Sustainably Single Parenting

Making the most of life's journey alongside my three!!!

Old Navy’s Stuff & Save Sale October 17, 2012

I LOVE Old Navy, so naturally I love Stuff and Save sales. I began going to the sales when I was in college; the early alert, typically in the form of a canvas bag the size of most reusable shopping bags today, would come folded up and stapled to a flyer or tucked within an envelope via USPS to all Old Navy Card holders. To my recollection, the sales only used to happen bi-annually, but I think they’re having them about four times each year now. I haven’t been keeping track officially, but I remember it being a rare occurrence and now they seem to happen almost back-to-back (I’m not complaining).

I never buy anything full-priced, and my true specialty is shopping out of season. So today, after the girls’ play-therapy session, we headed to Old Navy to see what wonders we could find.

The Stuff and Save bag was the best I’ve seen yet, and not only because it’s purple (my favorite color). It wasn’t snail-mailed out this time, my alerts were an email and a flyer, but not mailing the bags was a good business decision as the bags are so thick and sturdy it would have been extremely pricey to send them through the mail. It’s going to make the perfect farmer’s market bag! The old theory was that whatever you could stuff into the bag was what you saved money on; nowadays you just get a free bag for shopping and save 40% on whatever you buy.

I could use some maternity clothes, but that wasn’t a priority, and I never even made it to look in that section. Still, somehow, we spent over two hours in the store. About 45 minutes of that time was spent standing in the check-out line, but I’ll get to that.

Terra needed a larger size of clothing for next summer. I find it so funny, to have two daughters who are only 21 months apart and born in bordering seasons (Amara near the beginning of summer, and Terra near the beginning of spring), but twice now we have come to find that Amara’s old clothing is not suitable for Terra. It’s not that I’m picky about what Terra wears, but Amara’s growth has been in spurts and she has never needed certain sizes. Terra has grown steadily through each size of clothing, but she rocketed right past several shoe sizes. I don’t get it.

I got Terra tops and tights (she managed to get chocolate on the Cinderella shirt before we bought it).

The girls both got bubble skirts and shorts for next summer.

New jeans and gray pants for Amara













Amara really needed more pants. She is growing so fast right now! Six months ago I went to extremes looking for feasible jeans and pants for her. I was determined to spend $8 or less on each pair. I’m not opposed to shopping at goodwill and thrift shops, but I was having a hard time finding her decent pants for cheap at those places too, and it was too soon for yard sales. After several weeks of  finding one pair of pants here and one pair there I’d comprised a six-pair stash of 5T jeans and pants for less than $40. I was so proud of myself! Now she is almost too tall for all of them.

I got Amara a new bubble shirt and a sweater dress too.

Amara really likes to “dress like Mama” in yoga clothing. I wish the adult-sized clothing was this cheap!












I’m not the most fashion savvy person, but I don’t understand why a perfectly decent, thick, and Christmas-colored cardigan would be in the clearance section. I didn’t ask, I just bought it. So now we’re going to base our Christmas pictures off of Terra’s adorable red cardigan.


Terra’s Christmas cardigan

Did I mention that everything we purchased was from the clearance section? Oh yes, I don’t even look at the other things, except to note what I’ll be excited to see go on clearance!

A few snacks and a few trips to the dressing room, I thought we’d done a great job! Then came the check-out lanes. There is a gift to picking the right check-out lane and I do NOT have it.

We stood there for twenty minutes while two of the four customers in front of us purchased their items.

Things seemed to be going well. I allowed the girls to go up to the large windows and look out until they started arguing loudly about which one of them should be the leader as they walked back and forth between the store’s entrances.

Twenty minutes later we were still behind the third of four customers who’d started in front of us.

Terra loves dresses, and the yellow romper was adorable on her!

Not only had she purchased at least $600 worth of clothing, but there was something wrong with her transaction and we were stuck there waiting for the staff to figure it out. It was far too late to switch lanes, so I had to think quick and find a way to keep the girls entertained.

We wound up playing charades, and a yoga game. Our yoga game is pretty awesome; I use the poses that they know (lion, downward dog, happy baby, volcano, cat, cobra, etc) to tell a story. While I’m telling the story the girls have to do the pose that I mention. Today the story was about a man walking his dog up a mountain that he didn’t know was volcanic. The man and dog had to be as brave as lions to save a trapped cat. It was fun, and the girls got to use their energy in a positive way.

What was more fun? Having my total purchase (combined with my belated birthday coupon, emailed to me by Old Navy) come to $60! I know it’s not pennies, but it’s pretty cheap. If you know of better deals, please tell me!


Powerless October 8, 2012

Every month, every hearing I lose one week’s worth of sleep. From the days preceding the hearing to the days following I am incapable of focusing on anything but the fate of my husband. I worry for him, I wonder what will happen, I wind through a range of emotions. Fear is ever-present; an abundance of anxiety and tension. I try to relax by accepting that there is nothing I can do. There is no way to hurry through these stagnant periods to find out what the future holds.

The system will run its course, the lawyers will do their dances, the D.A. will push our case back to the depths of ItCanWait because of its insignificance to the community. And so I wait. Frantic, helpless, but hoping that this hearing will mean something different, that this one will possibly end my monthly torment, that something will come of it, or that they will dismiss it once and for all.

