Monday, August 30, 2010

Kraft Catalina

Catalinas are those little slips you get at the grocery store.  General Mills gives them to me all the time when I buy a box of Cheerios: "$1.50 off your next purchase of 3." 


That's great and all, but there are some really good catalinas to strive for.  My friend, and couponer extraordinaire, talks about them on her blog here

Here's what it could look like if you do it right...

6 Dressings @ $1.34 each
3 - $1 off of 2 coupons (found in the "Fall Into Savings" coupon book near the register)
3 - $1 off of produce when you buy 2 dressings* (found next to the dressing). 

*This coupon says "One coupon per person, per transaction" so you may only get $1 in free produce per transaction.

Total: Dressings $8.04 less $3 in coupons = $5.04 PLUS $3 in produce* PLUS $5 off of your next shopping trip 
Grand total: $0.04 for $17.94 in dressing and $3 in produce*.
Don't forget, you only get one $5 Kraft catalina per transaction so you can just separate them into different transactions.   Trust me, you won't be the first person to do this.  I was behind a lady once who had probably 12 transactions of 1 item each.  

Shopping with CnC

I went to Albertson's today.  I couldn't help myself... $.25 for Cap'n Crunch and True Delights was irresistable!

I loaded up my crew and headed out to a grocery store 25 minutes from home to purchase goods that can easily be found at the store only 5 minutes from my home. 

Aside on getting out of the house:  At 10 am, I was finishing up my list and I thought to myself, "Not bad.  We're all dressed.  We'll get out the door, shop, and be home by noon."  HA!  It took me another 45 min to brush hair and nurse the baby and herd them all to the car.  I didn't even wash their faces... Jenna is still wearing breakfast's nectarine on her cheek while she is napping at 3pm.  We did okay though, we checked out at 11:46 am and got home around 12:15 pm. 
Aside on shopping with small children:  I saw a dear friend in the parking lot and chatted for 3-5 minutes.  This means that I was only in the store for ~30 minutes (I originally estimated an hour for my shopping).  However,  it was the LONGEST THIRTY MINUTES OF MY LIFE!!!  I must've said, "Seth sit down" or "Korynne sit down" or "Joel stop crying" at least 25 times/phrase. 

All for only $8.50!

The items you see here would've cost $45.60, but they were all on sale and I had coupons.  I only paid $8.50.  Plus, I got a free thing of Tropicana OJ because I bought 3 boxes of cereal (a coupon I snagged at Safeway a few weeks ago).   So really, it should've cost $48.10.  That's 82% savings.  Kick ass!  (Can I say that?  My kids can't read yet.)

Break it down:
Cap'n Crunch was on sale for $1.60
True Delights were on sale for $ 1.60
Quaker Oats were on sale for $2.00
Coupon*: When purchased in multiples of 5, you get $3 off. 

*There is a coupon in last week's circular and they have more coupons up front.  Be sure you remind them if you need more coupons.  I asked and they still didn't do it.  I had a screaming baby though and didn't catch it so I have to go in again... maybe you'll have your wits about you when checking out and you won't have to make an extra trip. 

The coupon knocks $0.60 off of each item purchased. 

Additionally, I had coupons from Sunday's paper (this week and long ago) for $.75 and $.50 off Cap'n Crunch.  AND, I had coupons from previous purchases of Quaker products for $.75 off of True Delights.

Therefore, I paid...
CC $0.25 x 2 = $0.50
CC $0.50
TD $0.25 x 2 = $0.50
Oatmeal $1.40 x 5 = 7
TOTAL: $8.50 for 10 items or $0.85 each!
That brought my oatmeal down to only $0.32/lb!!!  At WinCo, I pay $0.42/lb.  And since my kids eat oatmeal like it's going out of style (which I'm pretty sure it is out of style), it was worth the heartache of the trip to Albertson's.  Plus, Kyle loves Cap'n Crunch with Crunch Berries. 

BONUS:  I got to briefly see a dear friend AND at the end of my receipt, I got a coupon for $2 off my next purchase if I do a silly little survey. I'll be doing that survey before I go get the $3 off that they forgot to give me.
Not that you care (or maybe you are concerned for my sanity), but I also bought bread and milk and eggs.  But it wasn't nearly as exciting as my $0.32 oatmeal so I'm not going to blog about it. 
And that is why I am sometimes referred to as "Charming and Cheap" ;).


