Sunday, May 31, 2009

The synopsis

I'm not putting in the pictures and I'm not writing a long description. I'm whipped and I have a tiny bit of a headache that is fine unless I'm looking at something bright (like this monitor). But I just wanted to let you all know that the party was a phenomenal success. As in the kind of party that they will be talking about for months.

I'll post pics tomorrow if I can.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Crossing my fingers.

So far, this week has been kind of crazy. Zoe graduated from preschool this morning and I'll be posting pictures of that next week if I can. Meanwhile Quinn has developed a runny nose and a cough. I think probably his bad mood that I mentioned a few days ago has been mostly because of being sick. Now that I know he's sick, I can give him some medicine and it seems to calm him down as well as make his cough go away.

Housecleaning, though much needed, has been on the back burner. There's just too much going on and I'm kind of burned out on it. Instead, I've been catching up with a friend of mine who's been in the hospital. She's going to be OK, but she's been really sick. She's home now, but she's still really sick. Her doctors are incompetant. I'm hoping she'll be switching doctors soon because at the rate things are going, she's going to get killed by their inability to actually look at her records. On top of all the things they've failed to do for her, they are also failing to notice that she has drug allergies. They keep prescribing things to her that could be fatal. Nice, huh?

The party plans are going well. We need to clean house. But I've got a lot of the stuff done that I wanted to get done. I bought the movie (The Terminator) and the stuff to make pizzas and the drinks and plates and forks and cake mixes. I also bought some cool decorations. I found a place online that sells balloon that have LED lights in them. Fill them with helium and they glow in the dark and blink. And we're giving all the kids flashlights to explore the woods on the farm in the dark and they'll get to take those home if they want. Teens don't really want party favors and decorations, but I think they'll like these. I've figured out that about half of the people he invited will be able to make it. That's actually the perfect amount for me. Ten teenagers in the living room means barely enough room to move. Five means they can hang out and goof off and we don't have to rearrange the furniture or anything.

Ooops! Quinn just woke up. Got to run. I'll post Sunday and let you all know how it went. Wish me luck.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Zoe's pictures

Several months ago, Zoe and I had a fight. She'd woken up early and tried to get me to get up and turn on the TV. I was sick and told her to go back to bed. She didn't and she ended up hitting me in the face to try to wake me up. I woke up very, very pissed and I spanked her and yelled at her. I hardly ever do either but I was not a happy person at that moment. Anyhow she ran off crying and yelling and stomped up the stairs. She came back a few minutes later with two pictures. "This is you! This is what you did to me!" she yelled as she held up this picture.

Then she held up the second picture. "This is me! This is how you made me feel!"

I took one look at that angry uni-brow she gave me and wanted to laugh. But I didn't. It was funny, but I was really impressed at how well she expressed her emotions. I hugged her and we talked for a while about why I'd been so angry. Then she left the room and went back upstair. A few minutes later she came back with the pictures. On the back of each picture she'd drawn a new picture. "This is you. I love you."

"This is me. And this is how I feel now."

Monday, May 25, 2009

Trying to organize too much stuff.

Just so you all know, I have too much stuff.

Today I've been trying to sort through the last of the boxes from my basement. No, I'm not cleaning out my basement for the party. It's an unfinished room that's more like a cave than a room. But I am trying to get all our winter clothes washed and put in boxes so that they aren't cluttering up the house. In Kentucky spring comes suddenly, then winter comes back suddenly, then spring again, then winter, then summer. The weather doesn't gradually get warmer each day. That would be too easy. Instead the highs will be in the 40's one day, the 70's the next, then 3 days in the 30's, then back to the upper 60's, then 30's again, until one morning three weeks after this all began when you wake up and it's about 29 degrees out... and an hour later it's in the upper 80's and spring is basically over.

I think (though I can't make any guarantees here) that we've finally moved past the zigzag of spring and have settled on really hot. So now I put up all the winter clothes that we were still using as of 3 days ago and hope that I don't have to pull them back out next week. I need to get them out of the way. When you have to keep changing clothes because the afternoon is 30 or 40 degrees hotter than the morning, you end up with a lot of dirty laudry. And when you have 6 people in your family changing clothes twice a day you end up with clothes everywhere.

