About Me

My photo
I AM: wife to 1, mother to 3, sister to 2 and 5 steps, aunt to 27, not-so-much-a-chocoholic-anymore, coffee loving, cloth diapering wanna be (my youngest potty trained herself recently), friend to many.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

I'm Back??

So, my cousin has been hounding me forever to blog some more.  And I've been dragging my feet.  I have not felt very blog-worthy for a while.  But the other day, something happened.  And I thought "this will make a great blog!".  So.  Here we are.  Please don't get so excited that when you get finished reading you think... Is that all?  THIS is what she blogged about after being absent for soooooo long? and then you're disappointed.  I don't want anyone to be disappointed.  Well, my mom and my big sister might be, because they already heard this story.  Straight from me.  But, they'll probably laugh again anyway.
Now before I build this up too big, you have to know I'm going to write about coupons.  I know!  You're excited, right???  (You're thinking "Tara!  After being gone so long you're writing about coupons???  Do you have a life???" to which I will reply... YES! but not an exciting one where I get to go be a spy, or go skiing, or visit a foreign country or something.)  So, coupons it is.

My husband believes all the credit for my coupon adventure should go to him.  I guess, technically I should give the kudos to him.  And I did feel a little like Sandra Bullock's character in The Blind Side when she had to tell her husband, "You were right" and he asked "How did that taste" and she replied, "Like vinegar".   My mother gets some credit, too.  They've been telling me here and there over the years to coupon.  My thing is I shop a lot at Aldi(s) (have to put the "s" at the end, or it doesn't sound complete.  But I know the store sign has no "s" it!) and some other grocery stores.  But we have a very tight grocery budget, and I really try to stick as close as I can to it.  And I make a list of only the essentials before I go to the store, and I stick to that list!  I don't buy a lot of processed food or boxed food. (My oldest is now allergic to soy, along with a whole list of other foods.)  I use generic.  I'm proud of it!  Well.  We don't have cable or satellite, but we do have Netflix.  And once in a while new programming is added to the service.  A few weeks ago I noticed a new show called Extreme Couponing--or is it Couponers?  I can't remember right now.  One or the other. And I turned it on, and I was in AWE.  We're talking ladies and men who spend hours upon hours clipping and sorting coupons, and then scouring the store sales ads, and then walking through the store on a pre-shopping trip, to be able to buy cart loads of products and then use their coupons so they only have to pay like, a penny.  My heart did a little flutter.  My head gave a challenge.  I said "I can do this!"  I don't think I can swing the just pay a penny part, but I think I can do better than my current style.