Friday, August 27, 2010

Farewell to an Old Friend

After 13 years of faithful service, you betrayed me one last time.  You embarassed me in front of my friend when you wouldn't make another pot yesterday.  That was the last straw.  Now, you're gone.

Good bye and good riddance.


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

My Foot Hurts

I've always liked the phrase "He shot himself in the foot."   I imagine some cowboy way back when shooting himself in the foot while his gun is still in the holster.  He's now imortalized in an idiom.  Ouch. 

I have no gun (regretably) so I cannot shoot myself in the foot.  But I did, figuratively do just that.  And unfortunately, my action has a consequence.

Action: Staying up too late watching TV or relishing the quiet.  
Consequence:  Being extremely tired the next day yet young children require supervision. 

Action: Blogging or FBing instead of supervising my children.
Consequence: Children armed with crayons conquered an end panel in my kitchen.

Action: Giving the children Play Doh.
Consequence:  Play Doh mashed into all of the floors.
(thank you, Lord, for hardwoods and tile)

I imagine that cowboy went home with his head hung low and became a farmer instead.  I, however, do not forsee a career change.  I will, instead, try to catch a powernap while the kids are *cross my fingers* napping..

Friday, August 20, 2010

I Believe

Believing God: Member BookI really do, I believe in miracles.  I bring it up because I've been doing Beth Moore's Believing God Bible study with some gals I know. 

The topic of the week is miracles.  Were the signs and wonders reported in the Bible a form of folklore passed from generation to generation?  Or were they real? 

Did Jesus really walk on water? 

Did the lame really rise up and walk?
Did the dead really come back to life?

Maybe some of us can swallow the idea that miracles happened... 2000 years ago.

But I haven't heard any stories on the 11 o'clock news...

the blind received sight

bottled water turned to the finest wine

storms calmed 

mountains thrown into the sea 

Can it happen? 

Can children be cured of autism and cancers disapate?

Can money appear in bank accounts and gas tanks never run dry?

Can relationships be restored and hearts be made whole again?

Like my children, I'm still learning
how to properly phrase the question. 

My children say, "Can I have another cookie?"
Why, of course, they can.  They are completely able, perfectly capable.  There is no question that they would find a way to stuff yet another cookie into those chubby little cheeks or even a few into a pocket for later consumption. 

But I insist that they say, "May I have another cookie?" 
Sometimes the answer is "yes", if the timing is appropriate. 
Sometimes the answer is "no" because it's almost bedtime or they've already had three of them and another wouldn't do them any good at all.  

He tends his flock like a shepherd:

He gathers the lambs in his arms
and carries them close to his heart;
he gently leads those that have young.

Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand,
or with the breadth of his hand marked off the heavens?
Who has held the dust of the earth in a basket,
or weighed the mountains on the scales
and the hills in a balance?

Who has understood the mind of the LORD,
or instructed him as his counselor?

Whom did the LORD consult to enlighten him,
and who taught him the right way?
Who was it that taught him knowledge
or showed him the path of understanding?
Isaiah 40:11-14

So I most certainly do pray for miracles.  I pray for, in my mind, big miracles.  I hope everyone does.  And, for me, there is no disappointment in my prayer being unanswered.  Rather, there is peace in knowing that it's His will being done in His perfect timing.  There is also tremendous joy that He knows me better than I know myself. 


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

One of those...

I just found this in my microwave. 

Note the time. 

Yes, folks, that's PM.

Can anyone relate?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

"1, 2, 3, 10"

That's how she counts.  She's catching on and occasionally we'll get a "4" or a "7", but for the most part, she counts "1, 2, 3, 10". 

As of 11:06 pm on August 16, Korynne is exactly 3 years old.  I hardly remember the last 3 years so I'm a little scared that I'll wake up tomorrow and she'll be 10. 

It's hard to savor life anyway,
and it seems even harder since I'm outnumbered 4:1.

I remember that on her first birthday, it was so hot that our neighbor passed out.  I remember that she wore a ladybug dress and that my mom was here.  But I don't remember what she was like. 

photo by Brooke Jacobson

I remember that on her second birthday, she ate cherry tomatoes from our garden and she had seeds all over her face and it looked like she had some mysterious pox disease.  We had to change her clothes.  When she blew out her candles, she spit all over the cake.  See photo evidence below.

