Monday, March 31, 2008

Meme #1 and Menu Planning Monday

I will post the memes throughout this week so that I don't overwhelm y'all with all my info! LOL

I was tagged by both Jessica and Annie for this one... sorry it took so long!

A. The rules of the game are posted at the beginning.
B. Each player answers the questions about themselves.
C. At the end of the post, the player then tags 5 people and post their names, then goes to the blogs and leaves them a comment letting them know they’ve been tagged.

What I was doing 10 years ago: hmmm.... 1998. I was getting ready to graduate from community college with an AS degree in Legal Assisting. (I never ended up using that degree) My DD was 4 yo, I was living with my mom and dad in FL. I was working at a donut shop at night. Not much else. Pretty boring at that point in my life!

5 Things on my To Do list today: Wash a crap load of dishes, finish all of my laundry and actually get it put away, go to Curves to exercise, take The Girl to her book club meeting, try to get a chance to vacuum the floors. There are many many other things on my to do for today. But, these are the top 5!

Snacks I enjoy: Anything chocolate, Cakesters or whoopie pies, apples with caramel dip, popcorn.

Things I would do if I were a Billionaire: Ha. Pay off all of my debt. And all of my moms debt, my MILs debt etc. Buy a house, travel, all of the basic things that we never get to do because we are too damn broke. I would set up college funds for the kids and trust funds that they cannot access until they are either married, already making at least $50,000 or turn 35. That way they actually have to work and learn about finances.

3 of my Bad Habits: Smoke like a chimney, drink lots of soda and read way too many blogs when I should be cleaning! LOL

5 places I have lived: Gainesville, FL; Waldo, FL; Hattiesburg, MS; Richton, MS; Petal, MS

5 jobs I have had: I was a donut finisher for many years and worked the overnight shift. I was an OMS (operations management specialist) at UPS on the night shift, I was an office manager/ fiscal specialist at a company that provided supports to developmentally disabled adults, I was a secretary/ assistant to the director for Volunteer Services in a hospital, and I was the Fiscal Supervisor/ manager of the hospital gift shop. I also once was a laborer for my dad who was a mason (brick layer). Now I am a mom and it is the hardest job I have ever had!

Ok. There ya go. I think everyone I know has pretty much done this. Jen, Chelle, Cat and anyone else... if you have not done this yet then YOU ARE IT! LOL

As for my menu for this week... here it is!

Monday - Crockpot Pineapple Chicken, wild rice and green beans
Tuesday - Baked Pasta with salad
Wednesday - Pot Roast with veggies and homemade bread
Thursday - leftovers
Friday - Hamburger Gravy with rice (this has veggies in it)
Saturday - Pepperoni Lasagna rollups and salad
Sunday - BBQ Ribs, Scalloped Potatoes, green beans and homemade bread

I had most of this already in the freezer or pantry which is why this is my menu for this week! LOL. I had to pick up one or two things for dinners and some lunch things but my total spent for groceries this morning was $27.05 for the week. Not too bad. When I get recertified for WIC on the kids I will be able to get all of our milk, some cheese, cereal, peanut butter and juice through them which will drop our spending some. With the price of milk? More than some!

This is a major issue for us as I recently had to cut my grocery budget by $70 a month. I now have budgeted only $60 a week for all groceries. I can handle that but I need to make sure I am planning ahead. Having to buy frozen pizza or microwave meals eats up a budget fast! I am looking for some good, tried and true recipes that are meatless. If you have any, share share! LOL

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Back in the Saddle Again!

Well, figuratively speaking anyway! My Mom and MIL are back home safe and sound. I miss both of them and not just because my mom folded all of my clean clothes and my MIL changed dirty diapers! LOL The house seems kinda empty without them....

So, I have pictures! Of the visit and Easter and birthday cake eating and miscellaneous stuff..... so sit back, grab a drink and prepare for a long update....

Here goes....

My Mom... and I wonder where my daughter gets it from? LOL

My MIL playing with The Boy. He pretty much monopolizes her the entire time she is here visiting. Because she loves to play with him!

The Baby in bunny ears...

The Boy in search of the elusive eggs of yumminess....

The Girl hunting the eggs we hid so well that they may never be found again....

Now, here is The Baby right after he (with help) blew out the candles on his cake. I was focused on the fact that he was digging right into the cake! Whole hand fulls of icing were heading into his mouth. I missed the fact that The Boy was using a toothpick to gouge out an entire chunk of cake from the side. He ate a bit of the icing and cake before I noticed. It was pretty funny. You can see him working away at it on the right hand side of this pic.

Now, here is The Baby with his slice of cake to devour. He looks pretty happy with the prospect, huh?

And here he is AFTER the devouring has been completed. What a sticky boy! LOL It was ice cream cake so he REALLY loved it! But, every time he took a bite he shivered! It was very very funny to see.
And here he is as we try to wash away the evidence of his war on cake. Can you see why his smile makes me melt?
And one last pic of the birthday boy. Here is his take on the whole turning one thing. He had to go to the doctors for his one year checkup. He got 3 shots, blood drawn, a pee bag taped to his private area to collect urine for testing, an eye test, AND he had to have his ears flushed because he has lots of ear wax buildup. He was not happy!
And in other news...... I have finally completed one of my organizational goals! I have gotten all of my tupperware organized and out of reach of the children. It took a while to figure out what would work the best. But, here it
is! The actual shelves and shelving units/ drawers are behind the door. When you open the door, you can't see the tupperware! Out of site, out of mind as far as the kids are concerned. The drawers will be used for overflow of meds, vitamins and toiletries. Since I have been getting so much from CVS I have to have somewhere to keep it until I need it. I MAY end up trying to fit in a 3rd shelf there by tightening up the space. We'll see. This area is actually part of the room that I will be using for sewing. It has this storage area, our stand up freezer, a 2nd refrigerator, a corner full of music stuff (guitars, amps, speaker cabinets) and one whole half of the room is MINE. For my sewing tables, craft supplies and anything else I want to put there. Now if I can ever get THAT organized it will be a miracle!
And, here is a picture of DH hard at work. He has been down at his boss' OTHER restaurant for the past several weeks, trying to straighten out a mess there. Both the kitchen manager and the front of the house manager walked out in one weekend with no notice. And then they had 8 other employees quit. (All friends of the managers') So, DH has been working his behind off trying to get things in order down there. It is a gourmet pizzeria.
I'm talking fire cooked, brick oven pizza with things like duck and gorgonzola cheese. My favorite one has a white sauce and roasted garlic and cheese. Very yummy. ANYWAY. He will be down there until he gets a new manager trained. Maybe 2 more weeks. He hired a guy the other day who seems to be working out and has the experience they need for a management position. DH cannot wait to get back to his own restaurant and do some real cooking. To him, pizza is great but it isn't real cooking.
So, there you have it. I have three memes I will be posting soon. I have them done but did not want to overwhelm everyone with an update and memes all in one day! LOL

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Saturday Savings

Made a quick trip to CVS today to get some last minute deals taken care of.