So, last Sunday we purchased three newspapers and clipped coupons.  Then I got online and found more.  I compared what I had to the sales ads and made a plan.  I made lists out for what I thought was the best fit.  And I am not ashamed to admit I did spend a lot of time doing all this prep.  A lot.  Like more than 6 hours.  I waited in excited anticipation for Tuesday afternoon to arrive.  Tuesday.  My go-to-town-and-cram-as-many-errands-as-possible-day.  That particular Tuesday, the kids and I left for town a little earlier than usual.  My oldest and I were getting our hair done (Shout Out to my cousin, Bobby Houston at Rock-N-Rollers in Sedalia, MO), then a few errands, then I was to drop my oldest off so she could sew and I would go grocery shopping.  At the hair salon I saw we were "scattered about" with books and binders, and coats and stuff, and we needed to consolidate our things so the people at the salon wouldn't think we were trying to take over.  My binder (with my coupons and plan of attack-er-uh-grocery list) and book got stuck in my daughter's purse.  Other things got straightened up, and we no longer were scattered.  I didn't think too much of it.  After lunch, and a trip to the library, and whatever else we did, I drove my daughter seven miles back out of town to her destination, I grabbed my binder from her purse, kicked her out of the car, and I headed back into town to go shopping!!!!  Found my parking space, unbuckled the other kids, and we marched inside the supermarket and got a cart.  I wanted to find out if my internet coupons would be accepted before I filled my cart.  I waited my turn at the customer service counter, and finally was able to ask.  I opened my binder, but alas!  To my dismay, there was only ONE coupon and my list.  My heart and stomach sank.  I blinked a few times, opened and closed and re-opened my binder, and was trying to keep cheerful as I realized my coupons (all my hours and hours of hard work!) had fallen out into my daughter's purse--SEVEN miles away.  The bright side??  The one coupon I had was for a dollar off of two bags of Halloween candy--that was already on sale!  So, I did use it!  And I picked up a few other things as well.  I knew I was going back to town a few days later, so I could hold my horses and wait til Friday to venture back to that store.
Well, there you have it.  My first couponing story.  Are you happy I shared?  I can give you "the rest of the story", but it will have to wait for another time.  Its getting late, and I know you're getting tired of all the sentences starting with "and".  My dad is the produce man at that store, so the trip was not entirely wasted, because we got to see him.  And we got chocolate.  The end.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Its been a long time, you say? Have you missed me? Would you like to know what we're up to?
We have been enjoying the pork from the freezer. AJ has not missed taking care of the pigs. In fact when Prince Charming and I talked about getting more pigs, she quickly piped in "NO WAY". Coco Bean is now reading with ease. He can also do basic addition and subtraction. He would much rather have 50 problems crammed onto one notebook paper than do 50 flash cards. Curly Top is no longer curly, except on very high humidity days. So I'm thinking we need to give her another nick-name... How about what we call her every day: Nickel Pickle.
In trying to come up with something to blog about just now, my heavy thinking was interrupted by something in my peripheral view. Coco Bean is Indiana Jones today. His cowboy hat is his fedora. His old monkey leash (backpack with a harness on it) is his whip and satchel. And his little voice is continuously humming the Indiana Jones theme song. I looked up in time to see him "lasso" a metal vine on my bakers rack, and he had a look of determination on his face. With his hands he was pulling on that whip to make sure it really was secure, and instantly I knew what he was thinking. Before he could raise his foot to climb, I blurted, "Indiana, don't you even think about scaling my bakers rack, or there will be big trouble!" He looked at me, gave me a sheepish grin, and unhooked the monkey tail leash from my piece of furniture. I guess I guessed it right! Oh, my.
Nickel Pickle is now begging for a snack. Less than 10 minutes ago she had a 2 egg omelet. She's wanting dessert. Can anyone say she's MY child??
I finally got caught up on pillow orders. Last month. I have a few I need to finish for gifts from myself. I have missed sewing for my own family. But I believe the sewing shoppe will close for just a bit to outside orders so I can have a little break from the pressure, and so I can sew for my house for the holidays and my kids for Christmas. (Christmas is less than 3 months away, People!!)
While the kids enjoyed public school last year, the parents (myself and Prince Charming) did not enjoy the fact there were drugs in 6th grade!, the multiple PG-13 movies the 12 year old class watched without parental consent, and the sad realization AJ was not challenged at all- basically her education was put on hold for a year. We had heard enough about her class being "the bad eggs" from countless teachers and parents and we didn't want her to become one. Coco Bean did wonderful in kindergarten. I have a great amount of respect for his teacher being able to wrangle 21 kids, and teach them to count, read and write. They are both back home with me this year, and we are back on track with the Robinson Curriculum. Both kids were upset they would not be seeing their friends every weekday, but I think they are thrilled to go on fun field trips (such as a corn maze), and that they don't have to be standing at the end of the driveway waiting for the bus at 6:45 am. And maybe mama's lunch is better than school lunch. :) (and Coco Bean really loves he can be Spiderman, Mario, Peter Pan, or Indiana Jones as he does his work.)
I do not have any pictures to share this post. Our computer bit the dust, got fixed, and then after being re-booted it bit the dust again. Computers do not have 9 lives like cats do, unfortunately. My wonderful landlady/friend/grandma-to-the-kids-figure has kindly let me borrow her computer. Out of respect to her, I will not fill her computer with all of my pictures. Though she might actually like them, I don't want her to feel like I'm making her watch all my slides from a vacation 20 years ago.
I guess that's about it for now. I am going to enjoy one more cup of coffee, and make sure the children are on track with today's lessons, and then I am going to sew.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Welcome to our happy home

