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Entries from March 2010

TWIR: Saturday, Skills Day & Sleepover

I was so sick all day Friday, and I slept pretty much non-stop. I crashed on the couch early, and except for a short window from about 2-4 AM, I slept until noon on Saturday!

When I finally got up, I felt so weakened and dehydrated. I was really glad that y'all told me not to go donate blood, and that the Red Cross had called me back and told me the same thing. I would have felt guilty otherwise, so thanks for the "permission" to skip it! Hopefully, I'll be able to make that up soon.

The first thing I had to do was go out and do a couple of fast-food shops, the same ones I always do. They pay well, so they're kind of my bread-and-butter mystery shops.  I take as many as I can get.

Rob was outside working on his truck, while our three kids and a couple of the neighbor kids played out on their trucks and bikes in the driveway. I had him come in and get Chloë ready for her Scouting activities. She was going to Skills Day with her troop first, where they went to a local park and learned all kinds of camping skills, and then they were going straight from there up to the Air & Space Museum in Hampton for a sleepover.

Rob helped her get her clothes, sleeping bag, dinner and all that together, while I worked on my shop reports. Once we were both ready, Curls and I took off for my first mystery shop. I tried to get her to eat a little of the food, but she started telling me her tummy was upset.

Oh, no. Was she getting the bug, too? Just in time for her sleepover? Not good!! I thought about calling it off for her, but then she asked if she could eat a little of her dinner out of her lunch box. I let her eat some, and she said she felt better, so maybe she was just hungry.

I dropped her off at the meeting place, and I explained that I wasn't sure if she was getting sick, or was just hungry, or what. One of the other moms kind of gave me the what-the-hell-are-you-doing look and "then why are you bringing her here" speech, but I brushed her off. The Troop Leader told me later, "it's okay, I'm not a germaphobe," but I told her she could come after me if Chloë got the whole troop sick!  I called and checked up on her two hours later, and Nikki said she seemed perfectly fine and dandy, so hopefully she's stayed fine all night and really did just need a little food in her tiny belly.

From there, I went to the bank to deposit some mystery shopping and mail-in rebate checks (they keep coming! it's like Christmas!) before heading on to my second fast food shop. That went quickly, and I brought that food home to Rob and the Littles. (I really can't keep calling them that, now that Sophia is bigger than Chloë, can I?)

They ate, I worked on my reports, and then they all went back outside to play and work on Rob's truck. After my reports, I wanted to go to church, but Rob was absolutely filthy and in no condition to go. So, sadly, we missed it again. Our next chance is Easter, and boy, I sure hope we do go then! Sheesh.



Sometime during that time, the Little-and-Big had come in to watch Jack's truck video again, and they both crashed HARD on the couch. That was around 1800, and they are still there, nearly 10 hours later! They had all been up playing in their rooms past midnight last night, and apparently they got up around 0700 this morning, so they definitely needed the rest. I haven't given Jack his shot yet, but I'm loathe to do it and wake him up in the middle of his good sleep, so I guess he'll just have to get it in the morning. They do look so sweet down there on the couch, and I love listening to them snoring softly. My sweet babies ♥

I went out to do a third fast food shop for the same company, and then I tried to do a "deal" at Walgreens that wouldn't go through for some dumb reason. I had a store coupon and a manufacturer's coupon for tape, which should stack just fine, but it wouldn't go through. I even called corporate to tell them they weren't letting me do it, and they said they would notify the store of the policy.

So I went home. And I sent Rob out to do the errands I needed done, because he owes me BIG time over some other stuff I won't mention, because I don't want to bitch about my darling, beloved husband here. 

He went out to another Walgreens to try to do the deal there, but it still wouldn't work. Don't know why. So eh, that was a bust. Sent him to Family Dollar to get 4 free packs of Lance Crackers, which the kids love. They apparently gave him a hard time, because they were printable coupons (those are getting harder and harder to use, because so many people photocopy them fraudulently), but eventually they let him use them. Of course, I would NEVER copy a coupon or try to pass something that wasn't legit. On my honor! Had him get some juice boxes there, too, so I can pack the kids' lunches next week.

His last stop was at Target. I had given him a coupon for $1.50 off a pillow. He found one for about four bucks, and it seems to be pretty decent. Another coupon for $2 off a $3 solar light for outside, and he found immense pleasure in playing with that once he got it home. He was pretty pleased we got it for only a buck!  And there were two coupons for a free bottle of Vitamin water, which we'll take on our trip up to Chantilly tomorrow...

...That is, if I either get some sleep or some caffeine! It's going on 0400 now, and I'm starting to get sleepy but still have tons to do! I think I better make up a pot of coffee.

And now, my friends, you are all caught up. Thanks for sticking with me!


TWIR: Friday, One Sick Puppy

Friday, I didn't sub because I was sick, myself. I'd caught Jack's stomach bug, and I was down for the count.

So that made only ONE day this week that I picked up a subbing job. Kind of sucks, doesn't it? But, it can't be helped, and I'm glad that I have a job with exactly the kind of flexibility I need so I can be there when my kiddos need me.

I was supposed to be volunteering that night at Movie Night, but I called off because there was just no way. I mean, I had it bad. I was miserable. I felt awful. But the good news was, I weighed myself and am now officially in the 160s! Not bad after starting in the 340s! I'm SO excited about that!!


Now, one thing that you may or may not have noticed is, I never mentioned the anniversary of Robby's death. And truth be told, it's because when I was posting all these "Week in Review" updates, I plum forgot about it. And that's right to the point.

I had kind of been feeling guilty all week, because I kept noticing that I wasn't keeping the same sad vigil that I always do, every year, in those three days between the boys' birthday and his death anniversary. It was kind of an afterthought for me this year, and whenever I found myself remembering it was coming up, and realized that I hadn't been thinking about it every waking moment, I felt bad.

But then I thought, why? Why should I feel bad? I certainly don't need a looming date on the calendar to remind me that I have a dead son. I know that sounds awful, but I don't mince words when it comes to Robby. He is dead, he died, he is gone, and to use a pretty euphemism like "he's passed" or "he's gone to live with the Lord" frankly pisses me off. I don't even want to hear it from someone else. My son is dead, and there's no two ways about it.

But I don't need the calendar to remind me of that. I live it every day. Really, realizing that it's not weighing down those three days of my life so heavily is actually quite freeing.  I can feel what I want to feel, when I want to feel it. I know that he's gone. I know that he was here. I felt him, I held him in my arms, I watched him catch his last breath. He was HERE. He was REAL. And he's really GONE now. That date, it's just a date.

I don't have to look at the calendar anymore to tell me "these are the days to be sad." I'll feel it when it comes, and if it doesn't come on those days, hey, it's okay. It's just one more step in the process.



TWIR: Thursday, Music & Art Night

Thursday, I wasn't able to sub, because I had to stay home with sick Jack.

Sick Jack was feeling much better, so we decided to run around a little bit, around late morning, after he'd watched a video or two on the couch.

The goal was to get both the Toy Story and Toy Story 2 Blu-Ray/DVD combo packs. And I had a VERY good deal to get them, too: Toys 'R Us had them on sale for $16.99 each when you bought both, plus I had a $10-off coupon for both from the Disney Movie Rewards website, plus each combo back was supposed to include a movie ticket for Toy Story 3, coming out later this year! An EXCELLENT deal.

Since I had been reading up on the Hip2Save website all morning while Jack rested, I knew that many of the TRU stores were out of these combos, unfortunately. However, I also knew who DID have them in stock and would price-match them to TRU.


I called TRU, and the woman who answered said, "Oh, yeah, we have plenty of both, come on in."

So we came on in, only to find that they did not, in fact, have Toy Story 2. At all!

I was pissed! And I let the manager know it. He tried to tell me that the number I called wasn't his store, but I showed him my phone, pressed redial, and it rang right up to the front desk four feet away from us. So uh, yeah. Take that.

There was really nothing he could do, despite the fact that I had driven 15 minutes away ONLY because I'd called and been told they had them in stock, so he just said "I'm sorry" and sent me on my way. He could have done more than that, in my opinion, but it is what it is, so we left.

We stopped home to get the ad that I'd forgotten, and I called Best Buy to make sure they still had them in stock. They did. It was around the corner, so we rushed right over. Only, when I tried to use my coupons, for $10 off each, they balked. They called it "double-dipping" and said I couldn't use that AND the price-match. Really? That makes absolutely no damn sense. If I could go to TRU right now and get the same merchandise for that price AND use my coupons, then why should I go to Best Buy? Isn't the whole point to get me in the store with the best possible price? It makes NO sense! But they efused to let me use the coupons, so I took them and left.

Unfortunately, I forgot to take my ad with me. BUT, I get two newspapers, so I went home to get the second one. It was at this point that Jack's tummy troubles returned, and he barely had time to get to the bathroom before exploding. Poor kid! While he was in there, I called up Best Buy corporate to question them on their price matching and coupon policy, and they said it was up to store discretion to allow it. Stupid! But I already seriously hate Best Buy, for ten-hundred other reasons, so really it's not a shocker that they suck on this score, too.

I called Target to make sure THEY would allow both price-matching and coupons (they do), and to make sure they had both movies in stock (they did), so once Jack was squared away, we ran down there. I mean, I REALLY wanted this deal, y'all.  I also had 9 coupons for a free 20-oz Coke, from using My Coke Rewards points (if you drink Coke and don't use the points, why?? I mean, send me your points, please!), so I gathered up 9 bottles of soda, and the two movies.

We had to go to Customer Service (or Guest Services, whatev) to do the price-matching, which I'd never done before. I was kind of nervous. And the CSR was really quite grumpy, as they often seem to be at Target. Go figure??  But after they figured out how to ring it all up - which, apparently, they don't do very often either - I had my two movie combos and 9 Cokes for just $15 including tax - AND two free movie tickets to boot. Super sweet!!

Jack didn't know I had gotten the movies, since he wasn't really paying attention to the whole thing and was off in his own little world, so I kept that secret from him. Once home, we went upstairs so I could work on laundry and the kids' Easter baskets some more. I sent him to his room, since he was feeling better, to work on picking up all his books and laundry. He tried not to notice that I was working on Easter baskets right in front of him - after all, though I'd made it clear at Christmas time that there is not a Santa, I never spelled out the Easter Bunny for them - but eventually, he just stood there, grinning and asking questions about what I was doing. Hee. He didn't care! He just wants Easter to hury up and come so he can get his basket! 

I gave each of the girls a Toy Story DVD combo in their baskets, and I gave him a mini-monster truck Hot Wheels thing. They each received a Webkinz, a bunch of candy, a couple other small toys... and some more candy. I'm really going to have to monitor the candy intake this year. Sophia would eat all hers in one sitting if we let her, and with Jack's faceful of cavities,... oy, vey!


After Jack fetched me the tape so I could get the cellophane wrapped around the baskets tightly, I was going to get started on folding some more laundry. Only... the boy came over to me and lay down on the bed next to me, and he was so irresistible, I had to lie down and snuggled up next to him... and we fell fast asleep. Sound, sound asleep. Good thing Daddy came home to get the girls from the bus, because neither of us really wanted to get p at that point!

Daddy let the two of us sleep - I think he took a picture, but it's on his phone - a while longer, while he took care of the girls. There was no immediate after-school activity, no Brownies, no dance class, nothing, but we did have Chloë's little show to go to at school at 1800. And Rob knew I wanted to get there a bit early, so he woke us up at 1715 to go.

I looked like I had just rolled out of bed - and, well, I did, but I didn't really care. At that point, I was starting not to feel too well myself. It was all I could do just to get there. So even though Chloë was supposed to dress up like a movie star, she pretty much just put on a dress, and we called it good. Most of the other kids weren't really dressed like movie stars either, so it didn't matter a bit.


The kids arrived one by one for their show, for which they'd been rehearsing for at least a couple months. I guess since they came back from Christmas break, maybe. It was called, oh, I'm forgetting now, but something to do with Hollywood. "Lights, Camera, Action" maybe?


They sang "Lights, Camera, Action" at the opening and close of the show, along with the SpongeBob SquarePants theme song, Beyond the Sea, and a couple others I'm not remembering. And I lost my program. :( Which, by the way, was most impressive in that they actually got the "ë" right in her name! That's a first, they NEVER do it at her school.


After the Third Grade music show, we walked down to the library to see the Art Show. There were maybe a dozen art works on display from each grade, and Chloë was selected to have one of her pieces on display! It was the same one as was shown at the Norfolk Airport, which, sadly, we never made it down to see. But here was our chance, and I was so glad. First thing into the library, and Sophia crawled up on the bench with the stuffies. I guess she was tired. 

But that was until she saw the elaborate spread that had been laid out, down the center of the library. Holy cow, they really went all out! There were cookies, and pretzels, and chocolate-covered strawberries, and cheesy poofs, and all manner of goodies, all over the place. SO. MUCH. JUNK. FOOD. Oh, my. And we hadn't eaten dinner yet! The kids' eyes were as round as saucers, though, as they loaded up their plates with goodies. I tried to be good and ate some cheese, crackers and hummus, but I did manage to sneak in a cookie, too. I should NOT have eaten that... but the hummus was good, at least!




Finally, we made it past all that food, and found the Third Grade art on display. And there was Chloë's artwork, right in the middle. And behold, it was good. Very, very good! I couldn't believe it, nor could Rob - we were both so impressed. She did such a great job. I didn't know she had it in her, really, I didn't! Awesome job, Chloë Raine!! Mom and Dad are so proud of you!

You know, she is forever telling me that Music and Art are her favorite subjects, but I haven't really paid much attention or encouraged that too much, since it seems like reading is really her thing. But now, I have to sit up and take notice! I mean, don't y'all think her "Matisse Me" is quite good??? I especially love the background colors, and the placement she used. The orange and yellows seem to be in exactly the right spot... it's really "resolved" for me. I love it. I truly do.

So after that, I went upstairs to work on the laundry, but I was utterly exhausted by that point, and starting not to feel well. I restarted the dryer, because the clothes were still wet, and then I sat down to wait for it to run its course. That was at 1930, and I didn't wake up until 12 hours later, at 0730 on Friday morning!

Next up: Friday!





TWIR: Wednesday, Literacy Night And Lucky Me!

On Wednesday, I'd already planned to take the day off, so it was not a disappointment when I didn't get any calls to come in and sub. But now, I've figured out that I CAN work, as long as it's a short shift that will allow me to get home before the kids. I don't know, though, since I seem to be scheduling everything for that Wednesday off, I might just keep things this way.

I puttered in the morning after getting the kids on the bus - no, actually, I think I snoozed - until it was time to get up and get moving. I had a mystery shop that entailed taking our new kitty Star to the vet, way on the north side of Norfolk. It paid VERY well, so the distance was definitely worth it, and I picked up two fast food shops as long as I was going to be out that way. Might as well make it worth my time, y'know?

We were about 10 minutes late getting to the vet, because I misjudged the traffic. No one said a thing, though, which was a relief, because I HATE being late. Poor Star was meowing out of her skin the whole way to the vet, and she was yelping like crazy to get out of her kennel. When we were finally taken into an exam room, I let her out. She skulked around the room for a few minutes before finally opening a cupboard and hiding in there until he doctor came to see her. In between the vet and the vet techs taking a look at her, she'd go back and hide in that cupboard every time! Poor skeered kitty.

Everything went well, and she received a few shots that she didn't like, including rabies. I got her on heartworm and flea preventative, too - all reimbursed! Very cool. I need to pick up another shop for Tinkerbell, and then the pets will be all taken care of. Sweet.

