Sunday Stealing: The Clown's Meme I
Tuesday's CVS Steals and Deals

Like It's Going Out Of Style

{Forewarning, this is gonna be a super-long post. Grag a drink and put your feet up.}

Spending money, that is... We got our big ol' tax refund Friday, and I've been paying bills and doing some (very necessary) shopping. I'm going to rub the magnetic strip right off my debit card soon!


The kids worked on addressing their valentines Thursday night, as they all had Valentine's Day parties in their respective classes on Friday. Did I ever show you their cards? Let me know if I didn't and you want to see them. I got a set of 25 free V-day photo cards (4x8") for each of them, from SeeHere, and they turned out really well, except that the words weren't printed on Chloë's cards for some reason, and she had to write them in. Jack complained about addressing his envelopes at first, because I made him read the names to me intstead of just copying them down. He's a very lazy reader. Who knows how much he can actually read? He pretends he can't, when really it's "don't wanna try." Today he asked me, "What does 'Sprint' mean?" after seeing it written, when no one had told him what it said, so I know he he can read words longer than 3-letters! He acts like he can't, though.


Sophia only wrote about four of her envelopes out, before she got bored and started drawing pictures instead, and then she gave up entirely after two of those. She's a mirror-image left-handed writer, so I always have to guide her to go from left to right instead of the reverse, and then face her letters the correct way. She still couldn't do it, so I wrote it out for her and told her to copy. We're hoping that she'll figure it out during her kindergarten year. I still think it's really cool, though. I'm ambidextrous, and when I write left-handed, I write mirror-image, too. Otherwise, it's not nearly as neat. Like Leonardo da Vinci!

I just practiced. Actually, it's just as neat going both ways. But I haven't done it in a long time; I used to try to write lefty a lot more often and could do much better. But who cares?


I didn't get a picture of Chloë writing hers, because it was too dark where she was sitting, but she gave me this Valentine on Wednesday. I absolutely freaking love it!! If you can't read it, it says "Dear Mom, I sure love you. You rule. You're my girl. Mom, u r mine. You're my true love. You have a ♥ of gold. Ask me something. Tell dad I love him. Email me. Got love? Love, Chloë" Is that cute, or what??!  Sadly, the kids picked off and ate all the glued-on candy hearts shortly after I took the picture, but at least I have this!

So I never went to bed that night, because I was too amped up about finally paying some bills when the refund came in at midnight - together with Rob's mid-month pay. All that $$ was so exciting to me, and I couldn't wait to pay the bills! Everything is paid for, and we're still well in the black. I made several phone calls and managed to get many late and over-limit fees removed if I paid in full, and stuff like that, so it was kind of fun seeing how I could whittle down the amounts.

And then, around 0600 or so, I went to pay our car insurance premium. It renews this month, so I was looking over the documents. The amount actually went way down, so I was trying to figure out why, when I came across the driver history section. There, I found two incidents listed under my name for 2009, for speeding - and I hadn't gotten any tickets!! I was incensed, I tell ya. I immediately called up Progressive, who told me that they had just pulled up that information from the state to get our new rate, and that it was coming directly from them.

The hell you say! So then I had to wait three more hours (well, I took Rob's say-so that they didn't open 'til 0900, when really I found out later they'd opened at 0800. Buggers), all antsy and irritated, before the DMV opened. Imagine my surprise when they told me that not only do I NOT have three points on my license, but I had three PLUS points for my good driving record, soon-to-be four plus points when the 2009 record hits! I made her reiterate it three times before I took her word for it and hung up.

Back to Progressive. The lady (and I use that term loosely) I spoke to gave me the brush-off, telling me that their information was from the state, and that's all there was to it, buh-bye.

Back to DMV. I talked to someone new, who told me the same thing as the first person, and that sometimes the insurance companies get their information from other sources than DMV, but that they were the actual-true-real-deal authority, and I definitely didn't have any points on my license. (I knew for a fact that I didn't get those tickets, because for the first one, I had JUST had major surgery and was still heavily drugged, and the second one happened in North Carolina, and I definitely was not there in June, but still! It was very ... bewildering, this whole thing.)

