Monday, February 29, 2016

Red Robin

I signed up for the Red Robin's loyalty card on a date night, and for my birthday they sent me a coupon for a free burger! I took The Baby out for a mom/son playdate, and we shared the burger. I thought I was getting us a bottomless lemonade but I was not. So sad! And very alarming that a non-bottomless/non-alcoholic beverage would be $4.49. My goodness! So I felt pretty stupid about that; I always need to double-check my deals or make sure they are refundable! Also, when dining out with a coupon, make sure to tip off the amount you would pay without the coupon. We might be frugal and cheap, but we are not dicks.
The Baby had a great time! He got a balloon and some crayons and he pointed and smiled at people. And I think he only had fries for dinner. I really enjoyed being out with just him. And I think he had a good time too.

Shutterfly had a deal for four free magnets. I ordered two, and realized I was paying separate shipping and handling. Dang it!

The Boy has a horrible cough. I'm giving him two days and close monitoring before I make an appointment for him. I hope he's better by Thursday; we have swimming lessons!

Friday, February 26, 2016

Two Ladies Estate Sale

We went to our first-of-the-year estate sale today! And although I love the voyeuristic element to shopping in someone's home, I noticed that my haggling and price awareness needs A LOT of work. I am a really nice haggler. I admire the quality of the items, then only go down a fraction of the listed price. Sellers usually go with my plan because of the two adorable kids I have in tow. But today, one of the Two Ladies, told me that the puzzles (the old-school wood kind, with wonderful artistic images) were $1 each, even though they were marked at $2. So when she writing up the receipt, I should have said something...but I didn't. And I didn't haggle at all! I don't know what I was thinking. I really need to get on the ball with that stuff. I don't feel cheated, because the prices were on the items, and The Boy got a 'free' ball. And although I didn't get the price even lower, I know that I paid far below retail. And they said my kids my adorable and very well-behaved. True!

With that purchase, I got a little worried about income and selling my stuff. So I decided to try to sell a few books. I sold to Half Price Books one time, and they gave me a coupon and a $1 for a whole bag of books. I guess I should have been insulted, but I took it. I just get so worried about selling off my mother kept a lot of my children's books, and now my kids read them. That melts my heart. And I recently found a box of books that showed me how I became me. Looking at what I read, and knowing my thoughts surrounding the  literature I was able to draw a lit line from then to now. Anyway, I don't like to get rid of my stuff. I'm afraid I'll need it, I like it for the memories, and I want stuff for my kids. My thoughts only make sense for a few items.

I am looking forward to my skills showing through at the estate sale I have scheduled for next week.

Monday, February 22, 2016

The Sickness

The Baby is sick. He has a cough, his breathing is wheezy, and he sneezes periodically. I think he has a fever, but I don't know for sure because both our thermometers need batteries. I would give him a fever reducer dose (Pedia Care, or whatever), but he doesn't take medication very well.
 Earlier this evening, I tried to give him the homeopathic medication straight up and he spit it out and gagged and choked up bile. Oops! Yes, he got lots of cuddles after that. And I bleached the floor. For the first few doses yesterday, I was able to mix a dose with his juice, but by his bedtime milk bottle he figured it out and wouldn't drink it.
When I am out of kid-safe cough syrup, I give the kids a spoonful of honey. (Both my kids are over the age of one, so no one is getting botchalism.) He wouldn't even take that, he was too suspicious.
Nap for The Baby lasted two hours, and I think he would have slept longer but the phone rang. He was tired and worn out for most of the afternoon. The only good thing about that, is the cuddles he needs from me. We watched way too much TV, but while we were all on my/The Hub's bed, The Baby snuggled in close. Despite him sneezing and coughing in my face, I still love hanging out with him. I hope he's feeling better tomorrow.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

All Kinds Of Stuff

I am astounded by The Baby's ability to communicate with me. I'm astounded by how much I think he knows about the world. And the way he likes to cuddle, be near me, and hang out, warms my heart. He is truly a miracle and I will forever be grateful for him.

Shutterfly often offers freebie prints and photo gifts via email coupons. Currently I am trying to upload my photos for 101 free prints (must pay shipping) and so far it isn't working. Very frustrating.

The Boy and I went to Jewel after church to get our freebie apple, energy drink, and really expensive string cheese. I saved 36% when I got a free apple using a store coupon for a free apple or banana to kids 12 and under. My energy drink was free from the MyMixx card. I downloaded the coupon a few days ago. And we bought string cheese, at $4.49 for a 12 pack. Which is a lot, but there were sweepstakes codes on both packages, I had a manufacturer coupon as well as a store coupon. And the kids eat a lot of cheese.