Just after we'd arrived at the vet, the school nurse called to tell me that Jack had puked up his lunch in the cafeteria, and could I come pick him up? Well, no, actually, I couldn't... so I called Rob at his thing (he's not at work at the moment, off doing something else) and asked if he could go get his son. It took some wrangling, but finally he was able to get over there and get him. The poor kiddo had a low-grade fever and had had an accident, too. Very upset tummies. It's been going around.

So with Jack in good hands with his daddy at home, I went off to do my fast food shops. The first went okay, and then the second, oh boy, it did not. The manager came out and argued with me for a good ten minutes over the coupon that I wanted to use, that I ALWAYS use on these shops, and he basically ended up throwing the food at me and not charging me anything. It was pretty bewildering. And definitely NOT the way you want a mystery shop to go down!

I went home, saw my poor sick boy, and turned in my report. There was nothing I could do but say exactly what happened and hope they didn't fire me. Well, not only did they not fire me, but they said that although they couldn't turn in that report and would need me to reshop the location, I'm such a good shopper for them that they're going to pay me for both shops anyway. So yay! Problem solved, more or less.

I stayed home with the sleeping child, while Rob took the girls to their dance classes. I hate sitting at dance class, I really do. I don't know if he hates it, too, but he hasn't complained so far! Well, not much...

As soon as they got home, I raced over to S. Elementary with Sophia, to take her to the preschool system's Literacy Night. She was very excited to go. We've been 'invited' a few times in the past, but I never really knew what it was about, and I blew it off. Her teachers called me up and asked me to attend, though, because we're required to volunteer for 10 hours in the classroom to keep her enrolled, and I was short an hour and a half or so. This program would give me that hour and a half.


It turned out to be a lot of fun, and I'm glad we went! Initially, all three children were supposed to go with me, but that was before I knew that Rob would be on days this week and could stay home with the older two. I was glad for some one-on-one time with my little girl. There were four stations: Cooking, Music, Art, and Story Time. We were all split up into four groups, and we received a passport that had to get stamped at each of the four stations. Once our passport was full, the preschool child would receive a free book! Our first station, as you can see, was Cooking. I really don't know what it had to do with literacy... but Sophia had fun, so I don't much care!


At this station, the kids had to frost a cookie and then sprinkle their topping of choice on top. Then they made a graph of everyone's choices. Sophia picked colored sprinkles, but she just grabbed the first thing she saw, so I'm not sure if she really would have picked that if she'd seen the other choices! She ate the whole thing and was quite a mess!

(And yes, I did manage to sneak in some iPhone pictures, but I only got MY child in them, so whoever you are who complained to the school last time, go stick it up your rear.)


I couldn't get pictures of the Music and Story Time sections, because they were more group activities, but she enjoyed both of those immensely. In Story Time, she was picked by her own teacher to go up front and help act out the story, and she REALLY hammed it up. The teachers and I got a big kick out of her. When it was over, another teacher leaned over to me and said, "They picked the right one for the job. Sophia is SO much fun. You're such a lucky mom!"

 And oh, my God, you know what, she's RIGHT!

She is SUCH a handful, because she's so bright and needs near-constant stimulation, but she really is a huge ball of fun. She's a thrill and a delight a minute. As much trouble as she gets into around here - and it's a LOT, because we have to sleep SOMEtimes, and we can't lock EVERYthing up - we really are a lucky mom and dad. She is a joy. She's smart, she's funny - no, hilarious - and she makes me smile. Constantly.

So thank you for that, teacher whose name I do not know. Thank you for the much-needed reminder. I am SUCH a

lucky mom!

After she finished coloring at the Art station, she got to pick out her book. She chose a hardcover one (well, I think they all were), and I think it was "If You Give A Mouse A Cookie," or something quite similar to that. I believe it's still out in the van, where she's been looking at it when we drive. Hopefully she hasn't ruined it quite yet!


Sorry about all the weird spacing... can't seem to fix it! Up next, Thursday!



TWIR: Tuesday, Subbing & Running

I don't have any pictures for Tuesday, but it was another busy one. The phone never rang, calling me to sub, the night before, so I had just about given up when it rang about 10 minutes before the kids and I left for the bus stop in the morning. Wow, I could not have phrased that sentence any worse, I think. But it's late, I'm getting tired, and I'm freeeeeezing.


So I put the kids on the bus, and then I went home to get ready. And by that I mean, lolligag around for another half-hour, since I didn't have to be there until 0930, and it was only just after 0800. This shift was 9:30-2:30, just long enough to be considered a full day, but short enough that I would still beat the kids home. Perfect, actually.

It was at the "alternative school," but I didn't have any idea what, exactly, I would be doing. All I knew was the teacher's name and the name of the school. The school was just a few minutes down the road from our house, but it's newly opened, and I had no idea it was even there! Half the school is a middle school, and the other half was a high school. I was to be on the HS side, on the upper level. It turned out, I was subbing in the GED prep class.

This had to be the juiciest, plum-est job available. I would take it again in a heartbeat! Really, there is no teaching involved, whatsoever. Because these are the kids who WANT to be there, more or less, to get out of school and on with their lives, they were more or less self-motivated. All they had to do was check in, work on their prep tests, and check out. They came in and out at various times of the day, got right to work, and left only for lunch.

My job was to watch them, float around the room and make sure no one was sleeping (it happened), and try and help them if they had problems on their tests.

A lot of them had problems with the math portion of their prep tests, and hey, guess what? I'm a math and sciences person. Once the other part-time "teachers" there realized this, they pretty much let me handle all the kids questions, while they relaxed and enjoyed a little downtime. I preferred it this way, much better than sitting there watching the clock for five hours.

And so, help I did. It was really very rewarding. I enjoyed the assignment a great deal. One young man had a terrible time with percentages. He just didn't get it. I sat down and worked through the problem with him, one by one, step by step, giving him little tips and tricks that have always helped me with my math work. We worked on a problem until I was sure each step made sense to him, before going on to the next one. At the end, he looked at me and said, "You have made this clearer to me than it's ever been in my life." That just made my day!

Another kid needed help with one question after another. The other teachers, I could tell - because, um, they said so, pretty much - were expasperated with his constant need for attention, but he really just needed help. They weren't sure whether he truly didn't get it - and if that's he case, he should go back to regular school - or if he just needed the interaction. As for me, it was obvious that he truly did not get it. Could not figure it out on his own. But it wasn't for me to say, so I just sat and helped him as much as he needed it. And truly, there is nothing better than watching someone who is struggling and seeing that moment when the lightbulb goes on for them. I love that moment so much.

Oh, and I got hit on at least three times, which was good for my self-esteem. Of course, these were teenaged boys, so I completely ignored the advances... but still, flattering!

At the end of the day, all the kids waved good-bye to me, and I waved at them. Good luck to all of you on your tests, out there! And good luck in life...


Rob was there when I got home from school, or just after. He went down to get the kids from the bus, which I love.

The kids had their after-school snack, and then it was time for Chloë to go to Ballet. I'm pretty sure I took a nap while he took all three kids to dance class to let me have some rest, which was pretty awesome of him. I guess I'll keep him, even if he still doesn't have his motorcycle license!!! But let's not go there...

So after everyone came home and woke me up, I had three mystery shops to do. The kids started their homework while I got my paperwork together, but soon it was time to go.

Our first stop was at the Walgreens I'd gone to the day before, to pick up my "deals" notebook that I'd left behind, and to do a return. I'd bought two things on one receipt, both of which had a mail-in rebate attached to them (the Olay deal I neglected to mention in the last post, oh well). So I needed to return those and have them re-rung on two separate receipts, which entirely confused the poor manager, but we eventually got it all worked out.

Second stop was to the first of two party stores. It all went off without a hitch, and for my required purchase, I continued building my stash of goodies for Rob's 40th birthday bash in a couple of years (he'll be 38 in August). Same with the second of two party stores. I do those shop a lot, and apparently I do a good job on them, because they keep hiring me, eh?

Fourth stop was for dinner, at the big boobs-and-wings chain y'all know and love. Or maybe not love, but that's your call. The food is good, and cheap. We had a good time. The girls all sang to Jack for his birthday, and he had the biggest shit-eating grin on his face over that! That in and of itself made the whole thing worthwhile.

And we we came home, I crashed again, so still, no blogging.

Up next: Wednesday!



TWIR: Monday, Our Boys Turned Seven


Monday was a crazy day. It was the 7th birthday of our twin boys, Jack (above) and Robby (in heaven). I'd promised Jack that I would bring chocolate cupcakes with no frosting to school, but I didn't have what I needed at home to make them from scratch, nor did I have a mix.

So after putting the kids on the bus and then dawdling for an hour at home, on the computer, then showering and getting dressed and all that fun stuff, I decided I better get off my arse and head to the grocery store! But first, I called Jack's Cub Scout leader to see if I could bring a cake to that night's meeting so we could have a little party there. She said yes! Goody... but that meant more work.

Work I decided not to do. hee. At the grocery store, I ran around as fast as I could, getting a box or two of cake mix for the cuppycakes, a huge ($17!!!!) singing balloon for the boy, plates and napkins for the Tiger cubs, and another $17 for a big sheet cake. I took that to the bakery and had them write "happy 7th birthday, Jack" on it in matching blue colors, knowing full well he wanted a "jet" cake and was going to complain about it. But you know what, sometimes, something's gotta give! And he really didn't seem to care too much about it in the end.

So I ran home and quickly mixed up the cupcakes in my loverly mixer, which took about 1/3 the time it did in my old mixah. And since he wanted NO frosting whatsoever, all they had to do was bake, and I was pretty much DONE. Sweet.

They finished baking, and I probably worked on coupons and stuff in the interim between the timer going off and having to leave for school. In fact, I'm sure I did, because it seems like that's my current obsession and when am I ever going to take the time to knit or crochet again?! Maybe - no, definitely - I'll bring my yarn up with me to Chantilly tomorrow, so I can do that in the car and while we're waiting around for 2030 to play the tag of laser.

Anyway. School. I drove over, checked in, and was immediately swarmed by 18 or 20 hungry first graders, clamoring for a cupcake. Only one or two seemed to care that there was no frosting; the rest were happy just to get CHOCOLATE!!! Jack and a little girl, A, passed them out to each of the classmates, and when they ran out of kids and still had cupcakes left over (and I only brought 24), they gave some kids doubles and a couple to the kids at the next table over. I was so busy chit-chatting with the kids in his class that I didn't really notice they had done this, but I kind of got in trouble by the lunchlady for that, because there weren't enough to share with the whole class. Oops.

Little A, the girl who had helped passed out cuppies, was SO cute. I could have chatted with her all day. She sat right next to Jack, and she kept telling him to eat his chicken, drink his milk, finish his lunch. She must be a big sister, the way she mothered that boy! He didn't seem to mind a bit, though. I think he likes being mommied.


I had my camera there, of course (that's where the top picture came from), so A asked me if she could take a picture of Jack and me together.  It's a horrible angle! My face is definitely NOT that fat. Or chinny. Not anymore. SO don't look at that. And you can totally see all the extra hangy skin on my arms. Ick. Never mind me, just look at my cute kid! Another little girl gave him the Airhead candy that she'd bought outside in the hallway from the SCA fundraiser. 



Then Jack wanted to take a picture of me, so I let him, and this was it. And then everyone wanted to take a picture, and I wanted my camera back, so I had to nip that in the bud right there!


Lunchtime was over before I knew it, so I just had time to grab one last shot of Jack carrying his not-so-empty tray up to the front. I've been letting him, and the girls, buy lunch for the past two weeks. Partly because he LOVES buying lunch, and partly because I've been too lazy to make PB&J sandwiches (I know, how lazy can you BE?), and partly because we've been out of juice boxes. But we have some now, so back to bagging it next week.


Chloë's lunchtime overlaps with Jack's by five minutes, so I popped over to see her, too. She was pretty happy about that, as you can tell. But oh! Those teeth! I seriously can't wait until they're all grown in... I didn't have much time with her before I had to leave and get on with my day. I'd have stopped in to see Sophia too, but she gets SO terribly upset when I leave, and I didn't want to wreck her day.


After that, I ran some errands. My first stop was at Walgreens, where I picked up the kids' Easter baskets, some eggs for filling with all those jellybeans I've gotten, that horrible plastic grass (I know), and a chocolate bunny for each kid. And cellophane wrap for it all. (Which makes me wonder, why is "cello" the instrument pronounced like "chello," but it's not "chellophane"? Make sense, English!) And I got these three cleansers for FREE. Or I will have them for free, after I've mailed in the rebate for them. See, they were each $2.50 on sale, and I had $2.50 total in coupons for them, making them $5, and there's a $5 SC Johnson mail-in-rebate for 3 products. Get it? Good, I thought so. Whee for free stuff!

I stopped 'round the corner at Target after that, to get some more stuff free or cheap. A beach towel for 50¢ (not huge or the best quality, but hey, fiddy cents is fiddy cents, and we only have five towels to speak of - now six), another Johnson's Soap Buddies for FREE with coupon, and another soap deal they wouldn't let me get. Eh, 2 outta 3 ain't bad.

The only reason I'd gone to Target was because it was right around the corner from Party City, where I needed to get more balloons. Every year for Robby's birthday, we get a bunch of baby blue balloons and send them up to heaven. This year, I really wanted to get a lot of people together - although I didn't know whom just yet - so I bought two dozen blue balloons. Twice what I normally get.

Rob came home, after I brought home all the balloons and things, and came up to where I was getting out of the shower and starting to put together the kids' Easter baskets. Not that it was two weeks early or anything. We decided it would be a fun idea to meet the bus with those two-dozen blue balloons and hand one to each kid coming off the bus. They could help us sing to Robby and send the balloons off to heaven!


So that's what we did. Everyone had a blast with it. The kids came running over, begging, "Can I have a balloon? Can I have one? Can I have one?" I kept hollering out, "Don't let them go yet! Don't let them go yet!" while Rob cut them apart from the knotted cluster they'd become. When everyone had their balloons...


...we sang "Happy Birthday" to Robby - although some people said "Jack" and I don't know WHAT some others were saying - and then we let them go! And I have to say, it was pretty damn awesome.

Up, up, and away!! Everyone stayed there and watched them go as long as they could, until they were out of sight. The kids were yelling about seeing one here, seeing one there... it was a lot of fun. Best balloons-to-Robby launch we've had yet.


Of course, not everyone "got" it, and this one little girl didn't want to let hers go. I felt kind of bad, everyone was yelling, "let it go! let it go!" but she kept clinging to it. Finally, she let go and watched it zoom out of sight.


One last look, before they arrived in my little boy's hands. Or the next neighborhood over. Who knows?


After racing home, Jack came into the kitchen to discover his huge, singing balloon. He loved it! Sophia did, too.


She liked it so much, she kept hitting it to make it "sing," and it popped! You would think such a ($17!! I still can't get over that I paid so much for it) balloon would last 'til Kingdom Come, but no.  So I ran back to Farm Fresh to exchange it, and they gave me a new one, no questions asked. I'm in there all the time, though; they know I'm honest and true. This one better last at least until Sophie's birthday next month!


The boy couldn't wait another minute to open presents, so... we did! The first one was this bag from Mom & Dad. He knew what it was... Rob put it in the gift bag, about 10 sizes too big! Thing was bigger than Jack!


He was there when I picked this up at Target - remember those coupons on their website for $5 off a $25 Hot Wheels purchase? - and this one made him forget all about the remote control helicopter he'd been asking for. Since he'd dropped that, I dropped it too, and gave him what he seemed to want. I think he was happy. Can you tell?


