Friday, August 31, 2007

Frugal Friday: WOOT!

Do you Woot? I do, every morning!

Woot is an interesting concept. Each day, they sell one item, and only one item. When it's gone, the sale is done for the day. The savings on the items are usually at least "decent", and sometimes fabulous. Therefore, you have to check as early as you can - although I'm not going to stay up 'til midnight every single night just to see what's next! If I miss out, I miss out.

They lean heavily toward consumer electronics, but occasionally do have other items, such as appliances, stuff for your car, etc. Tuesdays lately have been "TwoFer" Tuesdays, with the item up for sale being a set of two of something.

The most fun - and sometimes the source of the best deals - is the occasional "Woot Off". Instead of selling one item for the day and being done, they have a whole slew of products lined up, and as soon as one sells out, the next one goes up. There was a Woot Off yesterday that only lasted until the afternoon; usually they go for 2-3 days.

I'd been waiting for it. Harry very much wants an MP3 player, and he wants one with a screen. (Understandable!) I've seen cheap ones at the store for, say, 256K, no screen, $20. Guess what I found yesterday? A Sansa brand 1Gb WITH SCREEN for only $12.99!!! (It's a refurb, but still. And a friend of mine told me she has a smaller memory refurb of the same brand that works beautifully.) And best of all, their shipping is only $5, no matter what you buy. (You can buy up to 3 of any item, any day.) Buy one little mouse? $5 shipping. Buy 3 large screen plasma TVs? $5 shipping.

No, Woot isn't going to help you be frugal if you just sit around waiting on stuff and going, "Oh cool! Great price! Must have!". BUT, if you are in the market for something, have the money saved, and are willing to wait and see, you may just come across a great deal that will save you a ton of money.

Be sure to visit Crystal's blog for more frugal goodness!

Oh, and if you hurry, you can have a chance at winning an iPod Shuffle, too!

Oh, I almost forgot - if you're needing items that you might find at Linens N Things, HERE is a coupon that's good for 20% off your TOTAL purchase, not just one item! And if I remember right, places like Bed, Bath & Beyond will usually honor other stores' coupons, so you can probably use it somewhere else if they have what you want instead of LNT.

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Thursday, August 30, 2007

What is my...One Little Secret?

What a fun bloggy contest! We're invited to share our secret with bloggityville, then link back to Darlene Schacht's blog - with a chance at winning an iPod Shuffle! How cool! So I'll play along:

My secret that I don't want to move. There. I'm not terrified, but I am scared. People have no idea how long it took me to get to the comfort level I'm at here, I can't bear the thought of starting over again. I do NOT make friends easily. Although, I am better at it than I used to be, so maybe it won't be as hard this time around.

Secretly, every little delay so far just thrills me. I shouldn't feel this way - poor DH is so tired from all the commuting, but part of me doesn't care. I want to stay here. Well, not this house, I hate this house more every day, but here where we live. I know where everything is at, I know everyone at church, I know the local homeschool covers, etc. I don't want to leave all this behind.

I know, I know. It's a growing experience. It will be a wonderful town to live in. But half of me just wants to cuddle up under the covers and not care.

So - what's your secret? To see all the rest, just click on the little picture above.

Ooops, I forgot to follow instructions! I'm also supposed to mention the book that started this whole contest idea, Allison Bottke's "One Little Secret", as well as the sponsor of the contest, Art Bookbindery. Thank you to both of you for this fun little contest!

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Product Review: Name Your Tune song CDs

The very sweet Candace from the "Name Your Tune" song CD company offered me a copy of one of their CDs recently, and I'm finally getting around to thanking her! (It's only been a LITTLE hectic y'all - nothing like family reunions, trips away for the kids, and trying to move all at the same time to keep you on your toes!) It's fabulous quality, and it was so kind of her to offer it, especially since she's in Canada and I'm in the US!

I was very pleased with the CD. Each one is personalized with your child's name - your child will hear their own name about 80 times by the time they finish the CD, wow. From old favorites like "Old MacDonald" and "Wheels on the Bus" to the very sweet "I Don't Want To Live On the Moon", your child is sure to love this CD if they still like children's songs. Nothing is too wild, so it would probably make a great bedtime CD.

I wasn't sure what to expect with this personalization bit, but I was really wowed by it. I don't know if they record each song with each name separately, or if they work some kind of fabulous digital magic, but you would never know that your CD is any different then anyone else's. The name blends so perfectly, it certainly sounds as if it were recorded with the name in place!

Name Your Tune CDs are $20(CAN) or $17(US) each, which isn't bad at all for a personalized CD. You can get them for $18(CAN)/$16(US) each if you order two or more. And besides the CD being personalized, the physical CD is, as well - you can have it labeled the way you want, for example, "To Hermione, With Love From Mom and Dad".

However, Candace was kind enough to give me a discount code that shoppers can use. Just use
NNHOL2005 and you'll get $5 off your order!

I hope you will enjoy some tunes from Name Your Tune as much as my daughter has!

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All together now, to the tune of the "Hallelujah Chorus"!

Hooooootttt Water!
Hooooootttt Water!
Hot Water!
Hot Water!
Hot Waa-aaa-aaa-ater!

Yippee! The hot water heater is FIXED, and it cost me NOTHING. Waiting two weeks wasn't fun, but at least it's summer, not winter. And now I can wash dishes more easily and take decent temp showers/baths.