So... Zaven and Caly's clothes are being boxed up and put in the basement in case they still fit next winter. If they don't, I'll go back through them in the winter to see what's worth saving for Zoe and Quinn to grow into. I don't have space to save it all, and besides some of it will be out of style. But jeans and t-shirts never go out of style. Quinn and Zoe's winter clothes are being bagged up and delivered to Goodwill. A few of the really nice stuff I will keep to sell on ebay or to save for my grandkids. Don't laugh! Zaven is 16 in a month. There's a chance that before Quinn grows into the clothes Zaven just outgrew, my as-yet-non-existant grand baby will be wearing some of the clothes Quinn just outgrew. Besides, toddler clothes take up a lot less space than a teenager's do. I'm also sorting through Scott's and mine, of course. We won't be growing (I hope!) but some of it is worn out and I'll donate that. Goodwill has a contract with another company to recycle the clothes that aren't in good enough condition to sell. They turn them into insullation. Pretty cool, isn't it?

The stuff I'm keeping is boxed in plastic boxes (because my unfinished basement floods) and the boxes are numbered. I keep an inventory on my computer so that when I need to find the Girls Winter size 6X, I can pull up the list and know to look in box number 4. The problem is that I actually have to organize the stuff when I put them away. For 6 people it's a lot of boxes. And I kind of need everything clean and folded and ready to go into the boxes all at once or I end up going up and down the stairs to add a pair of pants that was in the dirty laundry or a sweater that was under the bed. Or even worse, I don't bother going up and down and just have 3 or 5 boxes that are just labeled "stuff". My big plan was to get it all done this weekend.

My problem? The weather didn't cooperate. I don't have the A/C in the window yet so the house is hot. I did NOT want to put on the dryer, too. But it rained all day. So I didn't get any laundry done. And that means I have stuff that didn't get put away.

But, I did get a lot of it done. A whole lot. I feel good about it. My house is looking ever so much cleaner.

And I also discovered that I'll have a few empty boxes left over. I plan on filling them up with all my freebie shampoos and lotions. I have a small stockpile that I'll be using to make Christmas baskets for my mom and my MIL. They both loved their mother's day baskets and by Christmas most of their stuff should be used up. It makes a really, really nice present. And even though they both know I didn't pay full price for these things, they love that I carefully pick products specifically for them. My mom loves the organic products and loves that I choose things that are unscented for her. My MIL loves that I pick products with her health in mind. She was so excited to get low-dose enteric aspirin because the aspirin she'd been taking bothered her stomach. So even though I didn't pay for those things, they still show consideration and effort.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

I take it back.

Despite my last post, things have turned around nicely. Quinn settled down a lot. I still don't know what was wrong, but whatever it was seems to have passed. Meanwhile Zaven has really, really stepped up and worked hard to help get the house ready for his party. We've gotten so much done, mostly thanks to his efforts. There's still a lot to do, but it now seems doable. It's cleaner than it's been in months! And since I'll be having a birthday party every few weeks for the next two months, I'm hoping that the idea of people coming over regularly will inspire us to keep it clean and to continue to make progress on improving it. Wish us luck!

Friday, May 22, 2009


He's finally decided to hit the terrible twos. He's actually almost three but this week he's really hit his stride in the tantrum throwing. He's been hitting, kicking, throwing things, dumping food on the floor on purpose, and screaming so loud that my ears ring from it. He also bites himself (on purpose out of frustration) and then comes running to me to tattle. "Quinn bit me! Quinn bit me!" as if he wasn't the one doing the biting.

Zaven's birthday party is a week from tomorrow and I don't know what the hell we're going to do. I can't get anything done.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Mystery Shopping

Doesn't it sound like so much fun? Well, it is and it isn't.

Let me start with a caveat. I have only done this for about a week so I can't tell you a whole lot about it. But I can give you more info that I had last week, including a few of the pros and cons.

1. It's legit. Companies will actually pay you to go to their stores or restaurants or movies.

2. It's nowhere near as simple as it sounds. Sure you get a free meal or a free movie, but you're going to have a job to do while you're eating or watching the movie. So you'll miss some of the movie, have to order food from an approved list, etc.

