Saturday, December 29, 2007

Feeling the rush of the deal...

In the past week or so, I have bought 6 packs of batteries (4pack Cs, Ds, 8 packs AAs) and a caramello bar for total of out of pocket $2.31 plus received $10 Extra care bucks; 4 Neutrogena shaving creams (and 2 caramello bars) for $0 plus $5 extra care bucks; a fusion razor (with 2 blades), a 4 pack of blades for $0 plus $10 ECB.

Yes, my total out of pocket was $2.31 for the following:
6 packs of batteries
3 caramello bars
4 Neutrogena Shaving creams
1 fusion razor plus 2 blades
1 4 pack of fusion blades

And, I still have $10 ECB in my wallet to spend. As you can see, I'm working on a stockpile so I am not forced to buy something that isn't on sale with coupons or on just a plain ridiculous low sale price. Daddy and I were out with the kids one day and I had him run in to CVS for me one trip. I handed him my Extra Care Card and coupons. He was grinning ear to ear when he walked out. He felt the rush of the deal! When I tell him I'm running errands, he doesn't say a word about bringing one of the kids. He's just excited to see the receipt when I get home.

More to come on my couponing adventures...

Thursday, December 27, 2007

No, she really didn't dress herself...

Nana and Grandaddy stayed with us for Christmas after we returned fom our NYC trip. Grandaddy was very helpful one morning and decided to help get Sissy dressed. She has on a short-sleeved pink shirt with cherries, denim carpis with pink gingham cuffs, hot-pink socks pulled all of the way up, and her crocs. She was ready to go somewhere so she put on her coat and grabbed her tote bag.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007


I don't think I've seen a child this excited about a Christmas gift. Santa brought the marshmallows. One package of small, one of large, and one small multi-colored. She couldn't even wait to get her hairbrushed!

Monday, December 24, 2007

All She Wants for Christmas

We started asking Sissy after Thanksgiving what she wanted for Christmas. She responded, "Marshmallows". It's the only the she's said. Over and over. On Friday, we went to the Radio City Christmas show. Sissy was entranced. When she saw Santa come on stage she said, "I want to tell Santa that I want marshmallows. After the show, she was upset that we couldn't go down to tell him. We finally get through to her that we were going to see Santa at Macy's Santaland after lunch. We stood in line for quite a while and she decided that she had to pee right before we got there. I ran her downstairs and just made it to the potty. We ran back upstairs when DH called to let me know that he'd convinced the elves to let him stand to the side and let me rejoin them. They don't let anyone do that. Whew! We get back in line and are routed to 1 of the 6 santas (so smart). Sissy walked up to him holding her brother's hand and said, "Santa bring me marshmallows for Christmas." The Santa was so good and talked to the kids more than any Santa we've ever been to in Richmond. It really helps when you are in a separate room with no one staring. It took a bit of convincing, but we got Sissy up on Santa's knee. We managed two pictures, one without a scowl. We thanked Santa and the Elves and went around to view the pictures. As we are choosing a picture package, Sissy pronounced to the cashier, "Santa bring me marshmallows for Christmas." The manager and cashier got a chuckle. BTW, did you know that Santa is from Brooklyn?

On the train ride home, we had our own Christmas miracle. After moving forward because they were dropping the last 3 cars in DC, we ended up sitting by a young woman that was a Nanny. The kids were sitting together and she was getting a kick out of them. Sissy turned to her and said, "Santa bring me marshmallows for Christmas." For those of you who know her, you know Sissy doesn't talk to just anyone much less start a conversation with someone she doesn't know. They proceeded to have a great conversation where Sissy explained that she wanted pink and white marshmallows. She told the girl about her whole trip. Sissy walked over to me and said, "Say hi mommy. She's a girl." Bud who will talk to the wall joined in. She managed to get the kids to take turns talking without arguing. The last 2 hours of the train ride were so easy thanks to our Christmas angel, Chelsea.

Well, I'm off to buy some marsmallows. Big ones, small ones, and hopefully some pink ones.

Pictures of the trip to come...

It's almost been a month

It's been a crazy few weeks. Lots of new. Hopefully I'm back for more than a handful of posts.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

NYC, a blueberry, and an averted ER trip

Bud NEVER stuck anything up his nose (except his finger). Sissy decided that tonight she'd give it a shot. For those of you that don't know, we are in NYC until Sunday with the kids and the in-laws. Without going through the horrid detail, I ended up back at the hotel room with Sissy instead at dinner at Ruby Foo's with the rest of the family. Everything was okay, we were watching a movie and I was working. After the 4th trip to go potty, she ran out of the bathroom while I was going. I found her with the container of dried blueberries I packed for snack. After bringing her back to the bathroom to wash her hands, I really didn't mind her snacking. That was until she informed me that she stuck one up her nose and it wouldn't come out. I tried holding the other nostril and her blowing. Nope. She's now really upset. I call Daddt and told him to get back quickly. I called the front desk for the nearest hospital. Then, I remembered I knew someone with a little experience in this territory. I called my mommy friend, Tiffany, to have her explain the technique for extracating foreign objects from toddler noses. Thank heavens she answered.

