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Entries from November 2011

Sunday Stealing: Meme For Bud

Sunday Stealing

Link up here and be forewarned that I've had, like, six piña coladas of the non-virgin type.

Cheers to all us thieves!

1. Why did you sign up for writing your blog?

To keep in touch with far-flung friends and family, and to say stuff that was on my mind that no one else wanted to listen to, truth be told.

2. Why did you choose your blog's name? What does it mean?

Smellyann is my sister-given nickname. I had a blog on MySpace (hey, remember that site? Me neither), so that's why the "Strikes Again," when I went legit.

3. Do you ever had another blog?

I know I'm drunk, but that's some piss-poor grammar, right? Anyway, see above.

4. What do you do online when you're not on your blog?

Email, Facebook, and I don't know, sit here and wait for shit to happen to me to blog about.

5. How about when you're not on the computer?

See that last part, above. Pretty much, if it happens to me, especially if there is laughter involved, it's bloggable.

6. What do you wish people who read your blog knew about you?

That I have feelings. I'm sensitive, yo. It hurts when you don't comment, or worse, when you do and say mean stuff. So don't do that.

7. What is your favorite community in the blogosphere?

Um. Pass? Wait. Hip2Save has awesome readers who help each other out. They rock.

8. What is your philosophy on your blog layout?

Whatever I feel like, goes. When I feel like changing it, I do. I'm almost there, again.

9. Tell me about your picture you use to represent yourself on your blog.

I can't remember why my mouth is hanging open like that. I must've been in the midst of saying something, but who knows what? I think I took the picture myself, with Instagram on my iPhone, and I thought it looked good. Maybe it's time for a change?

10. Pick 3 random blogs from your blogroll and tell us about them.

Do I even have a blogroll? I don't. You know what? I think that's lame. First of all, my readering always changes (yes, I just coined that word), and second of all, it's nunya. Suffice it to say, I prefer to read blogs where the author actually reads and responds to the comments and isn't too huge (ahem, Soulemama) where each individual comment gets ignored and swallowed up in the entirety of ass-kissing that goes on.

11. What features do you think your blog should have that it doesn't currently?

It should generate money for the author. Ha.

12. What do you consider the 10 most "telling" interests that we would infer from what you blog persona?

The grammar on these memes is bad, and that's coming from an inebriated persona. LOL. So, let's see. Knitting, homeschooling, crochet, my kids, my husband, memes, blogging, holidays, crafting, and paper. Not in that order at all.

13. Do you have any unique interests that you have never shared before? What are they?

Gosh, that's hard, because I share darn near everything. I'm interested in Von Hipple Lindau disease, to the extent that my husband may have it. If we find out, on the 30th of this month, that he doesn't, then I'll cross that off my list. In the meantime, it's kinda fun to say, at least. When he first told me, I thought he said something nipples.

14. The best thing about blogging is all of the friends that you make, Beside from those folks, do you think your blog has fans?

I have, like, 4 fans. And I'm known to exaggerate. I'm not trying to be, you know, like, a famous blogger or anything. Not that I shouldn't be, because I say some good shit.

15. What's your current obsession? What about it captures your imagination?

Plastic surgery, particularly, that which removeth the extra skin I'm carrying around. I imagine myself in a bikini and boys throwing themselves at me like I was 18 and not almost 20 years older than that. Pfft.

16. What are you glad you did but haven't really had a chance to post about?

Oh, geez. Like I said, I share it all. I'm glad I ... gave my friend five bucks. It didn't hurt me or my family any, and it can help her greatly, and honestly, I really am a good person who likes to help people. Believe it or not.

17. How many people that first became a blog friend, have you met face to face?

NONE! Gloria, come visit me and change this stupid answer!

18. What don't you talk about here, either because it's too personal or because you don't have the energy?

My innermost feelings, and the dirty things my kids say that make us laugh but can't be repeated. Like, they're not dirty really, but Rob and I are total pigs.

19. What's a question that you'd love to answer?

If I could answer that, 50 times over, I'd have a pretty friggin' awesome meme for y'all to steal, wouldn't I?

20. Have you ever lost a blogging friendship and regretted it?

Yes yes yes yes yes yes yes and it's been nine months and counting, and he still won't have anything to do with me. Guess I better give up, but it sux.

21. Have you ever lost a blogging friendship and thought, “Was that overdue!"

Not blogging, but IRL, and YES! Absolutely. We've been in brief contact since, though, and it was cordial. So whatever, it's cool.


You Shine On Me Wherever You Are

Friday Fragments

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

I haven't been doing a whole lot around the house, but that's because (1) I'm lazy, (2) I've had lots of migraine and headaches lately myself, and (3) I've been anxious to the extreme, which generally leaves me attending to those things that soothe me in lieu of those that stress me out further. In other words, I've been in the craft room a lot, makin' stuff.

Lucky Stars

So I made bunches (at least 325) of lucky stars (my Etsy link), for my three pals, aka the Turtles (don't ask; I won't tell, anyway). It started off just being the first jar, above, for Jenny from the Block, because she and her Hubs are buying a house soon, and then her godson, P, was born with a potentially fatal disease. I made them amidst all the praying that ensued, to bring her and hers good fortune. You know, just for cute and fun and to be thoughtfullish. (Turns out, Baby does not have said disease, which is awesome!!) But then I was on a lucky star kick, so I made a batch for Turtle Donny and another one for Turtle Ralph, because, hey, I want all my girls to have good fortune, right? We delivered those, and a portrait of the four of our families (sans daddies) at Hunt Club Farm last month ('cept I added the words "Turtle Power!" in the upper corner, 'cause I'm a dork like that) for each of the moms and each of their combined 13, yes, 13 kiddos, and one more thing I'll show you momentarily, Wednesday night. I just felt like getting out of the house. The latter two turtles do not live close to JFTB and me, but I wanted to see 'em, so it was worth it.

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This is the other thing I had to deliver, to the 2nd turtlette of Ralph, which I made for her to give as a Christmas present to turtlette #7, her youngest sibling (-ette meaning kid, not female kid, because 3 of those 7 are male. Just sayin'). I hadn't made a tutu in ages, so I had to make a fun craft store trip. I was glad to do it, though, because the turtlette in question (#2, that is) was the one who voluntarily (as in, without pay) helped me from 0500 to 1700 last weekend at a vendor/craft fair where we sold exactly ONE Jafra order. ANYway.

So that was fun, and in return, JFTB, aka Turtle Leo, gave each of us our IKEA presents, from her recent trip to points slightly north: a microwave dish cover to prevent splatters like this one, a big ol' blue IKEA shopping bag, and something I've always wanted, an old lady shopping cart thingy!! (No offense to any old ladies out there. That's just how JFTB called it, and, well, she's gotta point. Plus that makes me an old lady now, too, doesn't it??) It's as chic as anything called "old lady cart" can be, and I lurve it. Now I just need to find an excuse to use it!



I've worked a little more on the origami ornament project, making this star (and learning, by the way, in the process, that one should not do origami with super-thick glittery scrapbooking paper. There is a reason, after all, most kami is so thin!),


this Kalami Star (why, yes, it does match this year's Advent calendar garland-thingy; imagine that), and,


this Twirled Flower, which, in retrospect, turned out to be better in theory than in practice as an ornament, because it slides apart very easily. Maybe if I dip the whole darned thing in glue...

More to come on the origami front, I'm sure.






So I just lost half my post and am totally annoyed. I don't feel like retyping. Maybe later. BAH!!!


Saturday 9: Turn Back The Hands Of Time


Link yourselves on up over here if you're playing along this weekend!

1. There's a Time Genie. She can put you back in time to relive a day that you loved. If you could turn back the hands of time, what day would you relive if given this opportunity?

March 19th, 2003. I would get up out of my pre-term labor bed in the hospital, march my hugely pregnant arse down the hall to the high-risk OB clinic that was supposed to be monitoring me, and demand the ultrasound for which I kept asking, until they gave it to me. They would do, see that my twins were in major distress, and deliver them on the spot. Both would now be alive. If only...if only.... (yes, 8½ years later, I still blame myself for Robby's death.)

Oh, wait. I just re-read the question, and it was supposed to be a day I loved. Then, I would relive the day Rob and I eloped, over and over and over. It was the time of our lives! ♥

2. What did you do yesterday?

Slept 'til mid-afternoon, ate way too much pumpkin pie that I didn't even make, and slept some more. Took a few pictures. S'about it.

3. You've been given 3 parachutes, but there are 4 people who need them. Who will you not give one to: Mel Gibson, Charlie Sheen, Kim Kardashian, or Simon Cowell? Why?

Um, first of all, what about ME? Second of all, Mel. He's turned into a worthless piece of trash. The rest are, at least, still entertaining.

4. Where are you going and where have you been?

I'm going to San Diego when Rob retires in less than 1.5 years. I've been around the world, and I-I-I, I can't find my baby, I don't know and I don't know why, oh, sorry, got off on a tangent, there.  I have been to Ottawa, Canada. Don't hate. (I've been out of the country plenty of times; that's the one of which I'm least proud.)

5. They say that books read as a child make more of an impact on a person than books read at any other time in life. Are there any books that you particularly loved, that shaped the way you think when you were little?

Grammar aside, there, probably the Anne of Green Gables series. I loved the whole idea of kindred spirits and the need to find one's own, I loved the love shared between Anne and Gilbert, and Matthew and Marilla, and I loved Anne's red-haired fieriness when necessary. I could go on, but I shan't. Have you read them? I don't want to spoil it for you, if not.

6. What do you look forward to most in the next six weeks?

Our Christmas stay at Great Wolf Lodge in a couple weeks!!

7. What was the last text message you received?

This hilarious cartoon from Rob:


8. Do you prefer to call or text?

Text, which is why it drives me crazy that my sister doesn't have a celly!!

9. What were you doing at 9PM last night?

I think I was back to sleep by then. I slept a ton. Hey, I was out of Diet Coke!

Have a great weekend, y'all!


Aloha Friday


Link up here if you've got questions for Kailani and friends today!

My question for you this week is:

If you could have any tangible THING for {insert December gift-giving holiday of your preference here} (not, like, world peace, or all the military members to come home or something like that, but an actual thing), what would you choose?