I bought:

1 Clear Care contact solution
1 Reese's King size candy bar
2 Tresemme Conditioners
1 Tresemme Shampoo
1 20 oz Pepsi
3 Playskool Baby Wipes 240 count each

This equals $49.10 after tax.
I used coupons and ECBs and sale prices equalling a savings of $38.56.
I paid out of pocket $10.54.
I brought home $17 in ECBs for next trip. I also got 2 coupons for $10/50 and one for $2 any hair color purchase. I also have a mail in rebate form for the Clear Care. SO I will get back the full purchase price of that.

Not too shabby. I may not have to buy wipes for the next three months.

I also made a quick stop at Winn-Dixie. They have Rayovac Batteries on sale 10 for $10. The way WD does it, you don't have to buy 10 to get the deal. It is just $1 each. So, I took my coupons and bought 6 packs of AA batteries (6 count) and only spent $2.58. I can never have too many batteries. I saved $21.94.

That's it for savings today.

I will be back later with another post... along one I have been working on. I just wanted to get the savings update out of the way! LOL

Guest Blogger in da House

Why, hello, devoted readers of my Mama's blog! This is Faerie Mom's daughter over at the Delusional (which is a rockin' blog, check it out!), and I'm here to tell you hey.

My Grandma and my Nana just left to go back home to Florida. They were up here for the week. It was fun, and I can't wait to see them again. But I've gotta wait 'till June...ah well.

Mama's working on a long post, so if you don't see her for a while, that's why. I think it's a meme thing...which, of course, means that she'll tag me and I'll have to do it. Looking forward to that.

ANYways....I dunno what much else to say! I have to save all the good stuff for my OWN bloggy-doo. So go check it out, peoples!

Okay, so Mama's planning a garden. She has a question:
What is your favorite vegetable to grow in a garden or eat from a garden?

This is Jen from the Delusional signing off.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Busy busy busy

I am so busy! Just wanted to let y'all know I am alive. I am working on about 4 different memes that I have been tagged with and will hopefully get a chance to post those tonight. My Mom and MIL will be leaving in the AM so I will get back on track again.... for now.... I have to go. But I will be back tonight at some point.

Boring, I know. But bear with me!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Fallin' Down On The Job

Akkk. I am fallin' down on the job here. With company here to visit you probably will not see much from me this week. For now, head over to The Barn Bums for a contest celebrating her 100th post! Yay Jessica! Then give Fried PorkChop some hell for not posting for an ENTIRE WEEK. How am I supposed to function without my pork chop??? Then, head over to We Are That Family for another great contest.

These ladies are having great contests. They also have fabulous blogs. Make sure you check them out! And also make sure to let Annie know that I need me some Fried Porkchops more than once a week. LOL....... hehe

As for my menu for this week....

Monday - Three cheese tortellini with Pesto and Salad
Tuesday - Leftovers
Wednesday - Pancakes, Bacon, Sausage and Veggie bacon
Thursday - Out to eat
Friday - Black Bean Pie and Taco Salad
Saturday - Homemade Pizza OR leftovers
Sunday - Pork Chops, mashed potatoes and peas

I already did my shopping for this week and also hit a discount grocery store in our town for snack foods, etc. Totally spent too much. My MIL is a vegetarian so I spent extra making sure I had veggie options in the house. And I also went to CVS last night.

Not too much there this week as far as good deals. I picked up $85.86 in products and saved $54.12. I paid out of pocket $31.74. I also brought home about $5 in ECBs for next trip and 3 different rain checks for items I could not find. Not too bad. But, one of the items I picked up was the wrong size and I ended up spending more on it than I was supposed to. I will be taking that back today or tomorrow.

Walgreens has a deal on Excedrin right now. 24 count boxes are on sale for $1.99. I had 4 coupons for $2 off a box. I got all 4 for free. I did have to buy something else so that I would not have a negative balance. I got Cakesters! Cause they are yummy. You can print Excedrin coupons online. Just do a search or check out Money Saving Mom again for links to coupons.

Ummm... I took a trip to Rite Aid to see if their deals would be worth my time. I was very disappointed in the availability of the advertised specials. I could not find most of what I was looking for. I ended up not purchasing anything there.

Anyone know anything about square foot gardening? Or about upside down planting? We are thinking about doing a vegetable garden. But, with somewhat limited space we think these two will be the way to go. Anyone with any experience, feel free to give me advice!

Alright, I need to go visit with my fab moms now. I will be back later!! Hopefully with pics of Sunday to wow you!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Exhausted and Sticky

We had a great day. My MIL and my mom are here visiting. They got here yesterday so we waited to celebrate the baby's bday until today. SO.... we did Easter and THEN a big dinner and THEN bday cake and presents. I am exhausted and covered in cake icing. ANd chocolate. I will pop back tomorrow to post pics of the baby eating his first bday cake. For now, I am heading to bed......

Friday, March 21, 2008

Letter to My Baby

Happy Birthday to my littlest Wingman of Mayhem. When I found out I was pregnant with you I was terrified. Not of giving birth. But of trying to raise three children at once. The last two only 19 months apart! It was a rough pregnancy all around. I spent some time on bed rest, had high blood pressure and strained a ligament in my abdomen during an emergency room situation with your older brother. I had bronchitis and it hurt so bad to cough! I thought I was going to go into labor early with you.... I ended up having to be induced because of the complications of the pregnancy. I went into the hospital at 5 am. They actually induced me around 8 am (I think). The labor was not too bad. The delivery was fast and furious! You were delivered at 5:03 PM CST on March 21, 2007. My Spring baby! Your Daddy cut the cord. And he was not happy about doing it! He asked the doctor if it wasn't his job to do surgery! LOL

You were a bit of a handful at first. You had reflux and spit up a lot. You didn't scream constantly like your brother did, though!