Sissy was being a terror at this point. "Stay away. I don't want you." I called Daddy and told him he better get back quick. I told him the technique that Tiffany explained. He at first refused. But when he got back, he'd thought about it. I held her down, put my finger over the opposite nostril, and he put his mouth over hers and blew. Out fell the whole blueberry covered with mucus. I can kind of chuckle about it now, but man I was not laughing then. I did not want to have to go to the ER in New York. Thanks, Tiffany. I just wanted you to know that something positive has come out of your experience!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Works for Me Wednesday

Works for Me Wednesday is a "blog carnival" that I've been following for a while that is hosted on Rocks in My Dryer. I love sharing tips with friends and family as well as getting tips from others. So, why not share what works for me?

1) Meal planning with an almost empty pantry
I'm sure many people have already found this site, but I still had to share. How cool is Left Over Chef? There's another site I need to dig up that lets you choose ingredients you have and it produces recipe options. I find it hard not to have preconceived ideas when I start clicking ingredients. It almost makes it easier when the pantry is almost bare!

2)Use your tools. Many people have collected appliances over the years that sit around and collect dust. Pull out the rice maker, crock pot, bread maker, mixer, and food processor. The rice maker and crock pot are excellent for easy meals. Prepare, start, and go take care of other things around the house or for work. Use the bread maker to prepare your dough. Most recipes come together in 5 minutes. It's amazing what you can get done in the 1 1/2 hours while the dough is being made. Use your food processor to chop in bulk. Use what you need now and freeze the rest. It's such a timesaver to be able to pull out a cup of diced onions out of the freezer and toss into your recipe.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Back to the grind

After a week of vacation over Thanksgiving, I headed back to work on Monday. This is the first Thanksgiving in 3 years that I haven't worked through the holiday (and vacations) due to major projects. Vacations are essential for recharging. I did stay pretty busy with orders from the business, but it was nothing considering I usually have to fulfill orders at night, early in the morning, or on the weekends. Bud and Sissy had school on Monday and Tuesday, but their afterschool care provider was on vacation. Monday we had a play date after school. Tuesday, Bud had a play date at a friend's house. Sissy and I ran some errands. Black Friday, I managed to finish all but one Christmas gift. But that was last week, I'm back at work now.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Menu Plan Monday

I'm trying to better organize life right now. I've always loved the idea of meal planning, but never made it happen. After reading a lot about it, I have finally decided to make the official plunge. Org Junkie hosts "Menu Plan Monday" each Monday. You can visit Org Junkie on Mondays to check out the bloggers who are participating. Lots of inspiration. I'm a vegetarian (22+ years) and get very excited when I see someone post a vegetarian meal plan. Even if it's not veggie, I still get some great ideas. So, today, I'm going to post my first Menu Plan Monday. I'm not going to post my link on the MPM post on the site, but do go check it out. It's so worth your time! I'm still a little shy about the blog (don't laugh!). Here goes...

Monday- Veggie Beef, Cheese, and Noodle Bake
Tuesday- Veggie Meatloaf
Wednesday- Slow Cooker Sesame Chicken (I'll eat leftovers)
Thursday- Grilled Cheese
Friday- Home-made Pizza
Saturday- Slow cooker veggie taco bake
Sunday- Baked Ziti (my sister's recipe)

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Cooking at Home

In the past few months, we have been cutting down on going out to eat. We have been cooking and baking at home. I don't know that I would have ever thought that cooking a full meal for the family and cleaning up would be less stressful than going out, but it is. At home, there is less distraction for the kids and we don't have to worry about any potential mood swings. Those of you who have experienced 2-3 year old children know what I'm talking about! Not spending the money on dining out is less stressful, too.

Here are few handy tools I like to use to make things as easy as possible.

1. Rice cooker- a good friend, who is Indian, graciously offered to teach some tricks and tips for Indian food (30 minutes or less)for me and another friend of ours. I learned a lot and we had an amazing feast. This was the first time I was exposed to a rice cooker. Wow! It was love at first site. I queried my Mommies network and got some recommendations. I asked for one for my birthday. I was so excited when DH brought home my Aroma rice cooker from Costco. The one I got was silver and black. It was inexpensive, but works perfectly. Perfect rice and wonderful steamed veggies.