For me, since a clean house is never going to happen, I guess it would have to be a toss-up between an awesome new wardrobe that fits (and doesn't belong to my husband, 'cause that's all I seem to wear lately), and some new yarn ('cause I can't get enough of the stuff, that's why). Of course, I'd be satisfied with some chocolate. I am female, after all.

Hope your Thanksgiving was lovely, and if you're not American, I hope your Thursday was great, then! Heh.


Advent Calendar, Year 2011

So, if you've been reading here since the beginning (four years now!), you should know that I like to make an Advent calendar for the kids every year, with a toy or candy and activity for each day. We used the matchbox one for two years, but it got ruined last year while we were traveling, so it is no more. I liked that one the best, but Jack insists that this year's is better (I disagree; I loved that derned box *sniff*, but I'll accept his opinion as the God's honest truth). Henceforth, I shall show you photos of this year's attempt at awesome Adventism:


First, I traced 8 large circles out of coordinating 12x12" scrapbook paper. I didn't have a circle template that large, and I couldn't print one out (my printer only prints 8½x11" sheets), so I used the lid of my crystal cake plate. Which may or may not now have ink on it. I haven't checked; it should wash off, though, right? Then, I cut each circle into thirds, using my keen eye for angles. Which is to say, I couldn't find a protractor, or I would've measured with that.


Then, with Rob's help, we hung up the cones, using cute little bitty clothespins from A.C. Moore (which, conveniently, came in a pack of 24), on some spare crochet thread. I really wanted all 24 on one garland, but it wasn't going to work out, and there just wasn't room for two strands of 12, so this lame-arse way was how it worked out. Eh. Whatever. It's not like I have to live with it forever. I can stand four weeks of this. Well, really, not that long, because I'll take down the top strand after the third of December. {End babble.}

I had double-sided taped the cones closed, but they wouldn't stay shut, so I totally stapled the heck out of them, oh, yes, I did! Normally I'm not a fan of such, oh, slap-dashery in my craftiness, but I was OVER IT by that point. I mean, really. Tape made for scrapbook paper not working? Color me bah humbugged about it. At least the tape did work for the numbers I one-inch-circle-punched out of beigy semi-matchy card stock. Humph.


I really didn't mind having Jack and Chloë (Sophia's been sound asleep on the couch for hours now) help me fill the cones with candy, since they were all with me when I bought it. Normally, I like for it to be a big secrety-secret surprise, but since the cones are low enough (and, in some cases, dipped forward), they can see in 'em anyway. When Soapy awakes, I'm going to make them do a repeat-after-me oath to not touch the contents until the day on which they are supposed to open them. Think it'll work? Me neither. One can make an attempt, however.


Since all three kiddos are now literate, and since I changed up some - if not most - of the Advent activities this year, I put those in myself. We do need to leave some things a surprise, after all.

And that, my dears, is that.


Black Friday Sale At Hartstrings!


Ready or not...the holidays are here! During this special time of year, there are so many occasions where the perfect outfit for your child is needed. Whether it's for family photos, holiday gatherings, school functions, or special family moments, you want to find the right ensemble that will hold meaning and create memories that will last for years to come. All of these reasons are why we're so happy to tell you about the trusted Hartstrings brand and their upcoming sale!


If you're keeping track of the hot Black Friday sales to hit up, you will definitely want to add Hartstrings to your list! For over 30 years, Hartstrings has been providing children with classic, American styles with a modern flare. From dresses to cardigans, from rain boots to pajamas, offers it all - and this Black Friday it's all 20% off - even sale items!


Disclosure: In exchange for this post, I was entered into a drawing for holiday outfits for my three children. Wish me luck!



Origami Sonobe Ball

I'm figuring out how I'm going to be making the kids' Advent calendar this year, and in doing so, I ended up making this:


Another view:


I guess we'll make an ornament out of it. So now, Rob thinks we should have a Christmas tree decorated entirely with cool origami. I agree. Send me a tree.

Also, if you know of a totally awesome, cool, radical Advent calendar I can entirely make by hand, linkage would be spec-tack. Gratzi.


Good Things Of The Many (And The Mail)

Okay, so the mail has brought in packages lately that are of major delightfulness, so the stars of them have been photographed and are ready to share. I've been a busy little bee lately, so I have't had a chance to edit them 'til now. Wanna hear about it? And see some pictorial evidence? Awesome. Read on, then, ye three followers of me.


I totally stink at keeping presents from their recipients when I'm excited about giving them, so I've been, uh, kind of giving the kids the Christmas presents I swore I wasn't going to get (because we're doing Great Wolf Lodge again this year and, you know, I wanted to make it about memories and not stuff and all...), but since I have gotten them, and since, well, they were there when I opened this box from Disney, I couldn't really not gi-- oh, I'll just stop babbling and say that I got a kick-butt deal on these fleece blankets, with free shipping and personalization of their names, to boot! Jack got a Cars-themed one, Chloë's is Cinderella, and Sophia's was Tinkerbell. They LOVED them and carry them around all. the. time. WIN!


Mamacita, which is what MIL and I have decided I shall call her (after 10½ years or so) henceforth, sends us Hallmark Christmas ornaments each year. We have an awesome collection of them, thanks to her. This year's package arrived last week, so we all gathered 'round to see what she chose for us this time. Jack always gets a Santa in some sort of transportation, which thrills him to no end, and this year it was hot air balloon. So cute!



I will say two things: these pictures were taken in my cluttered, messy office-slash-craft room, but my excuse is that things are ALWAYS happening in here, so cut me some slack, will ya? And also, I did a poor job of focusing on the ornaments in several of these photos, but I didn't realize that until today, so since they're already put up in the attic until we set up the tree, I can't fix that. My bad.  Chloë usually gets one to do with the year or her age, ever since birth, and she loves her little snowman guy!


Sophia's was, appropriately, a gymnast - with her name on it!! Love it!! Also, the tiaras the girls are wearing in these two pictures are from the same Grandma package, which is why they're wearing them here. They light up, too!


This one appears to have been handmade, but if there was a note about that, I missed it. Mamacita? I'm guessing it's from the childhood of Rob, at least, since we've gotten a few of those in the past as well. Isn't it cute?


Rob's an angler of great enthusiasm, so he's gotten lots of fishing-related ones over the years from his mama. Too bad the expression on his face took precedence over the ornament, because it's The Awesome. So many of these ornaments have such great detail, and this one is no exception!


Ditto the above, about his (hehe) expression and the clarity of the ornament. Boo, me. He always gets a Navy/military/patriotic-themed one, since he's been in the US Navy for about 18½ years, so this year he got a flagged-out Santy Claus.


I love, love, love, love, LOVE the ornaments Mamacita chose for me - not this year, but every year - because she puts such great thought into them (well, everyone's, not just mine, but you know what I meant, right?). IMHO, I saved the best for last, because look! Apropos of the baking business I started this year (which is on hiatus for the time being, although I'm starting to reconsider that idear), I received a Christmas-themed cupcake ornie. Sweet! (Heh. Sorry, pun-haters.)


Also, since we homeschool, Mamacita gave me this "World Class Teacher" one, with a laptop on the, well, top. I adore this!! So very cool. Thanks, Mom/Grandma, for the wonderful additions to this year's tree!


But that's not all that was in the box. There were a few things I forgot to photo, like the Thanksgiving tablecloth and napkins we put away already, but not this train set for Jack! He immediately opened it and started choo-chooing it all around the office and living room:


(Again, 'scuse my mess!)


Oh! This guy was in the box, too! He'll grace our table this Thursday. Mama-jamma, did you make this?


Oops, speaking of trains, this mini-set of ornaments (or should I say set of mini-ornaments? Yes, pretend I did) was included also, for the whole family's enjoyment. Isn't it darling? Maybe it'll go on the fireplace this year, all set up. Of course, Jack thought it was just for him, since he and his gram share a love of all things train.



I got this fabu book of recipes in the box, and don't you think I should make that gingerbread house? I've never made one, but I want to and think about it every single year. This might just be the one. We shall see, we shall see.


And last, but certainly not least, the kids received another one of these recordable books from Grandma, in which she reads the story aloud to them. This year, it's Under The Same Moon.


Sophia immediately sat down to enjoy the book, but the other kids, who had already danced away to other adventures downstairs, heard it and clamored for share-age. So she traipsed on down there, where they all sat around the book and listened to it approximately 18 times. And no, I'm not exaggerating. For once. They love these books from Grandma.

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My dad sent a small package of trinkets and things for the kids and us, but I only managed to get this one of Sophie with the toy maze things - you know the ones? - she opted to get. She also chose the mini-Bible he sent, which the girls have sat down together to read on several occasions since then. Isn't that lovely?


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I got a package I ordered from Old Navy, but it didn't contain the Christmas outfits I bought, so boo. They better come soon, because they're awesome. I mean, so we can take our holiday card photos ASAP, y'know?? Anway, there were a bunch of shirts I got myself on clearance, as well as four fleece hoodies for the girls, in this package. The lady-babies insisted on trying them on straight away, which is the sole reason I took their picture. Plus, they're cute, are they not?

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And these are the other two. No, I didn't pose the girls; they linked arms of their own volition. ♥ Yes, Sophia is now taller than her sister, who is 3½ years older, which Chloë definitely does not appreciate. Sorry, darling.

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Okay, so technically these three sundaes I made for the chirren didn't come in the mail, but the ice cream, caramel sauce and whipped cream did get delivered by Oberweis, so I'm including them in this post. Can you stand it? They look so good, I want to make (them?) some more right this minute!


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Okay, so I made one for myself, too. I got about five bites in before I passed it to Rob - not because it wasn't delicious, because it was, as is every-dang-thing we have gotten from Oberweis. I didn't want to overdo it, though, because I have such a grumpy pouch!

And that is all. I have to go break up an argument. Oy.


Friday Steals and Deals

I didn't get to hit Target or the grocery stores yet, because time is short, so I'm a little "eek" about the fact that we don't have a turkey or most of the fixin's yet for Thanksgiving, but I have faith that it'll all come together in time. Anyway, last night, the fam and I ran around doing the deals at the stores o' drug. Ready? Yeah? Good. Here we go again:


Transaction #1:


I bought these probiotics because (a) I'm supposed to be taking them (aren't we all?) and (b) they're worth $22.99, were on sale for $15, and then shot back out $15 in Wellness +UP Rewards, so basically FREE!  I had a $15 +UP from last week, but I forgot to hand over that one first, so long story short, I paid $5.75 out of pocket after my other +UPs were scanned and then got back $15 for #2.