Over the past year you have made my life so special. You have been the sweetness that I needed to make me appreciate the hard times. And your eyes smiling into mine have made my heart melt every day!

I would write more, my love, but I cannot even express what you mean to me. And right now.... you are trying to eat your brothers foot. So, I must go rescue the elder boy and get the two of you ready for bed. Kisses and hugs and big smooshy loving...


PS Remember to turn off the music on the sidebar before playing!

Blogger Frustration

I have been TRYING to upload a video to blogger for HOURS. It is The Baby's 1st birthday today and I wanted to post a special tribute to his first year. If I EVER get it uploaded correctly you will see it! And I will do the serious 1st bday post. That way i can show it to him when he is older. And embarass him with it! LOL I will hopefully be back with more later!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

My Child is a Zoo in one

My oldest son thinks he is a parrot. Whenever I sit down on the couch lately he climbs up me like a monkey and No, I am not kidding. He is odd. And no, it does not feel very good. How in the world can I get him to stop doing this?

Monday, March 17, 2008

Menu Planning Monday

I am jumping on the bandwagon and planning to post my weekly menus here. We have decided to do weekly instead of monthly shopping and menu planning. As a way to keep better track of prices and what we spend. And also as a way to get better deals. DH is planning to help out with setting up a price guide.

So, this week I have lots of things still left in my freezer and my cupboards so I will be trying to use these up and spend less on actual groceries this week.

Monday - Pork chops with au gratin potatoes and green beans
Tuesday - Jambalaya with chicken and sausage, salad
Wednesday - Pot roast with veggies, homemade bread
Thursday - Grilled chicken with wild rice, gravy and peas
Friday - Leftovers
Saturday - Crock pot Vegetarian Pirogi Casserole, homemade bread
Sunday - Steak with mashed potatoes and corn, homemade rolls

So, I have ALL of the meat for this week in my freezer. I may need to pick up a few extra small steaks since we will be having company on Easter. The only things I need to buy for this week's DINNER menu are potatoes, carrots, celery, onions, salad mix and bow tie pasta.

Lunches and breakfasts are another matter entirely. I need to get several things for these meals. I also need to get eggs for Easter. And some kool Aid packs.

Right now, I have everything I need for Mon and Tues. I will do my shopping on Wednesday because DH is off of work. My list is:

10 lb bag of potatoes
3 lb bag of onions
1 bag of carrots
1 bunch celery
1 bag salad mix
Salad toppings
bow tie pasta
peanut butter
marshmallow fluff
strawberry jam
kool aid

I may end up having to add some things once I think about it more. But, that looks like it for now. I will check my coupon stash and see what I might have for this week. I sure wish I could find more coupons for things like fresh veggies. That is always a big expense.

So, what are your menu planning ideas for this week?

CVS How-To - You asked for it!

First of all, I am still new at this. But, since several of you have asked for details on how to work the deals at CVS..... I will see what I can do.

First, for more information and a much better tutorial go to Money Saving Mom. She has a CVS 101 post here. It walks you through it in a pretty simple manner.

BUT... I took this week's shopping receipts and broke it down for you... so here it is:

1st Transaction -Before Midnight to take advantage of deals for the week of 3/9 - 15
2 9.5 oz Dove easter eggs - Normally priced at 4.29 each. On sale for 2/ $6
1 box Alavert 12 count - Normally priced at 11.99 each. On sale for $6.99
1 Garnier Fructis Thickening Mousse - Normally priced at 3.99. On sale for $2.99
The before sales total was $24.56.
With sales it was $15.98.
I had coupons totalling $6.
I had $5 in Extra Care Bucks (ECB) from last trip.
So, after using these coupons, etc my total was $5.75 after taxes.
I then received $7 in ECBs to use on the next transaction.

2nd Transaction - All of the next ones were done after Midnight to take advantage of the new deals for the week of 3/16 - 22
1 12 oz box of Hersheys Pot of Gold Chocolates - Normally priced at $8.95. On sale for $4.99
2 bags of Confectionary Lane jelly beans - .99 each
2 bags of Jumbo Easter eggs - .99 each
1 Maybelline Superstay Gloss (For The Girl) - Normally prices at 9.49. On sale for 8.99.
6 Trial sized Johnson's baby shampoos - .99 each
The before sales total was 28.34.
With sales it was 23.88.
I had coupons totalling $11.
I had $7 in ECB from the last transaction.
After using these coupons my total was $7.06 after taxes.
I then received $17.94 in ECB to use on the next transaction.

3rd Transaction
Colgate Total Advanced Clean toothpaste 6 oz - Normally 3.99 on sale for 2.99
2 Johnsons Buddies bar soap - .99 each
2 250 ml Listerine Smart Rinse - Normally 3.99 each on sale for 2.99 each
2 Dove Cream Oil Body Wash 10 oz - Normally 5.49 each on sale for 3.99
2 Dove lotions 12 oz - Normally 5.49 each on sale for 3.99
4 Glade Air Freshener sprays 9 oz - Normally 1.69 each on sale for .99 each
1 Maybelline Define a lash Mascara (The Girl) - Normally 7.99 on sale for 5.99
The before sales total was 48.97.
With sales it was 36.86.
I had coupons totalling 13.98.
I had 17.94 in ECB from the last transaction.
After using these coupons my total was $6.26 after taxes.
I then received $12.98 in ECB to use on the next transaction.

4th Transaction
2 Garnier Fructis Anti Humidity Hairsprays - 4.29 each
1 Garnier Nutritioniste wet cleansing towelettes - 5.99
1 Maybelline eye shadow (The Girl) - 4.49
1 Nivea for men Shave Gel - 2.59
1 Clean & Clear acne control kit - 19.99
1 Glade Wisp Flameless Candle - Normally 9.99 on sale for 7.99
The before sales total was 51.63.
With sales it was 49.63.
I had coupons totalling 14.00.
I had 12.98 in ECB from the last transaction.
After using these coupons my total was $25.01 after taxes.
I then received $19 in ECB to use on the next transaction.

