It started with a bouquet.
Yellow roses, to be exact - my favorite color rose.
We have seen lots of street vendors selling all manner of things that grow from the ground, down here in Miami. Rob has been wanting to buy me flowers from one of them for nearly a year and a half now, but I haven't let him spend the money. This time, though, for birthday season, I relented. Maybe just this once, the three or four bucks could be spared.
Rob's 42nd birthday was on Saturday, August 30th. For his special dinner, we took a mystery shop at a popular nearby-ish tapas restaurant we've been to several times and enjoyed.
We seriously annoyed our server that night, being seriously undecided on what to imbibe. Finally, having seen the huge girls-night-out party next to us receive a huge pitcher of delicious-looking white sangria, we opted for that. The funny thing was, we also ordered it by the pitcher. For two lightweight drinkers. Ummm... so guess who inherited more than half of our unfinished sangria? The girls next door!
For dinner, we dined on tapas of spinach, codfish balls, various breads and cheeses, and fruit. Utterly yummo!
Next day was Friday (before his birthday). I took another mystery shop at Rob's favorite burger joint for lunch. Hey, if you're going to spend money, it might as well be someone else's. Ha. I kid. (Kinda.)
I had yet another shop at a candy store, so I decided to get Rob some pee and poop. Of a confectionary sort, of course. He enjoyed the joke.
For his "real" dessert, the girls and I went to Publix and picked up some scrumptious cannoli and chocolate-dipped strawberries. We had gotten new Fiesta ware for ridiculously cheap at Kohl's, and that's my new turquoise plate on display. (We had a rather large Fiesta collection already, but with these hard tile floors and five clumsy dish washers, we've lost quit a bit of it to the dropsies. Ugh. We should probably stick with plastic!)
Of course, an Odette birthday season would not be complete without tons of freebies. To start, I used my Dunkin' Donuts app to get Rob a free Mocha Coolatta, which took an inordinately long time for him to finish - but he did!
Sophia gave Rob a new immersion blender, because the one we had before, which Hubs came into this marriage with, either got left behind in Virginia or was broken. Either way, he's missed it ever since.
Jacky was amused to give Rob a new nose hair trimmer. He needs this! I'd gotten him one before, but that also bit the dust. Jack giggled the entire time he was wrapping and Daddy was opening the present.
Chloë gave her dad a new veggie peeler, because the current one stinks, and a new egg slicer, because the old one broke. We use a lot of eggs here at Casa de Odette!
Rob's wardrobe is slim pickin's, so I gave him a new pair of shorts. He says they're comfy.
Rob loves scratch-off tickets, so I made sure to get him five $1 ones. I hope he liked the experience of rubbing off that silvery stuff, because he only won a dollar. Rats.
Fast-forward a week to Friday, the 5th of September. My friend Veronica and her mother make authentic Mexican tamales of beef, pork, and beans. To thank me for some odd thing, she wanted to give me some and was thoughtful enough to ask if I ate meat. I don't, of course, so she came over with half a dozen bean tamales that were absolutely OUT of this world. Rob enjoyed them, too!
Veronica also gave me Ferrero Rocher chocolates for a birthday present. I shared exactly one with Sophia, ate the rest, and then promptly declared myself on a diet for the remainder of at least this month! ;)
Sophia had baseball practice that night, and Chloë came with us. Afterward, we stopped at another flower vendor on the side of the road where I bought her a half-dozen white roses for $3. Her 13th (!!!) birthday was not until Sunday, but as my mother-in-law opines, you get a whole season and not just one day. Especially as a freshly-minted teenager.
Next, we went to Sears, where I picked up that silver heart necklace you see around her neck. It was a $149.99 necklace that I got for exactly NOTHING out of pocket. Sweet!
(Unfortunately, the chain was delicate, and she didn't realize my warnings to be careful were completely valid. She accidentally broke the clasp the next day when tugging it out of her hair... and spent the next hour dissolved in tears. Poor kid. We'll get that fixed.)
