Wednesday, January 30, 2008

And home again!

Well, we made it this morning! The weather cleared up and we ended up downtown about 30 minutes before they were letting us in.

I would do it again. I was actually visible in 2 shots - however, dh and the kids did not "see" me until I came home and pointed out the exact spot to look. (and if I knew how to do that here, I would, but I don't so oh well). I will tell you, in case you watch it in rerun or they put it on that I was the third row, left side of the screen. It all happened so fast, I admit, it was hard to catch.

Anyway, it was a blast! And so fun. And I left with a copy of the last Oprah book (Pillars of the Earth, which I read half of already on my library copy and so far it is fabulous) and the new book: A New Earth. (the audience members got A New Earth and a highlighter/post-it flag pen so we did get similar items).

Teresa (and frankly all the staff, but she is the only person whose name I remember and I talked to her for a few minutes) was VERY friendly and nice. We actually talked about The Other Boleyn Girl as my mom and I were leaving. And she was the person I spoke to on the phone to get the tickets and all that jazz. Let me also say about Oprah's staff - they all know how to dress FABULOUSLY! Seriously, very stylish and cute and great clothes, shoes, jewelry, hair cuts - the works.

The cons. We were told to arrive at 5:00 am. We didn't do anything but sit around and eat a light breakfast (which they were extremely kind enough to provide us) until about 7:00! I think we could have arrived at 6:30 and have been a-okay. Then we did nothing until about 8:30. Between those two times, everyone seemed really sleepy all of a sudden. Things were much quieter, people were actually dozing off in their chairs. But of course, when it was time, all the energy was back! Second, I was secretly hoping Oprah would come back even just to wave hi and leave. Nope. Nothing. If I am correct, she didn't even see the audience until the taping started, so no chance of her coming to see us.

Something interesting I learned: when they run through the practice, they have some one I will lovingly refer to as Faux-prah acting in her place. Very nice women, and very pretty as well. And Faux-prah did come to the back to say hi to all of us and thank us for coming. I think her job intrigued me the most. She read off a script and I wondered if she had other jobs to do at the studio, or if that was it. I'm assuming there was more - but who knows!

The actual show was funny to tape. If you watched it, you know we were shown, oh, maybe 10 minutes into the taping. We were brought out 10 minutes before taping started and we had to stand there. Silent. I had about 2 centimeters of wiggle room (or my foot would have stepped in the bubble juice). I won't lie - my feet were killing me. We could hear everything going on, but could see nothing at that point. That felt weird too. Then it flashed to commercial break and we were hurried off the stage! Backstage we were free to leave or to stay and watch the show on a television they had brought back. We decided to stay (I REALLY wanted to hear the Follet interview and find out the next book). Most of the people left by the time the taping was over. They did an aftershow today - a question and answer session with Follet live. I so wanted to stay and watch it, but my mom and I were the only ones. And Teresa (the very nice person I mentioned above) had to stay there as long as people were left. She said it was fine, but I felt bad and so mom and I left. I believe it will be on-line later though so I'll still get to see it.

We go back next Thursday to actually sit in the audience. We are not allowed to know what the show is (which I guess is normally they way they do it unless it's a special show where they need a certain kind of people - like today - the 100 for the bubble and the audience was made up of people from the book club).

I think that's a pretty good recap of the morning's events. =)

Tuesday, January 29, 2008


The weather here is AWFUL. Visibility is terrible. I think I'm going to cry.
My mom has said if this doesn't taper off (and different weather reports are saying it will taper off soon but others are saying it won't) that she is not going with me.
This weather better disappear quickly. Because I REALLY REALLY REALLY want to go.

Watch for me!

Tomorrow, I will be wearing this:

Now, I am so glad I had my dh take my picture, because, umm, the first thing I noticed was that my girls are pretty saggy :-( . Mental note: wear very supportive bra tomorrow LOL

Then my little guy came along and wanted a picture as well

Of course, he was in and out like a flash, but it gave my dh the chance to take this picture, and well, I kind of like this one! LOL!


So, this is what you need to look for tomorrow on Oprah because that will be ME! =)

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Well ...

It's a Saturday night, dare I post and prove to you just how little of a social life I lead? Eh, well, a risk I shall have to take. Although, earlier we were at a party - granted it was a graduation party for a relative, but it was fun and I had a great time.

January is coming to a quick close and February is going to be here so soon! I still don't know what my projects each day for Thing-A-Day will be! I don't even have themes picked out for each week. And really, that is probably the hardest part - finding a theme, then finding something to make that that theme work. And I understand why the theme is there - to make projects seem connected somehow - but darn it, it is throwing a wrench into things LOL! I have started a list though so at least that's a start?

Coming up soon I should have quite a few photos to show you - the peapod sweater (and hat!) are done, the bunny hat, I made some (very) simple leg warmers for my sister and will be starting on a sweater for myself.

I also finished one great read, almost finished another great read and want to talk about both here.

