Monday, December 29, 2008

Pregnancy Journal

May 9, 2008
You know you’re pregnant when you buy three Costco items not on your list just because you liked the samples.

I took a pregnancy test yesterday morning and began my plan for telling John (who happened to be working from home all day.) It was fun to carry my secret around those few hours. Caroline and I played in the morning. Then we ran some errands. When we got home, we baked brownies, and I went and took a digital pregnancy test. I used a cookie cutter to cut a brownie into a positive sign, handed it and the digital test with PREGNANT on it to Caroline, and asked her to take them to her daddy. He took them. Caroline said, “Look, it’s a cross.” I added that it is also a plus sign or a positive sign. John agreed. He ate the brownie. Caroline handed him the test, and he said, “That’s mommy’s.”

And then he turned back to his computer.

I left the room not knowing what was going on. Was he upset? I gave myself a moment to calm down, and then I just went in the bedroom and asked him, “What’s up with you?” He was puzzled. I had to explain everything to him, and then he got it! He didn’t even look at the pregnancy test. He thought Caroline was playing store and bringing him something to check out.

I called my doctor to make sure continuing to workout is fine. It is, but I need to keep my heartrate below 140. I’ll still walk on the treadmill for 30-45 minutes, I’ll just slow down my pace and use no incline. I made a doctor’s appointment for seven weeks. My estimated due date is January 15.

I feel a bit silly now with how down I got over not being pregnant “already” after three months. I was being such a fatalist. I’m so happy to be cutting out the wine and cutting down on the diet cokes!

And I just read that Michelle Duggar is due to birth her 18th child the same month I will. It does seem odd to me that she announced her pregnancy to the whole world (via The Today Show) at just six weeks.

May 16, 2008
Brush teeth. Chat on phone with friend. I feel it coming…gotta get off the phone. Uh, uh, gag, uh…And so the “morning sickness” begins again.

June 16, 2008
Actually, the morning sickness hasn’t been that bad at all, at least not compared to my past two pregnancies. I’ve thrown up four times, I think. I’ll get a wave of nausea every now and then, but I’m not throwing up. I’m tired, but I am resting. We went on a family cruise last week, which was just great timing. I booked it right before I found out I was pregnant, knowing there was a possibility I’d be pregnant on the cruise. I figured – a vacation where I can nap every day, be waited on for every meal, and have no housework would be a great first trimester treat. It was! We had a great time. I did tell our tablemates a few days in to the cruise that I was pregnant. A mom was cruising with her teenaged daughters, one of whom ordered a virgin strawberry daiquiri two separate times – to be served a regular alcoholic daiquiri both times. I confessed that I’d sure like to order a virgin drink for myself but that I just couldn’t take the risk of having the order messed up.

I’ve been going to the doctor every week or so for ultrasound checks – for reassurance. The baby is measuring a bit behind my original due date per my cycle (January 15). We’ve seen a strong heartbeat, though, so my doctor isn’t concerned. She said she’ll give me a firm due date at my next appointment.

June 20, 2008
Doctor’s Appointment today
Weight: holding steady – even after that cruise! 
B/P: 102/68
Dating per ultrasound: 9 weeks 5 days (EDD Jan 19)
I am really, really tired all the time. Caroline is in a sometimes-napping stage. When she doesn’t nap, I let her watch TV while I snooze for an hour or so. It helps. I find I can get more done in the mornings if I take it slowly, so my plan for the next couple of weeks is to stay home in the mornings – slowly doing whatever chores I have to do and doing some activities with Caroline. Then I have her signed up for an afternoon camp from 1:30 to 4:30 every day next week. (I’m just going to sign her up one week at a time.) That will give me the chance to nap without parking her in front of the TV and will keep her awake and active so that she’ll go to bed at a decent hour. Naps are nice, but staying up until 9:30 or 10 p.m. is not.

July 9, 2008
I shared our news with my family last week, though the announcement did not go according to my plan. I had ordered a shirt that says “Bun in the Oven” and planned to wear it and see how long it took them to figure it out. Instead, I told daddy and Mary both in tears as I was afraid Sophi had Fifth’s Disease. She did not, and I had my immunity checked and am already immune. That’s something we won’t have to worry about so much now. I told Carlye, too, because I’m announcing to the Bindels this weekend and had a feeling that we may need to coordinate our announcements. We do!  I’m making shirts for Caroline and Georgia to wear to a party at Granda’s house Saturday night.

My friend Caroline brought me her Baby Beats doppler just a few days before I found out I was pregnant. John and I have been listening to the heartbeat every night now for a couple of weeks. I am so glad to have that! Dr. McNelis had her baby last week, so I’ll see one of her partners at my appointment tomorrow.

I’m still wearing my regular clothes, but I sure look fat in them. I think anyone who is paying attention probably has this pregnancy pegged already. They’re being kind and not saying anything, though.

July 10, 2008
Since Dr. McNelis is on maternity leave, I saw on of her partners. It really makes me appreciate my doctor. This other lady was nice, sure, and did her job fine, but I just like Dr. McNelis better. And Dr. McNelis gives me ultrasounds every visit. This lady just used the doppler to check the heartbeat. We do that at home. She did give a count, though, of 156 bpm. Right in the middle of the gender predictions, but she said it’s early for that anyway.

July 15, 2008
Feeling quite a bit better. Still gag occasionally. Still very tired. But it is all bearable.

We told the Bindels this weekend at a family gathering. It took a few minutes for anyone to notice their shirts, but once they did, everyone was excited for us. Looks like Bindel babies are coming every month from October to March (except February.)

August 1, 2008
John and I went to have an ultrasound last week. I chose that for reassurance instead of having the NT scan done (a test for Downs Syndrome that is pretty inconclusive anyway.) Baby was moving a lot. Heartbeat was 156 bpm. I’m thinking girl. My belly is growing, for sure, so keeping my secret is not working so well. I had lunch with some friends from an old playgroup. One of them asked right away. I told some other friends this week, too. I suppose news will slowly spread as my tummy does.

August 13, 2008
We’re pretty open with our news now, as if it isn’t obvious by looking at me. I wore maternity pants this week at 18 weeks. I called and told Nanny yesterday, and she has a quilt she started for my last pregnancy that she will finish for this baby. I was touched by that. My blood pressure was high at this appointment, too. 130/80 last month and this month. Dr. McNelis said they don’t get concerned / medicate until 150s over 100s. She thinks that I have hypertensive tendencies already, and that I am stressed and worried at this point in my pregnancy due to the loss at this time last pregnancy. She said my bp will probably go down once I get past 20 weeks. I stopped and took it at the HEB pharmacy this week and the first time was 112/72. Second time was 107/70. Much better! I believe I’m feeling some flutters, too!

August 28, 2008
We had our 20-week anatomy ultrasound today. I had listened to the heartbeat before we left so that I wouldn’t be terrified, but of course, I was still nervous. Baby was moving around lots. Caroline was fascinated that the baby was kicking me so much. The tech did comment that I have a low-lying placenta. It is at 1.7 cm, and she said they like to see it at 4 cm. My internet research tells me 2-3 cm is acceptable, though, and that it will most likely move in these next weeks. If it doesn’t, I’d have to have a c-section. I’m OK if it comes to that.

Baby weighs 11 ounces. Heartrate was 153 bpm.

September 4, 2008
Last night, John felt the baby move for the first time, and he and I both SAW it move from the outside. Very exciting!!

September 7, 2008
Doctor's appointment
weight -- up six pounds
bp -- 114/70 -- much better! My doc was right, I guess.
I forgot to ask what the baby's heart rate was, but we listened and doc said it sounded good.
She said not to give that low-lying placenta a second though. It will fix itself in the coming months as my uterus grows. It was at 1.7 cm she said, and it just needs to be at 2 cm.
And it has nowhere to grow by up. :-)

October 6, 2008
Doctor's appointment
weight -- up 12 pounds (similar to my weight-gain pattern with Caroline)
bp -- 114/70 (again)
fundal height: 27 cm (I'm only 26 weeks but doc says it's give or take a couple of cm)
blood sugar level per the one-hour GTT: 151 -- winning me an 8-hour-fast and chance to take the three-hour glucose tolerance test

October 8, 2008
I passed the three-hour-glucose tolerance test.

