Thursday, February 28, 2008

KK loves to walk around with a backpack on

KK has started the cutest little version of play. Everyday she has gotten big sissy's tinkerbell backpack and started walking around the house all day with it on. She would say things like, "O.k. Mommy, I am ready to go to school. Mommy, I have my backpack on, I am a big girl. Mommy, let's go bye, bye."

Big sister has actually been pretty tolerant which I have found to be surprising. She has been willing to share with her most of the time except for the day she decided to pack her backpack to go visit Grandma T. She put many of her Littlest Pet Shop toys in it and said KK couldn't have it. Of course this caused drama because KK couldn't understand why she suddenly couldn't have it.
I guess I know what I need to do. Go buy KK a backpack. I have actually been looking but it has been hard to find a small one and her current favorite color is green so I have been trying to find something with green in it......hmmm, perhaps on my next trip to San Jose as there are so many more stores to look through!

Grandma T sends dress up clothes

Aly and KK were pleasantly surprised when a package from the disney store arrived in the mail, courtesy of Grandma T! The package actually arrived over a week ago but I am slow to getting the pics up. Aly tore open the packages in absolute delight and KK was just as excited to try them on as Aly was. KK definitely loved the Tinkerbell costume and kept it on while playing with her toys. Aly opted for the Jasmine costume so she could feel like a princess. While the costumes are a bit big it will leave plenty of time for growing room and lots of days of dress up play.

A big thanks to Grandma T from her darling little granddaughters. Thanks for the surprise in the mail. They definitely love it!

Loving my treadmill

About a week and a half ago I was able to get a treadmill so I could work out from home. I never knew how much I would love it! In fact I love it so much I am using it 2-3 times a day burning from 550-825 calories a day. I am doing 1/2 hour sessions at a time. Typically one before the girls wake up, one after lunch, and one after hubby gets home. It is so great. I have already blown through all of the weightloss programs and am now settling for the aerobic programs. Most of my work out is a fast walk and/or slow jog. I am working my way up to be able to run the whole thirty minutes. It does inclines too. Most of my inclines during the program are between 8-10 with a max of 12.

I have an exercise bike too but I find the treadmill to be more motivating and more fun! I put my reality TV shows on and the half hour just flies by. It has only been a week and a half and I totally feel the muscles building in my legs. This is a good thing because last summer they were so flabby I wouldn't even wear shorts. Which is the first time in my whole life I have felt this way! So I look forward to toning up, loosing some weight, and looking good in my swimsuit this summer. Not to mention feeling better about myself and having a better energy level! As of yesterday I had even lost 3 pounds. Can't wait to step on the scale today!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

The pilot episode of Super Nanny

I swear, last night at the dinner table looked just like an episode from Super Nanny. In fact it was so entertaining it could have been there pilot!
I have no one to blame but myself. Really! It is completely my fault. Last summer because I didn't want the children to eat late, I began letting them eat alone at their picnic table around 5 p.m. each night. This also meant that the main dinner was not prepared so I prepared them their own meal each night. Of course these meals were completely kid friendly and completely what they would want to eat.
We don't always see our mistakes while we are making them. Many times we see them after we are deep into the problem. Recently I have began re-implementing family dinners at the table and let's just say, neither of my children are happy about it.
Before dinner is even on the table Aly is crying, "I don't want to eat the rice mommy! I don't like it! Do I have to eat the rice mommy? I don't like the broccoli mommy. Do I have to eat it? I don't want dinner. WAA, WAA, WAA."
At this point we send her to a time out. Once we all gather at the table she is still trying to continue with arguing over what she has to eat for dinner. Our rule is you have to at least take one bite.
Next we place KK in her seat to eat dinner. She immediately starts crying, "I don't want dinner mommy, I don't want to eat it!" She gets down from her chair and starts climbing all over hubby and I. We won't stand for this so she continues screaming.
At this point both of them are either crying or whinning. It is intolerable but we know we must just barrel through it if we are going to make any headway. We know it may take two weeks but in time they will change as long as we are strong!
I will say though it made me want Super Nanny come to my house. However, I would prefer a different format. I think this is perfect--give hubby and I a two week vacation get away to Hawaii while Supper Nanny stays home with my girls and trains them. Yeah, she can fix the problems right? All the while I am sipping pina colada's by the beach, working on my tan. Then when the two weeks are up I get to come home to yet another vacation. My kids behave. HEE, HEE!
O.k. I know I must do the work, but a girl can dream can't she? BTW the picture is just a joke, of course I don't believe it!

