Sunday, November 29, 2009


Today we went on a little adventure: We went to cut down a Christmas tree. When Curly was a baby we did it, but since StinkyMan it's always been excuse after excuse why we couldn't: we moved too far away, I was too pregnant, the baby was too small, it would be so difficult with 4 kids, etc, etc.

But this morning I decided that mass chaos be damned, we were going to give it whirl. Despite Husband's best attempts to secretly convince the kids the lot up the street is just as good (yes, Honey, I heard you) we trooped out the door before noon, lunches packed and spirits high, ready to track down our perfect tree.

OK, so the enthusiasm had died down considerably after 90 minutes in the car, but once we got to the first Christmas Tree farm the jolliness returned. Even Peanut taking a tumble in the first 10 minutes didn't dampen anyone's spirit.

The first place was a bust. After tromping around we decided to move on. The second place was better and we found the perfect tree right away. We collected some leaves, found a pine cone, "tightrope walked" on some felled logs, threw piles of leaves in the air and took lots and lots of pictures.

It was a wonderful day and I am reminded that it's silly to put things off because we think they will be too chaotic or difficult. Today was neither of those things. It was kind of an adventure and fun. Yes, Peanut cried a little. Yes, BabyGirl got a splinter. Yes the ride home was long and full of "Are we almost home?" But we made some good memories, both in our hearts and on our camera chip. Had we given in to the urge to make it simple and head to the lot (or worse, The Home Depot) we would have missed out on a great day and a great tree.

I need to try to remember this lesson next time I dismiss something out of hand as "too much" or "too hard." Today was a good day.

Thursday, November 26, 2009


There are so many, many things I am thankful for. My husband and my children and our collective good health are at the top of my list. I am thankful for our family on both sides, for good friends, for my best friend, for a nice neighborhood with great neighbors. I am thankful for good schools and amazing teachers. I am thankful for a roof over my head and food on the table in a time when many go without. I am glad to live in a country where we have choices and the luxury of voting on the issues and on our leadership. I am thankful for bargains and coupons that keep me able to spoil my children on a budget. I am thankful for so much there is no way I can list it all.

But I am also very, very thankful to you. When I started this blog, back in January, the goal was to keep a daily log of our everyday lives. That changed into a several times weekly log, because there was no way I was going to keep up writing every day. I posted the deal of the day, hoping that some of my friends would benefit. In my wildest dreams I never thought people would read like they do. Just yesterday I received my 20,000th blog hit! I started with about 10 readers per day (thanks mom and dad and friends!) and I now average about 100. I don't know you all but I am honored that you come here, whether it is to read about my life or to check my latest deal. I an thankful to you for finding my blog and for coming back to see more. I hope you all have a wonderful holiday today and that you find yourself surrounded by family and friends, unable to count high enough to tabulate all the things you have to be thankful for. Know that someone in NorCal is thankful for you.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 23, 2009


Peanut is at that funny age where she talks A LOT but still gets some words wrong. Other times she has words and phrases that are so unique, that they become part of the family vocabulary. These are a few of my favorites:

Peanut butter is always called "other butter." If you think about it, it makes sense. It's not regular butter, it's the other butter. Peanut butter.

Skeletons are called "scary ones." If you say it fast enough you can see how she came to think that.

We have a family friend named Brianna. Peanut CANNOT call her anything but Banana. She thinks she has it just right.

Mickey Mouse is still called Mickey House.

Her hot pink shoes are still her "fancy shoes" and they are now often accompanied by her clearance rack $2 Target outfit she calls her "fancy dress."

She's just a riot, that kid. She makes me laugh every single day. Everyone should have a Peanut. She is fancy and fun!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Today was a day and a half...

...or more. It seemed to go on endlessly.

First, BabyGirl isn't feeling well. Her nose is a crazy, runny mess and she slept great last night but did not really nap at all today. I think either her head or ears (or both) are bothering her when she lays down. Her longest nap today was 25 minutes....not good. So there was a lot of eye rubbing and crying and screeching, but very, very little napping, no matter how hard I tried.

We had to squeeze in some last minute cookie making for StinkyMan's teacher and of course he and Peanut needed to "help" while BabyGirl screamed in the next room.