3. The pay isn't great. Just say you're going to a restaurant for them. You might get reimbursed for your meal up to $7, plus an extra $5 in pay. But what if your meal ends up costing $8.50 and you had to make a special trip to the restaurant? Once you add in gas you're really just getting a free meal. And sometimes they pay for two tickets to the movies, but other times they pay for just one. So if your boyfriend wants to tag along (which would be handy since he could tell you what you missed while you were busy counting heads or figuring out how many people the theatre can seat at maximum occupancey), you'll have to pay his ticket out of your own pocket. There goes your profit.

4. So what do you get? Well, you get to go undercover and pretend you're a spy. You get an occasional movie or meal for free. And over time it should get easier. I mean, once you've counted the seats in a theatre, you should be able to answer that question the next time without recounting. And once you've been asked the same questions about a restaurant 3 or 4 times, you'll start noticing those things without having to memorize a long checklist before you eat.

So overall, I like it. And I'd like to do more. But mostly I like it for the fun, not for the money.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Awesome Rite Aid Week

I went to Rite Aid this morning and was paid to take things home. Here's what I bought:

Bayer quick release crystals $3.99
Alaway eye drops $7.99
Suave deodorant $2.00
Saline wound wash $5.49
Dry Idea deodorant $5.99

I used a $5 off $25 coupon that I printed
A $4 Alaway coupon
A $0.50 Suave deodorant coupon
A $1 peelie from the wound wash
And a $1 Dry Idea deodorant coupon
I couldn't find my Bayer coupon, but when I do, I can take my receipt in and get an extra dollar.

So, after taxes it would have been $27.
I used $11.50 in coupons, bringing it down to $15.50.
And I'll be getting $24 in rebates.
So I got paid $8.50 to take that stuff home. And when I find that coupon I'll get another dollar.

Of course, I picked up a newspaper while I was there, and a soda for Scott, and butterfly bandages for Zaven's hand. So really, I only got about $2.33 profit. But in a way, that makes it even cooler to me. Because even after taxes and me adding a few things to the cart, I still made a profit. I'm so impressed with it.

On an unrelated note, things are going much better today. We worked a fair bit on the house in the morning, and nobody got hurt and nobody broke anything around the house. We didn't get done nearly as much as we needed to, but I've decided that Sunday evenings need to be just for resting. We all need a break sometimes and if we wait until everything is perfect we'd never get one. Zaven and Caly have swim team practices after school almost every day. Between swim, dinner, and homework we don't have a lot of time during the week. On busy evenings, I let the chores slide. But they often want to spend Friday or Saturday night at a friend's house or go to a school dance or a ball game. That means that we can't take Sundays entirely off. But I don't want to start the week frazzled and worn out either. So starting last week I decided to that even though we needed to do some work on Sundays, we'll all call it quits in the late afternoon. After 4 pm, we just veg in front of the TV or read or talk or whatever. But no more work. Fortunately, the swim team won't meet all next week so they'll have a bit more time to chip in during the week to make up for Saturday. At least I hope it works that way. Cross your fingers.

As to my MIL, I wanted to point out that I usually get along with her great. And she did volunteer to babysit Zoe and Quinn while Scott and I took Zaven and Caly to the drive-in. But I've learned that every now and then she'll start a big project because she knows that if Scott sees her do something he doesn't think she can handle, he'll jump in and help her. I've learned to just let her do it, even if she does get in trouble. She doesn't say anything about it when I just sit and watch her struggle. What could she say anyway? Why aren't you helping me after you told me that you wouldn't help? Anyhow I was really proud of Scott for not just helping when she started up with the window. And I don't want you all to think that she's like that most of the time. 90% of the time she's the sweetest woman in the world. I just don't know what's up with the other 10%.

Saturday, May 16, 2009


Today was crazy. Not one single thing went as planned. We went out of town last night. We'd spent the night at my MIL's, planning on having breakfast with my parents this morning since yesterday was my mom's birthday. But my mom was sick and cancelled on us. While we were there, Scott decided to drive to the next town past that to buy a part for his tractor. He called the store to make sure they were open, drove an hour to get there, and got there with a half hour to spare. Except they'd decided to close early. He drove to two other places that were supposed to be open and carry the part. One was out of business. The other closed 10 minutes before he got there.

