Friday, November 30, 2007

The day continues....

After dealing with all of the horrible car stuff at the Saturn dealer I had to leave to pick up hubby from work so we could take the girls to the Polar Express Train Ride. I left the dealer at 4:15 to drive ten miles to hubby's work. You know how long that took me? 45 MINUTES!!! Darn traffic. So I arrived at hubby's work by 5 and we headed off to the train station which was about 17 miles away. I was really nervous that we would make it on time for the 6:00 train ride we were scheduled for. This was peek traffic. It took us an hour to get there. We were 3 minutes late for our train ride. The tickets specifically state if you miss your train you are out of luck. No refunds or exchanges. I was so sad after having such a bad day.

Guess what though? I think because hubby was on crutches and I blamed that for the reason that we were late, they let us take the next train at 7:30. I was so relieved and it just helped to end what had been a horrible day. Do you know what was the nicest thing they did for us? Aly was crying because she was scared to go on the train. She thought it would be like the movie and the train would be like a rollar coaster and go on ice and slide all around. The train conductor was so sweat and tried to help her feel better. They even went in the staff lounge and got us some free sandwiches to eat.

Here we are on the train ride all scrunched together. The second picture shows one of the dancers that came through the train dancing and holding a tray of cookies.

After the dancers came through the women in white chef hats passed out hot chocolate and cookies. Once we reached the North Pole Santa came aboard and passed out a bell to each of the children.

Check out tired little KK with her bell. She didn't start taking a liking to it until she heard ALL of the children on the train ringing their bells. All in all we had a good time and I think Aly especially enjoyed it. It was a nice ending to a hard day!

Can this day get any worse?????

Since hubby injured his ankle I had to drive him to work this morning. He has a stick shift and hurt his left ankle. This meant I had three children to get ready and out of the door by 8 a.m. This is a huge task for me as I barely make it out the door by 8:30 on other mornings. Plus now I have to make hubby's lunch, fetch him his breakfast, coffee, and carry all of his stuff to the car. I made it but a little late, we got out of the house by 8:10. On the way hubby realizes he didn't bring his frozen vegetables so we have to stop by the store. Once we get hubby to work we are off to drop the car off at the Saturn dealer in Roseville. We make it there ten minutes to ten---yeah, ten minutes before our appointment. They have no record of our appointment. But they take the car anyway.
Hubby's mom was so kind to pick us up and go shopping with us. We had a great time and the girls did too. They got to play at the little play center at the mall and ride the Merry Go Round. Aly bought XMAS gifts for her sister and me. Grandma helped her buy my gift while I was out pushing KK around in the stroller! Thanks Grandma, now that Daddy is injured he couldn't have helped Aly with that!
I am sure you are wondering when the bad part happens. The Saturn Dealer calls me and tells me that the light cover they were supposed to replace was broken in the box when they received it. Then they said when their technician was trying to replace the door panel they broke it. They said they were currently working on the lumbar support and would call me when they were done with it. So they call me later and tell me that they ordered the wrong part for the lumbar support and I will have to come back in a couple of weeks to get all three things done. O.k., so this dealer is like 70 miles from my home. I brought it in to have these things replaced after bringing it in two weeks ago for them to check the parts they needed to order. Now they have fixed nothing!!! Nothing!!! It was a complete waste of time. So I tell him that he wasted a lot of my gas for nothing. Of course I did pay them twenty bucks for a tire rotation. But all of the warranty work was not completed. He said when I come back for the parts to be installed the next time he will fill my tank of gas.
So I get to the Saturn Dealer and guess what? They dented my car!!! YES, can you believe it? My brand new 2007 Saturn Outlook that doesn't even have one scratch from me yet and they put a long dent in the passenger front door. I am so mad. The worst part is they didn't even tell me, I had to find it for myself and tell them. Of course they are fixing it but I am still mad. Now my car will have to go to an auto body shop and it will show up on the Carfax report when I go to resell it. I am so mad!!! What would you do? All they are offering is a rental car while they fix it. You would think they would do more for me since they accomplished nothing today and put a large dent in my car!!!!
Please comment and give me suggestions!!

