Previous month:
January 2012
Next month:
March 2012

Entries from February 2012

Sunday Stealing: The Censored Meme

Sunday Stealing

Link up here if you played along today!

Cheers to all of us thieves!
1. Where are you from and where do you live now?

I'm from New York and I'm now in Virginia, by way of South Carolina, Florida, and then Guam.
2. Favorite childhood story/book/film?
E.T. I remember going when I was a kid, when it was first out.
3. If you could change gender for a day what would you do?

Pee standing up. Play with my weiner - a LOT. And go into men's rooms and dressing rooms and stare. Hey, I like looking at men naked. I'm a hot-blooded straight woman, after all.
4. Do you feel your family is complete or would you like more/some children?

Well, neither of us is physically capable of having more children, but one day if we had the space for it, I'd consider fostering-to-adopt. I'd love a roomful of babies, but... I don't think it's in the cards.
5. What do you do/Where do you work and do you enjoy it?

I homeschool my three children, and I love it, but it's definitely a challenge!
6. Which three words do you think sum you up?

Smart. Funny. Nutty.
7. If you were a fairy what magical powers would you possess?

I'd definitely be able to fly, I'd do the whole bibbity-bobbity-boo-here are your three wishes thing, and I'd be smokin' hot. Think Tinkerbell, not the three plump fairies who raised The Sleeping Beauty. Oh, that's not a power? I don't care.
8. If you were invisible, where would you go and what would you do? Why?

Men's dressing rooms, just like in #3. Hot-blooded straight woman, just like I said. Quit making me say it.
9. What song can’t you listen to without crying?

"The Day You Gave Me a Son" by Babyface, and more recently, "Someone Like You" by Adele.
10. Which book changed your life – or at least made you think a lot?

Well, a lot of books make me think, but Evergreen by Belva Plain has always been my favorite. I really can't explain why. It was just powerful to me when I first read it as a teenager.
11. Why do you blog?

Sometimes, because I have something to say. Sometimes, because I don't, but I have things I need to get out, and starting a post helps open that door. And sometimes, I just want to share what's going on with us, which is the main reason I started this thing.
12. What is your top ‘me-time’ tip?

Earbuds. Headphones. Whatever you use. Tune out somehow and go into your own world.
13. What can’t you live without?

Aside from my family? My iPhone, and the Interwebs. I love them!
14. Which of all your blog posts are you most proud of and why?

The one where I wrote an open letter to my grandfather, and the one about my father-figure, my former boss, which I recently wrote. It touched me to write those, and I could tell they touched some of the people who read them.
15. Have you ever met a famous person? Who and where?

The humor writer, Dave Barry. He came into the store where I worked in college, all the time. I waited on him often. He was funny and nerdy, just like you'd expect.
16. When did you last have a full nights sleep?
A night or two ago, maybe three. I don't know. I don't sleep well. Naps help.
17. What would you think is harder: Going to work or staying at home with children?

Having only ever stayed home with my children, I would have to say going to work and missing out on things that you don't really want to miss.
18. What are you doing for Easter?

Haven't even thought about it yet.
19. What is your favorite drink?

Alcoholic - a good Mai Tai, Rumrunner or Piña Colada. Non-alcoholic - Diet Coke.
20. Do you play any sports?

I'm like the least athletic person you'll ever meet, so no. I keep planning on starting to run, though, but... so far I haven't. No excuses, I'm just lazy.
21. What is your most embarrassing moment?

Seventh grade. I wet my pants, in the middle of the school day. Not a great age for that. The popular kids noticed and laughed. It was mortifying.
22. How clever are you?
23. Name a new favorite TV show?

Smash, on NBC. I watch it online after it airs, since we don't have TV service.
24. Any guilty pleasures?

Sure. I shouldn't eat chocolate, but I do. I shouldn't take as much "me time" as I do.  I take advantage of my husband's understanding and generosity sometimes, but I try to make sure he knows I appreciate everything he does for me.
25. If you could have chosen your own name, what would it be?
I used to hate my name, Melanie, but now I really love it. I would've named me Melanie Penelope, instead of Ann, though. I'm silly and I like lots of syllables.

26. Whom do you most admire in life, and why?

Single parents who manage to make it work and raise their children into decent adults. I don't know that I could. I have a lot of respect for that.
27. What is your most treasured possession?

My mom's jewelry box. My dad gave it to me last year. Not "the good stuff," my older sister got that. I got the costume jewelry. I remember her wearing some of the pieces. Like the necklaces. I remember her bending down and those necklaces being in my face. She died when I was seven, so those are powerful jolts of memory.
28. Tell your favorite funny joke…

I'm really not good with remembering jokes. That's my husband's forte. I rather tell my own, be my own funny.
29. What is your biggest fear in life?
Losing another one of my children. One of my twin boys died almost nine years ago. It wrecked my psyche. If it happened again... I don't know that I could survive that.

30. What is your favorite flavor of ice cream? What does it remind you of?
Peanut Butter and Chocolate. It reminds me of when I worked at a sundae shop on St. Pete Beach, and I ate entirely too much of it, because it was gourmet and good. Vanilla and butter pecan remind me of my grandpa. They were his favorites, and he was very fond of ice cream. He always claimed to have taught me how to eat it!
Have a lovely week, darlings.

Saturday 9: Do Ya Think I'm Sexy


Link up here if you're playing along with Crazy Sam & the gang today!