My little Curly Top will be 3 this weekend. We are not buying her any store bought toys. Instead, I am making her gifts. So far I have made a Tinkerbell name pillow (at her request), a Tinkerbell costume (also at her request), and quite frankly, the cutest thing I think I have ever made, this little doll house. I found a tutorial here and put it together last night. I sewed the buttons (for closure) on this morning. The whole thing took about 2 1/2 hours. I did buy the little wooden peg people from www.gemmielou.etsy.com. I looked all over, and this shop had the most reasonably priced. I am so excited about it. Its all I can do to keep it hidden and not bring it out to play with it myself! I can't wait to see her face. I hope she loves it.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Throw a wrench in it

I used to pride myself on being easy going and spontaneous. Over the last year or so I am having a hard time admitting to myself I am not that way anymore. I want to be in control. And if I have my day planned, you'd better not mess up my schedule. You see, if you do, you may see me roll my eyes, sigh, and stomp my feet a little bit.

I am trying my best to keep a clean house. A facebook friend nailed it the other day when she posted, "I have come to the realization that since I've had kids I don't clean. I just organize the mess." If there were an "AMEN, SISTER" button I would have clicked it!!!

I also am trying to keep up with the kids' appointments. Luckily AJ is not in any sports this season. But we have doctors appointments for ear infection follow-ups, appointments for shots (apparently when we switched doctors last year the shot records fell through the cracks and I am just finding out that all 3 kids are behind. Nice.) Birthday parties, academic contests, honor choir, valentines party... if you're a mommy you know the drill.

I also found a sewing niche recently that has sent my "sewing business" (I have been trying to get up and running for 4 years...) sky high for me!!! This is soooo exciting!! At the moment I have more orders for these pillows than days in the month.

Then there are the normal trips to the grocery store, gas station, fabric shop (aka Wal-Mart (big sigh and roll of eyes because compared to some quilt shops the fabric at WM is a joke!))

And we live out in the boonies, so I really try to orchestrate as many things as possible into one trip into town. Well, if I wait for the kids to get home from school to leave, I'd better have supper in the crock pot or plan on sandwiches otherwise everyone will be a whiney mess come supper time.

With all of these things, I have become a much better planner and follower of the plan. The kids usually fall in line.

Coco Bean got sick this week. Wrench in plan. With him home for 2 days being more needy than usual it was hard for me to stick to my schedule. And with him home for 2 days, well, lets just say he's a normal 5 year old boy who likes to play but doesn't like to clean up. Wrench in plan.
And there's Curly Top who has only just discovered if mommy is not looking she can get into any drawer or cupboard and pull as much out as she possibly can until mommy discovers what she is doing. And being 2, she can't really put things back in an orderly fashion. Wrench in plan.
And the heater coil went out on my car last week. So I can't drive it. Luckily my loving husband is giving up his vehicle for me. But that means on the days he works Curly Top and I have to be ready very early, in time to take him to work. Don't get me wrong. I am very grateful I am not left being home bound. But that extra hours worth of drive time is a wrench in my plan.

Now, before you go and tell me to count my blessings, let me tell you I count my blessings every single day. It is a blessing I am a stay at home mom and I can stay home and take care of a sick child. My 3 children are such a blessing to me. I would be lost without them. I love that they have activities they are involved in. I am thankful my husband is giving up his ride so I'm not high and dry. I am thankful for my sewing machine and for my grandma who taught me to use it.

I also know that my saga is not that different from most other moms out there. I am not asking for a Bozo Button or a gold medal because I think I'm Mom of the year for being able to coordinate our life.

I am just blurting out that my mentality can sometimes be that of a 2 year old, and when "MY" plans get messed up I will throw a tiny tantrum. Then I will collect myself, wipe my face off, come up with a new plan, and then get up off the floor and get busy. Maybe one of these days I will wear a catcher's mitt and be able to catch that wrench as its coming at me, and then will some suave finness I will just tuck a wisp of hair behind my ear, smile, and take plan B. I'll let you know when that time comes.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

