Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Olivia got a tattoo from a health fair (go figure) at the Y the other week. It was a lady bug and she wanted it on her forearm (seemingly so she could gaze at it frequently.) That was some tattoo. It lasted well over a week until I pulled a sneak attack in the tub the other day. When washcloth met lady bug, it was adios tattoo. This caused a very large, very loud three year old tantrum. I've been paying the price ever since.
Well, the drive thru worker at Burger King (NOT that we went there for lunch or anything) had a massive tattoo right where O's lady bug would have been had I not been so cruel. So for the 7 minutes it takes to get from BK to home there was a monologue about tattoo's. (Is that normal from a 3 year old?)
O declared: "Mama, we should get you a tattoo."
Me: "Hmmm.. what kind of tattoo?"
O (after a few contemplative seconds): "A beautiful tattoo! A beautiful, sparkly, Hannah Montana tattoo! Do you love it?"
Me: "Well, I'm not sure that the whole Hannah Montana thing is really me."
O (somewhat disappointed): "Oh. I think it would be beautiful. How about a Cinderella one instead?"
We may have lunch from the Burger King drive thru- but we DO NOT watch Hannah Montana. I'm not really sure where she gets this stuff, but advertisers are getting their money's worth from my three year old, that's for sure.
Monday, April 27, 2009
It was a fabulous day around here, so we weren't the only ones thinking the zoo would be the perfect outdoor family solution. The parking alone took 20 minutes. And waiting in inefficient lines doesn't bring out the best in me! I might have called several carloads of other Ohioans idiots and questioned their driving skills a time or two. Lovely start to a family outing! But I'll tell 'ya what, the gorillas were worth the price of admission (a season family pass at that!) They were in rare form yesterday and we had a blast watching them.
Another super duper fun thrill yesterday was feeding the giraffes. I've never been that close to one and for only $2 both of my kids got to give the giraffes a cracker (much like the cracker they would find on the safari in Africa.) STILL better than the marshmallows and licorice we used to take for the bears and monkeys at the Toledo zoo back in the late '70's. (Hopefully PETA isn't monitoring my blog.)
Naturally, we had to stop for a substantial portion of the visit at the play area. This is where I was thankful that it was an 80 degree humidity free day. The stone statues were cool enough to actually sit on without blistering my children's' skin and I wasn't melting in a puddle as there was no shade.
Here is my brave daughter, once again, nearing wildlife. Snuggling the goat that had just pooped the biggest pile of pellets nearly gagged me... but I'm no spoil sport. We did, however, wait in line for about 5 minutes to wash hands from the one spicket that was working. (Much in the same fashion as the parking procedures, Cincinnati zoo was a bit challenged in the traffic funneling department yesterday.)
Friday, April 24, 2009
But what really got me during that same goldfish snack episode was when Olivia called Turner over to share HER crackers with him. (She didn't even know I was watching.) He waddled up, opened his mouth like a little bird and she dropped it in. They repeated this ritual about 4 times, until O realized Turner had a bowl full of his own crackers. She demanded he share with her, he protested and cute moment over. But until all hell broke loose, my eyes were welling up with tears over the whole sweet episode.
Thursday, April 23, 2009
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Sunday, April 19, 2009
CVSing. Yes, it is a verb. Yes, it is an addiction. Yes, it is hard to get the hang of. And yes, I think it would be possible to get a good deal anywhere, even in NYC!
My good friend, and decade+ mentor, Karen lives in Manhattan and has had a CVS go up not far from her. She is wondering if CVS is worth her time since the NY Times does not include coupons. If anyone has advice for Karen, feel free to leave a comment and help a girl out.
As for my advice, here is what I would tell you (and this is for anyone who wants to give CVS a whirl.) Stop in and apply for the ExtraCare card. This is what will be your entrance into CVS bliss. Its free and easy to get. Take the card with you every time you shop. While you are there I would also ask if that store accepts competitor's coupons. (You can find these on line if you don't get the paper.) Also ask if there is an extension on the ECB expiration date. (My CVS ECB's never expire and several other stores around here take the ECB up to a month after expiration, making that a very good offer.)
If they DO accept them and the ECB's get a bit of a "grace period", I'd say you should DEFINITELY give it a whirl. There really is nothing to lose. (If its a no to either one of those things, you should still give it a try, it'll just be a bit less helpful.)
If you don't get the Sunday paper or that paper doesn't include coupons, there are coupon sites on line where you can print coupons. Often similar coupons to what you would find in the paper. http://www.coupons.com/ is a great place to start. There are also several great blogs I check out almost daily that help me figure out what the good deals are and where to find the coupons I need to make the deals happen. Here are a few:
Those are a few I'd start with. They have lots of great tips on how to save and lots of links to freebies and giveaways as well as coupons.
