Month: August 2016

One of those people

Have you ever gone shopping at the grocery store and come across someone or a group of people agonizing over which product is the better deal?  Maybe they have a file-dex or binder with them full of coupons and inserts? Or have you been in line waiting to check out agonizing that your ice cream is melting and your child is starting to eye up the delights of the impulse buy candy bars waiting for them to sneak into your order because the person in front of you has a coupon for everything they are buying and it is taking forever?

I feel you!  It can be so annoying and frustrating.

Yet, here is the thing, I am one of those people.  I have a coupon binder.  Print coupons regularly and get the Sunday paper just for the inserts.  I belong to coupon and saving groups and have more savings apps on my phone than anything else.  Every Sunday I am thankful for my daughter screaming at 4 am for a diaper change as it gets me moving and I am able to clip my e-coupons before the are all gone.  It’s a lot of work this savings business.

Growing up my sisters, brother and I use to tease my mom about her shopping style.  If there was a buy one get one she was all over it.  She would travel to two or three different grocery stores depending on who had the better deal.  We had so much stuff in the pantry and a bunch of it no one ate.  I decided at a young age that was never going to be my shopping style, buying because it was a good deal.

Even though I am now considered what many people call an annoying couponer I kept my promise.  I do not buy things just for the sake of buying them.   Yes, I buy in surplus, but  things we use.  We never run out of toilet paper in this house! Occasionally I may buy things that we use but don’t need.  This is typically due to the item being a money maker or free.  That is a deal I have a hard time turning down.  Let me show you.

This is a deal I worked from CVS this week (link below). The lingo can be confusing so let me try and break it down. EC = Electronic Coupon, Man = Manufacture coupon, ECB = Extra Care Bucks, OOP = Out of Pocket.  Personally, I do not count the ECBs I receive from purchases on the order I earned them.  It seems like false calculating of savings to earn them and count them again when used.

CVS

You can see from this order I spent $18.15 on $43.95 worth of items and earned $25.00 towards my next purchase!  That is three packs of diapers people!  Even with the sale price I still paid less out of pocket just for the diapers, not including the whitening strips!

Yes working these deals take time, experience and organization.  I am nowhere near the level of some people I know, but being able to feed my family for about 100 a week, I will take it!

One last example.  This is my grocery trip from this week. I spent $73.04 on all of this before rebates from apps like Saving Star and Ibotta.  Just from coupons and sales, I saved $71.92.  Yes, this includes vegetables and fruits as well as meats! You will see some of the items are even organic and gluten free, both expensive commodities.  You ask if the time is worth it, absolutely!

The next time you are the store and you see a couponer instead of giving them the stink eye, give them a high five because they are putting in the work to get the same stuff as you but for less . . .  If you want to learn some easy tricks to saving cash check out one of the go to saving sites I use http://forthemommas.com/ (no kick back for this shameless plug!)

 

672

It’s amazing how a single moment in time can change a life forever.

When in my early twenties I moved into my first apartment.  Having grown up with dogs (whom I loved) I decided no pets.  I was working a full-time job, going to school part time and planning on having a life that existed outside of my home. This meant no pets. They take up time, make it difficult to travel and cost a lot of money.

Then my Mom and sister came home from a working vacation (oxymoron right?) with a kitten they found at a boat/truck stop in Georgia.  Neither of them could keep them as they both had dogs that would look at the kitten as a toy and may unintentionally kill it.  My oldest sister already had two cats and was at her limit.  My brother just adopted another dog and this left me.

I agreed to keep the kitten until a permanent home could be found.  My sister had named the kitten Mr. Foot as he had white fur on his hind legs and underbelly but the rest of him was a steel gray.  She changed it from Bait, which is what the employees at the truck stop called him as it was only a matter of time before an alligator got him.

The first day the kitten mostly stayed under my bed.  That night was  a different story.  This little guy was like a mad man once the sun set and the moon controlled the night.  He attached shadows and bounced on anything that moved, especially my feet. He became my night time warrior, my Orion.  He was my familiar. 015_15

About a year later I participated in a fundraiser for a no-kill animal shelter in our area.   When some friends and I went to the shelter to take pictures to use at the fundraiser there was a litter of kittens, and I fell in love.  The kitten was striped like a tiger and had a white underbelly just like my Orion.  It was the face that did me in, with the kitten’s light pink nose and kohl like markings around its eyes. The kitten was beautiful and made the perfect Andromeda. With the urging of a friend, I filled out the paperwork to adopt this beauty and found out the kitten was a boy!  The kitty quickly became Perseus and found a new home.

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The two kitties became fast friends. Orion lived up to his namesake and was the protector of baby Perseus. They would often be found playing together or cuddled up on the couch with Orion wrapped protectively around Perseus while they slept.  Yet it seems the menagerie was not complete.

On a cold February morning, I was at work and came across a woman walking into a building near ours with a basket of puppies.  They were adorable, squiggly little Cockapoos.  There was an all black one with silky curls that I just had to have.  After talking with my manager and the help of another co-worker as I did not have cash or my checkbook on me I bought the pup whom already had her first set of shots.

This excited ball of fur was tricky to name as there were so many possibilities.  After going for a walk and having 5 different families stop their cars to get out and adore her the choice became clear.  The little witch became Circe.