Progressive again. I asked straight-away to speak to a manager, and that person came on the phone immediately, as sweet as could be. I gave her my story, and a few minutes later we discovered that they had my license number wrong for the record inquiry! What a huge relief that was, ... we were thinking my identity had been stolen, although fat luck to that person trying to use my credit! Heh. The manager pretty much bent over backward apologizing for the mistake and the rude person I'd talked to prior to that, and then she went over everything with a fine-toothed comb to make sure we were getting all the discounts we should be getting. We weren't, because we hadn't gone paperless yet, so of course I immediately agreed to that. After that and the error fixing, the premium went down another hundred bucks or so. Sweet! (It initially went down because a lot of Rob's accidents finally fell of their three-year record. Yes, he's had a lot of ... driving issues. ::snort::)

So. That out of the way, and Rob was just back from getting the card for taking his motorcycle safety class, way back months ago. He lost the card, and he couldn't go take his road test without it. Why he waited all these months to get a new one is beyond me, but let's not go there. We've had words.

I wanted to go out shopping after that, so he went with me. He'll go get his road test on Tuesday, hopefully.

Derby Foto Collage

Our first stop was at Walgreens, to pick up the developed pictures from the kids' disposable cameras. I haven't looked at them yet; Rob ran in to get them. Apparently a lot of them were cruddy, and he got credit back for those (do you know you don't have to pay for bad pictures? Just give them the ones you don't want, and ask for credit). They're from our two trips to Great Wolf Lodge last year. Then there was this photo collage - no clue why it won't scan properly - that I got free for Valentine's Day. Did you get one? Sign up for emails from Walgreens Photo! Or read those deal blogs; the code was on there, too. Anyway, this one is, of course, all the pix from Jack's Derby, and it's just in time, too, as we really need to start his family scrapbook for Tiger Cubs. This will be his first entry!

004 (2)

We went to Target after that and got lots and lots of great deals! I took smaller photos of individual deals, to break it down for you, but I never got around to posting about that last night. If you're interested in knowing, I can still do that.

It was funny, because I overheard someone saying, "She's doing the same thing we're doing," in one of the aisles. So I looked up, smiling, and asked her if she was a couponer. She was, so I asked her if she read the coupon blogs. She did, so I asked her if she reads "Hip 2 Save" (look it up on Swagbucks!) - and she does!  We, um, high-fived each other in the aisle. Rob just shook his head and called me a dork. It's true. I totally am.

We spent way too long shopping the deals at Target - I'd somehow wanted to go there, Walgreens, CVS, and out to lunch for a mystery shop before he had to go to work, ha! - and he was checking his watch every five seconds at the end. I ended up getting him home about 15 minutes late, oops. 

I still had about three hours before the kids were due home, but I knew that wasn't enough time to go out and do the mega-grocery shopping trip I wanted to do at Walmart. I've been printing out loads of internet coupons, and they were all set to expire Saturday. I didn't want them to go to waste. But there wasn't time.

And then I remembered Chloë's Valentine's Day dance as school! I only just found out about it on Thursday night, when she was in tears about not going. Huh??? I told her I would go to the school and buy her a ticket, and I'm so glad I remembered at 1400, because they were not sold at the door. 

At the school, they told me all about the dance, because I knew no details. It was from 1900-2100 (rather late for 3rd-5th graders, don't you think?), and parents were absolutely NOT invited, along with younger or older siblings. Humph. Some kids would dress up like debutantes, some would dress way down, and everywhere in between. Chloë wanted to wear her pink gown from iPOP, so we were just hopeful it would still fit. (It's a 4T, and although she is eight, she mostly wears a 5T. As does her 4yo sister!)

First things, first, though.


Hello, what's this??


I'm gonna get you, sucka!


Is that not the most gorgeous mixer you have ever seen?! When Williams-Sonoma emailed me and said this special-edition KitchenAid mixer was on sale for this weekend, oooh, I wanted it baaad. Rob was out somewhere at the time, I think at Wal-Mart getting stuff like a new headlight for my van, when I got the email. He had asked me if I wanted anything for Valentine's Day, but we agreed that, well, he's buying me yet ANOTHER surgery, and I'm getting him five pairs of (cute and sexy, we hope) jeans, and that would just be swell. But then, hey, wait a minute, this mixer that I've been eyeballing for the last, oh, 70,000 years is on SALE, and hello, it's RED!!! I ♥ red. 

