Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Movie Review

For Xmas last year, I asked for the "His Dark Materials" series by Bill Pullman. You will know the first movie from this series as "The Golden Compass". I devoured the books, they were fantastic. However, the movie...not so good. I give it a thumbs down! The movie skips so much important plot information, and just jumps from scene to scene. Plus, they stop the movie right before the last two chapters of the book. Ugh! Don't watch this! Read the books instead, you will thank me.

Cheddar Cabbage Casserole

Well the man has been home for a few days and we have been busy! We actually went and got a YMCA membership, so we have gone to the gym the last two days and it feels great! They have child care too, which is great for the baby, as she can interact with other kids her age.

Last night I made this:

Cheddar Cabbage Casserole
"The flavors really blend well in this casserole. The crunch of the cornflakes adds to the texture contrast."



INGREDIENTS
2 1/2 cups coarsley crushed cornflakes
1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted
4 1/2 cups shredded cabbage
1/3 cup chopped onion
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of celery soup, undiluted
1 cup milk
1/2 cup mayonnaise*
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese


DIRECTIONS
Toss the cornflakes and butter; sprinkle half into a greased 13-in. x 9-in. x 2-in. baking dish. Layer with the cabbage, onion, salt and pepper. In a bowl, combine the soup, milk and mayonnaise until smooth. Spoon over top; sprinkle with cheese and remaining cornflake mixture. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees F for 45-50 minutes or until golden brown.


I would suggest using a little less cheese, and maybe a bit less mayo. And one good sized head of cabbage gives you more than the 4 cups needed for this. This was for 8 servings. Otherwise it was fantastic! A great meat-less dish that I will make again. We all enjoyed it, except for the baby, who would take bites and then spit it out. LOL

I haven't gotten any PPP opps since sunday. A little dissapointed, but that's ok. I am sure they will come around again.

Today while the man and I were at Target, we found two cute accent lamps for the entertainment center for only $2.48 each!!! They were normally $10 each.

Until next time...

Sunday, April 27, 2008

A Quick Note About PayPerPost

I only have a minute to write, but MamaBear gave me an idea. I did post about PPP awhile ago, but since I have new readers, I wanted to say again that if you see me write something "weird" or "wonky", lol, that means it is usually a PayPerPost sponsored post. I get paid money to do those, so I have to write it the way they want. Yep, I might look like a weirdo, but I'm getting paid. I've made just over $130 in about 2.5 weeks or so. That money will be coming to me sporadically via paypal, once my posts have been up for a month. If you look at the bottom of a "weird" post, look for the "PPP" label. That pretty much tells you that it was a sponsored post by PPP.

If anyone else is interested in blogging for PPP, click on the box below, at the end of my post. I get a referral, and you get $20 for your first post! Twenty dollars just to write about how you like PPP and what you plan to do with your earnings.

Granted, the money isn't there to make you rich, but it can be pretty cool to have a somewhat steady cash flow. And seeing as you get paid by paypal from PPP, if you have a paypal debit card like I do, you can use it ANYWHERE! And PayPal also gives you a 1% cash back bonus every time you use your card as a credit card and sign for it (they have the mastercard logo, so it can be used as a credit card as well as long as you have the available funds in your paypal account). I just used mine the other day at the Post Office.

Anyway, I just wanted to spread the word so no one thinks I have gone off my rocker.

I thought i wouldn't be on too much today (saturday), but I was wrong. Did lots of cleaning with the kidlets though and i get the awful fun stuff like vacuuming and mopping, tomorrow (sunday). I should have done more today...oops! I am SO TIRED!

TTFN!

ps...thanks again to MamaBear for giving me the idea to write about this. She's given me lots of good advice!


Saturday, April 26, 2008

Great Clothes and Freebies at LA Police Gear

Hubby has been asking for some new clothes, so I headed over to a site I frequent, LA Police Gear. He really enjoys their wide variety of mens clothing items. La Police Gear has some awesome clothing items for sale, including 5.11 Tactical Pants. The 5.11 Tactical series has items such as long sleeve shirts, vests and even watches! The stuff looks pretty cool to me. One thing I didn't notice before was that they sell 5.11 Tactical kid's clothing! How cute would your little boy look decked out in this outfit? I might get mine some to match his daddy!

Check them out! They also have some great promos right now too, when you purchase any of the 5.11 Tactical series clothing. You could keep these freebies as gifts too if you wanted, to save for Christmas or upcoming birthdays. And if you need live customer help, they offer live chat help!! I love that this site offers that, as it can be so hard to get ahold of customer service with some other companies. Kudos to you La Police Gear!

I went to Target again!

I'm a coupon fool now! lol See my post from a few days ago. I was able to get the same deals again! I just print a new one out every time I go, I won't need to buy toilet cleaner for a really long time. ;o) I didn't go to Target just for free stuff, because that is a waste of gas. I actually needed laundry detergent, printer ink, and a few other random items. And it was almost 70 degrees outside, so the kids and I went to Mc Donalds for an ice cream cone. The baby sure enjoyed it, as did the rest of us.

Also picked up the Scotch Brite Tub and Tile scrubber that is listed on this site. Normally this product is $14.99 at Target, and it was on clearance for $7.48. I used both coupons and was able to get it for .50 cents!! I didn't see the re-fill kits, so I might print of the $2 coupon for the next time I go and see if it is on sale. But for now I have the starter kit, and I will test it out tomorrow.
I'll review it as soon as I can.

These Boots Were Made For Walkin'

Do you need some good quality work boots?

Work Boots USA has a wide variety of all types of work boots, whether it be steel toe, or even women's work boots! These boots are stylin', and they start in price around $50. Besides offering work boots, they also sell Oxford dress shoes, and even the Converse brand.

And best of all, they are offering free ground shipping on orders over $50!!
Give them a look!

I give up!

Well, i finished watching "The Mist" and went to check on the baby to see if I could get her to sit on the potty for a few minutes. She was soaked. I gave in and put a diaper on her. She isn't ready yet, so we will try again in a month or so and see what happens. *sigh* At least I tried, right?

Regarding The Mist...UGH! the beginning and end sucked ass! The end was NOTHING Compared to the book, and it was just tragic how they ended it. Plus, they gave no sort of explanation, but then the book was like that too. This is definitely a one time only movie. Back in the mail it goes tomorrow, to await the arrival of "The Golden Compass", 1st in a series of three, written by Bill Pullman. I got the whole set for Xmas, and I devoured it. It's an awesome book. Though i have heard the movie is not as good as the book. But I still want to see it...

So Goodnight!

edited to add: Aili wanted to go pee first thing this morning when she woke up, and did! and she stayed dry (in a diaper) the entire time we were out this afternoon. And then as soon as we were home, she insisted on going pee in the potty, and did!! Perhaps I was premature in quiting? we shall see...i'm letting her take the lead now.

Friday, April 25, 2008

In the words of Tigger...TTFN!!

Can you tell we're big Winnie The Pooh fans here? Pooh is on EVERY morning, and afternoon sometimes. At least it isn't Elmo, right? I HATE elmo. After being subjected to it for years upon years with my three older kids, I am relieved that Aili hates it. The older kids liked Pooh as well, but Elmo was a favorite too. Glad we got that bad seed out of our house. Die Elmo!!!

So this monday my hubby is coming home after a 6 week stint on the road. I haven't seen him since mid march. He will be home for a week or so, and heading back to work on the 6th. So I will be pretty absent during that time. I'll try to update as much as I can, but I shall make no promises. I usually get scolded for being on the computer too much when he is around. LOL.

I am not sure if we will continue PTing our youngest. Or should I say: I am not sure if I will continue training her. We havent seen much progress yet, and she usually wakes up wet from naps, and always wet in the morning. However, she does tell me now when she has gone pee on the potty, and says "I did it", or "All done". So that is progress...I am going to see how it goes over the weekend and take it from there.

Next friday I am meeting some moms from my Gymboree board. I'm pretty excited as we've been talking online for awhile now, and we all live within 20 minutes of each other. It turns out that one of them is like two exits down the freeway from us.