Then I got all whirly and riled-up over finances. I do that. I freak out, decide we aren't doing any of it right and then start to dissect what we are doing and how to make it better while I have a crying baby hanging on my legs. Then I have to be on the phone with BFF for 30 minutes while she talks me down from my tornado like spinning. Really, I need to not do that. We are so fortunate and doing fine...I just want to be more fine. But you know, I'm a stay home mom of 4 kids in California, a high cost of living area....just to be able to be home is beyond lucky. The economy stinks, but things will get better, and so will we.

And Peanut fell and smacked her face on the tile floor. It was one of those moments where you hear the sound of the thunk and just know it's teeth. Indeed, she bit through her lip and knocked loose a top front tooth. At least I think it's just the one. I didn't wiggle the second one after she howled when I touched the first one. That kid is determined to maim her face. She's already been glued once, then split the exact same spot open again a month later. Now this. Oy.

All the while Curly has a playdate here and they are shrieking "OH, EW! SHE'S BLEEDING!" or wanting a snack and there is lots to do housework wise. But the two little girls just want to sit with their mommy; so we sat. And in the middle of everything else, we lost the tv remote. It's 6 hours later and I still can't find the thing. We watched a lot of Phineas and Ferb least it was stuck on a kid appropriate channel. Baby Dora is MIA too. She took the remote and ran, I suspect.

The redeeming moment of the day was when StinkyMan gave me his preschool rendition of how Thanksgiving came to be:

"Girl Pilgrims wear bonnets and Boy Pilgrims wear hats. They came on a ship called The Mayflower. They met a man named Squanto and he helped them with their food and they all had a big feast together. That's why we have Thanksgiving"

"Oh, StinkyMan, that's right!" I say, ever the proud mama.

"And then, on Thanksgiving a Pilgrim comes to your house. Or Squanto. But just one."


"Yeah, they come to your house on Thanksgiving."

"Oh. I didn't know that." I'm doubtful and he knows it.

"But just one." He reassures me. "Not all of them."

"Oh, okay then. Just one. Goodnight, StinkyMan. I love you."

"I love you too, Mommy."

Honestly, I think he thinks it's like Santa or The Easter Bunny. And why wouldn't he? He gets stuff from The Great Pumpkin and then is tossed right into Christmas by the retailers. Why wouldn't he think The Great Squanto is going to come leave him a gift? Or that the Thanksgiving Pilgrim might come fill his cornucopia with treats. Who wouldn't hope for that?

So, hey, Mighty Mayflower or Super Squanto or whoever you are, if you're out there, could I get some Calgon, please? Because today was a day and a half.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


I must know who thought it would be a good idea to give light up, blinking air horns as fundraising prizes to elementary school children.

Clearly someone with no kids at home.

Someday, this will come back around on him/her. Someday.

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Adventures of Baby Dora

I would like to introduce you to the love of Peanut's life:

This is Baby Dora. Baby Dora was just another dolly du jour. Before Baby Dora we had Baby Nakey, Baby Hat, Baby Bonky and Baby Doll. Baby Dora was just one in a rotation of babies. But something about Baby Dora had some staying power, because she's been Peanut's favored doll for about a month now and that doesn't look to change anytime soon.

I can't stand that doll. For one thing, it is ugly. I mean really. Take a look. U-G-L-Y, ugly. And secondly she (and yes I know that it's really a he, but roll with me here) is small. As in, easy to lose, small.

Baby Dora goes to bed with Peanut at night and she gets a goodnight kiss from Mommy too. Baby Dora gets up with Peanut in the mornings. Baby Dora sits at the breakfast table. Baby Dora watches TV. Baby Dora goes to school drop offs and pick ups. Baby Dora get strapped in a seat belt. Baby Dora even goes to the grocery store, but she has to stay in the car. We don't want to lose her in the grocery aisles somewhere.

Sometimes, when we can't find Baby Dora, which is fairly often, we imagine it is because she is off on an adventure. It is true that Baby Dora's life is full of exotic locales. Just this past week she spent a night in the dark pantry and another night in a drawer of pot holders. She has spent time in the wilds of the playroom and once she was even held hostage by BabyGirl! And just this morning she had a cornflake spa treatment in Peanut's cereal bowl.