This little piggy

Sunday was D day for our swine. We've had the X on the calendar for a while. My daughter, whose chore it was to take care of the pigs, has been eagerly anticipating a happy dance. We have never been a part of getting any kind of live stock, other than cats and dogs, into a vehicle for transport. I believe my husband thought it would be a little easier than it was. He created a corridor for the pigs to walk out of their pen and over to the ramp of the trailer. We had some friends present to help, both of which have been a part of farming cows and pigs. We. Well, I was there, but I wasn't "in" with them. I was behind a make shift corridor wall holding it steady. My feet never got in the mud. However I was following orders. I offered to get in. Now my daughter is a different story. She was ready for anything. Her idea was to saddle up and ride the pigs from the pen to the trailer. To make a long story (like 2 1/2 hour long) short: pigs were lured, pigs freaked out, pigs ran back into pen. Repeat a few times. Pigs were lured, pen entrance was blocked, pigs freaked. Everyone stayed quiet and still til pigs were calm. Pigs got lured with lots of food, including my spicy sweet Doritos. Landlord came and laughed, and then got in to help. Finally pigs got into trailer. Ground started out as a grassy patch. But by the end of the ordeal it was as muddy and mucky as the pig pen. Daughter amazed me. No one got hurt. Our friends are a huge blessing for helping. Hubby and friends transported pigs to butcher. In 3 weeks we will have a freezer full of pork!!! And AJ's chore time has been cut in half. Happy Dance.

Moving on. This little piggy. I have been thinking about trying to lose weight for a long long time. 5 years ago I lost 40 pounds. Then we had baby #3, and I gained it all back and then some. Last spring, almost a year ago, I got plantar fasciitis in both my feet. I suffered with it until this past October. It was horrible. I could barely walk in the mornings, and by the evenings I thought my feet would fall off. One of the causes is being over weight. I couldn't really go walking with that condition. And I couldn't do my workout videos. So I really became sedentary. Bad. Well, my feet healed up, and since then I have been "planning" on starting a good exercise/diet program. Here we are, 4 months later and I don't have one going yet. In the last few days I have noticed my left foot is starting to bother me again. Its not "bad" yet, but I seriously do not want it to be out of commission again. So, its either do something now, or really pay for it soon. One of my friends who blogs has started The Pants of Truth on Mondays. (disclaimer: her blog is not for the light of heart. She tells it how it is and doesn't hold anything back) She has somewhat inspired me to jump on her bandwagon. But she is braver than me. She takes a picture of the number that appears on her scales. I could do the same, but then I would tell you the piano got on with me. So, today I have started a very basic routine. And by basic, I mean basic. No frills. I just jumped on my little trampoline until my face turned purple. (only about 4 minutes) And I drank a glass of water and took a multi vitamin. I also wrote down my weight and measured all over; waist, stomach, hips, thighs, etc... A few weeks ago I stopped using sugar in my coffee and started using liquid Stevia. I picked up a brochure for Vim & Vigor weight loss plan at the Dutch food market the other day. The bottle of Vim & vigor sells for about $17.95. Its vinegar with some other ingredients. The brochure says to take 1/2 ounce of this concoction before breakfast and again before supper. Then exercise 10 minutes a day. And eat sensibly. Oh, and drink at least 7 glasses of water a day, adding an extra glass for every cup of tea or coffee you consume. This brochure claims if you follow this plan you will lose 7 pounds and 7 inches in 7 days. See, very sensible. But I am not paying $17.95 for a bottle of fancy schmancy vinegar. I know raw apple cider vinegar will do the same toxin flushing and other good stuff for you type thing, and I already have a bottle of it in my pantry. I didn't take it before my bowl of dry generic apple jacks cereal this morning because I didn't "start" my plan until after it was already consumed. But I did jump, and drink a glass of water. And I am blogging about it. If I am held accountable, then I will have a better success rate. If after 7 days I have this 7 pounds and 7 inches success, I might get brave and share a picture of the piano on the scales with me.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Think outside the boots, er, uh, box