2. Breadmaker- I bought a breadmaker about 5 years ago. I tried a loaf and failed miserably. I was devastated. When we moved into our current house, I stored it in the closet. I was so bummed that it didn't work out. This summer I was inspired by several blogs. There were so many people that made all of their bread. Surely, I could do this! I asked the fellow mommies on my Mommies Network about their experiences. They shared recipes and tips. I pulled out the bread machine and sat it on the counter. It sat a couple weeks while I reviewed the manual over and over. I tried a load, it was a brick. I asked DH to try a loaf and it was the first survivable loaf produced in the machine. Then I decided that the dough making cycle would probably best suit our needs. Pizza dough! DH was just as excited as I was. Next, we tried pretzel dough. Amazing and perfect for to pack in the kids' lunches. Last weekend, we made dough for dinner rolls. They were fantastic. We repeated for Thanksgiving and they were quite the hit. The breadmaker has officially earned it's place on the counter. This weekend we made naan in the breadmaker. Best of all we are using whole foods- no High Fructose Corn Syrup!

3. Toaster oven- perfect for heating up naan or cooking quick meals.

4. Small stoneware bar pan- This stoneware is made my Pampered Chef. It fits toaster ovens perfectly. The little scrapers that come with it are wonderful, too. We use those every day.

5. Crock pot- We have an on again, off again relationship. I'm hoping it's on again soon. I broke my old one that I got as a wedding gift last year. I wasn't upset because it didn't have a separate insert you could pull out to wash. I got a new one for Christmas. It has timers, multiple settings, and you can pull the insert out to wash it easily. I've got a couple recipes planned for this week. It really is less muss and fuss.

6. The Sneaky Chef Cookbook- I love this book. It's been great to bring more nutrition into foods that the kids already like to eat. Many of my friends know I have a slight obsession with this book. I'll have to give reviews of the recipes we've tried. the rice cooker has been a perfect partner to this book.

7. The Magic Bullet- Talk about less muss and fuss, this little powerhouse is the real deal. I was dragging out my huge Cuisinart food processor to make purees and grind oats for The Sneaky Chef recipes. Oh, the mess and the cleanup! One day it hit me, I need to pull out the bullet. It was perfect when I was making Sissy's baby food. It is just the right size for making the purees.

Those are my favorite tools of the trade right now. I'm always interested in hearing about other's preferred cooking tools are.

Getting the hang of it

It's been a while. I'm hoping to get the hang of blogging. I read so many wonderful blogs daily and have been exposed to so much. It's nice to know there are other people out there with similar interests and even those with different interests I can learn from. I think that blogging will give me the opportunity to better organize my thoughts and my life.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

NYC, Lots of fun and a Tour de Toilets

Bud, Sissy, Daddy, and I took the train up to New York for the weekend. We left Richmond at 6a. The kids were fascinated by the train despite being woken up at 5a. Every time the whistled blew, they would chime in, "Toot, toot!"

Having keen mommy insight, I made sure we sat at the back of the car near the restrooms. I knew this was a smart move, but I really didn't know how smart. Shortly after the train left the station, the tour began...

Sissy had to go potty. I broke out the trusty potty seat and we headed off to the handicapped potty. Over the next 6 hours, Sissy went 5 more times. She even got lucky when Daddy took her once. The "big" potty was occupied. So, she got to tour the other. Upon arriving at Penn Station, we snuck into a potty at a Restaurant in the subway.

The kids were very excited to ride the subway for the first time. Bud was equally excited having spotted a rat in the subway station. He spotted an even bigger one at the next station. We arrived at the station close to our hotel. We stepped out on to the street. Daddy said, "What do you think of all the tall buildings?" Bud responded promptly, "Look there's a birdie!"

We arrived at the hotel and checked our luggage. One more trip to the potty for Sissy and we were on our way. We went for pizza at a Ray's (not sure if it was the Famous, the Original, or the Original Famous- ay!) and Sissy made sure to visit the potty there as well. We headed to Times Square. We rode the ferris wheel in TRU. A ferris wheel in a toy store. Could it get any better than this?

After we left TRU, we passed by the Naked Cowboy. DS had a tatoo on his arm that said something like "Jesus Rocks" from VBS the day before. Naked Cowboy told Bud how he liked Bud's tattoo and showed him his own tattoo of Jesus on his arm. Bud's eyes got real wide and he proceeded to chat up the Naked Cowboy. Sorry, no picture for that one. That would have been creepy.