Transaction #2



The above is worth $75.51, but after sale prices and coupons, I paid just $6.61 OOP. I got back $16 in +UP Rewards and will get $4.99 in SCRs (visit Hip2Save for all my deal-savin' lingo, if you don't know it already!).

So overall, I spent $12.36 OOP at Rite Aid for $99.25 worth of merch, and after rewards and SCRs, my net spending is -$8.63. Yup, they paid me to get all of the above! Plus, those 17 bottles of nail polish and gum go into the Christmas gift bin. Not bad, hey?


Transaction #1


CVS was running a great deal: Spend $30 in select merchandise and get a $10 gift card in return. I saw the three Discovery Kids animated lamps, above, in the ad, and knew they would make perfect, fun night lights for the kiddos. At $9.99 each, though, I would fall 3¢ short of the $30 mark, so I added the Cottonelle to the transaction to make my $30, as it was part of the select merch. And we needed TP. And it was on sale and I had an MQ, so it was on my list anyway. SO! After sales and coupons, I spent $29.25 OOP for the above and got my $10 CVS (you could choose others, but it made sense to choose that, right?) GC back. I saved $11.90 on sales and coups, plus another $30 if you count the "value" of $19.99 marked on the lamps.

Transaction #2


The Ghiradelli bars will make great stocking stuffers - if'n I don't eat them first, but I definitely won't touch the raspberry ones, so those will go to Rob, because ew - and we needed everything else, above. After coupons, sales, ECBs and the GC from #1, my OOP was $32.74, and I got back $2 for the shaving cream in ECBs. Not my best "take," but I saved $55.30, so it was all right.

Total value of both transactions was $129.19; OOP was $61.99, for a net of $59.99 after the $2 back. Not bad, plus more for Christmas pressies!



I did all of the above in one transaction, because (a) the store was closing in 20 min, and (b) my $8 in Register Rewards had expired 4 days earlier. BOO! I'm going to see if I can't recoup my losses, but I'm not holding out too much hope for that.

Total value: $88.94, OOP was $22.13, for a net of $20.13 after the $2 RRs I got back for the Scunci clips, which, with the SpinBrushes, will make more great stocking stuffers. The veggies and sparkling grape juice will be great for the hollerdays, too. If I hadn't wasted those $8 RRs, my net woulda been just $12.13. Stink.

I'll be back after I do some other work (mystery shopping reports, emails, an' sech), with another post. Unless I fall asleep...


Friday Fragments

Friday Fragments

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

NOTE to Mrs. 4444 herself: I have a really hard time commenting on your new DISQUS system. It usually doesn't let me, and when it does, it usually takes me at least four tries. Please, change it back so I can comment?? ☺

Today was the first day in about 3 weeks that Rob (Hubs) hasn't had a migraine of some degree. Hallelujah! The steroid course the neurologist prescribed is working. Whew! His tummy is upset from it, but it's a welcome trade-off as far as I'm (and he) is concerned!

You gotta know when to delegate authority sometimes, and today was one of those days. Between my own health problems, which have been in the background but cumbersome enough these past three weeks, and Rob's, and the kids' various issues, I've been drained. Today was our regular Girl Scout meeting date, and I just didn't have the energy to go, much less run it, or even plan anything. So last night, at the almost-11th hour, I called my assistant and begged her to take over the meeting for me. She seemed happy to do so, and let me tell you, it was SUCH a relief. I'm not really good at asking for help, but I'm so glad I did. I usually am, as it turns out.

Do you have an iPhone, or other Smartphone, like we do? I find I download lots of cool-sounding apps and then rarely use most of them, because I forget about them. Tell me I'm not the only one.

I have a headache. Ironic, isn't it? Actually, I've had one just about almost every day that Rob's had one. Maybe it's something in the air. :\

I have baby fever again, even though neither Rob nor I is capable of making them, after visiting with my friend Donnatello's sweet little girl yesterday. Ah! She's precious. I can't stand it. Babies. I just ♥ them.

Is it wrong, or normal, I wonder, that when Rob was at the height of his health crisis, I was listening to the radio and my iTunes music and deciding which songs might be considered for his memorial service? That, and I was considering who might prospects might be if I were to re-marry. Well, if it's wrong, don't tell me, because I don't want to hear it. Besides, I told him. :P (His opinion? Normal.)

Don't forget that today is mega-Swagbucks Friday! Sign up here if you haven't already. I've already won three times tonight, and we're only 45 minutes into Friday on the Right Coast! I'm up to 52 $5 gift cards and counting... Hey, free money! Don't forget to do the daily polls and watch Swagbucks TV in addition to doing searches; I've boosted my 'take' considerably that way, lately.


Ever since we went to Europe in 2008, I've been coveting a Smart Car (hey, I could put it in the minivan's trunk, or maybe strap it on the back like my Odyssey was reproducing by budding), but then the other day a forest green BMW 325i convertible was driving down the road (by itself, yes), and now I covet that, too. Looked kinda like this, but much nicer, newer, and shinier:



Of course, my dream car has long been an old-style Volvo - the boxier kind - but it'll be a long time, if ever, before I can have any of these cars, what with having to carry around a bunch of offspring and their stuff all the time. Le sigh. So what about you? What's your dream car?

Seems I riled up quite a few people yesterday when I posted a few politically-charged cartoons and status updates on Facebook, so I've decided no more of that! It's not worth losing friends over. Do you discuss politics with the people you care about? I normally don't, but sometimes things are just funny, and hey, I like to stir the pot once in a while... ;)

On that note, I bid you all adieu. Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving, if you're in the U.S. of A., and if not, a simply terrific week!

Until we meet again...


What A Pain In The Brain

It has been brought to my attention - by my Self - that I haven't really blogged about Rob's branial-cranial sitchyation, which is so weird, because I tell you every damn thing else that happens to me. (You're going, "We know, we know...") So, having gotten permission from Hubs Himself, I'm going to give it to you here in timeline fashion, as that's the easiest way for me to remember it all, and I may yet get it wrong because the days have blent together in me' noggin. But here goes:

October 29, 2011: While the girls and are camping out with the Girl Scouts, Rob stays home with Jack and endures probably the worst migraine of his adult life. (He used to get them badly as a kid, and has had a few here and there, but none like this.) Nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light and sound, the whole bit. Classic migraine. Pain scale: 10.

October 30, 2011: We return home. Headache still present. Rob simpers that complaining to me about having a headache is similar to (example I can't remember, but unfair, basically, because I suffer from them frequently and badly myself), to which I reply that he is free to complain away, if it helps, as I sympathize.

Halloween: A better day, but we skip trick-or-treating (kids being disciplined) and do some shopping, during which headache worsens. We cut trip short and go home to medicate Rob.

November 1-2: Migraine present, but not vomiting, at least. Rob goes to work but comes home early both days, in pain.

November 3:  Headache persists and is so bad, again, that we go to ER. Doc takes history, gives Dilaudin, Phenergan, and Benadryl. Relief is immediate. Eventually, he is released and sent home.

November 4: My BFF, Dr. Lisa, inquires about Rob's visit to the ER and headache status. She insists symptoms are not normal and that he should NOT be at work but in hospital instead. Trusting her instincts, I inform Rob of this. He immediately comes home. We head back to ER. They perform CT scan and bloodwork. Labs appear normal, but CT pictures show evidence of TIA's, transient ischemic attacks, aka "mini-strokes." Hi, I freak. We are told they will contact NMCP (Naval Medical Center Portsmouth) to get his Neuro appointment bumped up ASAP. He is released.

November 5-6: Headache persists. Because of mini-stroke scare, I cancel my camping training trip for Girl Scouts to stay home with Rob, who is miserable.

November 7: Headache very bad. Stressed and anxious about TIAs (both past and possible current/future), I call civilian ER and implore them to call NMCP to move up the Neuro appointment. They inform me that 11/30 is earliest available as they have already done so, and to return if symptoms worsen or new ones appear.

November 8: Bad, bad headache. We return to civilian ER for treatment. ER doc once again takes history from onset of headache on 29 Oct and performs an exam. Finds right side neurological deficit, including weakness in hand and low/no reflexes in leg. I implore him to repeat CT scan, to see if there are changes (new mini-strokes?) since Friday's scan. He agrees. CT performed. New spots are noted but not ruled in or out as TIAs. Because of right-side weaknesses, he is transported by ambulance to NMCP and admitted to hospital. I go home, pack kids and food for co-op cooking classes, and drop them off at friend Jenny From the Block's house before heading to NMCP. I find him dozing and in the company of - surprise! - three male roommates, which means I will not, as expected, be spending the night with him. Sad. Neuro does rounds, checks on Rob. Says no food or drink until MRI is done in morning, which sucks because he's starving. Neuro orders pain and sleep meds by IV.  BP still high. I'm kicked out after 10 PM, more than two hours past visiting hours, over the protests of his friendly roommates.

November 9: In NMCP, Rob gets MRI of soft tissue, MRI of hard tissue, MRA (basically, an MRI of the vasculature). TIAs not necessarily confirmed, but not ruled out, either. Diagnosed with benign cavernous angioma, a tumor that's (correct me if I'm wrong) a tight cluster of blood vessels in the back left area of his cerebellum. "Benign" does not mean "not harmful," just "not cancerous." Bleeding could occur, which could cause blindness, kidney, pancreatic issues, and death, among other fun things, so there is much cause for concern. MRI is still needed for thoracic and cervical spine, to see if there are more tumors, as Von Hippel-Lindau disease is now suspected. It is decided to release him that evening and do the MRI on outpatient basis (scheduled for 21 November), keeping Neuro appointment for 30 November. Released with script for compazine only, for migraines.

November 10-11: Headache persists, possible migraine, not helped by Compazine at all. Extremely, worrisomely sleepy. Gets time off work (thank God) and sleeps most of time.

November 12-13: Rob okay, mas o menos, but again very sleepy. Sleeps most of weekend.

November 14: Migraine up to an 8-9. Two doses of compazine don't help. Recommended to take to ER by ??? (someone one of us called, but I was so tired, I can't remember who now), but again, I was too tired, I did not feel comfortable to drive. So, Rob takes an Ambien in order to sleep through the pain, and goes to sleep. Me too.

