Friday, January 25, 2008

LONG post

Two nights ago, I created the best kolaches known to man. Seriously, if you could have tasted them straight out of the oven...heavenly! I definitely did not over knead the dough or add too much flour this time--the bread was wonderful. And I didn't over fill, so there was no hard peach carmelization on the bottom this time. My brand new stoneware worked wonderfully to bake them on too. Half of the batch went on a cookie sheet and didn't do nearly as well. Even better, I learned that the step of letting the dough sit in the fridge for "at least 4 hours or overnight" is much more convenience than necessity. You may bask in the glory of the homemade kolache ;-)

I finished reading America's Cheapest Family a few days ago. We've decided to implement their budget system. I think their paper system will be easier to maintain for me than Quicken, plus it won't be dependent on the computer working. They explain the common sense part of budgeting that I've never used--namely, if you have something that comes up once or twice a year (i.e. car insurance, car registration, car inspection, canning supplies, vacations), you take that total cost and divide it by 12 months (or whatever it needs to be) and save that much money each month. You have an accounting sheet for each account you come up with and there is an account for *everything*. On payday, you add the appropriate amounts to each of your sheets and when you buy something, you subtract it. Twice a month you reconcile and the total on each sheet should equal the total you have in the bank. In the past I have set amounts for groceries, gas and "household". Anything else (clothes, co-pays, car registration) came out of that household section, which was problematic. This way, we set aside $8/month and the car registrations are no longer a "surprise" expense that takes away a big chunk of household money when they come up. Same thing with clothes, we only put down $5/month (I'm sorry, but small children who are constantly outgrowing and ruining clothes just don't need high quality stuff for the most part). $5 isn't gonna buy hardly anything, but when the winter clothes go on sale, I will have $20-$30 saved up in that "account" and that will buy a whole lot when you bargain shop. I think that was the most useful part of the book for me. The other thing was the section on groceries. I think it'd be very helpful to the average family. One thing they explain (that for some reason a lot of budget websites don't get) is that it's NOT a good idea to shop based on a menu. If you make up a week's worth of menus and go buy those items, you're going to stick to a list, but you'll still overspend big time. The better option is to stock up when things are on sale. Better yet if they're on sale and you have coupons (be careful about coupons....only use them for things you would already be getting, or you get for free with the coupon). Anyways, of course I was irritated by the comment they make that you cannot feed a family of 3 for $150/month. Hrmph. Our grocery budget is $150/month and no one ever believes me. SOOOO, I made a list of items to buy and what food those items would make. I will admit, this list is "cheating" b/c I did not add in the cost of spices that I always have on hand (oregano, basil, chili powder, etc...). On the other hand, I did add in things that I almost never buy at full price (i.e. Sugar is normally somewhere around $1.50/4# bag, but I never pay that. When it goes on sale for $1/4# bag I buy 15 or 20 bags and that lasts me until the next sale). I also included bigger than necessary quantities (i.e. enough rice and pinto beans to last for two-three months b/c it's cheaper that way). My list:
25# unbleached all purpose flour....$1.74/5#=$8.70
5# whole wheat flour....$1.89
50 flour tortillas...$5 (estimate)
15# basmati rice...$12 (estimate)
10# dried pinto beans...$5.29
10# pasta....$1/1# (estimate, off brand is cheaper)=$10
5# frozen broccoli normandy.....$5 (estimate, I know it's less than that, not sure of exact price)
1# dried garbanzo beans....$0.80
1 can cut baby corn...$0.99
2 cans coconut milk...$0.99/can=$1.98
1# carrots...$0.68
2# yeast (at sam's)...$3.84
1 pint jam or apple butter (I have tons of this on hand from home canning)
1 # cranberries or blueberries (pick blueberries super cheap in the summer, or buy cranberries after christmas and freeze them, I have no clue what the normal price is)....$0.75
8.5# ground beef (on sale at sam's first thing in the morning from what they didn't sell the night before)....$1.40/pound (estimate?? I hardly ever buy meat)=$11.90
bread crumbs...$2 (estimate)
2 # onions....$1.60
one green bell pepper....$0.66
tomato sauce (giant can...96oz? at sam's, portion out and freeze)...$3 ('s within cents of that)
5# potatoes.....$2 (estimate, I know it's less than that)
5# frozen whole kernel corn.....$4.36
1# dried lentils...$0.59
green onions....$0.50
5# frozen stir fry veggies.....$5 (estimate, I know it's less than that)
3# corn meal....$1.50 (estimate...something else I never pay full price for)
2# cheddar (at sam's)..$5.88
1 can rotel tomatoes..$0.75
1# dried black beans....$0.70
1# dried kidney beans.....$0.80
1# pepper jack cheese...$3
42oz old fashioned oatmeal...$1.99
4# sugar...$1.49
6 dozen eggs.....$1.87/doz=$11.36
2 gallons organic milk...$5.29/gal=$10.58
2# butter...$1.89/#=$3.78
3 heads garlic..$0.75
2 quarts organic yogurt....$3.24/qt=$6.48
2 quarts regular yogurt....$1.79/qt=$3.58
1 zucchini..$0.30
1 jar "natural" (no sugar, no partially hydrogenated oil)..$1.99
1 bottle stir fry sauce...$2 (estimate)