For a moment, he forgot about the other presents waiting, and dove right in to take out all the pieces. It's a truck that you can build and take-apart and rebuild and... you get the picture. He liked it.


But just for a moment, and then he remembered there were other packages waiting. This was another one from us, a Hot Wheels monster truck. But you know what? He didn't want it! He seriously didn't want it! I said, "Okay, buddy, then I'll give it to another little boy." He looked at me, shrugged, and said, "Okay." So guess what? I will!


Time for Grandma's present!


Lots and lots of books! I'm still trying to get him to read one to me, but he refuses. I know he can... he just won't. I have yet to find the magic secret that will break through that stubborn refusal and get the boy to READ ME A BOOK!!


After Jack played a while with his truck, the mailman rang the bell and brought another package, this time from Aunt Stacey (my sister). She was SO delighted that her present came in time for his birthday! The first things out of the box were these bubble wands for each of the kids, for a "Spring" gift. Rob took one look at them and joked that they were really for me, but never mind that... ;)


And this, my friends, was a score. It was just a little helicopter, but as you can tell by the loving look on his face, it's exactly what he really wanted. A chopper. He instantly declared it his favorite present, and I didn't mind a bit. As long as he was happy. That's really what it's all about, right?


She sent some Matchbox cars, too, for his little collection. His BIG little collection, I should say. I wonder how many little cars he would have if we ever got them all together. At least a hundred, maybe two...


After dinner and homework, it was time to head to Cub Scouts. All five of us went, for no reason other than it was his birthday. They had their little meeting, and I'm completely blanking on what they did at the moment, and the whole time all the little boys were focusing on the cake in the corner!


I don't know what he's doing here. Counting the candles, to make sure there were seven? No idea. I just remember concentrating on making sure no one got burned!


Everyone sang. We (I) forgot the "real" camera, so Rob had to make due with his phone. Once again, iPhone to the rescue! That thing ROCKS. I love it to death. Get one!


Anyway, Sophia, unbidden, helped blow out the candles. They were "trick" candles, but they didn't re-light. Shoot! I just threw them away, since we had nothing to take home the mess. I cut the cake, and Chloë and Miss Beth helped to pass the pieces around to everyone. I even had a smidgen myself - something I could not do this time last year without keeling over - and I did not die!  Just a little, though. It was good, but not worth getting sick over. A couple people had seconds, and then it was time to clean up and go home. 

So we did. A few balloons, a few presents, some singing and cake later, and though he didn't have the big birthday bash at the go-cart track that we'd planned on, he was still happy and satisfied. And I'd call that a success.

Up next, Tuesday!






TWIR: Sunday Was A Bust

So, Sunday (the 21st, I'm backing up) was a bust.

We were supposed to go up north to Chantilly (see previous post, Sunday Stealing, etc.) to play laser tag, both for a mystery shop and in lieu of having a birthday party for Jack. That was going to be his birthday celebration. He didn't know it was a mystery shop, and really, in this case, what you don't know won't hurt you!


(You see Sophia ducking in there? She ALWAYS does that. What a character!) Sophia had broken into Jack's birthday package from his paternal grandfather, so I knew that there were a couple of DVDs in there. Even though it was a day before his actual birthday, and I'm a stickler for opening presents ON the birthday and not before (though late is fine, of course, if they arrive late in the mail), we let him open that package so they'd have some new DVDs to open for the trip. Quietude is a good thing, peeps. He was very excited about his new DVDs and made his sisters VERY aware of the fact that they were his. They were not even allowed to touch them. I'm surprised he let them put their eyeballs on the DVD screen while they were playing!

Anyway, so I started the drive, but we were barely out of Norfolk before I was losing it. I can barely sleep any other time, but put me behind the wheel and man, I get road-hypnosis PDQ. So I quickly pulled over, let Rob take the wheel (and the directions), and I zonked.

We got about an hour away from our destination when he woke me up to tell me, uh, honey, we ain't gonna make it. I had a very narrow 15-minute window during which I could arrive at the location, and we were stuck in heavy-duty traffic. I called my scheduler for the shop and let her know the sitch. She told me to call back in 15 minutes in case we started moving again and, though I knew that it was still an impossibility at that point, we plodded forward just to humor her. Why we didn't pull over, wait, and then call her, well,... I don't know. We l like wasting gas, apparently.

So in the end, we didn't make it all the way up to Chantilly, and everyone was starving. We let Jack pick where to go for dinner, and he opted for McDonald's. Icky, but hey. Birthdays only come 'round once a year.

They wanted to run around in the Playplace, and of course after 3.5 hours in the car, we wanted to let them. Only, it was after 2100, and the Playplace closed at 2100, so... the Manager came out to kick us out of there after they'd only gotten to play for about five minutes. Really, though, why does it need to close? Don't get it.

In the end, we drove for 7 hours round-trip and only went to McDonald's. FAIL!


I keep forgetting to post this, which I promised myself I would:


Last Saturday night, a HUGE boxful of handmade items arrived for CARE Package, sent in by Facebook friend Margaret, aka LadyM. Thank you, M!!  This is much appreciated and will go a LONG way toward replenishing our supply after the recent donation to the children's hospital.


Also, M was SO kind as to send six disposable cameras to be included in the packages! I did contact both Fuji and Kodak, begging for help with this, but both of them ever-so-gently let me down, saying they already have too many charitable obligations, blah blah blah. Very disappointing. So this was very gratifying, and I'm humbled by her generosity.



Also last Saturday night, Sophia stole the cleaning gloves out from under the kitchen sink and was walking around like a duck with them on her feet. Rob thought this was hilarious and snapped a couple of pictures. I tried to pretend I was annoyed that she used the gloves, but... pretty funny! 

Up next, Monday!


P.S Please comment if you read these, so I don't feel like I'm posting for nothing, to myself and for no one else. Thank ya kindly! ;)

Sunday Stealing: The 35 Questions X 2 Meme, Part I

Click here to participate in this week's meme, and to see from where they stole this one!

1. How far away is the last person you kissed?

I believe that would be my oldest daughter Chloë, and that would make her about an hour away right now.

2. Has someone ever told you they would be with you forever?

Yes, but it doesn't always turn out to be true, does it?

3. Last person you were in a car with?

Chloë again, dropping her off at her Scouts activity.

4. Any plans for tomorrow?

Yes, as soon as Chloe gets home from her sleepover, we're leaving for Chantilly about 4 hours to the north, to spend the day there doing ?? and going to play laser tag at last. Better happen this time!

5. How long does it take for you to take a shower?

10 minutes, no matter what I try to shorten it.

6. Best friend or close friends?

Some of each!

7. Is tomorrow going to be a good day?

I sure hope so!

8. Did you kiss anyone friday?

Nope, I was sick as a dog and staying away from everyone!

9. Ever thrown up in public?

Yeah, when I was pregnant with Chloe, I puked at the vet's office.

10. What's on your mind RIGHT NOW?

How cold my poor little fingers are and that I REFUSE to turn the heat back on, this close to April!

11. Who was the last person you talked to?

Rob, the hubs

12. What is the WORST subject they teach at school?

Creationism. I'm a Christian, yes, but I'm sorry, that discussion belongs at CHURCH! or at Home...

13. Have you seen anyone lately that you don't get along with?

Not really, unless you count the chick at Bunco, but she's been okay to deal with lately...

14. What is your favourite colour top to wear?


15. Have you ever been in a car accident?

Several. I've been hit by a drunk driver, and boy does it make me angry!!!

16. What's the closest thing to you that's green?

The glass bottle I keep my DPNs in - look it up ;)

17. Where would you like to be right now?

Touring Asia

18. Write down some lyrics to the song you're listening to?

I'm not listening to anything but my sweet snoozing babies, so zzzzzzz

19. How many dogs do you have?

1 German Shepherd, age 6.5, named Tiger Lily

20. Is anything bugging you right now?

Yes, this stupid blog post keeps wiggling all around while I'm trying to type!!

21. Is life going right for you now?

It's going okay. THanks :)

22. Is there someone you care about more than yourself?

I AM a mother...

23. What made you laugh today?

I laughed when Sophia was outside in the yard and shouting, "Let's get to work, workers!" with a very "foreman" look on her face.

24. What was the last movie you watched?

Something about trucks, with Jack (my 7yo son).

25. Whats the last conversation you had about?

Food. Whether Rob had any pancakes left from this morning (no), or if he ate all my egg sandwich (yes), or if he'll get some chicken that I cooked in the crockpot the other night (maybe)...

26. What were you doing at 7:00 this morning?

Sleeping, hello, it's a Saturday.

27. Do you like your hair long or short?

My hair seems to look best about chin-length. I've tried it longish, and it just doesn't suit me - it's too fine. Short, never.

28. Do you want to see somebody right now?

Not really. I'm enjoying my current solitude.

29. Do you like the rain?

I LOVE the rain. Unless I'm dashing somewhere with my hair done and my make-up on and I'm wearing fancy clothes, and I get soaked and muddy, that is. Then, not so much.

30. Did you have a Valentine this year?

No, my hubs chose somebody else. I jest, I kid, I joke, I josh.

31. The last person you kissed needs you at 3 am, would you go?

In an instant

32. Would you honestly say you'd risk your life for someone else?

Absolutely. I would throw myself in front of a bus for at least four people, if not a couple dozen.

33. Honestly, if you could go back 1 month and change something would you?

There's nothing in the last month worth changing, really. Nah, let's move forward.

34. How do you feel about boys smoking?

I'm disgusted by anyone smoking, frankly.

35. Could you see yourself with someone forever?

Absolutely. As much as we irritate each other, I see Rob with me for the long haul. I pray that it's so.


Six Word Saturday


Check out Cate's page if you're playing along today!

My six words for this week are:

Stomach bug, then donate blood = WEAK!!!

I'm debating... should I still donate today? I tried calling up the Red Cross, but no one answered, and I had to leave a message. I hate not to do my regular donation, but I really don't want to pass out or something.  Hmm... On the other hand, it's the one time I allow myself to eat juice and cookies!


Saturday 9: You're My Best Friend


Link up with Samantha if you're playing along today!

1. Outside of your romantic life, do you currently have a best friend?

I do. There are a few people I consider my 'best friends,' actually.

2. Regarding your future, what is the best thing you could hope for?

That Rob is in it... wherever we go, whatever we do, I don't care, as long as he's there.

3. Have you ever helped out a friend with basic needs, like rent or food? If yes. what did you do?

I don't like to toot my own horn with stuff like that, but yes, I've helped out a friend or two in the past.

4. If they re-instituted the draft (for both genders and your were of age) would you go, or would find some way out of it?

I would go and do my duty.

5. Tell us one thing you wish you hadn't let yourself do.

I wish I hadn't let myself eat that cereal earlier. NOT the right thing for me to have normally, but especially not on a weak stomach-bug tummy! Oy...

6. Tell us about the last time you bragged.

I wouldn't really say I was bragging, because I was being questioned about it, but I talked about working on my Ph.D. with the premiere scientist in that field, the last time I was subbing.

7. What area are you wisest in?

That made me laugh. I wouldn't consider myself wise about anything. I know a little bit about a lot of things, and a lot about a little, but nothing in which I'd say I'm an expert!

8. Tell us about something that happened that at the time made you "full of yourself".

I've lost 172 lbs and counting, so whenever I'm with a group of people that gush about how great I look, I get pretty full of myself! Then I come home and prance around in front of my husband until he compliments me, too. Hehe.

9. Has there ever been a time that you wanted to try something in the bedroom, but were afraid to ask?

Oh, my. No, if there's something I want to do, I say it! No point in beating around the, um, bush...


Ketchup And Mustard, I'm Behind!

Phew. Another busy week.

Besides the usual (school, 3 dance classes on Tuesday & Wednesday, Brownies AND Cub Scouts - the latter of which we ended up missing AGAIN because the boy-child could not stay awake past 1800 and the meetings aren't until 1900 - on Thursday), etc., we've had lots going on.

I had a fun time collecting the money from all the other Brownies and finishing up the troop paperwork to finish the cookie sale this week. I finally made all the deposits and turned in everything yesterday, so I'm hoping I did it all right. We'll see. Last year I messed up the patches, and I'm not entirely sure I did things correctly this time! So now it's finally, finally over... well, except for the last few boxes our Leader still has, to sell. But we received enough in donations to cover those in the meantime.

Also on Thursday, we went to the Scholastic Book Fair at the kids' school. I volunteered there on Monday (think I told you that already) and was looking forward to picking out our favorites last night. I was going to buy ONE book per child, but I ended up buying 9 total!

Here's our list:


Hot Wheels: Stunt Show - (which I can't even find on the Scholastic website; weird) a level 1 Reader for Jack to read to ME. He keeps saying he can't read, but he can. He's just soooo stubborn.


Ouch! How your body makes it through a very bad day - which is NOT the same cover as the ones pictured on all the links I Swagbucks-searched for, but they must be related somehow, eh?  Jack is totally digging this book; he's very "into" what goes on inside the body and what all the parts look like and everything. I picked out this book for him at the volunteer session on Monday.

Old lady 

There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed a Chick! - which Jack and Sophia both picked out, independently.  


Skippyjon Jones and the Big Bones - Had to get this; these books are so funny, and I opted to get The Pout-Pout Fish last time instead. I'm still wishing I'd just gotten both! 


Duck at the Door - Rob picked this book for the kiddos. I haven't read it yet.


Barbie in A Mermaid Tale: A Storybook - most obviously picked out by Sophia, who is having a love affair with Barbie right now, and also with stickers, which it contains. She's always loved stickers, though, and she sits and goes through my sticker box whenever she thinks she can get away with it!


Fluffy and Baron, another book Sophia picked out, which I also haven't read yet. Apparently it's based on a true story.

Wimpy kid 

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days - Chloë's BFF, Sammy, told me about these books at the Fall Book Fair, and I missed out, running to the library after the books had all been packed up. I really wanted the school to get credit for the purchase, so I held out until this Spring Book Fair. Sammy really likes the books and thought Chloë would enjoy them, too. I told her she could pick out two of them, since they have AR tests associated with them, and although she always has her nose in a book, she infrequently takes the AR tests at school. I'm always pushing her to do so, but it seems she couldn't care less! 

Allie finkle

Allie Finkle's Rules for Girls: Stage Fright  - Instead of a second Wimpy Kid book, Chloë begged for this one. Since there was an AR test attached, I relented and let her put back one of the others. She's been reading BOTH books ever since, even though technically I only gave each of them one of their books, planning to save the other for their Easter baskets! So, I stole it back tonight and am making her read Wimpy. :P

In all, the nine books cost us an average of $5.10, after my $5 credit for volunteering on Monday. I guess that's a pretty good deal. Hopefully Sophie won't take her Barbie book into the tub with her and rip it to shreds, like she did the last time!!

Speaking of Chloë and BFFs... she came off the bus completely sobbing yesterday because another BFF, "K," had written about her that she was annoying, in her diary, and Chloë saw it. The way she describes it, it almost seems like K had meant for her to see it, which I thought was a little too "mean girl" for 3rd grade! I don't know, but we really didn't handle it at all. She came running into my arms when Rob brought her back from the bus stop (he's on days since Wednesday), and I just held her while she cried her heart out. Rob and I just looked over our shoulder at each other, while I mouthed, "I don't know what to do!" and rubbed her tiny back. She eventually ran out of steam and has seemed to forget about it, so I don't even know whether I should bring it up again. Thoughts?

Let's see, what else...