I will be steadfast and strong, but my determination to persevere does not quell the discomfort of being temporarily powerless.

I have no choices left but to wait patiently or to wait impatiently. I long to know something…anything. I cannot plan for my future. I do not understand the system’s structure and processes. I cannot find peace. The most I can do to get through this is to keep my mind off of it, but that feels like an injustice to my husband. I am still compelled to protect him, to put his importance ahead of my own. But I cannot protect him any longer. I do not know where he is or what he is doing or who he has replaced me with. I cannot determine whether he misses me or wants me dead. I do not know if he will ever speak to me again, and it kills me.

I am incapable of controlling this aspect of my life. I wear the weight from day-to-day and fight insomnia at night. I wait…constantly battling inside. I suffer…but I survive.


Sibling Rivalry September 3, 2012

I know that I cannot force my daughters to love one another and that to a certain extent their rivalry is perfectly normal. But am I horrible for saying that it drives me CrAzY?!

I cannot stand their bickering.

“No I didn’t!”


“Aaugh! Sister hurt me!”



And the crying. There are so many tears that I think I’ve figured out why I hardly shed them in my adult life. I must have used them all up between the ages of three and five.

I cannot believe some of the things they’ve done to one another. Hair pulling, kicking, punching, spitting, purposely urinating on the others belongings, stealing, biting, lying, crying wolf, and breaking toys among other things. I often wonder if the negativity of my marriage influenced these behaviors, or if this is just the way of young siblings. It bewilders me.

I try so hard to teach them how to show one another respect. I try to wisely choose the battles I step into. I try to lead by example, to explain how valuable a sister can be. I pray that they will outgrow their disheartening rivalry, but at the moment I am annoyed beyond belief.

I want to scream with them. I want to run away. It’s extremely difficult to handle these days because of my severe lack of patience. I am too tired and stressed and borderline depressed to deal with such insensitive unnecessary madness. I just want to tell them to shut up and shake hands and show love, but that would be inappropriate.

I am trying harder to not not play favorites. To not compare them to one another. To let them be who they are trying to become and encourage them to express their individuality while showing them that I love them unconditionally. I try to make sure that every one is well fed, well rested, and working as a team. Still it seems that they are constantly competing.

I am counting down the days until they start school. I imagine that having more than one playmate will cut down on their constant battling. I fear that they will both be their class’ bully, but I’m hoping that once there are other children around, and more than one authority figure, they’ll straighten out.

Or, at least they’ll practice being kind in public and save all of their negative energy for me. I’ll work on finding solace in the breaks in between.


Gluten Free Crepes with Fruit Paste July 30, 2012

Our latest favorite breakfast is gluten free crepes topped with a homemade fruit paste and a side of fresh squeezed orange juice. The meal tastes fantastic, it’s fairly quick to make, and the girls help every step of the way.

The crepe recipe is an adaptation of Chef Antonia Lofaso’s, which was featured in the July edition of Parents magazine. The fruit paste is an adaptation of something my husband used to make. He never wrote down a recipe, but it tastes like I’m making it the same. Feel free to experiment with different fruit combinations!

Crepe Recipe

3 eggs

1 cup whole milk

1 tsp. vanilla

1 cup all-purpose gluten free flour

2 Tbs. sugar

¼ tsp. salt

¼ tsp. cinnamon

½ cup powdered sugar (for sprinkling on finished crepes)

Coconut Oil

**Whisk the eggs, milk, and vanilla in a large bowl. Whisk in the gluten free flour, sugar, salt, and cinnamon. Coat your skillet with coconut oil and set over low-medium heat. Pour ¼ cup of the batter into the skillet, swirling it to make an even layer. Cook for one minute on each side (the crepe should be lightly browned). Transfer from the skillet to a plate. Sprinkle the crepe with powdered sugar and top with fruit paste.**

Fruit Paste Recipe

1 cup chopped strawberries

½ cup blueberries

1 ounce cream cheese

1 Tbs. butter

**Put all of the ingredients into a covered pot and set over low heat for 20 minutes. Whisk the mixture every four minutes or so. Take the pot off of the heat when the paste meets your desired consistency.**

While the fruit paste is cooking we like to make fresh orange juice. I do not have a juicer so we cut the oranges in half, put a strainer over the glasses and squeeze the oranges to bits. The girls love proving their strength while doing this part, though getting messy and snacking on the ingredients is probably their favorite.

I make sure to model a positive demeanor by not overreacting to spills, offering options instead of dolling out demands, and doing my best to make cooking a fun and safe experience. I not only get to encourage their appreciation for and knowledge of cooking (teaching them about standard measurements and sanitation after handling eggs, showing them all the yummy goodness they’re capable of creating), but cooking also gives them a chance to practice kindness and patience. The girls have to take turns pouring ingredients, share the fallen flour and powdered sugar, wait for the food to cook thoroughly before they can eat, and remember to thank one another for contributing.

We all enjoy the meal so much more knowing that everyone worked together to create it. I hope your family enjoys this wonderful crepe recipe!