Poor Hubby

Last night while hubby was playing volleyball he injured his left ankle very badly. This is the same ankle he injures every 3 years or so. Last time he tore some ligaments and my guess is the same thing happened this time! Good thing we still have crutches and a walking cast. The bummer is his jeep is a stick so I will be driving him to work today. I might have to switch cars with him next week.
He will probably be out of volleyball for up to 6 months. Anyone that knows him knows that this will kill him. You know what the biggest bummer is? He asked for an indoor and outdoor volleyball for Xmas and over this last week I had ordered both from the internet. (He doesn't read my blog so this shouldn't ruin the surprise)
So now what should I do? He needs the volleyballs reguardless for when he starts playing again. But man, that could sure hurt his spirit to open them up! Should I keep them and save them for his birthday when he is closer to being able to return? Or should I give them to him anyway? What do you think?

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Two days of trying!!!!!!

Each year I try and take a picture of the girls in front of the Christmas tree so we can use the picture for their ornaments and have a Christmas picture of them. While I would like to be able to have individual and joint pictures, KK is nearly impossible to photograph!!!! It took me two days of trying, scenery changes, and outfit changes to get one decent photo of her. Aly was a breeze! She was actually a little model deciding how she wanted to pose for the camera and what would look good. We got a number of good pictures of her. Check them out:

The first one on the left was Daddy's favorite and we will probably be using that one for her ornament.

Aly came up with the little head tilt to the side all by herself! I thought it was so cute!

KK got the concept of getting her picture taken and would squeeze her eyes tightly together, smile, and say cheese! It was so frustrating! She would only stay at the chair long enough to take one picture so I was constantly putting her back and telling her I needed to take another picture!

The only way I finally got a good picture of her was playing peek a boo while I took pictures. I had to crop her arms out of the picture but hey, I was just happy to get one picture with her eyes open! My darling little KK, if you ever wonder why we don't have a lot of good pictures of you it is because you don't really like getting your pictures taken. You are too busy to be bothered and would rather be playing!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Our Gingerbread House

Aly has been so excited to decorate our gingerbread house. We bought it at costco back in October and she has been asking ever since. It was quite a bit of preparation work as I had to assemble all of the walls and the roof and do all of the outlining on the windows, doors, and roofs.

Aly took the picture of me on the left. Not bad for a four year old. I bet she will really enjoy her new camera this Christmas!

Aly really enjoyed decorating the house! In fact she was pretty much the only one that decorated it! KK was so busy eating all of the candy she didn't really put any candy on the house!

Our house only stayed decorated for a few hours. I put the house on our table as a centerpiece and within a few hours the girls already started picking off the candy and eating it. Last year they never did that to our gingerbread house so I was a little surprised. Oh well, it is the experience that makes it fun and memorable!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Day After Thanksgiving Sale--what a Nightmare

After not going back to sleep since 1:30 in the morning, I finally decided at 5:30 to get up and go. I needed to buy hubby a stocking stuffer at Staples so I went online to find my nearest store. I found out that I could order his stocking stuffer online so I start going through the process. Right when I am entering my credit card info KK wakes up. It takes me 20 minutes to get her back to sleep. By the time I complete the credit card info they say that can't guarantee the item will be in stock for me. So, unfortunately I decide to not take the chance and go to the store.

I got to Staples at 6:30 and was lucky enough to get the last one. So I see an amazingly long line and go get in it. It took me 1 hour and 20 minutes to get through the line. They only had 4 cashiers!

My next stop is Kohls which was the store I was most looking forward to. I had a great time and got my best deal of the day here. Mattell is currently giving online coupons for $5 off Polly Pocket and Kohls had 50% off on them. So I took a $16 Polly Pocket, got it for $8 and gave the $5 off coupon and only paid $3.00. Talk about a DEAL! At Kohls I had to wait in line for one hour and 5 min.

Both long lines had chatty people in it. I got to learn all about others lives, what they do for the holidays, and how many children they have. Everyone was pretty polite and I never ran into inconsiderate people so that was great!

After Kohls I met hubby to give him his sunglasses. He was off to take the girls to the zoo and fairytale town.

I decided to go to Target where I got another good deal for myself. I got a pair of Levi's for $12. Pretty good huh? Their line was only 5 minutes long so that was great.

Next I went to Sunrise mall and went to KB Toys. Their line was only 5 minutes long as well. By the time I finished KB's and had lunch I had one more stop to make. I went to a Sporting Goods store to try and find stuff for hubby. Unfortunately they didn't carry any of the items on his wish list.

