Thursday, August 27, 2009

See What I Mean?!

I wrote here about Hunter going through an asserting-his-independence-phase recently.

This morning I found him sleeping on the floor. He had pulled out his favorite "baba" shirt (one from Grandma Bessey) out from the dirty clothes (after I told him that it was too dirty to wear anymore) and put it on.

Now this is all very minor compared to the other things that have been occurring around here lately. And I certainly don't mind if he wants to sleep on the floor, in a dirty shirt - that's a battle I can concede. Hopefully, little things like this will make him feel more in control and he will stop some of the other uglier behaviors he's picked up.

Mommyhood Lessons

This is kind of a long post, so feel free to ignore it, but it sure was cathartic to write. I actually wrote it last night, but my internet went down and I was unable to post it then.

Hunter has been going through a difficult phase the last couple of weeks. Couple that with Fred working A LOT and studying for the LSAT several hours a day and you have one very exhausted mama (which would be me).

Hunter has been asserting his independence with unprecedented vigor. He has gone from a kiddo that is really good most of the time to a kiddo who is really difficult most of the time. I know this phase will pass and on the other side, I will have my wonderful, sweet child again. I’ve read many times that when children go through difficult phases it usually coincides with a developmental leap as well. Let me just say that after the last couple of weeks, Hunter better be a genius after all this. ; )

I still love the little guy to the ends of universe, don’t get me wrong – even with all the challenges right now, I wouldn’t trade being his mom for anything. I would however, trade a few of his behaviors for no great sum. Poor Grant has taken the brunt of it physically while I have taken the brunt of it emotionally and mentally. I’ve tried every solution that I and many others, can think of and none of them have helped much. There is always a temporary reprieve, but then the ‘tude comes roaring back with even more gusto. I think this is something that I am just going to have to endure, hold my ground, and eventually it will pass.

I’ve tried allowing him more freedom – yes, you can blow milk bubbles all over the table; no, you don’t have to be strapped in the grocery cart; yes, you can eat a pint of blueberries for dinner (and nothing else). But the ensuing chaos that is created from his new freedoms stresses me out and it does nothing to curb his bad behaviors, which leaves me, well, back to the beginning – exhausted!

And here is where I found myself tonight. Tired and ready to be done with the day hours before bedtime. Fred, working late, but probably not as late as last night (which was 3am, so earlier shouldn’t be too difficult). Grant went down to bed and there was still another hour before Hunter’s bedtime, which seemed like an eternity. I confessed to Hunter that I was so tired and wanted to sleep. He made his sad puppy eyes and said “I know mama, I know. Come sleep in my bed”. He then held my hand and led me into his bed, tucked me in and even gave me Mickey and blankie to cuddle. He then read books to me and told me he loved me. Then turned out the light and closed the door.

As I laid in his bed admiring the glow-in-the-dark stars we had made together, I was grateful that my sweet little guy had returned to me when I needed it most. I was grateful that he wasn’t upset with me for not allowing him to go to the park today or sending him to time out, or even (gasp!) yelling at him.. I was grateful that when he saw that I was in need, he took care of me the best that he knew how. Maybe my sweet little kiddo is still in there somewhere.

While he definitely can stand to learn about a thing or two about obedience and kindness, there is sure a lot that I can learn from him. Every morning I wake up still reeling from the drama the day before and bracing myself for what surely lies ahead. Hunter wakes up, happy that it’s a new day and excited for whatever it holds. I let my frustrations bubble and simmer inside of me, making it very difficult to forgive, forget and move on. Clearly, Hunter has no problem with this, his compassion came billowing out toward me this evening after I had been upset with him much of the day.

Hmmmmm, I guess I’m the one that could stand to learn a lesson or two (or ten!). Tomorrow’s a new day – here’s to making it better than today.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Rite Aid and Target Deals

I took Hunter with me on my Monday morning shopping spree today. He did very well, except for one little incident at Target where he was trying to play with the credit card machine and almost fell out of the cart - yikes!

At Rite Aid I got:

(2 bottles of Lysol Wipes, 4 Pilot Pens (Fred's favorite), 4 composition notebooks, 8 D batteries, 4 AA batteries, 1 toothpaste and 1 bottle of Tylenol)

I spent $17.50 out of pocket, but will receive a $5 rebate for the batteries, $2 rebate for the pens, $2 rebate for the Tylenol, and a $2.49 rebate for the toothpaste. So, after rebates, I will have spent $6.01 (that's how much the 4 pack of AA batteries would've cost)! Original Price: $52.28 (yikes!)