Hopefully Baby Dora is just a passing phase. But Peanut loves her and so I must learn to love her too.

Welcome to the family, Baby Dora. I hope your stay is a pleasant one.

Friday, November 13, 2009


Every night I sing Peanut two songs at bedtime. One is the theme song to Wow Wow Wubbzy. (Don't ask.) The other she calls "The Peanut Song." It's really just "A Bicycle Built for Two" but instead of singing "Daisy, Daisy" in the beginning we sing "Peanut, Peanut."

So last night, after I put her in bed, StinkyMan asked me to sing him the StinkyMan song. I made one up real quick on the spot and then he asked me if BabyGirl has a song.

"No" I said "I haven't thought of one yet." It's true. I haven't.

"I know a song about her" he offered.

"You do?"

And he started to sing:

"Baby Girl, Baby Girl, you don't poopy in the toilet. Baby Girl, Baby Girl, you poopy in your diaper, but that's okay because you are a baby.''

"Baby Girl, Baby Girl, you shouldn't climb on the ottoman because you might fall off. Baby Girl, Baby Girl, sometimes you fall just when you walk."

"Baby Girl, Baby Girl, you are a super cute baby and I love you. Baby Girl, Baby Girl, you'll look cute upon the seat of a bicycle built for two."

I think it is the sweetest song I have ever heard.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Attention Target Shoppers

I have mentioned before my undying love of Target. I have also told you how Peanut screamed "I LOVE TARGET" on recent trip to my favorite retailer.

Well apparently it is time for me to expand my children's shopping universe because now StinkyMan's favorite past time is playing Target.

He pulls out 15 to 20 items from the pantry and sets them all out on the kitchen table. He gets out our plastic bag storage bin, and a seasonal decorative bucket is a shopping basket. I have to buy one item at a time. He scans it, bags it and sends me on my way. I say thank you and tell him to have a nice day as I walk away with my bag. I am always to return immediately to purchase the next item. He does not take coupons, charges me $99 for Parmesan cheese and tells me I am not allowed to kiss the Target Man. (It is true that he is the cutest Target employee I have ever seen.) When Grammy came today she too had to play Target.

And every night, for the last three nights, when I tuck Peanut in bed she says "Mommy, guess what."


"I'm going to Target tomorrow. I'm gonna wear my fancy shoes and go in Peanut's seat and go to Target."

"OK. Tomorrow you are going to Target."


Yesterday I took her to Kmart where I was scolded "This not Target!"

I wonder what will happen if I take them to Walmart. It will either be a world of wonder or an utter mutiny.

Monday, November 9, 2009


They say you can't get something for nothing. Or that if something seems too good to be true, it probably is.

In bargain shopping, sometimes those statements are true and sometimes they are not. This bargain is definitely worth trying to see if you actually get it! is Fuji's new site. Right now, if you go there you can order either 4x8 or 5x7 personalized photo cards for absolutely FREE with code freebies4mom-1109. Think holiday cards!

The catch? Well, the site is HORRENDOUSLY slow. It's utterly absurd. I think everyone is trying to get their free cards. And it's not (at least to me) the easiest site to work with. But if you push on through you will eventually be able to create and order your cards. And they do prompt you to create an account in order to use the promo code freebies4mom-1109 but once you do, it should go through no problem. If it says the code is invalid keep trying it. Mine took 2 tries to go through, but it when I made sure there was no space after the 9 it worked like a charm. I never even had to put in any payment info other than where to ship them and I ordered 50!

I am so excited to get cards for free. I hope it works for you too! And I hope Fuji makes good on their offer! Good luck!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

ooooh yeah

Folks, there is nothing like a bargain high. NOTHING. And I did well this weekend, my friends.

First look at this:

Big whoop, right? Yeah, but that all cost me $2.78! Thank you Target!

Check out this loveliness:

Nice, right? So autumny and fun on my front door! It goes nicely with the "No Doorbell" sign StinkyMan made so the babies could nap in peace (It actually reads NO DOO RBELL, but he's 4, so I still think it's pretty good.)

And what about this beauty?

Ignore the otherwise poorly decorated mantel and focus on the garland. Fall-ish and festive, no? I bought 2 of them.

