Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Sale on Summer Infant Baby Monitor

The Summer Infant Day & Night Handheld Color Video Monitor 1.8 is on sale for $136.29. If you are looking for a baby monitor, this one is great. It's usually hard to find them on sale for this low. We didn't get a video monitor until much later on, but I love having one. My favorite part is if I have to step into the baby's room then I can check before going in. It has saved a lot of accidental wakeups.

Menu Planning

The hardest thing I have always found about planning menus is taking all the ingredients I have and planning a menu based upon the ingredients in the pantry.  My goal this summer was to try to reuse the items we already owned and limit our shopping trips to once every two weeks. It means trying to plan more efficiently ahead of time and then trying to actually use the items we have in our pantry.

Tools I used:
Google Calendar. I have set up a separate Google calendar for Dinner, where I list what we are planning for meals over the next two weeks and then it syncs with mine and my husband's blackberries. I put in the notes a link to the recipe if it is online or a note of where I can find the recipe.

The new tool I use is SuperCook. It's probably one of the best tools out there. I list all of the items I have in my pantry and then I put them in. I then list things I don't want to use. So Ham, Pork, Bacon, etc. is on the exclusions list since I keep kosher. The website is great if you are part of a CSA (community supported agriculture). I really had no clue how to cook chard or kale the last few years And this year we were much better at finding things to do with out produce.

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Saving Energy

A friend suggested a month ago that we have a competition amongst our friends for saving energy. The issue we quickly realized was how do you do such a thing when everyone has a different system. Some of us are fortunate to have gas heat and others have to pay the high costs of electricity for their heating. My suggestion is that we compare how much energy we used last year and see how much we can reduce this year. Clearly the weather outside can play a big part of things and this summer is already a much cooler summer, but trying to do things one step at a time is very important. The second thing, is start a conversation and share tips on saving energy.

Here are some of the things we are doing?
If you live in Baltimore, I would suggest getting a BGE Energy Check-up. They installed CFLs, covers for our pipes to help absorb some of the heat that is lost, water aerators, and a new shower head (good thing, since I had to replace it anyway).
The next thing we have done is shopped for a new electricity provider. Many states have deregulated so it's up to the consumer to find the best deal. And the realty is I have been too lazy to look it up. And then when I did go through the vendors most of them wanted me to call. I don't really have time to do that. So we decided on Clean Currents for our electricity provide. Washington Gas & Electric is actually providing the electricity, but the funny thing is that they were cheaper.

I have to say moving into a house with a gas water heater was amazing. I saved at least $100 on my bill this month. What other ideas are there to save money, cut my energy uses?
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