November 3, 2008
Doctor's appointment
weight -- up 18 pounds
bp -- 120/72
fundal height -- 31 1/2 cm
I'll start seeing the doctor every other week now. I made my next appointment for a Tuesday and plan to take Caroline along.

I have been feeling lots of pressure on my bladder. For example, I can't walk the block without feeling like I have to pee urgently. It is very tempting to stop at one of those Johnny-on-the-Spots the construction crews have all over the place in our neighborhood. Once I stop walking, though, the urge isn't there so much. I'm also having some shortness of breath. I think that's a combination of a lingering cold and baby decreasing my lung capacity.

Once I get Christmas and fall/winter birthday wrapping completed (I've done my Christmas shopping and bought for the upcoming birthdays through January already), I'll start sorting baby clothes and diapers and getting that stuff set up. I'd like to have that all ready by Christmas and just spend the last weeks of pregnancy resting.

November 13, 2008
Headache last night like I've never had in my life. Got out of breath really easily this morning, like when just talking on the phone to my sister. Really thirsty. Mary convinced me to call my doctor. When the nurse called me back, she had me come in for some monitoring. I sat in a nice cushy recliner hooked up to a monitor for a few minutes. Everything sounded perfect. Blood pressure was 110/68, and urine looked fine. Nurse felt around on my tummy and just said I was probably out of breath because the baby is taking up my lung space. Dr. McNelis checked in on my and verified being out of breath is just part of being pregnant.


November 25, 2008
Biweekly appointment today. I had Caroline with me and had an important wine-drinking-question on my mind (she always asks if I have any questions and I rarely do), so I forgot to ask what my belly measurement was. Weight is so bad I'm embarrassed to record it (up 26 pounds). BP was 112 / 66.

Sleeping is not going well. I can't get comfortable. Rolling over hurts (round ligament pain.) I think the ideal would be sleeping in two-hour increments throughout the day...Hmmm...sort of how a newborn sleeps!

December 16, 2008
Less than a month to go! Today was the first of my weekly appointments (though due to Christmas, it will be a bit more than a week until my next appointment.)

36 weeks
fundal height: 37 cm
weight: up 28 pounds
bp: 120/80
baby is head down but still high

I don't really sleep anymore. I doze. I feel OK, though. I am having lots of braxton hicks contractions, but that means nothing as far as when labor might begin.

December 27, 2008
I noticed today that those nice smiles and nods acknowledging the beautiful life growing inside of me are now more looks of pity. As I waddled into the bathroom at Costco, one woman even said the words, "Awwww...Better you than me."

I'm not going to estimate weight, but I do think this baby is going to be two feet long.

December 29, 2008
37 weeks, 5 days
Doctor says "I'll see you next week." Bah!
Baby is still high; one centimeter dilated; 50 percent effaced
BP was 120 / 82 (nurse said that is fine, though)
Didn't pay attention to the rest.
I will have antibiotics during labor because I tested positive for Group B Strep.
Everything on my birth plan looked fine to my doctor.
John, Caroline, and I toured the new Labor and Delivery wing of the hospital yesterday. Huge, nice, new L&D rooms.

January 2, 2009
False alarm! After timing contractions five minutes apart for an hour in the middle of the night, I called Mary to head to Austin. John got up and put the car seat in and loaded my bags and laid down with Caroline. I laid down, too, and continued timing those five minute apart contractions. They weren’t awful, but they were coming every five minutes. We headed to the hospital a bit after the Satoros arrived, and Daddy and Karen were on their way, too. Once we were in the car, the contractions stopped. We should have just turned around and come home, but we continued on the hospital. Once they got me hooked up on all the monitors and I still wasn’t having contractions, I asked to go home. They had to keep me on the monitors for a certain period of time but then let me go. Very embarrassing and inconvenient for my family. They were very nice about it all, though.

January 6, 2008
I am getting so many phone calls, emails, and facebook messages that I feel really loved. :-) I'll be 39 weeks tomorrow. Please pray that I go into labor on my own SOON as I do not want a repeat c-section, but I also do not want to go much past my due date.
BP: 120/80
Dilation: 2 cm
Weight: up 36 pounds
Fundal Height: 37 cm -- I thought that seemed small but doc said it doesn't mean much. I asked if that meant I wouldn't have a nine-pounder. She felt my tummy and says it is definitely in the eight pound range right now. I know I feel movement really high and really low. Lots of baby in there!



Saturday, December 27, 2008

Two Weeks Four Days and Counting

pregnancy cartoon

I noticed today that those nice smiles and nods acknowledging the beautiful life growing inside of me are now more looks of pity. As I waddled into the bathroom at Costco, one woman even said the words, "Awwww...Better you than me."

I'm not going to estimate weight, but I do think this baby is going to be two feet long.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

CAVEAT EMPTOR -- amazon shoppers

I am a huge amazon fan. I've bought books there for years, and now I search for anything and everything there. I've bought groceries, gifts, clothing, and cosmetics. They have it all, and it's a really cool business plan. I've blogged before about my love for their Wish List feature, and I use it extensively.

I noticed something yesterday, though, that disturbed me, and I must warn others to be on the lookout when shopping on amazon, especially when shopping wish lists. I have on Caroline's Wish List a Fisher Price toy airplane -- when I added it, it was in the $12 price range, I believe. Normally, a great feature of amazon's wish lists is that it will automatically show you the best deal. I noticed last weekend that the plane was on sale at Target for 3.99. I didn't buy it, though, as shipping for the one item would have added more than $6. I peeked at her list again yesterday, wondering if the item was still on sale, to find it was now shown at $55.00. I couldn't believe it. I clicked around and found that there were still plenty of the same plane for sale on amazon for $12.99, but one of amazon's third party merchants (Black Sheep Deals -- I'd agree this one's a black sheep!) pays to be a featured seller on amazon so that puts his items at the top of the searches. His stuff is outrageously overpriced -- most things I saw were marked up four or five times what one could find them at elsewhere.

So, amazon makes money off of these "featured sellers" but has no control in how they rip off customers. I was not pleased with the emailed response I got from customer service. Basically, it's out of their hands. BUYER BEWARE!!



When shopping at amazon, follow these tips:

1. Do not automatically buy the first product that comes up in the search or on the wishlist. Always click the "X new and used available from Y" link to see what other vendors are selling the product for.

2. Pay attention to shipping. Some of the third party vendors will really rip you off on shipping/handling charges.

3. Read the vendor reviews. This Black Sheep guy has several reviews stating his rip-offs, slow shipping, lost products, and bad customer service.

4. Be sure you're getting the best deal possible for doing a google search for the item. You may find a great deal at a different retailer. (Don't forget number two.)

5. After you've narrowed down to a couple of the best retailer deals, check Retail Me Not and Ebates for coupon codes.

Happy Shopping! (Though I hope you have finished your Christmas shopping and aren't battling crowds or nervously hoping packages arrive in time.)

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Newborn Diaper Stash

For a second baby, especially one whose gender will be a surprise, there isn't much shopping fun . . . unless you use cloth diapers and need to stock up on newborn diapers! Here's my stash! I am pretty excited and can't wait for baby to be here with it's cute little fluffy-covered bum.