Well, I am off to watch "The Mist" now. I got it from Net Flix and I have been wanting to watch it for awhile...I read the book and loved it. Not sure when I will be back again. I have to super clean this weekend for the man, and get myself all prettied up too :o)

Miss me!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Baked Potato Soup

When I decided to expand my recipe repertoire, I found a few new recipes, including this one: Baked Potato Soup

INGREDIENTS
6 bacon strips, diced
2 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup and 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons dried basil
1 teaspoon pepper
6 cups chicken broth
4 large baked potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 cups half-and-half cream
1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
Shredded Cheddar cheese
Minced fresh parsley


DIRECTIONS
In a large saucepan, cook bacon until crisp. Drain, reserving 1 tablespoon drippings. Set bacon aside. Saute onion and garlic in the drippings until tender. Stir in flour, salt, basil and pepper; mix well. Gradually add broth. Bring to boil; boil and stir for 2 minutes. Add the potatoes, cream and hot pepper sauce; heat through but do not boil. Garnish with bacon, cheese and parsley.

This was for 8 servings. I suggest upping the flour to 1/2 cup and using one more large baking potato. Bit more spices too. But all in all, it was a fantastic dinner and the kids asked for 2nds!!! I'll make it again for sure.

Time for a change, and Coupon info.

You'll notice that my blog has a different look today. I thought a change was in order. Out with the old, and in with the new!

So I took a trip to Target last week in order to find some more bargains. See my post Freebie Update. I was able to find Colgate toothpaste for .50 cents this time, as I had two coupons. The scotch brite I was able to get for free!!! I found this site which has a ton of printable coupons on it, thanks to Ginger. I also got a refill of the toilet scrubbers for 1.49. I am pretty happy with my deals! The coupons are good until the middle of may, so I will take some with me the next time and get more too. lol

Also, if you are looking to print multiples of coupons, or get some new coupons, a great site to visit is A Full Cup.

So now we have two sets of the Scotch Brite toilet scrubbers, a re-fill kit, two tubes of Colgate Total toothpaste, and all I spent on that was $3.28. Hooray!!

Flash Card Mania

I have three children in school. Two are in first grade, and the other is in kindergarten. So you can imagine we have a lot of school work. I was actually surprised at how much the first graders actually have, it is a lot more than I remember having when I was in school.

My hubby and I like to use flash cards with our kids to re-inforce their education, and I came across this awesome FREE flashcards website.

FlashCardFriends is an interactive website that has four different ways to view the flash cards. You can do it by a list, a flip (which is what you would do with paper cards), and a flash, or even print them out if you wish. And they have just about any topic you want to study, be it Russian, Math, or Geography even. Besides using their pre-made flash cards, you can create your own personal cards. They will also create tests for you, and correct them as well. It isn't just for kids either, even Medical School students can use it. If you wanted to learn a foreign language, you can even add sound to it, which really amps up the learning potential. And best of all, it is FREE!!!

What I really liked about this site is that it is kid-safe. No worries they will run into something inappropriate. There is no advertising either. My kids always want to use the computer, so I actually plan on showing this site to them this afternoon when they get home. Give the site a look and see how you and your kids can improve your education. I might even do this myself! "Early testers showed an average increase in test scores of 12.3% by using Flashcard Friends"





Sorry for the large photos. I was not able to change the template of the blog to allow the whole photo to show, but it still gives you a pretty good idea of what the site does. I suggest you head over there to see for yourself. Happy Learning!!

A Funny for Today

Dear Wife:


I'm writing you this letter to tell you that I'm leaving you forever. I've
been a good man to you for seven years and I have nothing to show for it.


These last two weeks have been hell. Your boss called to tell me that you
quit your job today and that was the last straw.


Last week, you came home and didn't even notice that I had a new haircut, had cooked your favourite meal and even wore a brand new pair of silk boxers.

You ate in two minutes, and went straight to sleep after watching
all of your soaps.

You don't tell me you love me anymore; you don't want sex or anything that connects us as husband and wife.


Either you're cheating on me or you don't love me anymore; whatever the
case, I'm gone.


Your EX-Husband



P.S.
Don't try to find me. Your SISTER and I are moving away to West Virginia
together! Have a great life!




Dear Ex-Husband -


Nothing has made my day more than receiving your letter. It's true that you and I have been married for seven years, although a good man is a far cry from what you've been.


I watch my soaps so much because they drown out your constant whining and griping. Too bad that doesn't work.


I DID notice when you got a hair cut last week, but the first thing that
came to mind was 'You look just like a girl!' Since my mother raised me not
to say anything if you can't say something nice, I didn't comment.


And when you cooked my favorite meal, you must have gotten me confused withMY SISTER, because I stopped eating pork seven years ago.


About those new silk boxers: I turned away from you because the £49.99 price tag was still on them, and I prayed that it was a coincidence that my sister had just borrowed fifty quid from me that morning.


After all of this, I still loved you and felt that we could work it out. So
when I hit the lottery for ten million pounds, I quit my job and bought us
two tickets to Jamaica . But when I got home you were gone. Everything
happens for a reason, I guess.


I hope you have the fulfilling life you always wanted. My lawyer said that
the letter you wrote ensures you won't get a penny from me. So take care.



Signed,

Your Ex-Wife, Rich As He!! and Free!



P.S. I don't know if I ever told you this, but my sister Carla was born
Carl. I hope that's not a problem.

__________________

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Have you seen my map?

It is on the right side, if you scroll down a bit. I think it's such a neat thing to have on your blog. Now I know I get readers...not many, but at least my words are reaching someone, right?

I love to look and see where people are coming from. Today I had one from Jaipur, INDIA!!! and I also had one from the UAE...United Arab Emirates. How cool is that?
Please feel free to post comments people, I like getting them ;o)

Potty training went well today! She is doing much better than I thought, and only had ONE accident today. Plus, she woke up dry from her nap!! Is anyone doing the happy dance with me? One thing I am concerned about is that she doesn't tell me when she is done, or when she has to go. She hasn't pooped in the potty yet either. I know we're only on the 2nd day, but I just hope it doesn't turn into a big problem. She did wake up soaked this morning...I am not quite sure how we are going to fix the peeing at night thing. I KNOW she doesn't like to be dirty or wet, and is really starting to hate it. And she loves to say "bye pee" as we flush it down the toilet. lol I guess I just have to keep repeating to myself that "we've only just begun" lol! It will get better, and we've had such great progress from yesterday.

Today I finally got some stuff moved into the shed. I need to go through the rest of the boxes tomorrow and figure out what can go in there before hubby gets home. I hate clutter, as does he, so it will be nice to have it taken care of. I also have to figure out a way to get the van completely spotless. Yep, it's a disaster zone. I swore I wouldn't let it happen, but I did. *sigh* Tomorrow is thursday and he is home on wednesday...I need to get my ass in gear! I have so much to do and such little time to do it.

Have Your Cake And Eat It Too

Have you heard of The Sedona Method ?

This is a new concept to me as well. It is a little bit confusing at first, but once you get into it and read the information, and really apply yourself, you will see what exactly The Sedona Method is, and how it can help you better your life.

If you have been to any sort of book store lately, you have probably heard of "A New Earth", written by Eckhart Tolle. And I am sure you have heard the hype of the new movie "The Secret". Well, The Sedona Methold is a bridge between the two, basically A New Earth meets The Secret.


You are probably wondering what the Sedona Method is, right? Well, The Sedona Method is "Your key to lasting happiness, success, peace, and emotional well-being!" You can change your life, just by applying the Sedona Method to everything you do. The Sedona Method will show you how to master the Law of Attraction while letting go of your ego, as shown in "A New Earth", so that you can take part in the "peaceful revolution in conciousness that is sweeping the planet". You really can have your cake, and eat it too!

When we desire something, we use our external action, basically forcing our conciousness to align with our ego. But we also can't let go of the negative thoughts, which creates more strife between the positive and negative thoughts, and in turn, causing ourselves more suffering. The Sedona Methold will teach you how to create what you want, by letting go of your "limitations" and getting over your ego. "By creating through letting go of every goal, we also support ourselves in awakening".

Are you following me? Just keep reading, you'll get it!

So how do you master the Law of Attraction? You have to let go of your negative thoughts. Letting go will "dissolve" the negative energy, and in turn, allow you to expererience all that is your true nature, such as joy, happiness, peace, wealth and love. Letting go of all the negative will dramatically change your way of thinking and allow you to put the law of attraction into full force.