Thursday Challenge

I thought I'd give the Thursday Photo Challenge a try! This week's theme is "yellow".

Wouldn't you know it - yellow is my least favorite color! I figured there was no way I already had something in my photos that would work, that I'd have to compose and take a new picture. But, fear not! I actually have one.

Across the street from us is a tree that DH says is an ornamental pear. It has the most beautiful fall foliage every year. Last year, I finally thought to take a picture of it one time! I think I actually had some sort of artsy idea in mind when I took this picture, of nothing but leaves and branches, but now I don't even remember what that was.

Don't forget to check the other Thursday Challenge participants!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Pachelbel's Parenting In D


This very funny, very talented Dad has so perfectly captured parenting. I laughed til I cried. Go watch!

Works For Me Wednesday: Preventing Pee Puddles

Shannon's post a couple of weeks ago about Febreze behind the toilet reminded me of a tip that I wanted to pass along - and then I promptly forgot about it. But, I finally remembered it!

I have two guys in the house. One manages to do mostly okay, but the other misses to the side a lot. The side where the garbage can sits. This can get QUITE messy, as you can imagine, with, um, "stuff" puddling under the edges of the can.

My solution is to place one folded section of newspaper under the can. This soaks up all the drips, and I can just change it out - carefully, of course! - every few days. Then I don't have stuff dried into the floor. Cleanup of the floor is much easier.

That's my tip for this week! Be sure to check out Shannon's blog for more GREAT tips this week!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

My poor fridge

I took all the "stuff" off my fridge last night and boxed it up. The only things that are left are a comic about moving and my magnet holder thingy that holds my knock-off bleach pen.

It's so bare and white, and it just makes my heart ache! It's the most visible reminder I've seen yet that we'll soon be gone and it just tears me up. Fridges become one of the little "hearts" of a home, with family pictures, drawings, fancy magnets that have been given to you, and more. Having it all down makes it seem like I don't love anyone around here enough to put up all those little reminders.

I can't wait to decorate my fridge again!

Want to win a brand new photo printer?

It's a new HP Photosmart printer - the newest model! 5 Minutes For Mom has managed to snag one for a giveaway! Go check it out:

5 Minutes For Mom HP Photosmart Giveaway

Monday, August 27, 2007

Well, bless her little ol' heart, I'm sure she's well socialized....

YouTube is acting up this morning, so I'll post the link to the page rather than embedding the video here:

Miss Teen South Carolina answers an education question

Oh. My. Stars. This poor girl. I hope this was just a bad case of nerves rather than the complete and utter vapid stupidity it seems to be on the surface.

And they are STILL asleep...

It's 9:41. BOTH kids are still sound asleep. They've had two late nights in a row, and that's after a week with my mother. (And I think Friday night was probably kind of late, too.) I decided I'd let them sleep in this morning - aren't I just the best mom? ;-)

The house is a little bit cool because it's rainy outside, plus their bedrooms are kind of dark due to the rain. I'm sure the sounds of the rain are soothing, too.

Any bets on when they'll finally get up? LOL

UPDATE: Hermione woke up on her own at 9:48.

Harry, on the other hand, I finally woke up myself at 10:35. >faint<

Saturday, August 25, 2007

A Week Without The Kids

A week without the kids is the most relaxed, fabulous feeling a mom can have.

A week without the kids is the saddest a mom can feel outside of real tragedy.

A week without the kids is the joy of a quiet, peaceful house.

A week without the kids is too much silence that's begging to be filled with something.

A week without the kids is the chance to see those chick-flicks you've been dying to see.

A week without the kids is having nobody to enjoy the movies with because hubby's at work, too.

A week without the kids is the freedom to go anywhere and do anything without constantly refereeing some fight or telling somebody to get their hands off.

A week without the kids is not having anyone to help you choose apples vs. bananas or help to carry everything in the house afterwards.

A week without the kids is a chance to reconnect with your hubby without constant interruptions.

A week without the kids is missing out on seeing what a great dad your husband is because there's nobody home to be a dad to.

A week without the kids is a chance to relax and enjoy yourself, renewing your inner you.

A week without the kids is a time to worry because you aren't in your usual element of control.

A week without the kids is one of the happiest times of a mom's life.

A week without the kids is one of the saddest times of a mom's life.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Frugal Friday: foaming hand soap

I love the foaming hand soaps that are out these days. I love the texture, and how it doesn't just slide off your skin about a third of the time before you ever lather up. Kids also like it - it's cool, and they probably like the no-sliding thing, too. But it is SO expensive! One dispenser's worth only costs a smidge more than a dispenser of regular hand soap, but the refills, if I remember right, are more expensive. Plus, you go through it pretty fast.

Well, a couple of years ago I managed to get two free Dial brand dispensers for free with coupons. But when they were empty, I didn't want to just throw them away, nor did I want to spend the money on the refills! So I started my brain a'thinkin' and came up with this, and it WORKS!

Squeeze in a couple good tablespoons worth of regular liquid hand soap. Any kind is fine, just as long as it doesn't have those scrubbing bead things or other floating materials in. Gently add water up to the line on the bottle, cap and shake well. You'll want to add the water gently so as not to make too many suds inside, which will take up space and make a mess when you try to cap it off.

