Friday, January 30, 2009

Look-alike Meter

Everyone always says Lil Major looks exactly like The Colonel...but, this says he looks like his Mama, too!

MyHeritage: Look-alike Meter - Geneology - Family history

Planes, Trains and Automobiles

That is one way to sum up my last 10 days. I took a surprise (not to me, but to my friends) trip to California, and in order not to blow the secret, I minimized my cyber time before I left. And then I was so busy having the time of my life - not to mention I had limited internet access - that I didn't post while I was gone.

Lil Major and I are home, safe and sound. And I promise to take you back through my journey just as soon as I can see over the pile of laundry and mail.

Happy Friday, in the meantime!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

My New Hobby

I have a new hobby. It's not that I NEED another thing to do, this just kinda happened. And it's good for our family, well, at least good for our budget.

Remember this story? The true one that The Colonel wrote about me almost 10 years ago now?? Well, I just thought I was frugal back then. I bought things on sale, I clipped a few coupons, I complained and got free stuff when service wasn't up to snuff.

But it was nothing like what I'm doing now. Back then, I never would have gotten all this...


Yes, I got 28 items (5 packages of TP, 3 pizzas, 10 2-liters of Coke products, bread, bananas, 2 packages of butterscotch chips, hummus, bacon, tomoatoes, croutons, pot roast seasoning, and mascara) all for TWELVE DOLLARS.

How did I do it? By watching the ads, clipping coupons (paper and online), taking advantage of store deals and brands...and by shopping smarter! All of these things are things I had to buy anyway - brands I always buy, but I just paid less, WAY less.

I don't know how it first happened. I was on a blog, and clicked on a link and clicked on another, and all of a sudden I found this whole other world. The world of coupons and freebies and discounts and spending LESS money! I've added at least 10 new blogs to my reader, all that have to do with being frugal.

Some of the things I've learned?

* Never pay for toothpaste, shampoo or toilet paper again - those 5 packages of Cottenelle I bought above? FREE - I didn't pay ONE penny for them. I had 5 $0.50 off one coupons, and my store (owned by Kroger) doubles coupons, so they were FREE! Now, I don't like using the drug store shampoo (makes my uber-expensive color fade too fast), so I'll have to suck it up and keep buying salon shampoo.

* Don't clip coupons out of the Sunday paper - save the whole insert! I used to clip coupons I thought I might use in the next few weeks, and then they'd expire before I used them. Now, I save the whole insert, watch the ads, and can buy things I might not have thought of before - but they're super cheap w/ the sale and a coupon.

*Take advantage of online coupons - you can either print out coupons online or there are a few websites where you can load coupons right to your grocery store card and the discounts come off automatically. Check out these websites for that:,, P&G eSaver

There are tons more tips and deals and info on these blogs...which have become some of my favorites to check daily, if not more frequently.

Deal Seeking Mom
Mommy Snacks
Money Saving Mom
The Grocery Cart Challenge
It's Hip 2 Save
Stretching a Buck
The New Frugal Mom

Some of these women share ideas and post together or post very similar things (i.e. weekly store deals), but that doesn't bother me. Seeing it more than once helps it sink in or reminds me to check out a good deal.

In this economy, these ideas are really helping us save money without giving up things we're used to. And it's helping me learn how to stock up my pantry for those weeks when I don't want to spend very much at all at the store. This has made a big difference to us lately, so I thought I'd share w/ all of you. Happy Saving!!

Friday, January 16, 2009

mystery solved

I've solved the mystery. The one about why women say so many more words in a day than men do.

It's because women have to repeat themselves so many times...because men don't listen, don't acknowledge, don't answer...and women have to make sure the men heard us.


Falling Apart

Who said that thirty is the new twenty??? I agreed with that statement until recently...when I started falling apart.

I've taken care of my body (ok, so I've missed a few visits to the dentist, but he's SCARY!), I go to the gym, I eat veggies (to balance out the junk food), I get as much sleep as I can. I brush my teeth, go to the eye doctor, get my annual checks. So, why, please tell me, is my body giving up on me this year?

It's like turning 34 had something to do with it. Because since then? I'm a mess.