If you want to start CVSing I'd especially start with the i heart cvs one because it usually gives you a look at the Sunday circular add and could be really helpful for those who don't get the paper.
An ECB is an Extra Care Buck. This is "free money". If you buy something that is on special at CVS (this can be found in the weekly circular or on that blog) it will tell you how many ECB's you get with the purchase. For example, this week if you buy Edge Infused comfort or hydrate shave gel (7 oz.) and you use your Extra Care card you pay $2.89. When you get your receipt, attached at the end you'll get $2.89 in ECB's. The next time you shop at CVS your ECB will spend the same as cash. So... if you are into CVSing you "essentially" get it for free.
**** This is what tripped me up at first. I kept telling Steve, "I got it for free" but he kept telling me, "No! You paid $2.89 for it!" My problem was I kept "spending" the ECB's twice in my head. Once when I got them and my product was "free" and then again when I used it the next time to buy something else.
Now I've gotten to the point where I've got a "stash" of ECB's where I truly am only spending pennies out of pocket and using ECB's and earning ECB's for future purchases.
Those other blogs I mentioned have much better and more articulate posts on how to CVS. Look in their archives for something like "CVS 101" or something like that.
But I do want to encourage you that if I can do it, so can you. Its so fun to get an awesome deal and to save so much for our family in the process. I feel like I've also been able to bless some friends of mine who are in some rough spots right now. When I have an over abundance of toothpaste, shampoo, deodorant or RAZORS I try to give them away to those friends first. Other people donate these items to a local shelter or similar place.
Well, that's enough for now. Hopefully that was a little helpful in pointing you in the right direction. If nothing else, start with the online coupons. If you can even save a few dollars here and there, every bit helps. Good luck and happy shopping.
PS Similar savings can be done at Walgreens, Rite Aide and Target. I've mostly streamlined mine to CVS and occasionally Target. Any more than that would completely overwhelm me!
Saturday, April 18, 2009
come across as boastful (because let's face it, I made enough mistakes my first 2 months of CVS to make up for any amount of money saving I'm doing now!)
And if my CVS didn't take competitor's coupons, I would not have made such a killing. I'm still riding the wave of my infected finger and am the proud holder of a $10 CVS gift card (which I actually forgot to use in the purchase of these products. It took me 2 hours after leaving the store $1.23 poorer to finally let it go.) But that just means I have that $10 to put toward a future purchase.
It is indeed true, I paid $1.23 out of pocket for all of this stuff. Because I had some great coupons (from the paper and off the Internet) and I had two different $5 off of a $25 purchase Rite Aid coupon (that's where the competitor thing really comes in handy) I was able to get all this stuff for so little AND walk away with 14.50 in ECBs.
Again, we need another razor like we need another hole in our head, but hey... they were free... and I got me some ECBs. What's a girl to do? So I hope I'm not being annoying with my CVS posts, but I just have to show off my scores somewhere. My next venture really needs to be an increased saving at the grocery store. But that feels a bit overwhelming and like I would REALLY need to get organized. With CVS I can kind of fly by the seat of my pants and spend minimal time preparing. Krogering is a whole different ball of wax. I want to shoot myself in the head going there as it is, forget getting organized with my coupons. Ack! Plus, I need to remain sober some of the week!
Friday, April 17, 2009
We headed to Toledo where we spent the holiday with my parents. Nothing extravagant (I'll spare you the egg pun that could so easily be inserted here!) but fun nonetheless.
It only seemed appropriate that my kids colored eggs and had an egg hunt there. Because you see, I hunted eggs for many many years at my parents home. The story goes like this:
I'm an only child (need I go on?). So the Easter bunny came, like he does to most American homes and hid eggs. The Easter bunny was more traditional than he was creative and because we always lived in Ohio, the Easter bunny stuck to hiding eggs indoors. Well, the eggs wound up in the "traditional" spots year after year. So much so that I never really had to hunt for the eggs. I just had to get nostalgic. Base of the coffee table. Check. Planter. Check. Trombone (yes, we had trombone on our mantel all growing up. And no, no one in my family actually played the trombone.) Check. And then there was the annual, "Where DID the bunny hide that 12th egg?" question that got answered by the giveaway odor a few days later.
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Well, along with grandparent gifts come the joy and frustration. For example, I found myself more than gracious when the cd player with not just ONE microphone but TWO attached microphones showed up at our house Christmas morning. (It was my mom's answer to my whining about having to listen to annoying children's CD's in the car.) I think she mistook earphones with microphones. There's no way on God's green earth that CD player will EVER find its way into my car!