There are three steps to the Law of Attraction:

1. Take action to get what you want! You aren't going to get it if you don't take action to achieve your goals.

2. Give without expecting anything in return. No strings attached. It always feels better to give than to receive, in my opinion. This will open your heart, and it will return to you ten-fold.

3. Follow your Heart. Your heart knows what you want, and will point you in the right direction every time. It is called following your intuition.

If you are ready to put all of this into action, you can order a Free CD and DVD. It will help you change your life! I've already ordered mine, and I can't wait to experience the benefits of the Law of Attraction.



Potty Training...Day 1 Review

Just a quick update...
It went pretty well yesterday. Out of 7 attempts, she got 4 right! not dry during naps or at night yet though, but I kind of expected that. We went cold turkey on diapers, so now all she has is the thick cotton training pants and the vinyl diaper covers. I'm old skool! No pull ups here!

Anyone have any advice on how to make it easier?

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Orange you glad I posted this?

Spring and Summer are upon us, dear readers! Are you planning a vacation with your family? Are you tired of the typical "Disney Land" California vacations? Well, then the Shangri La Gardens and Nature Center in Orange, TX is a great alternative! And...they are Eco-friendly!

Nowadays, it pays to be "green", especially since we just celebrated Earth Day. Well, the Shangri La Gardens actually received an award just for being "green" and eco-friendly! The award the gardens received was a Platinum Certification, the LEED-NC award, which is a prestigious green building rating standing for:

LEADERSHIP IN ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENTAL DESIGN FOR NEW CONSTRUCTION (LEED®-NC)

The Shangrila Gardens was the first project in Texas to win this award, and the 50th in the world!!! That my dear readers is quite an accomplishment if you ask me. I bet you are wondering how they won this award, right? Well, one of the many factors was the fact that they were able to reduce their energy costs by a whopping 70%, due to their innovative architecture and their efficient equipment. They have used soy-bean sprayed foam insulation, geothermal heating, and they even pump water from 800 feet underground to take advantage of the earth's temperature.

The garden was open to the public in 1946 by H.J. Lutcher Stark, and by the 1950s, thousands of visitors were arriving to visit its beauty. But unfortunately it was hit with a tragic, and freak ice and snow storm, which caused it to close its doors for over 50 years. In 2002, however, plans were put into effect to re-open the gardens and nature center to the public once again. The end result is what we have today! Shangri La continues to be a big tourist desination in the city of Orange, Texas.

Shangri La Gardens offers a wide variety of opportunities to take part in. They are situated on a 252-acre preserve, and also have a hands-on nature discovery center that is perfect for kids. I know my kids would love to go to something like that, they love to explore and they love to learn about nature, so this sounds like a perfect place for us to visit. It is also a great place to hone your photography skills. I love to take pictures of nature, so I am sure I could find thousands of perfect photos here. The pictures on their site are breathtaking. It truly is a site to see!
Here are a few images captured from the gardens and nature center:





And when you are done exploring this beautiful site, be sure to explore the city of
Orange , Texas a bit too!




So Long, Farewell, Auf Wiedersehen, Goodbye

Well, yesterday marked the last chapter in our home-owning adventure. The title recorded and the house is no longer ours. I'm ok actually. I feel more at home in this house now, and it is such a relief not to have to pay the mortgage anymore ;o)

Next in our lives comes saving for another downpayment. We hope to buy in another 3 or 5 years.

And tying in with the post again, today we said goodbye to diapers. I am potty training our youngest, who is just aout 26months old. Wish me luck! I go straight to cotton pants and diaper covers, so that means no pull ups either. I'm a little nervous, but hopefully it will turn out ok.

Monday, April 21, 2008

I'm Coming Out...

Out of my shell that is!

I've been asked to share my MOST embarassing moment...can you guess what it is? Just watch my video at the end of this post! And please, pardon the lighting and my arm at the end, lol, my 5.5 year old daughter was filming me!

You readers probably think I am one crazy lady for doing this right? Well, as the title of my post says, I'm coming out...Out of my shell that is, by sharing my most embarassing moment ever. This post is all about coming out of your shell, just like an Oyster!

Living in the Northwest, I am surrounded by sea food. It is every where! In fact, in Shelton, WA, there is actually an Oyster Fest in October of each year. They have all sorts of shellfish to eat, Oyster Shucking contests, etc. I myself, am not a fan of sea food of anykind. Well, I should be more specific. I am not a big fan of any sort of shell fish.

Most consumers do not know that all sea food is not safe. You have to be really careful when you consume raw seafood, especially if you are an "at-risk" individual. An "at risk" individual is anyone that has a Liver disease, Iron Overload Disease, Diabetes, Cancer, or any other illness that weakens your immune system. Anyone that is an at risk individual should not in any way, consume raw sea food due to risk of bacterial infection. The bacteria that is in raw oysters is Vibrio vulnificus, that occurs naturally in warm, unpoluted salt water. It is especially abundant during the warm summer months.

But I am sure there is always going to be a time when an at risk person still wants to experience what it is like to eat a raw oyster, right? Well, Gulf oysters has perfected a process that allows those people to eat raw oysters. They have added saftey measures to the Post Harvest Process of preparing raw oysters, reducing the bacteria Vibrio vulnificus. Those include:

1. Individual Quick Freezing (IQF)
2. Low heat pasteurization or heat-cool pasteurization (HCP)
3. High-hydrostatic pressure (HPP) So all you oyster lovers can be rest-assured that your oysters are safe! Get that oyster out of it's shell and slurp, slurp away! But be Oyster Aware!!!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Gymboree Sale!!!

Hey Readers...

Just a heads up for an upcoming Gymboree Sale on 4/23. Items are going to be priced at .99, 4.99 and 6.99 I think. Best of all, you can use a coupon too!!! If you can still find the April "Cookie" magazine, there is a 20% off gymboree coupon in there.
There will be lots of markdowns, so head over early if you want to stock up!

Happy Shopping!

Also, Karen has updated her gymbo tutorial, so here is the link to her latest post.

I want to add too, I used to be one of those "OMG I can't believe she shops there! Doesn't she know how expensive it is? What a waste of money" blah blah blah women.
But I have been converted and now shop mostly there for our youngest. She does have Target, Old Navy, Wal Mart, TCP, and Gap too though. As do all of the othe kids. Though I shop mostly for them at TCP and ON as I don't really care for gymbo for them.
You have to shop the sales, otherwise you're not going to get a good deal. If I can find items for 6.99, and I have a 20% off coupon...that's a great deal. I would say I pay less than 10$ a piece for an average price, but I have found some awesome stuff for only .99 cents! And I stock up for future years too...usually just the next cold or warm season though. For example, this summer I will purchase for summer 2009. And last winter i purchased for fall/winter 2008. This way I get clothing at bargain prices, and she still looks put together and cute! And I almost always try to have gymbucks so that I can get stuff for 50% off or even better.

One disclaimer I have is that Gymboree is NOT as cheap in Canada. Sorry for my Cdn readers!! It has a huge markup there.

3 Random Things Meme

I've been tagged by Larina at gottalittlespacetofill for a meme. I have to write three random things about myself...not sure if I can find 5 people to link to though. lol


The rules for '3 Random Things':

1. Post 3 random things about yourself.
2. Link to the person who tagged you in your post.
3. Tag at least 5 other bloggers.
4. Let them know you've tagged them by commenting on their blog with an invite to participate.


So here goes:

1. I tell my highschool classmates I can't come to our reunion because of passport issues, but really, I don't feel like going to see anyone except a few people. I probably could get my passport renenwed if I was willing to spend all the money and time for it. But I don't want to put the time and effort into it, to be completely honest.

2. I hate to clip coupons, but still try to be as frugal as possible

3. Even though I sell, and love Avon products (really, I do), I still love and use some Clinique items.

I'm tagging Ginger @ Attention Target Shoppers
Simple Mommy, Karen at 33 For A Moment,

I couldn't think of anyone else that I could link to.

Avon

I am now selling Avon! Avon has some really great, affordable products. Right now our newest product is Mineral makeup! I am also selling a fabulous new perfum by Cynthia Rowley, called "Flower". I ordered one myself, and I am in love with it!

If anyone is interested, my Avon website is www.youravon.com/joannabender

Thanks in advance for supporting me!