(From top left to top right, working left to right)
-- Loveybums wool cover (was a large of Caroline's that mama accidentally dryed in the dryer. Now it's sized for a newborn) :-)
-- 3 small Fuzzi Bunz
-- newborn recycled wool longies
-- stack of prefolds (10), Kissaluvs doublers, microfiber towels for doublers, hemp and Mother-of-Eden pocket inserts
-- Berry Plush AIOs (brown earth and yellow embroidered with monkey)
-- WAHM pocket dipe embroidererd with turtle
-- 5 Tinkle Traps prefitteds
-- Muttaqin newborn sheep print
-- Muttaqin newborn monkey print
-- Pee Well small monkey print
-- 10 Kissaluvs size 0 (yellow, green, blue, white) -- pictured bottom right
-- 3 Thirsties xsmall covers
-- Pee Well small tangerine color

I have *more* than enough fluff for the newborn stage. I didn't realize I had so many prefolds left from Caroline until I pulled stuff out of storage. Honestly, the prefolds will mostly be for stuffers and emergency use. I plan to use the fitteds with covers mostly, saving the Fuzzi Bunz for the periods of longer sleep stretches.
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Sunday, December 07, 2008

Repurposing



You know the phrase, "recycle, reduce, reuse, repurpose." Pictured here are repurposed bookshelves that John and I have had for about ten years. They are half-height shelves we bought at an unfinished furniture store and stained ourselves. They moved with us from the townhouse to many locations at this house over the years. We've talked many times about wanting full-height shelves in our front room--better use of space, the visual appeal, needing more book storage. And we've wondered about stacking them. When my dad visited last, I mentioned it to him, and he thought it would work. That was the inspiration my wonderful hubby needed. I don't know all the mechanics, but he drilled and screwed and bolted and secured, and these shelves are now safely and beautifully secured in our front living room. I love them! And I like that my husband is nesting along with me (or is at least willing to be the muscle for my nesting). :-)
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Saturday, December 06, 2008

Belly Comparisons

Above -- 34 weeks 2 days with Baby Bindel 2009. Below -- somewhere in that range, though possibly a week or two later, with Caroline. I'm definitely bloated. Seems my inside ankle (is there a name for that body part?) disappeared the same day stretch marks appeared. I do feel good, though I could certainly nap a few times a day if given the chance. Feel free to speculate on baby's gender if you feel you have an opinion based on how I'm carrying. Looks about the same to me.

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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Amazon's Cool New Wish List Feature

Have you, in your Christmas Wish List making, discovered Amazon's new Universal Wish List? You can add items from any vendor on the internet to your Amazon list. I don't need many baby items and this is my second child, so I wasn't planning on registering. I did go ahead and add a few baby things to my wish list since I can just add things from any site to my list with a click of a button to serve as an ideas list for me. Very convenient!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

What was I doing?

This is a fun little meme that Erica tagged me with.
  • 1 minute ago: tossing a salad made with goodies from my garden
  • 1 day ago: spending the day with John and Caroline
  • 1 week ago: watching election returns
  • 1 month ago: getting fatter by the second, I think. :-)
  • 3 years ago: adjusting to being mom to Sweet Caroline, learning to overcome the intense loneliness being a stay-at-home mom
  • 5 years ago: working on my things-to-do-before-we-have-kids list and therefore planning a vacation to Paris
  • 7 years ago: teaching 8th grade English and going to graduate school
  • 10 years ago: working as a high tech recruiter in the hay-day of the dotcom boom
I tag Rita!

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Bargains are back

I haven't been diligent at all about posting my weekly bargains. I still enjoy my time on Sundays, sitting with Caroline at the table while we both clip coupons. (Well, I clip coupons; she cuts paper. She is developing some mean cutting skills according to her preschool teacher.) I haven't found any great brag-worthy items lately, though. Today was a pretty good day, though!

Money Makers at CVS
- St. Ives body wash, $3.99 -- get $3 ECB. Use the printable coupon and make yourself $1.01.

- Garnier Nutriesse shampoo or conditioner -- $2.99 -- get $2 ECB. Use one of the many $1 off coupons to make yourself a pretty penny.

I suggest you use the money you made to put toward $20 worth of chocolate that will earn you $10 of ECB.

Fun Finds at Walgreens
- I've written here before how much I enjoy shaving with Schick Inutition razors -- they have the shaving cream built onto them. They are pricey, but there are always coupons and sales on them. I have been holding a buy one, get one free manufacturer's coupon for them. This month, Walgreens has a $3 coupon on them in the Easy Saver. And this week, they are on sale for $6.99. So, I had the razor on my list, thinking I'd get two packs for $6.99, making them $3.99 for both after both coupons -- nice deal. I get in the store and pick up the first pack and find, hiding behind it, a bonus pack with extra blades!! Score!

- I also found on an endcap, 16-month art calendars for $5 each. I bought one of Monet paintings and one of Van Gogh paintings. These will be great to hang in Caroline's art areas to use in building art appreciation.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Our family tradition -- the Halloween Fairy



An idea I borrowed from some other blogs I read is the Halloween Fairy (could also be called the Tooth Fairy, the Candy Witch, whatever works for you). After trick-or-treating, we let Caroline pick out two pieces of candy. She chose a Reese's Cup and a bag of M&Ms -- took one bite of the Reese's and ate about half the little bag of M&Ms. Then we set the full pumpkin out in her room for the Halloween Fairy. She awoke Saturday morning to a new tutu, a box of face paint sticks, a stamp pad, and a magnifying glass. She LOVES her new stuff and has excitedly told many people about the fairy. As for the candy, John and are munching on Runts and Whoppers as I type.
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Saturday, November 01, 2008

The Miracle of Birth



John and I watched THE BUSINESS OF BEING BORN last night, checking off one of the movies for my third trimester countdown. I haven't seen Monty Python's THE MEANING OF LIFE since becoming a parent myself, so I really enjoyed the clip included in the documentary. It is frighteningly real, isn't it?

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Crafty Mama and Sweet Kitties



Today I made Caroline a fancy tutu that she just loves! These suckas cost big bucks, and I'll end up making her two for about $16 (not necessarily frugal, I know, but trust me, much cheaper than the store-bought versions.)

I also Rit-dyed my favorite maternity pants from my Caroline-pregnancy days. A Mimi Maternity splurge on black capris that I wore probably three times a week with her. Thanks to the dye-job, these will make it through 36 more wears if I continue to wear them three times a week.

And here's a site folks other than John and me don't see -- Missy and Mindy cuddling. They live under our bed -- pretty much full-time -- coming out when the house is empty except for John and/or me, which doesn't happen often since the now-three-year-old moved in a few years ago. Poor cats! Caroline went to run an errand with John this afternoon, and the kitties had to rest outside of their under-bed abode as the bed is up against the wall while John installs the flooring in our bedroom. I snapped this picture a second before we heard the sound of the garage door opening, the cats' cue to skiddadle.
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Friday, October 24, 2008

Pregnancy Countdown with Movies

In honor of the last trimester of being pregnant -- that time when one wants to do nothing but sit around and eat chocolate (or is that just me?) -- I am adding to my Netflix queue a pregnancy-related movie for each remaining week.

1. Juno
-- watched last weekend with John -- great movie!
Favorite lines:
Juno: 'Cause you're, like, the coolest person I've ever met, and you don't even have to try, you know... Bleeker: I try really hard, actually."

2. Business of Being Born

3. She's Having a Baby -- I know I enjoyed this movie when I was a teen, but I know I'll love it having been through and going through pregnancy now.

4. Father of the Bride II

5. Homefries

6. Nine Months

7. Waitress

8. For Keeps

9. Junior -- I told John for the first nine years of our marriage that we would not procreate until He could carry the child himself. Guess our biological clocks moved faster than technology's.

10. Parenthood -- about so much more than just pregnancy, but such a great movie to watch again!

11. Baby Mama

12. Knocked Up

(I've actually recently watched Knocked Up and Baby Mama, so I won't watch those again. I figure I'll need a couple of weeks off with the holidays coming.)

I asked for suggestions from my DUE DATE CLUB on Mothering and got some great suggestions. I love that someone suggested Rosemary's Baby, and I love the movie, too, but I think I'm going to pass on watching it while pregnant.

Monday, October 13, 2008

My lovely souvenir from Wednesday's bloodwork


I wonder what people think when they see me.
-- Six-month pregnant IV drug user?
-- Victim of domestic violence?
-- Pregnant woman forced into a blood-sugar crash who left the lab in such a hurry she carried her bag with her laptop on the arm she had just had blood drawn from?
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Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Fun with Blood Sugar

I passed. That's what matters. But as I read about this glucose tolerance test, I learned that it is a bit controversial. It's not a nice way to treat a six month pregnant body. And now that I've experienced it, I must agree!