What was I thinking????

I made a big mistake last night by letting KK go to bed at 7:00 p.m. I knew it at the time too. It was such a tough decision. Should I continue to let her walk around the house screaming and crying because she was so tired and try to keep her awake for one more hour? Or should I let her go to bed? For most children this could actually be a normal bedtime. Unfortunately, little Miss KK is not a great sleeper and we get between 9-10 hours a night out of her. Usually closer to 9.
Just as I suspected would happen she woke up at 4:20 a.m. bright and chipper ready for the day to begin. Who in their right mind gets up that early? That is just crazy!!! So there I was getting up with my two year old and I don't even drink coffee. I really think they should make a drink for those of us that just don't like that coffee taste! Soda is about the only thing but who wants carbination at that early hour.
And hubby wants more, I really think I am done!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Tips for saving money.

A few people lately have asked me for links to websites that help me save money so I have decided to write a post about it.

If you like online shopping at all a must know website is ebates. This website gives you from 1%-25% cash back from online purchases made. Plus they have online coupon codes you can click on as well to save even more money. I always make sure that once I have found a product I want to buy online, I go to ebates, check out first if they have a coupon code, then check out the percentage back for that merchant. You can save a good amount of money this way throughout the year. They will send you checks in $10 increments.

My next site that I use to find out good deals and free items is imommies. This is the site that I have found free magazine subscriptions, free groceries, and other free product offers. The best part is she really spells out what you need to do for the free groceries and gives you examples. She also provides a list with all of the UPC codes so that when you go to do your shopping you are confident the items are on the list.

Once I hear of the grocery promotions I like to go to mygrocerydeals to find out what items are on sale each week at my local grocery retailers. After you get into the site to look at the grocery store sales you can look at the left side for the coupon buttons and print out online coupons that you can use at your grocery store. I try to print out as many of the item that I can. Many sites only let you print out two but some sites you get lucky on and can print out more. You can use these online coupons at Safeway, walmart, target, and many other grocery chains. Just ask before you start shopping and they will let you know.

Often times the coupons from mygrocerydeals may not be enough so I check wowcoupons which has a list of many other printable coupon sites.

Antoher good blog to check out for current deals is couponing craze. She often takes pics of what she got and explains what she did to get them. She is lucky though, her local grocery store doubles coupons. None of mine do. I could only imagine how much I would save if I had a store that would do that.

If youlike to enter daily contest like the one I entered to win a whole case of larabars, then check out Laura Williams Muslings. I check her site daily and just enter some of the contest that I think I might like to win. Most of them are as easy as just putting a comment on the website and don't require anything more. That was how easy the Larabar contest was. (Now you are all my competition darn it! hee, hee)

The last website I like to use is mypoints. They send me about five mail adverstisements a day that I click on and earn points. Most of the time I don't read the advertisements. If ebates doesn't offer the online merchant then I use mypoints and earn points on what I shopped for. Each year through the points I earned I have had enough to earn at least one $50 dollar giftcard. This year I earned one and we will be using it for Rainforest Cafe! Yippe!

One last website I just remembered is vocalpoint. Once I signed up with them I have recieved so many valuable coupons and such. Just yesterday I got a $2.00 Welch's Grape Juice and a bunch of $1.00 off coupons as well. I have even gotten free razors in the mail, coupons for other free products, etc. This website has really paid off and it is free to join. I rarely get any email from them either. Most of what I get is free coupons or products in the mail.

Anyway, happy shopping, hope this helps some of you!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Our Little Artist Aly

I have to say, our little Aly is so talented. I can't believe how well she draws for a four year old. Of course I am biased but take a look. She also made a giraffe but Daddy took that to work and I didn't get a chance to scan it in first. I think I will ask him to bring it back as I just have to share it with you all. I think she gets her drawing talent from her Uncle Jim--hubby's brother. He is very talented as well and his three children all have the same gift.

Please give Aly some encouragement and post a comment telling her how much you like her pictures. I will read all of them to her. Remember you can click on comment and make an anonymous comment if you don't want to make your real name public.

Another opportunity for free groceries

Safeway is doing yet another promotion where you can have the opportunity to get free groceries. Check out the post at imommies.