Oh! I subbed Friday afternoon, 1200-1500, for the first time. A pack of wild fifth graders, about 80% of whom were bigger than I am, or at least as big. How does that happen? I'm used to little ones. I daresay I was far less intimidated than I was a decade ago when I subbed in Tampa, freshly out of college and not yet a frequently-yelling mother, but still, it was hard to keep this class quiet. At first, they were shouting at each other, using all kinds of filthy language, and threatening to throw chairs and stuff. I even got hit hard by one kid, but it was accidental, so I didn't really do anything about it.

But all it took was starting to write names on the board - and threatening to skip lunch! - to get them back under control. By the end of the day, several of the kids proclaimed that I was the "best" and "most fun" sub ever, because I actually did things with them instead of just yelling and throwing more busy work at them. Indeed, when we got our work done early, I let them go outside and run for 20 minutes. I could tell they really needed it. And another time, when work was finished early, I let them go in front of the class and read a poem they'd written, or do a silly dance, or whatever. The whole class was cracking up, even me. So, it was an okay day. But I definitely earned my keep!

Linda and I went out on a lunch shop together on Wednesday, and the family and I did another shop for dinner that night. Both were really good; I'm trying to keep my hand in that, even with everything else we've got going on these days.

Sophia had a field trip to - of all places - Krispy Kreme on St. Patrick's Day, and they had a "green day" party. I was supposed to send in a green snack, but all I could find were Del Monte jello and fruit bowls in the snack stockpile. I'd forgotten until it was too late to go out. Apparently no one ate them, and the teachers stuck them in the fridge; I kinda wish they would send them back home, so I could feed them to MY kids!!

Also on Wednesday, I took Chloë and Jack to the dentist. Jack had two of the eight cavities filled and seemed to do well. I haven't heard him say a single word about it, so I guess it didn't hurt too much or anything. Chloë had her orthodontic records started - molds of her teeth taken, pictures, etc., - because she has a crossbite that we need to get fixed. Then, she had a frenectomy, to cut the extra thick upper frenulum she has/had (the tissue connecting the gums to the lips), which was causing her teeth to grow in funny. We had to shell out beaucoup bucks for that visit, and we're only just getting started! So I'm kind of nervous about that...

The only other thing I can thing to mention is that I'm now down 170 pounds!! I've lost about half my old self, now.  I need to get down to at least 164 before I can schedule the abdominoplasty, but I plan to lose 10 more before I even go in to try, to account for clothing and eating /drinking that morning. Hopefully another month or so will do it!

And that is the week that was. Tomorrow's another busy day!


Six Word Saturday


Link up with Cate if you're playing along today!

My six words for this week are:

Sunday: first time playing Laser Tag!

We are going up to Chantilly, Va, almost 4 hours away on Sunday night to play Laser Tag with Jack. Partly for his 7th birthday, also for a mystery shop. The girls are going to stay with my friend Steph until we get back... I think, although I may call and see if we can all go. Sophie, not quite 5, might be too young. I'd rather all go and celebrate his birthday that way, though. I think he'll have a blast!


Saturday 9: Just One Look


Link up with Samantha if you're playing along today!

1. How vein are you about how you look?

I'm neither vein nor artery about it... but I do confess, since I've lost 170 lbs (and counting!!), I do consider myself quite the cute thing. Hee!

2. When you were little what was your favorite TV show?

The Dukes of Hazzard

3. If someone was going to make a movie or TV show about your life, who would play you and why?

You mean... who would play ME? Kristy McNichol would. I just always liked her, dammit.

4. Who is your favorite Major League Baseball team? How about your favorite player?

The Mets. Darryl Strawberry. How old am I? I don't watch baseball anymore, obviously.

5. What is your favorite baseball-related movie?

Honestly, I really don't have a hierarchy of baseball-related favorites in my mental queue. Sorry.

6. What is one lesson you have learned in the past year?

Stay away from Atkins bars. They give me the squirts.

7. Tell us about one of your childhood memories.

First one that comes to mind: My dad was dating my evil ex-stepmother. Or maybe they were newly married; I forget. Anyway, she was making fried chicken for my dad, while the rest of us had pizza, because he hated pizza. We were all watching Porky's II, which is totally appropriate for an 8yo, right? No one was paying attention to the chicken sizzling on the stove, and it caught fire. My dad, being a dodo-head, put flour on it. (NEVER put flour on a grease fire - use baking soda! PSA) It exploded. He grabbed the pan and carried it out to the garage to dispose of it, but when he got out there, he was worried about getting something on one of his precious cars. So, he turned around to come back in through the house to go out the front door, but the pan got too hot in his hand, and he dropped it. Burning hot grease splashed all over my ex-stepsister M. and me. My sister, Stacey, and I started screaming our heads off, and they kept shushing us, because M. was burned. No one realized I was burned, too, so I just sat there and tried not to scream, while they tended to her. I had burn scars up and down my legs for years, but they have finally faded away, lo these 25 years later.

Odd that that was the first thing to pop into my mind... Mine wasn't the happiest kidhood.

8. How do you handle sticky situations? Do you have a method? If so, what is it?

I don't know. I guess nowadays, I try to ask the right people how they would handle it, before I proceed. Then I have someone else to blame if it all goes to pot. ha!

9. Do you think people talk about you behind your back?

I'm kind of paranoid about that, yeah. I always think people are talking about me!



Sunday Steals And Deals: Rite Aid, CVS & Wags

Thanks again to Collin at Hip2Save for helping me put together these deals! I couldn't do it without help. And, by the way, just a few minutes ago, I redeemed for $5 GC #5 from Swagbucks! Between that and winning twice for Deal Seeking Mom's coupon database, I've got $75 racked up at Amazon! =D

And so, here we go:

Rite Aid


Transactions #1 & #2: I'm combining these because they go together for SCR #24. Total value = $68.23; total OOP = 23¢!! (That's a savings of about 99.66%, btw!)


  • (2) StayFree Maxi Pads, 16-ct (which I personally can't use, but since I got them free, I will donate them to Samaritan House along with some clothes I've shrunk out of, and I feel good about that!): Normally $3.99 each, on sale for B1G1-50% off, minus (2) $1 MQs
  • Visine All-Day Itch Relief: $12.99, minus $3 MQ and $3 in-ad SQ
  • Motrin PM 20-ct: $5.49, minus $1 MQ
  • Cortaid cream: reg. $5.99, on sale for $3.99, minus $1 MQ
  • Used $5-off-$25 SQ for this #1
  • K-Y Yours & Mine (I'm reeeeaallly excited about trying this out, hehe): reg. $19.99, on sale for $15.99, minus $5 MQ
  • Band-Aid bandages 60-ct: reg. $3.69, on sale for $1.99, minus 50¢ MQ
  • Neosporin-Plus Cream: reg. $5.99, on sale for $3.99, minus $1 MQ
  • Johnson's Fragrance-Free Baby Lotion (not sure whether we'll use, sell or donate it): reg. $4.49, on sale for $3.49, minus $1 MQ and $1 in-ad SQ
  • Used $5-off-$25 SQ for this #2

Submitting these receipts together on Rite Aid's Single Check Rebate site will get me $25 back for the J&J SCR #24. Woohoo!


#3: Total value: $50.89; total OOP: $12.56

{Note: I can afford to be much pickier about the deals I get now that our stockpile is quite full, so you can be sure that if I don't get something for a killer price, it's because we really need it and will use it. Like this Coke, we drink a lot of it, and I'm always looking for a good price. As for all the candy, between the two birthday parties I'll need favors for, and Easter, I need to stock up. Rest assured my kids don't live on a candy and Cocoa Pebbles diet!!}


  • ½-L 6-pack bottles of Coke: reg. $3.79, on sale for $3, minus 50¢ in-ad SQ
  • ½-L 6-pack bottles of CFD Coke: reg. $3.79, on sale for $3, minus 50¢ in-ad SQ
  • (9) Hershey/Reese's/Cadbury Easter candy: reg. $3.99 each, on sale for $1.99 each, minus $2/3 MQ and $2/3 in-ad SQ
  • (2) Starburst Jellybeans: reg. $2.49, on sale for $1.50, minus $1/2 MQ
  • I also used a $5-off-$25 SQ for this order.


#4: I could have done better on this order, but because they were out of - or didn't carry - a couple things, I didn't have a high enough balance to use another $5-off-$25 SQ, and I didn't want to buy a bunch of stuff just to make that total. Total value: about $37.29; total OOP: $10.94


  • (2) Act II popcorn 3-pk: reg. $2.49, on sale for $1.25, minus (2) 40¢ MQs
  • (2) Mentos Gum bottles, reg. $1.49, on sale for 99¢, minus (2) 55¢ MQs
  • (4) Renuzit Super Odor Neutralizer Spray (which I really need to start making use of!): reg. $2.99, on sale B1G1 Free, minus B2G1 Free MQ and (2) $1 MQ
  • (9) Puffs Plus Tisue Cube (my favorite tissues!!): reg. $1.79, on sale for 79¢, minus (3) 25¢/3 MQs


  Total value: about $97.51; Total OOP for this purchase COULD HAVE BEEN $33.33 but was actually $51.33 because I saved all the ECBs I earned from this order to buy this:


A two-pack of replacement brush heads for our Philips Sonicare Elite electric toothbrush. Mine was unceremoniously dragged through the dirty cat litterbox by a certain four-year-old daughter. *ahem* Anyway, CVS sells the 2-pack for $36.99 (!!! I KNOW!), but it was on sale for $26.99. I had a $5 MQ and used the $18 in ECBs I received from the first order, above, to get that total down to $5.29 with tax. Not too shabby.

Details on the first order:

  • (6) Degree Invisible Solid deodorant: normally $3.69, on sale for $2.50, minus (3) $3/2 MQs and the $5 ECB it gave me
  • (4) Izze drink singles (we tried two; they're GOOD): normally $1.59 each, on sale for 3/$4, minus (4) 75¢ MQs
  • (2) South Beach High Protein Cinnamon Raisin Cereal Bars (I ate a couple, and they are really yummy): reg. $3.99 each, on sale for $2.50, minus (2) $1 MQs
  • (4) Glade Sense & Spray refills: reg. $3.99 each, on sale for $2.50, minus (2) $1/2 MQs
  • (3) Kashi cereals: reg. $4.69 per box, on sale for $2.50 each, minus (1) B2G1 FREE MQ & (2) $1.50 MQs
  • (2) Right Guard deodorants: reg. $4.49, on sale for $2.25, minus (2) $1.50 MQs
  • Herbal Essences Color Treated Conditioner: reg. $4.29, on sale for $2.99, minus $1 MQ and the$1 ECB it gave me
  • Herbal Essences Curl Scruncher styling product (for Chloë's hair): reg. $4.29, on sale for $2.99, minus Buy-one-conditioner, get-one-styling-product FREE MQ
  • Gillette CustomPlus Razors, 10-pk: $6.49, minus $2 MQ and $2 ECB
  • (7) Betty Crocker Warm Delights Brownie Bowls (the kids LOVE these for dessert or an after-school snack): reg. $2.29 each, on sale for 99¢, minus $3.50 in MQs
  • Gillette Fusion razor cartridges, 4-pk (which Rob needs for all the Fusion razors he's been getting and using lately): $15.49, minus $3 in ECBs
  • Gillette FusionPower Razor: $11.99, minus Buy-one-cartridge-refill, get-one-Fusion-razor-FREE MQ
  • I also used a $1 EDB from last week's deals



Single transaction. Total value: $131.05; total OOP: $49.50 PLUS $7 in Register Rewards for next time (net = $42.50). I saved $82.05.



(4) Ore-Ida Extra Crispy Easy Fries: reg. $1.29 each, on sale for 99¢, minus (2) $1.50/2 MQs = 24¢ each!

These actually turned out to be pretty yummy!!

(2) 4-packs of Special K Protein Shakes: reg. $7.99 each, on sale for $4.50 each, minus (2) $1MQs and the $3 RRs it gave me = 50¢ per bottle!

{I had a chocolate one last night. It was really good, but I threw it up... not sure if it had too many carbs or I had a stomach bug or just what. I'll try again later today.}


(3) Hershey's Bliss chocolate candies: Reg. $4.79, on sale for $3.50, minus (3) $1 MQs and $1.50/3 SQ = $2/bag


(3) 2-packs Pilot G2 Pens: reg. $3.29, on sale for 99¢ with in-ad SQ!

These are my absolute FAVORITE pens right now. They were out of blue and black, or I'd have gotten those, but I can use these, too. If I stop at Wags again this week, I'll see if I can find blue and get more.


 (2) Reese's Dark PB Cups: reg. 89¢, on sale for 49¢ with in-ad SQ, minus (2) 55¢ MQs = 12¢ Moneymaker!

(2) Rimmel 1000 Kisses Lip Liners: reg. $3.89 each, on sale for 50% off, minus (2) $1 MQs = 94¢ each

Really needed some good lip liners right now, too... :)


Revlon Nail Clippers: Reg. $3.19, on sale for 40% off, minus $1 MQ = 91¢

We constantly lose nailclippers, and I needed some for my car, so I had to get this deal!

(3) Chapstick Classic Cherry: reg. $1.89 each, on sale for 99¢ with in-ad SQ, minus $1/3 MQ = 66¢ each

I'm a chapstick fiend, so yay!


(4) Old Spice Swagger Body Wash: Reg. $4.99, minus (4) MQs for FREE Body Wash wyb Old Spice deodorant = 4 FREE!

Except... the cashier took all 4 MQs and only rang up 3, so I paid $5 for one. :( I might call up and see if they can give my $$ back, but I absolutely HATE that Wags, so I might just have to call it a loss. Suckage!

(6) Old Spice High Endurance deodorant: reg. $3.29 each, on sale for $2.29, minus (3) $1/2 MQs = $1.79 each

Not the best deal, but this is Rob's fave brand, so I stocked up for him.

At least I know that if I died tomorrow, Rob and the kids will be clean and smell good! ;)


(4) Blue Diamond Almonds: reg. $3.59, on sale for 2/$3.49, minus (2) $1/2 MQs = $1.25 each

These are the BEST nuts, so yummy! I eat a few of them at a time for a good, high-protein snack. And I'm down 169 lbs as of today, so something is going right! ;)


Colgate Total Advanced Whitening: Reg. $4.59, on sale for $3.99, minus $3.99 RRs and $1 MQ = $1 Moneymaker!

(2) Oral-B Glide Advantage toothbrushes: Reg. $3.79, on sale for 95¢, minus B1G1 FREE MQ and 75¢ MQ = 10¢ each!

So, I want to hit Wags again this week if I can, and get a few more deals now that I have more printer ink. We'll see if I get to it, and Target...


The End.

It's over, it's over, the cookie sale is over!!!!

I'm just a leeeeetle bit excited about that. We still have a variety of 12 packages or so to sell, but our Troop Leader took them off my hands and plans to get rid of them herself, and the donations we've received throughout the course of the sale will more than pay for those in the meantime. All I have to do now is collect payments from half the girls, submit the report, and then by Wednesday night, life can return to normal! Yippee!

In the meantime, here's what's up:

Rob worked all day Saturday. The kids were supposed to be cleaning their rooms all day while I cleaned other stuff, but I'm utterly worn-down and exhausted, so I rested for most of the day.

I'd told the kids if they got their rooms clean, they could pick ANY TOY THEY WANTED from my burgeoning toy closet. You'd think that would be a pretty good motivator, since there are some pretty sweet toys in there now, but nooo... Jack and Sophia did diddly squat. Zip. Zero.


Chloë, on the other hand, took that opportunity and ran with it. She cleaned up her room lickety-split, down to every last thing being picked up off an extremely cluttered floor. I had no idea what she might pick, so I was surprised when she chose the kitty-cat Dunk-adoo or whatever it's called, that I got on clearance at Tarjay last week.