I had myself a snack at 9 last night. A bowl of ice cream out of fear that it may be my last for three months. Then I was on a fast. I went straight to the lab when I woke up this morning, but I wake up hungry, so that wasn't easy. I had a blood draw to find my fasting blood sugar level. Then I had to drink glucola -- containing 100 mg of glucose! G-R-O-S-S! It got worse the closer to the bottom I got. After that, I waited. I had a blood draw every hour for the next three hours. So, figure in getting myself and Caroline dressed and commute time, and that was about 15 hours with no food. Remember, I'm pregnant. And I like regularly scheduled meals even when I'm NOT pregnant.

I hit a drive through on the way home. But by the time I got home, though, I was shaking. I had trouble walking up the steps from the garage. When I tried to lift my fries to my mouth, my hands were shaking crazy bad. After my borderline results Monday from the one-hour-test, I got a monitor (free) at Walgreens. They make their moula on the test strips. I tested my blood and my blood sugar was 49. Anything below 70 is considered hypoglycemic. I was scared, so I called and told my sweet husband in case I needed him to get Caroline from school. He told me to call my doctor. I left the nurse a message and ate some more and rested. I was better within a few minutes and was totally fine by the time the nurse called back. Did I mention that snack was a piece of cake -- I had to get my blood sugar back up somehow, right? It was all for my health. :-)

My nurse called later with my results and asked again how I was feeling. I told her I was just fine then. That it was just a weird feeling to experience. She told me my numbers. All were fine, but she did say that my last blood draw, just before I left the office, was 56. "That's really low," she said. Yeah, I could *feel* that!

You'd think they'd do a quick reading or something on that before they send a pregnant woman who hasn't eaten in 15 hours home in a car.

But, all is well! I blame the borderline reading from Monday on a weekend of donuts, Costco cake, and ice cream.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Weekly Command Center

Menu
leftover spaghetti sauce with bowtie pasta
salmon, wild rice, asparagus
cheeseburger quiche and salad
beans and rice
leftovers (Friday)
on the road home from Aggieland (Saturday)
steaks and potatoes on grill

Bargains
Oxyclean is $5.99 at Walgreens.
Crest toothpaste is free after coupons at Walgreens. (On sale for $1.99 minus $1 Walgreens coupon plus $1 manu coupon.)

CVS has the deodorant John prefers (Speedstick unscented) on sale for $2.99 plus $2 in ECB, making it .99. I had a .50 off 2 coupon, so I got deodorant for John for $.74 each.

Decluttering
Still working on decluttering books. I've gotten rid of a few via paperbackswap, but I also brought a few more in via pbs. I am now fascinated with trading. On the cloth diapering discussion board, there is a trades section. I managed to trade some of the old Mary Kay stuff that I stocked up on but never sold or used for some Fuzzi Bunz. Now I've got some books and more MK stuff listed on there to see if I can get more trades. Trading is fun! (but probably not good for decluttering.)

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

What do you really think of me?

Here's a narcissistic post. It's pretty neat, though. Click this link to be taken to a page where you choose five or six adjectives to describe me. Then your list (and others who complete this) will be compared to mine to let me know if I have an accurate perception of myself or not. I think I might not as people often say that their first impression of me is very different than once they get to know me.

Play along. Then you can create your own. I promise, I'll do yours if you do mine.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Confession: I judge you (and me) by the size of your garbage can

I notice. On garbage collection day, I see those big orange cans in front of some super-sized homes, and I think, "Consumers. Victims. Wasters." And then I see those smaller green cans and think "Oh, you're better than I am."

You see, we have a medium-sized gray can. We don't always fill it up, though, so John and I have been thinking of downsizing. I worry about the weeks we have company or just seem to have more trash for some reason. I could buy the extra bags for $2 for those occasions.

But now that the City of Austin has delivered my beautiful, clean, blue 40 GALLON single-stream recycling bin, I may be ready to make the leap to the smaller garbage can. This single-stream recycling deal blows my mind. They just can't make it any easier. Pick-up is every other week. All recycling goes in there -- no need to sort. Cardboard, aluminum, paper, even paperboard (cereal boxes and soda boxes.) And plastics #1-#7 now! The paperboard and some of the plastics are new additions, and I think those items might be just enough to move us up to the smallest can!

And while I'm cutting the waste in my home, I'll work on reducing the wasted energy of judgmentalism, too.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Weekly Command Center

Menu:
This week, I'll be gone one evening, so John and Caroline will have a quickie dinner together. Another night, we have late afternoon ballet tickets for a fun family outing, so we'll be eating a quick dinner, and we'll be going out with out-of-town visiting family one night. Here's our short-week menu.

The links below are to a fun new blog Rita started. Five of us are sharing recipe ideas there. Check it out!

spaghetti
steaks and baked potatoes
chicken and dumplings
fried rice
breakfast casserole -- one morning for brunch

Bargains:
Cascade is on sale at CVS for $2.50. I had a 25 cent coupon, too. Not fabulous, but good enough.
I got my September monthly rebate items at Walgreens, too.
Crest Pro-Health -- free after rebate
Glade scented candle -- on sale for 1.99 plus 1.00 rebate plus 1.00 coupon in today's paper -- free for me!
I also picked up some clearance items at Walgreens -- a hair clip for me for $1 and a pack of five panties for Caroline for $3.

Decluttering:
I'm going to focus on decluttering the top surfaces in the master bedroom this week -- the desk, nightstands, dresser, and bookshelf. I should easily find ten things to purge in those places. I imagine many of them will be books. The books will go on paperbackswap since I am now down to zero credits.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Ignorance is Bliss

Scene: Amanda at upscale hair salon. First visit to a new stylist.

Amanda: I don't want to take off much length. Just trim the ends. But I want to try bangs like Sarah Palin's.

Stylist: I don't watch TV. I don't know who that is.

Amanda: Um. She's McCain's running mate for the vice presidency.

Stylist: Yeah, like I said. I don't watch TV. I don't really follow politics.

Amanda: Do you vote? Because she's really scary and if you vote you need to read up on her.

Stylist: Uh...I don't vote.

We didn't chat much after that.

And my bangs still look nothing like Palin's!

Monday, September 08, 2008

Smile Award

Caroline and I have a new game we like to play: Smiles. I explained to her recently that the best way to get someone to smile at you is to smile at them first! Well, my buddy Erica just smiled at me. And as I smile back at her, I'm going to smile at a few others.

I've been awarded by Erica of Haphazard Happenstances, the esteemed "SMILE AWARD!" Thanks, Erica! The rule of the smile award is to pass it along to those people who you feel represent what a big ol' smile is which is someone who:

  1. Must display a cheerful attitude. (not necessarily at all times–we are all human).
  2. Must love one another.
  3. Must make mistakes.
  4. Must learn from others.
  5. Must be a positive contributor to blog world.
  6. Must love life.
  7. Must love kids.

There are rules are:

  1. The recipient must link back to the awards creator (The Babblings of Mere).
  2. You must post these rules if you receive the award.
  3. You must choose 5 people to receive the award after receiving it yourself.
  4. You must fit the characteristics of the recipient of the award (see above).
  5. You must post the characteristics of a recipient.
  6. You must create a post sharing your win with others.
  7. You must thank your giver.
I pass the award on to
1. Rita, The Bookworm -- Rita is honest and funny (she's more *real* than Sarah Palin, even!) and makes the blog world a better place! I smile whenever I read something Rita writes -- though I usually laugh out loud, too.
2. Deb at Deb's Thoughts-- Deb is open and honest about the struggles of being a stay-at-home mom. Still, she's cheerful, likes kids, and learns from others. I smile when she posts new blog entries.
3. Mary at The Satoros -- My darling sister. I love her! And she brightens up the blog-o-sphere with pictures of my darling red-headed nieces.
4. Stephanie at The Foleys est 2005-- One of my favorite sisters-in-law. This girl loves life and loves people! She's one of those who really, truly cares. I smile when I get my gossip family updates from Stephanie.
5. Carlye at The Bindels-- Another of my favorite sisters-in-law. Carlye, too, loves life and is (almost) always cheerful. I smile when Carlye leaves me a voice mail and ends it with "That's all."

