Thursday, December 31, 2009


Fun little shop this morning at Giant. Please note that some coupons I used may have been expired - I never check and Giant doesn't seem to care.

  • The Corn Flakes were $8 for 3 huge boxes, plus I got the 12-pack of Pop Tarts free. I had three $1/off coupons for the Corn Flakes, so the total cost for the cereal & Pop Tarts was $5.
  • The soups were B1G1 (at $2.50) and I had 4 coupons for $.50/2. So the total cost for each can was 75 cents.
  • The Healthy Choice meals were on sale for $3 (from $3.70) and I saw coupons on another aisle for $1.50 off each! So each one cost $1.50, and on the days where Stewart uses one for lunch instead of hitting Chipotle we save at least $5 that day!
  • The Honey Bunches of Oats were B1G1 (at $3.49) and I had coupons for $1/2, so each box cost $1.25.
  • I also had a coupon for $3 off the whole shop that I got randomly last time I rocked the coupons at Giant, so I used it today.
The whole shop cost $72.16; after Bonus Card and coupons was a net cost of $21.68. I LOVE COUPONS.

Monday, December 21, 2009

When Jack is tired...

he's like a drunken frat boy. Some kids turn into monsters when they're tired, fussy and irritable. Jack gets wasted. He's smiley, goofy, stumble-ey, stagger-ey, giggly...

He's in bed for the night right now but hoping for a reprieve. He knows to go for the sucker: Daddy, but keeps getting Mommy. When I just walked in he was standing at the crib rail, smiling at me. I walked towards him to help settle him and he plopped backwards onto his bottom, looked at me, grinned, and said "fell down!"

Wasted baby.

Saturday, December 19, 2009


Jack's been having a terrible time with sleep for the last few months - ear infections started it up, then he figured out we'd come when he called, and that power has gone straight to his head. We're trying to do a gentle sleep-training to get him back to where he was before; it's somewhat successful. Let's just say that a good night means he only wakes up once and goes back down without a fight.

At night when I put him to bed I ask him if he wants to sit together in the chair for a minute; we rock and I sing to him. A few nights ago he was sobbing after I put him down. When I went in to him, he was doing that gasping, crying, talking thing and when I finally figured out what he was saying my heart broke a little bit: "Chair minute?" He was asking to sit in the chair with me. I broke my own rules and pulled him out of the crib for a cuddle.

Tonight he wasn't crying, just calling to me to have me come back in. My rule is to go in, give him back his paci and doll, cover him back up, and leave. I went through the plan fine the first time, but as I'm tucking him in the second time he looks at me and says "hug?"

There was hugging.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Super-cheap pizza - this is why I love the internet!

I am so grateful to the other frugal bloggers out there - deals like this make my life easier and cheaper. Time and money are some of the best gifts a Mom can get!

Right now you can take-out a large, one topping pizza AND a dessert of Cinnastix for $5.99. That's an incredible deal and I'll probably take advantage of it tonight (today is gymnastics day and I'm running around the whole day!) I already checked it out and it's working just as advertised.

Thanks to Moneywise Moms!

Monday, December 14, 2009

What do you guys think?

I was thinking about spending one full month shopping only from Trader Joes and blogging about the daily meals and snacks that I can make from there. Does this sound at all interesting to anyone other than me? Goodness knows it would add to the work-load around here, but it's hard for me to resist a challenge...

Thoughts? Opinions?

Nate update

Not a formal newsletter but a little update on my sweet Nate.

We're enjoying the bounty of Chanukah right now and Nate's thrilled with his gifts. His favorite are the Backugan I got him and the little carrying case to keep them organized. He loves the Captain Underpants stories from Grandma, the police legos from Aunt Drebba, and the dinosaur from our neighbors David & David. Surprisingly, he's really into Hi-Ho-Cherry-O which is really fun for me.

School is going amazingly well. I'm thrilled with their program (right now they're doing a 6-week unit on "Solids, Liquids, and Gasses") and Nate's still heading out happily each morning. We should be getting his first-ever report card soon and I'm excited to hear what they have to say. He had his first field-trip last week, to see the Terra Cotta Warriors at the National Geographic Museum, and I got to chaperon which was a hoot. I definitely learned more than they did.

Today when I picked him up from school he told me that "Today was the best best best day ever, better than the other days I told you that!" They mixed some kind of powder with water and got to play with the results. The time that was best best before this time was because they got to do painting on a long sheet of paper that everyone painted on together. I am so grateful and glad that Nate loves to learn, and that he's in a school that encourages it and brings out the best in him.