And there you have it! This will make your regular hand soap last forever, nearly, and you get the coolness of foam without the expense. I am absolutely loving it!

That's this week's Frugal Friday - be sure to check Crystal's Blog for more great tips!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Recipe: Sausage and cheese over rice

A little something I threw together last week:

  • Brown one pound of bulk sausage in a 2-3 quart pot. Take out to drain well and let it cool for a few minutes; wipe down the inside of the pot.
  • Pat down at least one cup of cooked rice in the bottom of the pan. I used some leftover rice, a good way to get rid of that bit that's not enough for everyone.
  • Layer the sausage over the rice.
  • Shred or thinly slice your choice of cheese and layer on top of the sausage, as much as suits you.
  • Scramble 4-6 eggs (I had 5) with some milk, add a little pepper if you like. You shouldn't need salt, especially if the rice is already salted. Pour over the cheese and sausage. (Sausage should be cool enough that it doesn't start cooking the eggs immediately.)
  • Put the lid on the pot; turn the eye to low and cook for 30-40 minutes.

Easy as pie and it was SO yummy! You could also add other layers, seasonings, etc. Some fresh chives or green onions just before serving would probably be nice.

Thursday Thirteen

Thirteen Things about Harry's Room

I'm cleaning out Harry's room this week. Things I've found, or done, by the numbers:
  1. Garbage bags full of garbage: 3 1/2 SO FAR
  2. Lego bricks that were on the floor when they should be in the box in the living room: at least 100.
  3. Unidentifiable objects: at least 30
  4. Screws on the floor from all the electronic and computer things he's taken apart: innumerable
  5. Pieces of furniture removed: 1 child-size recliner
  6. Pieces of old desk thrown in the garbage: 2
  7. Floppies found scattered around: at least 20 SO FAR
  8. Number of MY music CD cases, EMPTY, found in his room instead of the CD tower where they belong: 3
  9. Number of computer keyboards in various stages of usability: at least 5
  10. Number of sheets on his bed where they belong: ZERO
  11. Number of flat sheets lying on the floor: 1
  12. Number of walkable square feet on the floor: Um. Maybe 6!
  13. Number of Christmas lights in his room: Don't even get me started. Just don't.

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!
1. (leave your link in comments, I’ll add you here!)

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Works For Me Wednesday: Keeping a lid on spam email

It's Wednesday again! Time for a helpful hint!

Do you ever fill out a form online for something you're not real sure about - you're not sure it's totally legit, or you worry that even if it is, they're going to sell you email addy to a bajillion and one other companies? I use SpamGourmet to get around that problem.

It's very simple. Just type in your address as "". The "someword" is any word you want to put in. I usually put in some version of the name of the company whose form I am filling out. The # can be any number up to 20 (3 is the default if you forget), and that will be how many times you will receive an email from that address. "Username" of course is your SpamGourmet username.

After that, SpamGourmet sends the emails on to you after they zip through their service. If they send more than the number you specified, SpamGourmet just "eats" them and you will NEVER, EVER see them. You can go in to SG, check your account, and see how many they blocked from each individual address you have used. SG does NOT keep a copy of any email - they either forward them or eat them.

An added bonus is that you can whitelist addresses if you decide that you do want to continue getting emails from a certain company. Then you will continue receiving the emails even after it passes the number you originally specified.

And that's what works for me!

Be sure to check Shannon's blog for more great tips!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Anybody know where to get a pith helmet for cheap?

Machetes I've got. I need the safari helmet to protect my head. I am cleaning out Harry's bedroom.

He's nearly 12. Need I say much more?

He's obsessed with computers, and has far too many friends, including HIS DADDY, who are co-conspirators and enablers. :-D He also inherited the packrat gene that runs throughout the whole family. Getting rid of stuff is next to impossible for him. Therefore, I'm going to do it for him - because he's gone and can't say a word about it! BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA...........

Two years ago, I cleaned his room and moved Hermione out of the room. One thing I did was box up all the building blocks and alphabet blocks, plus all the many toy tools he'd owned for years. I gave them all to friends with a three year old son. At the time, he was nearly 9 and Hermione was nearly 7; they had both long since outgrown all of them but wouldn't get rid of them.

TWO MONTHS LATER, neither of them had noticed. I only told them after two months because we were going to the home where I had sent the toys and didn't want them to discover them by accident, thus precipitating a meltdown.

I seriously wonder if they would have EVER missed them if I hadn't owned up to it, LOL.

I wonder how much I can get away with this time........

Monday, August 20, 2007

Welcome, Make It From Scratch carnival seekers!

Po Moyemu's blog is hosting the "Make It From Scratch" blog carnival, and I have an entry in it this week. The recipe for profiteroles is one of many make-it-yourself ideas in this week's carnival. Recipes, crafts, household products and more are a do-it-yourselfer's dream!

Go Visit!

McDonalds Coupons!

I just found something great - printable McDonalds coupons! I have never seen printable coupons for them before. There are 4 of them, and they are only good in select states:

McDonalds Coupons

Friday, August 17, 2007

For those of you looking to "buy local"

I just found a great resource for people looking for farms, farmer's markets, restaurants, grocery stores, etc. that deal in local produce:

Local Harvest

Just put in what you're looking for, and where, and it brings up everything that's local to you. And just look how many places they've already got signed up:

Thursday, August 16, 2007

SO tired....

I am absolutely given out.