See, I love you all so much that I didn't mention that all of you make mistakes, which is one of the requirements. :-)

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Command Center Weekly

Bargains

Left -- Walgreens = 4.43
2 pack kickboards for pool fun for Caroline -- 75% off
Tylenol PM -- on sale plus $1 Walgreens coupon plus $1.00 manu coupon
Dove bars -- BOGO 50% plus $1.00 manu coupon
Lady Speedstick -- BOGO free plus $1.00 manu coupon
Reese's Pumpkins -- .33 each (I'm sure I left the store with three Reese's Pumpkins...Hmmm...)

Right -- CVS -- $2.22
Speedstick -- BOGO free plus $ .75 manu coupon for one and $1.00 CVS coupon for other
Herbel Essenses shampoo and conditioner -- on sale plus $2.00 off 2 manu coupon

TOTAL for both stores: $6.65
Total savings -- $20.01

Decluttering
TO BE CULLED THIS WEEK: TOYS

I have decided to jump on the decluttering bandwagon. I've started reading about some folks decluttering 2008 items in 2008. I'm a little late to join in on that, but I am going to rid my home of ten items per week between now and the end of the year. I'll report back next week on what goes this week. I have also asked my dear husband to reduce his computer museum collection by half. He's working on that right now. This should clear things out of the house some and make room for new items that enter the house for Christmas and new baby.


Menu (I'm flexible with days of the week)
Sunday -- stir fry
Monday -- beef fillets with wild rice and brocolli
Tuesday -- carmelized onion pizza w/chicken, borrowing idea from Courtney at Frugal Foods
Wednesday -- Italian pork chops with potatoes and salad
Thursday -- poppy seed chicken
Friday -- on your own / leftovers
Saturday --
party at friends' home

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Daily Show: McCain -- Reformed Maverick

Since we don't have cable, I'm a day behind on The Daily Show. Just wanted to share this for others out who don't have Comedy Central (or Heaven forbid, have it but don't watch John Stewart.)

Facebook

I'm not even close to as addicted to Facebook as many seem to be, but I do check in every day now because so many folks are joining. It is neat to see what old classmates are up to now, and I like to read what new friends are doing on there, too. I added this blog to my Facebook profile, so those of you who prefer Facebook to RSS feeds can subscribe to the Facebook Blog Network using the link on the righthand sidebar.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Happy (belated) Birthday, John McCain


And to commemorate yesterday's special day, look here for a few things YOUNGER THAN JOHN MCCAIN.

(Alaska, home of vice-presidential pick Sarah Palin, is younger than John McCain.)

Saturday, August 23, 2008

I found Jesus at Walmart


I make my way into Walmart about once a year, and that occasion happened to fall this week. I was specifically looking for a KidSongs dvd since my sister told me she has seen them at Wally World for $1. We've checked out the two copies our library has a couple of times, so I figured if we could own our own for a buck, I'd make my annual trip to that store. I did find this dvd for $1, and also stumbled upon a Jesus Action Figure for only $14.99. I'd seen them and laughed at them at Terra Toys before, but I *was* in Walmart, so the subliminal messages got to me and I bought it.

Driving home in the car, Caroline pushed the button on his back several times. "I love him!" she cooed. Jesus AF recites John 3:16 and also tells the story of the miracle of loaves and fishes. After a few tellings, Caroline told me she didn't like Jesus's voice.

Now, for those of you thinking Walmart was selling Jesus, Amanda. Your beloved Target wouldn't do that. Notice the link above -- Target sells Jesus, too. Anything to make a buck, man. And I don't know that it's all that noble to sell Jesus to the masses.

Friday, August 22, 2008

How many Amanda Fowles are there?


HowManyOfMe.com
LogoThere are
2
people with my name in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?



I already knew there was another Amanda Fowle. I search Bindel, too, and found there is one Amanda Bindel. Now, is that me since I do use the name on occasion? I doubt it. So I guess even if I changed my name I wouldn't be the one and only.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Find it at the LIBRARY!

As a child living outside of a small-town city limits, I did not have access to a public library. I talked my mom a few times into taking me to the Vidor Public Library (which even now has no internet presence), but I couldn't check anything out because I didn't have a library card. The whole library world just seemed like such a cosmopolitan thing that I fantasized about it. (Yeah, I've always been a nerd.) So of course, I got into the whole library thing. I worked at the library in college. I considered becoming a librarian (until I volunteered in one shelving books.) I've find the right role for libraries in my life now, though, as a mother.

Caroline and I make a weekly (sometimes more) journey to the library. We enjoy the library's programs, like story-times, guest appearances (we saw Mother Goose and several kids' singers this summer), book check-out, cd check-out, dvd check-out. And now we've discovered another fun item to borrow from the library -- ART PRINTS!

At the Cedar Park Public Library, you can check out prints of artwork for one month at a time. I just rearranged our wall hangings and had empty space above the fireplace. Not any more! My plan is to expose Caroline to a different piece of art each month. Our first acquisition? Look at my blog header -- Mary Cassatt's Breakfast in Bed. I plan to switch out our fireplace painting each month. How's that for frugal and educational?

Now, some of you astute readers are saying to yourself. "Um...you live in Austin, not Cedar Park." Right you are! I prefer the CP library to the APL branches near us, so I got a TexShare card that allows me to get library cards of other public libraries in Texas. It's a beautiful system!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult

Stayed up last night to finish it. Really enjoyed it. Read only if you want a good, hard cry!

Will continue my Hot Picoult Summer with whatever of hers (if anything) I can find available at the library this week. I can't remember and can't figure out which digits on my library card constitute my library id to put the one and only book that is currently available on hold.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Drugstore Deals

My favorite deals for this week:

Target
The Target at 1431 and 183 had their Suave soaps on clearance for $1.27. I had a buy one get one free coupon and a 50 cent off one coupon. I wasn't sure if I could use both, but the cashier took them. So, I got two yummy (Peony scented) Suave shower soaps, .77 for both!

Same store had Real Solutions Organic shampoo and condition with free after rebate hang tags. They are normally $4.99 each, so one free shampoo; one free conditioner. Or technically, since it is a mail-in rebate that I have to send a SASE, .42 each.

Walgreens
Nabisco crackers (Premium Saltines and Ritz) are on sale 2 for $4. There's a .75 off two coupon in Sunday's paper. Plus, if you buy $10 worth, you'll get $3 in Register Rewards. I bought six for $10, used my coupon, and got my $3 back. Comes to $1.04 per box of crackers. Caroline and I eat this for snacks often.

Olay body washes, Secret deodorant, and a few other brands are on sale 3 for $10. Plus, if you buy $10 worth, you get $3 in Register Rewards (or buy $20 worth and get $7.) Coupons are out for most of the items. I bought an Olay Botanicals body wash that I had a $2 coupon for, an Olay Ribbons body wash that I had a $1.50 coupon for, and a Secret deodorant that I had a .50 coupon for. I got the $3 back bringing my per item cost for each soap and the deodorant to $1.

Finally, Walgreens has Pert Plus shampoo free after rebate this month (up to $4 something). I had a $2 off coupon for that, so I'll make $2 after rebate. (Consider that $2 blown on the treat I bought for Caroline and me for our post-swim/post-Walgreens snack.) They also have an organic shampoo and conditioner free after rebate, too, for August. I'll pick that up later this month.

I should be set on body wash for awhile since I stocked up on several during the free after ECB deal at CVS a few months ago. I still have some of that left. Caroline has been "showering" while I get dressed lately, though, and she tends to use a bit too much. It might not last as long as I think.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Summer Reading and Watching

I like easy summer reading that reads like a made-for-TV movie. I've found that with my summer author -- Jodi Picoult. Her novels, by her own description, are plot and character driven. I started with The Pact on our vacation. I just finished Plain Truth.

