Thursday, June 30, 2011

Amazon Affiliates has stopped for California residents

Since I am a California resident, as of today, this blog is no longer eligible for Amazon Affiliates.  What does this mean?  The little Amazon searchbox in the corner used to earn Lauren's college fund about $25 a month.  (Mostly from her relatives buying things!).  Now because a new law passed, Amazon has decided to cut off their affiliates in California, so that they cannot be categorized as "doing business in California" and won't have to charge CA residents sales tax.

Of course I'm really disappointed about this.  Ironically *today* I checked and had the most purchases I've  had on one day in awhile-a big whopping 8 of them.  Doesn't seem like much, but it was a few dollars I'm now not getting.  This law will be challenged in the courts and Amazon states they may reconsider: " if this situation is rectified, would very much welcome the opportunity to re-open our Associates Program to California residents. As mentioned before, we are continuing to work on alternative ways to help California residents monetize their websites and we will be sure to contact you when these become available." (from their email)

Meanwhile, lots of people like me will lose revenue.   Of course this affects much more bloggers who actually take the revenue seriously.  (Lauren will go to college through other funds and I'm not living off of it.)  And small businesses will move out of state.  This LA Times article discusses it more.

I have more to say about this but I am really curious what you think.  I haven't read many bloggers' reactions.  Perhaps they are still biting their tongues or waiting to see how it all shakes out.  Comments, please!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Shopping Find: Organic Baby Food

Found this organic baby food at the 99 cent store in Mar Vista, at 49 cents each.  Seems to be a great deal, except it was a waste of a few dollars for me.  I picked up some in peach and a few in apple, but William does the "yuck face" at both.  Maybe it will help some of you, though!

Last week William reached past me and grabbed some steamed kale from my "voluptuous veggie pizza" at Native Foods and when I mentioned it to his pediatrician, she told me that in her experience, second babies often don't like baby food.  She said it's fine to feed him pretty much anything we eat, except to avoid nuts until about 10 months, and no milk until 1 year.  Cheese is fine and "he'll probably really like it".   With his sister's love of sharp cheddars, feta, etc., I have no doubt he will follow in her footsteps.

Monday, June 13, 2011

10% project: other clothes

So if you were wondering how the 10% project is coming, I'm almost done with the closet and moving on to the dresser.  A side benefit to doing this is I now have an inventory (sort of) that I could always use for insurance purposes if I ever need to.  I'm also wondering how my junk compares with the "average" American woman.  Sometimes I feel like I have barely any clothes (when I'm getting dressed and thinking "I have nothing to wear!") but other times (moving, doing massive amounts of laundry!) it does feel like a lot.

I found this article saying that the average American woman has 19 pairs of shoes, but really only wears 4 pair.  I would have to say I don't wear only 4 pair, and would feel limited by 15 pair.  What do you think?:

So here are the #s at this point:
I had 71 tops (sweaters, T-shirts, shirts, blouses, cardigans, light jackets) and got rid of 18
I had 23 pants & 3 skirts , got rid of 2 pants and 1 skirt
 (Wow it feels weird to only have 2 skirts!)
I had 26 dresses and got rid of 3
I had 25 nightgowns/bathrobes/pajamas and got rid of 5

Still to do: socks/undies/bras, handbags/dufflebags, books, art supplies, plants, makeup.  I am not doing every single category of things I own because, for example, I don't want 10% less diamonds or 10% less of something that we'll eventually consume, like food or shampoo. 

The process has been interesting.  I made myself try on everything I was keeping, and some things really didn't look good on me, even though I'd had them awhile, I'd been looking bad in them all this time!  And I found some other things I'd forgotten about but really should wear more often, like some gray jeans that fit perfectly.  With babies/pregnancy/breast-feeding, weightloss and gain, there were some things I was keeping to fit into that I chucked because even if I lost weight, they weren't so great that I should hang on to them.

And I found some stained things which I soaked in Oxiclean, one coat which I sent to the cleaners and also have to sew a button on (it was my grandmother's, is a classic grey peacoat and both fits me and reminds me of her.).  And the funniest thing I found was way back in the corner of the closet, a brand new with tags maternity shirt!  Won't be needing that one!

I Spy With my Little Eye, Some Rhubarb Pie!

Finally found some rhubarb at the store last week.  It's crazy how plentiful/common/cheap/easy to come by rhubarb is in other parts of the country but so scarce here! (Kind of the opposite of how cheap avocados are in San Diego!)

Sprouts supposedly had some fresh but was sold out when I got there. They did have some frozen packages so we got some and made the same pie we did last year (see that page for notes) but with a few variations. More fresh strawberries, less sugar, and I used whole wheat pastry flour on the crust this time. Here's the new tweak:

My grandma's pie crust recipe:

4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 3/4 cups Crisco
1 tsp. salt

Chop all up with large serving fork.

1 egg
1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup cold water

Mix together, blend and chill for 15 minutes.
Don't handle pie dough too much, and it will be nice & flakey.

Pie filling:

  1 12-oz package chopped red rhubarb, frozen
3 cups de-stemmed, washed and cut RIPE strawberries (in larger pieces)
1 cup sugar (if the strawberries are not ripe you can do 1/4- 1/2 cup more to taste)
2 Tablespoons Tapioca
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Mix filling ingredients in large bowl and pour out into chilled crust. Brush edges of pie crust with some of mixture of 1 egg white mixed with 1 tsp water. Roll out the other piece of dough and place over filling. Crimp to seal edges. Brush with rest of egg white wash and sprinkle some sugar on top. Bake at 425 degrees F for 15 minutes. Decrease temperature to 375 degrees F and bake for an additional 45 to 50 minutes, or until the filling starts bubbling.  Don't forget to put a pan under the pie dish to catch the drippings! (I forgot AGAIN and the whole house filled with smoke!)

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Monday, June 06, 2011

Don't Mess with the Little Brother!

"And in this corner, weighing in at 24 pounds, 9 ounces, we have the 6 month old William!"
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