They weren't able to fix the water heater - the plumbers quoted me $396, so I said for that kind of money, I'll wait two weeks for Sears to come out and fix it under warranty. YES, TWO WEEKS. I have an appointment for the 30th. I begged her to see if she can get somebody here sooner - baths aren't too bad, but I have no dishwasher. I don't want to wash my dishes in cold water! But there is also no AC in the kitchen - so every time I heat water, I heat the kitchen, too. Oh, I cannot WAIT to get out of this house!

But tomorrow afternoon, we have to leave to spend the night with family because Saturday is the family reunion - which Westley is Chairman of. Of course, just because HE is the chairman doesn't mean he's actually going to do it - that falls to the shopper of the family, me. Which I didn't mind too much last year (yes, we did it last year, too!) but this year it's just too much.

Add to this the fact that the kids are going to spend the following week with my mother, and I've got a ton to do. I did several loads of laundry today just to make sure the kids have enough clothes to get at least half way through their week with Mom - they'll still have to do one load of laundry partway through the week there.

I'm also trying to decorate two cakes to take with me tomorrow afternoon that are going to the reunion - a 65th birthday and a 50th Anniversary both this week. I don't know if I'll get those done after all. The cakes are made, and the toppings are purchased, but I just don't know that I have it in me to try and get them done tomorrow. They may just go in the freezer for a future project. Maybe our farewell party with church friends.

Which is NEXT Saturday.

I'm going to be a melted, gibbering mess the first part of the next week. DH may have to just pour me into my pew seat Sunday morning and elbow me every 10 minutes.

Did someone say ICE CREAM?

And frozen yogurt, and sorbet, and....

Blue Thistle Books is doing a giveaway for a Cuisinart 2 qt. ice cream/frozen treats maker. Oh, pure bliss....

Here's where you go enter for this one!

Did someone say BOOKS?

Oooooo.... I just found a contest where they're giving away a bag full of books. And bath goodies, so you can read them in peace! Maybe I'll win, and I can enjoy my bath goodies in my new garden tub....

Here's the dealio right here.

Thursday Thirteen

Thirteen Things about DEMETER

1. I once spent more than 2 years reading everything I could get my hands on about Greco-Roman mythology, all because I was fascinated that my real name is related to one of the goddessess. (Not that I believe in that stuff.)

2. I can not only roll my tongue in a "U" shape, I can also fold it in half front-to-back and make a cloverleaf shape, too.

3. I've lived in my current home for 12 1/2 years, which is the longest I've lived in any one place in my life.

4. I played flute and piccolo in school, and I still own my flute. However, I sold my piccolo a few years ago when we needed the money.

5. I have never had cable/satellite TV in my whole life.

6. I knew that I would homeschool my future children back when I was a Senior in high school.

7. I cannot ride a bike - the one bike I had as a child got crushed before I really learned to ride well, and there was no money to replace it.

8. I can't skate, either - roller or ice.

9. I love to read, and will read cereal boxes or sugar packets if I'm desperate enough.

10. I have watched two movies made when I was younger, in the town I lived in at the time. One was a TV movie with Johnny Cash and Andy Griffith, and the other was the big screen movie "Tank" with James Garner and Shirley Jones.

11. I'm good at almost anything I turn my hand to, whether it's crafting, writing, music, etc. - but I've never been great at any of it. Jack of all trades, master of none, that's me in a nutshell.

12. If money were no option, I would be a hopeless gadget junkie. I love technology!

13. I cannot go to bed before 10:30, maybe 10 if I'm REALLY tired. If I try to go to bed too soon, I end up tossing and turning, then just get up and piddle around reading or playing on the computer, and stay waaaaaay past 10:30 because I can't sleep.

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!
1. (leave your link in comments, I’ll add you here!)

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Wordless Wednesday

No hot water!!

Dear God,

Thank you for this being summer!

Our hot water heater went out yesterday. We didn't discover this until Westley was trying to take a bath and was getting progressively colder water. Turned out the pilot was out, but he got it going again - but that only lasted maybe 10 minutes. No go on getting it going again, so we just shut it off completely.

Called the gas company, and the gas man said he thinks its the thermocouple, but he didn't have the parts. Call Sears, he says - it should still be under warranty because it's not very old.

Finally got a real person at Sears, and you want to know when the next available appointment was? Today is the 14th of August. Their next available appointment was......

August 29th.

FIFTEEN DAYS, y'all. 15 days with no hot water. Baths might be doable, but I don't have a dishwasher - I'm not boiling water to wash dishes, that's too hot and I would worry about accidentally scalding myself. So I called up a repair place I've used before, and they'll have someone here in the morning. One night is doable.

Fifteen days for an appliance repair. The cynic in me can't help wondering how long I would have had to wait if I *weren't* under warranty. It just burns me up that I'm going to have to pay for it all myself because I can't wait two weeks for a repair.

Recipe: Profiteroles

This week I read "Dragonwell Dead" by Laura Childs. It's the first of her mysteries that I've ever read; it was a decent enough read. She writes in the mystery sub-genre that seems to be all the rage these days, a "theme" series. Her mysteries are set in South Carolina and the protagonist owns a tea shop, thus, much of the story takes place around the theme of tea. Similar books would be the "Goldilocks Catering" mysteries and the "Grace and Favor" series.