November 15: Migraine persists. New symptoms: Hyperesthesia, in that the pizza boxes I bought from 7-11 for the kids' dinner and hand over to Rob so I can drive are almost dropped, from the sensation of burning heat. I take them back; they are not at all hot. Not anywhere on the box, despite his protests that they are. Also, later in ER, tingling and numbness along jawline, from middle of ear to center of chin.

So, Immediately following my breast cancer gene appointment (see previous post), decision is made to return to civilian ER for migraine relief, after all-day suffering. Compazine not effective, at all, ever, so Dr. Melanie orders stoppage. What? You didn't know I was an MD? Me neither. We head to ER, which is unusually full. A long wait is promised. I decide to page the NMCP on-call neurologist, to see if we can't get a new migraine treatment med prescribed while we wait. In the meantime, Rob is called back to the exam room in short order, but waits a long time to see the doc. Finally, kids and I are allowed back, just as he is getting hooked up to IV saline drip. We wait another long time, during which NMCP Neuro returns my call, pissily asking what he can do for me THIS time and complaining that I am abusing the call-back privilege. I state that we have, in the meantime, gone to the ER for pain relief, that his primary care is NOT available in the off hours, and so therefore I should do what instead?! Neuro says, "Come see me at 0800 tomorrow so we can get a management plan in place until his upcoming appointments." Yay! Agrees that compazine should be discontinued (see?) and that we (he) should seek pain relief from ER doc until morning.

ER Doc then visits, takes history of this issue (from Oct 29-present) and proceeds to examine Rob. Agrees that compazine should be discontinued and new med prescribed, but upon hearing that we have an appointment the following morning with NMCP Neuro, tends toward providing immediate comfort and letting the Neuro make future medical decisions. Nurse eventually administers Dilaudid for pain, Phenergan for nausea, and more saline for dehydration. Observation ensues. Pain level goes from 9 to 2 quickly. YAYYYYYYYY. Doc decides to give another half-dose of Dilaudid to bring it down further, observe for 10 more minutes, and release Rob. We go home, Rob high as a kite and happy about it.

November 16: 0800 appointment with Neuro. Will update when possible.

Thank you to all of you who have been thinking of Rob and us, praying and sending good thoughts our way. We appreciate each and every one of you. I won't be sleeping tonight, as the kids and Rob have to get up in ~3 hours to get to NMCP on time for Neuro appointment, and I don't want to oversleep. Feel free to entertain me with lovely comments! ;)


Speaking Of My Boobs...

...Oh. You weren't? Well, let's, shall we? And if you'd rather not, just skip this one, because I'm feeling a verbose post coming on.

I went to the Virginia Oncology Center or something like that today. Here's the backstory: I had a lump checked in October of 2009. It turned out to be nothing. I had another lump in February or March of this year, and they were concerned enough that it got its own ultrasound. That led to a mammogram. My first mammogram, at the age of 34. In the end, the People Who Read It (PWRI, not that I'll probably refer to them again, but just in case) decided it was breasticular tissue and not a tumor or something insidious, so, case dismissed.

More backstory: My maternal grandmother had breast cancer in her 30s and 50s and also died of cancer throughout the body. (She was a longtime, heavy smoker, so I'm not sure from what part of the body that stemmed, and Grandpa's no longer around to ask these things, so, I dunno.) My mama died at age 33 from diabetes, so we don't know whether she'd have gotten it or not. She had no sisters. My dad was an only child of Christian Scientists, so I have absolutely no knowledge of the (female or otherwise) medical history on his side of the family.

Based on all this, my BFF, Dr. Lisa, recommended I get the genetic screen done for BRCA1 and BRCA2, ie., the breast cancer genes. So I asked my primary care doc, who agreed and put in the referral, telling me that based on my limited family history, Tricare (military insurance) probably would not approve. Lo and behold, she was wrong, and they agreed with Dr. Lisa that the screen was necessary.

So. You're all caught up. Today was my appointment with the Oncologist/Hematologist, who, incidentally, also gets direct referrals for post-gastric bypass patients needing intravenous iron supplementation, and it's his opinion that my labs will show such a need, too. (I'm very anemic, get deferred - rejected - all the time when I try to donate blood, and am so dizzy I almost black out on a regular basis. I'm supposedly on iron supplements, but I'm out right now, so. Anyway. Part of the visit covered all that, as an aside.)

Dr. G was extremely thorough, had an amazingly, astoundingly awesome bedside manner, and was completely unpatronizing when I asked a billion questions. I appreciated all of this and told him so, which elicited a quick, "Thank you for that." Again, anyway...

He took a detailed medical and family history on me, and then he did an exam that included a breast exam (did you know you're supposed to check all the way up to your collarbone and past your armpit to the middle of your under-upperarm area? I did not! I thought I knew where to check but was falling way short of the mark), a neurological work-up (I passed that, whew), and typical stuff like heart, lungs and belly listening-to-ness.

During that, he found what I had mentioned occasionally experiencing but never mentioning to anyone else, because I assumed - having heard it was possible - it was latent milk production: white secretions from both, erm, um, nipples. He took samples, which, thankfully, proved to be free of trace amounts of blood, but it was still something he scribbled down furiously on his ever-lengthening set of notes about me.

Then we sat down and chatted a whole bunch more. Based on his calculations and my history, it's his opinion that I need to see the genetic counselor, who will then refer me for the gene test. He could've just ordered it straight away, but we need to make sure Tricare will cover it first, so I don't get hit with a $3500 bill or something. Thanks, doc. 'Preciate it!  After the test, if I have the gene, we either get every-six-month pictures of my boobs and remaining ovary (hysterectomy in 2008 took the right one) via mammography and MRI, or we go for the more drastic route of preventative surgical removal.

I told him, "I'm all about getting new boobs!" and pointed to my pathetic little puppies. He laughed and said we'll cross that bridge when we get to it. I told him I assumed it wasn't up to me, but rather the insurance coverage, but he assured me that, no, Tricare was really good about, "doing whatever I tell them to do." So if I have the gene, I'm totally getting new mams. Mark my words. Not sure if I'll let them take the ovary, too, though I'm not sure if it's an all-or-none proposition.

So when he asked me if I had any more questions, I said, "Yes, but nothing to do with my medical history or health..." and he said to go for it. So I asked him about his ethnicity, where he grew up, whether he'd ever broken his nose, etc. He answered all of my questions honestly. Ha! I apologized for my nosiness, and he said, "Fair questions, all!" I told him, "Well, you did get to feel me up, and all!" He blushed, laughed again and replied, "Not exactly medical terminology, but that's true..."

I like this doctor. Can you tell?

So, they'll call me in the morning with my appointment information for labs and the genetic counselor, since all that was closed by the time we were finished. And that's the news 'til now. Stay tuned!


Sunday Stealing: The Madness Meme, Part The Dos

Sunday Stealing

Link up here if you're playing along this week!

23. Do you ever walk around the house naked?

Sure. Why not?

24. If you were an animal what would you be? Why?

I'd be a Galapagos tortoise. You know how long those things live?!

25. Hair color you like on someone you’re dating?

I really don't care what color their hair is, as long as they treat me well and have the stuff.

26. If suffering an injury, would you rather be left blind or deaf?

Deaf. I wouldn't be able to stand being blind. I'm close enough as it is, don't make it worse, please! I have to be able to see color.

27. Do you have any special talents?

You bet I do. Just ask my husband and about (mumbles) other men.

28. What do you do as soon as you walk in the house?

Hang up my keys, walk to my desk and put down my purse and, likely, my full keg of Diet Coke

29. Do you like horror or comedy?

Oh, comedy, definitely. I'm a wimp when it comes to scary movies.

30. Are you missing anyone?

Of course. I miss my mama, my son, my grandparents... and everyone who lives far from me, especially my Sissybell Smiff.

31. Where do you want to live when you are old?

Wherever my (much) old(er) husband lives, I'll be there.

32. Who is the person you can count on the most?

Myself. Followed by Hubs.

33. If you could date any celebrity past or present, who would it be?

Clapton, Eric. I love that man. It's unrequited, though, to the best of my knowledge. (Call me, Eric!)

34. What did you dream last night?

I had a horrible nightmare about growing up with my stepmother. It was a true story. I literally sobbed into my husband's shoulder for, like, five minutes after I woke up.

35. What is your favorite sport to watch?

Gymnastics and figure skating

36. Are you named after anyone?

Nope. I was almost named "Eleanor" after my paternal grandmother, but my mom snuck in a Melanie on me paw.

37. What is your favorite alcoholic drink?

I like fruity mixed drinks: piña colada, mai tai, rum runner, tequila sunrise, and the like. I also like the occasional shot.

38. Non alcoholic drink?

The afore-mentioned Coca Dieta

39. Have you ever been in love?

I've been madly in love with my husband for 11 years, 12 days now. (Thank God it's November and I didn't have to calculate more than 12 days, huh?)

40. Do you sing in the shower?

Yup. Pretty much every time. Good acoustics in there.

41. Have you ever been arrested?

Not yet. I'm trying to decide whether it's on my bucket list or not. If I was, it would be for something like environmental protection or a human rights movement or something. Nothing "bad."

42. What is your favorite holiday?

Independence Day

43. Would you ever get plastic surgery?

Yep. I'm trying to get it now, actually. You lose 210 lbs and see if you don't look like a walking blob of fleshy flesh!

44. Have you ever caught a fish?

I think I have, but mostly I stood by and tagged them, threw them back, and waited for the fishers to catch more small fry. ;)  I have caught a lot of crabs in my day, though. Shut up, not that kind.

Have a great week and stuff!


Saturday 9: How Long


Link up here if you're playing along this weekend!

1. Have you ever discovered a betrayal? If so, did you ask, “How long has THIS been going on”?

Yes, and yes, of course!

2. What is the longest line you've ever stood in? Would you do it again?

Nothing memorable. Oh, wait, that's not true. In Guam, when I was pregnant with the twins, we were in a VERY long line waiting for telephone service hook-up or some such utility, and I passed out (not for the first, or the last, time with that pregnancy!) and had to get transported by ambulance to the Naval hospital on the island. If I had to do that again, I guess I would. There wasn't much choice!

3. Someone has hung a sign around your neck, and you have to wear it all day long. What does it say?

"This person eats lots of protein and has the gas to prove it. Stand back." TMI?!

4. As the Christmas season approaches, what song is it that you just can't wait to hear?

"The First Noel," which was my mom's and also my favorite. "The Little Drummer Boy," too...