For a grand total of $145.46. I tried to over estimate where I wasn't 100% sure of the price. With these ingredients plus some spices and oil, I can make:
bean, rice, cheese, tomato lunch wraps
pinto beans and cornbread
pasta and veggies
thai curry
TV dinners with meatloaf, mashed potatoes and corn
Vegetarian chili
Rice and Veggie Stir Fry
Pasta and Meatballs
Scrambled Eggs and Waffles
Grilled Cheese
Scrambled Eggs and Pancakes
12 loaves of bread (homemade loaves are smaller than store bought)

Some low cost or no cost ways to stretch this and add variety......we have a garden outback and can easily add a salad to any meal for no extra cost (homemade dressing is way easy to make and cheaper than storebought. There are enough ingredients in this list to also have homemade dinner rolls with any meal. Many of the things listed above you could make enough to last quite a while (i.e. there's enough there for 22 tv dinners). The money I'd save by using veggies from the garden or meat from the freezer or throwing in another meal of mixed bean soup can be used to buy a couple 5# bags of apples, bananas, etc...If we don't spend $150 one month, it carries over to the next month (allowing stocking up on sale items). When produce is hugely on sale, stock up (less than $0.70/pound for gala apples happens once or twice a year and I buy lots and lot to make dried apples, apple bread, apple butter, apple pie filling, etc...) Once this year red delicious apples were $0.30/pound. Not the most flavorful apple, but they did just fine in apple bread and cooked up as a topping for pancakes. Leftovers are almost always saved...usually for lunch the next day or in the freezer to be dinner one a day when there's not time to cook. Every time I throw out spoiled food I try to do a little mental calculation of how much money I just threw away, and next time I try harder to use those things up or freeze them or whatever. This is just an idea for one month, in the winter there's a lot of soup (warm's ya up!), in the summer there's a lot more sandwiches because we don't want hot food much. Other things like homemade pizza, chicken pot pie, enchiladas, etc...are easy and cheap (just combine dishes that use similar ingredients!!! get chicken on sale and make chicken pot pie and chicken enchiladas and king ranch chicken and curried chicken and..... much more economical than buying expensive chicken to make one of those dishes and they all freeze well!!) Oh, a key part of stocking up is buying things in season. Buying fruits, veggies and meat(chicken in the summer, beef in the winter) out of season is expensive and harmful to the environment (because the things were usually grown very far away and flown/trucked in). I take advantage of that availability at times, but I stock up big time when things are in season to minimize off-season buying.

Monday, January 21, 2008

I don't know

I'm gonna venture a guess that for many years, my mom's least favorite phrase was "I don't know".

Who made this mess? I don't know
Who left the milk in the cabinet and the cereal in the fridge? I don't know
Who left a wet towel on the carpet? I don't know
Who cranked the gas valve all the way open and created a fireball that blew Brian across the living room and burned off his eyelashes?

Oh wait, that last one was me. Everyone still gets a little sketchy if I'm around a fireplace.