At Target I got:
(2 mini loaves whole grain bread, 2 bottles shaving cream (more art for Hunter!), 2 bottles baby wash, 2 bags of skittles, 2+ lbs of bananas, 1 mini watermelon, 2 travel size Hungry Hungry Hippos, 2 cups Honey Nut Cheerios cereal, 2 travel size toothpaste, 1 Bounce Dryer bar (so excited to use this!), and 2 baby bottles)

I spent $8.22 on all of this, originally it would've cost $39.84. Target has been really hot lately with all their web coupons. I love the baby ones they came out with this week and am looking forward to using a couple of them again next week (once the shelves are re-stocked!). Speaking of shelves, I turned onto the cereal aisle to find a woman clearing the shelf of the individual Honey Nut Cheerios cups. I walked up, grabbed my 2 that I was planning on buying and watched her continue to fill her cart and empty the shelf of every single one. She did not leave any for anyone else, and this was at 8:15 in the morning. And the web coupons are good until 9/12 - there is plenty of time to stock up and still allow others to get some too. There are going to be a lot of sad shoppers today who are trying to get a few free cups of cereal only to find an empty shelf. SO Rude! I just don't get it. Anyways...

I also hit up Walgreens, not because there was anything there that I really wanted to get, but I had some Register Rewards that were expiring and I needed to use them, so I got some printer ink - I've been printing too many coupons! :o) Walgreens' sale this week was pretty disappointing so I just picked up my ink, talked with my favorite cashier, grabbed my free photos and left.

All in all, a great morning of shopping :o)

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Who Says You Have To Play By The Rules?

Today was the Oquirrh Mountain temple dedication and so Amber went to the morning session. Hunter was asking to play games all morning but could not until Grant went down for his morning nap. I lifted Hunter up to the "restricted section" of his room where we store all of the games he can't play with on his own, or at least we don't let him, and he picked out "Harry Potter Scene It?" I let him set up the game as he wanted, because of course I'm not going to try and teach him the rules when he's three, and this is what we got. All of the player pieces in the middle of the board instead of on the outside track and the House Points cards lined up around the room. It's not in this picture but all of the question cards ended up strewn around the area right next to the computer desk. Then Hunter looked at it for a little and decided he'd had his fun and that it was time to clean up. So he picked everything up and put it all back right where it belonged. We had fun without the rules, so who needs 'em? At least when you're three, right?

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Birthday Boy!

("Happy Birthday Grant!")

We had a fun day celebrating our little guy. We are so grateful that he is part of our family here on earth. We know his being here is a complete miracle and are so grateful that we have been blessed to have him in our home. I can't imagine life without him. He brings pure joy into our house. Thanks for being such a sweet kid, Grant! We love you.

(I'll post details about today over in the kiddos blog tomorrow - I've got lots of fun pictures and videos. If you don't have access to our private blog, but would like to, please e-mail me and I'll send you an invitation)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Target Freebies and Cheapies

Target has some great web coupons out right now, so I decided to make the trek up to our nearest Super Target (10 minutes away). I know, I'm super spoiled because this is farthest I ever have to drive to shop. I don't make it to Target every week, but because of the great web coupons and needing to get some toys for Grant's first birthday I headed out today.

Here's what I got (minus the toys for Grant)

2 cartons soy milk, 2 bottles french vanilla coffee creamer, 2 bags skittles, 3 ears corn, 2 small loaves of whole grain bread, 3 apples, 5 bananas, 3 pouches tuna, 2 cups honey nut cheerios, 2 travel size shampoo and conditioner, and 1 first aid kit

I spent $9.55. Originally it would've cost $23.82. The corn wasn't a great deal ($.33 each), but Hunter really wanted it and how can you say no to a child when he's begging for vegetables. I'm lactose intolerant and drink soy milk all the time - with the $.50 target coupon it's the cheapest way to buy it. I will be super sad when the coupons expire this weekend. I love when Target releases coupons for produce and bread - it's great to get deals on healthy food that we need. The coffee creamer I bought on a whim because it was only $.15 each after coupons - it will make yummy smoothies and french toast :o) I wanted to pick up more travel size items for free, but they were cleared out of several of the items I wanted. Oh well, there's always next week.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Making Lemonade out of Lemons

On Tuesday I made this:

in an attempt to suction out a small Styrofoam ball that Hunter had stuck up his nose. (Fun huh?!) It didn't work and we had to visit the Dr.

But, this little contraption worked great to clean out the inside of our computer and our refrigerator coils (they were duuuuuusty!) Now I have a 2 less things on my mental to-do list. Thanks, Hunter (I think...)