At 2:30 I go to get gas in my hubby's jeep. Guess what happened? He has a locking gas cap and I didn't have the key. The jeep was on empty as well so I couldn't make it anywhere close to home since home is 45 minutes away. I had to call hubby. He had to drive home, get the key, and come back to get me. By the time he reached me it was 4:30. Talk about a long day! I slept very well last night!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Decorating the Tree

We brought our good old fake XMAS tree up tonight as Aly was so excited she couldn't wait. I took out all of the bags of ornaments and boxes of candy canes and gave the girls complete control! It was so much fun to watch them. Aly couldn't decide if she should play with the ornaments or hang them on the tree. KK at first didn't really get what we were doing but once she figured it out she picked a spot and kept hanging candy cane after candy cane right next to eachother.

If you look really close at KK's picture you can see all of her candy canes hung next to eacother! They had a great time and wanted to continue decorating the whole house. Only this year since we will be hosting hubby's family with about 20 people coming over, we just don't have the space to take all of our decorations out. So Aly will have to wait to next year for the rest of our decorations. In the meantime I think I will go to Walmart and get some window decorations as she has a blast putting those up!

Thanksgiving Day

Today we went to hubby's mom house. She lives about an hour and twenty minutes from our house. The girls love to go to her house because she has a park that is a block from her house. The girls put on Aly's head dresses from school. Don't they look cute?
We had a really yummy dinner including homemade stuffing w/out onions and the best cheesecake I have ever tasted! My MIL makes the best cheesecake ever and the best carrot cake I have ever had as well.
We left around 5 and got home just in time to be harassed by the girls to put up the XMAS tree. Post on that to follow.....

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Our trip to the grocery store!

Today I had to make a quick trip to the grocery store to get supplies needed to make spinach dip. The girls did well and I was lucky enough that KK was content sitting in the cart the whole time. They even got lucky and had a free cookie from the bakery.

When we got to the check out line KK was shouting out letters she saw at the cash register. One of the checkers was amazed and asked how old she was. I told her she was two. KK continued shouting out letters always getting them correct and the other cashier heard her and asked as well. They were both amazed. I told them it was all thanks to the Leap Frog DVD Letters and Sounds. It does make me feel really proud though. It is not often you see a 2 year old that knows all of her letters. I have tested her this week and she now identifies all 26 letters correctly so it is fun to go out and about and hear her shouting out all of her letters. KK we are all so proud of you!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Aly's tea party

This afternoon Aly had her friend Maya up for a tea party. The girls got dressed all fancy in some pink dresses and put pink Boas on and pink dress up shoes. It was so cute.

We served muffins, cookies, chocolate, and lemonade. They had a great time and especially liked the freedom of being able to poor their own drinks.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Our hike at the lake

Today after Daddy was done with his chores we decided to take a little trip to our local lake. We are so lucky to have a lake only 3 miles from our home. There is even camping at the lake. Since we are locals we know the free way in so we decided to take a little hike with the girls and our dog Nevada.

Aly had a great time throwing rocks and climbing a tree stump. KK preferred to throw mud in the lake and play with Nevada.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

My cousin had her baby today!

I was so excited this afternoon to get the email and pictures announcing the arrival of Haley Karen who weighed 8 lbs. 2 oz. and was 20.5 inches long. Her mommy is about the same height as me and probably 15 pounds smaller. Her husband is tall like mine so it was really fun to see that this baby is taking after her father in size just like my first born Aly took after her father.

My Aunt and Uncle were able to be there for the arrival of their first grandchild. I was so happy for them. They will be having their second grandchild next May. What a great year for them!

My grandmother and grandfather now have 7 great grandchildren with the eighth one on the way! It is so much fun to see our family grow and I am so excited for my cousin Amy to have this wonderful addition to her family and to become a mom. I know she will be great!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Aly's preschool feast

Today was Aly's Thanksgiving feast at preschool. She was looking forward to it all week. Everyday she would ask, "Is it Friday yet? Is it my Thanksgiving Feast?" She even had an outfit planned all week long that she wanted to wear. You know what was really cute? On Thursday morning when she woke up she immediately got dressed and put on her new red sparkly pants. When I told her we were going to the Saturn Dealer to get my car serviced that day she started to tear up. She said, "But mommy, I wanted to wear my sparkly red pants for the preschool party!" I told her she could go change her clothes and save it for the next day.

If you look in all of the pictures Aly is sitting next to her friend Maya who she absolutely adores! When I came to pick her up from preschool those two were the only ones left eating. It was so cute.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Mapquest can tell you where the cheapest gas is

This morning I was looking up directions to a Saturn Dealer as I have to take my car in today. I noticed a button on mapquest that said gas prices. So I took a look around and found out that you can put in the city/state of where you want to get gas and it will tell you the cheapest place. You can even put in the intersection of where you want. I think that is soo cool for those of us who like to find the cheapest gas. Just type it in before you leave home and you will be able to know. Here is the link:

Wednesday, November 14, 2007'T EVER BUY!