5th Transaction
1 12 pack of coke - Normally 4.69 on sale for 2/ $6
1 12 pack of Barqs rootbeer - Normally 4.69 on sale for 2/ $6
1 12 oz box of Hersheys Pot of Gold Chocolates - Normally priced at 8.95 on sale for 4.99
1 Total dental care 4 in 1 oral hygiene tool - Normally 2.99 on clearace for .20
1 St Patricks day headband - 2.99
1 St Patricks day beads - .99
1 Sudacare shower soothers - 4.99
2 5.5 oz Hersheys chocolate bars - Normally 1.79 each, on sale for 2/ $3
4 Snickers Marathon Protien Bars - 1 at 1.99, 3 Normally 1.49 on sale for .75 1 Colgate Total Advanced Clean toothpaste 6 oz - Normally 3.99 on sale for 2.99
1 Bic Soleil Razor with refills - Normally 6.99 on sale for 5.99
1 Bic Soleil Refill pack - Normally 6.99 on sale for 5.99
The before sales total was 58.30.
With sales it was 42.37.
I had coupons totalling 7.50.
I had $19 in ECB from the last transaction.
After using these coupons my total was $17.51 after taxes.
I then received $13.99 in ECB to use on the next transaction.

This was a total of $219.76 of products.
I paid out of pocket a total of $61.59.
I saved a total of $158.17.
AND, I brought home $13.99 in ECBs for next time!

Ok. This is my Saturday night trip to CVS. It's not too difficult. You have to be willing to invest time in coupon clipping, searching and printing. You have to be willing to break it down into different transactions and you have to know what the deals are. Money Saving Mom and many other sites out there will break down the weekly deals and tell you hwat the best ones are. Also, there are weekly deals and monthly deals. The coupons make a major difference. I had coupons for $2 off the price of 2 Johnsons products. I bought 2 Buddy bath soaps at .99 each. So, I got them free. How cool is that?

Keep in mind, the ECBs that you get back after a purchase can be used just liek money in any CVS store. If we had a bad week this week and had no money but needed diapers, I could take that $13.99 in ECBs that I have and go to CVS to get my diapers. And not spend anything. Maybe some change on taxes. I think you have to pay the taxes. But still.... it's like having extra money in your pocket.

If I had been willing to break this down differently I might have saved even more money. But, I had The Girl with me for her first CVS trip and was getting tired. I usually go in the middle of the night so that my doing 5 different transactions is not as big of a deal.

I probably spend several hours searching online for coupons, etc and getting ready for a trip. The more I do it, the faster it will go. Right now I am still learning, too!

The Girl asked me why I was buying certain things that we really didn't need. Well, if I am getting something for free, or next to nothing, then why not? I can save it for later when we need it and then I won't have to buy it. Or I can save it to give as a gift (part of a basket) or I can sell it at my garage sale and make a profit. OR, I can donate it to the needy. It just depends on what it is.

If you are interested in CVS savings, there are plenty of other places to check out and learn from. I hope this helped y'all a little bit.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Third Times A Charm

Aren't y'all lucky! Three posts in one day!

Last night I went to CVS. I went around 11 PM and did the shopping for the deals on the week of 3/9-15 and then did my shopping for the deals for this week after midnight. That way i did it all in one trip! Except for the things they did not have. I will probably swing back by later this week.

Here is what i picked up:

1 12 pack of coke
1 12 pack of Barqs rootbeer
2 bags of Confectionary Lane jelly beans
2 bags of Jumbo Easter eggs
2 12 oz boxes of Hersheys Pot of Gold Chocolates
1 Maybelline Superstay Gloss (For The Girl)
6 Trial sized Johnson's baby shampoos
2 9.5 oz Dove easter eggs
1 box Alavert 12 count
1 Garnier Fructis Thickening Mousse
2 Garnier Fructis Anti Humidity Hairsprays
1 Garnier Nutritioniste wet cleansing towelettes
1 Maybelline eye shadow (The Girl)
1 Nivea for men Shave Gel
1 Clean & Clear acne control kit
1 Glade Wisp Flameless Candle
1 Total dental care 4 in 1 oral hygiene tool
1 St Patricks day headband
1 St Patricks day beads
1 Sudacare shower soothers
2 5.5 oz Hersheys chocolate bars
4 Snickers Marathon Protien Bars
2 Colgate Total Advanced Clean toothpaste 6 oz
1 Bic Soleil Razor with rrefills
1 Bic Soleil Refill pack
2 Johnsons Buddies bar soap
2 250 ml Listerine Smart Rinse
2 Dove Cream Oil Body Wash 10 oz
2 Dove lotions 12 oz
4 Glade Air Freshener sprays 9 oz
1 Maybelline Define a lash Mascara (The Girl)

This was a total of $219.76 of products.
I paid out of pocket a total of $61.59.
I saved a total of $158.17.
AND, I brought home $13.99 in ECBs for next time!

So, there. My CVS trip for this week. I doubt I will do much of anything else but you never know!

Tomorrow I will post my menu for this coming week and my shopping list and coupons.

Helping Lotus...


I know.... you are wondering what this is. One of the bloggers that I stalk...erm.... read daily has got a problem. A big, moldy problem. Go here and read about it. I'll wait. Are you still here? Go now! I will be here when you get back! Promise!

Ok. Now that you know what is going on with her, you know she needs some help getting her son OUT.OF.THAT.HOUSE!!!! If you would like to help, go here or here. Or, check out Lotus' site for a way to donate through paypal. There is also an update on the situation there.

The reason that I am supporting this and blogging about it and will be donating to the Move Lotus and Braden fund is that.... I've been there. In a bad situation. ANd I wish that I had had friends to help me out. My family worked wonders and we got out of a bad situation. One day I will post about our situation in more depth than I have in the past. But for now, we can all help! It's karma baby. If you can spare some change or help in any way, I know Lotus would be grateful! And so would I...

Kitchen Possible

After reading Asthma Girl's post about Kitchen Impossible and what she would take with her to do a mission, I decided to show y'all what a professional chef takes with him to make HIS Mission Possible!
This is my husband. He is a professional chef and has been for more than 20 years. This pic is of him at work the other night, showing off one of his dishes. I have no idea what it is! But, I love him in the black chef coat and hat. Much nicer than white.

