Free Shopping

One of my favorite things about the Internet is guilt-free window shopping. It’s helped with my wedding (although, with so many options out there, it’s made decision-making harder) and to check reviews before making a big purchase. It helped get me through the terrifying wait a year ago while buying our house; it was a foreclosure, and there were lots of delays — so, Lowes.com was a great calmer and made me feel productive, strangely enough. And, we’re still being “lurkers” in terms of the Foodshed Buying Club; none of our necessities have come up yet.

But, on days that I allow myself to be lazier than I’d like to admit, I let my browsing fingers tap the less practical side of my brain and look into the prices of dreams, ultimately researching possible nothings or hopeful somethings. That sounds confusing, so let me elaborate — mind you, these are things that many of our friends aren’t even aware that we discuss.

1. I found some web sites today that got me pretty excited about a prospect Dave and I have discussed numerous times. Dave has always complained that we don’t have a good cafe in our area. You have to drive to Domenico’s in Utica for a decent place to get creative, meet friends or…dare I say…enjoy a good coffee or cappuccino. We have one small joint in Little Falls that could possibly be considered hippie enough to fit this, but considering that Herkimer is a larger town, it’s downright disappointing. There are 2 Dunkin’ Donuts stores a stone’s throw (seriously — one at Walmart, another 1 1/2 blocks away) and a Stewart’s every other town or so — but both places feel franchisey and sterile (when actually clean) and just…not like a “cafe.” So, we’ve considered it as a career/retirement project later in life — or whenever a cheap property rears its head. We both have coffee experience (my own being a few years at said Stewart’s shop) and good customer service knowledge…aaaaand not much more than that! I’d like to do some baking to sell with coffee early in the morning and come up with panini recipes for later in the day, and would prefer keeping the place as green as possible — check out THESE cups and things — but still have refined sugar and “normal” options for our less conscientious clientele. But…again…this is all just a dream, so it may never happen — but wouldn’t it be neat?!

2. If the second dream were to happen, the first one definitely couldn’t (at least, not in Herkimer). I use homes.com to search for homes in other areas that are more eco-friendly and less economically depressed (hopefully with more opportunities for us and the “future kids”). I’ve looked throughout New England, “shopped” for jobs in London…hell, I’ve looked everywhere. And, clearly, nothing much comes from it, but somehow it makes me feel better about the future and where we might be going with it.

3. Speaking of “future kids” — yeah, I’ve done free shopping for them, too. More just getting ideas as to whether it’s worth it to be so eco-friendly to give up disposable diapers, and learning about the cost of things. No big whoop. But, it’s still dreaming since we’re not even hitched yet.

Luckily, my guy and I get to do some REAL shopping tomorrow — which may be dangerous since I just got a chunk from my “end of year” check. And this ain’t just ANY shopping! We’re re-visiting the Cooperstown Farmer Market tomorrow morning, this time with cash in our pockets, a cooler in the car and an un-stocked fridge — meaning we can actually BUY AND USE what we get, rather than the last time we went (I’d done some grocery shopping that week…blah). CAN’T WAIT!!!

You’re Really Writing a Post About Peanut Butter? Heck, Yes!

Peanut butter. How could we have survived childhood intact without it? Besides, what’s childhood without getting sticky fingers to use for strategically-placed hand prints to drive a harried mother crazy? My sister, particularly, wouldn’t be on a deserted island without it (and some milk to wash it down).

So, why talk about it? That’s because I’ve seen the light. Or, more specifically, tasted it: organic peanut butter made of nothing but PEANUTS.

At first, the slightly gritty texture and more pungent flavor made me raise my eyebrows. It also had to be stirred (which I only remember from when we had little money, when Mom got a huge vat of it in a red plastic container — with no label) and, since it hadn’t been refrigerated yet, it was ruuuuunny! So, it made me play with my food all the more. But, I’ve gotta say, once you go runny, you never go back!

One reason is that, after you refrigerate it, it gets less runny. However, you still get this gorgeous sheen when you spread it that you definitely don’t see in the old stuff. I still get excited just thinking about it! (No, really, I do!)

Once we finish this jar (yep, it’s glass), we’re going to bring it to Peter’s Cornucopia (about a half an hour away; we go there every few weeks to see what organics we’d like to splurge on) for a refill. Although this was store-bought PB, we’ll be SEEING the peanuts crushed before our eyes, filling our re-used jar, making us feel involved in the process. It’s pathetic, sure, but just thinking about doing this with our kids, having them involved with their food, never having to deal with wallpaper paste PB & J sandwiches. Yum!