All that together was under $14! That's right! Two garlands, a wreath, two boxes of granola bars, two boxes of cereal and a bag of Halloween marshmallows (for potty bribes) for $13 and change. The bottom of my receipt says I saved $85! Ha!

So after that I went over to Walmart and bought this stuff:

Six containers of yogurt, six cans of soup, six packages of flushable wipes, 2 boxes of potatoes and 2 packages of frozen vegetables for a whopping total of $8 and a few coins including tax. It was $21 before coupons! Squee! Bargain high!

The only thing equal to a bargain high is working on a project and finally finishing it. I've been working on something for a while now and I'll be showing you that soon! Here's a clue:

Yep, that's me with a big ol' saw. Stay tuned!

TRU Board Game Deal

It was new deal time, but here's the TRU game deal in case you still need it!

Don't let the size of today's DOTD scare you off! Free $10 Toys R Us Gift Card when you buy $25 in Hasbro games with the coupon on the front of tomorrow's ad. Included in the deal are games for $3.99, $7.99, and $9.99. Pretty good, but it gets better! Hasbro is offering a mail in rebate on many of those games. For example, CandyLand is on sale for $3.99. The rebate is for $2.00. Candyland for $1.99! And don't forget you get the $10 TRU gift card on top of that! Click here to get the rebate form. Print it out, take it with you and select your games based on the rebates. GREAT deal!

I would do it like this: For $3.99 I would buy CandyLand, Chutes and Ladders,Ants in Pants and Memory for $3.99 each, or $15.96. Then I would buy Connect 4 for $9.99, making my total $25.95. Then you get back the $10 gift card (which has to be used by 12/31) That brings your total down to $15.96. Then I would get $2 rebates for all the cheaper games and a $3 rebate for Connect 4. That would give me $11 in rebates, so my total out of pocket for 5 games would be $4.97! WOW!

UPDATE: You do NOT need to have the ad! Even easier!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Alone Time

When Husband travels I often let a kid sleep in bed with me. It is mostly Curly who revels in this special treat (She should. I have 1000 thread count sateen sheets. Hello Luxury!) But every time she does, she wants me to go to bed at the same time she does.

"Why can't you go to bed now?"

"Because I have things to do. Have seen this house? It's a mess! Plus, I need some alone time."


"Everyone needs alone time, Curly. It's just nice to be able to think without being interrupted and to do what you want to do without having to do anything for anyone else."

The answer varies, but that's a pretty good summary of what I say. I did think she understood it, but now I am not so sure. Because today, this went down in my house:

Curly: Mommy, can I have some alone time in my room?

Mommy: Alone time?

Curly: Yeah.

Mommy: Sure after you do your homework you can have some alone time.

Curly: YAY!

15 minutes later....

Curly: Mommy! I'm done! Can I have my alone time now?

Mommy: Sure. Go right ahead.

Curly: Okee! Hey StinkyMan! I'm going to have alone time in my room. Do you wanna come?

StinkyMan: OK!

And off they went, spending a lovely 20 to 30 minutes of "alone time" together.

She may not understand the concept, but if calling it "alone time" makes playing with her brother more acceptable, I'm all for it!

Mini Me

They say children often mimic their parents. In fact, what is that old expression? Do as I say, not as I do? And don't they say that doesn't work? Kids copy actions, not empty words.

Well, I think Peanut has a healthy dose of her mama in her because yesterday we went to Target and got her some "fancy panties." So enamored was she with her Target popcorn and princess underwear that she shouted several times, at the top of her lungs "I LOVE TARGET!" She got lots of chuckles and smiles and she told anyone and everyone who looked her way "I got princess panties. I a big girl. I go poopies in the potty" and then "I LOVE TARGET!" The teenaged (male) kid behind the counter did not quite know what to make of that, but that didn't stop her from repeating it to the lady who came to the counter behind us. "I got princess panties. I a big girl. I go poopies in the potty. I LOVE TARGET!"

I'm raising that kid right.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

another quick Walmart deal-UPDATED!

If you are going for soup anyway, print the coupon here for Betty Crocker boxed potatoes (I know, I know, but some of them can be doctored up and are really quite yummy!) They are on rollback at my Walmart for 78 cents and the coupon would make them 38 cents! That was a pleasant discovery while I was shopping. I love surprise coupon/sale match ups!