Here is his knife bag. He used to have a smaller one and just carried a backpack for anything that did not fit in with his knives. He recently got this one. It makes me laugh. It is huge!

Here is the first pocket. He keeps spare pens and markers, his rolling pin, parts to his slicer (wrapped in a towel to keep anyone from cutting themselves) and things like his ID and his Food Handlers certification in this pocket.

This next pocket he keeps non-knife tools in. Things, as you can see, like his peeler and tongs, thermometer, pastry brush, lighter, etc.

This is the big money pocket. His knives are in here. Also, things that won't fit in the other pockets. Like the rest of the parts for his slicer/ mandolin thingy. You can see I pulled one of the knives out to show what kind he uses. I have no idea what they are. I know he wants to buy a new set that cost about $500. I told him he had to wait! It was laptop or knives right now.

He also takes his laptop with him which is loaded with a crap load of recipe programs and research. He does specials almost every day. Appetizer, soup, salad, entree, dessert. And he is trying to keep track of his new recipes as he makes them up. He has plans to write a cookbook one of these days. And he is also in the process of starting his new blog.
The blog is called Metaphysics and Alchemy. It will be his blog about his adventures in cooking and his experiments in molecular gastronomy. He and his friend Hank have gotten several of the new chemicals that are showing up in kitchens and are planning to experiment and make up new recipes for the restaurant. It should be interesting, if slightly confusing to a neophyte cook like myself! I will be linking to the site once it is up and running.
Here is a pic of Steven (DH) with Hank at the restaurant.
Hank and Steven are hilarious. They might as well be married they way they bicker with each other!
Anyway! That is my DH and what makes his Dinner Possible in a professional kitchen. I once asked him why he had to take all of this in with him. He said he didn't. But, if he wants to be able to find a measuring spoon or peeler when he wants one, it is easier just to bring his own. So... there you go! A little more is known about the Faerie Dad!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Finally... I find the joy again

For the past year, since The Baby was born, I have had some issues with my elder son. I guess I really need to tell the whole story so you can understand exactly what I mean.

In January of 2007, I was pregnant with The Baby, The Boy was almost 18 months old and we were living in a crappy house. Cheap rent, crappy house. The first thing that happened was that The Boy tripped on the uneven flooring/ wrinkled carpet and smacked into the coffee table. He hit his front teeth. He was bleeding everywhere. He didn't want anything to do with me, he just wanted Daddy. We got him cleaned up as best we could and looked at his mouth. It looked odd but OK. I was worried that his teeth were injured but we decided to wait and see. He appeared fine but a week or so later I noticed some discoloration. I was trying to find a pediatric dentist who could get him in and would accept our insurance. There are only a few in our area. No luck. I kept trying but it went on the back burner. With everything else going on and him not appearing to be in any pain... I kept looking but was not in a major hurry. Then, the next thing happened and drove the teeth issue out of head completely.

In the crappy house, we had no stove. So, I did most of my cooking using electric burners that plugged in or an electric skillet. And, if we plugged in more than one thing per circuit we would pop the breaker. So, this particular night, I was using the microwave in the kitchen and I had plugged the electric skillet into an extension cord running into the other room. We did this all the time and had never had any problems. I had it hooked up so it was easy to step over and no problems with tripping. Supposedly. Anyway. I was boiling water in the skillet and had just dropped some macaroni in. I was five feet away in the kitchen checking the microwave. The Boy was playing. The Girl was in the living room. (You can see what's coming can't you?)

I don't know, and will never know, exactly what happened. Either he tripped on the cord. Or he was curious and pulled on the cord. Either way, it doesn't matter. The end result was the same. He pulled the skillet over onto himself. I heard a huge clatter and he started screaming. The Girl came running and I was scooping him up and saying "What do I do? What do I do?" (totally rhetorical question. I didn't really expect my daughter to tell me what to do!) The Girl says "I don't know!" And I told her to call her Nana and ask her. Meanwhile, I stripped his clothes off as I was running to the bathroom. I put him in the tub and ran cold water. I splashed it on his burns. It was horrible. As soon as I got him cooled some, my mom was on the phone. I told her I was heading to the ER. The burns looked bad. The Girl was a lifesaver. She did exactly what I asked her to do. She got clothes for the boy and diapers, blankets, etc. And met me at the car as I was trying to get The Boy strapped into his car seat without making it worse. The whole time he was screaming and I was sobbing.

The entire ride into the hospital he screamed. I cried. The Girl cried. There was nothing we could do. It took 20 minutes to get there. It was the longest 20 minutes of my life.

We got to the ER and inside, they took one look at us and got us right into a room and started examining him and trying to get an IV started to give him morphine for the pain. I was pretty much hysterical. I got The Girl to call my DH at work. She told him we were at the ER because The Boy got burned. He stopped hearing her at The Boy got burned. He thought we were coming by to get him on our way to the ER. Eventually, he got a ride up there.

In the meantime, they were able to get an iv started and the morphine started to kick in. He calmed down somewhat which helped me to calm down. We told them what happened. The Girl told them the same thing independently (I think this is the only reason we never had child services coming to check us out) and they started dressing the burns.

He had second degree burns on his upper back, right side and on the top of his head (a little patch) and on his arm and leg. The leg was the worst. It looked like raw meat.

I felt so guilty. It could so easily have been prevented. If I had only thought ahead. But, you can't think of everything. It is very hard for me to write about. Or even to think about.

Long story with a happy outcome, he healed faster than anyone ever thought he could. Two weeks later you could barely see the marks where he got burned. Now, a year later, you can only see the marks a tiny bit if he gets hot. They get redder than the rest of his skin.

Next, after he healed and was recovered mostly, I was finally able to get him an appointment with a pediatric dentist. The end result of which was that he needed dental surgery. To remove his top 4 teeth in the front. And he also was getting several crowns while they were in there doing that. He had the injury to his mouth and also had baby bottle decay. Sigh.... another thing to feel guilty about. The Boy was addicted to his bottle. He never wanted it away from him. And this was the result.

So, on March 7 of last year, my baby boy went under anesthesia and had surgery. The Baby was due in about 2 weeks.