1. When do you feel that you are at your sexiest?
When Hubs is giving me that
2. What's your favorite magazine? Why?
Honestly? I love Martha Stewart Living. I love Martha Stewart everything. I love her!
3. What’s something you do more quickly than most people?
Make decisions about my life and future. I'm pretty spontaneous in that "I know what I want, and I'm gonna get it" kind of way.
4. When do you first remember using a computer?
In 1994, when I went to college! Crazy. Well, actually, no, it was long before that, in elementary school when I went to my then-BFF's house. But 1994 was when I first went online. Crazy!

5. Who is the craziest person in your family?
Lol. Moi. Me, myself, and I.
6. What one thing are you craving today?
7. What is your favorite thing to spend money on?
My husband and kids! If it's for me, then yarn.
8. What’s the part of your morning you least look forward to every day?
Waking up. GETTING up.
9. What are some rules you have for yourself that don’t really make much sense?
They all make sense to me, so you'd have to ask my husband that. And he's asleep. And you don't wake a sleeping husband. Unless you want him to do something for you, and then you wake up that mofo. I mean, he's not a baby, for Pete's sake.
Welp, have a great weekend!

Happy Birthday, Build-A-Bear!


Are you a fan of Build-A-Bear Workshop? I don't mean on Facbook or Twitter, although you can certainly find them there. I mean the bricks-and-mortar store where you can fluff your own furry friend, add all kinds of accoutrement, and have a blast!

For my daughter Sophia's fourth birthday, we went to Build-A-Bear and got each of our three kids their first BABW friends. They had so much fun picking out their special stuffed animals, deciding what to add, filling them with the fluffy stuff, and choosing outfits. They even "bathed" them during the trip. They got to name their animals and can even play online with them. I have yet to create one for myself, but I think I will, since stuffed animals have always been something I've enjoyed. My favorite one right now is the big teddy bear Rob gave me when he proposed to me, knowing that I like to cuddle up with one when I sleep. And I do, with that one, as I have for the last eleven years, since it's so special to me.

Anyway, Build-a-Bear Workshop is celebrating two major milestones this year: their 15th birthday on October 27th, and sellng their 100 millionth best friend! 100 MILLION!  In honor of their birthday and helping create 100 million best friends, Build-A-Bear Workshop wants to spread the word that Friends Count! Whether your best friend is one of your longtime gal pals, your spouse, your pet, or even your teddy bear, we can all agree that our friends have made our lives so much better.

So please, go ahead and leave me a comment below about one of your friends - furry or otherwise - and why they're important to you.

Disclosure: In exchange for this post, I was entered to win a Build-a-Bear Workshop gift card. All opinions are, and always will be, my own.


SavingStar - Have You Joined Yet?

Have you joined SavingStar yet? I joined a little while ago and have gleaned rewards for "clipping" e-coupons and linking them to my various loyalty cards, including CVS, Rite Aid, Kroger and Harris Teeter. Obviously, the stores will vary depending on where you live, but what you do is clip one or all of the coupons, go shopping, and then the amount of the coupon is added to your SavingStar account. You can cash out when you reach $5 in your account, which doesn't take long at all if you remember to "clip" before you shop!

It's free to join, plus right now you can be entered to win $500 in free groceries - click here for more information! Hurry up and link your cards, because the contest ends on Tuesday! I don't know about you, but I could use that prize. Let me know if you win!

Have fun clipping and shopping.

SavingStar, Inc. Save on groceries with no clipping and no printing today


Friday Fragments

Friday Fragments

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

This will be short, as I don't have a whole lot to say. I haven't had a good week. As you may know, I'm bipolar, and my psychopharmacologist (the shrink who prescribes, basically) changed up one of my meds last week. (I take quite a cocktail to stay on a semi-even keel, needless to say, as I'm Bipolar I, and it's... hard to stay stable.) Anway, it was a bad move on his part, and I took a nosedive and got very depressed and suicidal very fast. I couldn't sleep, then I slept too much, and back and forth, back and forth. To be completely honest, I took my first shower tonight in a week. A WEEK! I barely left the house, and I had to take the week off from homeschooling the kids. I finally called him and said "uncle," and he put me back on the old med. It's been a day, and I can already feel the difference. I'm on my way back up, thank GOD, and I know it'll be okay. So... that's pretty much how I've spent my week.

Last Friday was my mother's birthday. She would have been 61, had she not died at the age of 33. As I'm 35 now, that once-far off age seems so surrealistically, impossibly, unfairly young. She was just a babe. It still blows my mind that she died, let alone so young.

Friday was also our "second eleventh" anniversary. To explain, Hubs and I eloped on January 2nd, our "real" wedding anniversary, but we had a wedding in front of family, friends, and God on my mom's birthday. A very small wedding on the beach at sunset. I was barefoot - and pregnant! - by then. It was funny, because I thought I sent my husband flowers for Valentine's Day this year, and when they didn't come, I mentioned it to him. I'd never sent flowers to a man before, and he'd never been sent flowers before, so I thought I'd switch things up and take the pressure of him to be the one to, you know, spoil his lady on that Hallmark holiday. Heh. Well, when the flowers showed up on our sort-of anniversary, I was all, ohhhh yeah. Duh.

Meh. I really don't have much else to say. This post is kind of a downer, huh? I'm sorry. Hopefully next week I'll be more upbeat and fun.

Have a great weekend, y'all.


Aloha Friday


Link up here if you're playing along with Kailani and friends this week!

My question for you this week is:

Would you go up in space if you were given the opportunity?

As for me, hell yes! I have dreamed of being in outer space since I was a little kid.  I was always fascinated with the planets and weightlessness and all that. If I were given the chance, I would go in a heartbeat, despite the risks.

Anyway, have a great week!


Sunday Stealing: The 99'er Meme, Part The Last

Sunday Stealing

Link up here if you're playing along today. Hopefully it won't eat my entry, like it did for Saturday 9, when I was all the way finished... so frustrating. Anyway, here we go:

Cheers to all of us thieves!

