Saturday, December 20, 2008

Thursday, December 18, 2008


Template by Dani Mogstad

Gotta give a shout-out here to Shutterfly. Every year I make calendars for the grandpas, and this year I finally uploaded all the layouts on Tuesday night.

TODAY I got an e-mail saying they'd already produced and shipped both of them! Not bad, eh?

The other reason I used Shutterfly for the calendars is that it's easy to load all the birthdays and anniversaries in the family and save them from year to year. This year I just added the two new babies, and was done! Honestly, that's a huge reason I don't try another service. Shutterfly lost my dad's calendar two years ago and so I've been tempted, but I don't want to enter all those dates again.

Their interface has improved over the last few years, and hey, I'm really impressed that they got shipped in two days without asking for a rush order or paying anything more than standard shipping.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

I Would Be Shopping Anyway.....

I just signed up for a FREE rewards program that rewards online shopping - if you have more holiday shopping to do and you do any of it at retailers like Macy's, REI, Target, Omaha Steaks (and many, many more), sign up for the Priority Rewards Program and earn 3 points for every dollar spent.

While the site is heavy on the travel side - lots of points earned for hotel stays and you can also earn miles instead of points, there is an on-line shopping section. You still buy directly from the retailer, you just get to their site through Priority Rewards' site, and the points from any purchases will be added to your account (the site says it can take up to 8 weeks). You can also sign up for their Visa card and earn points that way. I bought my nephews' Christmas gifts from, paid what I would have any way, but also earned points towards a reward for me.

Browsing through the rewards, I found houseware, electronics, charitable donations (nice idea), and of course, lots of travel rewards. The rewards list is really impressive - name brands, nice stuff, very large selection. And if they don't have what you're looking for, try the online shopper who can authorize the use of points for something not on the list. Personally, I've got my eye on this Le Creuset square baker for 25,000:

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Making Peace with White Shirts and Free Giveaway

"Free Giveaway" is kind of redundant, huh?

Anyway, whoever thought it was a good idea to put little boys into white uniform shirts probably saw the little boys so cute and fresh about 2 minutes after they dressed, because that's as long as those shirts stay clean. Now that our school requires us to buy our uniforms from Land's End, it can get pretty expensive when my 6-year-old ruins his shirts. Add pizza and spaghetti to hot lunch day, and I cannot believe how dirty those things get.

But until the school sees the error of its ways and allows the kids to wear the dark blue polo shirts, I will be fighting the good fight. Usually I set them aside and once a week I bleach the hell out of them. It's a little inconvenient and wasteful because I have to have a special load for only 5 shirts and whatever white socks I can find.

So when I was given the chance to try out Clorox 2 laundry booster, I was skeptical. Nothing but very super concentrated bleach worked on these shirts. Guess what? It worked. Looked like I'd bleached them.

They also have a new site where you can upload your messiest pictures and see others' laundry nightmares.

Want to try? Leave a comment. I've got a couple of coupons for a FREE bottle. Yep, FREE.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Free Chocolate!

Get a sample package of 8 truffles:

Haydee Chocolatiers

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Crayola Sidewalk Paints

For A's birthday, he received a Crayola sidewalk paint sprayer. It kind of looks like he's training to be an exterminator.

Anyway, I'm on this putting-things-away kick (yeah, I know, weird)...and I remember finding a good place for it and now I can't find it. Let this be a lesson to you - don't put things away.

Last night I wanted the kids the chill out and watch a movie during the presidential debate, so I got them outside in the afternoon with brushes and the sidewalk paints. We'd gotten a few more bottles on sale at Target, so I poured the paints into paper bowls, gave them brushes and let them have at it. We had yellow, blue and bright pink paints.

They loved it. The kids didn't mind that there were only three colors; there was lots of mixologist activity going on...

I painted the boys' names on the sidewalk.

I was really impressed with how bright the colors stayed even after drying. It can be pretty messy, so you might want to put the kids in clothes they can strip off at the door. It's like wet chalk, and wipes off hands, faces, legs, and hair easily with wipes.

It's supposed to wash off the pavement with water. We haven't tried it yet, so we'll see.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

I forgot to include the price of two little boys' haircuts last Friday. I could possibly cut their hair myself, but it would take a LOT longer and they'd probably end up wearing a hat until we could get the mistakes corrected. So I take them to a small kids' salon about 10 miles south where the lady swings them up on a toy motorcycle, goes snip snip and about 5 minutes later their hair is perfect.