Meanwhile, my MIL decided to try to talk me into doing stuff I didn't want to. She started by trying to get me to agree to help her can beans this summer. I declined but she started pressuring me. I finally explained that the reason I don't grow a garden is that I don't want to work in a garden and I don't want to can vegetables. She still tried to talk me into it, but I was firm. So then a few minutes later I noticed Zaven was looking through her tools and asked why. He said she'd asked him to find her screwdriver so she could take the storm window off of her big picture window and clean between the panes. Ummm... this is a huge picture window made of untempered glass. She's disabled with a bad back and very unsteady balance. And we've already told her that as soon as Scott gets back we're leaving town. I told him to tell her no because it was a bad idea and this wasn't a good time. I heard him tell her no. Then I went to talk to her and explain that she needed to get help for that. She told me that she had help. I asked who. She said that I would be helping her. No. I told her I would not be helping. She needed 2 or 3 people and besides, we were getting ready to leave. Then I went and sat down. But the next thing I know she's got Zaven outside unscrewing the frame. I didn't say or do a thing. I just sat there watching and waiting for it to fall down. Just then Scott drove up and told her the same thing I had. We were leaving and it was a job for at least 2 people in good health. Besides, it was painted shut. If she'd bothered to look between the panes she'd see that it didn't need cleaning. She finally backed down. She asked that the next time we were in town we'd help take it down since the paint on the wooden frame of the actual window was starting to peel. She didn't want to wait until the wood was rotten to deal with it. We agreed. We would have agreed to that all along. We just didn't want to start a big project completely unprepared and in a hurry.

Then we went home. Zaven is having a party in a few weeks so we really needed to clean house. There was a lot to do and not much time. So of course things went wrong. First, Scott had to drive to the next town over from ours to meet a computer specialist. Just after he left, Zaven started cooking dinner. And he promptly stabbed his left hand with a knife. Hard. Blood was just pouring out of it. So I wrapped it in a towel, had him apply direct pressure, and we headed outside so I could drive him to the emergency room. I wasn't too worried about him bleeding but I thought he might had hit a tendon or might need a stitch. And I was worried about the fact that he'd been cutting raw meat. The knife went through raw sausage and into his hand. So I wanted to see if we could talk a doctor into giving him antibiotics.

But when we got outside, my car was gone. Scott's was there, but no keys. So back inside, and I tried to call Scott. No answer. I left a message to call me back right away. Then I called 911. I figured they could send an ambulance to check it out and see if it needed further treatment. So we're waiting around for them when Scott calls. Caly tells him Zaven cut his hand and we're waiting for an ambulance. He swears and says he'll be right home and hangs up before Caly can tell him that all we need to know is where his keys are because it's not that bad. And then he skipped meeting the computer specialist and instead drove home at an insane speed. He got here just before the ambulance. Zaven was fine, of course. Scott drove him to the emergency room. They debated giving him a stitch or not but Scott asked them to try it with just a butterfly first. And then he didn't insist on getting an antibiotic. I have no idea why. What were they thinking? Raw meat is not exactly germ-free.

Just after they got home from the ER, we broke Quinn's dresser. It has a changing table built into the top. It has safety hinges and it opens and closes so that when it's shut, it just looks like a dresser drawer. But Quinn wedged something into the hinge and when Caly opened it, it would open. She tried to force it when it didn't move freely. It broke. Since it was very worn out and had been made of particle board, we decided to just go ahead and trash it. I took all Quinn's clothes out and put them in a set of plastic drawers I'd bought last week at goodwill. Then we took the dresser outside and broke it apart with a sledge hammer (which Zaven and Caly really enjoyed) and then took the pieces to our burning pit. The minute I lit it on fire it started raining heavily and put the fire out.

Then we tried to calm Quinn down. He did NOT like seeing his dresser being taken outside. Scott finally got him to sleep, but every time we tried to lay him down he woke up screaming. Finally we just let him try to cry it out. He calmed down but didn't go back to sleep. A half-hour later when we tried to put Zoe to bed we found that Quinn had peed his diaper so full that it leaked. And he'd been sitting in Zoe's bed when he did it. Oh, and he'd found the bag balm we use as a diaper cream and put most of it in his hair.

