that case of corn and held the thermos of Kool-aid between her knees.  She bit into a chocolate chip cookie.


I leaned back against the headrest and closed my eyes. The car, parked in the shade while we were shopping, was cool and a light breeze dried the sweat on my forehead.  I bit into a cookie. Sharon was right.  The cookies were good.  But even better was my anticipation of a month’s worth of plenty of everything Sharon could possibly want, or need, to eat.

Twenty minutes later, we were turning into the library parking lot.

“Don’t we have to go home and put the groceries up first?”

“No, baby.  Remember, Jewel-T doesn’t sell food that has to be refrigerated.”

The library – a priceless gift for our little family.    1library

Sharon spent the next half hour or so in the middle reader section, in a delicious state of indecision.  Should she pick one of the few Beverly Cleary books on the shelf we hadn’t read or save some for the next time?  And which book in the Bunnicula series did she want next?

Meanwhile, I had found two more books, one on philosophy and another on creative thinking, and had copied the Encyclopedia Britannica’s 15-page article on aesthetics.  How I loved studying whatever interested me!

I was about to meander over to Middle Readers to select my own books to be reading with Sharon when the incongruity of a bright orange binding among all the black, gray, and dull green, stopped me.   The title of the volume, “The Gift of the Deer”, and the author, Helen Hoover, both were unfamiliar.  Being a library edition, the book, of course, had no jacket to describe its contents.  Per force of habit, I flipped it open about one-quarter of the way from the front, intending to sample a few paragraphs here and there every few pages or so, my usual method of getting a feel for a strange author.  This time, it took only two samples before I sat down on the nearest footstool and just read.  That’s where I was, five minutes and ten pages later.

“Mommy!”  Sharon’s stage whisper sounded slightly accusatorial.

“Where were you?  I’ve been looking all over for you!”

“I’m sorry, baby, but I started reading this book about this couple who both quit their jobs in Chicago and went to live in a log cabin, just like Little House, only this is in Minnesota instead of the midwest, and . . .

With difficulty, for the next hour, I turned my attention to the tasks of getting our books checked out and lugged to the car and of getting us, our books, and our groceries home and lugged into the house.

Chap 6, Post 2 – Making lemonade in hard times

Treasuring Our Family Time

1grcery cart

“Are we ready to go, Mommy?”

“No, not just yet, sweetie. I have to put some Kool-Aid in your lunchbox thermos for you and some water in last year’s thermos for me.  You know we’ll be thirsty by the time we get there and do all that shopping.  We’ll be hungry, too. But, you know what?  We’ll just eat some of whatever cookies we decide to buy. ”

“Or Little Ann oatmealcakes?”

“Sure, baby.  We can get some of them, too.  We’ll have a nice snack while we shop.  You know we are going to buy a lot of food today!”

Five minutes later, we were in the car and on the big road, as Sharon called the interstate.  I smiled as I looked at her.  She was obviously in an expansive, the-world-is-my-oyster mood.  The smile on her face was as big as Christmas.

The wind zipped through the open car windows (yes, even in Florida we had no air conditioning in the car) and swirled her strawberry blonde hair in semicircles around her face.  By hiking her right shoulder up, she managed to rest the entire length of one skinny little arm on the edge of the window, affectionately and possessively.  The gesture reminded me of young boys stretching to put a soon-to-be-manly arm around their mother’s shoulders at church and PTA meetings.

Always mindful that she would all too soon be a young adult, I used every outing to explain a bit about driving skills or to practice navigation.

“See if you can tell me whether to go left or right at this next fork in the road.”

“Look up ahead.  See that car pulled off to the side? When you see a car stopped like that, change lanes if you can, so you won’t go by them so close.  It’s safer that way.

            At the store, we each got a buggy and two or three of the empty cardboard boxes tossed in a wire cage at the front of the store. At this store, you “bagged” your groceries yourself, in those boxes, which was another way they kept prices low.

“You can be in charge of your own buggy, sweetie.  You decide where the heavy stuff has to go and where to put the bread and cookies so they won’t get smashed.

“Okay!  And I think I”ll put the big box of laundry soap on the bottom rack, with the toilet paper.”

            Grateful for food to eat.

Off we went, to load our buggies with canned corn, green beans, spinach, fruit cocktail, tuna, spaghetti sauce, cookies, crackers, flour, sugar, and rice.  Sharon’s eyebrows disappeared under her bangs when I put an entire case—24 cans-—of whole kernel corn in the bottom of her buggy.

“Mommy!  Are you sure we can afford that much?”

She smiled so big I thought surely it must hurt when I put three boxes of strawberry pop tarts and four packages of individually wrapped oatmeal cake snacks in her buggy.

“Wow!  That’s enough for lunch every day and for after school!”.

Jewel-T offered near wholesale prices by handling only generic brands and offering no frills, not even shelves. The fronts of boxes in which food was shipped cut out and the boxes were stacked, beside each other, making ersatz shelves similar to the shelves and aisles in typical grocery stores.

HEADS UP!! Unjealousheart website is now called “

During the Christmas holidays, I have been busy trying to improve on blogging.   Although I will continue blogging my book that explains how to stop you and your child from FEELING poor, even if you are, the unjealous heart website is changing to  – giving you and your child an UNJEALOUS heart.

Please help spread the word – and please, as always, pray!