I still had my $10 catalina grocery coupon from the previous promotion and I made sure that I had coupons for all of the products purchased. These coupons either came from online or from my dear MIL who saves the Sunday coupons for me. My best coupons were for .50 cents off of Rice a Roni and Pasta Roni which made the cost be .50 cents a box. So with all of my coupons and the $10 catalina grocery coupon my total came to $7.00. I paid the 7 dollars and got a $20 coupon back. So essentially they paid me to take my groceries home!
Check out what I got:

2 boxes of Fruity Cherrios
2 bags of BC cookie mix
5 boxes of Rice a Roni
10 boxes of Pasta Roni
6 boxes of Fruit by the Foot

Can't wait to go back and get some other items on the list!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Look what I won from fitnessformommies

Wow, I was so shocked when I actually won something from the internet. I entered a Larabar contest through fitnessformommies and was so happy to find out that I won. The funny thing is that I thought I had just won one box with like six bars in it.

I was so surprised when I found out I had actually won a case with 9 different boxes in nine different flavors containing sixteen bars per box. I checked it out and this retails for $169.00. What a win! Hubby and I have been eating them and really like them. The added bonus is they are made with all natural ingredients and no added sugar.

Now only if I could win the lottery. Did you know the lottery is currently at 80 million?

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Free Groceries!!!!

Thanks to imommies I learned about a grocery promotion that was happening at Safeway from January 31-February 12th. I was so excited and definately took advantage of this deal. Check out what I got!

O.k. so here is how it worked. When you bought 5 Sarah Lee items you were given a coupon for $10 off your next purchase. So here is what I did. I bought 5 Hillshire Farms sausages which came to a total of $12.50. They then gave me a $10 coupon. I took that $10 coupon and bought 5 packs of lunchmeat with it. They then printed me out another coupon which I bought another 5 packs of lunchmeat. They gave me another $10 coupon which I used to buy three packs of hotdogs and two packs of buns. They gave me another $10 coupon which I have saved and will use on the new free groceries coupon. All in all I technically spent $2.50 on all of these groceries!

BTW if you are interested in a free bag of Veggie Crisps click here.
I went to the site, printed out the coupon, and brought a bag home for the girls. They were gone in half of an hour.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Quote of the day!

While we were out and about today KK had to go peepee. The public toilet she was using had just been cleaned and had blue water in it. As she was peeing she said, "Look Mommy, yellow and blue make green!"

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Valentine's Dessert

This year for Valentines's Day I decided to make some chocolate covered strawberries for dessert. Aly loves strawberries so I assumed she would love these. Hubby and I love strawberries and chocolate as well. KK doesn't like strawberries though so I knew she wouldn't be into it.

Aly ended up refusing to try the strawberries. I didn't even try with KK. So they ended up being all for hubby and I. I think I ate three. Hubby really liked them and demolished the rest. I had to be careful because he brought me home a box of Seas candy so I couldn't eat too much sugar!

Aly and KK got some books in the mail from sticker grandma. KK was so happy with her coloring book that she could care less that we had a present for her. We had even bought her one of her favorite toys--Dora Super Babies. Next time we will save sticker grandma's presents for last--ha, ha.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Check out my new blog design by Annette

Wow, I am so lucky to have this toadily cute blog design done by Annette. For the past month or two I have been eyeing other people's frog designs on their blogs. I have toadily wished that my blog could have some cutesie cartoon frog designs. Lately Annette has been asking me to show her some of the blogs I like. So I did. She told me it was toadily easy to do and that if I found her the graphics I wanted she would be able to make me a new templet. In the beginning I wasn't really finding anything so she pointed me in the direction of digital scrapbooking designs. That is exactly where I found the designs I wanted for this templet.
In addition to her helping me redesign my blog, she also came over on Monday to help teach me how to design my own family webpage using front page. I am almost done. Just waiting for startlogic to get my domain name transferred and I will be up and running. Once that is complete I will post the URL with my family webpage. Annette did a great job teaching me and although it took me awhile to get it down, she was very patient and was a great teacher.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Aly the photographer

For Christmas we got Aly a Fisher Price digital camera. Within hours both girls were fighting over the camera. I had no idea this would happen since KK is only 2 years old. So the next day we went out and spent some of the money KK got for Christmas on a V-Tech camera. Aly actually liked the V-tech camera better and it was more difficult to use than the Fisher Price camera so we let them trade. Here is a collection of some of the pictures they took.

As you can see the camera doesn't always take great quality pictures and at times can have lighting problems. But hey, the camera is more for fun when you are 2 and 4 years old then for quality.

I never used Adobe photoshop to crop pictures. These pictures are in their raw form as taken by Aly in most cases. Usually when KK takes pictures it is of her feet or the carpet. She hasn't really figured out how to frame a picture yet.