That night, much later, Chloë got a free Blue Raspberry Smoothie from Dunkin' Donuts, as well as a free chocolate croissant from Starbucks. They were technically my birthday presents, but since we practically share birthdays and since I can't really eat what she can, I usually give lots of my goodies to her - and to Rob.
Finally, around zero-dark-thirty on Saturday morning, we went to IHOP and redeemed my free rooty-tooty-fresh-and-fruity pancake meal. Chloë opted to get the peach variety. I took a bite. Okay, maybe two bites. They were so tasty!
On the way home from IHOP, we picked up our free birthday doughnuts from Krispy Kreme. Sophia ate mine, which was fine. I think she ate half of Chloë's, too, which is not unusual...
Chloë was pretty pooped on Saturday after that, so she snoozed while I took Sophie to her baseball stuff that day. However, she was back in the game that night, and we went to Panera to get our free birthday pastries. She chose a cheese Danish, and I selected a pecan roll. I was ravenous at that point, so I actually ate about a third of it before taking the rest home to a hungry husband.
I had tons of Kohl's Cash to redeem, having saved it up for Chloë's birthday, so on Sunday we started at that store shortly after they opened. She went through the entire store, looking at fragrances and cosmetics, candles, room décor, and more before deciding that she wanted to get a couple of nice outfits. This is the first one she picked, although we have to return the shirt because it bothers her sensitive skin.
This is the other outfit Chloë bought with her Kohl's cash. I really had to talk her into the white leggings. She was convinced leggings made her thighs look fat. I am so mad at whoever gave her that idea, because nothing could be further from reality! Really?!!
Chloë told me she felt like 13 was still young enough to like some kid stuff, and she didn't feel too old for another Build-A-Bear, so I used up a bunch of gift cards to that store to give her this Palace Pet one she named Pumpkin. That makes... four?
We started on our Freebie Tour of Miami after Kohl's. The whole fam-damily came with us. Our first stop was at Sonic, where we redeemed our coupon for a free-with-purchase medium Tots. She loves those things. I gave Sophie the "with-purchase" part: a small Lemon-Berry Slush. Hey, if they had to ride along for a full day of birthday fun, they might as well have gotten to join in.
Next up: GameStop. I didn't technically have anything birthday-related from there, but I'd gotten a free $5 gift certificate for downloading a certain app. I only did that to give Chloë yet another fun thing to do! She chose the Wii disk Just Dance for Kids (I don't know which version).
I'd gotten a $10 birthday gift card to Victoria's Secret, so we headed to Southland Mall in Cutler Bay to redeem that. Chloë chose a pretty pink lip gloss, which you can't tell but she's wearing in this picture.
Around the corner, still at that mall, we redeemed the coupon for our free birthday wings from Buffalo Wild Wings. Chlo didn't want those, so Jack was the beneficiary this time. He gobbled those right down, too!
Still at this mall, we went back inside the main area and redeemed coupons at Bath & Body Works and Auntie Anne's. Sophia came with us and helped Chloë pick out five mini hand-sanitizers and a sani-holder from BBW, as well as a prettily-scented lotion. We headed over for our free pretzels and a drink from Auntie Anne's. Her favorite pretzel, Cinnamon Sugar, was "out" at the moment, so they gave us a huge cup of mini pretzel bites in the same flavor. That worked.
Leaving the mall, we headed north on US1. Our next stop was Arby's, where we had a free shake-with-purchase birthday coupon. I bought Rob a chocolate lava cake for a buck and change, and Chloë wanted a vanilla shake. She didn't care for it too much, though, so Sophia received another bonus.
We kept going north and bumped into Boston Market next. I had a $3-off-$6 coupon, so we bought a piece of apple pie for Jack and two small sides of mac & cheese for each girl. Not bad for just over three bucks, and Rob and I each got a bite of mac, too. Good stuff, that.