So, we texted back and forth, and I batted my lashes electronically as hard as I could, and he kept saying, "we'll see." We'll see, we'll see. Aaaghhhh! 

Well, he tried to buy me the mixer right there at Wal-mart, but they didn't have it. Aw, so sweet.

The entire time he was gone, I sat at my computer and gazed at the pretty picture. And, well, I shopped around for it at Amazon and the Navy Exchange site, too, but only Williams-Sonoma had THAT one and THAT price. I coudn't put it out of my mind.

And then, I had this dinner mystery shop to do Friday night, before Chloë's dance. I swear I didn't plan that it that way, because I'd had the shop for two weeks, but it just so happened to be right down the road from the Williams-Sonoma actual physical STORE, people!! So, all innocent and just checking, I called up the store to see if they carried that mixer, the one on sale, you know the RED one - and they did. But they only had two left, and they were flying out the door, so I better hurry if I wanted one. 

I wanted one.

I called Rob and told him. He said, "Okay, get it." Wooooot!!!!!!!! I love that guy. All we've talked about is paying off this and paying off that and making lists of the things the kids need and he needs ... but he let me have this one splurge that I really, really don't deserve.

Except that I do. Because I use my mixer a lot, and it has recently gone to mixer heaven, and I've been bereft without it. I mean, I've been mixing by HAND people, and I have early arthritis! Poor, poor me, I know. It's not that bad. But it does hurt.

So, we stopped at WS, and I ran in and asked for the mixer, and they just looked at me like I was nuts. Which I am, but that's beside the point. Turns out, they only had the one on display left, and the couldn't find the box for it. So I had to wait and wait, all the while anxiously watching the time, because we were going to be late for the dance.

While I waited, I looked around, and of course my eyes lit upon the lemon poppy seed quickbread mix that Rob absolutely adores. Aha! The first thing I will make in my mixer, a little thank-you present for Hubs. And then I wandered over to the Wüsthof knives, to see what Rob was missing from his Wüsthof collection that I've been amassing for him over the years. He loves those knives, man. 

Well, he really wants a cleaver, I think, but I just don't see a lot of meat chopping happening in our kitchen. And, we're still using the same crappy set of steak knives that I got when I moved into my first apartment a dozen years ago, a Kmart special, so I have been wanting to get those for him. Only, have you ever priced a set of Wüsthof steak knives? I have. Not so cheap.

But... I found the Gourmet set of four, which is still a nice knife, but not as hefty or, well, good, as the rest of their knives, at a workable price point. I decided to get a set of four for him now, and then another set of four down the road, and then we could always upgrade further in the future. Right? Only, they didn't have any in stock, except for the two that were on display. Big bummer, I really wanted to surprise him with those.

I was still excited, though. The salesman carried out my new mixer to the car, and the kids haven't stopped talking about it. They're just as excited about it as I am (well, probably not)! It really is a beautiful sight to behold. Thank you, my love!!!

Then we went to dinner. I'd told the salesman to call me if they found the other two knives, as I would be just down the road, but they never called. Still haven't. Ah, well. Dinner was fun. The kids ate really well, even Jack, which surprised me since it was Tex-Mex. The girls always like a quesadilla, but you never know what - or if - Jack will eat. Besides chips. He's always good for chips.

So he asked for an all-chicken burrito. No cheese, no tomatoes, no lettuce, NOTHING but chicken. When they served our food and he bit into his burrito, he instantly started sobbing because everything was on it. Argh. I brought it back and reiterated, JUST CHICKEN (dammit)!

When it came back out, I thought he might eat two bites and then be done, but no! He scarfed the entire, adult-sized burrito down in five minutes flat. Boy was hungry. Mom was thrilled. 


Back at home, we got Chloë dressed as quickly as possible. I'd already made her take a shower, so her hair would be clean and curly, but she decided she wanted an updo for her "ball," as she called it. (A ball! At eight! How cute.)  She wanted a bun, plus one of the headbands I'd made. Sho' thing, sweetness. When she asked for a little make-up, I was hesitant, as that's something we reserve for dance recitals only. But then I figured, oh, why not? What would it hurt? 

I always love putting mascara on her. She's got her father's amazing lashes, and BOING, they just pop right out with mascara.  Can you see?