After naptime at the hotel, we took another subway ride and hit a few more stops. In Herald Square, Sissy and I ran into H&M where she decided she need to potty. No mercy from the staff for a mommy and a 2 year old. We left and walked next door to Victoria's Secret as they were closing. The female security guard did take mercy on us and let us sneak in to use the potty (bless you, VS security guard). Sissy and I would give the VS potty zero stars. Luckily we had the trusty potty seat and some tissues in our tote. We headed back to the hotel for some shut eye.

We were up bright and early Saturday. We headed down to breakfast. You gotta love the Hampton Inn- super friendly for families. Certainly not an organic breakfast, but the kids did enjoy their first (and only) experience with Apple Jacks. They must think it's a NY food. We swung by the Today Show. Ian pronounced it boring. We walked over to Rockefeller Central (very clean potties in the concourse, btw). The kids really enjoyed the fountains and little gardens. It's amazing how they see the wonder in things that adults just gloss over. We headed up to Central Park Zoo after Rockefeller.

We really enjoyed the Sea Lions. It's hard to see, but the sea lion is in right behind Bud's and Sissy's reflection.

After we visited all of the animals, we headed over to the Children's Zoo. Sissy is usually not that excited about getting pictures taken, but she loved the photo ops here.

We headed over to FAO Schwarz. This place is just as amazing to me as the first time I set foot inside over 20 years ago. Sissy and I oogled the Corolle doll area while Daddy and Bud checked out the Hot Wheels Garage. After visiting the potty, Sissy spotted the Alex art center. She painted a couple pictures. She did not want to leave. We finally left and hit a deli around the corner. Then we made our way back to the hotel for naptime. Daddy took a nap with the kids while mommy slipped out to shop in SoHo. After naptime, we ate dinner at a little mexican restaurant. The staff was fascinated with Sissy and Bud. Bud is quite the conversationalist. Sissy just looks on shyly.

Day 3 of our adventure, we headed down to catch the Staten Island Ferry. This a great, free, family activity. The potties are very clean, too. We arrived back to the dock and headed to Little Italy for lunch. I love Sundays in the summer, when Mulberry Street is closed and all the tables are lined up on the sidewalk. While Daddy, Bud, and Sissy waited for our lunch specials to arrive, I ran up to Ferrara's to grab cannolis. Lunch was tasty. The potty was tiny but clean.

It was time to head to the train station. We took a cab to the hotel I was staying at for work the next few days. I checked in and then walked Daddy, Bud, and Sissy to Penn Station. Daddy was a little nervous having to get the kids on the train by himself. I took Sissy to the potty (not bad). I grabbed pretzels for the kids to snack on. I found a porter and asked if he could tell us the platform for the train. He escorted us to the train. What a kind man. I was able to help Daddy get the kids on the train and settled well before they announced the platform for departure.

It was a wonderful trip. We can't wait to go back.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Super Ninja Bug Catcher

Our little girl, Sissy, is quite obsessed with bugs. If there is a bug within 50 feet of her, she will zero in and find it. Usually that consists of her squatting over it yelling, "Dis a bug! Dis a bug!" My son will often come to the rescue, mommy's croc in hand, to give it a good whack. Not so bad, right? Well, it wouldn't be if he would get something to clean it up and dispose of it properly. It's taken a little while, but I've figured out if one croc isn't where I left it, beware when I pick it up.. But, I digress.

As always, Sissy want to be just like her big brother, Bud. Though she doesn't it have it in her to smack the bugs, yet. I was working from home yesterday as I usually do, but today both kids were home. Daddy stayed home as well to care for the kids while I worked. After they had lunch, Daddy came bounding up the stares smiling from ear to ear. "Our daughter took a plastic cup and caught a fly on the back door. She has ninja like reflexes, honey, she caught a fly!" He was truly proud. It was sweet. He went on with the story. "I got rid of the fly. But Bud was very upset, he and Sissy had wanted to keep it as a pet."

Life Alert

Recently, Daddy was in the back yard taking the opportunity to teach my son not to do what he himself was doing. I won't go into those specifics, but let's just say HE shouldn't have been doing it.

"Bud, if there is ever a fire, make sure you tell an adult..." The conversation went on a bit and ended up with, "If mommy and daddy are ever hurt and can't get up, do you know what to do?." As Daddy was telling me this story, I thought, "Oh good, he knows about 911." Daddy procceeded on with the story. Our son said, "Push the button on the life alert! It will call the Life Alert Center and send help your way." No, really...

Ah, the joys of a preschooler with the brain of a sponge.