And I think what I'll remember most about her third birthday is that she was asleep when everyone started arriving for the party.  She liked it when I put her in a new dress that we had been saving since Christmas*, and a tiara on her head.  She was thrilled when she opened her bicycle helmet because it meant that she got a bicycle.  And then she hopped on the bicycle with her new princess high heels on. 

*We saved the dress because we don't get much stuff that's NWT at our house and because summer just arrived here in the PNW 3 days ago.  Thanks, Aunt Erika and Uncle Kraig.

If I can't remember the day to day,
at least I'll remember the milestones. 

And with all sincerity, I thank God and the smart people He created for technology like digital cameras so I have snapshots of the times in between those milestones. 

My Favorite Korynne-isms...

"My can't want this." & "My hurt me."
Translation: "I don't want this." & "I hurt myself."

When she was eating an ice cream cone, Kyle asked, "Can I have a bite?"
She said, "No, just lick it."

"Seth, no pest me."
Translation: "Seth, stop pestering me."

Chichen = chicken

"Good job, Daddy." or (with surprise when Kyle got a jar open that I couldn't) "You did it, Daddy."

And... my personal favorite that I think should be adopted into everyone's vocabulary, CUPSCAKES.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Accidentally Green

I think it's really funny that I, a girl from Texas who has only learned to recycle since I got married at age 24, am wearing my baby and using homemade organic cleaners to scrub my shower.

It's a good day especially since I already made my own pancake mix and syrup this morning (to be fair, I made the mix and the syrup a few weeks ago, but it is homemade nonetheless).

I also recycled a bunch of old crayons to make party favors for Korynne's birthday party in a few days.

That's good considering I only just turned on the TV to distract the "big" kids. 

But to be perfectly honest, I'm not green - I couldn't care less. 

I'm cheap - because I want to be a good steward of my resources so that I can give to others (and because I'm broke).
Organic Cleaner Recipe:
In a spray bottle, water, a few pumps of dish liquid, a few drops of lavender oil, and a few drops of tea tree oil. 

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Made for Community

This morning, a friend brought her children over.  They played without intervention for 90 minutes.  These aren't teenagers, people.  They are ages 18 mos, almost 3, 2 - 4 year olds, and an 8 year old.

 There is no reason it should've gone so well except that, I believe, they are made for community.

They played their little hearts out... sidewalk chalk, legos, the sandbox, some lunch, running, laughing and having a good ol' time.  They served us coffee and came and went from the potty as needed. 

Then our friends went home and the peace of nap time fell.  I cleaned the kitchen.  My husband is able to work from home.  And I'm doing one of my favorite things... blogging.  Tonight, we'll pack up the kids to go spend time with more friends, and our four blessings will come home tired and go to bed with no complaint. 

It's a good day at our house... 

because they are getting what they need...

children need community. 

Living in community gives my children an example of good behavior.  Sure, my 3 year old throws fits, but since the 8 year old didn't, she didn't. 

Living in community doesn't allow for boredom.  There's always someone to play with so no one was clingy or whiny. 

Living in community makes them tired.  They all went down for naps without complaint. 

And sometimes, my children give me insight... 

Like the time I said, "Please stop crying. When have I ever not fed you?" 

It was like He said to me, "I take care of your needs too."

I am like them. 

I need community.   

Living in community gives me an example of good behavior. Sure, I get angry and raise my voice at my children sometimes, but since my friend didn't, I didn't either.

Living in community doesn't allow for boredom. There's always someone to encourage and be encouraged by.  It is when I am idle that my little hands find mischief.

Living in community makes me tired but in a good way.  I feel refreshed too.  When I lay my head down tonight I won't be thinking about Reality TV characters.  I'll be thinking about my real friends and neighbors... praying for situations in their life, celebrating their children's birthdays, and laughing about life. 

I think it was different when the world was bigger,
when cars were slower,
and plane tickets were expensive. 

I think people lived near family and ate on the front porch. 

I think it was different when we weren't so entertained,
when there were only 3 channels,
and when the Internet was science fiction. 

I think there was a time when coffee tables were for afternoon coffee and TV trays had no place. 