Anyways...Sierra has taken to drawing stick figures. An excellent specimen is presented above. According to her (remember...always ask, "tell me about it", not "what is it?" sounds incredibly corny, but I promise you, the toddlers eat it up), this is a picture of momma, daddy, uncle brian, sedona and sierra. Saturday night, Josh discovered a little blue stick figure much like these on the door frame of our bedroom. Just one stick figure, not crazy scribbling or anything. Now, I don't know about you, but I'm guessing there's only one person living in this house that would draw a stick figure about 2.5 feet off the ground with blue dry erase marker. Last I checked, the dog hadn't yet advanced to stick figure drawing, and Josh and I are too dang tired bend down that low these days. And since Sedona is still primarily interested in drooling and tasting things, that left Sierra.

Josh: Sierra, did you draw on the door?
Sierra (who has never done this before, and I think may have truly not known it was a bad thing, but definitely figured that out real quick from the tone in daddy's voice): Nun-uh. Someone else did it. It wasn't my fault.
Josh: I don't know who did it, but we do not draw on doors or walls around here
Sierra (eyes as wide as saucers and looking for a way out): Sister! Sister did it!
Me: I don't know who drew on the door, but you're going to help me clean it up
Sierra grabs up the rag, looking very relieved that this isn't going worse for her
Me: Sierra, you know it's not real good to draw on the door, and it's not good to lie either
Sierra: I drew on the door. I put a circle right there, and a line right there, and......

So, you heard it here first, I have the most advanced 6 month old known to man. She can sneak out of the room, pick up a marker, take the cap off, crawl to the door, stand up, and draw a stick figure without us noticing ;-) Haven't seen any other drawings where they don't belong, but man was it hard not to just fall down in hysterics when she tried to blame it on Sedona.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

More Frugality

I promise you, once you get started at it, saving money is addictive. It's just like running, it really sucks at first, and then you start getting a "saver's high" ;-) Anyways....We never got cable TV when we moved (back in July), so we don't watch TV. Everyone needs a little veg time every once in a while though. We used to have a netflix subscription, so I looked into that, but it makes me feel like I have to watch a certain number of movies each week so I get my money's worth, and who needs to be feeling a NEED to watch movies (isn't it supposed to be entertainment?) when there are other things to do. In the past, I've found some decent kid's DVDs at the library (FREE people!!) that we've rented for long car trips, but they didn't really have much for grown ups. We went to the library today and I don't know if they just got a bunch of movies or I just caught them on a good day, or what, but there was a TON there! We borrowed Night at the Museum, Pursuit of Happyness, The Sting and a kid's animated movie (something about baseball directed by Christopher Reeve). I saw lots of other fairly recent movies I want to check out at some point in the future.

The great thing though is the reason we went to the library was to pick up a book I had on hold. I noticed on a friend's blog that they were reading it and it seemed like something right up my alley, so I checked it out. It's America's Cheapest Family. Now, I've read A LOT of articles, books, etc... about living within your means, saving money, smart investing, all that good stuff. This is literally the first thing I've read in YEARS that has some really good ideas I haven't thought of. I'm only on chapter 3, but most of what they're talking about, we already do, but they take it that one extra step. It's the perfect book for me! Basically, they explain how they are able to do things like pay off a mortgage in 9 years, feed a family of 7 for $350/month (seems a bit steep to me, actually, but it's a lot less than most sources talk about), pay cash for their cars, etc...What I really hate about most articles I read is they talk all about how families are able to save all this money and the families aren't thrifty at all, they just make 100K/year. This family says their average income over 12 years was 45K/year, but much of the time it was much less than that. They were just trying to get by, raise their kids and homeschool on one income. They're my kind of people!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Three Sisters Planting

Per Stephanie's request, more information about three sisters planting....

This is a native american tradition of planting corn, pole beans and squash together in the same mound of soil. The corn stalk provides a pole for the beans to climb. The beans fix nitrogen in the soil to provide to the corn, and the squash has somewhat prickly leaves to ward off predators. We'll be trying three sisters plantings this year. If you want to know more, there's a decent little lesson plan for teaching the concept to kids here:

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Our GI Visit

Well, I liked Dr. Klisch and really really liked his assistant/student/whatever Dr. Kim. GREAT bedside manner.

So, they think she has lymphonodular hyperplasia. Basically, lymph nodes along the intestines grow through the intestinal wall and get irritated as the stool passes (causing mucus and bleeding). They said the first suspects would have been cow's milk protein allergy and CF, but we've already ruled those out, so this is the next thing on the list. If that's what it is, it should resolve on its own by the time she's a year old.