In the midst of all of this, The Boy had his 18 mos checkup. And I expressed my concerns regarding his speech development and some behavior issues. The Dr assured me that boys developed slower than girls and it was normal. I was not reassured. I went back 3 months later and told him there was no change in his speech. In fact, he was saying less than he was before. The behaviors were worse but we were attributing most of that to having a new baby in the house, change of routine and that his sister was gone for the summer.

At his 2 year checkup the Dr finally admitted to me that he felt that I was right and there was a speech delay. He referred me to an Early Intervention program and also to a developmental specialist in another city. At a University Hospital.

We had The Boy's first evaluation with the EI group in September. He was evaluated as being below level in speech and in fine motor skills. His behavior made it a problem to start speech therapy right away. So, he was scheduled to have a behavior specialist meet with us once a week. To help with his compliance and his ability to follow directions and sit still.

We then had to go for the big evaluation at the hospital. The rest of the story regarding his evaluation, etc is in this post. He has been seeing a speech therapist now for about a month and a half.

Now, I think I have caught us up on the issues my poor child has been dealing with for more than a year. The poor boy has been going from one crisis to the next. And one new situation to the next.

And I have been so frustrated and upset about what has happened to and with him. I have been unable to enjoy him. I have been constantly worried about what is going on with him. Mentally, physically, emotionally. I have been so worried that I could not seem to put that worry aside and just enjoy him. At least not for more than an hour or so at a time.

All of this is here to tell you why this past week has been such a wonderful week for us. Why the simple things that have been happening have meant so very much to me.

My Boy. He is talking.

New words every day. Phrases. Adding several a day! His pronunciation is light years away from where it should be at this age. But that is to be expected. He has a speech disorder and he is missing 4 teeth. He will have years of therapy to get his speech right. But.

I can understand him!

I don't know if anyone without a child with speech delay can understand how incredibly frustrated we have been feeling. Not just me. But The Boy as well. He has been throwing temper tantrums because we cannot figure out what he wants. And now.... he has been telling me "more" and "drink" and "bath" and "book" and I could go on and on. He has had a breakthrough.

And so have I.

I am finally able to relax enough to enjoy my child again. And not spend all of my time with him worrying. And fretting. And looking for more signs of problems all of the time.

I have rediscovered the joy in my child.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Another Serious Post

I was playing around with the music on my site. The Girl was showing me different songs I had never heard before and the video below is to one of them. It is slightly graphic in content. It makes me cry. Make sure you go to my playlist and stop the music before you press play on the video. Otherwise it will be confusing!

You know how they have those commercials on tv about kids starving in Africa? And you always feel sooooo bad and want to help them? Well, I always think of THESE kids when I see that kind of thing. Right here in the good ol' USA there are children being abused, murdered, starving, homeless.... you name it. It is happening. And there are tons of resources leaving our country that are needed here. Of course I feel bad for the people of other countries who are having the same problems.

But does it make sense to put out the fire in your neighbors house while your own house is burning down behind you?

And then there is the other side as well. Can you ignore your neighbors house burning when it might set fire to your own?

What's the answer?

All I know is I hold my children tight and try to protect them as best I can.

Monday, March 10, 2008

My husband, the comedian

I picked DH up from work tonight and he tells me he wants to make a new kind of ice cream. So I ask him what now. You have to understand that he is a bit.... unconventional... in his tastes. He loves to experiment and try new combinations. I guess that is why he is such a good chef. Anyway, he says he wants to make Miso Ice Cream.

Miso is a fermented bean curd. Ground soy bean thing.

Ummmm...... sounds pretty gross to me. Then he reminded me I have actually eaten and liked miso in the past. So, OK. I'll try it.

Then he tells me he wants to make Miso Honey Ice Cream.

Miso Honey.

Oh, Miso Honey.

If you don't get that...... just ignore me. Cause I laughed all the way home.

I wonder if he will serve it at the restaurant?


My mother sent me this email today. I felt it was appropriate to share it with all of you!

When I was little, I used to believe in the concept of one best friend,
And then I started to become a woman.
And I found out that if you allow your heart to open up,
God would show you the best in many friends.

One friend is needed when you're going through things with your man.
Another friend is needed when you're going through things with your mom.
Another will sit beside you in the bleachers as you delight in your children and their activities.
Another when you want to shop, share, heal, hurt, joke, or just be.

One friend will say, "Let's cry together,"
Another , "Let's fight together,"
Another , "Let's walk away together."

One friend will meet your spiritual need,
Another your shoe fetish,
Another your love for movies,
Another will be with you in your season of confusion,
Another will be your clarifier,
Another the wind beneath your wings.

But whatever their assignment in your life,

On whatever the occasion,
On whatever the day,
Or wherever you need them to meet you with their gym shoes on and hair pulled back,
Or to hold you back from making a complete fool of yourself ..

Those are your best friends.

It may all be wrapped up in one woman,
But for many, it's wrapped up in several..
One from 7th grade,
One from high school,
Several from the college years,
a couple from old jobs,
On some days your mother,
On some days your neighbor,
On others, your sisters,
And on some days, your daughters.

So whether they've been your friend for 20 minutes or 20 years,
Pass this on to the women that God has placed in your life To make a difference.

Thanks to all of my friends!

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Here is The Boy after a long day of playing pretend. Boy was he worn out.
Here I introduce you to the "tiger" family. Yes, I realize that half of the family is tigers and half is lions. But to The Boy they are just "kitties". In order from left to right we have "Daddy" "Mommy" "Sissy" "Boy" and "Baby" Tiger. For some reason, the daddy and the sissy tigers roar much louder than the others....

The Boy tiger was chasing the daddy tiger and biting his tail. Mommy tiger looks on and shakes her head. The Boy makes great sound effects as he is pretending this scene. Lots of roars and babbles and some whispers thrown in.

And then The Boy makes the Daddy tiger kiss the boy tiger. And they chase each other some more. He did this with the boy tiger and each of the other tigers. Lots of kissy face sound effects and roaring. And some babbling that almost sounded like I'm sorrys and I love yous. But not really clear.

Here, the mommy tiger and the sissy tiger are roaring at each other. The sissy tiger has a big mouth, don't you think?

Here, the daddy tiger and the baby tiger have fallen asleep together.....