(yes, I see the irony that I'm blogging about this)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Broiled Cheese

People ask me sometimes how I do it: four small children, a shoestring budget, a small house, etc...

In a word,

Not really.  I can't give an addictive substance any credit. 

To God be the glory for making me who I am today. 

To God be the glory for my insight in making grilled cheese sandwiches.

Please don't think me irreverent.  I'm seriously grateful because I know,
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. 
 James 1:17

I know it is a gift to make good grilled cheese because I have a reputation, a bad reputation, that is, for burning grilled cheese sandwiches.  When we were dating, I was seriously trying to impress Kyle with my culinary prowess, and I failed miserably.  I burned them to a crisp.  They were black.  But he ate them anyway.  And he quietly resigned to the idea that he would be doing all of the cooking.  Little did he know, I just needed more practice.


Today when I was getting ready for Jenna's Occupational Therapist to come and I wanted to make grilled cheese I remembered that once upon a time I made grilled cheese for the in-laws and their five children by

*drum roll please*

broiling them in the oven.   

Here's how I do it...
  • I butter a piece of bread and place it butter side down on the cookie sheet. 
Today, I started with three.  I should know better.  From now on, five minimum. 
  • Then I put the cheese on the bread. 
  • Then I put another buttered piece of bread butter side up on top of the cheese. 
  • Then I place it in the oven on broil, set a timer, and walk away
This is the part I love.  I can't walk away from a hot skillet with ravenous small children running around.  I can, however, close the oven door and be reasonably assured that they won't open it. 
  • When the first side is done to my liking, I flip it. 
  • Then I set another timer and walk away
This is when I start a load of laundry or sweep the floor or wipe off a filthy surface somewhere in my house.
  • When the timer beeps, I take them out, slice them up, and serve them to the bottomless pits I call my children. 

Yes, my friends, that's how I do it. 

Early Intervention, Part I: Seth

When Seth wasn't crawling until a week before he turned one, I didn't think much of it.  I heard that 12 months was on the tail end of normal.  I thought it was his personality... just a laid back little guy.  His pediatrician didn't seem all that concerned either.

Seth didn't take his first step until he was 18 months old.  This was after the tail end of what I thought was normal; but I thought because he was late crawling, he was late walking.  He wasn't walking exclusively until 20 months.

When I took Seth in for an appointment when he was 2 1/2 and I told the doctor he wasn't talking.  The doctor told me that he was just "the strong, silent type."  I believed her... for a few days. 

But you can call it mother's intuition or bullheadedness, I didn't take her word for it and, in tears, I called Children's Therapy Center in Kent.  By then, he was 34 months old and hardly talking at all.  I took him in for a speech evaluation.  They said he was talking as much as a child who was 1 year and 11 months old.  He was a full year behind "typical."  He qualified for speech therapy.

Unfortunately, because he was 34 months just 2 months shy of 3, he did not qualify for the birth to 3 program known as SKIP (South King County Early Intervention Program).  SKIP has speech and occupational therapists who bring the therapy to your home because that is where the children are most comfortable and most likely to respond to therapy.

Instead, I dragged my three small children in diapers to a weekly appointment in Kent, 25 minutes from my home.  It was worth it to get Seth the help he needed.

I wish I had known that children work on one area of development before moving on to another one.  They must learn to walk before they can learn to talk.  
I wish I had told my pediatrician she was wrong and pursued an evaluation sooner.  I didn't because we're on private insurance, and I knew we couldn't afford the extra money.  I feel really foolish for using that as an excuse. 
At age 4, Seth is just beginning to be understood. 

I'll never know what he would be like today if I had taken him in to be evaluated sooner.  I cannot undo the past.  I can, however, spread the word...

Early Intervention is FUN!

Little Known Facts...
  • If a child qualifies for the Birth to 3 program with SKIP, the state will pick up the tab after insurance runs out. 
  • Often, there are scholarships for families who can't afford the co-pays.
  • An evaluation will put your mind at ease.  Worst case scenario: a wasted a co-pay that costs the same as an evening out.  Best case scenario: a child gets the help they need.
  • The therapists don't judge parenting.  They're actually really nice and encouraging.  They also have the best interest of the child in mind. 
  • There is no stigma surrounding a child with developmental delays.  Many children are "caught up" by the time they reach school age. 
Baby Center has a very useful Developmental Milestone Chart for reference.