OMG, I am so in shock. Last March my hubby's company gave him 3 $25 visa gift cards from Well, we took them on our trip to Disneyland in May only to discover that you have to know your exact balance in order to use the remaining amount on the card. So for instance. One of our cards had 3.95 left on it and the other one had 4.17 left. When I tried to use the remaining balance at a store the card declined because the merchant had to know the exact amount to that was left on the card to put in. Since I didn't know this I had to hold onto the cards until I got home. I called the 1800 number only to find out at the end of hearing my balance that I would be charged .50 cents for calling. So I decided to log in for the other card to find the balance.

Well, I hadn't really had an opportunity to use the cards for such a small amount. So today I am cleaning the computer room and decide to go check my balance. Do you know what it is? A big fat ZERO on both cards. Do you know why? Apparently, 6 months after the card is issued if you don't redeem the full amount you start getting charged a maintenance fee of $4.95 a month. Can you believe that? A maintenance fee, for what? So basically if someone has the card in the wallet and forgets about it a $25 gift card would be to zero balance by 11 months after the card was initiated. Crazy huh? How much money a year do you think these guys are raking in? They already charge the person buying the card a $3.95 fee for putting the initial money on it.

I strongly suggest you not use this company for your visa gift cards and if you do decide to buy a gift card, read their entire fees policy. I heard on the radio this morning that retail companies are making 8 billion a year in unclaimed gift cards. Crazy huh! Maybe it's time to just go back to the old fashion way of buying a present.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Our XMAS card

This morning I sat down to try and make our 2007 Christmas card. My friend Annette had inspired me after sending me the one she had made with Adobe Photoshop Elements. Check out her card!

So I decided to give Adobe Photoshop Elements a try. I got as far as a plain blue background and two pictures side by side. I couldn't figure out how to make the background with snowflakes and I was having difficulty adding text. So, I emailed Annette and gave her what I came up with. She was so kind to make my cards for me. Here is what she came up with. I am so excited and can't wait to get them printed and mailed out!

Monday, November 12, 2007

The vacuum cleaner mess

Today I hosted playgroup at my house. Of course of all the days for my vacuum cleaner to break down it chose today!!! Do you know how long it took me to fix it? 45 minutes! Those are precious minutes when you are getting ready for company to come over.

They made such a stupid design in my vacuum cleaner. They made the suction hose go up the vacuum cleaner at a 90 degree angle. So, periodically it clogs there. Today it was a nightmare. I guess it must have been clogged perhaps the last two times I vacuumed because the entire hosing system was clogged. On top of that the spinner brush on the bottom of the vacuum cleaner had a bunch of string stuck on it that took me forever to get all of.

I can't wait for tax return time as hubby has already agreed that I could buy a dyson vacuum cleaner at that time. I am looking forward to it!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Monthly budget

This time of year is always our tightest. All of our savings runs out by November due to the lovely property tax god making his way for the second time this year. With that said, I look even more and more at my budget and look for ways to cut. Our two biggest problem areas: gas and groceries. At this point I really don't see what I can do about the $650 a month we spend on gas--which by the way will probably go up to $700 thanks to rising gas prices. My husband commutes 100 miles a day. I am as conservative as I can be and limit myself to one tank of gas a week. However, with Aly's preschool being a 20 mile commute each way there is little that I can do. I already sit home on the days she isn't in preschool.

Groceries though are an area I think I can save on. I was checking out the prices in Safeway compared to costco and I was floored they were charging 6.99 a pound for tri tip and 7.99 a pound for flank steak. We normally buy our meat at costco except for emergency runs or groceries in between costco trips. However, this has motivated me to shop at costco twice a month instead of once and visit other grocery stores like the Grocery Outlet instead of our local safeway.

I am also trying to prompt my hubby to take lunch to work more often. The only way I have found this possible is by making meat casserole type dishes that reheat well. Hubby isn't into carbs so I have to make sure they are very meaty.