While my lovely little lady searched for her tights, I had to do some spot-cleaning on her dress. There were brown streaks and dots all over it. It's been hanging in my closet since iPOP two years ago, so who knows what happened to it?? Probably Sophia, she likes to hang out in there. Fortunately, everything came right out with just a little water, and it didn't leave water stains. Doesn't she look like a little princess? She said she felt like one, too.


At the dance, after she walked in, I could hear people murmuring everywhere, "Look at Chloë! Look at Chloë!" and she glided around, obviously feeling like the belle of the ball. She felt very special, I just know she did. I grabbed this quick photo with her two teachers (she's team-taught), who were busy running the concessions (oops, forgot to give Chloë any money for snacks), and then she was off. I barely got a chance to kiss her good-bye, tell her to have fun, or remind her to call me if she needed me! She was just off, into the dance, without a wave.

My big girl.

Meanwhile, I drove the Littles home. Sophia was crying because she just wanted to stay and watch, and the more I explained that neither one of us were allowed there, the harder she sobbed. Which was all it took, because on the drive home, I got more than a little teary-eyed myself. My oldest daughter's first real dance...!!! In ten years, she'll be in college. Make it stop, make it slow down!!

Back at home, the Littles and I had at ton of work to do. The house, as usual, was a disaster, and I wanted it cleaned up for two reasons: I had to pick up cookies the next day and needed the space, and Linda would be coming to babysit them while I did so. I hate having people over to a messy house!


After taking the new mixer out of the box and admiring it while they had some dessert (just candy from their school parties), and then admiring it for a few minutes longer, we got down to business. I swept the floors while they cleaned up toys, and we got everything cleared out, put away, and cleaned up. Except the kitchen and bathroom, which I never did get to last night. Oh, well, c'est la vie.

Finally, it was time to pick up Chloë. Actually, who am I kidding, the time flew by in a blink. Two hours really isn't that long when you have two other kids to keep you busy! Still, I was excited to go see the girl-child and hear all about the dance.

I couldn't find a parking spot, so we parked in the middle of the (what I call a) "go-way" and dashed in to get her. Lots of people were leaving, so I had to hurry. I couldn't find her, and then I ran into the cafeteria ballroom and saw her with a group of people dancing, mid-twirl. Great! Only, then she stopped and started chewing on her shawl thingy. I can't think of what it's called... Wrap, duh. Her wrap.

And then I got closer, and I could see the tears. She was crying!! Oh, no!! I ran in, grabbed her by the shoulders and rushed her out, away from the crowd, to a far corner. The whole time I was telling her, "Don't cry, don't cry, don't cry in front of everyone, it's okay, it's okay, it's okay," because I thought she was just having an I-need-my-mommy moment, and maybe she would rather be a big girl in public, but my baby in private, you know?

Plus I didn't want her mascara all over her face in front of everyone. 

Except what I didn't know was, she was hurt! Someone had accidentally just hit her in the throat while they were dancing, but I didn't see that. She was clutching her neck and trying to keep from sobbing, poor thing. I calmed her down, we shook it off, and turned to face the teachers who were coming over to check on her. All was well, I assured them, and then we dashed back out to the car before someone keyed it. I was parked BAD. Not badly. Just BAD.

Otherwise, the dance was great, and she really enjoyed herself! She had asked me if she could have a date if a boy asked her, but I had told her no, she was too young for that. So on the way to the dance, she told me she was hoping that a certain boy would be there. I asked if she liked him. Yes... Did she like him like him? Yes!! Oh, my gosh, my daughter likes a boy!  I have to see this kid. Oh! I just realized, I could check him out in last year's yearbook. Oh, please let him be cute. ;)  I told her that it was all right if she danced with a boy, but absolutely no kissing!

So I found out after, this particular boy was not at the dance, and she was disappointed, but she did dance with two other boys. She even held hands with one - and he's a fourth grader!! I was beside myself. This growing up stuff is crazy. One minute they're saying, "ew, boys are gross," and the next, they're holding hands and dancing. Oh, I could cry just thinking about it. Too late, I am!!

Man. What a big night.

Everyone, especially Mommy, was exhausted when we got home, so the kids went right to bed. And then I did, too. Zzzzzzz


I know this is really long, and I haven't even done Saturday yet. I thought about breaking it up into two separate posts, but hey, I'm on a roll here. If I stop, I'll probably go take a break and then never come back. So this here is your intermission. You go take a break; I'll be here when you get back. Ready? Go!