The Pact involves a teenage boy on trial for murdering his girlfriend in a supposed botched suicide pact. Plain Truth is about an Amish teen's trial for murdering her newborn after hiding her pregnancy. I have My Sister's Keeper coming from paperbackswap soon, and I have a few others of her books on lists to read this summer before my book clubs pick back up.

On the viewing front, I've Netflixed the Little House on the Prairie television series, and Caroline and I are snuggling up watching it together in the late afternoons/early evenings. We are both enjoying it. This show has such a special place in my heart. My mom and sister and I always watched it together, and my dad always had comments about Michael Landon's crying at every situation he could. Caroline enjoys "the little girls show," and I feel it is a bit better than the other alternatives on TV. With nine seasons of about twenty episodes each, this should occupy us for quite a while. By the time we finish watching the series, I think Caroline will be ready for me to start reading aloud to her from the Laura Ingalls Wilder's series.

Monday, July 07, 2008

$10 from Ebates (for me and for you!)

I've mentioned ebates on my blog before. It's a shopping portal that pays you back a percentage of the money you spend shopping online. I've made $99.52 since joining over a year ago. No work on my part -- just go to ebates.com and click the links or search the products on their site. You get four percent back from Target purchases (that's the big one for me.) There are tons of other stores, too. I just bought some new bras and got six percent of my purchase back. The cash back can go into your paypal account or you can receive a check. Right now, if you sign up using this link and make your first purchase before August 14, you'll get a $10 bonus and so will I.

Give it a try!

Montessori Mondays with Mommy Life

I have realized that I need some new blogging material.
I see (from my little spy sitemeter) that most hits I get via searches are Montessori-related.
I have become inspired this week to plan my at-home-time with Caroline a bit more.

So, this week, I'm joining in Mommy Life's Montessori Monday.

Montessori Concept: The Prepared Environment
I'm quite proud of the prepared, child-friendly environment I've created at home for Caroline. She has the Learning Tower to help her see and help with kitchen tasks, several child-sized tables and chairs throughout the house, adjusted light switches that she can reach, step stools in bathrooms, and child-accessible snacks so she can serve herself.

I've realized recently, though, that I've become lax in preparing her environment with activities. I believe it is important for children to be able to entertain themselves, but I think I've gone a bit too far with leaving her to her own devices too much of the time recently.

I've decided that each week, I'll come up with a few activities that I will have on-hand to explore with her or for her to explore independently. Granted, not all of these fit with Montessori philosophy. My fit with that is in the idea of preparing her environment and with some of the categories.

Rhyme -- Humpty Dumpty
Sensory Activity --crush egg shells
Craft Activity -- glue egg shells on picture of Humpty Dumpty
Academic Activity -- tracing r and o with sandpaper letters
Catechism -- The Parable of the Sower (Matt 13: 1-9) -- collect seeds from various fruits, trees, and veggies; view and discuss The Sower
Fine Motor -- sort and count seeds
Practical Life -- choosing and putting on own shirt

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Drugstore Deals


CVS has Charmin Ultra on sale for $5.99 per 12 big rolls and Bounty Basic for $5.49 for 8 rolls -- both good prices according to my records. The great deal, though, is if you buy $20 worth of the products (Duracell batteries are also included) you get $10 in ECB back. They had this sale on a few weeks ago, and I went on Monday to make my purchase -- they were sold out already! I did get a rain check that I hadn't used yet, but since I didn't want to miss this week's deal, I hit CVS before church this morning. To make my deal even sweeter, I used a $5 off $25 coupon I had (I seem to get one every week with my CVS receipts). I added a small CVS brand hand sanitizer for my purse to get my total up. All in all, I got 36 big rolls of toilet paper and 8 rolls of paper towels for $8.46 -- 19 cents per roll!!

Another good CVS deal this week that I didn't need to take advantage of (since I have a year's worth of laundry detergent already from the last sale):
All detergents are on sale buy one get one free. Regular price is 6.50. There are two coupons in today's paper -- one for $1.50 off and one for $.50 off. So, if you need some All, you can get it for $2.25 per 32 load bottle -- seven cents per load.

Happy shopping!
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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Family Cruisin'

By request, here's a recap of our family vacation.

We drove to League City Sunday and spent the night with my dad so that we could get to Galveston early. We were there in line at the earliest recommended time of noon and waited in line about forty-five minutes or so. Then we boarded the boat to a party atmosphere hearing the refrain "You're on vacation now!" We looked around the boat a bit before heading to the Lido deck for a buffet lunch, complete with dessert. Then we checked out our room -- just the basics: a king sized bed and a pull-down twin bed (that was only used as a climbing toy), a desk/vanity combination, a TV perched in a corner, and a wall of closets. The bathroom is small and functional with shower, sink, and toilet. (TIP: splurge on the Schick Intuition razor so you aren't trying to balance and keep shaving cream on your legs standing in a small shower in a moving boat.)

The cliche about eating on cruises is true. We woke up, ate, played, ate, rested, ate . . . We ate in the main dining room for breakfast on mornings at sea (since it was open later.) On port days, we ate the breakfast buffet. We ate lunch at the grill or buffet every day but the last sea day when we ate in the main dining room. The main dining room is so much nicer -- full menu. Appetizer, entree, and dessert. Full service. Really nice. We ate dinner there every night, of course, but dinner is also served at the grill and buffet on the Lido deck. Here's what I remember of my dinner choices. Typically, you have about five choices for each, appetizer, entree, and dessert.

My dinner choices:
Monday
  • shrimp appetizer
  • steak and baked potato
  • chocolate melting cake with vanilla ice cream (this is incredible and was on the "classics" menu every night. The mom and daughter at our table ordered it every night but one. It is that good. The top layer is chocolate cake, but just underneath that is warm melted chocolate, almost like cake batter.)

Tuesday -- this was the formal night. John wore a suit. I wore a black cocktail dress. Caroline wore her Easter dress.
  • mixed green salad and tropical fruit plate (you can order two appetizers)
  • lobster and shrimp
  • (I can't remember dessert...I think I had the chocolate melting cake again)

Wednesday
  • strawberry bisque -- it was like eating a smoothie from a bowl with a spoon
  • chicken with pasta in mushroom cream sauce
  • apple pie with ice cream

Thursday
  • Caesar salad -- worst thing I ate on the trip -- too anchovy-ee
  • Chateaubriand
  • Grand Marnier souffle

Friday
  • french onion soup
  • veal parmigiana
  • baked alaska

The kids program is phenomenal! We registered and went to a quick orientation the first night there and got the schedule. Lots of crafts, face paining, music and games, and some general toy time. They have programs for kids from two up to teens, with 2-5 year olds being together. Caroline had a great time and asked to go often. The hours run from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. with closures for meal preparation. (You can pay for sitting services after 10 p.m.) We put Caroline in after lunch most days, but we did put her in one morning and one evening. We were paged that evening at 8:15 when our little princess turned into a pumpkin. She told them she wanted to go to bed but refused to lie down on the pillows they had set up in a corner. She's not a party animal, my girl.

During the two days at sea, we walked around the boat and decks, swam, read in the sun, played putt-putt, napped, worked out (me, once; John, several times), and ate, of course.

On the port day in Progresso, Mexico, we took a bus into town and shopped. In Cozumel, we snorkeled. Caroline went with us, wearing a life jacket we brought from home. We took turns snorkeling alone while the other held on to Caroline in the ocean. At the second stop, though, after a few minutes of snorkeling, she decided she wanted back in the boat, so an older couple who was along just for the glass-bottomed boat-ride pampered her while we snorkeled.

We aren't night owls, and REST was a goal of our trip, so we turned in early each night. They had several movie channels, so we watched a few movies: Mad Money with Diane Keaton, Queen Latifah, and Katie Holmes; National Treasure with Nicholas Cage (which I really enjoyed), and Jumper. Not cruise specific, but I read Jodi Picoult's The Pact and enjoyed it. I've added the rest of her books to my library and paperbackswap lists.