However, Wednesday morning I will be at the Oprah Show! Woo-hoo! =) I'm actually hoping I'll be visible because at one point I will be on the stage, but it will be with 100 other people and so I can see how I might get lost in the crowd. And no, I have no idea what I will wear yet. But if you do watch her show, well then, you can look for me LOL!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Nothing like ...

needing a present for a baby shower to get you to rediscover your love of knitting!
The Peapod sweater and hat are both finished. The bunny hat is almost finished (the ears just need to be attached to the hat). And now, all of a sudden, I can't get enough knitting in it seems.

Today yarn arrived for 2 more projects. I have a blanket on needles waiting to be finished and I am eying patterns trying to decide which one should come after the other projects are finished. This is a good thing I think. After rushing all the holiday things, I really didn't want to do anything crafty at all. And now, now I've re-fallen in love with knitting. I am exploring with drawing. Who knows what I'll crank out for the Thing-A-Day challenge in February - which I might add is only 6 days away from starting and I need a plan! And I need themes ... we are supposed to have weekly themes. I've never really worked with themes before so this shall be interesting. There are some projects I want to work on and so I need to figure out some themes and how I can incorporate those projects into my themes. It will be SO fun to plan it all and even more fun if I can pull it all off somehow! =)

Anyway, maybe tomorrow I'll snap some pictures of the peapod set and finish up the bunny hat. Which will be odd because the shower is 2 weeks away and generally I am up late the night before trying to finish the gift up. I kind of like this method a whole lot better (which really means I need to start planning for Christmas right now so I am not rushing around in December later this year (and since I don't even plan to be at home this upcoming December, it would be a very wise idea to have everything ready and waiting in advance!)

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

More drawing ....

I've been drawing again, and this time I added a bit of color to my little drawings. These two were both made using a how to draw book that is actually for my kids! But I figure I have to start somewhere, right?

Anyway, I showed these too my hubby and he said that my koala bear is the wrong color (which it is) but I used creative license to do that (and plus a real nice soft gray is not in our colored pencil box anymore LOL). But I think he was shocked to see it. He looked at me funny and said something like "really? you did that?" I think I kind of shocked him because he's never seen me draw before (well, because I haven't really drawn before!). Then I told him as soon as we are debt free and in a better position, I will definitely want to take some classes!

So there you go .. they aren't perfect, they aren't worthy of being in an art museum, but you know what? I don't care! I had a lot of fun making them. And frankly, I'd like to keep drawing a lot. But I also think that I will be looking at our library for some drawing books so that I can start to draw things I see around me and not just follow the steps in a book. Not that following the steps is bad mind you, I enjoy it. But how cool would it be to be able to draw my children, or my husband or other important things around me? I would LOVE be able to do something like that as well.

Shopping ....

If you happen to like Jane cosmetics, then go read this to find out how you can get some of them for free or almost free. I read it and got about 54 dollars worth of make-up for about 5. I'm very excited about that and tried some of it out tonight. Truthfully, I'm not too fond of the lipstick colors I picked out, so I have printed up some more coupons and will be returning to try again - and pick up some more items (since I like how it feels, I will buy a few more eye shadow colors and stuff like that).

Also, when I shopped today, I brought my own shopping bags (the ones I recently bought from target because they were ultra-cute) and the cashier actually gave me a really nice compliment on bringing my own bags and asked where I got them because she might want a couple too. So I told her I got them at target and I showed her how they folded up and zippered into a small size (which is why I bought them honestly. For instance today I threw two in my purse and pulled them out when we checked out). I do not always get warm reception when I use my own bags. I think it's harder for the cashiers at most places because the bagging areas is set up to hold their bags much easier. (Interestingly enough even one cashier at Target was visibly annoyed with me for using them which cracks me up, since that's where I bought them from!) The only other cashier that excited to see them was when I originally bought some of them - the clerk asked if I wanted to use them that day and seemed quite excited when I said yes! LOL

Anyway, it is sort of weird to bring your own bags, but it's also pretty neat to bring my own bags into stores when I shop. And it's nice to get cashiers who don't seem annoyed by it because I feel like I am doing something good, and I don't want them to rain on that goodness.


I just got an e-mail letting me know I won the Green Baby DVD! I won it courtesy of The Boutique Cafe!
I can not wait to get this movie and watch it because it just looks so very very neat and the description looks wonderful:
The DVD features babies playing in nature while interacting with fun and colourful animation from birds, butterflies and flowers to giraffes, elephants and penguins.

The soundtrack is composed of original music with toddlers speaking words of wisdom such as: "Trees Provide us with Oxygen", "The Joy from the Sunflower", and "Please Protect the Ocean".

Children are attracted to other babies faces and Green Baby brings an instant play group into your home. Have fun bonding with your children as they point and talk to the other babies, animals and animation.

I will let you all know what we think of it once it arrives =)

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Good and bad ....

Good: I saw this recently:

And, it does indeed look very fun. So much in fact, I'm going to sign up for it. I'm also dragging my two darling daughters in on the fun. No, I"m not really dragging them ... I'm teasing. They are both very excited about it. So all three of us will be creating something new every day for the month of February.