In the back of the book, Ms. Childs provides several recipes for items that were mentioned in the book, and I tried one last night - profiteroles. That's just a fancy word for "cream puffs", y'all. But they were soooo easy and soooo good that I just have to share! Here's the recipe as it's written in the book, then I'll make my own notes:

1 cup milk
1/2 cup butter
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 large eggs

In a saucepan, bring milk and butter to a boil. While boiling, add flour all at once and stir rapidly until mixture forms a ball. Removed from heat and beat in eggs thoroughly, one at a time. Place heaping teaspoons of dough on a greased cookie sheet, about 2 inches apart. Bake for 20 minutes at 425 degrees, then reduce heat to 350 degrees and continue baking for 10 to 15 minutes, until puffs are well risen and dry. When cool, gently pull off the top and add your favorite filling.

When I made these last night, they were completely cooked in the 20 minutes at 425 degrees. The first batch, I did turn down to 350 degrees and let them cook for another couple of minutes, but my nose quickly told me that they were done. The second batch was completely done in the 20 minutes at 425, I took them out immediately because they were very, very brown.

These were SO good filled with ice cream for dessert last night. They would also be good with a hearty filling like chicken salad, scrambled eggs with toppings, etc. Westley and I spent a good hour last night dreaming up fillings for them!

One last note: these should be cooked, filled and served within a matter of hours. Don't make them the day ahead for an event. They're not horrible, but they absorb moisture really quickly and turn chewy instead of light and fluffy. They could possibly be made in the morning for an evening event, but I won't swear to that since I've only made them once. Oh, and I didn't count, but I think this made around 2 to 2 1/2 dozen at the size I made.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Walgreen's Bragging

Went shopping at Walgreen's yesterday to get my newspapers and use up a $10 "Register Rewards" coupon that was due to expire very soon. I got:

3 sticks of Degree deodorant
2 jars of Skippy peanut butter
1 jar of Hellman's mayo
4 local newspapers

My pre-coupon total was almost $22, but I had three $1 coupons on the deodorant, two 40 cent coupons on the peanut butter and one 50 cent coupon on the mayo (all from the papers sitting in my buggy). Then take off the $10 Register Reward coupon, and my out of pocket cost was only $7.96. BUT, I also got another $5 Register Reward coupon, because the deodorants, peanut butter and mayo were all part of a Unilever promotion - buy $15 worth of their products in the ad and get $5 back. So, I am really only paying $2.96 for all of that, PLUS I've got 4 papers' worth of good coupons, so I will make all of that back as well, in the future!

I love frugal shopping!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Testing, testing...

Just ignore this, I'm testing to see if Technorati is picking up my new posts. It doesn't seem to want to ping my blog correctly.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Frugal Friday - learn where the clearance spots are at

One thing I love about my favorite store, Target, is that they have dependable clearance spots. There are certain spots in every department where you will always find 1-3 end caps of clearance items. After a few trips there, I learned where they are all at, so now when I go, I have a certain route that I take through the store that takes me past most of the clearance end caps. If I'm looking for a particular item, I know exactly where to go first to look for a deal, then I can search the rest of the department if needed.

I don't go to Kohl's very much, but they do pretty much the same thing, so the clearance items are easy to find. Good tags for the sections help, too. I found several great items for an upcoming family reunion and for my new home today.

Don't forget to check Crystal's blog for more Frugal Friday goodness! Don't forget to click HERE for a chance at 50 - 60 Box Tops For Education that I'm giving away this week, too!

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Thursday Thirteen: 13 Things I Look Forward To About Moving

Last week's post was a bit of a downer, so this week is upbeat and positive!

  1. I look forward to my husband getting to be home more because he's not having to make a long commute every day. He might even get to come home for lunch because we'll be living so close to his office!
  2. More space at home! The new place won't be a lot bigger, but a little bit. And every bit helps.
  3. We're moving to a beautiful part of the state that's not so citi-fied like where we're at now.
  4. We'll be living in a college town, and I'm hoping that will present lots of opportunities for us for field trips, etc. since we homeschool.
  5. A chance to make new friends!
  6. Good water pressure! You cannot imagine what it's like to live for 12 1/2 years with bad water pressure. And no dishwasher. I'm going to have a dishwasher, too!
  7. Hopefully, a bigger church family. We're still not entirely sure where we'll end up, but it will probably be the larger of the two we're looking at. I hope so, because I want lots of opportunities for all of us to grow in the Lord with good Christian friends.
  8. A garden tub - the master bath has this lovely, DEEP tub in it that will be perfect for soaking when I'm tired or sore.
  9. Less crime - our current neighborhood is getting downright scary. Our new neighborhood has lots of patrols (some police actually live there, too) and pretty much zero crime.
  10. Living closer to my home state - we'll actually be only about 1/2 hour away from the border, I can "go home" any time I want.
  11. Two bathtubs (one tub only, one tub/shower) + one shower = faster bath and bed times. Hopefully.
  12. A real room for Hermione, even if it is small. Her current room is really just a re-purposed space with no actual door.
  13. Even cooling and heating - we currently have a floor furnace for heat and window units for air. Which means that large parts of the house are either freezing or burning up most of the year. We'll finally have central heat and air!

Don't forget to check out all the other Thursday Thirteen posts, and don't forget to scroll down a few posts to enter the giveaway for Box Tops For Education that I'm giving away this week!