So the best part of the day (a day we desperately needed if we're going to get the house ready for a party) was spent basically doing nothing but trying to keep ahead of the mayhem.

But hey, nobody died and we didn't burn down the house (knock on wood). Maybe tomorrow will be better.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

A sales pitch, just for you.

I signed up a few weeks ago with a site that lets me advertise directly from my blog. I post their banners and ads, and if you guys click on them I get a little money. I chose this site because I get to weed out the stuff that I don't like so that I'm not just spamming my friends. But who knew they'd send offers almost every day? By the time I got around to looking through my e-mail there were so many from them that I didn't even open them. Too overwhelming. But yesterday I worked up my nerve and started opening them. And now I'm bummed that I didn't do it sooner. Sure, some of them are spam you guys could live without. But there were also a few cool offers that you might have liked. Links to coupons and freebies. Oh well. Live and learn.

That being said, you can expect to find the occasional link to other sites here. Don't feel obligated to follow them. I can live without the 65 cents. But if you do find one you like and click on it, then thanks! And I'm glad I found something you could use. And here's the first one (that I didn't screw up and let expire) that I thought you'd like. It's the Dinner Made Easy newsletter from General Mills. Sign up for recipes and coupons. Enjoy.

Monday, May 11, 2009

This week at Rite Aid

They have pop-tarts on sale. No, they aren't free, which is why I thought you might not notice them on your own. But they're on sale 2 for $3, and not long ago the papers had coupons for $1 off 2. That make them $1 a box. And on a lot of the boxes are tokens that you can collect and send in for a free movie ticket. 5 tokens = 1 movie ticket, and you can send off for up to 5 tickets. Sure, you may not need 25 boxes of poptarts, but they freeze. And that makes it $5.44 (counting your stamp) for an adult movie ticket and five boxes of pop-tarts. Heck, maybe you can sneak the pop-tarts into the theatre to have instead of pop-corn.

They also have the new KY jelly on sale (the one that's supposed to intensify a woman's orgasms), plus there's a rebate and a recent coupon. Hmmm. All we need is a nice dinner before the movie and date night is looking pretty good.


I'm not a big fan of cooking. Well, I'm a big fan if someone else is doing it. But I don't much like doing it myself. However, if I have to cook I prefer to cook big. I like to cook enough that there are plenty of leftovers to have later, on a day that I don't want to cook at all. So I've kind of perfected the art of big batches of simple recipes. Yesterday Zoe and I made four trays of rice krispie treats. Right now they're all sitting in my freezer, bagged up in small servings waiting to be stuck in lunchbags or taken on road trips. And they're sitting right on top of four loaves of bread that Caly and I turned into french toast last week. I have a big griddle on my stove and I can fry 6 slices at the same time. So we fried it up and stuck it right back in the bags the bread came in and froze it. That means that providing hot breakfasts for the next few weeks/months will be simple. Stick a slice in a toaster and you're done.

You'll note that both the RKTs and the toast are easy recipes. Three ingredients each. I make pizza dough using the same simplicity. I add flour, 2% milk, yeast, and a splash of oil in a bowl. The milk has natural sugars in it to feed the yeast, so you don't have to add anything else. I don't even measure anything. I just add more flour if it's too wet and more milk if it's too dry. My godmother taught me that a good dough feels like your ear lobe. Don't believe me? Feel your ear lobe. I knead the dough up and then bag it in ziplocs and freeze it. When we want a pizza, I warm it up in the microwave (checking frequently so it doesn't get too hot and start baking in there). Then I spray a pan with cooking spray, spread it out, add sauce, cheese, and turkey pepperoni (which is actually better tasting than regular pepperoni) and bake at 350 until the cheese starts to brown. It's as easy as using one of those pre-baked pizza doughs and almost as easy as frozen pizza. I also make a really good cream sauce that's super easy. I can post it if anyone's interested.

