Friday, Steph and I met at the mall in Norfolk with her son Luke, and her niece Carolynn (I always spell it wrong, sorry!). I had three mystery shops to do there, and she came along just to hang out.
At first, she and the babies went into the play place by the Food Court so Caro could play and luke could nurse. I sat by myself at a nearby table and studied my shop forms. When I was finally ready to go, we got started - after a brief trip to the family bathroom for potty-training Caro.
The first shop was a pretzel store. Steph got her pretzels, and then I did my part. We sat and ate at a table, and of course I can't eat a big hot pretzel, so I tried to feed the rest of my yummy almond one to Caro, but she didn't want anything from me. Wah. I stuffed the rest for safekeeping somewhere in Steph's stroller, but I forgot to grab it later for the kids or Rob. Oh, well.
Next, we stopped into Bath & Body Works, because I had a coupon for a free Signature Collection travel item when you buy anything else in the store. I found a good-sized lotion on sale for a buck, and then got the shower gel for free! Sweet. And if it wasn't for Jafra, B&BW would be my favorite shower stuff. Mmmmm...
After that, we went into a popular home décor shop, so I could pretend I needed to do a wedding registry. I'd even worn just my engagement ring, without the wedding band, to make it real. That shop took forever and a day, but I scored six red smelly-good pillar candles for 97¢ each for my purchase requirement, so in the end they'll be free. But, six! Normally, I think they were like 11 bucks apiece. Man, I love a deal. And I've been burning them ever since, including right now. Divine.
Lastly, we went to a well-known high-end cooking store to do my last mystery shop. That shop did not go well; they did a pretty bad job on the requirements I was looking for. But, for my purchase requirement, I did score a big container of white decorator pearls (candy) for making cakes and cupcakes. I'm going to start taking more of those shops so I can stock up on the sanding sugars for decorating, too! Fun.
We thought about grabbing a quick lunch back at the Food Court after that, but everything was too expensive for our meager budgets, so we skipped it. Too bad, I was drooling for some orange chicken - but not at six bucks for a small helping!
We ran back to the family bathroom so Caro could go potty one last time before heading home, and I got to get my last snuggles in with the baby. He is just so cute; I adore him!
Steph even asked me to change his diaper, and so I did. It was the first time I ever changed a cloth one! It wasn't hard at all, and her dipies are so cute. If I had it to do all over again, I would use cloth. But I will say this: my kids NEVER had diaper rashes, and their clothes weren't wet with wee-wee all the time, either! LOL (Well, unless we had to use sucky Huggies, bleck. I'm a Pampers girl all the way. Or, um, Luvs.)
So we parted ways after that, and I was almost all the way home when Steph called me, distraught because she couldn't find her truck! And she and the poor babies were freezing. Thankfully, she just ended up being on the wrong level and was able to get home soon after that, but I felt bad that I was way too far away to go back and help.
Silly Sophie after school
Later Friday night, I took Chloë to the big Cookie Rally (aka Cookie Kick-Off) at a local elementary school. Only she and our Troop Leader's daughter, Gabrielle, were able to make the Rally. Too bad, it would have been a shame if more of the other girls were there! I'm pretty sure we were the smallest troop representin'.
I had camnesia again, so you're stuck with iPhone pictures of the event. Better than nothing, though! There were six stations set up around the cafeteria, and we moved from one to the next when they yelled "SWITCH!" over the microphone. This first station was where the girls had to build their own guitars out of empty paperboard boxes, rubber bands, and paper towel tubes. We were supposed to bring our own supplies, but we forgot. (Well, I was never told...) Luckily, they had some extras there.
Chloë getting a little help from Miss Nikki, her troop leader. The boxes were really hard to cut with kid scissors!
Gabrielle concentrating on fitting her tube into the hole I'd helped her cut
Chloë putting the finishing touches on her guitar, before it was time to switch to the next activity
The next station was where the girls got to eat ice cream with some of their yummy cookies! None for the grown-ups, but that was fine by me, since I wouldn't have been able to partake anyway. Nikki was glad when one of the girls didn't want hers and shared it with her, though.