O.k., I took the picture of KK on the right. I just had to, she was so cute sleeping. She really looks like my Dad, especially in the lips.

Aly took the picture of me on the left. I took the picture on the right and I was the crazy one that wrote the message on the car. What was I thinking wanting more snow? We sure got our wish and the snow still hasn't melted all away!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

The Friendship Crisis--dedicated to Amy

I received the following email from a friend today and it was so good I just had to post it on my blog. It is totally what I believe and hope for in a friend and also try to live up to as a friend as well.

Adapted from The Friendship Crisis, by Marla Paul (Rodale Press, 2004).Everybody needs friends! Having someone to laugh with, cry with--someone who understands and cares and supports you--is part of what makes life worth living. But in today's busy world, we often don't make enough time to nurture those friendships that are so essential.

SIMPLE SOLUTION: Here are five tips that are the equivalent of friendship vitamins, sure to help a relationship flourish. Read them here:

1. Pay attention. Keep tabs on the significant events in a friend's life. Did her daughter just head off to college? Call to see how she's holding up and invite her over for coffee. Did her dad have bypass surgery? Check in.

2. Exercise your dialing finger. Okay, most of us have touch-tone phones, but you get the idea: friendship thrives on knowing the minutiae of each other's lives. You can't know them unless you stay in touch. Don't quibble about whose turn it is to call.

3. Crack open your date book. The happiest women wedge spaces into their week for pals no matter how busy they are. They meet for muffins before work, hit side-by-side treadmills at the health club, sashay out for dinner on a weeknight. Make it a nonnegotiable date.

4. Raise a flute of champagne. Sure, we need people when life clops us between the eyes. But it's just as important to cheer the victories. Did she finally finish her master's thesis or nab a promotion? Take her out to lunch or send her a note.

5. Rain compliments. Most of us don't get a lot of strokes--from our boss, our family, or our kids. That's what friends are for. I know a woman who makes me feel gorgeous and brilliant--well, at least attractive and capable--nearly every time we talk. How could you not love her?

I am so lucky that I was able to find this friendship with my best friend Amy. She is my rock as I have said to others on numerous occasions. She totally follows all 5 of the friendship vitamins. Amazingly enough even after she has moved to Montana we have still remained as close as ever. We call eachother many times a day. We know silly things such as what eachother ate for lunch and how well our children slept last night. We also know deeper things and help eachother through the rough patches of our lives. Amy this blog is dedicated to you and I will always treasure our friendship. I love you and feel so blessed to have such an amazing person in my life. You are my hero, my best friend.

Kindness Slips

The most amazing thing is happening at preschool lately. Aly's teacher is promoting kindness for the month of February and let me just tell you, the power of this activity is really working well in our home! Aly's teacher has made slips called kindness slips. Everytime Aly does something kind we get to fill out a kindness slip. These slips are returned to school. The teacher reads them out loud and puts a candy heart in a jar for each kindness slip. When the jar is full they will have a party.

I love this activity. Aly is going around everyday now being incredibly helpful. Do you know the other day while I was downstairs Aly was upstairs picking her sisters clothes out and helping her get dressed? I was in shock. Nothing had even been mentioned about getting dressed for the day. They were so cute in their room together getting their clothes on. Of course I filled out a kindness slip for that one.

Later that day KK is in the bathroom and Aly is sitting next to her helping her go to the bathroom. She helped her get toilet paper to wipe and was helping her put her clothes back on. DING, DING, another kindness slip!

The next day Aly and KK are sitting in the computer chair while Aly is playing on noggin. She is patiently asking KK where KK wants her to play next and what she wants her to click on. KK is answering and Aly is doing exactly what she said. YES! This is exactly what I like to see in my house, peace, harmony, collaboration! Another kindness slip goes out to Aly.

I think that this activity should happen every month. It should never end. (Course if it didn't I wonder if the novelty would wear off anyway)

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Family Dinner for $5 or less

This past Thanksgiving I discovered this receipe and have been using it ever since. It is a family favorite and even after trying similar receipes we like this one the best.

Turkey Stuffing Dinner

1 package stove top stuffing mix prepared

2 cups cooked broccoli

2 cups cooked turkey--or chicken

1 can Cream of Celery Soup

1/2 cup of milk

1 cup of shredded Cheddar cheese (4 ounces)

Prepare stuffing mix and spoon into a 9x9 glass baking dish. Arrange the turkey and broccoli ontop of the stuffing mix. In small bowl comine soup, milk, and 1/2 cup of cheese. Pour the mixture over the turkey and broccoli. Sprinkle remaining cheese over the top.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until hot. Serves 4.