Works For Me Wednesday: Coupon savings on small items

Quick tip:

When buying things with coupons, if there is no size limitation on your coupon, do the math and see if using a coupon on smaller sized items will give you greater savings. For example, I buy a lot of individual sized General Mills cereals, because I can get them for free or nearly free at my local Winn Dixie stores - they regularly put out 75c/2, $1/2, $1/3, etc. coupons, and there are no size minimums. If I can get the $1/2 coupons, then I can get the boxes of cereal totally FREE (they're 50c each) except for the tax!

This won't always work on every coupon and every item, but it's always worth looking at and trying. Lower unit price is what you're going for, so grab it if you can!

Don't forget to check Shannon's blog for more WFMW posts, and also don't forget to scroll down a few posts for this week's giveaway of some extra Box Tops For Education that I've got lying around!

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Wordless Wednesday

(I thought this was a good one for my first Wordless Wednesday. Because, y'all, when I walked in and saw this, I was SPEECHLESS.

Especially considering that this was the second time in his life he'd done this!)

Go HERE to see more Wordless Wednesday posts!

A chance at $2500? You betcha I'm jumping in!

UPDATE: This was a scam, folks, sorry for anyone who got caught up in it. The idiot was just trying up his rankings by creating so many links to his blog. I found the information HERE, and I'm going to follow their idea. By jumping in, I now have a chance at $100. Which is no $2500, but hey, it's better than nothing!

Came across this tidbit at Overwhelmed With Joy today. The blog "**********" is giving bloggers a chance at $2500!

Over at Ashwin’s blog, you will find one crazy blog owner!! You can win $2500!! To enter just copy this text and paste it in your blog!! But hurry, this competition will not last long! So get posting!

Wowza! I can't imagine having that much spare cash lying around for a blog contest.

Couple of things..

1. Don't forget to scroll down a couple of posts and sign up for my giveaway this week!

2. See the drop-down box over to the right, for The Mom Blogs? Would you mind letting them know what you think of my blog? I'm not asking for all high marks, just an honest assessment. Thanks!

My little twig is growing up

Yesterday, Hermione spent a gift card she had received to buy a new shirt. Technically, it's teen's shirt, but in a size small it fits her just right - since on a teen it's supposed to be very form-fitting and tight. (Don't get me started on modesty - the fact that a TEEN'S shirt fits my not-quite-9 year old daughter just burns me up, y'all!)

The shirt has some tucks in the middle, at what would be the waist on a teen, just a simple little attention detail. Hermione was asking me last night if those were supposed to be up around the chest area - which I had thought at first, too - and I was trying to explain detailing and how it would show off her waist if she had one. How that, you know, when you get older you get a bigger chest AND bigger hips, so you're not just straight up and down any more.

I held up my hands, side by side, and was telling her, "Well, right now you're kind of a stick. But when you get older, you'll be more like a..."

"...a branch?!" she says.

Okay then.

Maybe you just had to be there. I 'bout died laughing, myself.

I feel sorry for the boys in about 5 years....

Lately, I've been noticing that whenever I'm cranky, irritable, bloated and in major pain - which seems to happen about every 4 weeks ;-) - that Hermione is just as cranky and irritable. Or maybe she's just irriTATING. Or maybe I'm just over sensitive. At any rate, on the one day when I feel the worst each month lately, she turns into this monster child that I just want to throttle. She gets mad at everything and everybody, yells and screams more than usual, and butts heads with ME every chance she gets.

She's lucky she's going to be able to sit comfortably today.

If she's picking up on some pheromone thing that's causing such a hormonal shift, then I shudder to think what's she's going to be like in a few years, when it's her own hormones raging. And the two of us in the same house together? EEK.

It ain't going to be pretty, y'all.

We may have to send the boys to a hotel or out camping once a month. Either that or they're going to start plotting to lace our Hershey bars with Xanax or something.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

This week's giveaway! (Contest, y'all!)

So, in the process of trying to move, I'm coming across all kinds of things I need to get rid of. Bloggy giveaways seem like a good idea right now, at least for small things. So, without further ado, here's this week's giveaway:

Box Tops For Education!

You know, those things you save up and send with your kid to school to raise money for the school. I'm going to give away 50 - 60 of them. Here's how you can get your chance:

1. For a chance at 50, leave a comment on this thread. Be sure I can contact you!

2. For a chance at 60, leave a comment here AND link back to THIS POST on your own blog.

I'll draw for a winner around 4:00 Central this coming Saturday.


Welcome, Fechr Krechrs!

Wow, I got Featured On Fechr!


The new mom's guide to water conservation

As a new mom in the 21st century, you may be pondering how to fit the "green" lifestyle into your new reality. There are all sorts of things to ponder now: disposable vs. cloth, breast vs. bottle, organic cotton goods vs. synthetics, and the list goes on. Luckily, the area of water conservation is a relatively simple one. It goes something like this:

  • Wait until after hubby dearest has left for work to attempt taking your own shower. Granted, this may take 6 hours after hubby has left, but that's still after. It's like the fuzzy logic of the Gremlins movie from the 80's - when exactly was that nebulous "okay" time that was not after midnight, yet was before midnight when it was all right to feed a Gremlin? After a few weeks of new-parent reality, you cease to care and just drop into a state of willing suspension of disbelief.
  • Get Jr. down for his or her nap at some point. Drop into the nearest chair or couch to close your eyes for just a minute before dragging yourself to the bathroom for that shower.
  • Jerk wildly awake an hour later when you realize that Jr. is beginning to stir, yet you're drooling over the side of the armrest. Hurtle to the bathroom and pray you can get the water going before you hear the first wail.
  • Jump in, throw a handful of soap and shampoo in the general direction of your body, then hop out again. Half of the water molecules are going to go down the drain wondering why they were called from the sky, and "was that a naked woman I just saw stumbling from the tub?", but that's not really your concern at this point.
  • Dry the remaining half of the molecules of water from your body while Jr. cranks it up. Put on clothes, and ha! Jr. is rescued and all is well with the world.