Friday, April 18, 2008

For All You Gymbo-Phobes

Here is a small tutorial, thanks to my fellow GF Karen. You can visit her blog here. She will be posting more gymbo tutorials, so I will add those as she does, and add my own info if necessary.

Gymbo Mumbo Jumbo--Part 1

By popular demand, I have agreed to start divulging top-secret secrets regarding buying Gymboree on the cheap. Please note that this is classified information. If you see me in a Gymboree store, please do not approach me. If asked, I never knew you.

But seriously ... here are a few ground rules:

1. Never pay full price for Gymboree. Ever. Well, I guess you could pay full price if you really wanted to ... but really there is no reason to--unless, by some bizarre sequence of events, your daughter is asked to be a flower girl in a wedding and the bride has chosen a dress from Gymboree--and she just asked your DD to be the flower girl less than 24 hours before the ceremony, thus leaving you no time to at least scrounge up a coupon. That might be called an extreme circumstance and a full-price purchase could possibly be understood. But these should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

2. Join GymboFriends.com. This is a message board dedicated to Gymboree clothing. Yes, there are such things. But it's also so much more. There are forums about other things also--as well as a buy/sell/trade section, where members can--you guessed it--buy, sell and trade items (mostly Gymboree clothing, but it is not limited to just Gymbo). It does not cost a thing to be a member or to buy--but if you want to sell or trade, then you have to purchase a subscription, which is only $1.99 a month. Well worth it, IMO. As a buyer (again, it's free to buy), you can get some amazing deals. Amazing, I said. Even if you are not interested in the B/S/T section, it is definitely worth it to sign up on the site. Some of the members are Gymboree experts--they post announcements/reminders well in advance of the next sale, and they post the new line photos days before a new line makes an appearance in the store or on the Gymboree Web site. I have learned A LOT about how to get the biggest bang for my Gymbo buck on this site.

There is so much to cover regarding how to get great deals at Gymboree, and I don't think I can do it all in one post. So I think this will be a series of posts over the next several days or weeks. I'll try to cover the major sales, coupons, GymBucks, and resale as well as any other related topics that may come up. Happy Shopping!


Thanks Karen!!!

I wanted to add that I recently got the baby 7 outfits for $55, from the Tres Chic line. This was a fantastic deal because the items were 60% off already, plus I had a 20% off coupon. I think this is probably my favorite line so far, minus the poodles. I don't like poodles.

I "Dislike" Ignorance

I just want to bang two people's heads together right now. They are the people buying our house. They are two of the most stupid stupid STUPID people I have ever met. STUPID.

At our closing yesterday...the recording should be done today or monday, the title company told me it was ok to call and disconnect the water and electric for monday. So I did that and then informed my agent I had done so, and that they had to call the companies FIRST THING TOMORROW (meaning friday, today) or else the utilities would be shut off on monday. Well, I called the electric company...and they did switch the service. I called the water company...they had not yet heard from the new buyers. So I call my agent back...

Apparently the new buyers didn't know the name of the water company. Not a big deal you say, right? Well, let me tell you this. These people live in the same town as us. They have the same water company as us, all of our county has the SAME public water company. They also didn't think to look in the phone book for the PUD's number apparently.

How can two people be so dense and stupid not to know that? Are they kidding me? They really didn't know? OMG they are dumb. So I told my agent that if they didn't call like NOW the water was going to be disconnected monday morning.

I just can not believe the stupidity of these people. They even wanted the keys to the house BEFORE we had signed and the house had been put in their name. seriously.

Here is a picture of them and their kids





On the plus side, they were able to put down a pretty sizeable downpayment because they saved money when they bought their yacht

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Great deals at Safeway!!!

I was there today to get some milk, as their milk is MUCH cheaper than wal mart. So while I was there, i picked up an 8lb bag of naval oranges for...... $2.99!!!!! Hubby thought I was silly for being so excited. lol
They also have 4lbs of strawberries for $5. I didn't get any of those because I just bought some at walmart the other day, but if they have them on monday still, which I think they will (their sales run wednesday thru tuesday), I will get some then.

Also, if you live in one of their metro areas, they offer safeway delivery. You can get free delivery on your first order. I haven't done an order yet, but I have in the past and have always been pleased with them. I just haven't had the need to order from them yet.

www.safeway.com

Personal Goals

I am taking my cue from another blogger, yet again! LOL She had such a great idea and wrote down her 50 goals for 2008. I don't know if I have 50 yet...I'll try. lol I might have to update later.

So here are my Goals for 2008

1. Lose weight. Not going to set an amount, I just want to lose
2. Consistently keep going to the YMCA and working out 3-4 days per week
3. Spend less time on the internet
4. Do well, or make some profit, on my new Avon business
5. Not to be so negative about so many things. I tend to be a big complainer
6. Get my mountain of laundry under control and learn how to keep up with it
7. Focus more on the older children's clothing needs rather than the baby's.
8. Work out some sort of cleaning schedule and keep my house CLEAN
9. Get caught up on my scrap-booking. I've only done up till last summer! ACK!!
10. Get to bed at a regular time
11. Remember to shower at NIGHT
12. Not to be so worried about what other people think about me
13. Get my passport renewed
14. Start a savings account
15. Get the rest of the MISC boxes unpacked
16. Read to the baby more
17. Don't yell so much
18. Regularly keep my nails looking good, I've really slacked here.
19. Get our emergency/winter money funds account started and set up
20. Pay off credit cards
21. Buy some nice clothes for myself more often, but I guess I'd do that if I lost more weight.


Well, that's about all I can think of for now. I'm not feeling good today, this cold is still in full force. We did some paperwork with the house today, but I dont want to say anything else until I am for sure all done. Maybe tomorrow, perhaps monday.




Thanks Larina for this idea!!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Ring Ring Ring, Banana Phone

Phone Cards Avenue is a is a great site to visit for all your long distance and international phone card needs.

I have lived in three different countries during my life; Canada, Germany and the United States. So you can imagine that we do a lot of international calling, and if you use a regular telephone or cell phone company, you are going to pay astronomical fees. When my hubby and I were engaged, we racked up $2000 dollars in basic long distance charges from Canada to Germany. I wish we had had phone cards back then; we could have saved ourselves a fortune! If we had purchased calling cards through Phone Cards Avenue, we would have saved over 80% compared to other companies like AT&T and Sprint.

Phone Cards Avenue offers phone cards to every country imaginable. Whether you are calling Tanzania, the Vatican, or even Poland, you can get a good rate.

Another great bonus for shopping with this company is that they offer you 3% cash back on your purchases! The cash back program with them is totally free, and they offer it to everyone that opens an account on their site. Once your cash back totals $20, they send you a check in the mail.

But you're probably wondering why you can't just go down to your local store and buy a calling card there, right? Here's why you should shop with Phone Cards Avenue; their site is secure, so you can be rest assured your order is safe. You can manage your account online, and they have the lowest rates around! You can call the UK for $o.4 cents a minute, and Indonesia for $1.5 cents a minute!

At Phone Cards Avenue, if you are having some trouble placing your order, or having a problem with your phone card, you can chat live with live support. How handy is that? You don't have to call in and wait forever on hold; you can just chat right away.

Check out their site, and save yourself some money!

Freebie Update

Well, just a quick post before I get my daughter from school. I ventured over to target today and got the colgate toothpaste, but unofortunately I could not find another coupon or sale, so I did not get the toothpaste for free. However, it was on sale for $2.79 and I had a $1.50 off coupon, so I got it for $1.29. Not too bad I guess.

I also took the scotch brite coupon with me, but Target did not have it for $4.99 or less. Bummer. But since I didnt want to waste gas going to wal mart, which was another 15 minute drive, I figured I would get it there anyway. They had it for $6.49, and I had $4.99 off, so I only paid $1.50 for an almost $7 product. That I was a bit happier about than the toothpaste.

I got an email from Avon this morning saying "welcome" so I will be setting up my personal site soon and will add the link on the sidebar for anyone who wants to order from me...hint hint. lol

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Freebies

Here are some good ones for ya

True Lemon
Huggies
Tide
Quality Health-you do have to sign up though and create an account to receive the offers
Start Sampling need to create an account, but they have some awesome freebies.
Colgate -use this in conjunction with Target, as they have colgate on sale for really really cheap now. Thanks to AttentionTargetShoppers
Scotch Brite -Thank you so much to Comical Coupon Cents for this one

That's all folks! Sorry I don't many more. I'm tired and don't feel like searching for more. lol My week has been so busy already and I am still battling this awful cold, and we arent even half way through yet!