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The cats were not thrilled with our newest addition, but under Orion’s watchful eye Circe and Perseus found a rhythm that worked with Orion always the watchful moderator.  These three were my loves and I quickly started using their initials to personalize emails, etc.  Oh that screen name is taken then how about ***************672 . . . wait 672 is not OPC or is it?  Take a look at your phone, you will see the number 6 has an O, 7 has the P, and 2 the C.  These three were such a major part of my life.

Unfortunately, after three short years, my Orion crossed the rainbow bridge.  The doctors believe while he was on the streets he drank something that caused his kidneys to start to fail.  It took a while as he was given a good home soon after but not fast enough to stop the damage.  It was devastating. A few years later we had another kitty join us, but it was not the same.  I loved her but she was never as much a part of the family.

About three years ago Perseus also crossed the rainbow bridge.  He was 14 years old and just had enough.  After he stopped eating and drinking we knew it was time.  The vet was not sure the exact cause but believed he had cancer.  Again a tough blow.

Last year the youngest kitty passed away.  As she was slightly inbred I was never sure what was going on with her.  I believe it was mostly depression after Perseus left us that caused her decline.  After his passing, she lost a ton of weight.  I think she just gave up.

We still had Circe, she celebrated her 14th birthday in January 2016.  The last 8 years was tough on her as she was attacked by another dog while we were on a walk.  She healed after three surgeries but developed tumors at the surgery sites.  As the tumors grew they made it harder for her to walk.  We knew her time was near.  Then she became stuck on the steps trying to follow me.  She was unable to finish going down or turn around and make it back up and we knew her time had come.

Three weeks ago my Circe crossed the rainbow bridge as well.

I miss my fur babies, but knowing my 672 are together again and pain-free makes it an easier pill to swallow.  I know Orion is taking care of them all.

Turning 4 for the Last Time

Many people, especially women, fight aging tooth and nail. Everyone handles getting a year older differently.  Outside of the physical fight we put up with exercise, skin care and in some cases plastic surgery.   Some people pick an age that was really good to them and say that is their age for as long as possible.  Others start counting backwards one year from a specific age.

On a more superficial fight, some people pick an age that was really good to them and say that is their age for as long as possible.  Others start counting backwards one year from a specific age.  Even know someone who was just reversing the numbers, at least until that made them older.

The method I subscribe to and have participated in since my teens started not as a way to fight my age, but more as a way to justify some of my more silly antics.  I like to add the numbers of my age together.  This has worked well for me in the past.  Like to think it helps keep me young.

This summer I turned 40 . . . or 4 in my world.  This is the last time I will be 4.  It is bitter sweet as my son turned 4 for the first time this year. Living through the age of four with my son is amazing.  I get to play on all the rides again with the true delight of a 4-year-old.  I get to explore the imagination of a 4-year-old again.  I also get to try and explore the energy a 4-year-old has.  That last one is tougher than it was before.

This year we kicked off being 4 with our first trip to the beach for the season.  It could not have been any more perfect way to start this great adventure.

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My family!
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My three loves on a perfect day.

What would you say?

The last few weeks have been a flurry of activities, life events, and ideas.  The next two weeks there should be a bit more time to share all of these with you.  This is the last week of the crazy summer schedule and though it has been a blessing, looking forward to having time to focus on what is important again.

The last week or two, and this week in particular, my son has grown more defiant and in need of my attention.  My background allows me to understand  it has a lot to do with my not being home much as well as the amount of attention his younger sister still requires.  Unfortunately, our son is not a self-reliant little boy.  He is used to and likes have the people around him focus on him and what he is doing.

When he was younger ( Yes he is only 4 now so by younger I mean pre-daughter who is 20 months) his Dad would sit with him in the playroom while he played and do nothing but just be there in case he was needed.  These two were nearly inseparable.  Despite my warnings of not allowing our guy to learn how to be “alone” the behavior continued.  After our daughter was born this was able to continue for a bit as I was home most of the last year.  With this year’s schedule and my leaving before the kids are up and getting home just in time for dinner (usually) and bed time, there has not been much one on one play time with the little guy.

This has led to tantrums, expected, and night time visits to Momma.  He will either cry until I come and find out what is wrong or he sneaks into my room to see if he can stay with me.  My son calls them sleepovers.  He says he does not want to be alone, he does not like it. He is scared.  He misses me.

In short, he is turning into a master manipulator.

Most nights I can get him to settle back down in his own bed with a snuggle and a story.  Then there are nights like last night where I was to exhausted to get up and let him climb into bed with me.

As it was Wednesday, I was settling in with one of my guilty pleasures and watching Property Brothers:Buying and Selling on HGTV.  After my son climbed into bed I said we will watch one of his shows then its eyes closed and bed time.  His response, It’s Ok we can watch this I like the pretty ladies (referring to the home owner) . . . .

“I like the pretty ladies”  has been uttered a few time from this little boys mouth, my preschooler whom we do not push gender identity or teach to identify things by pretty or ugly as all things are wondrous likes the pretty ladies.  Last night I finally had a response other than “I know.”  Last night he was told it is OK to like the pretty ladies but to love the ones with a beautiful mind an amazing heart.

His response, that is why I love you Momma . . . (master manipulator remember!)

I am in trouble . . .