One benefit of all this is saving money and time. Convieniece foods are easy, but expensive and usually unhealthy. Home cooking is better for your body and your wallet, but time consuming and messy. My kind of cooking, with simple recipes, not much in the way of measuring, and done in bulk and frozen, is a balance between the two. It's easy on the wallet and because I freeze things in single or double servings, I get several meals out of a single bout of cooking and cleaning. The other benefit is that simple recipes are a lot of fun for a kid to help with. Zoe was very proud of her stirring yesterday.

Nice things

Well today's mail was remarkably productive. I normally get a bit of junk mail or some flyers, with the occasional rebate and/or free magazine. But today my box was full. Three free magazines, a free plastic shower caddy to fit over my Scrubbing Bubbles automatic shower cleaner, a letter from my credit card company (which scared me before I opened it) saying that they'd decided to increase my line of credit, some coupons from Krogers (including two for free items), a free replacement remote from Dish Network for the remote the Quinn destroyed, a full sized tube of Neutrogena Baby Sunblock from BzzAgent, and a necklace I'd ordered from Silver Jewelry Club.

So after opening everything up and reveling in the getting-mail-y-ness of it all, I decided I should post here. Everyone loves free/dirt cheap stuff in the mail, right? So I should be letting you know how to get them. And since today's mail represents just about all the different types of freebies I get, this would be a good day to post about it.

So... #1: Free magazines. I get more magazines each month than I actually have time to read. And I don't pay for any of them. Magazines make most of their money from their advertisers. And advertisers choose magazines with a large number of subscribers. So a lot of magazines give away subscriptions so that they can get more advertisers. That means that there are a lot of free magazine subscriptions out there. My favorite way to get them is through Rewards Gold. Right now you can get a subscription to Forbes, but I've gotten everything from Mad Magazine to Martha Stewart Living through them.

#2: Freebies direct from the company that makes them. I got my shower caddy directly from Scrubbing Bubbles. Many companies will give you a free product if you write them and tell them that you liked (or hated) something they make. They know that if you try something, you might decide it's amazing and always buy it in the future. The shower caddy was made to fit directly on their automatic shower cleaner. Giving them away boosts their sales.

#3: Credit card incentives. Most people think that credit cards are a very bad thing. And believe me, they can be a VERY bad thing. If you charge an item that cost $10, but pay your bill a day late and don't pay it off in full, you'll end up spending hundreds on that $10 item. But there are ways to use credit cards that are very profitable. First off, there's the points you can earn by using them. Then there's the incentive for signing up. I've opened bank accounts and credit cards for those incentives. My last two bank accounts gave me $100 each for opening an account and regularly using their bank card. My last credit card gives me a discount at Toys R Us and rewards me in Toys R Us gift cards. I hardly ever go there, but a few times a year I take the kids as a treat and let them each spend one of my $10 rewards cards. Just MAKE SURE you pay your balance in full on time. The easy way to do this is to log onto their website the day after you shop and pay it from your bank account before you forget about it. This builds your credit score too. But if you can't keep track of what you owe and pay it off on time, you're better off avoiding credit cards.

#4: Store coupons. Stores give coupons for the same reason manufacturers do. They want your loyalty. So signing up for a store card can net you a few good deals and even the occasional freebie.

#5: Warranties and guarantees. These aren't exactly freebies. I pay for an extended warranty for my DVR from Dish Network. I pay a few dollars extra each month. But I make sure that when there's a problem, I use that warranty. And you'd be surprised at what qualifies. When Quinn took apart our remote and stole the back of it, they bought me a new one. And since he takes it apart, chews on it, or loses it every few months, I get a new universal remote every few months. Don't assume that things aren't covered. Even when it's clearly your own fault you'll sometimes get a free replacement. And if your coverage says that the item will be replaced with a new one, don't accept a refurbished one. You're PAYING for this. Get what you paid for.

#6: BzzAgent. They're a "Word of Mouth" advertising company. Manufacturers pay them to distribute full sized samples of their products and encourage their members to discuss those products with other people. The way they encourage you is to reward you for reporting back to them when you "bzz" a product. The rewards currently take the form of points redeemable through MyPoints for gift cards. I really don't like MyPoints so I'm in it mostly for the initial free product. They used to have their own rewards which I liked better. We'll see if they change to a better partner in the future. BzzAgent operates in Canada and the US primarily, but they also have a few things going on in Europe.