And I am excited because I just saw my blog listed on Frugal Hacks!! yaaay!!!

Goodbye Hallmark! Hello Cards Direct!

Being a mom of four, and a wife, I don't get a lot of spare time. So when things like birthdays, or mother's day, or anniversarys pop up, I am always scrambling to get a card for someone. I like to make them, but like I just mentioned, I don't have the time!! And making a card takes a lot effort, not to mention supplies.

So I searched for and found a great website called Cards Direct that makes all sorts of cards for you. They have stock cards, Christmas cards, birthday cards, and best of all, you can customize your own cards and also make Photo Cards. I love this option, as I always like to send the latest photos of our kids with any card I send.

But...sending individual wallets with each card, for each child, takes some time, right? All that cutting and trimming, and not to forget, most people won't keep the photos, so there goes all your work down the drain. That is why you should use Cards Direct. You can customize your own photo cards for any occasion, and you can also write whatever your heart desires on and inside them. The card doesn't have to say "Happy Birthday", or "Merry Christmas". It can if you want, but you can also say "Happy Grandparents Day", or even "Happy 4th of July". Cards Direct will suggest the text for you, but you are free to pick whatever you want. You can upload any photo you have on your computer, and they will print it directly onto the card for you.

A lot of parents nowadays are sending thank you cards for their children's birthday parties. I always find it hard to remember who gave what at a birthday party, so an idea I had was to take a photo of my child holding each gift. Then when you visit the site to order your thank you cards, you can upload each photo, and send each thank you card with a different photo for each person. So if little Joey gave Bobby a transformer, you could take a picture of Bobby holding, or playing with his Transformer, and send the thank you card with that photo to Joey! What a great way to thank someone! Or if you are a first time homeowner, why not take a photo of your new home and send it on a card with your new address and an invitation to your open house?

Cards Direct is affordable too! Right now they offer $5 shipping, free personalization up to four lines and custom verse. This adds up to $65 worth of free services! You can get 100 custom photo cards for $1.36 each plus only $5 shipping.

Here is an example of one of the many holiday photo cards they offer. I picked this one because I love the polka dots, and I think it is a great alternative to the typical Christmas tree.





Monday, April 14, 2008

Shopping at Wally World

Well, today marked the END of Spring Break, and back to school. WooHoo!! That also means that it is back to normal, and I have to admit, it feels good! I am sure the kids are enjoying getting back to school too, they got bored a few times last week.

So this morning I did my huge, massive, ginormous grocery shopping at our local WalMart supercenter. I spent around $284. WOWZA!!! I wasn't prepared for that, but I discovered that with the meals I have planned, as well as staples I still had in the house, I have enough food to cover meals for ONE MONTH!! That cost also includes staples such as toilet paper, dishwasher soap, cat litter, my face moisturizer, deoderant, and a few other non-grocery items we needed.

I also picked up a super cute outfit for our youngest daughter for $6.92 (*gasp* can you believe it? I didn't buy an outfit at Gymboree!!! lol). I love this set, the capris come just below her knee, and it looks adorable on her. It is a tunic top if anyone was wondering.


I also picked this up for my niece, who was just born last week.

I Love this dress, I wish it was in a size my youngest daughter could wear, but alas, it only went up to 6-9months.

Besides the typical things I purchase every time, like hot dogs or chicken strips(weekend food), I also purchased a beef roast, a roast chicken (making two that I have in freezer now), two lbs hamburger (three that I have now), boneless skinless chicken breasts, and a bag of chicken drumsticks, among other dinner items. We eat a lot of chicken! lol. I'll be trying some new recipes I found last night on Allrecipes.com. Once I cook those, I will share the recipes on here. Here is a teaser...one includes cabbage! Wish me luck, I've never cooked that before.

I am very pleased with my purchases. I will still have to go out weekly for more bread, produce, milk, and of course, dog food. I can't recall a time when I've had enough food to last us this long. It is very satisfying!

I Love a Man in Uniform

Ladies, this one's for you! If you're looking for a good gift for your man (or even if the guys themselves want to shop here, I know my hubby would love it!!!), LA Police Gear is a great site to visit for all those Police supply items you've been looking for. BDU pants are a great way to start, and the site also has every coordinating clothing and equipment piece you are looking for. Right now they have some great specials going on. If you purchase two clothing items, you can receive a FREE hat, plus FREE shipping! Also, if you purchase $125 worth of 5.11 items, you will receive a free travel mug.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Some tidbits of Information and News

I am going to take my cue from a friend who also blogs, and let you all know about my PPP posts. I have been given the opportunity to get paid to blog, so that pretty much explains why I am writing about topics that might seem totally off the wall to you. I've meant to put labels in those posts, but I forgot...eek!! I applogize. Usually it will have a "Sponsored By PayPerPost" badge, but sometimes there is not one required in my post. It is pretty easy to differentiate between my personal posts and the PPP posts. I also wanted to add, I've been a posting fool lately, so I have had a few posts in one day, make sure you read them all!!

Also, I have to brag, I am a new Aunty!! My sister-in-law and brother-in-law had their first baby last tuesday. I am not allowed to post photos, but I have to say she is just darling!!! She makes my uterus ache! lol I do have to say, when I saw her pictures, I regreted having my tubes tied. I would love to have another baby, but I do think 4 is enough. We wouldn't be able to afford anymore, and I would certainly have to buy stock in permanent hair color to cover all my grey hair! lol I will just have to enjoy my 4 and wait till I am a grandma to get my baby fix, right? lol We won't be seeing our neice for quite some time as they live halfway across the country from us, and it's too far to visit, unfortunately.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

TheLoneFilmMaker on You Tube

I've been on here WAAAAY too much today. I just wanted to share my latest obsession on YouTube. I have been following the progress of Rob for the past few weeks. He is currently filming, directing, starring etc, in his own movie. He is doing everything himself, except for the daily blogging filming, which his girlfriend Gabi is doing for him. I love his videos. I added them to the sidebar on the blog here, but I suggest you visit YouTube to watch the rest. He's awesome!! Let's give him our support. He's AWESOME!!

We're Even Closer

I just got notification from our Real Estate Agent that everything on the buyer's end has been approved!! That's great news for us, as it means we will close EARLY, and even better than that...we're closing NEXT WEEK!!!! WooHoo!! Yeah, we won't get to keep our awesome fridge, but what is better, keeping our credit and avoiding a foreclosure, or keeping a good fridge? At least I was able to purchase a new washer and dryer last month right?

So next week is proving to be quite hectic already. Tuesday our daughter has a dental appointment, Wednesday we have a WIC appointment, Thursday I have my MOM's group to attend, and I have to fit the closing in between that too. But the kids will be back to school, and I will only have the youngest in the mornings. I have actually enjoyed the laid back pace of spring break much more than I thought I would. It has been so relaxing, even though I am still battling my cold.

So off to prepare dinner...or should I say, re-heating last night's Papa Murphy's Pizza. Oh...I forgot to mention my pizza savings! We have a stamp card with Papa Murphy's. Once you accrue 12 stamps, you are given $10 off any pizza order. So last night the kids and I ordered two pizzas, and I also had a $2 off coupon. I was able to get a 2 liter of Pepsi, a Family size Chicago style and a Family size Hawaiin for only $16.46 because I had accrued my 12 stamps. If you want to break that down, with 5 of us eating for two nights (as dear hubby is not home), that is only $1.64 per person, per meal. I think that's pretty good, if you ask me.

Ok, a whiny toddler is forcing me to get off of here...I need to get the kids fed!

Yaay for Deals

Since I signed up with Frugal Hacker, I thought I would do my part and try to find some good deals

Thank you to Sisterly Savings for these two tips

McDonald's Coupons

I actually bought these around halloween too. The coupons are awesome! They helped me out tremendously when i would shop with the baby. French Fries are a GREAT way to keep her quiet! lol

10 Ways to Save on Gasoline

I know we'll need this for sure this summer, as we are planning on taking a few day trips around the state, since a family trip to Disneyland is out of the question.