This is a very easy receipe to make. When I don't have leftover turkey or chicken, I take two chicken breasts and boil them in hot water until they are fully cooked.

Monday, February 4, 2008

The girls play dress up!

How cute they were this morning. As I am up on the computer typing away I hear Aly say to KK, "Come on KK, let's play princesses. You can be Cinderella and I will be Snow White." KK excitedly agrees and they both dash off into the playroom to get their costumes. Moments later they are both in the computer room asking me to help them put their costumes on.

They were both so happy together in their princess outfits. Although they didn't really do anything other than walk around and feel pretty. Perhaps that is what princesses do--I wouldn't know I have never even remotely been interested. I am such a tomboy I have never really been into the dress up thing.

As much as Aly loves the Cinderella dress she simply does not fit into it anymore. So she has to settle for the Snow White dress. Although from the looks of it I think she is outgrowing that as well. So I guess my only option for dress up clothes for her is to buy Halloween costumes in the bigger sizes since the dress up clothes pretty much only come in one size.

We are officially snowed in!

Since last Thursday we have got even more snow. We were lucky on Friday that it warmed up to 36 degrees and melted half of our snow. However it has been snowing off and on since Friday at 5 p.m. So now we have over a foot and a half of snow!!! Crazy huh!

Check out our car. We couldn't even get that out if we tried. The worst part is we have layers of snow and ice all mixed in. Check out the gate on our deck, we can't even open that!

This is our front yard and how we drive out to get to the main road. It may be hard to tell but to get out of our driveway we have to go right and gain speed to go up a steep gravel road. That is what causes us to get stuck. We can't make it out and up the hill at the same time!

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Round Table Pizzas Big Vinnie Pizza...not so good

Tonight hubby and I were supposed to go out to dinner and leave the girls with a babysitter. However, hubby was sick. This dissapointed Aly so I told her I would take her out for pizza instead. All day little KK kept asking to go bye, bye so I asked Aly if she wouldn't mind if KK came too. She said, "Oh mommy, that would be a great idea. I would just love my sister to come."

I decided to call ahead to have the pizza ready for when we arrived. Much better than sitting around trying to entertain a 2 and 4 year old for a half hour while we wait. Apon our arrival the pizza was ready. I ordered the Big Vinnie as it was on sale for $12.99. An extra large peperoni for that price sounded good to me.

When we ate our pizza I was in shock. Either they made a mistake or I don't like New York style pizza. I ordered it with half garlic sauce and half red sauce. There was no sauce on the whole pizza, or at least I couldn't taste any. So I asked the lady if they made a mistake and didn't put sauce on it. She looked at it and said they must have made a mistake and she would make me a new one. I few minutes later another worker came out to tell me that a New York style pizza has lite sauce and that is the way it was made. She said she would go ahead and make me another one since the coupon doesn't state that it is lite on the sauce. This time they were supposed to add extra sauce.

I brought the pizza home to hubby and to my dissapointment it still didn't have any sauce or at least we couldn't find any. So I ask you, is that really how they make New York Style pizza's? Or are they just trying to cut back on their products to yield a higher profit margin? If you are familiar with New York pizza please comment and let me know!

Friday, February 1, 2008

Myspace, so why do it?

I am sure many people that do not do myspace think of it as a way to meet people up for a relationship or what not. Or a way for child predators to find unsuspecting teenagers. While I am sure this happens there are ways to safe guard against it. Set your profile to private.

I joined myspace a year ago I think. Originally I just joined because a few of my friends were on there and I thought it would be fun. I soon discovered though that it had a whole lot more to offer. I have already found three of my old HS friends that I have not been in contact with since HS. I was soo excited. I have even found friends from ten or more years ago. It is reallly nice to find old friends and catch up. I also was lucky enough to find a friend that I had not seen or talked to since I was 12 years old. So what was that like 22 years ago. Amazing! I have enjoyed that the most from myspace.

It has also gave me the opportunity to find old students that I used to teach. Many of these students that I had in second or third grade are now sophmores and juniors in HS. It has been fun to see what has happened to them and where they hope to go after HS. It has also been an eye opener to the teenage community and has let me see exactly what teenagers are up to in this day and age.

For those of you contemplating myspace I say go for it. Set your profile to private and find those friends that you lost touch with. I think you will really enjoy it.