76) In your opinion, what makes a great relationship?

I'm no authority. As long as both (all?) parties are happy, that's what counts.

77) How did someone win your heart?

I met my husband online. I knew from his first email that he was The One. I could tell he was smart, funny, and had ambition, for starters. And he responded to my wacky profile, which was insane, so he had to be a good catch, right?

78) In your world, what brings on more creativity?

Inspiration from various sources, whether it be others' creations, nature, patterns, my own weird mind, my children... all can lead to creative spurts from me.

79) What is the single best decision you have made in your life so far?

Marrying that guy in #77 eleven years ago.

80) Why did you break up with your last ex?

We had a horrible relationship anyway, but when he broke my two front teeth, that was the end.

81) What would you want to be written on your tombstone?

Nothing. I want to be eaten by sharks.

82) What is your favorite word?

Pupitre - it's Spanish for "student desk."

83) Give me the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word: delusional.

The Bitch From Hell, aka my ex-stepmother.

84) What is a saying you use a lot?

Lately, it's "awesomesauce," although I'm trying to cut back.

85) Are you watching Idol this season? If yes, how do you like it?

Nope. We don't get TV service. Makes it hard to get credit on Viggle!

86) Were you surprised that House got canceled?

House got canceled?

87) What is your current desktop picture?

LOL... a really pretty skein of yarn, in my favorite shades of bluish-greens...

88) If you could press a button and make anyone in the world instantaneously explode, who would it be?

See #83. ;)

89) What would be a question where you'd not tell the truth?

Well, answering that would already give too much away, wouldn't it? So I plead the fifth.

90) One night you wake up because you heard a noise. You turn on the light to find that you are surrounded by WEEPING ANGELS. The Weeping Angles aren't really doing anything, they're just standing around your bed. What would you do?

That's just too weird. I would probably decide I was really still asleep.

91) You accidentally eat some radioactive vegetables. They were good, and what's even cooler is that they endow you with the super-power of your choice! What is that power?

I can fly! (I've always believed I could; I dream it all the time...)

92) You can re-live any point of time in your life. The time-span can only be a half-hour, though. What half-hour of your past would you like to experience again?

That whole running to the courthouse to elope before it closed episode was breathtakingly wonderful. I'd do that again and again and again.

93) You can erase any horrible experience from your past. What will it be?

Can I erase ages 7-17? If not, then when my son died. Well, I would erase a whole host of bad experiences, but pretty much nothing tops saying good-bye to your own child forever.

94) You have the opportunity to sleep with the music-celebrity of your choice. (let's say that you are both single and available) Who might it be?

Y'all know I'm going to say Eric Clapton, right?!

95) You just got a free plane ticket to anywhere. You have to depart right now. Where are you gonna go?

Australia. I'm already packed.

96) Do you have any relatives or friends in jail?

I don't know anyone in jail, thankfully.

97) Who's winning the U.S. Republican presidential nomination? Why?

I don't know, but God help us all if it's Newt.

98) Who's winning the next U.S. Presidential election?

I wouldn't mind a repeat of the last election. I don't know, though, I don't seem to have much company amongst my, well, my Facebook friends, at least! haha

99) If the whole world were listening to you right now, what would you say?

I would implore them to take care of this beautiful planet we've been given. Some say it's already too late, and it may well be, but if every single person made an effort, maybe we could reverse some of the damage and stop further progression toward disaster.

Are you listening??!

Fin. - Join Now If You're A Mom OR About To Become One! :)


As you may have heard, has recently gone live with new member signups, and

Check it out - I'm excited to find out what's going to be offered! Aren't you?!

their amazing members‐only sales events will begin in mid‐March! Click my link above to get $10 credit when you join, and when the sales are live in March, you'll have access to up to 90% off on great deals for pregnant and new moms and their babies and children.


Information About Eyecare & Contact Lenses: Zeiss


If you have vision-correction needs and would like more information about getting the most out of your next eyecare visit, please click here to find out more from Zeiss about the right questions to ask, what to expect, and how to get the best contact lenses to regain sharp vision. As someone who has worn glasses and/or contacts for the past 23 years, I found the information helpful and valuable, and I hope you will, too.

Some key points for Individualized Vision:

  •  Every eye is just as unique as a fingerprint. More than any other sensory organ, our eyes allow us to experience and perceive our environment. Carl Zeiss Vision understands the importance of taking individuality into account when rendering consulting and diagnostic services to people who wear glasses and of course, when producing lenses for them.    

  • ZEISS spent years developing cutting edge technology to improve the experience of eyeglass wearers with Zeiss Individual®. It is the first progressive lens to integrate how your frames, face and prescription work together to create a one-of-a-kind lens that is precisely personalized for the wearer.


  • i.Profilerplus®  by ZEISS is a diagnostic tool that analyzes the performance of eyes to a level of detail far beyond traditional methods. These measurements are used to create a customized i.Scription® lens that meets the unique vision needs of the individual more accurately than any previous technology. The result is sharper vision with better contrast and color perception.
  • Lens performance is also influenced by the accuracy of fitting within the chosen frame and on one’s unique face. The i.Terminal® by ZEISS measures such dimensions as pupillary distance, vision height of the eye, tilt of the eye glasses frame, distance between the eye and lens and the frame wrap to ensure that you receive the best possible visual experience from the ZEISS lenses.


Thanks for reading!

Disclaimer: In exchange for this post, I received a Target gift card and Zeiss lens cleaning kit. All opinions expressed are, and will always be, my own.


Children's Advil - My Blog Spark - Coupon Link


Calling all parents!