From their website:
For 29 days starting on February 1st, participants are invited to create one thing every day and post it on the blog.
Knit, cook, draw, paint, tape, write, install, destroy, invent, document.
Choose your media.
Commit half an hour a day.
And experience the most exiting creative challenge you’ll face all year.
Sign-up is open to anyone and starts on January 21st right here at
Attention: Deadline to commit to the sprint is January 31st at midnight.
Thing-a-day for newbies
  • Thing-a-day a month long online event where people take on the challenge to create one new thing every day for a month and post their work on this blog. It’s also a place to exchange thoughts, ideas and comments on the nature of this creative process.
  • Anyone can participate and no one will bug you if you don’t post every day. You’re free to sign up, you’re free to give up and you’re free to succeed.
  • No rewards or prizes but the pleasure of knowing you’ll have made 29 bran new things by the end of February –and a few new friends (or fans) if you’re lucky.
  • Daily creations can be in any medium. The suggested time for creating a thing is around 30 minutes so most people will post sketches, drawings or exercises rather than actual finished pieces.

We are trying to brainstorm things to do, only because the girls are so afraid that they won't think of enough things to do (which is so funny because they have been drawing and creating every day for the last two weeks and I see no sign of them slowing down at all LOL). I briefly mentioned ATC's to them and they went nuts with the idea. One dd promptly cut up pieces into small squares (not really knowing the dimensions of an actual ATC, just knowing that they were small). And went to town decorating all of them. So I have a feeling that there will be lots of ATC's coming up and I promised to show them a bunch of samples (and I'm crossing my fingers the library has some ATC books that we can look at!).

So there is something very fun to look forward to. I also ordered yarn today to make a sweater for me (finally! Something for me hooray!) and to make my sister her birthday present.

Bad news: The cold I thought had left me yesterday returned to me today. This is now the second time it has "left and returned" I am so very sick of this cold. I have no had it for about 9 days. Seriously, it is really starting to tick me off. I want it gone.

Anyway, that is all for today.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Drawing ....

At some point recently, I decided I wanted to learn how to draw. I'm not sure really how this came about ... except I've been listening to the Creative Mom Podcast lately and there is a LOT of drawing talk there. So I'm pretty sure that's what gave me the bug. Anyway, I've been playing around just a teeny tiny bit - which means I've done all of two drawings.


I know they aren't the easiest to see because they are in pencil and admittedly very light. I don't know exactly how to color/shade them in very well. Really, I have lots of boxes of 24 crayons and 1 box of 12 colored pencils. Which, maybe I could really use those and color them in, but I don't know ... I don't trust myself yet to add color in and make it look that good.

Anyway who knows where else this will go. Or if I'll actually want to draw for more than a few weeks before I maybe move on to something else. I don't know, but for now it is kind of fun =)

Alive again!

I am feeling alive again. Which is good.

This week I knitted almost all the pieces to the pea pod sweater and so wanted to take pictures and show you - but darn-it if I can find the camera! Anyway, just about 10 more rows on the second sleeve and I can block it, piece it and add the collar. Which is really good because I just hoping to make it that far by next weekend, so yeah for being ahead of schedule!

Second, I all of a sudden want to live on a small farm. I blame it entirely on what I'm reading in Animal, Vegetable, Miracle and I know it's not easy work. And I don't want lots of acres. But how cool to have the ability to really grow so much of what you need to consume? If nothing else, I'm at least hoping for a garden in my backyard this year, but we're pretty sure we won't get enough light to sustain it. (and yes, I know it's hard work because my parents do farm!)

Three, I am setting Animal, Vegetable, Miracle down to start reading Eat, Pray, Love. Which I am reading for my every other month book club which is here). I'm not too far into it, but it's interesting so far indeed.

There are many other things to tell you about ... but I'll save it for tomorrow. It's late and the battery is about to die. But watch for what I hope will be very interesting things coming soon - not to mention pictures of my pea pod progress! =)

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Not much to say ...

I am feeling really sick. The kind of really sick that makes you just want to rest and relax and not do anything at all.

So since I have nothing to say at all, you must click this link:
The library of congress is putting pictures up at flicker and I think it is SOO neat. There are some incredible photos there. I haven't looked at it much, but what I have seen is so awesome ... really, go look!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Small changes, big outcomes