And if you want to get some free samples, Walmart.com and StartSampling.com usually have a pretty good selection. Startsampling lets you order one free sample per day. I've gotten all sorts of great stuff like magazines, food, and toiletries. And just recently I got a great sample of Vaseline hand lotion from WalMart, a perfect item for your purse.

And I made $45.00 today!!! I sold some gymboree clothes on craigslist. Score!!! The money I make on selling that stuff is mine to keep, so now I have money to save for a rainy day.

Random Musings about Harry Potter

Tonight dear hubby and I spent HOURS on the phone, while I was blogging and pondering. And I mean hours. He's been so busy driving that he needs me to keep him awake during his stints on the road. So we got to talking about Harry Potter...

Have you ever noticed that Harry has never taken a shower or bath? He doesn't actually physically bathe. In book 4, The Goblet of Fire, Harry sneaks into the prefects bathroom to open his golden dragon egg. He dips himself into the tub, but nowhere in any of the books, does it mention him bathing. I always knew those British people were dirty! LOL

Did you know that Physicists have found a way to make Harry's Invisibility Cloak real? they have actually created a material that allows light to bend around it and return to a straight line on the other side, which in effect, makes one invisible.
Michio Kaku is the physicist that has this information on his website. Pretty interesting!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Weigh Too Cool

If you are anything like me, you are always needing to weigh either yourself, or something in the kitchen, or even a package for eBay. I like to sell a lot on eBay, but it is so hard to calculate accurate postage without a good scale. Thankfully, Scales Etc sells an awesome new line of Escali Scales, which come in a variety of different colors ranging from black, to denim blue, to red! You can pretty much find any color to match the decor in your house. Besides looking fashionable and modern, the different Escali shipping Scales can handle weights up to 200lbs!!! And if you need a scale while on-the-go, the Pocket Scale is a great way to go, and a bargain at $20.49. It can easily fit into your purse, as it is the size of a small cell phone!

The Escali Scale line also provides a kitchen scale. Ever been making bread and need to measure out yeast, but didn't have the right scale to do so? Well, with the Escali Avia Digital Kitchen Scale, you can! It can weigh in incrememnts as low as one gram, and also converts decimals into fractions, eliminating your need for a calculator. The Escali Avia Digital Kitchen Scale prices at a low $34.95, a great deal for looks, as well as functionality.

And if you're one of those people who likes to weigh themselves every day like me, then the bathroom scale is a great addition to your home. You can keep track of your body fat percentage, water percentage and actual weight on one scale. It's so modern, you will probably want to show it off to all your guests! The best thing about it, is that it comes with batteries! No running off to the store before you can use it. The Escali Bathroom Scale is a nicer scale than you will find anywhere, especially at a great price of $44.95. I know that I paid $50 for an analog scale at a local store, and it is nowhere near as nice as the Escali Bathroom Scale.

I'm going to purchase one of these ASAP.

And remember, where there's an Escali, there's a weigh!

My Journey into Frugality

I have been reading a lot of blogs about frugality, how to save money, how to feed your family on $10 a week, how a family of 7 survives on less than $35,000 a year etc etc.

I personally do not think I am very frugal. I've tried, but I don't think I have been very successful. While I was talking to my husband about this on the phone, he reminded me that I am, in fact, quite frugal. These days though, everyone has to be frugal to some point due to rising gas prices, and the fact that incomes are just not following that trend. We can't all be Anthony Cumia here.

If you think about it, back in the 50s, the average yearly income was $3,216.00 per year. For our family, that amount of money is a bad month, a really bad month. I can't imagine now having to survive on that amount in one year! Back in the good old 50s, everything was cheaper. Right now, I am lucky if I can purchase two gallons of milk at Safeway for $5.38. In the 50s, a gallon of milk cost $.82 cents!!! Can you imagine that? My kids go through a gallon every two days, sometimes more!!! And it's no wonder everyone uses e-mail now, the cost of a First Class stamp is $.41 cents. Back then, it was $.3 cents. Granted, I don't mind spending that on a stamp, because I don't send much paper mail anyway. We try to pay our bills over the phone, or online.

Back to the point at hand...my journey into frugality. Like I said before, my husband told me how frugal I really am. For example, I can make 4 meals out of one chicken. I buy name brand clothes for my kids on clearance with coupons. I can feed 6 people for $14 with one large pizza, because I am willing to cook it myself. I can make 3 meals out of a large beef roast. I combine trips when i run errands, to save gas. I try to buy whatever is cheaper...whatever is on sale, I don't care about brands. I buy cheap wal mart bread at $1 a loaf. I kill slugs with cheap beer, instead of expensive slug bait. I donate to goodwill, which allows others to be frugal. I call this "trickle-down frugality" ;o) We also participate in a rewards program with our bank. For every debit card purchase we make, we accrue $.03cents, and at the end of the year, that money is deposited into our account.

Some things I am not frugal with...we do not buy anything buit Heinz ketchup. We buy only French's mustard. I rarely rarely use coupons because none of the stores here double, and I shop for groceries at walmart (yes, I know, I am feeding the corporate monster) which is pretty cheap already, or at Safeway when they have awesome deals (often!!). Besides, I am not saving money using a coupon for a product that i have no use for. Coupons are mostly for stuff you don't buy regularly, in my opinion. Why should I buy a package of "just add cow cheesy stroodle noodle" for $1.30 (save .60 cents with this coupon!!!) when I never buy "just add cow cheesy stroodle noodle"? I would waste .70cents! Now referencing The Simpsons, we are not at the point where we have to be ridiculously frugral, i.e. Lisa Simpson pressing together twenty or so slivers of soap to make a big ball of soap.

I suppose that many would say I am not frugal because I don't buy all my children's clothes at Wal-Mart, or that I rarely clip coupons. I do buy Gymboree clothes for our kids when it is possible. My recent purchase that I am over the moon for, was 9 pieces of Gymboree clothing from the "Tres Chic" line for my youngest daughter. I paid $55 including tax and got 9 pieces; 3 pairs of pants, two shirts, a dress, a hoody, a pair of matching socks and hair clips. All 9 pieces are matching, so she gets about 7 outfits out of that. $55 divided by seven is $7.85 an OUTFIT!!! It avg's less than $4 a piece. For the quality, and "cute-ness", wal-mart can't compete. Even though the prices are comparitive in some ways, you can't often find an outfit for that cheap at wal-mart. Now, that was an exceptional deal at gymboree. That price was obtainable because the clothing was 60% off already, AND I had a 20% off coupon. I usually find good deals there and pay an average of less than $10 a piece, and dress my kids in style. That to me is being frugal!

So to end this...I am frugral, but not as frugal as some. I love to save money, and it gives me pleasure to see the fruits of my labor.

Random Musings

I have come to realize I have been a BIG complainer lately. And I have to admit, I am embarassed about it. So I have decided to do something about it. In honor of that decision, I am going to list what I am GRATEFUL for.

1. I am extremely grateful for the fact that I have a husband who works hard, taking his time away from his family, to provide for us.

2. I am even more grateful for the fact that said husband works so hard that I am able to stay home and raise our 4 kids

3. I am grateful for the fact that I have a good reliable vehichle that I LOVE

4. I am grateful I have a roof over my head. It may not be the most perfect home, the newest home, it may be a little shabby outside, but it's a home.

5. I am grateful for my 4 wonderful kids, who often drive me crazy, but are still my children and I love them.

6. I am grateful for my adorable 2 year old toddler, who says "I lub eww mom", "I wan sit you" and who loves to give me hugs and kisses, and sings along to "rock a bye baby"

7. I am grateful for my wonderful 7 year old son who helps me with so much stuff and does more than he should. I am proud of him for reading at a 3d grade level!!

8. I am grateful for my beautiful 7 year old daughter who has a wild sense of fashion and loves Hannah Montanna. I appreciate that she cleans out the litter box. And I am also proud of her for reading above grade level.

9. I am grateful for my 5 year old daughter who feeds the cats without me asking!!! I am proud of her for getting into Kindergarten at 4 years old!!

10. I am grateful that EVERYTHING in my home is paid for, minus our van. Every single thing in our house has been paid for, including our washer/dryer, furniture etc.