Ever since Lil Major was born, I've had problems with my back. And I'm finally getting that fixed. My twice weekly trips to the physical therapist have really helped. Yesterday she said that she could really tell a difference in my back. When I first went in, the whole area by my shoulder blade down to the middle of my back was "frozen". It wouldn't move when she rubbed on it, and it was full of knots. She's been able to massage most of those knots out, and I (almost) feel normal again. I still get weird tinglies when I work out or am tired, but the jabbing pain is gone. And the therapy? It's heaven! I start out by lying on my tummy in a dark room with a weighted hot water blanket on my back. Oh, it's my naptime, and it's heavenly! I only have 2 more sessions left, and I'm sad. I really need to step it up to find a massage therapist who my insurance approves.

Besides my back...I went to a new eye doctor last week for my annual check and to get new contacts. This time I went to an ophthalmologist. We switched insurance last year and my old doctor doesn't accept it (oh joy!), so off to the new one. She was really nice, and YOUNGER than me (see, I AM old!), and all went well in the office. My prescription hasn't changed (one good thing), she numbed my eyes for the glaucoma test and then she dilated them. I came home and went about my day. AND THEN, about 7 hours later, my eyes were on fire. I didn't think much of it, so I just went to bed. I woke up the next morning with gunk in my eyes and red in my eyes.

Oh no! I thought I had pink eye! Since it's made the rounds through my sister's house 4 times in the last couple months, I panicked. And if I had it, then I got it at the doctor's office. All of a sudden, I remembered that she hadn't washed her hands when she came in the room...and then she touched my eyes!!

After many phone calls back and forth to the office, another night of gunk in my eyes, and FINALLY a visit back to the doctor (which I'm sure I'll be charged for), we decided it was some sort of reaction to the numbing drops. A reaction that I never had BEFORE I turned 34! So, after a week of wearing my glasses and looking like a freak with red eyes, I think that's back to normal.

What's next you say? Oh yes, there is more. Lil Major got a killer cold as soon as we got back from Indiana. In fact, Captain, my mom, my dad, and ME all got the cold. Everyone is over it...except me! I haven't had a cold this bad in years. Congestion, sneezing, blowing my nose (bright yellow - have you ever seen that??), sore throat, coughing...generally, feeling like CRAP.

I'm convinced it has something to do with being 34!

Finally, I'm starting to feel better during the day. But, at night? My throat is still killing me, I cough like there's no tomorrow, and I get stuffed up. I finally called the nurse a couple days ago. After asking me a million questions, she decided that I just have a cold, and I have to wait it out. Grr!

And here's a funny thing. There was just an article in the paper about how if you get 8 hours of UNINTERRUPTED sleep, then you can usually fight off a cold more quickly or never get it in the first place. Huh. Well, then I will get every cold. I haven't had 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep in over a year!

There's more, but I won't even get into the fact that I'm still carrying baby weight - besides, that probably has more to do with my addiction to chocolate and junk food than anything. =)

If you think about it, pray for this old girl. I need it. And I NEED to get over this cold!

Monday, January 12, 2009

My Little Man

My sweet baby boy is 9 months old (and one this post is a little late)! He's turning into a little boy before my eyes. He babbles and talks to me. He laughs and giggles when we wrestle and tickle. He pulls up on absolutely everything. He still loves his stuffed giraffes (two of them) and for his mama to sing to him. He is still fascinated by cords and remotes and the TV, and his newest fascination is the diaper pail (gross!) and the drawers in the kitchen. He gets stronger and smarter and cuter (is that possible??) and more lovable every day. And for all the late night wake up calls, short naps, and mischief, I love him all the more!

Lil Major got some great gifts for his first Christmas. But he loves one of them especially (thanks Mema!)...and his Mama is a little nervous about it. See, it's super cute, and he loves to play with it...but it encourages him to walk, and I'm not sure if I'm ready for that yet!

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Ice Harvest

Has anyone seen that movie? Or read the book? They're both really terrible - mobs, strippers, foul language...but it takes place in Wichita, and John Cusack acted in it. Which means, at the time, it was a MUST SEE. Then I saw the book in the library this week, and checked it out to see if it was as bad as the is.

Anyway, that's not the point of my post. It just reminds me of our fateful trip we took to South Bend while we were in Indiana over Christmas. But, before I get to the story, here are some Christmas highlights.