My life, for quite some time has felt a little out of control. A little bit like I'm in the middle of a tornado with things whizzing and whirling around me and I can't figure out how to get out and take back control. I can't say for sure when all of this happened, but I'm pretty sure it had something to do with moving out of our home to live with other relatives (which I did enjoy, but it still wasn't my home), having an unexpected pregnancy occur not long after, feeling sick for about 7 months of the pregnancy and spending a lot of time in kind of daze from meds to prevent constant vomiting, and then giving birth to a child who hardly ever slept and when he did it had nothing to do with normal night/day patterns for far too long. It's sort of easy to lose control in all of that and learn to just get by.
But, really, I'm so tired of just getting by. And frankly, just getting by is getting harder and harder to do.
So, we've made some changes in this house. Not huge, terrible changes. On the surface, they appear to be small changes. But let me tell you. If we can keep this up, it will create some big changes I think - mostly in that I will actually feel as if I have some sort of control back.
First of all, is the diet changes I made. Things are going well on that end. And bonus - I've lost a few pounds!
Second is that I have implemented room time for my three darling children. Every day at 1, up to their room(s) they go. We started towards the end of last week for 10 minutes. My darling son, had a FIT. He did not like it. He still, does not like it. When I say "Room time!" the whining starts. He tells me no. But he gets up there. I put the gate up and today he stayed up there for 35 minutes! (my goal is to work up to an hour). I LOVE this break time. I NEED this break time. Especially with my son, who seems to cause trouble non-stop all day. I need this time to just sit. Well, today I spent 10 minutes cleaning (lunch dishes, laundry). I have decided I will clean for 10 minutes every day, but the rest of that time ... well, it's mine. Mine to do whatever I please. Read. Knit. Watch tv. Blog. Whatever. And I love it. I feel better at the end of the day with that break. I do not feel as stressed or as frustrated or as exhausted. It's a good thing.
We've also added a clean-up time to the day. For 30 minutes everyone has to clean. Why? Because some days all I do (aside from chase the 2 year old) is yell at everyone to clean up and put things away. And I tell dh every day that I never get a chance to actually clean during the day and our house often looks like a dump. So I made a deal with the girls. They clean every day during this clean-up time, and then put toys away before bed and that's all they will hear from me about the cleaning. So far it's working. I am equally surprised at how when I am focused on it, how much I can get done in 30 minutes. It's good. It really is.
My house is still not spotless. There is still clutter everywhere. But I do feel a little bit better about it. It all seems more manageable.

To top it off, we have been reading and reading and reading and reading. Yesterday morning we cracked open book 1 of the Spiderwick Chronicles. Tonight before bed, we finished book 2. My throat is sore from all the reading - although it's a good thing because it's forcing my 8 year old to share the reading with me if she wants to hear the story. She isn't the strongest out-loud reader - she kind of mumbles as she reads, so I think this is great practice for her. And we are all enjoying the stories very much. I have no doubt book 3 will probably be read tomorrow as well! What book(s) will we pick up after Spiderwick though? I am not sure! My 8 year old thinks it's time to do Harry Potter, but I'm not quite ready to tackle that with her yet. I really would prefer her to be a bit older to read it. I've heard a lot of good things about Eragon, (and I have yet to read it) but I'm guessing we're still a few years away from that one too ... so I really need some good suggestions here! If you have any, please share them with us =)

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Blah, blah, blah ...

So yesterday, taking advantage of the above average temperatures, we headed downtown to the Lincoln Park Zoo.
We had fun there. We enjoyed our time at the zoo very much. I began knitting on the Pea Pod Sweater. Life was going along pretty well.
And then WHAM! Yesterday evening I got hit with maybe the flu? I don't know, but it wasn't fun at all. Achey muscles, soar throat, feeling exhausted to the core. So I climbed in bed, we moved a TV into view, I grabbed some movies and just vegged. And pretty much, aside from meals and going to the bathroom, in bed is where I have been.
On a side note, we only own the first two Lord of the Ring movies and we really need to buy the third. I watched the first two and was so upset to not have the third one to finish it up with.
Tonight I am feeling better, which is good since dh has to go to work tomorrow and I will have to be up and about.

In other news, I started to read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. I'm not very far into the book, but so far I am hooked on it. I need to hurry up and finish my knitting so that I can really devote more time to the book! I've also discovered the Sir Cumference series of books. Okay, I'm probably way more excited about them then the children. Dh read them one of the books today and I think it went a bit over their heads, so I want to reread it, but have some hands on items for them to look at to get the concepts better (which is how we should have done it to begin with, but alas, we live and learn).
Tomorrow, we will pick up the first 4 books of The Spiderwick Chronicles from the library and I can't wait to get my hands on them! The kids are pretty anxious about it as well! And my 8 year old just finished a Nancy Drew book (she LOVES Nancy Drew). We are also cooking up an idea about books and stuff, so if we can pull it off, I will be sharing soon! =)

Okay, now I'm off to veg out again for a little bit. Hope everyone else had a great weekend and has some great plans for the upcoming week.

What annoys me ...

I have to share what annoys me with you - although no one who reads this blog has ever done this to me - but I need to get it off my mind.

It really annoys me I get e-mails, or notes, or messages, or IMs, or whatever that say something like "ALL homeschoolers should support this guy" or "ALL Christians should avoid reading this book." or "ANYONE who breathes air should not watch this movie."

Okay, really ... do ALL of them really do whatever the e-mail says? I think not. And secondly am I SO dumb and SO stupid that you feel you must tell me what to do because you know another wife/mother/female/Christain/Homeschooler who feels that way? And must their opinion be somehow more informed and more important than mine and hence you need to tell me what to do? It is annoying. In fact, it's very annoying.