From the Morton Grove Library, I picked up a new Stephen King book (can't believe he is still churning out such wonderfully haunting tales). Its called The Bazaar of Bad Dreams. Goodness.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Free Movies

One of the things that worry me about my future, is that I am not terribly self-motivated. I tend to do things 'as the spirit moves'. I falter in knowing what I should do next, relying on my bizarre and varied to-do list. I know that I need to 'work hard' at raising my children, keeping my marriage alive and thriving, and creating my home into the cozy retreat I want it to be. I need to work hard at the red tape of our society (insurance issues, doctor's appointments, school stuff, social security issues, employment...the list goes on). I also like to work on crafts, coupons, and photo projects. The point is, there is a lot of stuff I want to do. And stuff I need to do. But I'm concerned I take too long to get stuff done, and I take too many breaks, and I seem to lack the ability to keep going about my business. I wonder if I can just will myself to be different.

A few weeks ago, in the Jewel-Osco ad paper, I made my shopping list based on my coupons and on-sale items. If I purchased $30 worth of P&G items, I would get a Catalina coupon for a free movie ticket. I knew from previous purchases like this, I would not receive an actual ticket, I would receive a code to enter. Which I did. There was a far-away expiration date (in my experience, it is always wise to use as soon as possible), a website and a code. I had to register with my email address and name, then I got an email with the ticket that I needed to print out. My grandmother's computer did not allow me to access that website, so I printed it at my mom's house. So this morning we hung out with my step-father and the dogs and all the great toys they have over there. And I got a free movie ticket! For less than a $30 purchase on items I use.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016


I sign myself (and sometimes my immediate family members) up for Birthday coupons. This evening The Boy and I went to Superdog to use my free sandwich and free large pop coupon. We also ordered a malt and some fried veggies. Superdog is a drive-up restaurant, with car hop service. I was unsure if I tip, so I left a dollar on the tray. Probably not a good move, in hindsight.
When we got there, The Boy wanted to know if we were going in, so I unbuckled him and told him he could sit in the way back (yes, we have a minivan) and then in the front seat when the food came. We talked about SkippyJon Jones, monsters, ketchup, and other important pieces of my three-year-old's life. I turned off the car, we got cold, and I turned it on with the heat blasting so The Boy could warm up his hands.
When I was buckling him back in, he hugged me and said,
"I love you, Mama!"
Tonight was awesome and lovely. I'm so glad I'm taking the time to go out with each kid and my husband separately.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Adler Planetarium

Yes, we took advantage of the free day at Adler Planetarium! My mom came with us, and paid the exoburant parking fees. We thought it would be easier and faster to drive. I found out about the free days from the Oaklee newsletter. When we got there, we wanted to find the play area for the kids, but we unable to locate it until almost the end of the trip. We wandered around, and the kids had a blast in a darkened hallway with moving star constellations. I recognized some people I used to ring up at Walgreens, which was terrible because I dislike them. But luckily they didn't recognize me.
The Adler obviously has a lot of interesting exhibitions and they are mostly known for their movie-theater-like shows about stars and the universe. We really didn't get to read through any of the exhibitions, because the kids don't stand still enough for that.
I think the trip was a success because no went missing, no one had a breakdown, we didn't get too hungry, we saw some cool stuff, and there was fun had by all. On the way there and home, we all got a chance to chat.  I was very pleased with the outing.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Valli Produce

After my church group, I was able to rush over to Valli Produce to get some pretty good deals. A pint of blueberries for $1.98, 16oz pasta packages for 68 cents, 28 oz cans of tomatoes, and dates for $3.98. I took advantage of my late-night shopping, and got a package of veggie sushi for 1/2 off ($3). My receipt shows a lot of friendly savings.

We went to a craft playdate at my friend's house, and The Boy wasn't that into the craft. He was more into the play kitchen. Before we left we did some clean up.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Driving to Doctor Appointments

This morning I picked up my father-in-law from his house in Chicago. Its about a half hour drive, so me and the kids spent about an hour (maybe more) in the car this morning. Driving with my father-in-law causes a lot of tension because our conversation is strained.

During the kid's nap I finished my napkin. I have been hand-sewing napkins from an old, ripped pillowcase. My second one is much better. Now I'm on my third. I really like the idea of turning something old and used into something new and useful.

It turns out my FIL needs a lot of care. He needs contrasting plates, and tape on the toilet, and extra handrails and 24 hour care. I didn't realize he was so sick, and I didn't realize he needs so much care. I feel pretty awful about leaving him to his own devices, and not being more helpful.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Happy Birthday!

Today is my Birthday!! I'm still excited about it, despite the fact that I am supposedly too old. I am from the school of thought that birthdays are special, they are something to be celebrated, and they should always have an element of excitement, surprise, and sweetness. No matter how old we get. And there was a time in my life when I wasn't sure I would get to this age.

We went out for dinner to Blaze Pizza. I had a coupon for a free pizza! And my uncle-in-law let us swipe his card, which was a great birthday gift. The kids had a pretty good time, minus the head whack at the end. But they behaved themselves. And The Hubs and I had a chance to sit for a moment.