This picture was taken one week ago when we had snow and wind chill temps in the negative teens. Since then, the weather has changed, bringing sunshine, wind, and warmer temps; yesterday's high was 75. The sun's rays have melted all of our snow rather quickly, creating quite a muddy mess. The pigs are in hog heaven with all of the mud. Good thing they are happy. They only have 2 1/2 days until they go to the butcher's. (happy dance!!!)
My 12 year old, AJ, is the lucky one tasked with the chore of feeding, watering, and taking straw for bedding to our 2 piggies. She hasn't had any trouble with this task except in extreme cases of rain, ice, and yesterday's mud.
It normally takes AJ about 30 minutes or so to get her chores done. Feed and water the dogs, feed and water the chickens, collect eggs, and feed and water the pigs. I guess she does start with the pigs just to get the hard part over and done with. I normally keep my ear open to listen to her normal sounds: singing at the top of her lungs, tossing buckets, getting water, coming in the back porch to grab the egg basket... Yesterday I was cleaning up a paper clutter spot and it dawned on me I hadn't heard her for a while. I glanced at the clock and realized she'd been outside for 45 minutes or so. I went out the front door and hollered her name. She quickly screamed, "Mom! Come help me!!!" The momma adrenaline kicked into high speed and I ran from the porch, through the yard, across the road, back behind the barn, and... Came to a complete stop and started laughing. The sight of my daughter was priceless. The look of tear stained defeat. Shoulders slumped. And then the puzzlement when she saw I was laughing. AJ: "Mom, I've been yelling at the top of my lungs for help and now my throat hurts, and so does my head." Me: "Why are you just standing there?" AJ: "I'm stuck." Sure enough, she was calf deep in mud and couldn't pull her feet out. And, I failed to mention she was in the middle of the pig pen.
Now, two days ago we had quite a fiasco as well. She was taking longer than usual so I hollered to her and she said, "Mom, I need your help. The pigs are out!" They had busted through their gate and were out in the cattle pasture. Well when they saw the food bucket on the path to their pen they came back with no fuss whatsoever and while they ate, AJ and I make-shift fixed the gate as best we could. Think cinder blocks and 550 cord and one handy dandy square knot (tied by yours truly, thank you very much).
But last night the pigs were peaceful and not causing any ruckus and were not even trying to head butt AJ into the water tub (like one tried to do last week). They were just looking at her, wondering what she would do next and when she would get out of their pen.
She asked me again to help her. Me: "What do you want me to do?" AJ: "Get me out!" Remember I was not expecting this. When I called out to see where she was, she yelled for help. I didn't take time to put my mud boots on. I just ran. In my pink slippers. Do you think I am getting in calf high mud in my pink slippers, white socks, and good blue jeans? Uh Uh. No. Thank you. She just pleaded with me. I told her she needs to start thinking of solutions before she sank like quick sand. She said she'd been thinking for 20 minutes and was still stuck. Now she was holding an empty bucket. I told her to take one foot out of a boot and put her foot in the bucket. Then she could use both hands to pull her boot free. Worked like a charm. Then I had to tell her to put the foot back in the boot, take her other foot out of her other boot, put the other foot in the bucket and pull that boot free. That boot was STUCK. She pulled and pulled and couldn't get it. She was going to wear the bucket out of the pen. I said NO WAY, Jose! I told her to use her hands to dig and pull the boot out. She started crying. She pulled her sweatshirt sleeve over her hand (only one hand) and worked that boot free. As soon as she got that boot out, one of the pigs decided it was a perfect time to go #1. AJ yelled: "That's what I had to put my hands in! Gross!" To which I chuckled yet again. After her pride was totally hurt, her sleeve mud and muck covered, and her boots were free, she sloshed out of her little swamp land and got out of the pen. We had a talk about helping yourself with what you have instead of waiting for someone else to dig you out of a mess. And then she had a shower. I know she will be glad in 2 1/2 days time.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Sometimes you get what you ask for

In my coffee cabinet one can find many many coffee mugs. Some are huge, like 12 ounce size, and some are a dainty 4 ounce size. One particular afternoon I was needing a bit of coffee, but was not in the mood to swig from the 12 ounce buckets, so I asked my wonderful, full of good humor and waiting skills daughter to get me a small cup of coffee. (How's that for a run on sentence??)
And that is exactly what she served to me.

No, I didn't drink glue. That's just in the picture to help you size up my little cup.

Well, doggone it. I have tried for about 2 1/2 hours to upload this one measly picture. But, as fate would have it, my computer is NOT cooperating. So, I will have to try again later. Please stay tuned.