The second part of the second station was a stacking game, where they had to race the clock, alternating turns, to stack two varieties of cookies as high as they could. Our girls worked really hard and built a tall tower of Do-Si-Dos!
At station three, the girls started to color a rainbow showing their sales goals, which they'll color in more as they meet each percentage point. Chloë is already at almost 20% of her total goal, so we need to get coloring!
At the second part of the third station, they were all drawing pictures of what their goals were. For our girls, the goal is to go camping as a troop, so Chloë and Gabrielle drew as much of their campsite as they could before "SWITCH!"
At the fourth station, they drew cards and things as a way to market their cookies. I thought this station was kind of silly. But I did score a little display there for the cookie bundles we're going to do at our booth sales later on in the cookie sale, at least.
At station five, they colored pandas, in recognition of the panda-themed prizes for selling cookies. Our troop never takes the prizes, though; we always opt for the extra money. It kind of sucks for Chloë, since she always seems to work the hardest and has to share equally, but fair is fair, and she helps make the decision, too.
At the last station, the girls made a poster to display at our cookie booths! They really worked together throughout the rally; great teamwork, girls!
After that, the whole crowd came together to sing the cookie song, sung to the tune of "You Are My Sunshine." See the cute little Daisy troop on the stage, leading the song? Too adorable.
The girls strummed their homemade guitars as they sang along.
Introducing... the cookies! Here, Samoas, Thin Mints, and Do-Si-Dos. Mmm, Samoas...
And guess what? Our girls won the cookie-stacking contest for the Brownies and Daisies division! Chloë was so stoked to win a prize, out of all those girls, and Nikki and I were pretty happy, too! Of course, the prizes were treats from the Fall Product Sale, and Chloë's Peanut Squares were well enjoyed by her family...
After that, Nikki wanted to leave, so we snuck out the back door. I don't know what else we missed; I was kind of disappointed about it, but oh well.
Chloë and I drove around the corner to deliver the order form to one of the other girls' mom, and then we stopped at the bank to deposit a mystery-shopping paycheck. Lastly, we ran to Walgreens to get more deals; I think I got six things for 15¢ out of pocket! I didn't photo them, though, so who remembers what they were?
Saturday marked the beginning of the cookie sale, and I wanted to get out there and start selling before other Scouts came through the neighborhood. It was FREEZING, even though we were bundled up well. Lots of complaints from the children for the 2-3 hours we were out there. I managed to lock us out of the house, too, so we had to wait for Rob to come home and let us back in! Fortunately, I realized it right away, so we hadn't even gotten started selling yet. We took a snack and potty break then, and another when a Freecycler showed up to pick up the last of the tutus that didn't sell on Etsy. Good riddance. Finally, another Brownies mom called us home so she could get her order form, and that was the end of that. Saved by the bell!
Chloë sold 36 boxes in that time span, which isn't too bad considering the number of times we actually ran home and spent in the house. I wanted to get back out on Sunday, too, but it just didn't happen. Hopefully she'll be able to take her order form to school tomorrow and get more cookies sold!
Every chance they got, the Littles ran down by the lake to play, while Chloë was talking to a customer. I eventually had to put a stop to that when Sophia got out of my sight and came back to tell me she'd stepped out onto the frozen edge of the lake. Eek!
A tree provides a nice place to rest for a moment
Chloë takes a turn
We rarely get ice on the streets, so I let the kids slide around for a few minutes between houses. That is, until Chloë fell and hurt her little bum!
So that was the start of Cookie Season 2010. Let me know if you need cookies; we have a new variety called Thank U Berry Munch, with cranberries and white chocolate. I think it's going to be a very popular one. Dulce De Leche is also back, along with Lemon Chalet Creams and all the old favorites. I think it's going to be a good year for cookies!