Yes, I know many homeschoolers support Huckabee. I will not vote him simply because of that. So stop sending me links about why I should.
Yes, I know many Christians are up in arms about A Golden Compass. Frankly, I am not. And also, none of my kids are old enough to see the movie. And if I want to read the book, I will. I don't need you to tell me about it. Nor do I need Religious leaders sending out memos regarding the same thing. I think instead of worrying about this one book, it might make more sense for our leaders and cognregations/etc to focus on, oh, teenage mothers, people who can't feed themselves, people who can't afford their medications, poverty, helping those with drug and alcohol addictions who can't find other help, etc. And maybe people are doing that, but spam my e-mail box with stories about how you are helping and doing good in this world.

Thank you.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Day To Read

Yesterday, per Soccer Mom In Denial's request, was a Day To Read!

She requests:
Write about this. About what books, magazines, newspapers mean to you. Write a couple of posts about writings that have taken you to another place. And mark Thursday, January 10, 2008 as Day to Read. Then on Friday, January 11th, write a bit about what you read.
And so yesterday, I read.
First I read to the Children. We discovered The Spiderwick Chronicles thanks to a book inserted into our box of cheerios. (Today we checked out what we thought was book 1 because we enjoyed it so much, but turns out is really book 5. We already read 2 chapters today but we are feeling a bit lost adn might have to break to go get books 1-4 first!) So we finished the minibook from the cereal box. Then we read three stories all by Peter H. Reynods: The Dot, Ish, and
So Few of Me. We enjoyed those books tremendously as well. At first the 8 year wasn't too excited, saying they looked like books for younger children. But she sat there captivated by all three of them just as much as the 5 year old did! And even I really enjoyed them!

And when the kiddos were in bed, I read. This may not come as a shock because I read a lot. But lately I've been obsessed busy with podcasts. I have a lot I wan to listen to and I have been trying to listen to them all.
So yesterday, I put down the iPod and picked up a book. And I started to read Amanda Bright @ Home. And then I stayed up much to late and finished Amanda Bright @ Home. This is not uncommon for me.

Even when I was young, I remember reading through books. Being so captivated by them, that I couldn't put them down. I would bring a stack home from the library and read them all over the weekend. Homework, although I did it, just meant less reading time. I remember my grandma making me put down the books and "get up and play!" I have always loved reading! I have the loved the escape it offered. I wanted to be a part of the Babysitter's Club. I wanted to hang out with the Box Car Kids. I wanted to join forces with Encyclopedia Brown and then we could solve even more mysteries! Bridge to Terebithia made me cry, I couldn't believe the end. I just cried. I tried so hard to figure out the Westing Game before the end. I quickly outgrew the children's section of the library. I had read so many of those books! In eighth grade I was cut off in the middle of a book report, apparently, my book was too adultish? I wish I could remember the title. I just remember it was a (fiction) story about trying to locate a sniper in southern Florida. Apparently, 8th graders are not supposed to read books about such cold-blooded murder?

I have always loved reading. In my senior year of high school I had the Norton's Anthology of English Literature for a class. I read lots of stories from there, mostly unassigned.

Reading and I have always been friends. I was never the most popular, never the most athletic, never the smartest, never had a large amount of friends, never quite felt like I fit in, and books were such a wonderful fabulous escape for me.

I hope I pass my love of reading onto my children. I hope that they learned to love it tremendously. I also hope they never feel they have to read as an "escape" or a getaway from things around them.

Although this may seem odd, I read quite a bit around them, but do not nearly read enough to them. It seems contradictory I suppose, but yet, it is sadly the truth. I am grateful, my 8 year old does read. (Right now she is reading 2 Nancy Drew books, loving Wizardology, and of course we started a Spiderwick book today as a read aloud). But I need to make reading to them a bigger priority. It seems I do just enough to get by and I want to make it more of a priority. If nothing else, this day has shown me at least that =)

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Today ...

I received an invitation to a baby shower that is a little less than a month away.
I am VERY excited about this shower - although I am sad to say that I didn't even know the mom was expecting! So, you know what this means? Time to start knitting again!
Baby is due in March, so I believe I will be making this set:

Baby Pea Pod Set

But maybe in a 9 or 12 month size to wear next fall/winter? I know it could work for spring, but baby will be little and there are a few buttons there.

As a more "fun" gift to be worn for Baby's First Easter (which will not be long after the due date!):

Of course, I don't have the correct yarn or needles at home to begin either project and one yarn set will be ordered on-line. The shower is February 2. So I will be quite busy knitting VERY soon.

New Site ...

I was actually told about this site a month ago, but haven't had a chance to really look at it. (Although since I did end up ordering about 6 books this holiday, I should have looked at more closely in December!)

The site is

The set-up is you search for what you are looking for and it will let you know the different prices around the internet for you! For fun today I typed in The DaVinci Code and got LOTS of hits back ... the prices, ranged from 3.99 to 32.65. The best part I think - the price includes shipping! So those 2 3.99 prices, are 3.99 WITH shipping. Okay, I really like how it just adds the shipping on the main search screen because then you know the total cost of the book.
It brought back a lot of different places for TDC - used to new.

It also allows you to search for CD's and DVD's as well. I can see how useful this site would be, especially if you are hunting for the a good bargain (which, I most certainly will be needing to do for some time here!).