Well, a month or two back Olivia became the proud owner of this 6x3 foot tent complete with Disney Princesses!
(I'm not sure what holiday was being celebrated, it could have just a casual mention by O that she would really really like an appallingly large pink Disney Princess tent to annoy her mother with and my mother just couldn't contain herself...or O's birthday, I just can't remember.)
Oh, how she nearly wet her pants as we set that thing up in my parents' living room. I wanted to hang that thing around my mom's neck as it took 4 adults over 1/2 hour to fold it back up and put it in it's "carrying" bag. (The only place I'm carrying this thing is to the curb on garbage day!)
After weeks upon weeks of bugging me to set this thing up (I've been using showing the house as a brilliant excuse for why we couldn't) I finally broke down today. Since it's been raining for a week straight and is practically cold enough to snow, it seemed only right to throw them a bone. O and Turner loved it. Baxter loved it too. For about 15 minutes they were in and out of that thing over 100 times. The problem- I had to set it back up 101 of those times.
I eventually blew my stack. Yelled at the kids, kicked the dog and wadded up the tent and threw it in the stairwell. The whole time we had the tent out O ran around the living room singing, "Bob, the builder YES YOU CAN!" When the tent finally got the best of me, Olivia looked at me and said, "Well, maybe daddy can set it up and get it to work!"
Dad, the builder-- yes YOU can!
With the radio off and Turner silently starring out the window I glanced back to see O talking to her newly acquired PINK dog from Victoria's Secret (ahh... a blessing and a curse to work with college girls!) She was telling her new dog, whose name is "Potater" by the way (????) a story. It started out like this,
"I have travelled a long way. I came all the way from China. And when I got here I met baby Jesus. And the baby Jesus was crying. And I said, 'baby Jesus, don't cry.' But he cried wah wah wah anyway. He was crying because he had two really mean step sisters. They pulled his hair and stole his shoes. Poor baby Jesus."
And then I'm sure there was more but I got lost in my own thoughts about my parenting skills. Umm... my child doesn't go on trips to Disneyland in her imagination like most kids her age, she goes to China. The baby Jesus part is good in my book, I'm just not sure which translation of the Bible includes his two evil step sisters. Clearly fact and fiction are crossing wires in her brain. She was concerned this Easter about the whole crown of thorns thing! Potentially that got translated to hair pulling?
The girl certainly has some complexities for a 3 year old. This morning I heard a scream and a whimper. About 2 minutes later she came into the room I was in and said, "Baxter bit me." So being the compassionate tender hearted mother that I am my first response was, "What did you do to him?" Her answer, "I was antagonizing him." She is certainly not short on words! Perhaps a future blogger? We shall see. In the meantime, I'll just keep stealing her thunder!
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Having gone to Montessori schools age 3-8 myself, it was like a trip down memory lane for me. I recognized activities that haven't changed in 30 years!
I just had to share with Steve my fond memory of the one and only time in all of my school years of getting in trouble. 1st grade, my friend Rachel and I wanted to take some counting bears home, so I stuffed them down my tights. Would have been a "great idea" if by the end of the day the bears hadn't collected around my ankles. Bumpy ankles are always cause for suspicion by teachers. It was so traumatizing that it seriously was one of the only times I ever got in trouble in school.
This school seems ideal. The classroom we observed was great. Racially diverse. Students working busily. It was strange sitting there trying to imagine O in the mix. I think she'll fit in great. Teachers greeted and welcomed us in the hallway, practically giving us commercials for why we should send our child there, most emphasising that their own children have passed through those very halls.
The next step in the process is filling out the application and then bringing her in for a screening. I'm still nervous about how I'll do having my baby gone every morning. Girl is ready for a challenge and I think will thrive in such an environment. People pay thousands and thousands of dollars to send their kids to Montessori school. If she gets in, this will cost us $25 for the whole year. (And I think I'm getting a good deal each week at CVS...look out!) Pretty much kids would have been needing to be stringing each other up from the ceiling and the teacher napping in the corner for us to not give this one a shot.
Now with our luck, our house will sell and we'll end up in a school district that is not failing! We've got all the luck!
Friday, April 10, 2009
So, Tuesday afternoon rolled around and Steve stayed home with the kids. I decided to not get all worked up about it and to treat it like a treat. (Hey, whatever works!) I got there about 10 minutes early, took a book and settled in for a moment of quiet. Unfortunately, this office was very efficiently run and I had little time to read.