Book Review: Last Lecture by Randy Pausch

I finished reading the Last Lecture by Randy Pausch a few weeks ago, but failed to write a post about it until now. I really enjoyed this book. It's short, it's sweet and light, but thought provoking at the same time.

Randy Pausch died of pancreatic cancer at a very young age leaving behind a wife and 3 young children. This book is full of little gems that remind you of what is important in this life. Reading it fills you with a desire to make the most of your life and to treasure every moment. The whole book is very inspirational. I also liked it because it has lots of short chapters, which is great for me because I never seem to be able to carve out a long amount of time to sit and read.

I definitely recommend this book - it's no literary great, but it is definitely worth your time. My Grade: B+

More great Albies Deals

You all may be very sick of all my grocery deals posts. But, I'm gonna keep hitting you over the head with them because I want to make coupon converts out of you. Okay?!

Albertson's is in the process of changing over to AFS and has a lot of products marked down so that they can clear the shelves for the new brands. I didn't take a lot of time to browse through the store today because I had the kiddos and Hunter was already hard enough to keep track of (he was running up and down the aisles "Super Fast just like Dash"). But, I did get some great deals on baby products. As far as I could tell, all of the Baby Basics brand (Albertson's baby brand) items were all 50% off! Lots of Pampers and Huggies items were marked down t0o (27% - random!), which I thought was odd because, surely, AFS carries those products (I guess we'll see). I picked up a few baby things - I wanted to get more, but I didn't want to clear the shelves. I got some baby food even though I've been making my own, because they were clearanced and I had a coupon, so I figured the minimal extra cost was worth the convenience. If you need diapers, wipes etc I suggest heading to Albertson's ASAP to get in on these deals before they're gone.

I also snagged 4 boxes of Post cereals, for which a Catalina started today. I was at the store by 10am and already most of the Post Selects were gone! I sure hope they were gone because lots of people had already come in and not because a couple people came and hoarded a bunch.

Anyways, here's a picture of what I got:

I paid $9.17 (that's basically how much the diapers would've cost). Originally this would have cost $43.13. I did 2 transactions and used my $5 Kraft Catalina and my $3 Post Catalina to pay for most of the second transaction.

I am really well stocked on diapers now - I need to stop buying them. But, I just keep getting such great deals that it's hard to pass up. It's hard for me to pass up any good deal - I'm pretty much addicted :o)

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Kraft Freebies at Albies

This week is another amazing week for Grocery deals. Smith's has a great sale on Kelloggs items, which combined with coupons and the Fuel for School rebate, means that you can actually make money shopping there. We already did the rebate, so I just picked up 2 boxes of cereal and 2 boxes of fruit snacks for $.50 each.
Albertson's also has a great deal running this week which allows you to make money. When you buy $25 of Kraft products you get a $5 Catalina and a $20 MIR form - so everything is essentially free. It turns into a money maker when you use coupons because you still get the full $20 rebate. And they have a great Post cereal sale going on that let me get 4 free boxes of cereal! Well enough blabbing, here's a picture of what I got at Albertson's today:

2 pizzas, 1 flat bread sandwich, 2 boxes breaded fish fillets, 4 boxes of cereal, 12 puddings, 2 boxes of crackers, 24 bottles of water

I paid $22.30 out of pocket. But, I received a $5 Catalina and will get $20 back from the rebate. So, I ended up making $2.70 profit! Original price of all this was $77.04. I didn't even use any of my $5 Catalinas from last week's sale to pay for it. Sound too good to be true? Here's the proof:

How fun is that?!

Harnessing The Mighty Power of the Electron - The Easiest Way to Polish Sterling Silver

I love sterling silver jewelry, but hate how it oxidizes. Most of my sterling silver I keep in air tight storage so that they go decades without tarnishing. But, I happen to have a favorite plumeria flower ring from Hawaii that is sterling silver. This ring never leaves my finger which means after a couple of months it looks more like pewter than it does silver.

I have used traditional silver polishes on it for years, but with all it's crevasses and grooves it takes forever to polish it all (and I go through A LOT of Q-tips doing it). About a year ago I discovered a great method for cleaning sterling silver anything - it is the fastest and easiest that I've found.

Here's what ya do:

Gather the items that you want to de-tarnish. Do a surface cleaning on them - for me that means using a toothpick to get all the lotion gunk out of the crevasses of my ring.

Line an appropriately sized pan with aluminum foil - shiny side up. For me and my little ring, a small bowl will do. If you're polishing silver flatware you will want to use a 9x13 pan.