Flu season may leave your child feeling feverish, so as the season heats up, don't get caught empty-handed and having to make that midnight run to the pharmacy.

Children's Advil® is there to offer the relief you and your child can depend on! Children's Advil® provides up to 8-hours of fever relief in just one dose, relieving fever faster and keeping it down longer to help kids get back to feeling like kids again.

Click here for an online coupon link for Children's Advil.

Dye-free Infants' Advil® is available for children ages 6-23 months and Children's Advil® is available for ages 2-11 in four great liquid suspension flavors including Grape, Blue Raspberry, Fruit and Dye-Free White Grape, as well as convenient Grape Chewables.

For more information, visit us at

Note: I was provided this information for Children's Advil to share with you from MyBlogSpark. I did not receive any financial compensation, other than coupons to try the product.


Out Of The Mouths Of Babes

Thought I'd share these latest gems from today - one per kid:


At the post office, helping me mail a bunch of packages, Jack noticed the "in" door and the "out" door. He asked me, "Mom, why does that door say 'DO NOT ENTER,' but it has a handle on it?"

Me, looking and laughing, stupefied: "Well, that's a very good question, son!"


Tonight, it was dark, and we were driving around. I have both a new black case on my iPhone and a new black car charger into which said phone was plugged, and I was holding it up to help me navigate as I drove. From her seat behind her father, Sophia asked me, "Mommy, why are you holding a knife?" I was all, "What?! Why would I be holding a knife! It's my phone!" To which Chloë smartly - and altogether too quickly - replied, "Well, why should you be holding your phone while you're driving? Why should you hold anything while you're driving?"


And finally, on the way home from the same trip, I was making some small talk about how every itty-bitty car I saw that I liked was either a Smart Car or a Mazda Miata, it turned out. The kids got to talking about why it was called a Smart Car, which led to more questions about why it was so small. Sophia piped up, "It's like this van, if it was just Mommy's seat!"  It was an amusing comment... at the the time.


Hmm, maybe you had to be there for that one?


Anyway, that's all. Back to paying the bills and getting ready for some deal-shopping!


Sunday Stealing: The 99'er Meme, Part The Third

Sunday Stealing

Link up here if you're playing along late this week(end), like I am.

Cheers to all of us thieves!

51) Do you tend to hold grudges against people who have done you wrong?
Yeah. Unless they apologize. Then I'm easily forgiving.
52) What's your astrological sign? 
Virgo. Unless we're talking Chinese, and then I'm a Dragon.
53) Do you save money for anything? What?
54) What's the last thing you purchased?

Cat litter. Whew, we were desperate. Four cats who all prefer ONE box? Yick.
55) Have you ever had a relationship that you realized was lust not love?

Of course. I'm a hot-blooded American female. ;)
56) In a relationship?

That is not a complete sentence. Are you asking if I'm in one now? If so, yes, I'm on my dozenth year of marriage. Is dozenth a word?
57) How many relationships have you had?
Too many to count. See my answer to #55.
58) What do you want to tell us about your day?

I took my nearly-9yo son out with me to run errands, including shipping a bunch of boxes at the post office (using the automated machine), 7-11 for Diet Coke and a reward snack for him (and to pick out something for his sisters, too), and the grocery store for the afore-mentioned cat litter. He was a perfect little gentleman: without asking, he held open the P.O. door for me when my arms were full of packages, and since had my keys and likes to lock and unlock the van doors, he did so and then opened my driver's door for me, just because. I was very touched and impressed. He's so sweet! ♥ (And he put a lot of thought into what his sisters would enjoy, too.)
59) Where were you yesterday?

I'm going to answer this as if "yesterday" was Saturday, so I'll tell you that. In the morning, my daughters and I went to a Girl Scout event wherein they learnt, on real sewing machines (something I've been wanting to do but haven't yet...) how to make drawstring bags. The bags will be given to Operation Smile and filled before being sent to cleft palate and other oral surgery patients overseas.
Then we dropped off a couple Valentine's Day cards I had made for some nearby friends (we were far-ish from home) before stopping at a few stores to play with the iPhone (and Droid?) apps CheckPoints and shopkick, where you get points and then rewards for checking into stores and scanning the designated products. It's fun and addicting. And me like prizey.
(If you're into TV and want rewards for checking into TV shows, check out Viggle as well. Even if you don't watch TV, like me, you can still rack up quite a lot of points in other ways, so it's worth having.)
60) Is there anything interesting within 10 feet of you?

A mirror. No, for serious, there's tons of interesting things, in my opinion. There's the Britto, Deep Night Romance, that we bought on our Mediterranean cruise 3½ years ago, which speaks volumes about my hubs' and my love for each other. Then there's Hubs himself, who is a wonder of wonders. I'd go on, but you're practically snoring and drooling over there, so never mind for now.
61) Are you wearing socks right now?

No, and 9 times out of 10, I won't be. I love bare feet.
62) What's your favorite animal?

Sharks, but my favorite land animal and a close second are elephants. I've always been fascinated by elephants.
63) What is your secret weapon to get someone to like you?

I wish I knew. I mean, I'd tell you, but then I'd have to kill you.

64) Where is your best friend?

Sleeping on the couch 5' away.

65) How did you end your last relationship end?

We lived together. We got in a fight. He shoved me into a bookshelf, breaking my two front teeth. I kicked him out. The end. (Wow, I made a long story short, imagine that!)

66) What is your heritage?

I'm 2/3 German/Pennsylvania Dutch, with some English and Hungarian, and I'm sure a smidge of "mutt."

67) What were you doing last night at 12 AM?

