Category Archives: cheap is cool

a dollar saved is a dollar you can spend on something fun

‘Tis the season when parenting blogs across the internet highlight the intricate DIY costumes that their families wore for Halloween. Like mom-sewn versions of Princess Kate Middleton’s dresses or Elmo costumes made from Elmo’s actual fur. We made sure that everyone dressed up this year ’cause I was not about to miss out on the $2 burritos that Chipotle was offering to customers in costume.  Continue reading

i forgot my camera but a nice person texted me some photos!

Yesterday I took the Cool Kids to Casa Barilla, which is basically Pasta Heaven set up in Central Park for a few days. We arrived a little after the published start time of 10am. The doors weren’t open yet, so we stood in a very short line while we waited. The kids were free and I paid $5 dollars to get in. Money well spent–here’s what I got!

  •  Surprise (to me)! For being one of the first 75 in line, I was handed two tickets for Thursday’s sold-out Andrea Bocelli concert in Central Park! And these are not just any general-admission-sit-on-the-grass tickets. They’re VIP tickets that include dinner and actual seats in front of the grass-sitters! YAY!
  • My $5 went to the NYC Food Bank to provide 25 meals to New Yorkers in need!
  • The kids and I devoured pasta dishes and Italian bottled water for lunch (with no lines), then came back later for dinner after playing in the park. YUM. I took a pasta splurge day for sure. It was the perfect occasion for Cool Newbie’s very first pasta.
  • We got a peek at lots of cooking classes and competitions while we ate and wandered. Maybe CB has a future as a chef?
  • CB and CN were thoroughly entertained for a long time at the uncrowded Piccolini Playground. They paraded around in their brand new kid-sized aprons while making pasta necklaces and rolling out fresh pasta dough to crank through the pasta maker. Delightful!

On top of this, all of the festival employees working the event went out of their way to be kind and helpful! Thank you, Barilla, for a great day and concert to come! (And I say that without any connection with the company.)

The festival continues through Friday, and if you get out there this morning or tomorrow morning (opening time is 9:30am), you just might score some VIP Bocelli tickets!



Cool Dad and I had a great conversation on our way home from the Old Sturbridge Village outdoor museum yesterday about urban homesteading, which is doing things the old-fashioned way and living simply. My fascination with this idea has increased since moving to NYC and learning to live in a small space without many modern conveniences. Heck, before we moved here I didn’t even know how to warm up leftovers on the stove without a microwave! We’re certainly not roughing it by any means, but after doing laundry, dishes, and all family haircuts personally by hand, I feel I can relate just a little bit to those 18th century New Englanders we  learned about at OSV.

If it weren’t for Cool Dad, I’d probably be living in a tiny house lit by candle chandeliers, wearing a little brown dress, and living off of avocados and coconuts from my backyard. (Notice none of these are strenuous outdoor activities.) Okay, and maybe I’d have the internet too. Overall, the self-sufficiency of the early settlers is inspiring!

Meanwhile, my husband would much rather be composing a song or a story than cranking the handle of our Wonderwash. He also says he’d rather our kids do something creative instead of helping me do household tasks the time-consuming way (but think about the moral lessons they’d be learning about hard work!). According to CD, God has extended his grace to people through the invention of electric washers and dryers! By accepting this invention, CD says we can have more time for creative pursuits like music and art.

With the extra free time, I speculated that modern conveniences could also give us more time to serve people in our community. Instead of hours spent doing things myself, I could be (theoretically) doing something that helps our neighbors. But then again, the conveniences of factory-produced goods come at a cost–factory workers are often treated poorly, the environment suffers, and consumers have to pay financially and physically for over-processed food that endangers their health.

Perhaps modern homesteaders can serve their communities by making products for their neighbors so that it’s not just about serving themselves? Just like they did in the old days!

And maybe we can all be partial homesteaders in the realms of life that are particularly meaningful to us? In that case, we WONDER if we should retire the Wonderwash (hehe, couldn’t resist). My passion for healthy and real food is much stronger than my passion for clean laundry. My form of homesteading should probably be something like homeschooling and making healthy snacks for my family and our neighbors while Cool Dad does his literary and musical homesteading to change the world. Get out that quill and ink, CD!

What do you think? Is homesteading in modern times mostly about oneself, or can it be used for the common good? And the big question–would a bit of urban homesteading chores make Cool Baby and Cool Newbie more cool or less cool as adults?