Anyway, try them out if you need to find something. And if you do use it, let me know how it goes.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Saving Money This Week Update

This week, I am trying to get our grocery budget as low as it can go. (my goals is to spend 50.00)
On Sunday I sat with coupons, sales flyers and made a list of the stores to go to and what to buy.

So far, I have made 1 trip and I think I did pretty good.

Trip 1: CVS

1 mini-box Keebler club cracker (free with sale and coupon)
1 mini box graham crackers (free with sale and coupon)
2 cans Campbell's Select Soup (1.50 total after sale/coupon)
2 rolls of wrapping paper (58 cents)
2 tubes of Aquafresh advanced toothpaste (free after sale/coupon)
1 bottle children's motrin (4.75 after sale/coupon)
1 bottle childen's tylenol (4.75 after sale/coupon)
2 bottles of excedrin (free after sale/coupon)
1 box sudafed pe (3.99 after sale/coupon)
1 box tylenol cold medicine (3.99 after sale/coupon)
2 bottles robitussin (free after coupon/sale)
1 tube colgate toothpaste (1.75 after coupon/sale)
2 pack storage bags (4.99 after sale)
extra 5.00 off coupon
20 extra care bucks

Out of pocket paid: 6.18
Savings as on receipt: 79.28
Bonus: 18 extra care bucks earned to shop with next time

Trip 2 (with a lesson!): Dominicks
2 boxes Fruit Roll-ups (2.50 for both after coupon/sale/bonus (normally 2.99 for 1))
2 boxes Fruit snacks (2.50 for both after coupon/sale/bonus (normally 3.29 for 1))
4 boxes nature valley granola bars (4.50 for all 4 after coup/sale/bonus (normally 3.39 for 1))
2 boxes cheerios and 2 boxes lucky charms (4 dollars after coup/sale/bonus (it would have been 22.56 at regular price)
*1 box brown rice cereal bars 4.59 (didn't check the receipt - this was on special for 3.50 and I could have saved 1.60 on it but since I didn't pay attention and at this point I won't drive back for that)
*1 box Koala crisp cereal (3.00 with sale)
2 soft scrubs (3.39 for both with sale)

Out of pocket: 21.00
Savings: 40.32

Not only did the register make the mistake I just caught as I was typing, but the register shorted me one of the 4 dollar bonus subtractions. I mentioned it to the cashier and she said no, I had hit the limit, then showed me the add to prove the limit and lo and hehold, there is NO limit mentioned in the ad. At that point I had to go to the customer service desk. There were 2 ladies back there. One said the computer did NOT make mistakes and if anything they were giving bonuses to people who didn't deserve them. I offered to empty my cart, show her my items and all that. She again said there was a limit (but again, couldn't find it listed in either ad she looked at). The other woman very nicely gave me 4.05 cents cash. I kindly thanked her and she commented "well thank goodness it is Wednesday because this bonus has caused nothing but troubles." I said, well, I am sorry for the problems, but there was no limit listed (and there were three bonuses listed and I used each one one time, so it's not like I tried to do it 52 times in my trip). I do hope you have a great day." She smiled and assured me it wasn't my fault and was very nice. The other two people treated me as if I were trying to rob the store at gunpoint. (FTR I did very nicely ask for the correction and I thought they could have replied just as nicely in return.)

Trip 3: Walgreens
4 cans progresso soup (4 after sale/coupon contrast this with 2 for $4.00 SALE at other local store)
2 bottles sunlight dish soap (1.78 after coupon - so it's like getting B1G1)
*5 boxes royal jello mix (1.00 total)
3 cans jif peanut butter (3.95 for all 3, not the best savings but pretty good overall and it will probably last us until fall)
*1 container sunmaid raisins (2.00)

out of pocket: 13.81
savings as printed on receipt: 15.39

Trip 4: Target
1 28-oz. can stewed tomatoes (94 cents price reduced)
2 boxes market pantry mac n' cheese (74 cents - no bargain)
1 goldfish (1.50 on sale)
1 can diced tomatoes (.69 - I think no bargain)
1 package celery (39 cents with coupon)
1 package broccoli (99 cents with coupon)
*Chips (2.29 - no sale but they are safe for my dd to eat and we were completely out for her so I needed some snack besides celery for her)
*Ham (10.57 - again no sale, but I have about 4 soups planned to use this for and we like to just munch on it cut up anyway LOL!)
tomato soup (1.04 - no sale)
Fantastik cleaner (1.69 on special)
2 travel pack 40-count wipes (.94 after coupon)
1 reusable bag (1.49 not on sale, but my splurge that I can feel good about - it fit all but one bag's worth of groceries today (we had filled the two bags we brought with at the other stores already)

out of pocket: 26.44
savings (estimate because receipt doens't print it): 8 dollars?

Total spent this week: 67.43
Total saved: 142.99
Bonus - 18 extra care bucks

*items that are safe for my gluten/dairy/wheat/soy free child!