I believe I was actually sound asleep for once. Rare for me, at that hour. I was tonight, too, but I woke up wide awake at 0200 (it's 0311 now) and that was it. Maybe I'll sleep more later, maybe not. I sure hope so.

68) What's new?

I can't really answer that. If this is your first time here, then everything is new. If not, you pretty much know everything. I got the Girl Scout cookies my girls have sold so far today, and so I'm like a mother bird sitting on her nest now, protecting them from the snack-thieving Sophia. I guess that's news? LOL

69) What is the key to seduction?

Leaving more to the imagination than is revealed, at least at first...

70) What was the weirdest thing that happened to you this week??

My usually-grumpy psychopharmacologist, who prescribes my bipolar and anxiety disorder meds, smiled genuinely at me after I complemented him on his nice sweater. I nearly fell over from the shock.

71) You are walking down the street on your way to work. There is a dog drowning in the canal on the side of the street. Your boss has told you if you are late one more time you get fired. What do you do?

Get fired.

72) You are at the doctor’s office and she has just informed you that you have approximately one month to live. a) Do you tell anyone/everyone you are going to die? b) What do you do with your remaining days? c) Would you be afraid?

(a) I'd tell some people, but I wouldn't have it, like, emblazoned on a t-shirt.

(b) I'd try like hell to get to Australia and Japan, and finish up as much else on my bucket list as I could.

(c) No. I've never been afraid of death. Honestly, I'd be excited about seeing my mommy and my baby boy again.

73) You can only have one of these things: trust or love.

F**k you. Oh, are you asking me to pick? Wow. That's a tough one. Um, love, I guess. I'd rather be madly in love and always suspicious than completely trusting and have someone betray that. So, love.

74) What's a song that always makes you happy when you hear it?

Lots of songs do, but the first one that comes to mind is "Mambo No. 5" by Lou Bega. Can't help but dance!

75) Who has your cell phone number (other than family)?

Half of North America, it seems like. Lots of people. LOOOOTS of people. (We don't have a home phone line, so it's all I have.)

Well, I'm off to 7-11 to get me another Diet Coke. Yes, I realize it's the midding hours, but I'm fairly well immune to the caffiene-keeping-me-awake properties of the stuff by now. If I'm meant to sleep, I will, worry not.

And with that -


Saturday 9: Indian Reservation


Happy Saturday! Link up here if you're playing along with Crazy Sam & crew today!

1. Do you enjoy going to a casino now and again?
Nope. Totally not my thing. I've been to Vegas, and gambled a little bit, but it was all on someone else's dime. Oh, and I've played the slot machines in Atlantic City and on cruises, but still, just a waste of money IMO.

2. What makes you happy most of the time?

You know the saying, "If Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy?" or other variations? Well, that's true... but THIS Mama is generally happy WHEN everyone (the kids and Hubs, that is) else is happy and enjoying themselves. If we're doing something, and they're all smiling and having a great time, it puts me in a fantastic mood. :)
3. Are you jealous of someone right now?

Yeah, anyone who doesn't have to pay $65 to fill their gas tank!

4. You're stranded on a desert island with one fictional character. Who is it? Why?

My mind is a total blank. It really doesn't matter anyway, because it's an impossibility, so :P/

5. Have you ever been in the emergency room? If yes, for what (most recently)?

Pfft. I recently got two letters from our insurance company about HOW MUCH we use the emergency room. Seriously, my family is accident-prone out the wazoo, and we LIVE there. Let's see, my last visit was for... well, TMI, but excessive diarrhea for 3 weeks. I had to get a saline IV or three.


6. Where is the last place you drove to just for fun?

I can't afford to do that! I drove a big honkin' minivan and can't afford to fill the tank for joyrides. Now if I drove a cute little Mazda Miata or a Smart For Two, that would be a different story...

7. If you were to make your living as a photographer, what would love to shoot?
Pictures, I think.


8. Tell us about a band you like that we might not have heard.

I ♥ Vampire Weekend. You know them?

9. Where was the last place you went shopping? Why?

I was just at Wendy's tonight, going through the drive-thru for dinner for a friend who was at work. He paid, I didn't, but he didn't have time to go there on his own. Small favors, you know, they add up.
 Anyway, y'all go out there and have yourselves a great weekend!
Fin. wants you to use CheckPoints!

Hi! wanted to tell you about CheckPoints, a cool iPhone and Android app that lets you earn prizes like gift cards,
airline miles and gadgets just by checking out cool products.

Let's say you are going up CheckPoints and see how many points you can earn in nearby places.
Earn maximum CheckPoints by scanning products at your favorite locations.

You and your friend will both get bonus CheckPoints if you sign up using the following bonus code: smellyann
Download and Get Started

To learn more about CheckPoints - The App that Pays You Back ™
you can watch the video and get the FREE app at

To stop any further marketing emails from CheckPoints LLC please click the following link:

Weekly Steals And Deals, Part One

So we're down to our last pennies until payday, and we have enough food and gas to get by, but what about my deals? I ended up selling a gift card I'd received on eBay in a matter of hours, so I had right about $16-17 to play with. It's with that money ONLY that I was able to snag the following goods. Pretty impressive, if you ask me. Wait, did you? Anyway.