In the meantime, the plan is (imagine that, a plan!!!) to start her on high calorie solid foods and see the GI again in 2 months. If she drops below the 50th percentile (right now she is right above the 50th), they want to do a lower GI scope. If she starts bleeding again we are to contact the GI right away. They also let me know they do not do general anesthesia for a lower GI scope.

I was very happy that they had a plan. It's mostly still "wait and see", but they gave me an end point to that. And a name of what they think is going on. They also asked it we were okay with that, what other options are and said, "it's not gonna hurt my feelings if you don't like this, but it doesn't help anyone to leave and then grumble about it. If you don't like the plan, tell us so we can work on something else". Like I said, VERY impressed with the bedside manner.

When I got home, I quickly put "lymphonodular hyperplasia" into google (bad idea). Everything that popped up was in relation to it being caused by food allergies in kids. ARGH We've already been down the food allergy testing road...For now I'm gonna resist the urge to search more and just enjoy having a plan.

And in Sierra news...I picked her up from school and she fell "heine over tea-kettle" and smacked her face into a concrete step. She busted her bottom lip pretty good. You can see the bruise on the outside and a really deep cut on the inside--yeouch.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

shake, shake, shake

I don't think I'll ever buy another diaper cover. Took me about an hour to make my own and it works darn good! I know it looks like burlap, it's really brown fleece (again, muchas gracias for the box of fabric remnants for christmas!). She's also all splayed out---she really can put her legs together with a cloth diaper on, she was just in a splayed out mood I guess ;-)

Here's a quick video of Sedona. She believes everything in the world is best experienced by tasting, so the video stops when she tries to eat the camera. video

And two quick videos of Sierra. The first is her around 18 months or so "shake, shake, shaking". The second is her doing one of the dances from her dance class. She's watching the video of her little informal recital (she's not actually IN the video, b/c she was too shy). At the end of the video she runs off b/c she suddenly decided she had to have pizza right that instant. video

P.S. sorry, there's no sound, these were all just taken with the regular camera instead of the video camera

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Green Living?

So, I've been reading the book Affluenza, and I had a moment of clarity. For a while now, I've been thinking I was into "green living". I was kinda proud of I was on the bandwagon of a new trend before it really got to be a big trend (that doesn't happen much in my life). In reading this book though, I've realized I'm really more of an extremely frugal person and greener living was an off shoot of that. I can pinch a penny until it screams, and I think I may truly be able to get blood from a turnip. Yes, I like solar power and I think it's super cool that Josh set up a solar power station that we can plug things into. But what's really cool is we're powering those things for free. I like the side-effect of using renewable resources and not polluting, but the main benefit to me is getting something for nothing. I'm (obviously) extremely pro-breastfeeding and could go on for hours about various benefits if anyone was interested, but the reason I really chose to breastfeed my first baby (before I knew all that stuff) was because it was free. Now that I have used cloth diapers for 3 years, I could go on and on about the benefits, but again, I initially chose it because I could spend $200 once and have diapers for 3 years. Canning our own food is really cool and preservative free, guessed it....also really cheap. It's a little bit of a blow to the ego, I'm not as altruistic as I thought. Hmrph.

One thing that has always kinda nagged at me is we don't fit in anywhere. I can't stand the republicans or the democrats, but if you made me define our political stance, I would say we're definitely liberal. One of my friends calls us "second generation hippies". I think of homebirthing, cloth diapering, home canning, home schooling, breastfeeding, a hippie, liberal thing. And yet, I keep finding myself grouped with some really pretty conservative people. I started to doubt whether I really knew my own stance. Then I read a paragraph in this book that made it more clear....