11. I am grateful I have a sister that is one of my closet friends

12. I am grateful, again, for my wonderful husband, who has put up with me for over eight years of marriage ;o) Through thick and thin, literally, he has loved me. And to him I am truly grateful for loving me, supporting me, being my best friend even when we argue, teaching me more than I could ever have hoped for, and helping me make myself the person I am today.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

What is wrong with calling?

I have a complaint to make.

Well, as you readers know, we sold our house and are currently in a rental, to save some money. So now that we're in a rental, we have to deal with a property management company, and the landlord as well (Don't ask!). So we had a water leak and the plumber was called to fix it. I asked him to call me before he came, as we have a dog that needs to be kenneled before any company arrives (He is a black lab, and loves to jump on people he doesn't know). So I was getting out of the shower this morning, and the dog is in the yard barking like mad (our fence is FINALLY done, so he can be outside without my worrying about him running away). The kids came inside and told me the plumber was here. Great. I am just wrapped in a towel, haven't brushed my teeth, combed my hair etc. I had to throw on some clothes and go talk to him.

I am happy that he came, but unhappy that he didn't call me beforehand. What if the dog had gotten out when he opened the gate? What if I was in the shower? (thankfully I had gotten out and he didn't turn the water off while I was IN the shower) I dont like having to be rushed after getting out of the shower. I just think that people can be so inconsiderate and discourteous. Doesn't my plan for the day matter? they can't call to schedule an appointment?

Rant over...

Fun Money!!!!



Well today marks my first payperpost , post! While reading a friend's blog, I noticed she had recently signed up for PPP and I thought, heck an easy way to make money? I'm all for it! Any little bit of extra cash helps, especially when you are a 6 person family on a one person income! So I signed up through her, and she should thank me, because she gets a referral!!! lol

I am interested to see how this PPP idea works out. My hubby told me that any money I make from this I get to keep for myself. So what shall I spend it on?
My first thought was Clinique. I love their makeup and face care products. I also like Gymboree clothes. Yeah I know, the money I make should be for me, but I like the clothes for the kids, and if I spend the payperpost money on that, it gets my hubby off my back about spending so much money on clothes! lol Of course, it is nice to have a treat for myself once in awhile, so I am going to try to focus on myself with this money.

I had some problems adding PPP direct to my blog, so I went to PPP's Customer Love and requested some help. I have to say, I am super impressed by their responses, and the response time! I had a reply within an hour and they were extremely helpful. Kudos to you PPP!!!

What I really like about payperpost is the fact that you get paid by PayPal. I have had a paypal account for years, and recently was giving a paypal debit card. So now, all the payperpost money I make, I can spend with my Pay Pal debit card!! WooHoo!!!

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Spring Break Started With A Bang...And A Very Sore Throat

Yep, you guessed it...i woke up this morning and I can barely swallow. Halls, Tylenol, ice cream, diet pepsi, ice cold water...nothing helps. NOTHING!!!! I hate feeling like this, I'm miserable. Ugh!

We haven't gotten to do much of anything for spring break yet because it has been raining. But hey, what else can I expect from the rainy northwest, right? Yesterday we were treated to a trip to our Real Estate agent's office, and a run to the bank and to the grocery store. Today we had an even better day, as I got to take all four kids to the dentist and walmart for cat food, baby wipes and vinegar, which I didn't know I was out of yesterday, or I would have bought them. Let's hope tomorrow is better. We're going to the mall first thing because it is time to spend my Gymbucks. For those of you gymbo fanatics, I need not explain. For the rest of you...I spent $150 and got $75 in coupons in february. Tomorrow I get to purchase $150 worth of Gymboree clothes for the kids for only $75. And it doesn't cost me a thing, because I received a gift card from LOWES for free delivery from my washer and dryer that I bought last month, and covers the total amount!! Score!!!

The kids and I were so excited today because "The Water Horse" came out on DVD today. We have a netflix account, so it was going to arrive today because netflix shipped it yesterday. It didn't come today. I dont know why, but i think I have a super cranky mail carrier.

So my dear readers, and I think I only have a couple ;o), I must go now as I have to change a poopy diaper and get dinner out of the crockpot. Tonight we are eating my famous meal, tator tot casserole! Tonight I decided to change it up a bit and add an extra can of cream of chicken soup. I think I like it better like this, it's a lot creamier.

Don't I lead a glamorous life?

And just a quick edit to add: It turns out our mail carrier is not only cranky, but also VERY slow. I had the boy check the mail at 5:45 and it was finally there. I am used to getting my mail at 11am or sooner, so I don't particularly care to receive it so late in the day. So, after dinner and the dishes are done, the kids and I can sit down and watch the movie.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Spring Break and Doctor Who


Well, Spring Break is upon us. The twins will be home in a couple hours and then the chaos begins. I have a week with all four kids at home! What's a mom to do? Me thinks I shall go nuts!!! lol. Not that I don't mind spending time with them, but they are bound to get some sort of cabin fever this upcoming week, especially since their bikes are still in storage and I can't access them unless my hubby is here to help. I can't take the back seat out of the van without his help, so the bikes shall remain in storage until the end of April.

On the plus side, I discovered last night that Doctor Who is returning to the Sci Fi channel on April 18th. I am beyond happy about that. It is my favorite show, and I have been a fan since season one. My favorite co-star of his is Billie Piper...too bad she is no longer on the show. Regardless, the kids and I eagerly anticipate the premier. We always watch it on friday nights with a big bowl of popcorn. I'm going to end this with a lovely photo of David Tennant. Ok, well, I began with a photo of him.

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Housing Inspection

I found out today that our house was inspected by the buyers. Their inspector is an idiot. When we left, the last day my husband turned off the breakers for the hot water heater and the stove because we didn't want to pay for electricity while we were not living there. So the inspection was done and the inspector said our hot water heater was broken...he didn't even check the fuse box. What a dumbass. I am just baffled.
But the good news is that the closing should finally be done in a couple weeks. I need to go sign off on some papers on monday, but everything seems to be going full steam ahead.

And another plus...I've lost 8lbs!!! I'm pretty happy about it because I have a long road ahead of me with the weight loss issue. I have to admit, I have let myself go and it went too far. Now I am on the road to a lower weight and a healthier body. I should be getting a gym membership in a few weeks hopefully!!

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

You Tube

I have been watching this series on YouTube and I love it!! This guy is awesome, you should all watch it.

http://www.youtube.com/user/thelonefilmmaker

How we met, our love story

I was just asked recently how my husband and I met. We've had a very interesting life...and it took a lot to finally get us together. It all started a long long time ago, December 1998. My Dad was in Mexico and I was using his car. Not that it really pertains to the story, but it is one thing I remember. I was attending college, and was in the computer lab chatting on Yahoo. On my yahoo profile, I had indicated that I liked "Ska" music, and for those of you who don't know, http://worldmusic.about.com/od/genres/p/Ska.htm. I have to say, I am terrible at posting links, i don't know how to use HTML.

Anyway, this wonderful day I got an instant message from this dude on yahoo, asking me what ska music was. I answered...and the rest is history. But I shall enlighten you with the whole story. He was newly transplanted in Germany, in the US ARMY. The lonely soldier that he was, he looked on yahoo for someone to talk to. I was in a relationship at the time, so I had no interest really in him, and he was actually helping me to figure out who to date...my best friend Charlie, or my current boyfriend Nick. I remember the first email he sent me, he signed it "Your romantic extraordinaire, Barry". Things didn't work out with either Charlie or Nick, actually, and Barry and I started to write letters and talk on the phone. The first time I heard his voice was January 17th, 1999. He called me around 9am on a sunday morning, and I remember his voice sounding soooo sexy. He had a bit of a southern/pennsylvanian accent. So we got to know each other, chatting all the time...well, as often as I could get to the library. Then i remember thinking, why on earth am I wasting my time on an internet guy...and "dumped" him. I think a few weeks later I had immense regret for doing so...I don't know why. He proposed to me, via internet, February 24th 1999. Yes, we got engaged over the internet. Our relationship took off and we started to try planning everything. Then April 8th, he dumped me. One of my "friends" (whom has kept this secret to themselves since then, and never told me...barry informed me it was one of my friends, just couldn't remember their name), had hacked into my email account to get Barry's email address, and emailed him telling him I was dating another guy. *sigh*. And things were over. kaput. we were broken up. We know now that although we thought it was real...it was almost like we were playing a game. Yeah, we had planned to get married, we talked on the phone etc, but it almost wasn't real.