5. What Christmas song do you dread to hear?

Funnily, "Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer." I say "funnily" because I thought it was so funny when I was a kid, but now it just dredges up lots of bad memories of those years.

6. How often do you read the last chapter of a book first?

Never. No, never. I love a good surprise.

7. Do you have a favorite movie that you just love to see each year during the holidays?

Miracle on 34th Street is probably my must-see fave.

8. Do you enjoy winter in the area that you live?

It could be worse, she said, having grown up outside of Syracuse with its 10' snow piles and -53º temps, but no, it's still not warm enough for me. Some like it hot - and I'm 'some.' San Diego, here we come!!

9. At holiday I think we all show more kindness. In your opinion, is this a “concept” that has value (like money or other tangible things) or does it exist as simply emotion? Why?

Huh? That's too much mental trickery for me after the week I've had. Of course kindness has value. I don't understand why people can't be nice just for the sake of being nice, all the time. Not just at the holidays, but always.

Have a greet end o' week!


Friday Fragments


Link up here if ye be fraggish today!

So if you read my post last week, you might remember it was a hellish week for us. Welp, this week has been even more nerve-wracking. Hubby has been in and out of the ER & hospital. We found that, after two CT scans, 2 MRIs and an MRA (basically an MRI of the vasculature), he has probably had several TIAs (temporary ischemic attacks, or "mini-strokes,") and that he also has a cavernous angioma, a benign tumor on his cerebellum.  (Remember Flo Jo, the track star? She died of this.) Awesome, right? He's totally been pulling the, "Hey, but I have a brain tumor!" card every chance he gets, but only when it's funny. We've been laughing our way through this latest crisis, but honestly, I'm scared to death!

Our next step is another MRI, on his spine this time, to see if he has Von Hippel-Lindau Disease, since he meets all or most all of the symptoms. It's genetic, too, and it's a dominant autosomal trait, so if he has it, pretty much all of our kids are at risk, too. More awesome news!

Seriously, though, I'm thankful he's alive and here, and that we've found all this out incidentally because of the constant headache he's had since 10/29. *sigh* We've been through a lot together, and we'll get through this, too. (If you're inclined to pray or send good thoughts, I'd much appreciate them!)

Anyway, what else? It's hard to think of much else to say, truth be told, since that's affected our entire week since my last FF post. We missed our two daughters' Girl Scout troops' Annual Feast tonight, not just because of Rob's latest issues but also because he and I, and Chloë, have icky colds, and I thought it better to stay home and rest. No one likes germ passers, anyway. The kids were bummed, but I was grateful for the day off from doing pretty much anything.

We missed our last day of co-op on Wednesday, too - well, no, the kids went with my friend Jenny from the Block, while I was at the hospital with Rob. There's a party for it next week, so we'll go to that, but I wasn't able to help with Cooking Class. I teach/taught three of them, and apparently, all three went poorly! On the one hand, I feel bad that none of them went well, but on the other, I'm a little, well, I don't know, flattered that it appears they needed me, since all the other weeks pretty much went more or less smashingly well, you know? Is that wrong of me to say?

Don't forget that it's Mega-Swagbucks Day today, and every Friday. Not a member of Swagbucks, yet? Then click my link, and you can sign up under me (pretty please) and start earning SBs for everything from toys and games to Swag Gear to gift cards. My favorite thing is to get 450 SBs and trade them in for $5 gift cards. I've gotten over 50 of those so far! Hey, not bad, right? Free money = a good thing.

So my dad pretty much came down hard on me for posting about Rob's strokes/tumor/etc. stuff on Facebook, in order to let people know about it and, of course, get their support and prayers. What the heck? He claimed that it was "too personal," and Facebook is too broad a venue for that kind of thing. Really? It's not like I was posting about, well, {insert your choice of TMI here}. I mean, I would want people to know, and the patient himself wanted that. And his friends and loved ones wanted it, too. So what do you think? Was Dad right, or does he just not "get it"?

On that note, I'm going to mess up my hair as much as I can and go walk into 7-11 like that, in yesterday's clothes, for a Diet Coke refill. I've seen worse there. They've seen worse, too. And they know me, all too well, so it ain't no thing but a chicken wing.

Okay, okay, I'll probably straighten up, put on a coat, and wear my beret.

Hope you all have a happy weekend, and God Bless all you veterans out there, including my husband, who has served in the US Navy for the past 18½ years! Happy Veteran's Day!


Aloha Friday


Happy Friday! Link up here to play along with Kailani today.

My question for you this week is:

What are five things you are grateful for today?

Here are some of mine:

1. My husband is out of the hospital, alive and kickin'!

2. Messy as it may be, I have a home for my family and me.

3. My desktop computer is fixed and returned to me, so hopefully we can get back on track with our regularly scheduled homeschooling adventures!

4. Elephants. I just like 'em.

5. Finding our four sleeping kitties on top of the ironing board, all together. Hey, man, it was cute. Warm fuzzies.

What are some of yours?

Have a great weekend!


Dear Mr. So-And-So

I've tried about 15 times to go lie down and get to sleep, but I can't seem to get there, so I thought it was time for another long-awaited episode of open letters to whomever I think of next. Ready? Set? Go!

Dear Mamacita,

Happy 72nd birthday! Thank you for being such an inspiring and informative woman, but, more to the point, thank you for giving birth to the one and only true love of my life. He, and thus you, are the source of all happinesses I have experienced in the past eleven years.

May it be a blessed, fantastic year ahead for you.



Dear Sheriff Who Pulled Me Over on the Way Home From the Hospital Tonight,

You kick big butt. Thank you for letting me off with a warning, after I blocked an intersection in my hurry to get home and pick up the kids from Jenny From The Block's house. It was the best possible thing that could have happened today, other than not getting pulled over at all. But, since I was going 65 in a 40 on the way to the hospital earlier, I'm lucky, grateful, and glad.


Not The Best Driver (But Don't Tell My Husband I Admitted It) (or my insurance co.)

P.S. Thank you, too, to the nice lady who let me back in the crazy Effingham-to-tunnel traffic instead of making me sit there 'til Kingcom Come. You rock, too.

Dear Cavernous Angioma in My Husband's Cerebellum,

Oh hai. Go away. You freak me out, you cause me untold amounts of stress, and I am terrified you're going to start bleeding and make all sorts of trouble we don't even know is possible yet. Thanks for being benign and stuff, but since that doesn't necessarily mean you're not harmful, I use the word "thanks" loosely. Now. Hie thee away and don't come back.


The Frantic Wife

P.S. Take all those lecunar infarctious dotty-spotties with you, eh?

Dear BFF a.k.a. Dr. Lisa a.k.a. "House,"

Thank you. If it weren't for you and your smrats, I wouldn't have insisted Rob come home from work last Friday and get to the ER, and who knows what may have happened if he hadn't? I love you, I love you, and I love you.



Dear Rob,

I'm glad you're alive. Of course I am. But I'm even more glad that, despite your strokes-or-whatever-they-are, benign brain tumor, and other cranial ailments, you're here for me to laugh with and enjoy. Remember that time you were in the hospital room with three other guys ranging from you to the quiet guy next door to the skirt-chasing Senior with whom you used to work to the gin-craving O5, and you wanted me to close the curtain so I could do naughty things to you? I wish I had. You totally deserved it. Hee. I'll getcha later. ;)

Dear Dad,

Facebook is for sharing important information, like the fact that your husband is going through the above-mentioned crises, so that the people who care can find out and, hopefully, pray. Having a stroke is not "too private an issue" to share there, IMHO. Also, have you met me? Few things are relegated to that category in my world. Also, pbbbbttthhh.


Your Disagreeing but Loving Daughter

Dear Current Doily On Which I Toil,

You're ugly, and your mama dresses you funny. As soon as I get back to you, I'm ripping you out. It might hurt, but I will be ruthless and relentless in doing so. Besides, you were meant for greater things. No, no, don't cry, it wasn't meant to be. We shall meet again, on a more suitable project. In the meantime, back to the bin you'll go.


Fearless Craftylady-type

Dear Cold From Which I Currently Suffer,

You SUCK. NOW?! Really? I needed you now? You SUCK!!

In Kleenex' Name,


Dear Hospital Kleenex,

I appreciate your three-ply softness and strength, but what is UP with that awful smell? I mean, you're meant for noses, albeit stuffy ones, so maybe come up with a non-disgusting odor for those of us who have to use you sixteen hundred times while visiting patients. Also, what's up with the design on the INSIDE ply? What purpose does that serve? Inquiring minds want to know.


Prefers Puffs Plus

Dear OOPSY on Hanging With Friends,

I beat you once. I'll do it again. It might take me another six months, but consider yourself warned.


The One Who Beat You Once Out of 75 Games :P

Dear Jenny From The Block,

Thank you for keeping my babes for me so I could visit Rob-Bobbert in the hospital. You're made of Awesomesauce, as our fellow Turtle, Donny, would say. That is all. You know I loves ya, girlfriend. Now drive safely on up to H, and be fearless in dealing with her son. You can do eet!



P.S. I hope you get to watch her surgery!!

That's all I can think of for now, and they're completely different that the 19 or so I've composed in my head since last week, so maybe I'll be back sooner than you think with another go-round.

Ciao for now!


On Being Crafty

Since this guy:

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has been freaking me out since Thursday with his possibly having had a stroke or several (hi, two ER visits later and we have yet to have him see a Neurologist, grr), I've been what you might call "productively unproductive." Huh? Welp, instead of doing (mostly) what I ought to do, like school the chillens and clean the house and sech, I've been spending the time trying not to be One Big Worrywart by being crafty instead. Crafting helps soothe my frazzled nerves and so, in this case, I gave myself a free pass to do whatever it was that I needed to do.


Firstly, I was determined to conquer this beast, which all of our girls - including the little 5-7-year-old Daisies - were supposed to have made at our encampment last weekend, but which proved to be next to impossible for just about everyone (including us adults). Chloë massively impressed me - and, I think, several of the other Leaders there - by reinventing the wheel and coming up with her own successful way to do it, but even then, it wasn't "right," as the directions given were confusing and, well, it turns out, just wrong. Since we had several 2-L bottles in the recycling bin, I decided to take another whack at it, and behold! Once you follow the dang directions, it's really not too bad. And it looks kind of cool, so I ended up making, like, five. (Hey, it was nerve-soothing, remember??)