"Luttwak calls himself 'a real conservative, not a phony conservative.' 'I want to conserve family, community, nature. Conservatism should not be about the market, about money,' he argues. 'It should be about conserving things, not burning them up in the name of greed.'
Too often, he says, so-called 'conservatives' make speeches lauding the unrestricted market (as the best mechanism for rapidly increasing America's wealth), while at the same time saying 'we have to go back to old family values, we have to maintain communities.' 'It's a complete non-sequiter, a complete contradiction, the two of course are completely in collision. It's the funniest after-dinner speech in American. And the fact that this is listened to without peals of laughter is a real problem.'" --Affluenza

So I guess maybe we're more of the "real conservative" group that he's describing. Our goal in stretching our money is to not find ourselves working 60 hour weeks. We want to limit the amount of money we need to spend so we are able to work less and live more. What's the point of working a lot to make a lot of money that you don't have the time to enjoy? It's so much better to be at home doing things as a family. When Tony Snow resigned as the White House Press Secretary because he "needed to make more money" (needed!!), the only thing I could think was, "my word, I sincerely hope I never find myself at a place in life where I feel like I NEED more than $168K/year". What's the point of a big house and fancy things if it makes you a slave to money?!?

Anywhoo.........Enough of my opinions (that are just my own, as they say, "your mileage may vary"). This all leads up to my latest project, that initially came from a desire to, again, save money, but I have since come up with tons of other good benefits to it. (fair warning guys, just click the little "x" at the top of the box if girlie stuff is gonna gross you out)......cloth pads. Yes, yes, yes.....ewww...gross, how could you? Well, people thought cloth diapering was icky, but it's turned out rather well. Extremely cheap, no diaper rash, and even cheaper now that I'm learning to make my own (not to mention those environemental benefits of not producing, shipping, picking up the trash, and land-filling disposables). Then I got even weirder on all of you by insisting on a homebirth this time around (which worked out *wonderfully*). Well, after, said homebirth, I just grabbed a few cloth diapers because we were in the middle of moving and the usual supply of disposable protection was packed away somewhere. Even a big ol' bulky diaper was WAY more comfortable than disposable stuff. I can't really afford to drop $50-$100 on cloth pads (though, it'd be worth it...they tend to last around 7 years, I'm told), so I started looking around the internet and found free patterns. Thanks to a big box of fabric I received for christmas (muchas gracias), I was able to sew up some of my own, for free! You can't really beat free. Fleece and flannel are way more comfortable than plastic and I was able to make inserts from old cloth diapers. The diapers have been through 3 years of use (I'd say over 300 washes each, on average) and they were getting really ratty. Ah hah, but if you're reading a book all about how we consume too much and have too many things, you start thinking about how that ratty old diaper could still be useful. You cut the center out of it, take off the top and bottom layer (that are more "hole" than "fabric") and you find you have 6 perfectly good, unbleached cotton, time-tested super absorbant layers left in the middle! A quick overlock stitch all the away around and you can run out a whole set of pads (with wings, even!) in a couple of hours. If you're interested in the benefits of cloth, check this out. Most women who are very timidly interested bring up the fact that they only use tampons....have you read about what's in them? ewwwww While I haven't gotten to put them to use yet, I'm told (by many many sources) that cloth pads cause less cramping and less bleeding (i.e. fewer days, by far). If you insist on a tampon type thing (or need one for certain activities), there are unbleached 100% cotton alternatives at your local "hippie store", or there's also something called a diva cup that's reusable. I have a diva cup and didn't really like it, but that's just me. I'll spare you the pictures of my homemade pads, but if any of my hippie friends are interested, I'm happy to email photos ;-)


So, lately, we've been worried have a major water drainage problem, which does not bode well for growing food. Every time it rained and we walked around the backyard, we'd step on super super squishy ground. Yesterday we discovered we do not have a water drainage problem, we have a mole problem. Ack!! I don't know a thing about moles, but my first instinctual thought was, "what about my carrots?!? The moles must die!!!!!" In a more rational moment, I did some looking around online and it seems if you have moles around, that means you have a grub problem in your lawn (since that's what they eat). Perhaps getting rid of the moles would let the grubs go to town?? And what would they do? hmmmmm. Our veggie garden is all raised bed and it seems they haven't really discovered it b/c most of it (like the carrots) has no obvious damage. I decided we just needed a way to keep them away from the garden. Well, turns out things like onion and garlic repel them. Maybe our carrots are okay because they're planted with the onions. Also lots of stuff about the hating peppermint (so you can put peppermint oil out), and sound vibration, so you can stick a pole in the ground and tie empty 2 liter bottles to the top so they'll bang around in the wind and make vibration in the ground that will run the moles off. Ideas, ideas.