When he had dumped me, it didn't hit me at first because i was so busy with final exams and what have you. I was trying to get accepted to U of A (and actually did). About two weeks later, it hit me and I was devestated. Yeah, I know...an internet relationship and I was broken hearted, seems kinda silly doesn't it? But i really was. I remember talking to my friend Divya on the phone and just sobbing and sobbing. I had emailed him, wondering why he wasn't returning my emails, why couldn't I get ahold of him? Where was he? I really really missed this man, and wanted to be with him. But I had to resign myself to the fact that it was over. So I went on with my life, casually dated a few guys before I left for Edmonton. I moved to Edmonton the beginning of may, and started a new life. I wasn't over him obviously, just trying to move on with my life. So I finally decided to write a goodbye letter in June, and sent it to his address in Germany. I told him about my new life, how I was getting on with it and that I was putting him behind me. But this time he responded...

June 13th, 1999, was the beginning of the rest of my life. Barry appologized to me for how he acted. Said he missed me and couldn't believe what he had done. OMG, when I read that email I didn't know what to think. I was shocked to say the least. But intrigued. I think I wrote back giving him my new phone #, and address. I don't remember what happened after that to be honest with you. I know I moved into my current boyfriends place because my job as a nanny just didn't pan out. I hadn't heard from Barry in quite awhile, and again...I don't remember what happened between that date and the middle of July. I was living with my boyfriend at the time, and I think i had written Barry a letter explaining how I felt...and how confused I was? I'd need to go look for it in my hopechest (I saved all our coorespondance, his and mine).

Fast forward to July 19th, 1999. The phone rings mid day. "Hello Joanna? It's Barry". Instant tears. Oh how happy I was to hear that voice...this man who's face I had never seen, who's voice I had only heard, brought me to tears. I actually am teary eyed writing this because I remember the rush of emotion I felt when I got that phone call. I was ready to jump on a plane to go see him. He wrote me a letter that I received shortly after I think. He apologized. He never told me why he didn't respond to my letters (I found out years later, why he hadn't written back), just kept saying how he knew he couldn't have me back etc etc. I told him I still cared for him, and I would take him back. I don't know what I was thinking back then...I don't think my head was on quite straight. LOL. I had never met him in person, but something kept pulling me back to him over and over again.

Fast forward to August 8th...I moved out of Dennis' apartment finally. Made plans to see Barry at the end of the month, as he was going to visit his mom, who lived in WA state. We planned to meet up in Victoria for the day. August 28th, 1999. I was staying at my mom's house, as I was visiting for a week from Edmonton. I got up super super early and took a cab to the ferry terminal from Abbotsford...I took a bus on the ferry to the touristy area of Victoria, and waited patiently on the first bench in front of the Empress Hotel. I kept waiting and waiting. I was so nervous Barry wouldn't show up. I kept scanning the horizon to look for him. Now, don't forget...i had NEVER ever seen a picture of this guy. But I was in love with him...so deeply in love that I knew even if he was hideous to me, I still wanted to be with him. lol. I saw a guy walking on the far side of the opposite street, wearing the clothes Barry had said he would wear...he crossed the street...walked up the pathway towards me...showed me his Army ID card...and before I could even look properly, I was in his arms hugging him. I had finally met the man of my dreams, in person. It was fantastic, and I was so ecstatically happy. We spent the day in Victoria, and I kept waiting and waiting for him to propose. It never came. We only had till 7pm to spend together and I remember we were sitting in the grass, and I said something to Barry about how I didn't want to wait for him to propose. I was blunt about it ;o). He was nervous, he didn't have a ring, yet I knew he was going to propose that day...he had told me would. So after gathering his courage, he got down on one knee, and took my hands in his and looked up at me...I don't remember everything he said, just along the lines of "You make me the happiest man in the world, and I want to make you the happiest woman in the word". And he proposed...I said yes. Saying goodbye that evening was so difficult...I knew I wouldnt see him again for months. Our plan was for me to finish off school, and join him in Germany in May, and then get married.

Sometime in september, I got cold feet. I was almost ready to call it off...because I was concerned about finishing school etc etc. Thankfully I changed my mind, and we went full steam ahead with our plans. We wrote letters, chatted, emailed, talked on the phone so much I had a 2000 phone bill from Telus and got my long distance disconnected. After that happened, we only talked once a week, on saturday mornings. Either of us would call the other one with a calling card and we'd talk for a good hour on the phone. I got my passport in October, and he was getting all the rest of the paperwork taken care of over there. Now our plan was for me to visit for three weeks in december to get married, and then leave for the beginning of the winter term in january, and join him again in may. I think Barry had told me if I didn't marry him in december, he wouldn't wait for me because long distance relationships were hard. Yikes! Glad I went, that's for sure. It was definitely hard being apart. Phone calls are fine, but it's not the same as actually being with the person. It was a strain for us to be apart, we missed each other so much.

I had to arrange with my professors to let me take the exams early, and they did let me. My last day of school was Dec 14th...i had my last exam that morning. I remember i had won a pizza prize on the radio from some station with the word "Bear" in it, so i treated my housemates and I to pizza and cake etc that night as it was my last night in Edmonton. I walked to the laundromat that night to finish my laundry and get ready for my trip. Little did I know it was to be my very last night in Edmonton, ever. I don't think I slept well that night, i was a bundle of nerves. I awoke early that next morning...December 15th, 1999 and got myself ready. Made sure my wedding dress was all packed in the garment bag, made sure I had everything else, including some snacks for the plane. I took left over pizza with me to eat at the airport. I don't remember what time my flight left from Edmonton to Calgary, but I think I left sometime around noon from my house to the airport. A very kind gentlemen, Tom Oosterhuis...something like that, I can't remember how to spell his last name, who had also done my marriage counselling for me, and had me over to his house with his family and friends for Thanksgiving dinner, drove me to the airport. I got on the plane to Calgary... and my flight was delayed a bit to Frankfurt from Calgary. it was about a 9 hour flight, and we finally left around 6pm...i called barry right before that to let him know I was on my way and I couldn't wait to see him. I was so excited, just on top of the world. And then we were off....

I landed in Germany about 10 am local time, and my luggage was lost. I had to have them call Barry on the intercom and they had him come to the customer service desk and told him I was here...my luggage was lost, and he told me later he was worried that I had played a prank on him and never decided to come after all. lol. FINALLY, our luggage (well, me and everyone else that had come from Edmonton too) was found, and I walked out of the luggage area and into Barry's arms!!!! he was so freakin sexy...wearing his BDU's. omg he is hot in that uniform ;o)

Wow this is taking forever to write...i've been writing for almost an hour, but I also had to get Aili down for a nap too. Ok...so....

We got to the Army base, and I was staying with Barry in the barracks. We had so much fun together...one day we went down to the Rathaus to get our paperwork started for our wedding. Originally we had planned on Christmas eve, but they werebooked, so December 29th was the day. And at about 9:30 in the morning, we became Mr. and Mrs. Barry and Joanna Bender. It wasn't a frilly wedding. Our witnesses were his First Seargent and a couple of his friends. His platoon Sgt, Sgt. Bravo, took our photos. We had to have a German interpreter. We said "yes", not "I do", and we had our wedding dinner at the Brauhaus in Mainz-Kastel. Fries and beer, and sausage!!! Sgt Koroll paid for it for us. We spent our wedding weekend at ahotel in Wiesbaden, because we weren't allowed to go too far from the base due to Y2K.

And the rest is history. I landed up never going back to Edmonton. Partly because I knew I couldn't be apart from Barry, but also because were told that the Army wouldn't pay for my flight back to Germany (if I had flown back to Edmonton to finish school). I landed up dropping out of school, and had to have my aunt and cousin pack up my apartment for me. And I stayed with him there till we left. We've been married for 8 wonderful years. And to think...we spent only ONE day together in person before we were married. We were together in person a total of 15 days before we got married. But it just fit...things fell into place so easily. We're a perfect match, and I love him like crazy. I think the fact that we got to know each other's personalities and whatnot before we met, really helped. We fell in love with the personality before the person.
Next year, 2009, will be our 10th anniversary. This upcoming december, we'll have known each other for 10 years. I can't believe that it has been that long...the time has flown by.