It costs $15 per boy, and I give her a $5 tip, so that's $35 out.

This weekend was low-charge because we didn't do much. I brought my food to the office.

But I have done a lot of grocery shopping in the last two days. It felt like a lot since I haven't spent that much in the last two weeks, but when I compare it what I usually spend weekly on groceries, it wasn't bad. And, we're going to use it all. There should also be a lot more room in our freezer at the end of the month since we're using everything up.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Sunday: $4 - ice cream man.

I know, I know. But buying from the ice cream man means no ice cream in the house, which is safer for me.

Trader Joe's: juice, chips & potato sticks (should not have gone hungry), makeup remover cloths (impulse buy - I've been out for a while, but I was telling myself I should use the cleanser I already have before I buy more cloths): $24.07

Total today: $28.07

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Wednesday: see below; also, $135 cash in

Thursday: We went to the dentist, got our teeth cleaned, and had no co-pay. No $$ out.

Friday: Grocery Shopping. As planned, I went to Grocery Outlet first. That can be a dangerous place, especially the health and beauty aisle. So I kept repeating to myself, "I don't need shampoo or moisturizer right now," over and over. I found tartar sauce, bacon (score!), sugar and organic cereal. I also got a good deal on V-8, which G likes, and some other stuff.

Grocery Outlet: $51.39

Then we were off to Food Source, where we got everything else except honey mustard. How do they not have honey mustard? I love me some honey mustard on turkey, but I'm not making a special trip to Safeway just for that.

Food Source: $37.41

Michael's: I went to look for memorabilia pockets, to hold our blessings in an album. They didn't have them, but they did have large sets of beads for 30 cents each; and a set of building cards for A's birthday that build a castle or many other kinds of buildings - right up his alley, $12.95.

Michaels: $15.06

Total out Friday: $103.86


Farmer's Market (corn, strawberries, blueberries, grapes, tomatoes, watermelon, zucchini): $26.00

Lakeshore Learning: this was our splurge today. I love the large washable stamp pads and the spill-proof paint cups the teacher at our art class uses. They were having a 20% off sale, so I splurged on paint cups, 10 bottles tempera paint, brushes, a workbook for A., and a set of 5 large stamp pads for $62.17. Kind of a lot, and I'll have to look into a cheaper source for the paint. But when I consider how long it will keep the boys busy, I think it's worth it. And, I had enough cash in my wallet to cover both the Farmer's Market and the store, so that was nice.

Total out Saturday: $88.17

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Week 1

My guidelines for this month:

1. Account for every penny. I am starting off with $165 in cash (thanks to a client paying a month's worth of co-pays in cash - I don't usually carry that much) and $202.11 in my checking account.

2. Get what I can get at Costco (assuming it's cheaper than store sales, which it sometimes isn't) - get what I can't get at Costco at Food Source or Grocery Outlet - get what I can't get at any of those places at Safeway or at the Farmer's Market if possible. Our grocery bill tends to be high because we buy organic produce and much of our dry goods are also organic.

3. Plan meals each week, and plan shopping lists from meals. Take a list to Costco and ONLY buy what’s on the list (I did this on my last two trips to Costco, and my total purchases ended up being less than $100 which is pretty low for me

4. Avoid Target. If I do go to Target, see above.

5. Use what we have. Take an inventory of our freezer and pantry and use it up rather than buying more.

6. Pack my food for work days.

7. No non-essential purchases. What’s non-essential? I’ll have to figure that out as I go along. In the strictest terms, anything beyond minimal shelter, food and clothing are non-essential. I say that TP and medicine is essential. I also say that coffee is essential, but it doesn’t have to be Peet’s and it doesn’t have to be made somewhere other than home.

A’s birthday is in the beginning of September. Stuff for goody bags and b-day presents are pretty non-essential in the grand scheme of things. But I imagine I’m going to buy them anyway.

As an aside, I suggested to A. that we ask people not to bring b-day presents to his party and instead he could pick a charity for them to donate to, since he already has so much stuff and really doesn’t need more. His eyes filled with tears and his “Noooooo!” echoed through the aisles. Probably shouldn’t have brought it up to him in the toy section of Target.

Food Source

no spending

breakfast: $4.43 + .35 tip
frozen yogurt: $6.35 (it was a big one)
(didn't plan well for this day, but avoided buying lunch like I usually do, except the fro you cost as much as I usually pay for lunch).