The girl is OBSESSED with kitties!!  Sophia wanted the same thing, so she pitched a bit of a fit about Chloë getting it, but too bad, so sad - she didn't clean her room! This is the sad, pre-dunk kitty.


This toy is utterly stupid! You put it in a bag filled with water, let it soak up, and presto-chango: NOTHING HAPPENS. Except it gets wet. Haha! Chloë didn't care, though; she kept insisting it got bigger, but really? No. It didn't. At all.

We were going to go to church in the evening after Rob came home, but he didn't make it on time, and I was too tired to go by myself with the kids. So that sucked, since we are seriously trying to go more... as far as the rest of the evening, I have no idea, other than that Chloë became suddenly ill. She had a headache that I'm sure was a migraine, she was dizzy, she puked several times, and had major coughing fits. She may or may not have had a fever... but it was all-but-the-coughing gone by morning, so maybe it was just some odd bug she picked up at school?

Sunday morning, we got up bright and early to do a booth sale. Thankfully, Chloë felt fine for that, since it was the last day to sell and we had about 5 cases to get rid of. I went upstairs to shower and found our bedroom completely destroyed. Sophia was undoubtedly the culprit, and I had a conniption about it. Seriously, I was beside myself!  I f**king hate that. It makes me crazy that she ruins her own stuff, doesn't take care of anything, lets it all go to pot... but stay out of MY room and don't touch MY stuff!!!! Needless to say, the locks are now back on the doors. 

When I get my energy back, hopefully by Wednesday when I plan NOT to sub, I am going to go into their rooms (including Chloë's which is now a huge mess again! WTF!) and Clean. Them. OUT. Anything that is broken, has parts missing or is just plain a stupid toy, I'm getting rid of. Anything I never see them play with, into the Freecycle pile. Trash, Freecycle, look out - here I come!! They have way too much crap in there, so it's kind of understandable that they might have a hard time keeping their rooms cleaner, but they ... eh, really, never mind about that. I'm sick of talking about it right now!


So, back to the booth sale. It was at Kroger, which has two entrances, so to maximize our chances of getting rid of all the cookies, I split the two girls up. I had two tables, so we just divvied up the remaining cookies evenly, 30 to each girl. After the two hours, Chloë had manage to sell all but one of hers, including a couple that we ran down and pilfered from the other girl's table! L. had sold all but 8. So, it was a pretty successful last-day sale, I think, since SO many people turned us down for having already purchased their limit.

After a quick run around the corner to deposit some mystery shopping pay checks and mail-in rebate checks (they really do come, so do those!), we drove to the church where the Brownies meet with the remaining 9 boxes. The church was letting us sell there, but I couldn't stay because Sophie had a birthday party to attend. I handed them over to our leader and went off on my merry way without a SINGLE BOX OF COOKIES to worry about selling. Yee-haw!!

In the end, I sent Rob with Sophia to the birthday party, at the bowling alley, for a little boy in her preschool class. I was still so mad at her, for destroying our room, so I didn't want to spend the entire 2-3 hours with her yelling and being upset. Instead, I sic'd Chloë and Jack back on room-cleaning duty and took a nap.

Jack has been asking for this remote-control helicopter for his birthday for the past couple of weeks. I've been reluctant to get it, because (a) I already have some toys for him in my stash and (b) I don't want to shell out the $$ just to have him break it, so I made him a deal: Clean up your room TODAY, and I will get the helicopter you want. Don't clean it TODAY, and you don't get it.

Long story short, I am NOT buying the helicopter. I would have been more than happy to if he would just clean up his farging room, though!!

After my nap, during which time Rob and the demon-child returned, I got to work on the killer deals at the drugstores (CVS, Wags & Rite Aid) for this week. I knew there would be some good ones, and I didn't want to miss out like I have for the past fortnight or so. It literally took me five hours to assemble my coupons, make my lists, and get ready to go. When I think about that, it's kind of redonkulous - but I wouldn't do it if I didn't completely enjoy "the game"! 

By 9:30 PM, I was ready to go. That's right, I went out that late, and stayed out 'til nearly 0100! I had to use Swagbucks to research all the stores in my area and see which ones would be open until late-o'clock, so I didn't go to my normal stores. Which was kind of good, because I had a lot of deals to do, and I didn't want to irritate the cashiers who see me all the time. Hee.

That went well, and I only missed out on the deals I couldn't do at all because I'd run out of printer ink. Pretty much everything else was in stock, so it bears repeating for the umpteenth time: Try to go on the first day of a sale! I plan to get some ink tonight after Rob gets home, and then hit up Wags again for the remaining 3-4 thigns I couldn't get.  Stay tuned for my Steals and Deals post, next.


Today, Monday, I didn't sub because I'd signed up to volunteer at the kids' school all day. I've received at least three calls a day since I got my official letter, so hopefully I'll get called for tomorrow, my first planned day to sub (after Friday didn't work out). I've called SubFinder all evening, but there aren't any jobs yet. Fingers crossed - and that it turns out to be an elementary school, my favorite age group!

I got to school about a half-hour late, since I overslept. I didn't even get a chance to shower or change my clothes or anything! Just grabbed my things and walked out the door.  I guess I passed muster, though, because at least half a dozen people told me how great I looked! I think it was the clothes I was wearing today; they were rather figure-flattering for me. Everyone wanted to know how much weight I'd lost, and the compliments kept flowing all day. It was pretty great, self-esteem-wise!

Unfortunately, I missed Sophia's class. They were leaving just as I'd arrived. I caught sight of Soap looking around, and I'm sure she was looking for me. :( I'd told her last night I would be there, so I felt bad. When she finally saw me, she smiled but didn't say a word, because her class was expected to be quiet as they walked out the door. She didn't cry, though, and she never mentioned it after school, so I imagine my little booboo wasn't too soul-crushing for her.

On the other hand, when Jack came in... Things started off well, anyway. The librarian started off pairing him with another helper, but everyone jumped in to remind her to send him to his mom! He was quite demanding about it, so it was just another little petal off my he-loves-me, he-loves-me-not flower. He was asked to pick a buddy to also be paired with me, and he picked a little boy who was basically mute and had the personality of a shoe. He refused to talk, refused to look at or touch the books, and had no expression on his face. Poor kid; something is obviously "up," there. I sent him to sit down without putting a single book on his wish list. Oh, did I mention that's what I was doing? We volunteers were there to help Pre-K through 1st graders fill out their Book Fair wish lists.

Jack went through the motions of filling out his list, but he really wasn't into it. Instead, he cranked about wanting to go home, hating school, hating to read, blah blah blah. I guess it just wasn't his day, and when he saw Mama, he gave up!  I even showed him some truck and car books, but he had no interest. And then I remembered a book I'd looked at earlier, a bigger and more expensive book that wasn't on the cases the childnen weren't "allowed" to pick from for their wish lists. It's all about the body human and what goes on inside, as well as germs and other things that affect us. A pretty cool book with lots of detailed pictures, and since Jack is always inquisitive about that stuff, I thought he would really enjoy it. I was right. I showed it to him, and he brightened immediately and shouted, "I want that one!!" It's only $10, and I get a $5 credit for volunteering, so completely worth it. I'll pick it up on Thursday, the Book Fair's Family Night, and either stick it in his Easter basket or give it to him for his birthday in a week.

(Holy cow, he's going to be SEVEN in one week!!!)

The rest of the time passed quickly. I really enjoy this particular volunteer opportunity the most, out of all the things I've done for the school. Especially when the neighborhood kids come in and request to be paired with me! That makes me feel good. This one little boy, John, who came up to me at the Burger King cashola night last week and said I was beautiful, walked up to each of us women there and said, "You're beautiful!" He was a riot; we all got a real kick out of him.

Afterward, I had about an hour and a half before the kids came home. I'd planned to clean and be productive, but after talking to my gran'pappy for a half-hour (he'd had another 4-day hospitalization recently, which I was unaware of because of being so busy with cookies) and assuring myself he was fine, I crashed again on the couch. If I didn't absolutely HAVE to get up and got to the bus stop to meet the kids, I would have stayed there, too. It was hard to pull myself up!

After they came home and had a snack, I let them put in a movie so I could lie down some more. Sophie and I snuggled up tight under the blankets on the couch, to watch The Swan Princess, and I fell fast asleep again. I was hoping she would, too, but no such luck. I was vaguely aware that they put in a second movie, Aquamarine, when that ended, and feeling grateful that there was no Cub Scouts meeting tonight. Homework and dinner could therefore be delayed, and my nap extended.

Until, that is, our troop leader showed up to bring me the rest of her daughter's cookie money. Oops! I had a hard time shaking the cobwebs out of my brain, but she was completely understanding, since she's in the same boat with the exhaustion right now. (She's got four kids ranging from 5 to 16 or 17, and her husband is deployed, and she is constantly busy with both Boy and Girl scout duties.) We chatted for a little while; I enjoy her loud, outgoing personality a whole lot. It's easier for me with that kind of person, when they are not a close-close friend, since I tend to be more quiet and reserved in those cases. Plus she's really just very nice!

When she left, Sophia popped in a Veggie Tales and opted to ignore my requests to clean up the living room. Ordinarily, I wouldn't have stood for it, but I was too tired to demand it. Chloë and Jack worked on homework in the kitchen, so I could help them while I made dinner for them. Jack did really well tonight and got his done quickly, but Chloë took forever and a day to finish all her work. She has a science test tomorrow, but by the time she finished all her homework, it was half-past-bedtime, and I didn't want to keep her up to study. That really aggravates me, though... so, I'm not expecting a fantastic test grade tomorrow.

I really have a ton of things I could be doing, but I'm going to blog last night's deals instead. I'm too tired physically, and mentally, I'm once again in Effexor withdrawal mode. Rob picked up my prescriptions the other day, but somehow or another, they have gone missing. I discussed this with the kids, none of whom seemed to know what happened to them, but I gave them the "this is life-or-death for me" speech.  Still, none of them knew where they went. So, it's a mystery, but at least Rob managed to get another emergency fill for me this afternoon. Hopefully he'll be home soon to give me one and get me back on track, but in the meantime, I'm virtually useless. Bah.

I'm off to eat a quick salad and then post about the deals. Sayonara, arrivederci and ciao!



Thursday Steals And Deals: Rite Aid, CVS, Walgreens & Target

Many thanks to Collin at Hip2Save for helping me put together all of these great deals!  Read her blog so you can find out where I get all of my coupons and sale information, so you can do it, too!

First up...

Rite Aid


This represents six different transactions, which I'll detail below. The total value is roughly $159.75 including tax; my total OOP expense was $24.44! That's about an 85% savings. Pretty good. Here's how:


#1. Total value: $41.96 + tax. Total OOP: 51¢:

  • Metamucil 114-dose bottle, regularly $13.99, on sale for $9.99. I had a $3 MQ and will get a $5 SCR (Single Check Rebate, which I will submit for at the end of the month, since you can only request one per household per month)
  • Vicks NyQuil, regularly $6.99, on sale for $4.99. I had a $1.50 MQ and will get a $2 SCR
  • Oral-B Cross-Action Power Toothbrush, regularly $8.99, on sale for $5.99. I had a $3 MQ
  • Pampers Jumbo pack, regularly $11.99, on sale for $9.99. I had a $3 MQ
  • I also had a $5-off-$25 Rite-Aid SQ (Store Coupon)
  • This order also qualifies for a $10 Rite Aid Gift Card SCR!

NOTE TO STEPHANIE: This is all a limit-one transaction, so I can't do it again, but I DO have all these coupons still if you want to try this for yourself. Or they are all available in the 3/7 Proctor & Gamble coupon insert, for the rest of you. Let me know if you need the Qs!


#2. Total Value: $20.96; Total OOP: $1.75:

  • (2) Gillette deodorants, regularly priced at $4.99 each, on sale 2/$8. I had (2) $1 MQ, and will get a $2 SCR
  • (2) Gillette body washes, regularly priced at $4.99. I had two Buy-One-Deodorant-Get-One-Bodywash-Free MQs
  • I also had a $3-off-$15 SQ


#3. Total value: $34.40; total OOP: $7.05:

This could have been better. The cashier and staff supervisors were not on the same page regarding what to do when there is a BOGO sale combined with a BOGO coupon. At Walgreens, you can use both to get both items free; the same is supposed to be true at Rite Aid. YMMV, however (your mileage may vary), as the cashier didn't know what to do, one supervisor said I could use the coupon but ONLY ONE, and the other supervisor said I could NOT use the coupon. For this order, I could NOT use it. After the other super said ONE BOGO MQ was allowed, I was going to go back and fix this order, but they couldn't figure out how, so I skipped it and kept it as-is. My OOP could and should have been about $1.46. When in doubt, keep the store's coupon policies with you! I never do this, though...

  • (2) CoverGirl Simply Ageless Eye Concealer (used it last night; works GREAT!!), regularly $12.99, on sale BOGO Free. I had a $1 MQ and a $5 MQ for these
  • (2) CoverGirl EyeShadow singles, regularly $3.39, on sale BOGO Free. I had a $1 MQ
  • I also had a $3-off-$15 SQ


#4: Total value: $24.47; total OOP: $8.42:

(Not my best transaction again, because of the stoopid BOGO MQ and sale combo - could have been much better! Oh, well...)

  • (2) Kellogg's Mini Wheats, regularly $4.79 each, on sale 2/$4.88. I had a $1.50-off-2 MQ
  • (2) Nestlé Nest Eggs bags of candy, regularly $3.99 each, on sale 2/$4.88. I had a $1-off-2 MQ
  • (2) Starburst King-size packages, regularly $1.49, on sale BOGO Free, I had a BOGO FREE MQ up to $1.10
  • (4) Mentos candies, 85¢ each, used for filler to get my order up to $15
  • I also had a $3-off-$15 SQ, which I would have put to better use than the Mentos if I'd known I couldn't use two BOGO coupons in one transaction


#5. Total value: $35.67; total OOP: $6.28:

  • Olay Regenerist Advanced Anti-Aging face cream, $21.99; I had a $3 MQ
  • (2) Olay Body Quench Lotion, regularly $5.99, on sale BOGO 50% off. I had a Buy-one-Regenerist-Get-One-Lotion FREE MQ
  • I also had a $5-off-$25 SQ
  • I will submit this for the $15 Olay MIR

#6. Total Value: $3.05; Total OOP: 43¢

  • (2) Starburst King-Size Tear 'n Share, Regularly $1.49 each, on sale for BOGO Free. I had a BOGO Free MQ up to $1.10

Up next...



Again, this represents six different transactions. The total actual value is about $110; total OOP was $28.29. This is a savings of about 75%. Here's how:


#1. Total value: about $17.50; total OOP: $2.60.

  • (6) packages of Nabisco cookies, regularly $1.99 each, on sale for 5/$5. I had (3) $1-off-2 MQs
  • Oral-B Cross-Action Toothbrush, regularly $4.99, on sale for $4.00. I had a 75¢ MQ.
  • I also had a $4 ECB from last week.
  • This transaction gave me a $4 ECB for the toothbrush, for #2.


#2. Total value: about $23.75; total OOP: $5.16:

  • (4) Post Cocoal Pebbles cereal, regularly $4.79, previously on sale for $1.88. I had a raincheck for this, because they were all out before. I also had (2) $1-off-2 MQs
  • Oral-B Cross-Action Manual Toothbrush, regularly $4.99, on sale for $4. I had a 75¢ MQ
  • I had a $4 ECB from #1
  • The toothbrush gave me another $4 ECB for #3



 #3. Total value: $16.48. Total OOP: $1.44!!