Ignoring the background, and the fact that I couldn't get off the entire Coke label, I think it turned out pretty well. I filled it with glass beads and water, then went outside and snipped what may be my last lily of the year to snap this picture. My mistake was leaving it there alone. Half-hour later, I went into the kitchen, and I found our two wee kittens had battered the flower and drunk all the water they could reach out of the vase. Cats!!

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Ah, but they're so cute and sweet and innocent when they're sleeping (not unlike the kids, eh?), it's hard not to forgive them and just laugh it off...


I was enjoying the craft so much that when I ran out of 2-L bottles, I decided to try making one out of a much smaller and more rigid SoBe LifeWater bottle. That took all my strength to cut! But, I rescued what was by then left of the flower and think it turned out mighty purty with some blue glass beads (I almost typed "glue blass" instead, as I am the queen of Spoonerisms). Right?


I then turned my attention to making my SWAPS ("Something Whimsical Affectionately Pinned Somewhere") for my Outdoor II (camping) training session that I was supposed to be at, well, right now. (After the Rob scares, I had to cancel my attendance, but I didn't know that at the the time.) So what's this jumble of mess?


Since our group's chosen Patrol name, with the overall camp theme was "Under the Sea," was the Sassy Sharks, I came up with this SWAP(s) first: A Sassy Shark intentionally pinned to the TOP of the crocheted chain. Get it? Sharks are apex predators, at the top of the food chain? Yes? You see? C'mon, it's jeenyus. Okay, okay, whatever, I liked it.

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This was the second set of SWAPS I worked out. Up close:

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A baggy containing a little card reading, "Make no bones (get it? Get it? Sharks have no bones! I'm so damn clever) about it, we Sharks sure are Sassy!" with another sassy, dancing little shark clip-art photo, and some frou-frous thrown in there for extra sass. I wanted to make a third set of SWAPS, but time was running short, and I still needed to make our Patrol's name tags, for which I was responsible.


A lot of Google Imaging, printing, cutting, laminating, and badge-attaching later, and my name tags were done. I was SO proud of them, and that's probably the one disappointment I had about not going camping this weekend; "that" being able to explain to each of our participants why I assigned them the sharks that I did. So, you'll have to sit through while I explain them to you, 'cause someone has to know the truth of the matter.

Top, L to R: Hard to see, but N was our "Ghost Shark," because she was absent for our initial training and planning session, so we only had her in spirit. J was our Hammerhead, because they're one of the few sharks that really school in groups and they're quite dominant, and I got the sense that J was a real team player but also a natural-born leader-type. See?

Middle, L to R: S was our Wobbegong, one of my favorite sharks, because she struck me as gentle and shy, like these more docile fish. D wanted to be the Great White, and I forget why, but I gave that to her. She had a strong personality as well, so it seemed fitting, anyway. And, my Assistant Troop Leader, Miss D, was our Patrol Leader, a.k.a. the group cheerleader, so I made her our Megamouth Shark. Get it? Like she had a megaphone to cheer us all on with? Ha. I kill The Me.

Bottom, L to R: I made myself the Nurse Shark, because I was our Patrol's elected First Aider (which makes it suck even more that I couldn't go! Hope no one gets any boo-boos...). The next one was a Chimaera, which I LOVE because it belongs to AD: The overall camp trainer, she gets a name tag from EVERY Patrol to keep for her collection. So why a Chimaera? Well, they are related to sharks, but not really sharks, for one, and for another, in mythology, chimaerae are thought to be able to change themselves into different things, and since she gets to be part of all the Patrols, technically, she's changing roles depending on which one she's with. Love it? I do!! Our Patrol Trainer, C, is a runner, so I made her our super-fast Mako Shark. And last, but not least, A, the oldest (by far) in our group, was the now-extinct but long-lived Megalodon Shark. Heehee.

Yup. I'm proud of these and hope everyone was able to figure out their sharky identities without my help. Am I a nerd? You betcha!

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Once I finished that, I was still distracted by my fretting, so I turned to the one guaranteed nerve-calmer for me: needlework. The knitting project (my Sparkle! dress), I deemed to be at a point to stressful to get the job properly done, so I switched tactics and started a pretty doily (Ravlink) instead. (PDF here) I was so glad to finally finish those 10 flowers last night! After about six, I was bored of that. But sometimes, a little tedium is just what the doctor ordered, so that was okay, too.

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Last night, I worked on the center of the doily, a fast work-up, and am now at the point where I'll switch colors again (this is actually a light mint green, if you can't tell from the pic; click to embiggerate, as usual) and start attaching the flowers. I can't wait and will jump into that as soon as I finish this post!

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And finally, I made the creamed corn at which my teen cooking class balked,and since I was so exhausted from my ongoing Hell Week, I gave them a pass and let them have Study Hall instead, agreeing to make the four (nope, three, since one student did agree to make the rice dish, so I sent her home with the ingredients for that) side dishes on last week's cooking agenda myself and report back to them. My report? Utter deliciousness, and I have since engulfed about 2/3 of the dish. Rob's pronouncement? "Ugh.That is all you." Fine by me! Yum!

Today, I'll make up the other two dishes and show you those, later.

Have a swell week!


Sunday Stealing: Madness Meme, Part The First


This is the link.Go there.Play along. (andsorry about my defectivespace bar)

1. Have you ever licked the back of a CD to try to get it to work?


2. What’s the largest age difference between yourself and someone you’ve dated?

I was 21. He was 42.

3. Ever been in a car wreck?

Yeah, a few, but the worst was when we were hit by a drunk driver. Nightmare scenario.

4. Were you popular in high school?

Very much. With my teachers. Haha.

5. Have you ever been on a blind date?

Several. One time, the guy turned out to be a self-professed devil worshipper. Um, that didn't last. But I married the last guy.

6. Are looks important?

Sure, somewhat, but they're certainly not at the top of my list.

7. Do you have any friends that you’ve known for 10 years or more?

Yes, a bunch!

8. By what age would you like to be married?

I was 24. Works for me!

9. Does the number of people a person’s slept with affect your view of them?

Yeah, if it's low, I can't respect them...jest.

10. Have you ever made a mistake?

No, I'm damn near perfect. *eyeroll*

11. Are you a good tipper?

I guess I'm average.

12. What’s the most you have spent for a haircut?

$35 or so

13. Have you ever had a crush on a teacher?

Yep, a few!

14. Have you ever peed in public?

Sure, isn't that what public restrooms are for?!

15. What song do you want played at your funeral?

I don't know, but something you should wear Lederhosen to dance to would be fun.

16. Would you tell your parents if you were gay?

They'd figure it out.

17. What would your last meal be before getting executed?

Pizza with pineapple on top.

18. Beatles or Stones?

The Fab Four, duh

19. If you had to pick one person on earth to die, who would it be?

TBFH, aka my ex-stepmother

20. Beer, wine or hard liquor?

The last one. Mixed drinks.

21. Do you have any phobias?

Mustard; the stuff, it scares me.

22. What are your plans for the future?

I'll probably fart in my sleep.

Happy week, y'all.


Saturday 9: Melancholy Man


Link up here if you're playing along today!

1. Are you more melancholy on occasion?

Well, of course. Isn't everyone? Sometimes things bring me down, like the anniversary of peoples' deaths and stuff, and sometimes it's a factor of my BPD.

2. What did you think you looked like when you were a teenager?

Gawky and weird. And a little bit cute, on occasion.

3. Whose advice are you least likely to listen to?

It depends on the subject. Relationships, I ignore my dad, but financial advice, I'm calling him right up, for example!

4. Tell us about a job that you liked when you were younger.

It's silly, but I really loved being a grocery cashier. I really come out of my shell then and have good rapport with my customers. And I'm fast. And I'm a good bagger. You should come through my line. Unless I have low blood sugar; then, stay away. Oh, also, working at the dive shop was pretty kickass. Oh, and... I could go on. I've had a bunch of fun jobs over the years.

5. Would you lie to someone if you knew the truth would end your friendship or relationship?

Possibly. I don't know. Maybe.

6. What do you have little or no patience for?

People driving 20 in a 45-mph zone. DRIVE YOUR DAMN CAR or get off the road!!

7. What are there never enough hours in the day to do?

Laundry and other house-cleaning chores. And snuggle the kiddos.

8. What is the most productive thing that you accomplished in October?

Multiple trainings, ceremonies, meetings, and other Girl Scout-related things, maybe. I'm glad you gave me a whole month and not, say, today, because I have hardly done anything today. :P

9. What have you always wanted to learn but haven't yet?

Entrelac knitting. Japanese. Why bad things happen to good people.  How to small talk with idiotic imbeciles.

On that note, happy weekend!


Friday Fragments


Link up here if you need to get some crap stuff off your chest today, too!

This has been a week of injury, pain and crisis for Team Odette. Wanna hear? Good, because that's pretty much all I've got to share right now.

Sunday, 6yo DD Sophia slammed her hand in the van door. Cue major crying and agony, as her hand swelled up to double its regular size and turned 15 shades of red and purple. So we drove home from where we were and then Daddy took her to the ER for X-rays. Thankfully, nothing was broken, but as there were a half-dozen booboos on the outside, too, they bandaged her up to high heaven and sent her home with Tylenol and Motrin.

(P.S. She's fine now.)

Monday, Chloë had her braces put on by the kids' dentist, Dr. C., on the top row of teeth. None for the bottom. She's been practically howling in pain ever since, whining and complaining that everything is poking her in the cheeks and gums, it's too tight, yadda yadda yadda. As her mother has had them twice, and her Daddy once, she's at least got sympathetic parents. And lots of yogurt in the fridge so she can eat.

(P.S. I had to make a special stop at Dr. C.'s office on Wednesday for more wax already. I asked her to use it a little more sparingly, huh? 'Cause I can't be driving down there every two days for more, y'know?)

Tuesday, the third day of crying in pain, Jack's own dental pain became so bad that we had to take him in to Dr. C. at night on an emergency basis. He had to keep his staff there late and everything, to treat the poor boy. Turns out, he had an abscessed tooth, which they immediately extracted (it was a baby tooth, fortunately). The poor kid is prone to cavities and has about eight right now that need filling under general anesthesia, so we're trying to get that taken care of at the Naval Hospital.