Adding another link to a $1 off the potatoes...if you are buying a lot of stuff they might just push it through, giving you the overage. If they catch it they can (and are supposed to) adjust the coupon down to the price of the item, making it free!

Also cheap frosting!
Betty Crocker frosting is on rollback for 78 cents. Use this link to see the 50 cent off printable (you will also see another potato printable on the page, so you can get another box!) 28 cents for frosting is a nice deal!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Sassy Princess

Peanut is, for all intents and purposes, potty trained. She goes on the potty all day long and is successful when she wears both underwear or diapers.

However, the other day, when I wiped the clearance aisle out of diapers at CVS, she discovered the biggest scam in all of potty training history:

The Pull-Ups.

More specifically Princess Pull-Ups. She saw them and they were a must have. Since they were on clearance and I had a coupon that would make them less than $2 for the pack I caved and let her have them.

She only wants to wear Princess Pull-Ups now. She has no interest in underwear or diapers. She doesn't even want to be nakey, a former favorite past time. Nope, life is all about princess Pull-Ups.

The funny thing is, she really doesn't know who they are save what she knows from Curly. She doesn't know their stories, she's never seen their movies, she only knows they are princesses and that is enough for her.

There is one Pull Up that features all the princesses on the front with a castle on the tush. Then there is another with only Cinderella on the front and a castle on the tush. She very solemnly brought me the Cinderella Pull-Up today and said "They leaved her all alone."

"She's all alone? Who left her all alone?"

"The other princesses went away and leaved her all alone at the castle."

"She's all alone at the castle?"

"Yes" she shakes her head with all the seriousness of a shamed mother "She was too sassy."

"She was sassy?"

"Too sassy so they leaved her alone at the castle. She is sad."

"That is sad. Why is she so sassy?"

"She's just sassy. I put her in the pantry" and off she ran, bringing back the Pull-Up will all the princesses, leaving Cinderella on the shelf.

Poor Cinderella, locked in the pantry, away from the party once again. And this time by a 2 year old who knows serious sass when she sees it.

Tomorrow we will go to Target and she will get to pick out some big girl panties. Let's hope they have less attitude than the Pull-Ups.

Sunday, November 1, 2009


My biggest challenge is organization. I am not organized. Never have been. I have no less than 4 junk drawers. FOUR! I often don't know where to put things and while in theory everything has a place, it's never in it's place when I need it. Believe me, if you ask me where something is and I know the right answer, it's pure luck that I know where to find it.

My poor Husband never used to live like this. When we met, his clothes hung in his closet by color, sub categorized by long and short sleeve and fabric. (He can be kind of obsessive) When we first lived together I was short a clothes hanger so I took one out of his closet. The next day he said "Did you take my hanger?" Apparently he had the exact same number of hangers as shirts so when he suddenly had a shirt and no hanger he knew just who to ask.

He's had to let go of that when he married me. He had to let go a little more after Curly and more still after StinkyMan. We had barely figured out how to wade through the craziness of 3 kids when we were expecting number 4. And, although it's been 14 months since BabyGirl's chaotic arrival we have not managed to retrieve even a glimmer of my sweet spouse's organizational roots.

My online friends and I are attempting to identify our weaknesses and support each other in our attempts to change. E and C are working on their budgets and tracking their spending, S is working on her general attentiveness to her house and I am working on organization by choosing one extra thing to do every day that relates to the organization of my home and our lives.

It's a month long challenge. Husband always tells me it takes 21 days to create a habit. So my hope is that in 21 days I will have created a habit of earmarking time at the end of the day to organize something and that by the end of the month I will have it so ingrained in me to be organized that it'll be a part of life. (WHAT? That could totally happen!) Tonight it was my coupon binder. Tomorrow I will clean out a drawer or 2. Tuesday perhaps it will be my car. The idea is that by organizing and purging and discovering long lost items and allocating a proper space for them my life, our lives, will become more organized and orderly and hopefully, ultimately, easier.

So play along if you want. What do you need to work on? What could you improve upon? What are you going to do to get better results than what you are getting right now? The more organized my household, the more organized my life feels and that is an idea I find really appealing.

And maybe, while I'm at it I could find that hanger Husband has been looking for. ;)