#7: Silver Jewelry Club. I love this site. They sell sterling silver jewelry with semi-precious gemstones and don't charge for the jewelry and only charge $6.99 (per item) for shipping and handling. They sell rings, earrings, and pendants, but if you order a pendant you can add a 16-, 18-, or 20-inch sterling silver necklace to the order for $4.00. The best way to order is to get out a ruler while you're looking at the pictures and reading the descriptions and make sure that you know how big the actual item will be. They use enlarged pictures so if you're not careful, you could be disappointed. I also recommend that you order items where the jewel is not entirely surrounded by silver edging so that light hits the jewel and shows it's colors. I especially like their blue topaz stuff. I love the color blue. They offer a selection of 4 different items at a time, and they rotate them regularly. You can scroll over each item for a detailed description, or look on the upper right hand side of the page to a link to see upcoming items. If you don't see anything you like, just wait.

So that was the mail. Hopefully, your mailboxes will be filling up soon, too.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

The money making scheme.

Zoe has been talking about imaginary friends lately. And she uses that term. It's all very clinical. I'm going to Grandma's house. I have my cloe (singular of clothes), my shoes, and I'm going to loan you five of my imaginary friends while I'm gone so you don't miss me. You should loan me five of yours. I'll give them back when I get home. And all this talk of imaginary friends reminded me of the greatest thing my progeny have ever done and will ever do. Yes, I know they might grow up to cure cancer or win the Nobel Peace Prize, but none of that can come close to what Zaven did when he was 4. You see, he used to have imaginary friends back then. But one day he decided he didn't need them any more. So he sold them. For cash. Real, bankable, non-imaginary cash.

It all started with an e-mail. He sat in my lap one day and dictated an e-mail he wanted me to send to Grandma. He told her how, now that he was getting older and getting ready to go to Kindergarten instead of Preschool, he wouldn't have as much time to play with his invisible baby dinosaurs as he used to. So he had decided to sell them. Would she like to buy one? Well it's his Grandma. Of course she replied to that. She sent back that she was interested. How much was he charging.

But before we could reply, we got a second e-mail from Grandma's BFF. Grandma had forwarded Zaven's e-mail to her, saying that she hoped he wouldn't charge much because she loved that he was selling them and she wanted to buy one. BFF reported that Grandma would be willing to pay up to $5 per invisible baby dinosaur and she wanted him to know so that he wouldn't fall for it when Grandma tried to low-ball him. So he replied to Grandma that he was charging $5 per dino, and that the money had to be real money. Grandma bought two. So did an aunt. Then Zaven dictated an e-mail to the BFF. To thank her for her help he'd decided to give her an invisible baby dinosaur of her own. However, one baby dinosaur all by itself would get bored while you were at work and would tear up your home. He advised her to get another so that it would have a friend to keep it company. Oh, and BTW, he had some for sale at $5 a piece.

So Zaven ended up with $25 cash. I ended up in complete awe of him. (I did NOT coach him on any of this. He thought it all up on his own.) And his imaginary friends all found good homes.

So now that the economy is tanking and Scott's job is not likely to be there in a few months, I'm thinking that this might be my new money making scheme. I could sell invisible baby dinosaurs on Ebay. Heck, I'd even give Zaven a small cut for coming up with the idea.

So do any of you guys happen to need an invisible friend?

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


Ok. Nothings really wrong. I just felt like saying "Ack!". Life is going OK this week. I'm trying to cut back on my caffiene so I feel like I'm in slow motion. But I'm adjusting.