(P.S. He's fine now, as long as we keep him dosed on the same Tylenol/Motrin schedule as Sophia's hand required. His only complaint now is, "It feels weird where my tooth was." Well, yeah, duh.)

Wednesday, I was shopping at Wally World cooking classes in the wee-wee hours of the morning. So maybe I was a bit tired when I got back home at 0400 and started taking bags out to bring into the house.... I use canvas bags as much as possible, this trip being no exception, and have a number of drawstring ones. Well, I thought I had the canned-food bag right-side-up, but apparently I didn't, because as soon as I lifted it out, PLUNK-DUNK-PLUNK-PLUNK came out all the cans - plus a 68-oz bottle of olive oil - onto the toes of my right foot. I said a lot of bad four-letter words and ran into the house to check things over. Not unlike Sophia, there was blood, swelling, redness, and pain involved. I was pretty sure I broke between 1-3 of those toes.

(P.S. I still am, but since I can walk, and there's not a lot they do for broken toes other than confirm it and dummy-tape them, I've done nothing for it but take the occasional Tylenol. I'm beginning to think we should buy stock in that company, eh?)

Thursday, my husband came home from work acting funny. Not his usual self. That, combined with unusually high blood pressure (he's usually healthy as a horse, fit as a fiddle, you get picture), a horrible puking migraine that gave him residual headaches every day since, and a few other symptoms, had us driving back to the emergency room as soon as our Girl Scout meeting ended. A few tests later, we found out that the CT-scan showed several spots which indicated he'd possibly suffered a mini-stroke!

(P.S. !!!!!! Yes, I am super concerned. I want him to go to the neurologist, like, yesterday.)

Also Thursday, I was supposed to go to the Onco-Geneticist for counseling to see if they would do the breast cancer screening test on me, based on my family history of it. I mean, they're going to do it, but this was my intake appointment. I totally forgot about it, so I didn't go. Hopefully, I won't get a $50 missed appointment bill. Ugh.

Friday hasn't quite started yet, but things are already looking interesting: I'm seeing my prescribing shrinky-dink in the afternoon, and I have the following symptoms to share with him (and no, I'm not to copy my husband, lol; I think these are all/mostly medically-induced): sudden and severe occasional stuttering; muddled thinking and inability to do things I can normally do; the front of my tongue curling so that I talk funny, which I can't stop no matter how hard I try; more visual hallucinations; acting "drunk" according to my husband; and, tremors in my right hand. Awesome, right?

(P.S. I have to go camping again for Girl Scouts this weekend. I totally don't want to go. I'm tired. It's been a rough week. Think good thoughts for me out in the woods, will you, please?)

That's all I've got. Nothing Halloween-y, as we didn't Trick-or-Treat, or pass out candy, or decorate, or anything. This is not our usual custom, but the kids had 10 days (ten!!) to get their rooms clean, and they didn't do it, so they had it taken away. Le sigh.

Hope you all had a better week than we did, and here's hoping to a better one ahead for us!


Aloha Friday


Link up here with Kailani if you're in a questioning mood today!

I've had a rough week, so in an effort to turn things around, my question for you this week is:

What's the most fun you've EVER had?

The first thing that pops into my mind is when I eloped with my husband. We met at the bus depot, as we were both unvehicularly inclined at the time, and it was about 10 minutes before the courthouse closed. We found each other, and then ran as fast as we could, breathless and laughing, all the way there, with our hands clasped together. You'll find us that way, still, when we're driving or walking: hands tighly clasped, (nearly) 11 years later. I ♥ him with my whole being.

Have a great weekend.


Halloween Steals and Deals

Argh. I already had this post half-typed up when Firefox decided to crash and lost the whole thing, which is supposed to be auto-saved but wasn't. Cue extreme aggravation on my part. Buuuut, since a bunch of my pals are getting into couponing, I've decide to re-create the post, with a few changes. Namely, I'm going in reverse order to make it more interesting for me to write (I'm lame like that), and I'm going to add the forthcoming list of my (and many others') couponing abbreviations for the newbies' sake. For information on where I got my coupons, you'll have to refer to the bloggers I reference below.

Also, keep in mind your prices will vary according to store and region, as will coupon values (we seem to get the lower values when there are variances).

Abbreviations I use:

MQ = manufacturer coupon

SQ = store coupon

MIR = mail-in rebate

OOP = out of pocket

RRs = Walgreens' Register Rewards (no sign-up needed)

SCRs = Rite Aid's Single Check Rebates

+UP = Rite Aid's Wellness Plus Rewards

ECBs = CVS' ExtraCare Bucks

*If I left any out and used them below, let me know in the comments!*

As always, thanks go to Collin at Hip2Save for helping me with the drugstore & Target deals, and to Lori a.k.a. The Coupon Consultant for helping me with the grocery store deals. Thanks, ladies!

Walgreens Deals

To minimize my OOP expense, I did Wags in 4 separate transactions, as detailed below:


Transaction #1 Details:

*40 prints picked up after ordering online the night before, thanks to coupon code provided on Hip2Save (DRUGSTORE40, but not sure if it's still valid) = FREE

*Swiffer Duster Starter Kit: On sale $4.49, used $1 MQ = $3.49

*28-oz Mr. Clean Multi Surface Cleaner: On sale $2.99, used 75¢ MQ = $2.24

*15-ct Cascade Action Pacs: On sale $3.99, used 50¢ MQ = $3.49

*10-ct Tide Stain Release Boosters: On sale $3.99, used $1 MQ = $2.99

*Febreze Noticeables Dual Refill: On sale $5.24, used $1 MQ = $4.24

Total OOP w/ tax: $17.49

Total Q & sale savings (photos not included): $19.10

RRs received for later: $5.00


Transaction #2 Deets:

*(2) Puffs Plus boxes: On sale 99¢ each, used (2) 25¢ MQs = 74¢ each

*(7) cans Febreze Air Effects in various flavors: On sale $2.61 each, used (7) $1 MQs = $1.61 each (and yes, we need these smelly-goods, because we have 4 stinky cats!)

Total OOP w/ tax: $13.76

Total Q & sale savings: $16.06

PLUS, $5 RR received for later.


Transaction #3 Deets:

*Schick Quattro 4-ct refill: On sale $8.99, used $4 MQ = $4.99

*(2) Crest Pro-Health 4-oz toothpastes: On sale $3.50 each, used (2) $1 MQs = $2.50 each

*(2) Colgate MaxWhite 6-oz toothpastes: On sale 2/$3.50, used (2) 50¢ MQs = $1.25 each

Total OOP w/ tax: $13.46

Total Q & sales savings: $18.46

RRs received for later: $10


Transaction #4 Deets:

*(6) 18-pks Trident gum in various flavors: $1.39 each, used in-ad SQ which deducted $4.20 and made them 69¢ each + (2) $1/3 MQs = 36¢ each (into the kids' treasure box they go for "reward days")

*(2) Intense Dark Ghirardelli bars: 2/$4 sale, used $1/2 MQ + $1/2 SQ = $1 each!

*(2) Crest Pro-Health: On sale 2/$7, used (2) $1 MQs = $2.50 each!

*(2) Colgate MaxFresh toothpastes: On sale 2/$3.50, used (2) 50¢ MQs = $1.25 each!

*(4) boxes Cheerios cereal: On sale 2/$4, used (2) $1/2 MQ = $1.50 each!

*(2) Glade Lasting Impressions thingies: On sale $6.99 each, used (2) $3 MQs + $1 SQ (which deducts $2 b/c I bought two) = $2.99 each!

*(2) Starbucks Frappuccino 4-packs: $6.99 each, used in-ad SQ which deducted $4 to make them $4.99 each + $2/2 MQ + $2/2 SQ = 75¢ per bottle ($2.99/pk), which is a great price for these drinks, and Hubs loves them!

*(2) Gorton's Shrimp Bowls: On sale 2/$5, used $1/2 MQ + $1/2 SQ = $1.50 each!

*(4) SoBe Lifewaters: On sale 4/$4, used $1/4 SQ = 75¢ each!

*(2) Viva 6-pk paper towels: On sale $5.99 each, used (2) $2 MQs + $1 SQ (which deducted $2 b/c I bought two) = $2.99 each or 50¢ per roll!

*(8) cans Campbell's soup (4 tomato + 4 chx noodle): $1.19 each, used in-ad SQ to make them 59¢ each (deducted $8) - (2) 40¢/4 MQs = 49¢ each!

*Schick Quattro 4pk refill cartridges: On sale $8.99, used $4 MQ = $4.99!

*Also used $20 in RRs from Transactions #1-3

Total OOP w/ tax: $34.76

Total Q & sales savings: $108.24

RRs received for next week: $8

Bottom Line for all (4) transactions: Net OOP = $71.47, Net Savings = $161.86

(plus I think I have enough here to submit for a P&G MIR, but not sure so not included)


CVS Deals


I didn't see a lot I needed or wanted at CVS this week, so it's a 1-transactioner (I normally have several here, too). Details:

REMEMBER: Get your CVS Extra Care Card and scan it at the "Magic Coupon Machine" (MCM) every time you go in the store, because it spits out lots of good stuff!

ALSO REMEMBER: Get and USE your 99¢ "Green Bag Tag" available at the register, and use reusable bags (or no bags) instead of plastic, because you earn $1 ECB for every four trips!

*illy issimo caffé espresso can: Reg $2.49, on sale $2, used $2 SQ from the MCM = FREE (which is a good thing, since Hubs and I both agree it was NASTY. Blech!!)

*(4) Dawn dish liquids: Reg $1.99, on sale 99¢, used (2) 50¢ MQs + (2) 25¢ MQs = 62¢ each (not my best price, but we're out, so it was v. necessary)

*(2) pkgs ThermaCare Heat Wraps (ahhh, so nice, since Hubs & I both have arthritis): Reg $6.99, on sale $5.99, used $3 MQ + $1 MQ + $2.49 ECB from prior trip = $2.75 each (again, not my best price, but needed)

*(3) American Greetings cards (and by the way, have you noticed how RIDICULOUSLY expensive store-bought cards are?! OMG! I have been making my own, and now I remember why. Sheeeeeesh!): $1.99 each - $1/3 MQ (which required cards to be priced $1 or more, and the next cheapest cards were 99¢, grr) = $1.66 each! (Meh)

Total OOP w/ tax: $13.77

Total Q + Sales Savings = $17.48

ECBs received for next week: $8.00, making NET OOP = $5.77

Eh. Win? S'ok, but I've done much better. Eh.