My goal was to shop for less than 50. However, in reality I had 90 to go into the store in. I did not originally plan to walk into the Target so I would have been well under my 50 dollar goal, however, we did need some more items from there and even though I want to budget shop, I still need to successfully feed my family, and spaghetti is not going to cover us every night, thank you very much. Also, I forgot that we would run out of items safe for my daughter to eat. Her safe food was 22 dollars of it. Am I upset to have to buy those for her? Heck no! I am glad that we are able to provide her food that is safe and won't make her feel sick! And when it's all said and done, we haven't even gone over the budget technically so really, how awesome is that? I am actually under by 20-some dollars!

Yes, I do love my coupons! I have also asked 2 people to start saving their Sunday coupons for me and if I can get the courage I will ask others to start saving them for me too because they are making a HUGE difference for us and I know lots of people who get them and don't use them

Saturday, January 05, 2008

I cheated and paid for it ....

So today was my first big test with my no sugar (and wheat and dairy) diet out in public.

We had our final Christmas party for the year. And I have to be honest, I did pretty well I think. My cheat at the party was the mashed potatoes. I can have potatoes twice a week, and I knew these would have some milk and butter, but I thought it wouldn't be that much (and frankly, there wasn't much else to eat and I'm pretty sure I ate ALL the nuts, cucumbers, and snap peas that were placed out). Anyway, as I took my first bite, I realized cheese was also in it, but I threw caution to the wind and ate it regardless! I don't consider this a cheat so much as a splurge. I have done so well all this week, I had done so well with all the other food. It was like a nice bonus for doing so well so far.
And then, well, I left the party feeling a little blue (which I won't bore you with, but let's just say that at one point my son threw a wooden block over the second story railing and I now have an uncle with a not so lovely bump on his head - ugh). And we were given chocolate as a parting gift. And so I ripped into it. I ate about 10 malted milk balls and one piece of chocolate. And not much later, my stomach hurt so bad.
I blame the chocolate. I blame the sugar. Just as my body was getting over sugar (no headaches in two days! woo-hoo!) I go and eat sugar and chocolate. I now have a tummy ache and a bad headache.
And even if it wasn't the chocolate and I'm wrong, well, I'm not! And next time I want to suck down some sugary goodness, I will remember the not-so-goodness feeling it left me with and hopeful drop the chocolate ASAP.
But aside from the candy of this evening, my diet is moving along very well. Today I started a daily dose of acidophilus. Frankly the name scares me because all I can see in it is ACID, but I'm told it will help and be a good thing. Although it doesn't taste bad, well, it doesn't taste all that great either.

But here's to staying on track now. And here's to all the food I haven't eaten this week. And here's to the changes I am making.

On an unrelated note, grandpa is back in the hospital for a few reasons. Good thoughts and prayers sent his way would be greatly appreciated.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Favor ...

to spare you from hearing about more food, cravings and all that jazz ... I am instead sharing something from a friend ...

"For the last 13 years, I ran a non-profit that I helped found that brought children with and without disabilities together in play. Through this experience I learned a lot about the importance of play that I want to share with other parents.
After watching how difficult it was for parents (and others) to purchase toys for their kids this holiday, I thought that I could create a personal shopping business where I could help parents and grandparents find the best toys for their kids. I would love to know your thoughts about this.
One of my ideas is listed below along with a link to a really short survey to help me figure out if the idea will work. I would love if you would let me know what you think and pass it along to others. I really am passionate about children playing and having the right tools and I want to determine if this is a vehicle that would work.
Do you find yourself rushing out the day of a birthday party and settling for whatever’s at hand, rather than the quality gift you really wanted to buy? My plan is to create a “Gift Closet” for you to own. The “gift closet” would be 10 birthday party gifts for children 1 to 6 years old. No more having to run out for a gift at the last minute, all your gifts for the year will be waiting for you right at your home. Just grab the one you want to give, and off you go to the party.
When you purchase your “Gift Closet” you would specify the age range you wanted. The toys would all be safe (no lead), creative and interesting. These will be toys that you feel good about giving, and the children receiving them will love them (and so will the parents). The “Gift Closet” would include gift bags, tissue paper and tape. There would also be a card-making-kit so your child can make a card for the birthday child, or to use as thank you notes for his/her own birthday.
I am now doing market research on the “Gift Closet” concept. I have created a simple 14 question survey that I am asking people to complete. You can find it at I am also asking you to forward this email along to as many friends as possible so that I can get an idea whether this will work or not. If you have already passed through the stage of being on the birthday party circuit
- congratulations for surviving, no need to complete the survey -just forward it along and ask your friends, social networks, work colleagues, etc. children, who are have young children. They will spend no more than 2 minutes completing the survey.
Thank you all very much for your help as I move on this journey"

(her original post appears over at the TheMotherhood here if you want to leave her a note there as well!)