And here.... the Daddy and the Baby have fallen asleep together. How sweet. The Boy and The Baby had a long day of playing today. And The Daddy had a long day of work and then play. He is worn out too!

It's been a long day for all of us. ANd I have nothing, yo. No thoughts to share tonight. Thanks to all of ya'll for the comments on yesterday's post. I just wanted everyone to really think about your friendships. And cherish the friends you have. I love all of ya'll! You rock!

Saturday, March 8, 2008


I have been thinking a lot about friendship lately. When I was little I had "friends". People I enjoyed being around. I always had one or two that were close and several others that I was friendly with but... you know. Not Best Friends. When I was small I got along with just about everyone. As I got older it became harder for me to make real friends. I drew into myself and was very different from other people. I read a lot and wrote poetry and enjoyed things like Dungeons and Dragons. I never felt that I "fit in" with many of the other kids my age. It got really bad in Middle School. When I went to seventh grade I discovered that I was just different. I was not really interested in things like makeup and clothes. I didn't really pay attention to the "cool" things. We were not rich by any means. My parents took good care of us but there wasn't a lot of money for extras. And that made me feel different as well.

I made some friends who were also of the "different" variety. And I made one really good friend. She became my "Best Friend". The one who knew everything about me. Who knew WHO I WAS. The real me, deep down inside, that no one else knew about or really even cared about. She was the one that I wrote notes to and got into trouble with. The one that I told everything to and shared with. Like my first kiss. And my first slow dance with a boy.

We went to High School. And we had every class together. We made notebooks full of notes. We would write pages to each other and then pass the notebook to the other. And then she would write pages. We dealt with boyfriends and rumors. A friend who tried to commit suicide. A friend who got drunk at a party and into major trouble. We got drunk together. We learned to drive together. She was the first one I told when I lost my virginity. And vice versa. We went to a dual enrollment college together in our Junior year. And she excelled. She rocked it, yo. She graduated high school and got a two year degree in zoo animal tech on the same day.

During these two years, I lost myself. I met new people and went a different path. I almost didn't graduate high school. Too many boys. And also drugs. And not enough of me.

When I got pregnant at 19, she was there to share it with me as much as possible. I named my daughter after her.

She moved away to another city. And went on with her life. Becoming a strong person with new friends and new experiences that I had not shared with her. We grew apart to some extent.

But we were still great friends.

For 15 years we were friends.

And then, one day, she decided that some parts of my life were not things that she agreed with. And she made a moral judgment. And decided that, rather than give me space and tell me she could not be a part of it that she would just tell me I was wrong and leave and never come back. I don't blame her at all for feeling the way that she did. In fact, the relationship in question ended about a month after she stopped talking to me. Because I listened to what she had to say and realized she was right.

But, that didn't matter to her. She just decided we weren't going to be friends anymore. And, of course, I tried to get in touch with her. But she just was not interested I guess. She had moved on. And 15 years were gone. Poof. Not important to her. That makes me sad. I still remember staying up all night and giggling. And playing games. And sharing stories and experiences. And I still have some of our notes.

I have not talked to her in at least 5 years. I got one little message on MySpace that at least acknowledged the birth of my 2nd child. And nothing else. And that hurts me heart.

All of this to say that I miss her.

And I miss having a "Best Friend". A girlfriend to share things with who truly gets me and who I am.

Friends are important. They shape who we are. And they shape our past, present and future. I miss having that inclusion. That knowing that there is someone to share with.

I love my husband. He is my friend. But he is not a woman and will never truly understand what things are like for me. No man can.

I have met many great women since I moved here to MS. I like a great many of them. But I have not met anyone, yet, who is that "friend". I have my friends from FL. But it is hard to stay close when you live so far apart and your lives are so very different. It makes it difficult to connect sometimes. I value the friends I have made through this blog as well. But blogs can't give you hugs when you need it! LOL

In the end, I think it is very important for women to have friends. Friends outside of their families. Women who can keep them level and sane. Women to go share a crazy night with sometimes.

Remember to keep your friends close. Keep that connection alive. When it ends.... it is sad. It breaks a little piece of your heart. And it never really recovers. Appreciate your friends today! Let them know that you love them.

Friday, March 7, 2008

CVS Junkie

Well, we just got back from a midnight run to CVS. All 3 kids were sleeping soundly and The Girl knew to keep an ear open for any little boy mischief. We left them sleeping and I dragged DH to CVS so that he could witness the savings bonanza. I don't think he was as enthralled with the process as I am. In fact, I venture to say that he was rather bored! He did like the savings but didn't seem very interested in how I got there. Typical man.... sigh.....

Anyway. Here is a pic of all that I picked up this evening. You can't really see clearly but there are 3 12 packs of Pepsi in the back.I am not going to list everything that I got. That would be too much even for me. But, I will tell you this:

I spent, out of pocket, in cash - $79.46
I saved in coupons and deals - $100.49
AND, I walked out of the store with a $5 ECB coupon towards my next trip and $17 cash that got refunded to me instead of ECBs.
The reason for the cash refund was because the register did not print my ECBs correctly. When I pointed this out, the cashier/ Manager checked my receipts and the products and then gave me cash because there was no way to get me the ECBs. I have NO PROBLEM with cash! LOL

So, basically, I got $179.95 worth of products for $62.46 out of pocket. And I have $5 to spend on my next purchase.

I think I did pretty good! Not as good as some women who go in and spend 25 cents and come out with $100 worth of stuff but.... this is all stuff we will use. And some of it was not on sale, we just needed it. I plan to make another trip before the end of the week to max out several offers. I need to spend $4 on swiffer products and I will get a $5 ECB. That type of thing. We will see.

Any of you who might be interested in this should check out Money Saving Mom's blog. She has tutorials on how to work the whole CVS thing. And also updates on what deals are hot right now. She also has this pretty cool course on Supermarket Savings. I purchased it and am in the process of going through the plan. It teaches menu planning, budgeting and how to feed a family of 4 on $35 a week. I'll let y'all know how it works for me.

OK. Off to put away stuff! And get some sleep!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Cross your fingers for me.....

