Links Sunday, Jan. 15, 2023

Cheap Food Items To Buy When They’re On Sale – Making big batches of beans in the slow cooker and then freezing them in freezer bags was a game changer for us. They taste much better than the canned kind. Nicer texture. And practically free.

The royal gossip is MASSIVE right now, but I’m trying not to read it all. I’m trying to detox this week from beef and wine, so this might be a good week to also go on a royal gossip fast. Maybe not immediately though!

We took Ian to one of those new mega-malls last night, where its more about entertainment and food than shopping. It was god awful. We live 30 minutes from Manhattan, which has the best entertainment and food in the world. I just don’t get this. Except Ian had a great time, and it was definitely a good destination for young families on a cold and rainy weekend.

This year, we decided to plan a year’s worth of vacations and trips in January, because we wanted to prioritize those experiences and make a yearly budget. So far, we’re doing a ski trip in Vermont in February, taking Ian to Orlando for his 21st birthday in April, and traveling to Italy in June. Jonah will join us for the ski trip in Vermont, but it will be just Ian and Steve and I for the other trips. I might join Steve for a work trip to Chicago in May. That’s it so far. The rest of the year will be probably be small stuff – camping and day trips.

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21 thoughts on “Links Sunday, Jan. 15, 2023

  1. The mall by my in-laws was failing, so they stuck a casino on the end. I guess that saved it for now. I remember when going to a mall used to be almost a weekly event for me, but I haven’t been to one in two years.

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    1. Yeah, nobody is shopping in person anymore. Our downtown, which used to be filled with little shops and chains stores, is empty. So depressing. The second fancy mall around here is going to be demo-ed soon. It’s going to be a combo of fancy housing probably for seniors, shopping, and entertainment. A faux downtown. Shrug. People can buy their t-shirts on Amazon, but still need something to do on a Saturday night.

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      1. I have a real downtown in walking distance now. The shopping isn’t what it was ten years ago, but there are more and better bars. But I can hardly drink more than a couple of times a month now.

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  2. Ooooooh Italy. I have my Fodor’s Essential Italy from a week I spent in Rome in 2015 (my first and only time there) on my bookshelf and every once in a while I look at it with deep longing to return. I also get occasional emails from the Scuola Leonardo da Vinci where I took Italian lessons in the morning. June could be hot, though!

    These indoor entertainment places are godsends for my friends with small children, especially in the winter. Of course we are in the middle of a rural area so not many options for anything. The adults usually can’t stand them but having a place you can drive to, hang out for a few hours, and let your kids run around is a gift. Disney seems like that, only bigger, more expensive, and sometimes actually fun for adults.

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  3. What were the attractions for the big kiddo at the mall?

    We’re drive and park people, so we did take little kiddos to the mall (just regular mall, but pretty big, with play areas for the kids). One was an outdoor mall and there was much time spent at Barnes & Nobles (which I hear is experiencing a bit of a revival). Our younger has been exploring things to do in our city (rather than just hybernating in the basement). So far, the zoo & aquarium & the center area with the space needle have featured, but not any malls (though he has been to the ice rink).

    Our old, dying mall has now added a training facility and ice rink for the local (new franchise hockey team). The rest of the mall is in flux, but there’s an ice arena that is much better than anything else we have nearby. I think in time, the idea is to have restaurants & retirement living in addition to the ice rink.

    I love how you visit NYC regularly and fantasize about being that kind of person, but, I’m guessing I wouldn’t make it there very often even living 30 minutes away (and that I am not the only one of my sort).

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    1. I just asked Ian why he likes malls. He said idk. I suspect that Ian loves walking through a new huge space, because his brain loves creating maps. My friends kids, who are more autistic than Ian, like to do a lap of my entire house when they come over; they’re creating those mental maps. Malls are even better because they have logos, lots of food options, visual stimulation, and so on. But it may not be an autistic thing. I took my parents to the mall over the holidays for shopping, and they had a great time, too. People just like getting out of the house and seeing new things.

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    2. “People just like getting out of the house and seeing new things.”

      Yes, definitely. I am not getting out enough, and loved overhearing the conversations at a breakfast place I hadn’t been to in a while. The first was on a couple moving to a new co-housing establishment (houses, common cooking/social life) and another on an adult disability diagnosis and getting accommodations in the work place (that one was probably too loud for a public place). But, I got to see the rest of the world and not my tiny little bubble.

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  4. And I love that you’ve planned your trips. You might inspire me. Right now the kids feel they are in an unplannable transition state. But, we should plan something for us, even if the kids can’t come. My mom very much wants to have a cruise with her children and grandchildren, but that requires the grandkids.