  • (2) Clairol Nice'n Easy haircolor kits, regularly $7.99, on sale for $4.97 each. I had a $5-off-2 MQ
  • I also had a $4 ECB from #2.
  • This transaction gave me $2 ECB for #4

#4. Total value: $10.33; total OOP: $2.32:

  • Pantene Pro-V Color Revival Shampoo, regularly $4.99, on sale for $3.49.
  • Pantene Pro-V Color Revival Conditioner, regularly $4.99, on sale for $3.49. I had a $3-off-2 MQ for both
  • I also had $2 ECB from #3
  • This transaction gave me $2 ECB for #5

 #5. A bit of a splurge here, but I need protein foods. Total value: 15.35; total OOP: 11.35:

  • (2) Atkins bars 5-packs, regularly $7.49, not on sale. I had (2) $1 MQs and $2 ECB from #4
  • This transaction gave me $5 ECB for #6.


#6. Total value: $25.16. Total OOP: $5.42:

  • Tide Powder, 70 oz, regularly $10.99, on sale for $5.97. I had a $1 MQ
  • Dawn dish liquid (yes, another one), regularly $1.99, on sale for 97¢. I had a $1 MQ
  • (2) Bounce Dryer Bars (can't wait to try these!!!), regularly $5.49 each, on sale for $3.99 each. I had (2) $1.50 MQs
  • I also had a $5 ECB from $5.
  • The Tide gave me $1 ECB for next week

Up next...



I did all of this in one transaction. Savings, according to the receipt, was $64.23. My OOP was $7.15:

  • Glade Sense & Spray, regularly $9.99, on sale for $5.99 but rang up at $4.99 (???). I had a $3 MQ and a $2 SQ from the March coupon booklet available at the front of the store
  • (3) Punch Ball critters, regularly ??, on sale for $1.99 and Buy-Two-Get-One-Free. Got these for little Easter basket goodies for the kids.
  • (10) Kraft Mac & Cheese, regularly $1.59, on sale for 69¢ with in-ad SQ. I had (2) $1-off-5 MQ
  • (3) Reach Toothbrushes, regularly $4.79 each, on sale $9/3. I had a BOGO MQ and (2) 1 MQ, plus the $5.10 in-ad SQ
  • (2) Finest Natural Reservatrol 60-ct bottles (I have to check whether I can take this), regularly $10.49 each, on sale for BOGO, and I had a $10 SQ from the March coupon booklet (so a quarter each!!)
  • (4) Bags Life*Savers jellybeans, regularly $2.99 each, on sale for $2 each. I had (2) $1-off-2 MQs and $2-off-4 SQ from the March coupon booklet (make sure you pick those up every month next to the weekly ads!)
  • I had $6 in Register Rewards (RRs) from last week, but I did not get any more from this transaction.


I hit another Walgreens later on, for this deal. This time, the Glade Sense & Spray, normally $9.99, correctly rang up on sale at $5.99.  Ihad a $3 MQ and a $2 SQ. Total OOP with tax for this ten-dollar item was $1.29!

Up next...


This was all in one transaction, but I'm going to split it up by "deal" as usual, to make it easier.


Smuckers Uncrustables, on sale for $2.04, and I had a $1 MQ. Not something I normally buy, but at 26¢ apiece, I thought it would be a decent, quick snack for the kiddos. 


Johnson's Soap Buddies, 99¢ each. I had (4) $1 MQs off any Johnson's Baby Item, and at my store, these qualify as a "baby" item. YMMV. So, I received these free + 4¢ overage toward the rest of my order - and the kids LOVE them!


These Hanes socks were not on sale, but I found (2) Target SQ for $1 off any Hanes socks or undies on their website. The kids always need both of those, so I stocked up on good socks for 50¢ per pair. 

Also on Target's coupon page online, I printed off (2) $5-off-$30 SQs for Circo or Cherokee clothing. I was going to stick to all clearance items to make my dollar really go further, but the clearance on these brands was not great. So for one SQ I stocked up on future-sized undies for Jack. That's 15 pairs of boxer briefs for $25, which is not terrific, but it'll do.


With the other $5-off-$30 SQ, I bought four packs of undies for the girls, and this shirt on clearance.


Classico sauce was $1.99, and I had a $1-off-2 MQ. Not fantastic, but we always need sauce, and $1.49 for a jar of sauce is okay.


General Mills cereal was supposed to be on sale for $3 each AND Buy-3-get-1-Free, but I don't think I got the free box. Maybe the chocolate Cheerios were not included in this deal? I'm not sure, still have to go over my receipt more... But the bigger boxes WERE $3 each, and the chocolate was $3.29. I had $4 in MQ. I don't really need to stock up on any more cereal, so I probably should have skipped this deal. The kids LOVE Cheerios, however, so I did it.


This sells for $1, and I had a 50¢ MQ. Rob won't drink it, but if I'm feeling the need for speed and am too lazy to brew a pot, it'll do just fine for me at 7¢ a pop! 


Dove Men+Care Body Wash, on sale for $3.99. I had (3) $1 SQs and (3) $1.50 MQs, making each a buck-fifty. Good deal for a big bottle + bonus bottle, and since I've got Rob using this stuff now, it'll be put to good use.


On sale for $1.49. I had a $1 SQ and 75¢ MQ, giving me 26¢ overage toward the rest of my order! I had another MQ but could only print 1 SQ off the website. Bummer.


I bought the Neo-to-go Neosporin on clearance for $3.30 each, and the character Band-Aids were $2.29 each. I had (2) $3-off-both MQs and (2) $1 MQs for the Neosporin. YMMV on using both, but I was able to, making this 80¢ per item. I don't know about your family, but ours is rife with boo-boos, so this is a good deal for us.


I found these Dunkadoos on clearance from (I think) $7.99 down to $1.98 each. I bought one of each kind they had available and will use them in the Easter baskets and the rest for bday presents. The kids are already clamoring to have them!


Missing from this picture is a big, $15 Hot Wheels truck toy. Including that and these other four trucks, I got the $50 lot for $40, using two $5-off-$25 SQs from Target's coupon site. They'll go for the little boy's birthday party Sophie has to go to tomorrow, Easter and bday for Jack. He LOVES Hot Wheels, so I was quick to print off and use those coupons!


This mini-Monopoly game sells for $7.99, and I found a $5 MQ on the website. I'll probably give this to Chloë for Easter.

In addition to all the above deals, I also used a $5 Target gift card from a previous deal (I think on the Keebler cookies from last week). My OOP was big because of all the clothing and toy deals I picked up, but I still got some really good deals!

Hopefully tomorrow, I'll be able to go out for the next week's drugstore deals...


The Week In Review

So it's been another busy week, and I haven't had much time to post. I'm going to give you the abridged version here, since even though I have some time now, it's already almost 0200, and I have a trillion and one emails and blog posts to catch up on, too!


Okay, seriously, I don't remember what I did during the day, because I didn't put it in my calendar, but I know I was busy every day but today! Chloë had math tutoring after school, but like most days, I had to pick her up early for Ballet. (Once, she told me that her tutor said, "How are you supposed to learn anything?!" but really, no one asked me if Tuesdays and Thursdays worked for us - and they don't!)

I was going to bring my crocheting to Ballet, but I couldn't find the red I was using (thanks to the cat, I'm sure), so I just played Scrabble on my iPhone and read a magazine. Jack napped, Sophie played. After dinner and homework at home, we worked on laundry. Yay.


I had an 0900 appointment to pick up cookies from the cookie cupboard, which I did. I hate to pick up more cookies at the end of the sale like this - it's over on Sunday night - but we had orders to fill. Hopefully we can get rid of the remaining cases tomorrow, but I'm worried about it. We have a booth sale at Kroger, plus the church where we hold our meetings is going to recognize Girl Scouts that day and said we could sell cookies there, PLUS Steph is going to hold a booth sale with her troop and said she'd take some of our cookies to sell at that, too. So, fingers are crossed!

At home, Rob was just getting ready to leave to take the kids to school. Their tardiness has been an ongoing problem since he has been on that job. After that, I decided to take back the job and let him sleep. After all, he has been getting home around 0300-0500 most days. And while it's true that I usually stay up the entire time to wait for him, and it's also true that he can usually go right back to sleep after bringing them to the bus stop/school and I can't, I don't have to stay awake until he gets home. So from now on, I plan to go to bed when I'm tired and get the kids up for school - on time! Except when I don't, like today - but somehow he managed to get them up!

While he was gone, the contractor who we called to get an estimate on some home repairs we can't afford came. I had just gotten out of the shower, so I ran down in my towel and asked him to wait five minutes for Rob, which he did. The fecking homeowner's association, which I absolutely hate, is now fining us $10 a day until we get it fixed. Our only hope is to do the repairs and then appeal to the HA to waive the fines. Only, we still haven't gotten that estimate... guess we'll be going with someone else! As for why Rob doesn't do the work himself, he spent $40 to rent a super-tall ladder (since all the problems are on the second story; he's done the first-story work) from Home Depot, only to get it home and not be able to extend it himself or with my help. That thing was a bear! I was super-pissed about the 40 bucks thrown away, too. Argh.

After he mostly bullshat with the contractor about motorcycles, we went to my 1015 doctor appointment with the shrink who prescribes my meds. Rob usually doesn't come along for those, but since we rarely spend time together these days, what the hey. Everything's going well with my current drug cocktail, so we didn't change anything. Haven't for a long while, now. Hopefully things will stay good going forward, too. Lord knows I need some mental stability, even if it has to come in the form of a pill or three! Anyway, apparently one of the drugs throws off cholesterol and blood sugar, so I have to go in and get more labs drawn for that.

We drove down to Oceana (another Navy base in town) to do a mystery shop at a restaurant in the Food Court. Rob got a steak sandwich, and I had a tuna wrap. It was SO good, and huge, so I took most of mine home. Rob brought the leftovers in the house, which I assumed meant that he was going to put them in the refrigerator... so I was really mad that night when I found my bag of food on a kitchen chair, pushed under the table! Hello!! More money down the drain.

After that, he went to work, and I did whatever I did around the house. I actually think I took a necessary nap until the kids got off the bus. Then the girls went to dance class for two hours, and I still couldn't find that yarn, so I played more Scrabble and read magazines. And played with the kids. It was a really nice day - we've had weather in the 70s this week!! - and the kids wanted to go to the park. I should have taken them, but I was so tired. I remember now, I didn't read, I mostly lay back and snoozed while they played games on my iPhone and listnened to kids music on my iPod.

When we got home, I started making dinner (just mac & cheese and some green beans) for the kids, when Stephanie showed up to babysit. I didn't feel like bringing the kids to Bunco night this time - after all, it's supposed to be my "break time" from them, a night out for ME! Steph and I had negotiated; instead of paying her cash, we were going to swap babysitting for the six My Little Ponys and a Schick razor I'd gotten from my deals and steals shopping recently. Works for me, and for her!

So after we chit-chatted a little while, and I held the wee cute man, she reminded me that I needed to bring dessert to Bunco. Oops! I was going to bake chocolate chip cookies, but I'd forgotten and no longer had time. I sent her up to our very messy bedroom to get something for a snack out of the snack stockpile bin. She came down with two packages of Keebler cookies, and we called it good. (They were not a big hit; I'll have to stick with baking!) Tabitha teased me about bringing cookies that weren't of the Girl Scout variety... I didn't even think of that!

I carried the five chairs she (Tab) asked met to bring, and the cookies, out to the car, said goodbye to the chillens, and left for a couple hours of fun. At Bunco, I had two cups of full-caffeine Diet Coke, which I normally don't drink, so I was in rare form that night! Everyone was laughing at me - I was cracking jokes, dancing, and generally being silly and a bit obnoxious, too. But it was fun, lots of fun, as usual.

Steph and her boys (Tim had come to pick her up) left right away, so I gave Jack his shot and sent the kids to bed. I got more of his meds in the mail, so he's back on the nightly injections again and not liking it one little bit!

That night, I didn't go to sleep at all. The caffeine had me COMPLETELY wired, and I was hyper all night long. I hadn't had a chance to go deal-shopping, so I stayed up and worked the weekly deals for Target, CVS, Rite Aid and Walgreens. Several of you have asked me to keep doing those posts, so I will continue just for y'all! ;) (And hopefully I will get to your emails this weekend, too.) Look for a post on that following this one.


Rob got home really late, like 0500, and I was still up, so I got the kids ready for school. Unforch, I couldn't find any more juice boxes for their lunches, so I had to wake him to get some out of the stockpile for me. I also had to write a quick letter to Sophie's teachers, so that the neighbor-lady can get her off the bus on the days that I substitute teach, now that I'm good to go.

After they left, I showered and got ready to go deal-shopping. The stores I go to are near Little Creek (the Navy base in town where I go to the doctor), so I was going to go get that lab work done, but then I remembered I was supposed to fast. I hadn't done that... it'll keep 'til next week, I suppose.

I hit Rite Aid and was pretty successful there, and then CVS across the street. Another good trip, although that store is always out of half the deals I go in for. The other CVS in town is too far away to go to on a regular basis, and I don't know if Wags and Rite Aid are nearby, so it's not really cost-efficient to do that. But, I saw recently that a new CVS is coming in just down the road, in the same shopping center where I used to work at Harris Teeter. Woohoo! I can't wait; am I silly for being excited about that? ;)

I did a super-fast Walgreens trip and missed out on half the deals there (go on Sunday, I'm telling you! I keep saying it but not doing it, gah), but still made out pretty well. When I got back in the car, where I'd left my phone, I saw that it was 1257 - and I was due at the school for a meeting at 1300! Eek! I quickly called up and said I'd gotten stuck but was on my way...

Everyone was waiting for me when I arrived. Oops. Couldn't really tell them I was out shopping, so I made another excuse. The meeting was for Jack's IEP eligibility meeting. I had hoped that Rob would be able to attend, since this was the first time he'd had the full scope of evaluations done since he was a two-year-old. After a synopsis was given of the results by his regular teacher, his special ed teacher, his occupational therapist, the social worker, the counselor (not sure of her actual title) who ran his IQ tests, and the vice principal, it was determined that Jack is no longer eligible for services, because he doesn't qualify as "disabled." This is a good thing - it means that the little tiny 31-week preemie who was so far behind at two years old is all caught up now, five years later!

His intelligence testing showed, suprisingly to me and his teachers, that he his completely average across the board, except for slightly above-average in spoken language. We were kind of expecting him to "pop" on the gifted testing, because he really shows an incredible depth of thought in the questions that he asks. To have him be "average", well... I admit, I was disappointed. Hard to say why, exactly, other than that his father and I are both quite intelligent, and it's natural, I suppose, for us to expect that our children would all be the same way. On the other hand, Jack is in no way your average boy, and he certainly has his own gifts. And shortcomings! As do we all.

The difficulty, now, lies in the fact that he is seriously underperforming to his abilities. He seems to possess, I believe, no intrinsic motivation for getting his work done and done well. Granted, he's not even 7 years old and will hopefully develop that over time, but there is no sign of it at this point. He has a terrible time attending to directions given and focusing on task. So, our next step is to get him in to his pediatrician, with the assessments his teacher and I have filled out, and see about a dx for ADD. I'm extremely loathe to medicate him - I really don't want him to be a zombie! - but we will take it one day at a time and see what's what. If he needs help, I'm damn sure going to get it for him, but it won't be without many reservations. Stay tuned...