I made myself my birthday cake, using a recipe from a book titled Birthday Parties for Children-How To Give Them, How To Survive Them. Copyright 1983, and I bought it for 50 cents from a library book sale. I made a spice cake with butter frosting.
Spice Cake
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup shortening (I used butter, but my cake was dry. So I think I needed maybe a cup)
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk (I used almond milk)
1 3/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon milk (what an annoying amount, and an odd placement on the list. I used almond milk again)
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon (I didn't measure-just shook the canister over my pan, because I realized I forgot to stir them in.)
1/2 teaspoon cloves (I used another heavy shake of ginger)

1. Beat the sugar and shortening until they are well mixed.
2. Add the rest of the ingredients. Beat for 2-3 minutes.
3. Bake in a greased 9x13 inch pan (that's what I used), or in two greased 8-inch layer pans at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes, or in paper baking cups (filled about 1/2 full) set in muffin pans at 350 degrees, or until done.
4. Cook and ice with the frosting of your choice.

Butter Frosting
Blend until creamy 3 tablespoons soft butter or margarine, 2 cups confectioners' sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and a dash of salt. If too thin, add more sugar. If too thick, add water or milk by the dropful. (I used more than a dropful of almond milk).

Happy Birthday and happy baking!

Tuesday, February 2, 2016


I'm taking a break from sewing a napkin out of pillowcase. I envisioned this project going much more quickly than it is. I got the idea from 1,2,3 Sew which is a craft book I got from the library. And when I looked the project up online, I found some folding techniques I hadn't considered. The problem here, mostly, is that I am hand-sewing, and I'm not using pins to keep my lines straight. Also, all of a sudden, this seems like a lot of work for not a great product.

The kids and I didn't leave the house today, but we did work on The Number Eight. And, sadly, we buried the angel fish in the yard.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Busted Lips and Chocolate Chip Muffins

While I was doing the dishes, The Hubs and kids were playing in the living room. With the dog. And I heard a thump, followed by my husband saying,
"Oh man, that's bad."
I rush out there to find my husband clutching our screaming, crying, wailing baby to his chest. He unhelpfully says,
"Its bad, its' really bad. This might be the worst I've seen."
I couldn't tell if he meant the worst he's seen in life (because he's some scary stuff) or the worst he's seen with The Baby. I asked, almost hysterically, if this was a E.R. situation or an ice-pack/cuddle situation. The Hubs showed me the still-crying face of our baby, which was covered in blood and tears (well, really, the bottom half of his face was bloody and the top half was teary). I start tearing up, then crying. We get an ice pack, and The Boy promptly asks for his own ice pack. The Hubs holds the baby for a while and he stops crying on his own, and I give him baby pain reliever, and we call my sister-in-law (she's got nursing degree experience) and The Boy bites the ice pack so I give him an ice cube in a paper towel, and I'm still crying, and The Hubs starts talking about his rough-and-tumble childhood, and I'm trying to not freak out about the blood, and The Boy is rushing around and messing, and I try to see the severity of the wounds and I'm still crying. We give the boys their bedtime milk, and I let both of them watch a little t.v. The Baby keeps biting his lip, which I'm sure is very painful, so he cries, and I'm trying to get his clothes off in the least painful way. We awkwardly brush teeth, read our bedtime books, and he sleeps face down. He's woken once, and I went in there to rub his back, and he feel asleep right away. It seems that he is adjusting to his new, and very painful, injury. Before The Hubs and I go to sleep, we'll check on him.

Before the evening trauma, we made it Jewel, where I saved 43%. The cashier was very annoyed when I tried to hand her my coupons one by one. She asked, in a very irritated tone, if I could just hand them to her all at once. And as I was doing so, I said that I was afraid one would be missed. I didn't really mean that she personally would miss one, but I've had than happen before. The she got fake-friendly on me, and double-checked my coupons and thanked me for my patience. Which I didn't really appreciate, but I worked retail, so I know where she's at. When I was cashier, I preferred people hand me their coupons one at a time, so they could keep track of their own shit, but I guess almost every other cashier does not like that. Also, as I was walking by a manager, he kind of yells, which makes me stop the cart abruptly and The Boy wobbles around in there. Then I get a fucking lecture about not letting my kid stand in the cart. I was alarmed at how mad I got, and I didn't argue because of course he's right, but I was annoyed nonetheless. But, having worked retail, I hope they had a good day despite by scowls. I really need to not be such 'a customer' and remember how it was behind the counter.

I made chocolate/butterscotch chip muffins, using a recipe I found on
I substituted some chocolate chips for butterscotch (the butterscotch chip bag was open already) and I made mine mini. I, for some reason, have more mini muffin tins and I bought some on-clearance Frozen mini muffin liners (100 for 74 cents!)

My dinner was awesome! The Hubs really enjoyed it. I made a pot pie using almost-expired pie crusts, leftover soup, leftover carrots, leftover sweet potato, cheese and flour. Go me! It was truly a make-something-new-from-what-we-have meal. Pretty proud of myself.