RANT: Michelle's Vacation

I do not envy the First Lady.  I would not want my life scrutinized by every hack reporter or self-righteous blogger. 

However, her Spanish vacation was a little bit elaborate, don't you think?
She took Air Force Two.

She took an undisclosed number (read: a lot) of her closest friends to a really spendy hotel.

She took ~70 Secret Service agents and their per diem.

She had a beach closed down for her own private use.

She had a convoy of 15 or more cars and SUVs.

I'm not upset because she's wealthy and can do these things and I can't.  I say let the rich spend their money!  It is, after all, hers to spend.

I'm not upset because of the carbon footprint that a trip like that leaves.  I don't use CFLs in my house and I most certainly don't drive a Smart Car.  It's halogens and SUVs for me.  It is, after all, my money to spend.

I'm not upset because I wasn't invited.  But, seriously.  How many "close" friends can she really have?

 But I would like to request of Mrs. Obama a few things...

Please stop spending US tax dollars taking elaborate trips like that OVERSEAS.  Our US economy could've used some of that stimulus.

Please stop spending US tax dollars being polite and inviting everyone under the sun to go with you.

And please stop pretending to be just like me.  My vacations involve road trips with toddlers, sleeping in a tent, and instant coffee. 

P. S.  Please feel free to take your husband next time.  He is, after all, the President.  And it was, after all, his birthday.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Trial Run

My little boy is old enough to go to VBS this year.  He's there right now. 

When I think about Seth and what he was like a year ago, I am overwhelmed with sentamentality.  He was a little over three years old.  He wasn't potty trained and he hardly said anything.  He was still in the toddler chubby phase with fluffy cheeks and baby fat on his legs.  Now, after more than a year of speech therapy, he's asking and answering more questions.  He goes to the bathroom without assistance.  And he looks like a preschooler, not a toddler. 

When I dropped him off,

his teacher asked him if he was five. 

I almost cried,

"No, he's my baby and he'll always be two!" 

Only a small part of me wants him to be forever two.

But he's growing up too fast. 

It's strange having only three children at home especially since two of them are asleep and the other is thoroughly entertained with Play Doh. 

Who knew that 3 hours could feel like such a long time?   Two down, one to go.  

I'm looking at this as a trial run for preschool.  I'm not doing so well.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Totally Worth It

I want to have more time to invest in my personal appearance.  I want to paint my toes.  I want a updated haircut.  And I want to dress fashionably in a classic style. 

As a Mommy, most (truthfully: all) of these things fall by the wayside.  

It's okay that instead of cute jeans I wear elastic wasted pants.  It's okay that my feet are calloused and neglected.  It's okay that my eyebrows are a little bit frightening. 


The truth it's not okay, but it's worth it. 

It's totally worth it to get snot on my stretched-out, breast milk stained, hole-ly t-shirt because that snot belongs to one of my precious gifts. 

It's worth it to have my hair pulled back into a ponytail everyday but Sunday because at least it's out of my eyes so I can see the wonder of God's creation embodied in small children with grimy hands. 

It's worth it to let my leg hair grow because my short skirts don't fit anyway because my hips have carried four miracles. 

It's worth these small sacrifices to be a Mommy.  I love being an average Mommy.  My aspirations of being like celebrity mommies can wait until children at my house can tie their own shoes and wipe their own bottoms.


if I were to get a fashionable new do. 

It would be this one...


My computer got a virus.  I'm using my husband's today.  I'm trying really hard not to think about all of the pictures that are on there that could fall victim to Antivir.  

It really makes me wish that my husband was a geek.  No offense, but some people are really good with technology.  This is a good thing.  Our uniqueness makes the world go round. 

Kyle, however, is not a geek.  Computers aren't his thing.  But Kyle can create beautiful things with wood, re-plumb and re-wire our whole house, and make a wasteland of a backyard into a park.  And that's the short list!  He can also fix cars, have deep discussions about theology, and make small children laugh.  I actually can't say enough wonderful things about my husband.  So, I'll stop whining about the fact that Kyle isn't a geek, and I'll be grateful for amazing kitchen lighting and a functional toilet.