It was a fabulous vacation. We had fun; we rested; we were pampered. All that I had hoped for.

If you plan on cruising, be sure to check out the forums on Cruise Critic beforehand.

I didn't take many pictures -- You can see some here.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Party like it's 1999

Smell is such a memory trigger. Today I used part of my mother's day gift card to Avant Salon and Spa and had a facial. I was a regular at Avant back in my high-tech days -- back when John and I were DINKS -- dual income with no kids (and before I gave up 2/3 of my income to became a teacher / grad school student). I haven't been there in, oh, eight years, I guess. Just walking into that unique Aveda smell brought back memories of those indulgent days. Dinners in nice restaurants. Happy hours. Expensive wine. And suits and shoes. Haircuts and highlights and facials.

And I missed them.

Maybe I'm not the frugal, crunchy mom I thought I was.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Robot Party


If you have spoken to my daughter in the past two months, she has told you (be you friend, family, or checker at a store) that she was having a robot party. That is the theme she chose herself. I am not the crafty type, but there aren't a lot of ready-made robot stuff out there. I had to get a little creative.

Invitations
I took silver note cards and cut right angles out of each side at the top, creating a head for a robot. I put google eyes on that, glued a piece of metallic pipe cleaner in a v-shape to the top for antennae, and added a pink pipe cleaner smile.

Decorations
I bought party supplies on the wedding aisle -- silver plates and napkins and table cover. We had metallic party hats in various colors. For the table decorations, I bought styrofoam shapes at Hobby Lobby, used toothpicks to create my robots, spray painted them silver, and added eyes and antennae. They turned out really cute.

Cake
I tossed around a few ideas for the cake -- square cakes stacked on top of each other, as in a layer cake, creating a three dimensional robot; a rectangular cake with the head cut out as I did with the invitations, a square cake head with a rectangular cake body for a two-d robot. I decided on cupcakes for ease of cutting and serving. I mixed white icing with a few squirts from a tube of black decorator's icing to create a gray icing. I used metallic silver and gold cups, and I laid out the cupcakes to form the shape of a robot. It wasn't perfect, but it worked.

All in all, I think the little robot theme worked just fine.

*The vinyl banner pictured above was ordered online before Caroline's first birthday party. We've used it three times now (and loaned it to a friend named Caroline once, too.) I consider it a good buy since it will be used many times over the next several years. I don't remember exact numbers or websites, but I paid less than $20 shipped for it (in 2006).

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

How we spent the evening...

(well, about a half hour of it)
We were under a tornado warning tonight -- with a radar tracking it right over our neighborhood. John pulled Caroline out of her bed, and I set up the powder bathroom floor with pillows for all of us. Caroline slept through the whole thing!
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Sunday, May 04, 2008

Drugstore Deals

Walgreens:
I got all this for $1.78!!

Walgreens has a deal this week -- buy 3 of certain items, get $4 in Register Rewards; buy 4, get $6; buy 5 to 8, get $10; buy 9 or more; get $20. The Ivory bar soap is not part of the deal but is on sale for .99. I had coupons for everything else!

Cascade -- 2 for $5 plus $1 off two coupon
Charmin wipes -- $1.99 (Walgreens coupon)
Covergirl Nail Polish (all CG, buy one, get one 50% off at Walgreens) plus $2.50 off two coupon
Crest Pro Health 2 for $5 (I bought one) plus $3 off coupon
Swiffer 2 for $7 plus $1 off two coupon

There are lots more items included on the list plus coupons for many of those items.

CVS:
I didn't find as many *great* CVS deals this week, but there are some nice treats.

Physicians Formula OrganicWear makeup is on sale buy one, get one 50% off. Since I just decided to reduce the parabens I'm putting on my body, this was great timing! Not cheap, but something I wanted anyway.

Whitman's Sampler (normally 8.99) is on sale for $3.99 with your CVS card. Today's paper has a $2 off coupon.
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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

From my garden

It is so cool for me to write that -- my garden!

I've tried planting things -- bell peppers, tomotoes -- in the past, but they grew to be the size of my thumb. This year, John made me a really nice garden area, and I've planted the usual bell peppers and cucumbers, but I added some spinach, lettuce, and spring mix. Honestly, I had no idea that spring mix grew all together. I just thought that bag I'd sometimes buy was a mixture of several *different* plants. When my spring mix started growing, I was so excited. It actually looked like something you'd eat. (The peppers and cucumber aren't nearly there yet.)

This evening, I cut some of my spring mix and made a little salad for our dinner (I did have to supplement with some bagged salad, too, but the picture is all from my garden.)

I am learning the ways of the dirt, though. I clipped the veggies, washed them off, and patted them dry. Then I put them in a bowl and snapped this picture. After that, I discovered a tiny little inchworm creaping along the leaves. Since I had planned a different protein for our dinner, I soaked the leaves in water to drown any other living creatures before rinsing and patting dry again.
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Sunday, April 27, 2008

Drugstore Deals

This is a tricky week, in a good way, as the monthly sales are ending and starting in addition to new weekly deals. At Walgreens, you can use both the April and May EasySaver deals until tomorrow, 4/28. At CVS, the May deals will start on the 1st, so you can wrap up your April deals this week.

Here are some high points:
Walgreens
Con-Agra foods, buy $10, get a $5 rebate (May)
* I bought
--2 Orville Redenbacker popcorns for $5
-- 3 Hunt's Snack-Pack pudding 4 packs for $3
-- 4 cans Butterball chicken broth for $2

Reynolds Wrap aluminum foil is on sale 4 for $3. I am waiting on some coupon trades to arrive in the mail early this week for $.55 of each, making them 20 cents per roll.

April Deal ending this week -- free after rebate on Colgate 360 toothbrush + $1/off coupon in today's paper = $1 profit

CVS
The Softsoap deal has changed up a bit -- a bigger size and price, still free after ECB. There is a dollar coupon in today's paper, making for a $1 profit.

All (brand) detergents are buy one, get one. I am stocked up on detergent, but I peeked at the shelf anyway. The Small & Mighty free and clear had a tag for $1.59 (normal price is 6.49). That can't be right, I thought, but I stuck two in my basket. I had a $1/off coupon, too! I had the checker verify the price before she started scanning, and sure enough, on clearance for $1.59 minus my $1 coupon. Now, I did not get the second one free. Sure, I could have complained and had her fix that, but I felt like it was a good deal -- 4 cents / load, compared to my price point of 13 cents/load. If any are left tomorrow, I'll get two more and see if they'll honor the buy one get one since I don't have another coupon.

The CVS generic of Neosporin with pain-relief is on for buy two (3.99 each) get $5 in ECB. I need one for my purse now that skinned knee season is upon us, so I bought those and got my ECB.

Links
I've found two sites really helpful in planning ahead and getting ideas for savings:
Hot Coupon World and Slick Deals (forum). Check those out. For next week, I'll gather some links to my favorite frugal bloggers.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Friday Night Videos

I don't get to watch much SNL these days, but the Jeopardy parodies were fabulous. Funny or Die has them. (If you haven't seen the Landlord video on Funny or Die, check that out, too.)

Monday, April 21, 2008

Drugstore Deals

CVS has improved upon their Speedstick deal from earlier this month, now offering it free after ECBs. I plan to get a few more later this week.

Walgreens April Easy Saver has a $5 rebate on a $10 purchase of Garnier products. I has several $2/off coupons plus an in-store $2/off coupon on hair color. I bought one hair color (7.99 - 2 coupon - 2 coupon = 3.99) and one hair conditioning masque (3.99 - 2 coupon = 1.99) Total out-of-pocket after $5 rebate = $.98)

My best deals this week are not from the drugstores, though, but from HEB.