Thank God the kids were up late and were really tired, because I hadn't slept the night before, and I was exhausted. I was barely aware of Rob coming home from work that night, and leaving for work again the next morning. Poor guy. I slept like the dead, for twelve straight hours. Thankfully, the kids slept in, too, so no harm done.

At ten, they woke me up, all excited because Miss Linda was coming. They had seen her on Bunco night, but then they were too involved with Tabitha's puppy and the toys to really pay much attention to her after that. They didn't want breakfast, they didn't want to get dressed - they just wanted Linda!

I was still tired and moving really slowly, so I hadn't gotten any further cleaning done by the time she showed up three hours later. I really didn't care, though. Hope she didn't!

I had an appointment way out in EBF Chesapeake to get to, for picking up the cookies for our troop, so I didn't really chat with her much. I expected to be gone two, maybe three hours, judging from how it went last year.

I was so wrong!! This year's team was super-organized and efficient. I was back home within an hour, and the drive itself took more than 20 minutes. Maybe 25! They asked my troop number, told me where to back up to, and loaded my van. I signed my papers and that was it. I was off!


Linda offered to help me unload the cookies from the van, and so of course I wasn't about to turn her down. I hope she wasn't just being polite! I carried the boxes from the van to the house, and she and the kids carried them into the office and organized them by type. Last year, they were all jumbled, and it was crazy trying to fill orders. And this isn't even half of them - the rest are on the other side. I ordered 79 cases, so hopefully they'll do well at booth sales. Our first one is this coming Friday night.


Then she asked me if I wanted this bookshelf that she had in her truck, that a friend was selling. Did I want it? The price was really good, and it's exactly what I have been wanting for their books for ages now! I paid maybe 30% of the cost, and it's in excellent condition. The kids absolutely love it and set right to work filling it with their books. I'm just so excited to have the books out of the cramped cabinet and actually on display for them to see what they have!

Then I shooed Linda away, because the kids and I had a lot of things to go do. Our first stop was to get gas, because both my "change oil" light and "get gas" light were on in the van. Glug, glug, glug, that was a quick pit stop. We drove 'round the corner to the place where I like to get Vanna's oil changed, but they were packed solid. He told me it would be a long wait, so I said, sayonara bitches! Not really, I just said I'd come back Monday morning. No time to waste!

We went back to Target after that, because I hadn't gotten one of my canvas bags, containing a bunch of TP wipes and the catfood my girlies were starving for. Also, the cashier had charged me double for the light bulbs. We took care of that, and then of course all three of the kids needed to use the bathroom. At least it was all taken care of at once this time!

On to Wal-Mart. I did a shopping trip like I've never done before. I brought my entire coupon box, instead of just the ones I needed, because Wal-mart doesn't really run a regular grocery ad (that I know of, anyway), so I had no clue what deals I would find. And I wanted to use up as many of those internet printables as I could. So, we went section by section through my coupon box - except for toiletries and cleaning supplies, which I'm stocking up well on at the drug stores - and spent literally EIGHT HOURS at the store, grocery shopping. We filled FIVE carts, averaging about $200 per cart (before coupons)! 

I only did this for two reasons: our food supply was super-low, and we actually had the money for once to do it. So, it was time to get that stockpile really going. 

The first thing we did was go to the eyecare place. Jack's glasses are all kinds of crooked, and I wanted them to fix 'em. But they were really busy, and I figured we could go back later. I thought we'd be in the store maybe three hours - definitely not eight! Oh, my word.

Then we hit the deli. Jack has been asking for turkey sandwiches for his school lunches, because he has been sick to death of PB&J and refusing to eat them. We haven't had the money for deli meat, so I kept having to tell him, "next time, buddy," when I went shopping. At the deli, we ordered a ton of food. Turkey pastrami for me (four pounds, for freezing, because it's so cheap and I love it so much!), and they let us eat a piece to taste. Chloë loved it, so I'm glad I got the four pounds, because Rob loves it, too. Then I saw the bologna. The kids have never in their lives tried it before, so I had no clue whether they would like it. They tried it; Chloë thought it was disgusting (uh-huh), but Jack and Sophia absolutely loved it. So a pound of that, then ham for Rob, and then some mozzarella (girls' choice) and meunster (mine) to top things off. Yum!