How many of us enjoy getting pulled over by police officers? I imagine not many. However, I have this total anxiety thing going on with getting pulled over now. If I see a police car I start running everything through my head... am I speeding, are any lights broken, are seat belts on, am I weaving at all, do I look like a weirdo.... you name it. Is there a reason for this, you ask? Why yes. Yes there is. Funny you should ask that...

When I lived in FL I hardly ever got pulled over. It was not a big deal when it happened. Never bothered me, except for the basic frustration of having to pay a ticket. When we decided to move to MS it never occurred to me that I might have to worry about police issues. I mean, come on... it's MS but it is also the 21st century. I am a white woman. I am not a freak (at first glance! LOL) and there is no reason I should have to worry about it. Right? No. Wrong.

When we moved here my daughter stayed in FL to finish out the year at school. We had already brought up a uhaul van full of stuff. But, being that we have a lot of stuff, we still had the entire station wagon stuffed full and were pulling a uhaul trailer behind us. Just west of Tallahassee (in FL) the car broke down. Fun. It added about 3 hours onto the trip. So..... by the time we hit MS I was exhausted. I was driving. DH does not drive. I was very tired. The Boy was about 6 mos old at the time and was sleeping, DH was asleep in the passenger seat. It was about 2 am I think and were only about 1/2 hour away from the new city. I was soooooo tired. I guess I was weaving a bit. The uhaul made driving fun. It was windy, I was tired. Next thing I know, we were being pulled over.

The State Trooper was a K9 unit. He was very nice to me. Then he asked DH to get out of the car. And he saw the tattoo. And the long hair. Next thing I know we are being questioned about illegal substances. Had we done any drugs, been drinking, etc. ummmmmm...... no. We don't do drugs. I have not been drinking. I am just tired. AS you can PLAINLY see we are moving and it is 2 AM. Tired.... hello?

Nope. Since I had been slightly weaving as I was driving down this road, the cop decided he just had to have the K9 dog check out us, our car and the trailer. Which was cool. No problem. Until the dog hit on the trailer. It suddenly became not so cool. The cop shifted from "Aw shucks sorry to bother you mode" to "you scumbags, you are drug dealing scum and I will catch you mode". So, there we are. At 2 AM. On the side of the road in MS. Having to unload the entire uhaul trailer. So that the dog can check our stuff.

Of course they found nothing. The dog continued to hit on the corner of the trailer even after the trailer was empty. The cop was unable to locate anything suspicious. The Boy woke up and was screaming. DH and I were freaked out. Finally, the cop apologized and said he was just doing his job. And we could be on our way. But of course he did not offer to help reload the trailer.

Now, fast forward a year and a half. I get pulled over for speeding. No insurance. BIG TICKET. Had to go to court. Got put on probation. PROBATION! For not having insurance.

THEN, not even 2 months later I was driving down the road. I had just left the house and The Baby was fussy. I had my seat belt off to reach in the back and give him his pacifier. As I straightened back up I saw a police car. I put my seat belt back on. Sure enough...... party lights. I got a ticket for no seat belt. If I had not put it on, he would have never noticed I was not wearing it.

So. Now I am paranoid about getting pulled over. You know what makes it even worse? My speedometer is not working. Ever try to figure out how fast you are going using only your tachometer? It ain't easy, folks. So, the next time you see a woman pulled over on the side of the road by a police officer.... cross your fingers for me. And I hope it's not me!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008


I have a hard time keeping the front end of my house warm. There are some cracks and the doors are not sealed well. So, when the heater is running the back bedrooms get hot and the front of the house is still chilly. And our heating bill has been outrageous. So, I plugged in a space heater that we have and put it in the living room in hopes that it would help keep it warmer in the front and let me not run the gas heater so much. I also don't want to overheat the kids in their rooms at night just to keep the Lroom warm. ANYway. I plugged in the heater. No problems, it is fairly new and seemed to be doing a great job of warming the room! Yay!

I had to go get DH from work. It is a 3 mile drive. Takes about 15 minutes to go and get him and drive back home. Both boys were asleep already and DD getting ready for bed. I routinely leave her in charge of the boys when I have to go get DH from work. They are asleep so no big deal. So, off I go. I get up to the restaurant and there are complications.... long, boring story to that. An hour later I am still waiting for DH to get off of work. I am, at this point, going crazy. Because I left the stupid heater running. And all I could think about was that it would have an electrical short and start a fire and the kids would be trapped or never wake up. I was freaking the fuck out. I tried to call and tell DD to unplug the heater but she didn't answer. The phone is in the front of the house.... she was in her room and couldn't hear it. So, I left DH at work and hauled ass back home practically hyperventilating. I was positive the house was on fire and my babies were choking on smoke.

Of course, I got home and everything is fine. All 3 kids sound asleep, the heater is fine, no problems at all.

Am I going crazy? I thought the paranoia would let up a little bit once the baby was a bit older. I feel like an idiot for worrying so much about the kids all the time.

Needless to say, when I leave in a minute to go and get the DH (again).... the heater will be unplugged.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Mondays.... boring mondays....

Nothing too earth shattering going on her at the castle today. We have decided to not give the new meds to the Boy. There is no medical reason at this time to medicate him. I am going to keep track of his eating and weight. i believe I will start a food diary for him. But not make a huge deal out of whether he eats or not. Just keep track of when he is hungry. He has been eating like a hog for the past 2 days. Maybe it is time for a growth spurt? I don't know. We did discover that he will eat almost anything if you stick it on a toothpick. Kinda like on a stick. I know I will eat anything if it comes on a stick. You stick a turd on a stick and I will be hard pressed not to gobble that sucker down. Cause food on a stick? Very cool. Reminds me of the fair.

I am finally feeling completely well. The husband not so much. He is still running a slight fever. And The Baby is still suffering from on again off again diarrhea. Fun for the mommy. The Boy and The Girl appear to be 100% OK now. Hopefully this will be the last of the true yucks at our house for a while!

Jen's giveaway is still going on over at The Delusional. If you haven't popped over there, you should!

Hey! Kara over at Grace Under Autism! I have not forgotten you! Now that we are all officially well and I will not be shipping you flu germs, I will be sending your yummy chocolate goodness on over to you! Sorry it has taken a while!

And now.... off to bed. The tornado watches and warnings and penny sized and marble sized hail and 60 mph winds are gone for the night. Now I can relax enough to get some sleep maybe!