I have been reading some other bloggers that write about their budgets and will be trying the make a list and don't run to the store for small trips. Use what you already have and make it last as long as possible. I will also only buy what I need for now, not what I want. Or should I say what I want for the girls because it is very rare that I ever buy what I want for myself.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

A little ignorant in the music department

For my birthday my hubby bought me an MP3 player so that I could listen to music in my car. I had a free trial of XM radio but it expired a few weeks ago and I must admit it was so hard to go back to listening to regular radio. However, I can't afford the extra money on the XM subscription and don't really know that I want to anyway. They have quite a few channels with commercials and isn't the point to be commercial free? I think by supporting that they will just continue to add more and more until they eventually have just as many as FM radio.

Well, my biggest problem is that I am such a dork that I don't know what music I like. I mean, I like top 40's but, I don't often know who sings the songs I like or what the song title is. I just sit back and listen and enjoy what radio is playing for me. So now I have this problem of what songs to put on my MP3 player. I currently only have 23. How pathetic is that? I can't think of what to put on there or who the songs I like are by. So, I ask you to please post a comment and give me some suggestions of artists and titles of songs you like to listen to. Perhaps through your help I will be able to find some more music that I like and just didn't know who it was by.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

When your child hurts, so do you!

Last week at school Aly came home very upset. One of the girls in her class told her she had a mean face. Aly argued with her back and forth that she did not but the girl was not letting up. Aly's friend Maya even stuck up for her. It wasn't until a parent intervened that she finally stopped.
On Monday I volunteered at Aly's school. I kept a mindful eye on this little girl and decided to observe her play behavior. I wasn't shocked to find out that the other children in class wouldn't play with her. She wanted to be in control of everything and wouldn't share with the others. In fact she taunted them. One by one they would leave and she would be by herself. You know what was the most shocking? When it was table group time this little girl came to my table. The first question she asked me was who my daughter was. I told her Aly. Do you know what she said? She said, "Your daughter has a mean face!" I was shocked! Up to this point I had decided not to say anything to the teacher because I assumed it was an isolated event. She obviously proved me wrong. I told the little girl that she really hurt Aly's feelings and that she hurt mine too. I asked her how she would feel if someone said that to her. Her reply was, "Well she does have a mean face!"
This girl totally hurt my feelings. I got very protective of my daughter and started worrying if others may have the same opinion. Aly is very serious and at school she is shy and more reserved. This girl has formed an opinion of her as a mean girl. I talked to the teacher about it and told her I was only mentioning it because it was no longer an isolated event. When the teacher talked to her she said it was because Aly didn't smile. The teacher told her it wasn't a nice thing to say. Hopefully this will be the end of it.
I have to say though, it really hurt me and it made me want to teach Aly how to stick up for herself. Not to say that I want her going around fighting other girls, but I certainly don't want her to be pushed around.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Aly's writing

Aly was chosen to bring home the I am special bag from school. She gets to choose 5 things that are special to her for sharing and she gets to answer the questions on the piece of paper to the left. I decided since she is doing so well with learning to read that I would have her write the answers out. While I did help her with spelling she wrote all of the answers by herself. I thought it was so cute and I just had to share. You will probably have to click on it to see it larger.

Monday, November 5, 2007

KK's letter recognition skills

Well I must say, KK is truely amazing!!! I decided to test her on her letter recognition skills. Do you know how many letters in the alphabet she can identify? I was shocked and amazed that she knew 22 out of 26 letters. The only letters she had trouble with were I, F, T, and W. I am obviously soo proud. She is only 2 years old and doing so well already. She knows a lot of her letter sounds as well but I haven't tested her on those yet. I have to give a lot of credit where credit is due though. She loves the DVD movie by Leap Frog called Letter Factory. This DVD has taught both of my girls their letters and sounds before I have managed to do it myself.

For every birthday party that my girls are invited to we always buy this DVD and give it for a gift. Everyone has always loved it and said they were amazed at how well their children learned from it. I highly recommend it to anyone with a child 5 years or younger. For those interested they also make DVD's that teach them how to sound out words and math skills.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Flip Video

While I was shopping at costco a few weeks ago I ran into this great mini handheld camcorder at Costco. It is called Flip Video and it is the size of a handheld camera. It has the ability to record video for 30-60 minutes depending on the model you want. I am totally fine with the 30 minute model. I want it soo bad for my blogging. Wouldn't it be awesome to be able to carry this small camcorder around and take video of the girls where ever we go? It is also really easy to just connect to the computer and upload right onto my blog!

My grandma sent me $25 for my birthday. I have about $20 in recycling to go collect. So that leaves me with $75 left to save! This is our tightest time of the year so I can't just go out and spend that kind of money. But my guess is I can find some ways to save over the next 2 months and get it. I can't wait!