Halfway through the meeting, I started getting weepy. Not outright sobs or anything, but my eyes kept tearing up like crazy, and I couldn't get them under control. I just feel thoroughly responsible for any of the issues and problems Jack faces, like it's 100% my fault he is the way he is. I don't know whether that's completely irrational, but it's just the way I feel. I don't think Rob has any such ideation, so maybe that's just the "Mom Guilt" that all of us mothers have. It was completely embarrassing to be crying in front of a room full of professionals, though. I hate that! I am so emotional, and I can't stand it. I felt like saying, "I can't help it, I'm bipolar - just ignore me!" but of course I didn't. Everyone was really reassuring, too, telling me they'd be more concerned if I was unemotional about it and didn't care. And when I said that it seems Jack butts heads with me more than anyone else, and it's the hardest for me to get him to "do" things, like his work and reading and stuff, they all reminded me that this means he is most assured of his mother's love. I'll always be there for him, no matter what - and they won't. That helped.


In tears, I left and called my father back. He has long been telling me that he and his soon-to-be-fifth-wife, Kathy, would come up for Jack's 7th birthday this month. First, it was going to be the weekend right before his birthday. Then, they planned to get married that weekend and would come the following week. So I finally booked his party for the following week, only for Dad to call and tell me that they'd come the first week after all. What! I asked him to make up his damn mind (not in so many words) so I could get the invitations out... only to talk to him today and find out they're not going to come up until April now. Watch they don't even come at all. Whatever. I've long since learned not to tell the kids when he plans to come...

I didn't have much time until Jack and Sophie got off the bus - another tutoring session for Chloë - so I puttered until then. After the arrived home, I whisked them off for more deal-shopping! We went to the Walgreens down by Target to see if I could hit some of the deals that I couldn't get earlier, but I only got one thing. Oh, well, that's the way it goes, especially when things are on clearance. We ran to Target after that, where I had quite a long list as you will see. I managed to get all but two "deals" off that list in about an hour's time. Chloë had nothing after school, so I'd told her to stay the whole time and come home on the late bus. Normally, it takes an hour for her to get home on that bus, after dismissal, so I was counting on that. We raced home afterward, but she still beat me by a few minutes.

Luckily, I'd left the door unlocked just in case that happened, but I really need to go out and make her her own key. At 8½, we feel she's more than ready to be home by herself for very short periods of time, and she was completely fine when we arrived home. She bounced out of the house to help carry in the bags, smiling and talking all about her field trip that day do the Chrysler Museum in downtown Norfolk. She'd enjoyed it immensely!

Since I'd stayed up all night, I was tremendously exhausted by that point. I'd had Rob make me some coffee in the morning, which I haven't drunk in over a decade, and wowee!! That sure did the trick for long into the day, but it wore off. I fixed the kids a quick dinner out of some food from the Target trip, and then sat down on the couch to watch a movie with them. I forgot all about doing Jack's homework, and I fell sound asleep during the movie. Next thing I knew, the kids were heading upstairs for their bath and bed, kissing me goodnight. Such good kinders. (Not really; they can be so naughty! But they were good that night, at least...)


Rob got up with the kids, since I was dead to the world. I'd fallen asleep around 2000 Thursday night, and I didn't rouse until just before noon Friday. I had no idea what time it was, because my phone was dead, so I was worried I'd missed the kids' bus! I stayed awake for an hour after that, but I could barely keep my eyes open the whole time, so I went right back to sleep until bus time.

It was actually a big disappointment for me, since I'd planned to take my first subbing job Friday. I remember being called three times during the morning call-out period, but I just couldn't wake myself up enough to take a job.  Hopefully I won't pull any more all-nighters anytime soon. If it means taking my sleeping pill, I guess, so be it, because I just can't do that anymore. Not a spring chicken, y'know!

After the kids came home and had a snack, we went upstairs and worked on our rooms from 1600 'til 2200. Jack napped most of that time, but the girls helped me with the laundry and putting away all the stuff for our toiletry and toy stockpiles. I didn't even stop to cook dinner! I just sent them down to eat some of the huge yogurt stash we have going on... the girls were willing, but Jack fussed about it. He wanted mac & cheese, dammit! But no, nope, and nuh-uh, so yogurt it was. I even ate it myself, plus some salad. The Littles went to bed around 2100, but Chloë stayed up a little later to help me with the laundry until she was practically falling asleep sitting up! She wanted to keep helping, but I steered her toward her bed, poor sweet thing!

I kept working until Rob texted me at 2200 to say he was on his way home. Woohoo! I was supposed to host the 2300 hour in my monthly crochet-a-thon thing online, but I begged for someone else to do it so I could spend some QT with my guy. They happily took over, so I fixed him a quick dinner of salad, dirty rice and turkey sausage, which was a surprise when he came home. Usually he's left to fend for himself and has a bowl of cereal or a can of soup. We smooched a whole bunch, too - I'm so happy he's here!

Of course, the reason he came home is he is to go right back in to work all day Saturday (today), so not too thrilled about that. But the good news is, he's qualified to be promoted to Chief on the boards he took in January, which is GREAT news. He didn't think he did well on the test at all! Hopefully the rest of the qualifying stuff will go well, and he'll actually get promoted this time as he should. Fingers are tightly crossed and prayers are being said!

Also, he may be getting his LPO job back and switching back to days in a few weeks. More great news!! I seriously can't wait... the kids miss their daddy, and I miss him - and the normalcy, too.

With that, I'm heading off to bed. I was going to post the deals, but I'm tired now. Even though we've got no Saturday plans for once (woohoo), I still want to get up at a decent hour and be productive all day. So look for that post tomorrow, if it interests you!

Have a great weekend, y'all.


P.S. Can you believe this was originally intended to be a "bullets" post! Pshaw.

Saturday 9: Gimme Three Steps


Click here to visit Samantha for more Saturday 9!

1. Are you the type of person who jumps into new ventures or do you prefer baby steps?

Oh, I jump right in! If there's something I want badly enough to actually go for it, why wait? Go get it!

2. Who do you feel believes in you the most?


3. When was the last time you were on a stage?

Spring of 2000, I think. I was substitute teaching for a drama teacher for a week. I can't think of any time since then I've actually been onstage...

4. Tell us about the worst boss you ever had.

I actually can't think of a bad boss. Guess I've been rather lucky.

5. If the NCAA Men's or Women's Final Four basketball tournament was played in your hometown arena or within easy driving distance from where you live, would you try to attend one the three games?

Uh, no. I couldn't care less.

6. Of all the clothes you own, what do you feel most comfortable wearing, and why?

I used to live in sweats and a t-shirt when I was a big Fatty McFattyPants, but now I feel comfortable in almost everything I own! It's a great feeling. :D Oh, I know... the warm, warm, warm long underwear Rob (hubs) gave me recently, since I've been so freaking cold all the time. I wear them as outerwear. They're so soft!

7. On what television show—either past or present—would you like to make to make a guest appearance, and what role would you play?

I would love to play a total nerdy scientist chick on The Big Bang Theory!

8. St. Patrick's Day is on Wednesday March 17th. Do you celebrate and wear green? Drink Green Beer? Ignore it?

I ignore it. I'm not a bit Irish, even in spirit, and I don't care about the day at all. I do try and let my children wear green that day - school spirit thing, y'know.

9. If a leprechaun told you that you could have any amount of money from his pot of gold but it had to be a specified amount for a specified item, how much would you ask for and what would it be for?

If I couldn't just ask for money to pay for bills, then I'd ask for about a hundred grand to travel the world, first class-style. Now where is he??



Five Days O' Scouting

Oy vey, it has been a busy ... well, it's been busy for weeks! I have a trillion and one things to do, and I feel like I'm way behind on everything. Rob told me to take a break from blogging, but you know what? I really don't want to miss the show-and-tell about some of the fun and important things we've done as a family lately, so the answer to that is a big, fat NO!

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On Thursday, we had Chloë's regular Brownies meeting. Nikki, their Troop Leader, had them making "people" out of different toy foods, as part of their learning that day about nutrition and the different food groups. They probably had the most fun doing this out of any activity I've seen them do all year! They were so lively and engaged; it was a lot of fun for them.

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Chloë and Meighan's "food person"

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She had a lot of fun with this activity!

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I think everyone appreciated the portable DVD player that day! Jack and Sophia, who normally run around like hooligans during the Brownies meetings, sat there and watched Ponyo, quietly on the sidelines, for the entire time. It was such a relief! But now, it won't play... we'll definitely have to get that fixed before the next meeting!

On Friday night, we were supposed to have a cookie booth sale at Kroger. However, it was Bingo Night at the kids' school, and I'd asked for and received permission from the administration and the PTA to have a cookie table there, instead!  I asked for permission from the booth coordinator to do this, and she made lots of excuses and it was this whole big ordeal, but in the end, we were able to go and have our table at the Bingo Night. The Littles were babysat by Nikki's two older children, while she and G. were at the cookie sale with Chloë and me.

At first, I didn't think we were going to sell much at all, but in the end, the girls managed to unload 32 boxes, which is almost 3 cases. It's not fabulous, but like Nikki said, it's probably about what we would have done at Kroger, plus we were INSIDE and WARM. And we were so grateful to the school for letting us be there!

Saturday was a nutso day.


We had to get the kids up early, so we get Jack checked in for the Pinewood Derby District races by 0830. The Tigers raced starting at 0900. Unfortunately, Jack didn't feel well that morning, and he was over-tired and hungry, so he was quite the miserable little chap. He kept saying he didn't want to be there, poor thing. Can you find my little guy in the middle of the back row?


There he is!!


The boys had to hold their cars and listen for an extended period of time as the long-winded announcer explained everything to the crowd and tried to hype us up. The parents all cringed as the boys played with, fought with, dropped, and otherwise molested their somewhat delicate little cars! Rob commented that in his day, the boys weren't allowed to touch them at all, lest something happened to them. At the pack races last month, they didn't handle them. Shoulda kept it the same at Districts!


Finally, Jack's car was up. I think each car had to race twice in six or eight different heats. Something like that. It was a long morning, therefore! That's Jack's car up in the middle.


The girls, Rob and I whooped and hollered for Jack and his car, but he was so not enthused. Here he is, whining that he wanted to come sit with us. Poor guy. And yes, he's missing his neckerchief slide; we've since found it, but now I can't find the shirt!


Poor Jack zoned out between his car's races. He went home later and had a good, long nap.


Oh, so how did Jack's car do? Well, it just wasn't the same fast car after its accident at the pack races. It came in last for most of its heats, although it did come in first on this one and one other, I think.


In the end, Jack came in 9th out of all the Tigers at Districts. (I'm not sure how many there were, since there were a lot of ties.) I was actually kind of glad he didn't continue on, because we had so much else to do that day! And he didn't seem disappointed any, either.


At the end, he shook the announcer - Mike's - hand, as well as the Boy Scout who helped with the races, and we left. It was fun and exciting, but he didn't place in the top three. There's always next year!

A few hours later, we were scheduled for another cookie booth sale at the store Torrid, in a local mall. No one else signed up with us, and Nikki had tried to convince me to cancel it because she knew I was burned out... and I almost did. But then, I was picking up my cookie order from the cookie cupboard on Friday, and I heard that Torrid was a goldmine from another lady who was also there to get cookies. My ears perked up, and I decided to go after all, no matter what.

Well, that lady had been right!! I brought Sophia along again, as an honorary Daisy, but she was intimidated by all the mall shoppers and hid under the table the entire time. Rob and Jack helped us load all the cookies from the van, into our wagon, through the mall, and at the store. We only brought half the stash because of our Walk-About event on Sunday. However, on her own, Chloë was quite the little saleswoman, and she brought so many customers to our table! We had beenn warned that she could not go past the Torrid sales line or else mall security would come and yell at us, but they walked past three times, looked at her, and didn't say a darn thing. Hehe.

Halfway through, I had to page Rob to bring us the rest of our stash, because we were selling out of everything! Chloë started to peter out after the first hour, telling me she was hungry. So to boost her back up again, I said I would buy her a box of whatever kind of cookies she wanted, if she sold at least 75 boxes. That brought a huge smile to her face, a burst of energy to her step, and back out she went. In the end, she managed to sell 98 boxes of cookies in two hours! I wish I'd known she'd do so well there; I'd have booked two or three more Torried booths. Next year, I'll know...


In the evening, Chloë and I took a break from scouting activities to go to the Music in Motion Dance Company show in downtown Norfolk. I try to take her every year, so she can see what the talented older dancers are doing. Before this, she has been so young, but I think this year she really got into it. She has been dancing ever since, and she was so excited throughout the show, telling me how "cool" and "awesome" all the dances were. We had a great time on our Girls' Night Out, as she likes to call any outing with Mom. She'd already eaten dinner, or I'd have taken her for a bite to eat, too; however, it was late, and I still had a lot of work to do at home to get ready for Sunday.


Rob had been helping to clean up at home while Chloë and I were at the dance show, because I didn't have time to do it. He fell asleep as soon as we came home, leaving me alone to get everything else done. I baked three dozen cupcakes long into the night, from scratch. Vanilla and chocolate, with yummy Wilton candies on top. The girls really liked them when they received them the next day. Chloë even said they were the best cupcakes ever!


On Sunday, Chloë helped me get all the prizes separated into each girl's gift bags. Between the cupcakes and all the loot in their prize bags, I figured each girl would be happy after doing a great job at the sale. Chlo sure was excited to receive hers, in spite of - or because of? - knowing what was inside.


Later, we ran to the Dollar Tree to pick up balloons and things for decorating her cookie wagon for the Walk-About. She chose four balloons, a pinwheel, two huge green bows, and pink and purple leis. She thought she was going to get to ride in the wagon, so she was a tad bit disappointed when I told her it was for carting the cookies around!


Nikki showed up early with L. and G. to decorate their team's wagon. 


When (almost) everyone got there, we all posed with M's grandmother, who was our contact for the Samaritan House, our Gift of Caring organization this year. We were able to give them 24 boxes of donated cookies! Way to go, girls! (The dad who took this picture took a second one, and Sophia snuck her little self right in there. It was funny... wanna see? Okay.)


Can you find her? She ALWAYS does this!! Funny girl. :P


I wish I could say that our first Walk-About went off without a hitch, but there were a few snags along the way. I had planned everything carefully, down to the letter, for the past several weeks, but people started complaining about everything as soon as I explained how it was going to go. I was so frustrated and almost started yelling, but I held back, thankfully! Once everyone got going, they were happy and had fun for the most part, I think. I asked for feedback, but no one's been brave enough to give me any - yet. In the end, the girls sold a total of 115 boxes in just over an hour, and they raked in the moolah! We just have one weekend left to sell the rest of our boxes, so I hope we're able to do just that. I'll be so thankful when it's all over for another year!

On Mondays, we have Jack's Tiger den meeting. He came home from school in a terribly cranky mood, so I sent him to his room until he could come down and be more pleasant. It was no surprise, though, when he ended up falling asleep. He came down a half-hour before Cub Scouts in an unusually fantastic mood, so I was glad for that!


At the meeting, the little sister of one of the other Tigers had a game with her that Sophia and Chloë were interested in. Chloë had also brought her gift bag from the Walk-About to keep them busy, so she played with that while Sophia made fast friends with little J. They were so cute together!


Their activity tonight was making fish snacks. Leader Beth gave each of the boys - and the sisters - a graham cracker with blue vanilla frosting on top. They all received a bunch of S'mores goldfish crackers and flower sprinkles to decorate their "tanks." Everyone had a lot of fun making and eating their crafts tonight. And as always, they were careful to "leave no trace."


The boy-child with his, uh, rather busy masterpiece!