The cousins started the tradition of opening Christmas jammies on Christmas Eve. They had a little bit of a rough start, though, as they were unsure about opening the presents. Lil Major loved the paper, and Captain just wanted to push his present around the room. But, how stinkin' cute are they???

We opened gifts in the afternoon on Christmas Day, so that my brother and SIL had time to drive down from Wisconsin. Once they got there, we ate brunch, and then hit the gifts. My sis gave me this that I can steal food from The Colonel's plate w/o getting stabbed. =)

The Colonel got a hat to match his son's...

After an afternoon of playing Wii, eating some more, and playing with new toys, we went to bed with the goal of leaving for South Bend at 7am the next day. We were heading to visit some friends from WAY back. Our moms were pregnant with us together, and we've been friends ever since. We're scattered all over the country now, so this was a treat that we were all in the same place at the same time.

Over the years, we've spent countless hours playing with their family (3 kids about the same ages as us), causing trouble, camping, hiding out in each other's cars to see how far we could get before being discovered. And we even call each other's parents Aunt and Uncle. Still. To this day!

South Bend is 150 miles from where we were. Should take about 2 1/2 hours, maybe a little longer if you stop for the babies. Wanna guess how long it took us??? Over 7 hours!! Why, you ask?? Because we hit a massive ice storm. Did anyone hear about the terrible ice in Indiana the day after Christmas? Well, we were smack dab in the middle of it.

Now, we're not idiots, we checked the weather before we left. I mean, come on, my dad WAS leading this expedition, and he's Mr. Travel Safety (except when I had to remind him to put his seat belt on, but I digress). The weather report said there could be some freezing drizzle north of where we were going. No big deal.

But, about 90 miles into the trip, we started seeing that freezing drizzle. The roads were slick, but we slowed down and were doing ok. Then we started seeing cars in the ditches.

Then I started panicking in my very small space I had in the back seat of the Accord next to Lil Major's HUGE carseat. And then we came to a standstill. For 90 minutes!

Sister was in a different car, but looks like she felt the same way I did.

We thought we were waiting for an accident to clear, but we finally found out that the highway had been closed, 4 hours earlier!! Before we even left home! There was no news about it, no signs on the road, no nothing. We all just sat there, for a LONG time. Finally, the left lane started moving, and we realized that there was an intersection up ahead where people were turning. We followed and ended up in a small town where we ate lunch at Burger King and decided our next steps. I was completely outvoted for going home. Which, was probably a good thing, because we were only 22 miles from our destination and 130 miles from home.

We mapped some side roads (thank goodness for GPS!), and headed out again. 2 1/2 hours later...we finally got there. Besides driving 25 mph, we had to stop several times for the cops to pull people out of ditches. They shut down the whole road to do this.

Are we really almost there???

FINALLY! There's the house!

Our friends were amazed that we made it. They should be, after what we went through! =) We had a wonderful visit with them for a few hours. The house was full of people, kids, laughter, yelling, food, fun, oh, and don't forget the wine (which I very much needed after my day in the car)!

We debated about spending the night in a motel, but the boys in our group vetoed, and we headed home. It had warmed up to 50 degrees while we were there so all the ice had melted. BUT, do you know what happens when ice melts b/c it warmed up to 50??? FOG! Yes, we still had to drive home going no more than 40 mph because of the fog. Grr! At least the boy and I were able to nap on the way. It was worth it, but I think my life will be shorter because of the experience.

So, what started out as this...

turned into this...

and now we're this...minus the photographer, a few kiddos in bed and a grandma who's helping the kiddos...

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Trying to Breathe

Literally....I'm trying to breathe. I've caught the boy's cold. He still has it, but I think he's finally getting better (that doesn't mean the snot has stopped pouring out of his nose, but we're making progress), and now I've got it. And if he felt anything like I'm feeling, I don't care if I spoiled him when I let him sleep on my chest and cuddle as much as he wanted in the thick of it.

ANYWAY, I have a couple posts rolling around in my head that I've been wanting to get up for ages...and I just haven't done it. I'm off to take a very hot shower, and if that helps me feel better, maybe I'll start on them while I snuggle up in bed.

Don't give up on me...I will be back!