There you have it. Water conservation made simple!

Assuming, of course, you wake up in time. If you don't - well, not getting a shower at all really saves water!

If you hurry... can get in under the wire and have a chance at winning either a blog header, or a watercolor picture from this nice artist lady. Contest HERE.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Linky fun

Interesting links from my rabbit trails today:

  • Would you believe there is such a thing as a cardboard record player? Yep, it was invented by missionaries so that they could carry records into remote areas to help them teach the Gospel.
  • New sci-fi show! I love good, quality science fiction shows, something lacking from today's usual line-up. ABC is putting out Masters of Science Fiction - unfortunately it's in a bad time slot and not likely to do well. I need to learn how to time-program this new VCR of ours....
  • Be part of a world-wide video! GMail is soliciting user videos, and they will select the best, editing them all together into one giant project. Just be sure to follow the rules, and maybe you'll get to be part of it! Gmail: A Behind the Scenes Video

Chitty-chitty Bang-bang

I just had to trim my bangs because they were waaaaay down in my eyes. Nothing remarkable, you might say, if it were not for just one little thing:

I got a haircut just last week.

I went to the MasterCuts at the mall, sat in a chair, watched the nice lady cut my hair all over, paid, walked out and came home.

And didn't notice for another week that my bangs were still in my eyes.

How? How does an otherwise sane woman not notice that the very thing that sent her to the hair lady in the first place is still there?

I don't even have the excuse of screaming toddlers or hungry babies, for cryin' out loud!

I used to have a mind like a steel trap. I think somebody turned it around and trapped it and done took off with it. Bring it back, please!

Debt Snowball Calculator

Oddly enough, Crystal's Frugal Friday post is about Dave Ramsey, the financial/debt reduction guy. I had planned this post before I read hers, though! My FF tip isn't about "frugality" per se, but it relates, and I'll get to that in a minute.

(Pssstttt.... I'm having a giveaway right HERE. And you have until 4:00 Saturday to sign up!)

We have debt. BIG debt. I've been discouraged for years about it because I was making zero headway, and in fact, until Westley got his new job, was getting deeper even without *spending* a dime more, all because of high finance charges and other fees. When Westley began his new job, I was finally able to start really paying down those debts, and being able to see real results.

I've never done Ramsey's Financial Peace University, nor have I read any of his books, but I did browse his website several times, and listened to some of his podcasts via iTunes. (Free, and easy to set up, just check the site.) One thing that Ramsey recommends is what he calls the "snowball method" of debt reduction. He teaches that people should use the smallest balance method, and this is how it works with Ramsey:

Write down all of your debt amounts, then line them up in order of smallest to largest balance, NO MATTER THE INTEREST RATE. Now, start paying everything you can spare to throw at that SMALLEST debt first, and only pay the minimums on the other debts. When that smallest debt is paid off, don't say "woo-hoo, now that payment is freed up for fun stuff!", take that amount and add it on to the minimum amount of your next smallest debt. If you've got another one after that, then take THAT amount and add it on to the minimum payment for THAT account. And so on. The idea is that by actually knocking out a whole card worth of debt, even if it's just a few hundred dollars, gives you a psychological boost you just won't get by chipping away at all of them equally and seemingly never reaching zero on any of them.

The one thing I didn't find on Ramsey's site was something to help me calculate how long it was going to take me to pay off our debts by doing this, but I found one. Just go here:

What's The Cost: Debt Snowball Calculator

and plug in your numbers. (You can also figure in Euros and British pounds, just look on the right for the flags!) You can tell it to figure by the balance method, or by order of interest rate. Tell it how much total money you're wanting to pay on your debt each month, and it will calculate for you how many months it will take to pay off, if you continue to use that amount of money each and every month.

I was so surprised and ENCOURAGED when I saw that I can pay off our debt in only 21 months at our current rate! I thought it was going to be something like 5 years, but no, if I continue to pay the same amount I'm doing now every month, I'll be debt free from my creditors in less than two years.

You can also go back and tell it to recalculate using the same numbers, but using the opposite method, to find out which method will save you the most interest. If I were to keep the same amount of payments, but switch over to trying to knock out the cards in order of their interest rate (highest rate first, of course) I would pay about $120 less in interest. For that amount, I'll stick with the smallest balance method - I've already killed one card, and will kill the next one next Wednesday. You can't beat that kind of rush and encouragement!