I was able to score all this:

  • 3 boxes of Cheerios
  • 2 120-ct pkgs of Sweet 'n Low
  • 4 boxes Quaker oatmeal packets (my kids LOVE these for breakfast in the morning!
  • 2 canisters Quick Oats
  • Revitalens
  • 4 360º Pro-Sensitive Colgate Toothbrushes
  • 4 boxes Colgate Total toothpaste
  • 6 Suave deodorants
  • 4 cans Progressive hearty soups
  • 2 cabs Bumblebee white albacore tuna
  • 5 32-oz bottles Gatorade
  • 4 Suave Professional styling products, and
  • 3 cans Glade room spray

for a total OOP of $17.81, which pretty much ate up my entire Paypal balance. However, I saved $118.05 among sales, Extra Bucks, and coupons, and I came out ahead between the $3 Extra Bucks I received on the last of three transactions and the $10 mail-in rebates I'm going to receive. Okay, so maybe not quite ahead, now that I do the math: my net total for all of the above is therefore $4.81. Not too shabby, considering each of those toothpastes alone retails for $5.49, right?! I'll be selling more on eBay this week, to fund my deals, so stay tuned for that if you give a rat's patootie. :P



Now here was where I had to get really creative, since I literally had about 30¢ or less to spend OOP. I managed to get all this:

  • (16) Valentine's gift sacks
  • (4) Children's Sudafed PE Cold & Cough
  • (3) Disney coloring/activity books
  • (3) Cepacol Sore Throat lozenges 16 ct, and
  • (2) Mucinex Moisture-Smart Nasal Sprays

for a total of - wait for it - 25¢ OOP! With sales, coupons, and Register Rewards, I saved a whopping $77.22 and paid a quarter! Not bad, eh? I didn't end up with any RRs for the remainder of the deals I have to do at Wags (and there are lots), so I better get eBaying if I want to snag some more steals!


Oh, so technically I didn't do any deal shopping at Target, but I did manage to get some money back on things that had rung up wrong at the register, so that'll help me score more deals, yes? Also, I wanted to mention that if you haven't signed up for SavingStar yet, you should do that as a couponer, because you can easily activate online savings and cash out for rewards. That's not a referral link; I don't get anything if you join except the joy of helping you save. You can cash out for $5 gift cards after reaching $5 savings, for example - I just did that last week.

The catch is, you have to register your stores' loyalty cards to make sure that you get the credit, and since Target isn't one of those stars, I had to make a return here tonight that I had bought mistakenly thinking I'd get credit for it. Duh! So I'm going to make that same purchae (InStyle magazine, which will make it free after $2 MQ and $2 Savingstar) at Rite Aid, since CVS seems to be out all the time... Anyway, blah blah blah. Take home message: Sign up for SavingStar, AND always check your receipts at least when you get home, if not right there at the store or in your car, because they DO make mistakes, and usually not in your favor. M'kay? 

(Another couponing tip: instead of going to to print out your coupons, do it from or to get extra bonus points for printing and redeeming the exact same coupons you'll find at the former site. I get lots of MyPoints for that! Though I'm thinking of switching to SB for my internet printables...)

Farm Fresh


It may be silly to post this one little thing, but I just wanted to point out for you local shoppers that you can sign up for emails from Farm Fresh and go to their Facebook page to print out coupons, often for free products. Thanks to Collin's posting on Hip2Save, I found out that latter bit recently, and I snagged a coupon for this free bag of Fresh Express salad just in time (they have short half-lives, so be quick) to have myself a yummy dinner tonight! (Salad is one of those weird things I can eat a lot of; strange, because I wouldn't think of it as what we in the gastric bypass world call "slider foods.") Anyway, free salad - and it was right next to Target, so gas savings, too. Score!

More deals coming later in the week.... stay tuned. :D


Sunday Stealing: The 99'er Meme, Part The Second

Sunday Stealing

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

Cheers to all of us thieves!

26) Are you happy with the person you've become?

Starting off with a bang, aren't we? Well, not entirely, which is why I'm in intensive therapy and on meds: to help me BE and BECOME the person I want to be.

27) What's a sound you hate; sound you love?

I hate the sound of my husband reading to the children! Hahaha, it's awul to say, but I hate his "kid reading" voice. A sound I love is their laughter. Unless I have a headache, and then it's all about the STFU.
28) What's your biggest "what if"?

Oh, I guess that would have to be "what if" I had stayed in my Ph.D. program in Ichthyology at the University of South Florida, gotten my doctorate, and spent the rest of my life studying shark ecomorphology. Who would I have married? WOULD I have married? What about the kids? Nah... I'm glad I left. What I ended up with is much more desireable, I think.
29) Do you believe in ghosts? How about aliens?

We've had both these questions, together, recently. I refuse to answer out of sheer boredom with them.
30) Stick your right arm out; what do you touch first? Do the same with your left arm.
Right: a pair of aviator sunglasses I've yet to wear. Left: laptop.
31) Smell the air. What do you smell?
Cat poop. I need to buy new litter, in the worst, worst way!!

32) What's the worst place you have ever been to?
My house, growing up, after my mom died and my dad married The Bitch From Hell.

33) Choose: East Coast or West Coast?
I'm a lifelong (almost) East Coaster, but that may change... still, I'll always belong to the Right Coast.

34) Most attractive singer of your opposite gender?
Hmm. Enrique Iglesias isn't bad to look at, I guess. First name to pop into my head.

35) To you, what is the meaning of life?
To live, rather than exist, reproduce, grow, change, die, and decompose. To leave the world a better place than when I arrived.

36) Define: Art.
My late maternal grandfather. ;)

37) Do you believe in luck?
Hm, no, not really. I've said it a hundred times: I believe you reap what you sow.

38) Patriots or Giants? Or, who gives a rat's ass?
That last part is exactly what I'd have said, if you didn't.

39) Will you watch the game? If yes, with whom?
Nope. Not watching. (All the UK people are going, "What game? Rugby?")

40) Do you drive? If so, have you ever crashed?
I do, and I have. In St. Pete, Florida, I had just moved there, got lost, and accidentally made a right turn from the center lane when I realized I needed to make that turn, not even realizing I wasn't in the right. BOOM! The car in the right lane slammed into me. D'oh! Totaled that car.