While we were at the deli, my kids made a friend with a little girl they'd never seen before. She was very friendly, and they were instant pals. They played a game of make-believe while their parents all ordered from the deli, and everyone around watched them with sweet smiles on their faces. It was really cute.

I started texting Rob when my cart was half-full, because he was supposed to have gotten off work already, and I knew I would need him to join us at the store. My cart was overflowing, and still no Rob. Hurry, hurry! He finally showed up, but I forgot to have him take Jack to get his glasses fixed, because Chloë really needed to go potty again. She was going to explode, I think! Naturally, all the kids had to go at the same time, again.

I shopped and shopped, coupon by coupon. When Rob first got there, we were in the dairy section. I was buying up all the yogurt in the place; my kids eat it like, well, like it's going out of style! And there were lots of great deals. Good prices, of course, are the only thing that bring me into Walmart. He kept telling me, there was no way I was going to fit it all in the fridge and freezer. We have a deep freezer too, but it's a smallish one. 

"Not going to get it all in."

"Oh, I'll get it in."

Then we went to do the freezer stuff. And the meat. And his cart started overflowing, too. 

"Not going to get it all in."

"Oh, I'll get it in!"

When his cart was full, I sent him and a now-sleeping Sophia to buy that stuff and keep it out in the car - it's cold enough - and then come back and keep shopping. A lady stopped me and said, "Hey, are you selling cookies this year?" I was all, "Huh? Who are you?" and then she explained she was a neighbor who had bought from us last year, and she'd recognized Chloë and then me. We hadn't gotten to her street yet, and she was waiting for us. That was cool. I gave her my number, so hopefully she'll call today and order a bunch!

We kept shopping, and shopping, until all the coupon categories were gone through, and we had four carts full (not including the stuff in the car from the fifth one)! It was quite a trip getting up to the cash register. I sent him to go get six huge bins for storing our stockpile, since all we have is one lousy little pantry that doesn't hold too much. While he was gone, a man in the next line was eyeballing my carts and watching me unload it all. He seemed relieved when I said something to the cashier about my husband bringing another cart, and he said, "Oh, good, I was worried you had done all that by yourself!"

Well, Rob came back after that man left, and then he had to go back and get something else we thought we'd forgotten (but hadn't, and then we bought it twice). The man returned and came up to me, saying, "I came back in to help you, because it's a lot of work..." I told him my husband would be right back, but thank you, that's very sweet!

Rob thought it was creepy. 

I didn't get creepy vibes from him at all, but I coudn't tell if he was hitting on me or just being nice. Was it weird??

Anyway. We spent a buttload of money, but we saved a good deal with all those coupons, too. I apologized to the two women behind us for taking so long, but they were really sweet and wished us a good night. Then began the ordeal of getting everything into the van, the second time it had been packed full that day. My back was absolutely aching, so Rob let me sit it out while he packed it up. When we set off, we started for home and then he remembered his truck! Oops, we hadn't driven over together, so I had to go back.

On the way home, I praised the children up and down for their absolutely wonderful behavior. I mean, eight hours at the grocery store is pretty darn outrageous, but they behaved like absolute angels!! They were so good, and I thanked them and told them I was so proud of them. I could tell they were pleased with themselves.


The kids, of course, were absolutely starving out of their minds, and they were freezing, too. Especially Jack. He was too cold to walk to the kitchen and had to be carried. Too cold to eat his soup and needed a straw. Poor guy was miserable. I could relate. They all ate a pretty good dinner and then went down to the couch to watch G-Force while we put away groceries. Sophia was wide awake, having napped at the store, but Jack and Chloë were out like a light in just a few minutes.

It took three hours, but I filled the six bins and reorganized the whole pantry, so now we have a real, working stockpile. From now on, I can just buy stuff that's free or almost free! Our bins are full, and they are labeled according to what's inside for easy access. I hope this all works out and isn't more trouble than it's worth.

After I put all the dry goods away, Rob finally brought in the cold stuff. My eyes went wide. I had definitely overbought! Definitely.

"You're never going to get it all in."

But guess what?

I got it in.


P.S. Yes, I was proud of myself and did the happy dance. It was a lot of work!