(good only until 4/22, so hurry!)
Diet Coke (and other coke products) 12 packs
3 for $11
in-store coupon for buy 3 12 px, get a 24 px free
That makes 5 12 px for $11
GREAT DEAL (and if you sign up for mycokerewards, you're halfway to a free 12 pack with this purchase.)

Feline Pine Cat Litter (one of our two choice brands) is $4.99. There is a $3 in-store coupon, making it $1.99. There's also a mail-in rebate. I'll save that for a non-coupon purchase, though.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Friday Night Videos

I managed to remember to post videos two weeks in a row. :-) Here are some funnies for this week.

IT'S RAINING MCCAIN


And Colbert Report News Flash: White Men to Decide this Election
So, we get the EdWords from John Edwards on how to get the white male vote
(Since we don't have cable, I don't get to watch the Colbert Report much, but we were at a hotel last night and I got to watch and enjoy.)

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Workout Update

Last week, my gym offered a free class on fitness and nutrition, and they were raffling off some personal training sessions. I'm a lucky girl on stuff like that, so I figured I'd go, maybe learn something, maybe get something for free. Well, honestly, I didn't learn anything and I didn't win, either. They did offer a discounted rate on their training, though, so I gave in to the marketing pressure and hired a personal trainer for twelve sessions. I've been working out for a couple of months now, and I'm just not feeling as fabulous as I did that first week or so. I think I've just been going through the motions without pushing myself. I met with my trainer today. She started with the measurements, and let me just say, OHMYGOSHDOIEVERNEEDTOGETMYBUTTINGEAR! The truth is humiliating!

Anyway, I'll be sore tomorrow, I know. My plan is to go with two sessions a week with her, at least for the first few weeks. I may stretch it to once a week after a few gos if I want to make the twelve session last a bit longer.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Drugstore Deals versus Costco Stock-up

I remember one of the first tips I read about couponing / bargain shopping was to have a target price list for the things you regularly buy. I know I already mentioned that it's important NOT to be brand loyal, but I do have a few things I prefer to be loyal on. Diet Cokes -- that's a must. Charmin toilet paper is strongly preferred. Bounty paper towels are preferred but are not a must. And my detergent must be stink-free -- I don't care what brand, but it must not have scents and dyes. (It is amazing how I didn't even notice the smells until I switched to scent-free. Now, I occasionally fine other people's clothing offensive.)

I'm slowly compiling my list, but since I often buy some of these things in bulk at Costco and they do not take manufacturer coupons, I needed to do some research there to determine if CVS / Walgreens / others were offering good deals. So today, while I enjoyed a lovely ladies' luncheon after church, John trudged through Costo with Caroline and my spiral notebook recording a few prices for me. (Thank you! Love you!)

Costco Price
* price to stockpile other sale / coupon deals
------
12 ct. BIG rolls Bounty paper towels................$16.99 (regularly see $2/off cpn)
*less than $1.25 per big roll (YIKES!! We don't use paper towels that often as I try to use washcloths mostly in the kitchen and cloth napkins at meals and rags for cleaning. But still -- I think I'll work on cutting back even more on the paper towels.)

30 rolls Charmin Ultra toilet paper.................$17.99 (regularly see $2/off cpn)
*less than 53 cents per big roll

Kirkland Free and Clear, 96 loads....................$12.99
*anything well below $.135 per load.

Diet Coke (32 12 oz cans) ...........................$ 8.09
*$3 or less per 12-pack

----
Last week, Walgreens had a sale on their Coke products, four for $12 / buy four get $2 register rewards, so I stocked up on diet cokes last week. (yes, I realize if I plan to skimp on paper towels that it would make sense to cut out the diet cokes, and I know I had tried that in the fall. I'm really enjoying my vices for a few months here, so cut me some slack!) Between Walgreens, CVS, and Target, I should be able to get my diet cokes at less than $3/pack anytime.

This week, Walgreens has their All detergents (including Free and Clear, regularly ~$6.50) on sale for $3.99. Plus, if you buy six select Unilever products (including All) you get $6 in Register Rewards, making the detergent $2.99 for a 2x ultra doing 32 loads. That came to $.093 per load, so I bought all they had. :-)

Walgreens is also offering their Charmin Ultra toilet paper (six rolls) 2 / $6. (Bounty is also on sale but didn't work out for a better deal.) I had a coupon for $1 off one pack and another coupon for .25 off one pack. I bought two packs, totalling twelve rolls, for $4.75 after coupon, which came to $.395 per roll. I only bought the two rolls as I only had the two coupons (and I think there was a limit anyway.)

All in all, nothing FREE this week, but some good deals. Oh, and CVS brand diapers and pull-ups are buy one get one free this week. So I got two 26 packs of pull-ups (Caroline still wears one at night, even though she's dry about 1/3 of the time the next morning...maybe we'll be out of pull-ups soon) for $8.99. I like that these just have pictures of little girls and not princesses or other characters, too. Added bonus for Ms. Anti-Marketing-Aimed-at-Tots.

I also used the Walgreens coupon for two Crest toothpastes for $3 and coupled it with a $1 / off two manufacturer coupon I had, getting two toothpastes for .75 each. I have quite a bit of toothpaste here already, so I'm donating those, along with some shampoo and conditioner I got on sale, to a mission our church serves. In my reading about working the CVS/Walgreens deals, I see lots of encouragement to donate your deals because, really, I don't need to stockpile more than a few months worth of stuff, right? :-)

Friday, April 11, 2008

Friday Night Videos

Who knows if I'm cool and savvy enough to do this EVERY week, but *this* week, I have some videos to share.
I love Hillary! (I especially like the part that starts at 4:32) but I realize that we, the press, are a mighy sword.


and

I *heart* Weird Al!


And check out this one, too,"White and Nerdy"

Totally unrelated, I know, but videos that made me laugh a lot and cry a little this week.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

What color is your sun?

Watercoloring with Caroline this afternoon, I realized that we all really do see the world differently. I was creating a lovely watercolor landscape (trying to get across the idea of rinsing the brush in the water between colors) when I started to add a sun to my painting. A yellow sun. I narrated as I drew the sun but was quickly cut off with the directive that I should be using orange. The moon is yellow; the sun is orange. Now, I disagree, seeing for myself that the moon is white, and the sun is yellow, but I can see her point. I vividly remember disagreeing with my kindergarten teacher over the color of trees. We were given coloring pages, poorly mimeographed so that the words were hardly legible. Each item on the page was labeled with a color. The label for the tree trunks was totally illegible, save for the first letter B. Well, I knew that one and didn't need to ask for clarification. Tree trunks are black. My teacher disagreed with me (as she so often did. I could probably write a years' worth of blog entries about my kindergarten challenges.) I grew up surrounded by pine trees, which certainly have black trunks. If she wanted brown trunks, she should have made better copies or moved herself somewhere north.

So, I decided not to argue with my daughter about the orange-ness of the sun. And I'll never take away her chair just because she doesn't sit in it or ridicule her for finding a clever shortcut for a ridiculously mundane task1. (But enough of my own K-bitterness.)

1 - In kindergarten, EVERY SINGLE DAY, we had to write our numbers on Big Chief tablets. It just took FOREVER. I just hated writing those numbers, over and over again. One day, I realized what a waste writing the tens digit for all the teens was, since it was the same number over and over,1-0, 1-1, 1-2... and that tens digit was just a line after all. I got out my ruler, drew a line right down the page, and then proceeded to add the second digit to all the teens. Pretty smart, I think. My teacher did not agree.


Sunday, April 06, 2008

Drugstore Deals


This week's deal
-- free toothpaste
Location
-- Walgreen's (also right on the corner. right across from the CVS mentioned last week)
Details
-- Aquafresh on sale this week $2 / each
-- had two different coupons on file -- $1 / off Aquafresh Extreme Clean; $1 / Aquafresh Advanced
-- bought one of each
-- Walgreen's is offering an EasySaver mail-in rebate off of one Aquafresh purchase (up to 3.99 value) this month, so at the end of the month, I'll compile this receipt with any other rebate items I buy this month and get my $2 back.

FREE TOOTHPASTE!
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