    I had hoped that trips to Italy would be the kind of thing our kids would join us on, but I see now that adult children are more complicated (which I should have known, because we were more complicated). Spouse turned down a trip to the India, the Himalayas and Kashmir to have a summer at home before he left for college, for example, and that was after a lifetime of adventures across the world with his dad.

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    1. Adult children do not want to travel with their parents. Ian is coming with us, because he has fewer options than Jonah. And Jonah is applying for more jobs and wants the flexibility to start at any time.

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  5. Trips with adult children. Well, a few questions.

    How old were you when you met your spouse/significant other (assuming you have one)?
    Were your parents present on that occasion?
    How much time did your spend going on vacation at that time of your life?

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    1. I stopped going on vacations with my parents sometime in the college years. They didn’t have a whole lot of money and didn’t go on vacation often anyway. I did travel around Europe three times, I think, in my twenties, but didn’t have regular vacations at all. No money.

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    2. Yes, I do have admit that I stopped “going” on vacations with my parents (which were road trips, except for the one summer visit to our country of origin) after HS. We did drive back from my college together when I graduated.

      But, we all moved away from our family home, in HS or shortly there after (tough my sibs spent some intervening time at home). And we did join my parents at home (or other homes in other places). It wasn’t until grand kids that more interesting vacations got planned, but they have all been in the US (but all over). The last vacation which included all 3 grandkids was this year.

      Our last family of 4 vacation was August 2019 (and, we did drag along younger for older’s college drop off that year). Hawaii that year added a friend of older’s, changing the vacation, but I think this is going to have to be one of the mods.

      We are just reaching the stage where, yes, vacations will have to be different.

      Need to plan some with spouse, over which we can have control.

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  6. A friend is planning a trip with her almost adult children for winter break. But it is almost, because younger will be a senior in HS. I think she is seeing it as something of a last chance. Her elder is a millionaire, though, so . . . .

    I will work on having more realistic expectations

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  7. Agree with you on the beans. The texture and flavor are so much better than canned. We were stunned and now we really like Rancho Gordo, though cheaper options are also delicious.

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      1. slow cooker beans pfui. instant pot! although one new thing for me is overnight caramelized onions in the slow cooker, so it will survive.

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    1. I do enjoy these updates about how everyone cooks for adults (love carmelized onions, for example).

      But, I also would love to know how the young adult men are feeding themselves. I think I would like to cook like that (except that I do indeed eat less and can afford more). How is the air fryer being used? do the kiddos use the slow cooker? the frozen cooked beans? Is an instant pot part of chez 11D? Is girlfriend fed by young adult, or by the family cook?

      I know young adults who cook (my older, for example), but cooks like you grownups do, with planning, and particular skills, for the food that she eats (stir fries, asian food, rice bowls, tofu). My younger is more like me, unwilling to invest any energy in cooking, especially when he’s hungry. He eats a lot of sandwiches, purchased from elsewhere (often Subway).

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      1. ” He eats a lot of sandwiches, purchased from elsewhere (often Subway).”

        HA! Have just made Mr 15 count up how much money he’s spent on eating out (fast food, mall sandwiches, etc.)and UberEats over this summer. It’s his first with a real job/income – and he’s felt ‘wealthy’.
        He was horrified at the total – so easy for $10 here and there to add up very quickly – and has revised his policy of refusing to make/take sandwiches from home.

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      2. Jonah specializes in fancy breakfasts. He’ll make breakfast for his girlfriend when she’s over. Weekends are random here for food. Our social plans usually involve food, so I rarely cook on Fridays and Saturdays, which is when the girlfriend is typically here. They don’t cook dinner stuff either. They go out.

        During the week, I’m the master of dinner. We’re all working weird hours or have therapy, so I’m the only one organized enough to pull off food for four with all that craziness.

        Ian uses the air fryer to make himself frozen food or orders food from UberEats, if we’re out. Steve and I are going to Chinatown for New Years tomorrow, so Jonah will drive Ian to the diner or something.

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      3. I’ll note that my kiddo of the Subway orders is not earning independent income!

        I need to send him the tally so that he knows. I think that he might currently have made up a rule (not well negotiated) that when he’s at home we’re responsible for his board and therefore, when he goes out, we pay (we share a credit card he uses and I pay for expenses we cover, like airline tickets). It’s not entirely illogical, because we buy food at home all the time (orders, prepared food from groceries, . . . ) so, is our rule that we only pay if he eats *with* us (it’s not). Need to negotiate, especially for when he’s home for the summer.

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