41) What was the last book you read?
Gosh, how embarrassing, but I don't think I've read a book in two years or so. So it would be The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini, if I recall correctly. Kids' books don't count.

42) Do you like the smell of gasoline?
I'm neutral on the subject.

43) Do you have any nicknames?
You see the title of my blog? That's my 'main' nickname, there. My real name is Melanie, not Ann, as many people think.

44) What was the last movie you saw?
Beauty and the Beast 3D - we took the kids to the midnight showing on opening night, and it was awesome.

45) What's the worst injury you've ever had?
Before my third c-section, the effing student anesthesiologist poked me in the spine six times trying to do my spinal, and he hit a nerve that nearly launched me off the operating table (at 38+ weeks pregnant with Sophia!) when he nicked it. I could barely walk for years, and I only got my full mobility back after losing over 200 lbs.
Take home message: Teaching hospitals are great and necessary and all that, but don't ever let a student anesthesiologist near your spinal cord. Let 'em fuck up someone else.

46) Have you ever caught a butterfly?
Well, yeah, I suppose I've caught a few in my day.

47) Do you have any obsessions right now?
Getting rid of my weeks-long migraine. Other than that, hexipuffing.

48) What's your sexual orientation?
I'm straight as an arrow, you rude thing, you.

49) Ever had a rumor spread about you?

Duh. I did go through middle and high school...
50) Do you believe in magic?
Pfft. No. It's all illusion, you know that as well as I do.

And that's the end of that.

Saturday 9: Our House


Link up here if you're playing along today!

1. When was the last time you moved? Where to?
From Guam to here in Va Beach, VA, coming up on nine years ago now. Crazy!
2. If they were making a Hall of Fame for the blogosphere, name a blogger or two who you think should make the list. Why?
Mrs.4444 at Half Past Kissin' Time, because she's funny, thought-provoking, interesting, and an all-around awesome blogger/person (not that I've met her IRL, but I just get that sense).
3. What are couple of funny things you remember your parents saying? (Like, “They're starving there in China, so finish what you've got.” - John Lennon) Do you say them to your kids?
Not like that, but my dad often talked funny. He frequently called my sister Pinky Lee, and he was always debating which of us was Francie and which of us was Blintzie. When he was surprised at something he did, he would call us Aunt(ie) Sookie. He drank "a coopa coofa" instead of coffee. When it snowed, he would say there was "Schnae in ze owf [sp]!" If he didn't like something we were doing, he'd put his hands up high in his armpits and say, "Nie, though! Nie, though! Nie though!"  And so many more things. Yes, I use lots of his sillinesses with my own kids, and he gets a giant kick out of that!
4. What is something that has happened to you that you would consider a miracle?
I met my husband, who was truly meant for me. I believe he was God's gift to me; I honestly do.
5. What is it too late for?
Drinking the Diet Coke that I'm chugging down at the moment. ;P (It's 2 AM at the moment.)
6. What do you try to stay away from?
Smokers! BLECH!!! Instant headache, and I like clean air, thanks. But don't get me started...
7. When you get into a disagreement or fight, how often are you the first to apologize?
My husband will probably disagree (haha) with this, but I would say at least half the time, I apologize first. More often if it's with people other than him.
8. Tell us about a current issue that you’re unhappy with.
I'm going to go with a personal issue instead of something in the news, so I will say my string of migraines. Three-four weeks straight of daily ones now. Hi, not fun.
9. How often do you update your blog/site and why?
I don't know, at least a few times a week at least, and der, because I've got something to say!
Have a great weekend, y'all!

Friday Fragments

Friday Fragments

Hey, y'all, link up with Mrs. 4444s if you're fragmenting today!

My husband texted the following to me, but he didn't ID which kid said it, so I can't give proper credit (my Mommy senses tell me it was 6yo Sophia, though): "Unicorns are real. They're just fat and gray and we call them rhinos." I was out shopping when I got his text, and I split a gut laughing and had to share it with the other person shopping near me, lest they think (correctly) that I was loony! Too funny!

001 (6)

I shared this gorgeous yarn I received from The Knitting Goddess (in the UK, so shipping took what seemed like forEVER) the other day on Wordless Wednesday, but it's so beautious, I wanted to see it again. Hehe. Tell me those aren't some luscious colors?! I'll be using these for hexipuffs on my Beekeeper's Quilt. Why haven't I started yet? That's a darn good question. I will today, I think.

My husband's alarm has been going off for 45 minutes now (it's currently 0645). Why don't I wake him up, you ask? Because. It's IMPOSSIBLE to rouse that beast. Hence the 45 minutes. Are you easy or difficult to awaken? Most of the time, I'm hard to wake, too. I don't sleep well or often, but when I do, I want to stay that way, thank you!


My gardening friend, Miss C., was a guest presenter at my Daisy meeting yesterday, and while I was editing the pictures, this one popped up as the first one. Yes, that's MY kid disrupting the group, not in uniform (she had it on but yanked it off, as she always does) and being a total goose. Sophia!! She is such a pill. Or as Miss C diplomatically put it, "She's spirited." Oh, I'm so glad I'm the Leader, because I'd be mortified if she behaved that way for others meeting after meeting (and she does). Argh!


As far as what Miss C. did with the girls, she read them the next chapter in our yearlong story (aka our "Journey," "Between Earth and Sky) and then talked to them about how plants clean the soil and air. She then gave them a project that I'm sure we've all seen before, if not done a time or two: made pinecone bird feeders with peanut butter and birdseed. However, her yard had a dearth of pine cones but plenty of gum balls, so she brought those instead, and they worked great to clump up with PB and seeds. Sophia rushed right home and tied hers to her special 4th birthday tree, out front, and waited immediately for the birds. And did they come! Mostly gulls and crows (?) or some sort, but we're hoping for something a little more exciting colorful. Anyway, it was a great meeting, and I'm glad we did it!