He's still an absolutely amazing brother, almost always sweet to Jack - bringing him favorite toys when he's upset, sharing his Chanukah presents, trying to include him in play. He loves to be helpful, and he usually is. It's hilarious to listen to him try to "translate" Jack for me - if I can't understand Jack, Nate chimes in with "He says X" and he's almost always totally wrong. But it's fun.

Tonight his Chanukah present was the Tag reading system and he liked it a lot more than I was worried he would. He played with it alone for at least 15 minutes (a bit of a miracle from my "play with me" boy!) and we played with it in bed tonight instead of "regular" reading. I showed him how he could try sounding words out himself and then use the pen to check himself. I absolutely could not believe it when he correctly sounded out, otherwise known as READ, several words: books, look, cup, milk, cat, and hat. I actually teared up after the fourth word; I am so amazed and proud of him.

A few weeks ago when I asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up (a frequent question) he told me that he wanted to be a McDonalds guy and also go into outer space. Roger.

Tonight he tried to play me for the first time: he wandered into the kitchen with a sly smile on his face and said "Since you're such a nice Mom, I know you'll let us watch a TV show..." I gave him full credit for the effort. TV denied.

He is absolutely amazing, frustrating, brilliant, sensitive, and fabulous.


(First snow)

So Jack has exploded all over the place. The talking is just too cute. He's repeating almost everything we say. There's a little ritual every time I tell him a new word:

(Reading an animal book)

Mama: What's that Jack? (pointing at a snail)
Jack: Bug
Mama: It's a snail. Snnnaaillll...
Jack: Snail???
Mama: Snail.
Jack: Snail.

He always repeats the word as a question first, then really decisively the second time. He still has weird accents and speech things ("Yes" is still "ess" though he threw in a "yeah" this morning) but the content is really diverse now, and he's using phrases.

In no particular order:

  • "Watch dis, Mama!"
  • (Looking at the camera: "Picture Jack!")
  • "Hear dat?"
  • "Have it" when he wants something, or "Hold it"
  • When he's saying goodbye, he often follows it with "Soon!" for "see you soon!"
  • "Taller"
  • "Chocolate", "Chocolate milk"
  • "Downstairs"
  • "Under"
  • "Dinosaurs" (pronounced "dino-saur-US")
  • "Heavy"
  • "HUGE truck!" (or bus, or car, or dinosaurUS)
This morning he recognized and named a triangle when we were doing puzzles. He's still completely clueless on colors - everything is "blue." My most favorite thing is when he's asking for something like milk but forgets the "please" - I tell him to ask me nicely and he looks at me sweetly and says "nicely?"

Couldn't be cuter.

If you're going to be buying booze anyway...

Ran across an unexpected rebate offer in the Washington Post this morning. It's a great deal if you're a DC resident and planning on buying booze anyway.

Beer & Wine:

Receive $15 when you buy any six packs of 8 beers or more, or wines (750ml or larger), out of the following options:
  • Sterling Vintner's Collection Wine
  • BV Coastal Estates Wine
  • Rosenblum Cellars Vintner's Cuvee
  • Guinness Draught
  • Smirnoff Ice Premium Flavored Malt Beverages
  • Parrot Bay Tropical Flavored Malt Beverages
Spirits (aka: "the good stuff"):

Receive $15 off 3 bottles or $35 off 6 bottles (750ml or larger) out of the following options (I'm including a selection; there are more offers listed). I assume you can only buy one of each bottle for the rebate.
  • Smirnoff Vodka (any flavor)
  • Crown Royal Blended Canadian Whiskey
  • Captain Morgan Original Spiced Rum
  • Jose Cuervo Especial Tequila (Gold or Silver)
  • Smirnoff Cocktails (any flavor)
  • Johnnie Walker Red Label

Check page A11 of the December 14th post. This offer is valid 12/13/09 through 1/17/10 and is limit one offer per household. Another easy way to save some money if you were planning on stocking up for the holidays!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Another great deal from another great blogger!

I used Money Saving Methods to learn all about online offers. I give her all the credit - she walks you through everything and has tons of links available to find great offers.

Today I found another great post from her showing me how to get three free Bluetooth headsets.

I love free!

(And if you get one of these for a Chanukah gift, forget you ever saw this!)

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Simple ways to save

Sometimes saving money is a hassle; I'm always working to make sure that the savings I'm getting are worth the time I'm expending doing it. I'm just not driving to four different stores to save $4. I've talked about this balance ad nauseum so I won't start preaching about it again.