Thanks so much =)

3 Days ....

and I'm doing pretty good with this whole no sugar thing.
Although as I type this, an Oreo cookie sitting next to me, just asking to be eaten by me. And I'm not gonna lie - I REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY want to eat it.
And maybe I will, because really it's one little cookie. I just have to make sure one little cookie doesn't turn into a whole bag.
I was told today that it will take about 7 days for the cravings to stop. So I'm almost half-way there. Which is so good. Because last night again, I woke up with a huge horrible head ache. And of course, all these freaking cravings all day long. Because I really really miss eating a whole lot of things.
And frankly and honestly, I have NO changes yet. I know, it's been 3 days, right? So what was I expecting. I don't know really, but I was hoping for at least some extra burst of energy. Hopefully that will come. I hope I will feel something for the better soon because I really need more motivation to stay on it.

Aside from that, not much going on here. I feel drained, tapped out and completely exhausted from all the Christmas rush. I need a break from all things. I don't even want to walk into my craft room right now. So not a lot of crafting, creating, or anything of that sort going on. I think I spent most of today thinking about all sorts of foods I would like to eat but am refraining from eating.

I know, this doesn't make the best blogging content. But truly, and honestly, food is about all I can think about right now! I'm sure some other people out there are dieting/eating healthy for the new year, so please, please, I hope someone lets me know that I'm not the only person thinking about food these days! LOL

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

New Year's Resolutions ...

I'm not one to make new year's resolutions. Or, I guess I should say I'm pretty good at making them and then not actually doing anything about it.
But last year, I decided to read 52 books .. and I did it! Fueled by accomplishing one goal, it made sense to make some more goals for this year. And luckily for me, over at The Motherhood, Becki started a conversation just about this thing! She posted to all of us
Let’s do something we can look back on in a year (or more) and see how our predictions for 2008 stack up and whether our wishes come true. Complete these statements (I will too):
1. The skill I most want to acquire/improve in 2008 is…
2. The habit I most want to give up in 2008 is…
3. The biggest change in my life in 2008 will be…

And so I responded
1. I want to improve my organization skills and improve how healthy I am
2. I want to give up (okay not give up but decrease greatly) the amount of sugar I consume.
3. The biggest change will probably be that I will need to get a job. Honestly, I am completely dreading it and praying it won’t be half as bad as I fear.
And seeing how we are two days into the new year, it would seem I have made a bit of dent into these goals.
Both yesterday and today I have consumed very little sugar compared to my norm. Which is both good and bad.

Good, because I was consuming way too much sugar. I think that my body is over-run with yeast which is probably out of control because of sugar. Of course I'm only guessing this because of the high amount of yeast infections I've had lately. Regardless, too much sugar.

I'll let you guess just how fun yesterday was. First of all, I LOVE sugar. Second of all I LOVE breads, crackers, etc. I would totally happy with bread and butter for dinner most nights, with candy/chocolate/etc for dessert! Both of which I am currently avoiding. I was not happy yesterday. There were SO many foods I wanted to eat. I will admit, I opened up a bag of candy without even thinking of it. But still, even with that, I still had a LOT less sugar than normal. I woke up last night with a killer headache. As in I wanted to just rip off my head and go back to sleep headache.

But I survived. I woke up feeling slightly better, but sad that I was going to skip my favorite breakfast of toast, butter and peanut butter. And so I ate oatmeal - plain mind you because I don't want sugar at all). And suffered through the rest of my day without any sugar today. I am pretty much eating the same diet as my daughter, but much much more strict on all sugar/sweet things.

I promise to complain endlessly about all of this. I promise to whine about all the foods I will refrain from. I can already feel another headache coming on. But I also hope that in a few weeks I will be feeling better and happy about these changes.

I will also admit to letting myself have one thing each day - one can of coca-cola each day. Because, and even my husband agrees with me, I really have no other vice aside from that. I don't drink coffee, not a fan of tea, I don't suck down other juice or cola, I don't drink alcohol, don't smoke, and am cutting out all other sugar from my diet (although I think that will be a temporary move. I think after a few weeks when the cravings subside I will again eat bread - just not as much!). And so, we both agreed that I needed one thing to keep. One thing that I can have. I hope it is the one thing that will keep me going each day. I can give up the bread, the sugar, the sweets, the rest of it, but I get to keep one little can of pop (of course, I have not normally only restricted myself to one can before so one can is still a cutback!).

I have not yet drank my can for today. But if I am going to drink it, I want to do it soon because I also think this will help my inability to sleep these days. Although I've read it takes a while for caffeine to leave the system, so I'm probably still full of it! LOL!

(as a little aside here, I am not making diet modifications in order to lose weight. But secretly, if that would happen, well, I wouldn't be upset and it would help it seem even more worth it. But really, I jsut want to feel better because I haven't felt all that great lately - just run-down, tired, and achey all over. But we can't figure out why because there isn't a medical reason for it all ... so I'm hoping it's diet related!)

In other new year news - I have searched a few places I think I might actually enjoy working at for job openings. Nothing so far. The places I have looked at so far don't have any current openings. According to my husband, now is a bad time to look and I should wait a month and then start. But, I think I will stalk a few places and cross my fingers that something will open up? I can hope anyway!

For now, I will plug on. I might even do some crafting to kill these urges to just eat the whole loaf of bread or to raid the candy drawer. We'll see what happens!

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

2007 Books ...

Books Read in 2007