Since our longterm goal is to provide most of our food for ourselves, we try a new thing every spring. Sometimes it's a major flop, sometimes it works. This year we're trying two things. The first is "three sisters" plantings---where you plant corn, green beans and squash in the same spot. This will have to go up by the house to have any shot of growing because we also have racoons around here and I know they'll come after the corn. We might have to throw some corn out at the back fence (there's woods back there) too, so the raccoons will just stay back there. The other thing we're trying is growing potatoes. This is the experimental year and if it works, we'll grow different varities next year. We're gonna try straw bale planting (only, we'll use hay). Basically, you just lay the potato on the ground and mound hay up over it (and keep adding hay as the shoots come up). When it's time to harvest, you just pull back the straw (watch for snakes, I imagine) and have clean potatoes with no digging. I'm hoping this works b/c we don't exactly have the soil for good potato growing around here. We found a 50# bag of seed potatoes for $15 at a local place. We're splitting the bag with friends, but if it works, we should still have *plenty* of potatoes!!! I have visions of a freezer full of mashed potatoes and potatoes au gratin and twice baked potatoes and potato soup. We can even try canning potatoes, I guess.

And more pictures....
Our carrots growing like gang busters (what exactly does that phrase mean??). We have a really cool variety out there (dragon carrot) that's red. It looks interesting and I can't wait to taste it:

Here's our newly transplanted onions that we started from seed a few months ago. They are happy in their new homes and will hopefully be providing us with tons of onions right when we're harvesting tomatoes (and canning salsa):

The brussel sprouts are putting out their little sprouts and seem very happy. We only had 2 or 3 stalks last year, this year it looks like we'll end up with 10-15.

The romaine lettuce is very happy too. Unfortunately a certain little catepillar has taken a liking to our spinach, so we didn't get to eat any of it ourselves. I'm gonna take the fact that nature didn't touch the romaine as a sign that it's not nearly as healthy as the spinach, but it's something.

And sure, we have no climate change issues what so ever. Here it is mid-January---January!!! and the weather is so screwed up I discovered a strawberry bloom today!!!! I'm sure it will be dead later this week because we have been alternating between high 20's and low 70's for weeks now. It's not fall, winter or's the new season: "falltering" brought to you by the folks at OPEC. I don't like cold weather, but it is necessary in the big scheme of things and I'm gonna guess the rapid switch between cold and warm we're having (the only thing worse than a complete lack of cold) will wreak havoc on our garden and fruit trees :-(

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Updates on the homefront

Sedona is scheduled for her GI visit. The doctor is a guy that comes up from TCH, so he should know his stuff. I highly doubt he'll find anything, because, well, no one else has. She goes next Thursday. Her weight gain was so good last week, that I decided to put her on the scale again Wednesday. I figured maybe the gaining trend would have continued and we could just cancel the GI appointment and go about our merry way with a healthy baby (I'll stick my head in the sand about slimey green poop if she'll gain weight well). As it turned out, she lost an ounce over two days. Taking weights close together like that is bound to give you some plateaus and dips, but it wasn't the continued fast gain I was hoping for. Oh well, we'll see what next Monday's weigh in brings.

Pictures from our world:

Sierra riding her bike. It's not nearly as dark as it looks, and we were just going to the end of our street (a long cul-de-sac) and back:

Sedona's first ride in the backpack. I can't believe she's made it this far without being packed anywhere. Sierra was already a veteran at that age! I think as soon as it's warm enough I may start walking to work with her in the pack (it's only a mile)

Homemade peach kolaches! Muchas gracias to uncle coo and aunt jen jen for the new cookbook. My first try at kolaches went okay....I was a little heavy handed with the dough (so they're a tad tough) and I over filled some (so the filling spilled out and sorta carmelized on the bottom), but I'm confident I could do really well next time. Bonus, these are filled with peach "jam" we made two years ago and didn't cook long enough (so it's really more of a peach syrup/jam hybrid)---I finally have a good use for all those jars of peachy goodness! Sorry the picture's sideways. I forgot to rotate it and honestly, I'm too lazy to fix it now.

The new diaper cover I made Sedona. I think I did pretty well, except I couldn't get a waist that was big enough to go over her thighs and still small enough on her waist. I think this style will work just fine once she's standing up and can help me get it on her, but in the meantime, I'm gonna have to try my hand at a more traditional shape that goes on like a disposable diaper.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...