After going through the usual medical rigmarole, they took me back to the little changing room where they gave me a heated robe to put on. I have to say it was scrumptious. Next I went to another little waiting room with more questions etc. Then it was off to the dreaded test.
I feel like over the years I've heard horror stories. Painful. Embarrassing. Etc. Well, this was not my experience. Now, I'm not saying I'd like to do this every day or anything. But as far as medical procedures go, this just wasn't that bad. Perhaps a tad bit on the uncomfortable side as the tech had to position "things" just right, but come on, she's a professional. It's just not that weird.
I got the results back today and everything is clear. The two days of waiting were a bit nerve wracking. For me, ignorance is bliss. But not this time, not with something like this.
So if you are leery of getting a mammogram, don't be. Take it from me, the biggest wimp in the world- do yourself a favor and get yourself checked. Maybe you'll be luckier than I was and run into a hopelessly slow office and get a book read.
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
But with the showing and all, things needed to get back to the show-readiness that it was a month ago. I have to say, the one thing that has managed to stay in order is my pantry. I'm pretty proud of that. It helps when you don't really cook, thus not really needing to get things out of order. At least that's my M.O.
Well, about 30 minutes ago I got a call from Steve saying that our showing has been cancelled. Well, I don't know if it's been completely cancelled or just postponed. Time will tell. So, great... now I've got a clean house for nothin'. Maybe that's what I need for the rest of my life. A "we're gonna show your house to potential buyers" phone call to light the fire under my otherwise lazy and apathetic cleaning buns. Cuz guess what? It works!
Monday, April 6, 2009
Before our band got up to lead us in singing there were some video announcements. In the background of the video was a rather popular worship song. Olivia rather loudly announced, "I don't like this song." Pause "I like David Cook!"
Needless to say heads in several directions nearly spun off their necks in order to catch a glimpse of the "heathen" child. And there I sat beaming proudly. My mom reminded me I got luckily. Olivia could have boldly and proudly announced her love for "Womanizer" by Brittany Spears. God's grace does abound!
Saturday, April 4, 2009
This may have been my favorite week as a mom to date. I'm not sure if it was all that much different than other weeks but there were certainly some noticeable differences.
For one, Turner has all of a sudden really taken off in the communication department. His number of words hasn't increased all that much, but he gets his point across pretty well now. He also now has 4 signs that he's learned - and is actually using- and it all came together this week.
He can say "more", "please", "thank you" and "all done". And surprisingly, that helps us out a TON.
This one has been brewing for a while but this week Turner's run has actually become a run rather than a fast waddle. Some may think this a problem, I think its a great addition because now he and his sister play chase. And I mean they play! And laugh! And run!
Friday, April 3, 2009
I had to run to 'ole CVS to pick up a script for O (don't ask) and since I had mapped out a tentative plan thinking, "If I happen to get there this week.." so since I "happened to be there" I picked up these few things.
I spent $1.03 out of pocket but only made 2 ECBs . Not too bad for an 8 pack of paper towels, a bottle of Fantastik, a bottle of Windex Wipes, Huggies Gentle Care wipes, 2 liter of Diet Dr. Pepper, a Glade air freshener machine and 3 (not just the 2) Mentos Gum. I had a bunch of ECB's burning a hole in my pocket for weeks but only "got to" spend 10 of them because of all the awesome coupons I had, including a $5 off of $25 coupon from Rite Aid. I'm lucky b/c my store takes competitor coupons. I also got 5 ECBs today for my Winter spending. That's like 5 free dollars just for shopping at CVS.
I also got tipped off by the super nice (and patient cashier who had to unlock the bathroom entrance for a certain princess who had a potty emergency. Great, so now I'm the annoying coupon lady AND the lady who has the princess w/ the weak bladder) cashier to a great Huggies deal starting Sunday. So if you're in need of diapers and can hold off till Sunday, do so and then head to CVS!
Yesterday there were several points in the day where I found myself near tears. Thoughts of Quinn like a burden around my neck. I think most of them were brought on by watching Turner run around, say a few words and most of all fall down, scream and cry as he reached out for him mommy for comfort. As I held him and saw him calm down I wondered who is there to comfort Quinn now that he's probably cruising around, running into walls and just generally being a boy? Quinn turns 18 months on April 10th. That is a year and a half of his life that I have not been there for. We knew full well that we would miss many early milestones, that's part of the adoption gig. But as I see Turner reaching milestone after milestone I feel my heart turn toward Quinn. I think its part of God's plan to knit my heart to him.
I'm still trying not to check my email 700 times a day hoping beyond hope that the LOA is in my inbox. I am confident it is on its way and will come in God's perfect timing. In the meantime its good to know I am feeling ready to have a third crazy running around this house!