Jack, who will be 9 in a month and a half or so, has been asking for his own digital camera like his sisters for ages. I mean, forEVER (I used that one already, right? So what) - and I found a killer steal on one for him the other day. I'm even going to get $40 back in rewards for it, making it an even sweeter deal. I didn't pay a cent for it, because I am one of those crazy coupon deal girls, when I get the chance, and I'm so ecstatic about both (a) the fact that I'm going to make him SUPER happy and (b) my great deal, I just had to share it with you!

Speaking of deals, kids and birthday presents, I got a robotic penguin toy for Sophia of a Plum District deal the other day, too, as she is a penguin fanatic. I mean, she is nuts for them. She likes all birds (and bugs!), but penguins are her absolute favorite. So yay me for scoring goodies - with slick deals - to make their upcoming birthdays fantabulous! (She'll be 7 a month after Jack's birthday; my gosh!!!! I can't even stand it that my baby will be that old. I wish I could make another one or three. Hehe.)

So I've had that iron transfusion, confirmed with the oncologist/hematologist that I do NOT need to continue taking oral Fe supplements daily, and yet I still get so dizzy I almost pass out when I stand up half the time. What gives? My blood pressure is on the low side, but still within normal range. It's wicked annoying. I mean, if I'm gonna get that dizzy, can't I have the fun of passing straight out, already? That would make for a much more interesting fragment, at least. I did it once, in 8th grade. I was the talk of my class. What fun! Haha.

By the way, if you're a frequent shopper (hello, Swagbucks money!) and you know about their Prime free shipping but don't want to lay out the moolah to pay for that service, here's something I scored that you might want to know: If you have an .edu email address - even if you're a college alum! - you can sign up for Amazon Student and get free Prime shipping! I've been taking loads of advantage of that sweet deal, since I do get tons of Amazon GCs from Swagbucks, surveys and other things I do on- and off-line to save a buck, and it is Teh Awesome. Check it out. Rats. I just went to go link you to Amazon Student here, and the free offer is now gone and replaced by a half-off deal. Still, better than $79, right?

It's 0708. Hubby finally woke up. Just keeping you updated, since I knew you were in suspense about that!

If you're at all interested in Native American culture, be sure and check out my post here about our field trip last Saturday to the Mattaponi ("matt-upon-AYE) Indian Resevation 90 minutes north of here. It was cool as all-get-out, and I can't wait to go back up in June for their annual Pow-wow. Worth a read, I'm told!

And, as long as you're here and I'm in demanding begging mode, answer my Aloha Friday questions, will ya? I'm nosy interested. And I like strikethrough.


I've been struggling with constant, daily migraines the past few weeks again, so schooling has been sketchy lately. Anyway, a recent day last week was quite warm, but rainy. Once the rain cleared, I was ready to get up out of the house and go for a walk to get some exercise for my and the kids' young bodies. Instead of just walking, though, we did a lot of running and jumping and splashing in the ubiquitous mud puddles around our neighborhood lake. It was too fun, and Chloë declared it, "The BEST rainy day EVER!" I had to agree. Sometimes, you just gotta be a kid again, right? We were so soaked (and muddy), we jumped right into warm showers when we got home. But what a memory that should make for all of us!

Guess I'm out of fragments for now - lucky you!! I'm off to email my Girl Scout troop about Thinking Day, which is coming up. It's a day when we think about the Girl Scouts and Guides around the world, every year, and we always participate. Anyway, blah blah.

Have a great week! 'Til next time...


Aloha Friday


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

My two-part question for you this week is:

What's the highest education you have achieved, and are you using it?

As for me, I have a B.S. in Marine Science/Biology with a minor in Chemistry from the University of Miami ('97), with some graduate work in my Ph.D. in Biology and my Master's in Science Ed. from the U. of South Florida. I've been a stay-home mom since I got married 11 years ago, so no, I'm pretty much not using my education, except for the fact that I homeschool my three kids aged 10 and under. Eventually, I plan to go to law school, but I'll probably be in my 50s when that happens!

Anyway, that's my story, and I'm stickin' to it. What about you?


Monday Steals And Deals - Week Of 1/29/12

I'm going to keep this short again, in the interest of, well, you, and maybe getting some sleep, since I have my 3-year gastric bypass check-up in the morning... I will say that I spent a lot more money OOP than I usually do, because we had grocery needs and wants, and it was payday. :P So here goes:



Transaction #1: Total $31.94; Savings: $15.74; GC rec’d: $10 CVS

Transaction #2: Total: $91.73; Savings: $110.06; ECBs: $28.87

Rite Aid


Transaction #1: Total $106.28, wellness + savings: $25.20, coupon savings: $81.18, MIR: $10; +UPs: $29

NOTE: Need to return $59.57 worth of Centrum products and re-buy $29.97 worth, and get $10+UP back



Transaction #1: Total $46.93; Savings: $124.57; RRs: $15

Transaction #2: Total: $12.15; Savings: $9.75; RRs: $10

Transaction #3: Total: $7; Savings: $4.79: RRs: $8



Transaction#1: Total: $200.25; Savings: $136.98; Target GCs: $15

NOTE: Should get back $17.20 from mis-rung prices, additionally*


If you have any questions about my deals - not that anyone ever does - feel free to ask in the comments. :)

Happy shopping!


P.S. Thanks go to Collin at, as usual, for helping me with my deals!