Harris Teeter Deal


(Previous HT deals from this week are posted here.)

Since I was right next to HT, I ran over after CVS to pick up this one thing, which they were out of when I visited the other day:

*Perdue Cars-themed Whole Grain Chicken Breast Nuggets (which I knew Jacky-my-boy would LOOOVE): Reg $4.99, on sale for $2.99 using HT's VIC card (get those cards and keep them together on a keyring, peeps!), used 50¢ MQ (HT doubles up to 99¢ every week, but starting today they are doing Super Doubles, so GO) = $1.99

Total OOP w/ tax = $2.05

Total Q & sale savings = $3.00

Making Son Happy = PRICELESS, so WIN!

Rite Aid Deals


REMEMBER: Get and USE your Wellness+ card for lots of great savings!

Also REMEMBER: Watch ALL the Rite Aid Video Values (VV) EVERY month, and don't print your rewards until you need them, to maximize your SQ savings! Tedious but worth it; having a magazine or something in front of you helps for those longer ones. ;D

Also REMEMBER: Stop by the Pharmacy once you get to the store and pick up your $100 SQ Flu Shot booklet. You do NOT need to get the Flu Shot to get this. Everywhere it's posted, it says "No Purchase Required" to get this. DO NOT BACK DOWN. Stand Firm. They will balk, probably. Call a Manager if necessary. Call Corporate if necessary. Call ME if necessary, but get your $#%^&^ SQ booklet. ;D


(I would've done multiple transactions here, too, but I wasn't in the mood, because the manager was already annoyed at me for having been called to the Pharmacy to allow me to get the SQ booklet without getting a flu shot [see above! I scored! And I plan to ask for another next week, too, so ha!] [But at a different store. Not trying to press my luck. Heh.] [Plus, the kids were being farty poo-poo heads, and I wanted to GO.]) (Anyway.)

*(2) SoBe LifeWater bottles: Reg $1.59, on sale 99¢, used $1/2 VVSQ = 49¢ each!

*(2) TicTac big packs: Reg $1.49, on sale $1, used $1/2 MQ = 50¢ each! (into the kids' treasure box they went!)

*(4) Dawn dish liquids: Reg $1.99, on sale 99¢, used (4) 50¢ MQs = 49¢ each!

*(4) Tide 50-oz laundry detergents: Reg $9.99, on sale $5.99, used (4) $2 MQs = $3.99 each!

*(2) Herbal Essences Anti-Frizz (for my Curly Sue baby) Shampoo + Conditioner: Reg. 4.49 each (seriously? it's not that great), on sale $2.99, used (2) $1 MQs = $1.99 each!

*(2) Revlon Eyelash Curlers: $3.65 each, used (2) 1 MQs = $3.65 each

*(2) Revlon Slant Tip Perfect Tweezers: $3 each, used (2) $1 MQs = $2 each

*(2) Revlon Lash & Brow Groomer tools (yes, there is a method to my Revlon Beauty Tool madness): $4 each, used (2) $1 MQs = $3 each

*(2) Crest Pro-Health toothpaste 4-oz: Reg $4.99, on sale $2.69, used (2) $2 MQs = 69¢ each!

*(2) Lypsyl Cold Sore Relief: Reg $6.99 each, on sale 2/$3 = $1.50 each!

*(4) diff. CoverGirl Blushes (2 single + 2 contouring): $5.69 each, used (2) $8/2 MQs + B1G1 50%-off sale = 27¢ each!

*(2) Finesse Shampoo & Conditioner: Reg $3.99, on sale B1G1, used (2) $1 MQs = $1 each PLUS I have a $2 MIR, so both FREE (eventually...)

*(2) Gilette Body Wash: Reg $4.99, on sale B1G1 50%-off, used (2) $2 MQs + $1 Flu Shot SQ = $1.25 each! (Could've been 75¢ if I'd scored two flu shot books) :P

So...OOP w/ tax = $53.40

Total Q & Sales Savings = $99.20

PLUS, I received $25 in +UP rewards for these deals, and will get (2) $3 SCRs for the Revlon beauty tools, and that $2 Finesse MIR, making my NET OOP = $20.40 for $152.60' worth of goods. WIN!

Farm Fresh Deals



REMEMBER: FF doubles MQs up to 99¢ every day but Wednesday, when they double up to $1.00 - which I can never make, so oh well for me!

*(6) Totino's Pizza Stuffers 4pks: On sale $3.50 each, used (6) 75¢ MQs = $2 each!

*(4) diff Prego sauce jars: on sale $1.25 each, used (2) 75¢ MQs = 50¢ each!

*(2) big pkgs red grapes: on sale 99¢/lb = $4.88 for 4.92 lbs!

*(2) pkgs ground beef: on sale $1.99/lb = $6.03 for just over 5 lbs!

*Keebler Mint Creme Middle Cookies: on sale $1.99, used 55¢ MQ = 89¢

*Rhodes frozen rolls: on sale $2, used 65¢ MQ = 70¢

* (8) Yoplait Greek yogurts (mmm!): on sale $1, used (4) 50¢/2 MQs = 50¢ each!

*Peter Pan Peanut Butter (whipped kind, anyone tried this?): on sale $2.99, used 50¢ MQ = $1.99

*Phillips Crab Cakes: on sale $6.99, used $2 MQ = $4.99 (these are good, but nothing beats Uncle Chuck the Fishmonger's crabby patties - go down to the Farmer's Market at Dam Neck and get some. TOTALLY WORTH IT.)

*(2) Carnation Evaporated Milk (hello, pie time!): on sale $1.25, used 50¢/2 MQ = 75¢ each!

*Argo Corn Starch: on sale $1.29, used 30¢ MQ = 69¢!

*Argo Baking Powder: on sale $1.29, used 30¢ MQ = 69¢!

*(4) 3-pk strips Fleischmann's yeast: on sale $1.29, used (4) 40¢ MQs = 40¢ each!

SPLURGE b/c I eat tons of them: *(2) 8-oz pkgs Wonderful Pistachios: $4.99 each, used (2) $1 MQs = $3.99 each

PLUS, I received (5) 5¢ discounts for my reusable bags, so quit the plastic, people! ;)

TOTAL OOP: $58.77

Total coupons used: $26

Total savings for sale prices: I have no clue on the planet, as Chloë used to say, because I neglected to write it down as I shopped like I usually do. D'oh!

Having a little food in the pantry and fridge, finally: WIN!

Last one, finally:

Target Deals


REMEMBER: Keeping a big ol' cooler in the trunk of your car or the back of the minivan helps, when you're doing a billion deal-shopping stores at once!


*(2) Huggies wipes pkgs (not a normal 'buy' for me, but I'm going to start keeping them in the van for the plethora of spills and messes we make): On sale $1.99, used (2) 50¢ MQs = $1.49 each! (Is that a good price? I don't even know anymore. But the pkgs are preeeeeettteeee)

*(2) Wonka Exceptionals chocolate bars: on sale $1.99 each, used $1/2 MQ + (2) $1 SQs = 49¢ each! (Now, where did I put those...?)

*Hungry Jack pancake mix: on sale $1.99, used $1 SQ = 99¢!

*(2) CoffeeMate Natural Bliss Creamers for $2.39 each + (1) Coffeemate Hazelnut (regular creamer) for $1.58, used (2) $1 MQs + $1/3 SQ = $1.12 each!

*(2) 12" DiGiorno Rising Crust cheese pizzas: on sale 2/$10, used (2) $2 MQs = $3 each! (guess what we had for dinner?)

*(4) Olay beauty bars: 99¢ each, used (4) 50¢ MQs = 49¢ each!

*16.9-oz Up+Up Mouthwash: $1.44 - 50¢ SQ = 94¢!

*(4) Oral-B Essentials 55-yd floss: $1.17 each, used (4) 75¢ MQs = 42¢ each!

*Sonia Kashuk Spoolie Eyebrow & Eyelash Brush: $2.19, used $1 SQ = $1.19!

*24-ct Up+Up ibuprofen: 99¢, used 50¢ SQ = 49¢!

*25-ft2 Up+Up Aluminium foil: $1.29, used 50¢ SQ = 79¢!

*100-ct Up+Up flexi straws for the kiddos: $1.44, used 50¢ = 94¢!

*3.14-lb bag 9Lives Cat Food: $3.74, used $1 MQ + $1 SQ = $1.74!

*(2) 8-oz pkgs Market Pantry block cheese: on sale $2.49 each, used $1/2 SQ = $1.99 each!

*(5) 2-L Coke products: $1.33 each, used B4G1 free SQ = $1.06 each (meh. it's ok but not outstanding, yet we drink a lot of this stuff, so I did the deal)

*(2) John Frieda Brilliant Brunette (hey, that's me!) shampoo & conditioner: $4.99 each, used (2) $2 MQs + $3/2 SQ = $1.49 each! (and this is good stuff!)

*(3) Healthy Choice Café Steamers: on sale $2.79 each, used (2) $1 MQs + B2G1 free SQ = $1.19 each!

PLUS, I received (4) 5¢ discounts for my reusable bags! Gotta love 'em!

Total OOP w/ tax: $40.22

Total Q savings: $43.20

Total sale savings: No clue on the planet, but substantial


Any questions? Yeah? Good, ask me in the comments. I love to help. =D


(Not-So-) Wordless Wednesday

This has been a week of pain and injury for my kids, so of course I have all that documented on film digitalizationism. In witnesseth whereof:

001 (4)

Sophia slammed her hand in a heavy door and had to go to the ER for x-rays on Sunday. Nothing was broken, thank God, but they bandaged her up pretty well as there were external booboos, too. She's fine now. I think.


On Monday, Chloë had her braces installed at the dentist, and she's been sore and needing Tylenol & Motrin ever since. (Not to mention to the damage to our checking account...)


On Tuesday, Jacky was crying for the third day in a row, complaining of mouth pain, but this was different. So in the evening. Rob rushed him to the same dentist we'd seen the day before, and they extracted an abscessed tooth. Poor baby. He is prone to getting lots of bad cavities and needs more removed, but they only took the painful one this time.


The tooth. It's freakin' huge, huh?? You can see the cavity there on the left. It stinks like mad, too. Ick.

Anyway, link up at 5 Minutes for Mom if you're wordless-ish today, too.