There's been lots of gossip at Scott's school about who will be back next year. The school layed off all non-tenured employees for the next school year. Everyone is hoping the budget will be larger than they thought and that most of them will be hired back. Of course, no one really knows what will happen. Meanwhile I'm trying to get our finances ready for a budget crunch. We had several unexpected expenses this month and if we didn't have Scott's summer job coming up soon I'd be freaking out. He'll be getting double paychecks in a couple of months: his paycheck from school since they're on a 12 month pay schedule even though he only works there 9 months out of the year, and a second check from his summer teaching job at Upward Bound. That means I'll be paying off the money I had to put on a credit card in April. I don't normally carry a balance. I've been there and I know for a fact how hard it is to pay off a debt when the interest is so high and the fines and fees are even worse. But last month we had a water bill that was $500 higher than it should have been. The only way to pay it and still eat that month was to use a credit card. And then we had a few other unexpected expenses... so we charged them all. I'll be able to pay it off in June. Maybe even before then if I'm careful. But I am SO happy to know that it'll be June at the latest. And I'm even happier to know that we'll be putting the vast majority of those extra paychecks into our savings account. Having extra toothpaste and toilet paper in the closet is good, but nothing beats having extra money in the bank. My water company doesn't take toothpaste as payment.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Children at night

About 9:30 pm all hell broke loose over here. Nothing much was wrong. They just all fell apart. Caly gave Zoe a pink princess mirror just before she (Caly) headed to bed. And Zaven just disappeared. No goodnight, no nothing. He just saw the storm coming and got the hell out of Dodge and went to bed. Then Zoe and Quinn started screaming. Quinn was screaming because it was bedtime. Zoe was screaming because in her enthusiasm to not sleep, not cooperate, and not be in her own bed, she put the mirror on my bed, then got in my bed and stood on it. It broke, of course. She wasn't hurt, but she was soooo upset. And thus began the screaming. Somehow I got them both in their room, in their beds, and I started singing very softly. After a while, they got tired of screaming and settled in a bit. Zoe fell asleep first. And Quinn just kept saying, "Children at night. Children at night."

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Presents for you guys.

There are just a few of you regular readers out there. But as a thank you for reading, I have some presents for you. Dove deodorant just sent me a full-sized Visibly Smooth deodorant. It became available in store in May of 2009, which means some stores won't even have it yet. It's supposed to reduce the look and feel of underarm stubble over time. I just got this today, so I can't say that it works. I'll get back to you on that in a week or two, LOL. They also included in the package a stack of $2 off coupons. I'm going to be sharing these with the coupon circles I participate in, and I'd also like to share with you. Leave a comment if you'd like one, then send me an e-mail with your address and I'll mail you a coupon. In fact, invite your friends to drop by and do the same thing. Like I said, I have a stack.

And Azaera, since you're in Canada and the coupon may not work there, I'll just send you the free deodorant they sent me. Wait--will you have to pay duty on a small package? Hmmm. We may have to work something else out. If you have to pay to get it, it's not much of a present. I have no idea how much they charge for duty, either. Let me know and we'll figure something out.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Rite Aid

I mentioned recently that if you're into couponing you need to shop at a drug store. They seem more expensive. They ARE more expensive, but they also have better promotional offers. By shopping carefully, you can get a lot of freebies at drug stores. I shop regularly at two: Rite Aid and Walgreens. Walgreens is in the process of changing some of their programs so I don't want to explain how everything works only to have it change before you even get a chance to try it out. Soooo, I'm going to wait a few weeks on that post and instead explain how to get the biggest bang for the buck at Rite Aid.

Rite Aid has a rebate program online. It's super easy to use. Just go and on the left hand side you'll see a list of links to various promotions. Just under the words "In Our Stores" you'll see a link to Single Check Rebates. Click it, then click again under the words "Sign Up" to, well, sign up. Like I said, it's kind of a no-brainer. Once you've signed up (only needs name, address, e-mail, username, and password), then you can start using the program.

The program is really simple to use. Basically, you shop for items advertised in a monthly rebate flyer (available online and in the stores), then you enter some basic info from your receipt online. As you can see, there are only a few things to enter. Very, very easy.

After you enter the receipt, you have to wait a day or two for it to be approved. Don't throw away your receipt until it's been approved because it's an actual human who approves it so sometimes there are mistakes. You can get them fixed, but you'll need your receipt.

Lately, Rite Aid has also been sending folks coupons for $5 off a $25 purchase. There's one out now that's good through the month of May. The link is The last time I tried to link one of their coupons, Blogger did something to the link. It worked for a while, then one day it didn't. If this doesn't lead you to the coupon, please let me know and I'll fix the link.