Bring to boil enough water to submerge your silver objects. For my ring it only takes about a cup. I do this in the microwave because it's faster than the stove top, during the summer it doesn't heat up my kitchen and it gives the inside of my microwave a nice little steam bath which loosens up all the crud and I can take 30 seconds to wipe it out when I'm done.

While the water is coming to a boil, pour table salt onto the aluminum foil. I don't have an exact amount for you - Just make a thin layer of salt along the entire bottom of the dish that you're using.

Place all of your silver into the dish. Once the water is boiling, pour it over the silver. Allow to sit for 20 minutes.

It has been too many years since my last in-organic chemistry class to tell you the science behind this method. But, I know it has something to do with ions moving stuff around. Basically, electrons do all the dirty work while you sit back and relax (hah!).

After 20 minutes, check on your silver. You will notice a dark ring on the aluminum foil - that's all the "tarnish" molecules that have been magically removed from your silver and deposited onto the foil.

If your silver is heavily tarnished it may take several soakings before your silver is looking like new. But, the great part is that it requires very little work for you. If your silver still is tarnished after 1 soaking, discard the water and foil and start all over again. It takes just a couple of minutes to set it all up. It sure beats polishing it all by hand. Especially if you have lots of tarnished silver - this method takes the same amount of time no matter how much you have.

Here's a shot of my ring before (sorry the picture is blurry - I'm no photographer and my camera is pretty pathetic too)

And here's an after shot:

The difference is pretty subtle in the pictures, but in real life it is more pronounced - my ring looks almost new.

If you take time to do some research I'm sure that you can find out the actual science behind all this and it would be a great lesson for the kiddos and show some science in action.

Get other great tips and tricks over at We are THAT Family's Works for Me Wednesdays

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Marathon Shopping Day

I am on complete shopping overload this week. Smith's is doubling coupons (unlimited!), Albertson's has multiple sets of double coupons and a smokin' hot sale, Rite Aid and Walgreens both had tons of free after rebate and RR offers. And I went to all of them yesterday, and Target too! I actually went to Smith's 3 times because I kept reading about new hot double coupon deals. In all I went to the store 7 times yesterday! And I had a great time doing it (well, until my last transaction at Albertson's and the catalina didn't print, then I just wanted to be done!) I brought my SIL along with me to Walgreens and Rite Aid first thing this morning. These 2 stores are not the best place for a newbie couponer to start out, but the deals were so great that I wanted to share the love. She had a great time and is totally hooked.

I was so excited about all this Sunday night that I hardly slept at all. I am such a grocery geek - I get an adrenaline rush just thinking about all the money I'm going to save.

So, how'd I do? I think I did pretty good. I don't get multiple copies of the paper so I wasn't able to get as great of deals as a lot of other people, but I'm happy with my success. I didn't take pictures of it all because I just wanted to get it all home and put away.

In total I spent $83.94 yesterday on $270.77 worth of groceries. I will get $38.74 back in rebates, so accounting for that, I spent $45.20. Plus, I still have $30 in catalinas and $8 in Register Rewards to spend later. Once I use those, I will have spent $45.20 on $308.77 worth of products! That's a savings of $263.57, or 85%! I spent about 3 1/2 hours in the stores (and driving) and about another hour or so planning everything out. So, saving over $263 is a pretty good return on my investment - about $58 / hour.

I did take a few pictures...

Here's what I got at Rite Aid: I spent $16.50, but will get back $31.75 in rebates, so I actually made $15.25 shopping there (Love it!). Rite Aid has really had amazing deals the last few weeks. And the employees at my store are super friendly. They even had all of the free after rebate items on 1 shelf right at the front of the store - so convenient!

At Walgreens I got:
I spent $8.74, but I still have $8 in RR to spend in the next 2 weeks. (btw, the green bottles are shampoo and conditioner)

In one of my trips to Smith's I got:

I spent $4.33 (that's less than the deodorant costs normally!) Smith's was crazy yesterday. I went at 6am and there were already dozens of hard core couponers there. When I went in the evening, it was a mad house. I don't think Smith's had any idea what they were getting themselves into when they announced they were doubling coupons. I saw a lot of empty shelves - they were not prepared for this, especially with the P&G promotion running concurrently. But, I hope they do it again, because, my goodness, it was so much fun seeing that total just plummet as they scanned the coupons.

It's days like today that make all the time I spend clipping, filling and planning worth it. I truly do enjoy it all - it has become a hobby for me. But, even the hard core grocery geeks need to take a break, so I'm not going to the store at all today. I know, not much of a break. But, Wednesday starts a new sale cycle for Smith's and Albertson's and you never know what great deals it's going to bring :o)