How does this relate to frugality? Well, anything that encourages you to be financially fit is good, but the encouragement and the feeling of "I CAN DO THIS!" is a good tool in your frugalness arsenal. If I start wanting all those "extra" things I can now supposedly afford with DH's new job, but I know that they will come at the expense of my debt reduction plan, I'm more likely to turn them down. Thus, I will continue to be frugal and careful, because I don't want to lose sight of my plan. If something comes up and I have to go back to paying just my minimums again, or anything less than the current amount I'm throwing at the debt, I can just go back to the calculator and refigure rather than getting discouraged and giving up - I'll be able to see that okay, maybe it's not 14 months anymore, it's going to be 16 months now, but that's liveable, and that's OKAY.

Don't forget to check Crystal's Blog for more frugal delights - it's always great! And don't forget to sign up for your chance to win a free movie ticket tomorrow!

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Watch this video...

...then I dare you to tell me that Terry Fator isn't one of the most amazing variety acts you've ever seen!

I don't watch America's Got Talent, or any of those type reality shows, but this guy was pointed out to me by a friend of mine. I love his act, it's SO cute! And he's got a ton of them, check him out at YouTube and at

Ooo, more free stuff - better hurry!

"An Island Life" is offering a $50 GC to KooKoo Bear Kids to one lucky winner. You have to go HERE for the rules and to sign up.

They have such pretty stuff, I'm not sure what I'd pick!

Thursday Thirteen: A Very Moving Post

Thirteen Things I Dread About Moving:

1. All this paperwork!
2. Changing utilities, and trying to time everything so nothing gets cut off too soon here and too late there.
4. Trying to change our address on SOOOOO many things.
5. Needing something that's already been packed - I just know it's going to happen.
6. Trying to move my cantankerous old cat who hates to ride in her cage. And she probably will be very miffed about being moved to a new place, too.
7. The actual physical move, all that back and forth, toting boxes and things. URGH.
8. Being without my internet for even in a day.
9. The unexpected costs; I hope there aren't too many!
10. Having to leave all my friends here.
11. Having to try and make it through our farewell party without collapsing into a blubbering heap of gooey wetness.
12. Having to learn a whole new city.
13. Dealing with all the little "transfers" that will crop up over the next year or so - car tags, voting registration, library cards, etc.

For more Thursday Thirteens, go HERE.

And don't forget to sign up for my giveaway this week!

Guess what we got to see last night!

We got to see the International Space Station fly over our city last night! A friend had told me that it was the shuttle, but I looked it up today, and it's actually the station. It will also be visible tonight and the following two nights.

It's just one spot of light in the sky, flying very quickly, but it's so cool knowing what it is that you're seeing. Isn't that neat!

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

It's ours! Sort of....

The home we are wanting to buy has been cleared to be sold to us. Now I've just got to go through all this headache-inducing paperwork and do a ton of praying that we get approved. I think we should, but with our credit history I always worry. Things are SO much better for us now that Westley has a great job, but he's only been there 3 months, not much time to establish just how good we can be at paying our bills, finally. On the plus side, the home we're buying is only half the cost of our current home, so our mortgage will be low, so that should be in our favor since that means an even smaller debt-to-income ratio when they look at what we're trying to get approved.

I've never done the home-buying thing before. DH bought this current house from his brother when his brother needed to move suddenly, and actually originally bought it with a signature loan using his Dad's CDs as collateral, instead of a mortgage. We later turned that into a regular mortgage, and have re-fi'ed once since that time. But neither of us have been through the selling and buying process from scratch, so we feel like ducks out of water.

I absolutely DREAD the next few weeks!

Have you heard about "Fechr"?

Cool new service, but you'd better hurry! Fechr features a new website every day for 24 hours, and yours can be one of them. Right now, the service is free, but once they start getting 500 hits/day, they're going to charge $5 for it, which still isn't bad.

I'm going to give it a try!

Works For Me Wednesday: Parenting Edition "Be a Human, Not a Helicopter"

Or, quit hovering!

Shannon asked us all to give parenting advice this time around, for this month's themed WFMW posts. Alrighty, I'll play!

(Pssttt... see the end of the post for a new giveaway!)

The biggest thing I wish someone had told me my first time around as Mom was to relax and not hover when my son was trying something new, or challenging. Things like climbing on stuff at the park, riding a bike, etc. All of that stuff made me nervous - he was my BABY!, he could get HURT! - and I really think that nervousness communicated itself to him. I was much more relaxed the second time, and that shows, too. My daughter is the adventurous one, tackling all sorts of climbing maneuvers designed to give me a heart attack.

I may be wrong - their personalities may have been set in stone in regards to adventurousness the day they were born. But I don't think so. I really think I held my son back by worrying too much and being too nervous when he tried things, and he decided that that sort of stuff wasn't for him. I regret that, now, but I did the best I could at the time.

I'm not saying that you should just turn your child loose on the world and not ever pay attention to what they're doing. But you should be encouraging and helpful, and do your best not to be overtly nervous. Children are quite sensitive and pick up on these things. If you just can't help being too nervous, then enlist the help of someone who isn't that way, whether it's Dad, an aunt/uncle or just a friend. Let your kids figure out on their own what they feel comfortable doing, not what you feel comfortable with them doing.

Like I said, today's WFMW is a themed edition with Parenting Advice as the theme. Go visit Rocks In My Dryer for what's sure to be a whole book's worth of advice!

Also, don't forget to visit this post and follow the instructions for a new giveaway this week at IWBH! I've decided to extend the deadline to 4:00 on Saturday.