Up the road we went, to The Falls (another mall). I had gotten $50 to spend at Build-A-Bear: $5 each for my and Chloë's birthdays, and the other $40 gift card from Smiley360.com in exchange for sharing about the Workshop with my friends. Jack was supposed to go in with the girls, but he developed a major "gimme" attitude that I didn't appreciate, and he started giving Chloë and me crap about our birthdays "not being fair." Long story short, he and Rob waited it out while the girls split the fitty bucks and shopped 'til they dropped! More on that to come in another post...
If ever there was a time for wishing, birthdays are it! We take every opportunity we get, too. The girls both were given shiny 2014 pennies for this special wish. I wonder if they'll come true?
Still at The Falls, we walked over to the Corner Bakery Cafe to get our free birthday cookie. The girls were pooped by that point, so they sat at a table to look at their Build-a-Bear loot while I ordered a chocolate chip cookie, ostensibly to give to Jack. When I returned from there and a pit stop to the ladies' room, the girls had completely overtaken a table with their goodies. Ha! It only takes a minute... and I was so hungry, I promptly forgot about my diet and ate that whole damned cookie. And then I got sick and regretted it. Sorry, Jacky.
We headed home from there, but not before stopping at our local Dairy Queen for our BOGO Orange Julius drinks. Chloë wanted an Original, and Sophia received the other. Deliciousness!
Before heading home, we drove down the road to Ruby Tuesday to get my free birthday burger Tue-Go. I ordered on Rob's behalf this time, getting an avocado turkey burger with applewood smoked bacon. Not a bad deal, this birthday freebie thing, huh?
We dropped the boys off at home after that and headed to the movies, just us girls. Chloë and I had a free birthday movie coming to us, and I had a third free ticket that I received from donating blood a few months ago. I'll do that again this weekend and get another free ticket for a future movie. Yay!
We three girls headed next door to Chili's for a late dinner after the movie (which was If I Stay, by the way, a real tearjerker). I had gotten a $10 gift certificate to the restaurant from the Viggle app, and we used that plus a birthday freebie coupon for a dessert which we decided to take home to eat after Sophie passed out on the table, dead asleep. The server was alarmed, thinking something was wrong other than the poor child being worn clean out.
(I also got money back from the Ibotta app for eating at Chili's, so this was nearly a moneymaker meal for me. Sweet!)
After we got home and put the Littles to bed, I sang "Happy Birthday" to Chloë. She ate the molten chocolate cake, and I sat and marveled over the fact that I am now the mother of a bleepin' teenager!!
On Monday, my 38th birthday, I only wanted some much-needed sleep and a clean kitchen. I slept until noon! And it felt great. Then I woke up with a migraine, which I still have a day later. Fancy that.
After school, Chloë and I took Sophie to baseball practice and then ran around for a few more freebies. We redeemed for two birthday smoothies at Planet Smoothie - Mango Madness for Chlo, and Screamsicle for Sophie.
We headed to Sephora at Dadeland Mall to get our birthday gifts: mascara and lipstick minis. Since I'm purely a Jafra girl at heart, I gave mine to Sophie. They wanted to stay for free mini-makeovers, but I had a killer headache still and wanted to move out of all that smelly-good stuff.
We had gotten yet another free pretzel pop-up notification on the Auntie Anne's app, each, so we redeemed those while we were at Dadeland before driving up from Kendall to Coral Gables for more freebies.
This time, we snagged a cup of Cherry Garcia from Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream, as well as a free Chocolate Soufflé from California Pizza Kitchen!
Back at home after that, we got Sophie settled in bed, and the boys were both asleep, too. Chloë stuck a candle in my CPK chocolate soufflé and sang "Happy Birthday" to me by herself, the sweet girl that she is.
Lastly, before she headed to bed, I let Chloë put on her Sephora make-up. She's wearing it in this, her profile picture on her also-new Facebook account. She looks dandy, no?
The funny thing is, we're only maybe halfway through our list of freebies! Maybe we will finish, and maybe we wont, but the truth is we're kind of freebie'd out at the moment. We shall see...
Thanks for stopping by!