The girls were so thrilled to be included in this activity! Sometimes they don't get to participate - which is fine, it's not for them - but when they do, yay!


Back to J's game after their snack...


At the end of tonight's blessedly short meeting, Jack earned six more beads for his shirty-beady thing! Just three more to earn and then he gets what? His Tiger award? Or his yellow beads? I don't know; I'm confused, a little. But yay for more beads!  I'll take a decent picture as soon as we find the darned shirt.


And now back to work for me. I'm excited to report that I've received my official "you're a Va Beach substitute" letter in the mail, so I can begin getting assignments! The first day I have available if Friday, so I'm hoping to get something for then. I plan on taking every Wednesday off so I can get the little girl to her dance class on time and maybe help out in the kids' classrooms more than I have... or just to relax. I'm excited to get started!






Thursday Steals and Deals: Rite-Aid, CVS, Walgreens, Farm Fresh & Target!

Deals 018

If you're not interested in seeing all the money-saving deals I picked up yesterday, just skip this post! (But please comment if you do read it!) This might be the last time I do one of these posts, just because they take so much work and I don't know if anyone appreciates them. Let me know if you want me to continue!


MQ = Manufacturer's Coupon

SQ = Store Coupon

OOP = Out-of-pocket expense

RR = Walgreen's Register Rewards

SCR = Rite Aid's Single Check Rebates

ECBs = CVS's Extra Care Bucks

WYB = When You Buy

MIR = Mail-in Rebate

MM = money-maker

I finally got out and about Thursday to pick up the weekly drugstore deals. Thanks go to Tara at Deal Seeking Mom, Crystal at The Thrifty Mama, and Collin at Hip 2 Save for helping me put these together!

There's an area up by one of the Navy bases where the Rite Aid, CVS and Walgreens are clumped close together. Makes it convenient for shopping those deals in one trip! However, since the ads come out on Sunday and I didn't go out until Thursday, that Rite Aid didn't have one of the important things I needed to build my order. I decided to skip it altogether, because then I wouldn't have had a big enough order to use my $5-off-$20 coupon. Rite Aid puts out a lot of these online. I did hit up another Rite Aid later on, and was successful, but I'm to go in order here. Next up...


Deals 001

#1 This wasn't the best shopping trip to CVS for me, because so many things were missing, it messed up how I was going to order my transactions. I did okay, though. These three L'Oréal eye shadows sell for $5.49 each. I had three MQs totalling $4.00, making my subtotal $12.47. I didn't have any ECBs saved up, so with tax, my OOP was $13.29, but the transaction spit out $5 ECBs for #2. Not the best deal, but I'm stocking up on eyeshadows right now, since I have been using the same old shades of brown for forever and want to branch out a little!

Deals 002

#2 This one went a little better! The Shick Quattro for women normally sells for $9.99; it was on sale for $8.99. I had a $4 MQ and the $5 ECB from #1 (which they had to adjust down to $4.99, because you can't get overage on your subtotal), making my OOP 45¢! Also, I received $3 ECB for buying this.

Deals 003

#3 The store was busy, so I did the rest all in one transaction instead of breaking it into two more like I planned. I hate holding up the register! My OOP for all the above was $22.75, and I received $4 ECBs for next time. I saved $41.48 on this order after sales and coupons. Here's the breakdown:

  • (2) Ocean Spray Cran-Apple juice, normally $4.79 (!!) each, on sale for 2/$5. I had (2) $1 MQs for these.
  • (4) four-packs of 9 Lives cans. My kitty-girls love their wet food, and we were all out, so I jumped on this deal. Normally $2.99 each, they were on sale for $1.50; I had (2) $1-off-2 MQs.
  • (2) 40-load Gain powder laundry detergents, normally $7.49 each, on sale for $5.99 each. I had (2) 50¢ MQs
  • (4) CoverGirl eyeshadow trios, normally $4.99 each, on sale for $3 each. I had two $2.50-off-two MQs.
  • (2) EAS Protein bars, normally $1.99, on sale for B1G1 50% off. I had two MQs for a free bar, and the cashier took off the full $1.99 instead of just 99¢ for both!
  • Plus, I had a $3 ECB from #2

For buying the Gain, I received $4 ECBs for next week's deals. The deals I missed out on, I received rainchecks for, so hopefully I can pick them up next week before the MQs on those expire.

Up next...


Deals 004

KILLER DEAL! I just did this one transaction, and my OOP was only $1.96 for all this, plus I received $6 RRs for next time. Essentially, they PAID me $4.04 to buy all the above! Here's how:

  • (2) Tylenol Simply Sleep 24-ct packages, on sale for $2.99 each. I had (2) $1 MQs and a $1.50 SQ
  • (2) Nivea flavored Lip Care, for $3.29 each. I had a B1G1 FREE MQ, and an SQ that made each one 99¢. The cashier took off the full $3.29 for the MQ.
  • (6) Kleenex boxes: regularly $1.99, on sale for B1G1 FREE, plus I had (2) 50¢-off-3 MQs
  • (4) Vicks VapoDrops mentholated cough drops, on sale for 2/$1.79, and I had (3) $1.50 MQs for any Vicks product
  • (2) Puffs w/ Vicks, regularly $2.49, but I had two MQs for a FREE box of Puffs WYB (2) Vicks products
  • (2) Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Lotion, on sale for $2.71 each, and I had (2) $2 MQs
  • Plus I had (2) $2 RRs from buying the Goody's hair elastics last week

Altogether, this was a REALLY great trip to Walgreens - best ever!

012 (4)

Afterward, I drove to the next Walgreens, the one closest to our house, to pick up my FREE 8x10 of this picture from when Jack earned his Bobcat award. It will go in his Cub/Boy Scout scrapbook!

Next up...


Deals 005

I did the Target trip in all one transaction, but I'm going to break it up by "deal" to make it easier, again. This Clorox Toilet Wand sells for $9.79. I had a $5 MQ, plus there's a $5 MIR, making this a 21¢ MM! 

Deals 006

This wasn't really a "deal," per se, but I wanted to point something out. The individual bottles sold for something like $4.19 each, or two for $8.38. However, these double-packs were only $6.99, plus I was able to use my (2) $1.50-off-two MQs for them. Still not cheap, but we use these every day and are almost out, so I needed more.

Deals 007

Aquamarine was on sale for $5, and I had a $2 SQ! This will be great added to the kids' growing DVD collection.

Deals 008

Ponyo was more of a splurge. I got the Blu-Ray/DVD combo, which was on sale for $24.99, but I had a $10 MQ. Not the cheapest Blu-Ray combo, but I'm hoping there will be a MIR out there soon for it...

Deals 009

A STEAL! These 4-packs of GE Reveal light bulbs were on sale for $2 each. I had (4) $1.50 SQs and (2) $1-off-2 MQs. I got 16 light bulbs for FREE!


Deals 010

These were also FREE: The Johnson's lotion and the Degree deodorants sell for 99¢, and I had $1 MQs for each of them, giving me 3¢ overage toward the rest of my order. Don't forget that many MQs don't exclude trial or travel size items, so you could get them free at Target or Wal-mart!

Deals 011

This was FREE, too! It's on sale for $1.99 (Temporary Price Cut), and I had a $1 MQ and a $1 SQ!

Deals 012

Another splurge! I have a trillion pens, but THESE are the ones I like. No MQ, no SQ, no sale, no nothing. I just bought them because I wanted them. *gasp*


Deals 013

I found another B1G1 FREE MQ in my coupon box, so I went ahead and got two more My Little Ponys. They sell for $4.99, so basically I got two more for the gift stash for $2.50 each!

Deals 014

This was a package deal: Buy (4) Kashi products and get the snack bars FREE! All 5 items were on sale for $2.59 each, and I had (4) $1.50 MQs for the crackers, plus the bars were free.

Deals 015

Another package deal: Buy (5) select Keebler products and get a $5 Target gift card free! Each was on sale for $2.25, and I had $3 in MQs, plus I have the $5 for next time.

That was it for Target! Lots of great deals there. On to...

Farm Fresh

Deals 016

Normally I only post about Farm Fresh on their Double-Dollar Wednesdays, but they double MQs up to 99¢ every day of the week, and there's a FF right next door to Target, so I went. This wasn't a smashing deal, but again, I wanted to point something out. I have been writing to different manufacturers whose foods we use and love, asking them for MQs, They almost always are happy to send them out - good ones, too! So I wrote to Fresh Express for some, and they arrived a few weeks ago. I waited until this 2/$5 sale to use them. I had (4) 55¢ MQs, which doubled to $1.10 each.  That didn't make them free, but it was a helluva lot cheaper than paying full price for each bag, and it's rare to get a deal on produce.

Finally, I went back to another...

Rite Aid

Deals 017

This time, I scored another KILLER DEAL!! I got all of the above for $4.85 OOP, but I'm going to get a $5 SCR at the end of the month, meaning they PAID me 15¢ to buy all of this! Here's the breakdown:

  • (2) 40-pc cups of Dentyne gum, on sale 2/$5, plus I had (2) $1.50 MQs
  • Efferdent, $5.99, plus I had a 55¢ MQ - it's for this that I'll get the $5 SCR back, making this only 44¢ OOP. Of course, neither of us wears dentures, so I'm donating this to Samaritan House tomorrow, along with some other FREE toiletries I've gotten and the clothes that I've shrunk out of (well, what is the opposite of "grown out of"?)
  • (6) Packages of Kotex Light Days liners, on sale for 99¢, and I had $6 in MQs! So, these six boxes were FREE, and I'll also give them to Samaritan House since I've no need for them.
  • (4) bags of Halls Strawberry cough drops, 30-ct, on sale for 99¢, and I had (2) $1-off-2 MQs
  • (2) travel-size Renu lens kits, which sell for 99¢, and I had (2) MQs for $1
  • Also, I had a $5-off-$20 Rite Aid SQ from doing their Video Values program for February.

Great deal!! Plus, it feels good to be able to donate some of these great deals I've been getting, for people I know will need it and be appreciative of it. I might just donate ALL of the FREE travel-size toiletries I've gotten LATELY!

If you don't have a Rite Aid near you, you can still get some great steals from their website:


I used the exact order put together by another blogger whose site address I forget, but I got the link from Tara on Deal Seeking Mom. She told us EXACTLY what to buy, so I didn't have to do any thinking. I got all this for $25.45, but I will get $23 of it back on a SCR at the end of the month for this order! I haven't done the SCRs before this month, but I decided to start getting into it, because I knew I was missing out on some great deals. These two orders - from Rite Aid's website and their bricks-and-mortar store - prove it!

All in all, it was a great week for deals. Now the pain-in-the-butt part, adding everything to my 2010 spreadsheet to track my spending and saving on groceries and non-food items. I'm waaaaay behind on that!



Saturday 9: Your Smiling Face


Link up with Samantha if you're playing along today!

1. No matter what's going on in your life, what always makes you smile?

The funny things my kids say. You can read some of them here.

2. What's the biggest lie you've ever told?

Can't tell you that one! I will share that I have lied about being sick when I really just didn't feel like going to work. More than once.

3. Do you hold a grudge?

If the person would just say to me, "Hey, I'm really sorry I did xyz," then it's over for me. But until I get that apology, then yeah, I usually do.

4. What is the worst job you've ever had?

I used to do catering at The Colony, and that was a lot of fun - partly because of the friends I had working with me. So when I moved, I thought it would be a great idea to get another catering job at The Renaissance. After training and all that, on my first real day on the job, my wrist "went out," and I dropped an entire bowl of hot soup on a man in a very expensive business suit. He completely chewed me out in front of everyone. I was so mortified, I quit that day!

5. What would be your dream job?

Gah, I always hate this question, because I can think of a lot of things I would LOVE to do. But let me see... really, I would just love being a SCUBA diver for a living, in some capacity or another. What a thrill!

6. What is the happiest event you've experienced?

Eloping with my husband. Best day of my life so far, hands down. We ran, madly in love, hand-in-hand, to the courthouse to get married. The person who officiated said we were the happiest couple she'd ever seen!

7. What is the saddest thing you've experienced?

The death of our son, Robby

8. Do you tend to exaggerate or underestimate?

Oh, I'm an exaggerator, big-time!

9. List the cars that you have owned. Give us just a few words about each one.

All right, let's see:

  • Red 1991 Ford Escort Wagon - Used to be a Coke car, but the person selling it to us in '93 told us that only a little old lady had owned it. Big lie. I could tell a stories about this car, but you said "just a few."
  • Green 1981 Honda Civic Wagon - I learned to drive a stick on this car. It took a real lickin' and kept on tickin'. No matter what I did to it, this car was a workhorse!
  • Purple 1995 Dodge Neon - Suckiest car ever. It was cute and it suited me, people said... but boy, was it a piece of crap!!
  • Blue 2002 Chevy Venture minivan - This is what I drive now, and I love it. It's still in really great shape, for the most part. We started shopping for it the minute we found out we were expecting twins, in Guam, and we got it for a steal!

Fun meme; I liked this one!



Friday Fragments

Friday Fragments

Link up with Mrs.4444 if you're fragmenting today!

Confidential to the [email protected]$$ drivers out there: If I have to slam on my brakes when you pull out in front of me, then yeah, you probably shouldn't have gone then.

Also, you don't need to make your right turn soooo slooooowly that I have to come to a complete stop behind you! Keep on truckin', y'all!

I'm excited and ecstatic today. Before my gastric bypass surgery in Jan '09, I wore a size 26. Today, just for kicks, I decided to try on the size 10 pants my sister gave me this past summer. (I've been wearing my 16s and 18s, though they are too big, because I didn't want to go clothes shopping just yet.) Not only do the 10s fit, they are baggy! WOOOT WOOT WOOOT!!!!!! :D

Sophia, 4, and Chloë, 8, were playing "boyfriend" in the back seat of the van. (This is a new game they've come up with recently.) I had the radio on, so I didn't hear the entire thing, but I overhead Sophie say, "MY boyfriend screams like a little girl!" And Chloë retorted, "Well, MY boyfriend screams like a BOY."


Chloë was trying to read in the dark, so I told her, "Chloë, turn on some lights, so you can see!" She responded, "I only need one light. It's a very small book."


Jack, 6, brought me my hairbrush when I asked him to. I said, "Thank you, Darling." He angrily replied, "I'm not a darling!! ... What's a darling, anyway?" I told him, "My sweetie, my baby, my darling!" He softened, looked at me angelically and said, "Okaaay, I'm a darling..."

I told Chloë at the hairdresser a couple weeks ago that her hair would not stay straight after she took a bath; it would curl right back up again. She told me, "Well, you can straighten it then, Mom!" I said, "Maybe, but not as good as she (the stylist) can!" Chloë replied, "Well, yeah! DUH! She has a head sink!"

Those make all the difference in the world, don'tcha know.

That's it for me... I've been bad about recording their cutesies lately! Have a great weekend! Mine is CHOCK-FULL of Scout stuff for the kids.



Aloha Friday


For more Aloha Friday, click here.

My question for you this week is:

What's the last thing that really surprised you about yourself?

Hmm... for me, I would have to say it's that my old habits die hard. I had gastric bypass surgery 13 months ago, and I've lost 166 pounds. I even posted here recently that I don't eat and don't miss all the "wrong" foods that I was eating before surgery. However, I am my older daughter's Girl Scout Cookie chair, and my house has been buried in cookies for the past month or so. It has been really hard for me, watching the yummy cookies come in and go out, and seeing my family members eating them - and I've found myself sneaking a cookie - or three - here and there, even though I know it will make me sick. So, it has served as a wake-up call to me that I really need to be vigilant about eating right for the rest of my life!!