One of my favorite, easiest ways to save money is with coupon codes. It usually takes less than a minute for me to save 5, 10, or even 25% off an online order I was already going to make.

Today I was able to do something similar. Our dishwasher is officially broken and I simply can't live without one. (Okay, I won't live without one, but it's almost the same) So I headed to Sears today to look at the Kenmore ones in person (our previous Kenmore lasted 9 years and was a workhorse!) Found a reasonably priced one at $375 target=blank target=blank that had all of the bells I needed and none of the whistles that I didn't (who needs a stainless steel interior?)

I'm about to check out when I remember reading a blog post yesterday about a VIP sale they're having - I thought it was today but it's actually tomorrow. The guy happily took my name and credit card info and said he'd just ring it through tomorrow instead of today. For a two minute conversation, and the time it took me to read that blog post, I'm saving 10% off my order - $37.50. That's a pretty good hourly wage, tax free!

I don't enter the codes from diaper boxes, I don't save Pepsi caps, I refuse to order freebie samples to come in the mail - it's nickles and dimes and just not worth the time to me. But to save $37.50 for 2 minutes of work, that's more than worth it.

Thank you to all the frugal bloggers who help me find these deals! I couldn't be doing this without you.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Nate vs. Jack

Jack's Monthly Newsletter, Two Years!

Dear Jack,

My poor sweet boy. Here I am late with yet another newsletter! Does it count that I am here, doing it, trying? I hope so.'re two! Good job! We had your checkup and everything went swimmingly. You did have yet another ear infection, but that's par for the course. Your stats were:

Height: 34.5 (50-75th percentile)
Weight: 27.5 (75-90th percentile)
Head circumfrence: 95th percentile

I don't know what's up with that big head of yours but they seem entirely uninterested in it. They're also totally unphased by your language anymore, as are Daddy and I. I think the doctor was far more concerned with my sanity when I presented her with a list I'd made of your words...alphabetized. In my defense, it was only alphabetized because I needed a way to weed out duplicate entries (banana was on there three times). Anyway, as of that visit the list was over 80 words and I know for sure there were some missing.

But since that visit goodness your language has made that "explosion" that everyone talks about. You're just adding words left and right, and taking it to a whole new level besides basic nouns. My personal favorite is "thee-uns" where you're pointing at something you want or need - these ones. You're also saying "see..." to point something out to us. When you want something someone else has you're tacking "too" on the end - "cookie too" and such. You were saying "aye" for yes for weeks, which we adored, but now it's just "esss." You picked up "watch this!" when you were jumping on the bed with Nate, and my other favorite - "okay" which is almost always followed by Mama, so I hear "okay Mama" all day and it just makes me happy. You also say "no tanks" now which made Deborah offer you something you didn't want, over and over, just to hear you say it again and again. Yesterday Kari told you "Don't do that!" and you've been saying "no do that!" ever since.

Oh my goodness. Did I seriously get this far through this letter without mentioning the abysmal mood you've been in for the past month? It started October 31st; we got you your H1N1 shot in the morning and then you burned the dickens out of your hand that afternoon at a Halloween party. You were obviously testy that day, and the next, but literally a month later and things have only marginally improved. I have picture after picture of you that looks like this:

and this

and although it's cute and funny in a way, it's getting really old. Seriously old. There's a lot of whining, clinging, scrabbling, fussing, and generally being a grumpy demanding pain in the ass. When you don't like something, you shout "no!" and punch whatever it is away from you. When I offer you some snack on a plate or in a bag, you try to force me, loudly and incessantly, to give you the whole darn bag to hold. You've gotten to that cliche point where you want everything you want the way you want it.

If memory serves, Nate started with the "terrible twos" around 18 months so I was thinking I was in the clear with you. But I think, as in every other department, you're catching right up. I'm glad you're advancing and progressing and all, but maybe in this one area you could let things slide a little?

But really truly none of that matters. Not an ounce. When we're out in public you snake an arm around my thigh, reach for my hand, ask to be held, or find some other way to stay touching me. I'll sit down somewhere in the house while you play only to have you come find me, lay yourself over my lap, and sigh "Mama..." at me. When we lay in bed together you've taken to snaking one hand under my neck and one over and pulling my head into yours. We murmur back and forth "Love you, Jack"..."Luh you Mama"..."Love you baby"..."Luh you Mama" and I count every single blessing that you are to me. You are the most loving boy I've ever known and I'm so grateful for you. We are lucky beyond measure to have you in our lives.


Wednesday, December 2, 2009

City farming

My old friend e-mailed me this link this morning. Very neat ideas; check it out if you want to garden in a small space!

Window Farms