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January, 2008:

New Year’s Resolution 2008 – January Update

I do not like New Year’s Resolutions. I never make them. I figure, if I’m going to do something, why not start now instead of wait until that magic date on the calendar? But then I read a blog entry by Chris at Notes From The Trenches. Her family is saying goodbye to spending this year. I thought that sounded like a great idea! I mean, of course we need some things . . . food for one . . . but Target is one place where I can’t just buy what’s on my list! No sirreeeee – because they ALWAYS have a clearance rack, and we all know that you can’t leave a store without checking out the clearance rack. So, I’ve decided to try it out – no impulse spending – no buying a pair of shoes because they’re cute and on sale if the peoples already have a gazillion pair of shoes that fit. No more buying a cute shirt off the clearance rack if the peoples already have 847 long sleeved shirts. I will, however, draw the line at not buying ridiculously cheap things on sale that will fit next year. I’ve also decided to keep a spreadsheet of how much I save . . . I figure that’ll add fuel to the fire when I tell Hubby I’m actually really ready to get rid of the car and get something with 4-wheel drive so I can actually make it up the hill to our house in the winter up here in the snowbelt :-)

Anywho, this first month has gone swimmingly! I’m quite surprised at how this little resolution has really influenced my shopping. So far, this is what we saved in January:

Blokus – We bought this game because we’ve heard it is so much fun. But it was $30! And we have a gazillion games. So, we returned it and figured we could buy it when the kids get older and we need new games. Add $30 to the saved list!

Pictures - Because I’m an organization freak, at the end of each month I go through the photos I’ve downloaded from my camera and order prints of the ones I want to put in our scrapbooks. I’m quite impatient, and when I decide I want something, I want it now, which means I usually go for the 1-hour photo option at Walmart.com. With our wonderful trip to MN in December, I ordered a ridiculous number of photos. I had them all uploaded and ready to print and then I stopped to get realistic – there is no way I’m going to scrapbook ANY of these photos any time before next fall, let alone in the next couple of hours! So I opted for the 5-7 -day home delivery option. The price tag for the photos was still a whopping $114.97. BUT, by stepping back and thinking about it, I saved $44.50! Dang! Add $44.50 to the saved list.

Calendar Paper – Each year the kids and I make 3 scrapbook calendars; 1 for each set of grandparents. It’s their Christmas gift from Jason and Keira. I buy the supplies in January so I can make them throughout the year – much less stressful. A few weeks ago I headed to Archiver’s and bought the 3 calendars. I also usually buy the Calendar Paper Pack – it’s just an easy way to make the calendars look nice. I got to the checkout and realized that I had 2 30% off coupons. One expired that day, and the other wasn’t valid until the next day. Soooooo, I passed on the paper and went back a week later when I could use the 30% off coupon. The 2007 Me would have bought it that day because I didn’t want to go back. But the 2008 Me figured I’d grace the BW3 next door with my presence for lunch some day in the next week or so, so I could wait. I saved a whoppin’ $2.50. Add $2.50 to the saved list!

Step Stool – I LOVE Bed Bath and Beyond. I went there to get a new blender because mine broke – again. I bought an awesome one that was on sale, had an additional $20 rebate, and used my 20% off coupon. I didn’t add any of that to the list, but what I DID add to the list was a step stool. The kids have been great at helping with the dishes, but they need a stool to reach the counter and sink. I figured I’d buy them a little step stool to keep in the kitchen. Then I decided better of it when I realized they’ve been using the chairs just fine up until now; we do not NEED a step stool. So I put it back. Add $10 to the saved list!

TV – I may be stretching it a bit with this one, but I figured it deserved a place on the list. The TV in our room quit working last week. How annoying! We don’t watch a lot of TV, but we do watch 24 on DVD and the News. Now we couldn’t do either in our room! The 2007 Me would have insisted that we go out that day and replace the TV/DVD player in our room. BUT, the 2008 Me said this instead . . . Let’s just take the TV out of the guest bedroom. The TV in there is hardly ever used. If our guests want to watch TV, they can watch in the family room just down the hall. AND, if WE want to watch 24, we can use the TV and DVD player in the family room as well. So we took the smaller, older TV from the guest bedroom and put it in our room. Add $350 to the saved list!

So, the grand total savings for the month of January: $437.00!

Well on my way to saving enough for a new vehicle if you ask me 😉

Wordless Wednesday – Never Too Cold For Sledding

Keira Sledding

To Care For Your Motorola Phone…

I FINALLY got a new phone (thank you Honey!) – one where the battery lasts long enough to complete an entire 2 minute call, one that will synchronize with my Outlook calendar and contacts (bye bye Palm Pilot!), and one that is not older than my oldest child (he’s 7). I’m reading the manual, because I’m a writer and I HAVE to read the manual before beginning; I wouldn’t, afterall, want the person who wrote this manual to feel bad if I just threw it back in the box without reading it. Anywho, being that my job is to write user manuals and instructions every day all day, I’m always amazed at what we have to document; because there’s always SOMEONE out there who does the stupid thing, so we have to actually write “don’t do that dumbass!

So I get to page 7, which is titled Use and Care. Here is what it says:

To care for your Motorola phone, please keep it away from:

  • Liquids of Any Kind – do not expose your phone to water, rain, extreme humidity, sweat, or other moisture. Aw crap – you mean I can’t put it in my sports bra the next time I’m on the eliptical?
  • Extreme Heat or Cold – Avoid temperatures below -10 degrees C/14 degrees F or above 45 degrees C/113 degrees F. Well, I guess going outside AT ALL last week woulda been out of the question since it was -10 F! And I couldn’t have taken it on our dinosaur tracks tour last September, because it was 131 degrees!
  • Dust and Dirt – don’t expose your phone to dust, dirt, sand, food, or other inappropriate materials. I REALLY don’t want to know what the “other inappropriate materials” are that they’re referring to.
  • Cleaning Solutions – To clean your phone, use only a dry soft cloth. Don’t use alcohol or other cleaning solutions. Now THIS one I can’t understand. Really? No disinfectant? No sanitizer? Nothing more than a dry cloth?
  • The Ground – Don’t drop your phone. Ummmmm . . . hmmmmm, maybe I should send the phone back right now. Phone number 1 was the size of a rotary phone – it had to be one of the originals. Phone number 2 was much smaller, but found it’s way to the ground many many times. Phone number 3 was perfect – I loved it, until the battery started to not work so well. Phone number 4 was awesome – until I smashed it between the seat and the seat back when the seat sprung up after I jumped up to yell and scream at another Brett Favre touchdown pass at the Packers vs Vikings game! Back to Phone number 3, which still worked great – until the screen went blank. It didn’t stop working immediately after I dropped it on the concrete floor. It waited a week – then decided it had had enough. Let’s hope Phone number 5 can stay above ground!
  • Microwaves – Don’t try to dry your phone in a microwave oven. Really?! Are you KIDDING me? Somebody ACTUALLY did this, and now you have to write it in the user manual?

They should have just written:

To care for your motorola phone, please keep it away from humans. You are all clumsy dumb asses who don’t deserve to have a phone that isn’t attached to the wall.

Moody Monday

Moody Keira 01

 Moody Keira 02

Moody Keira 03

Moody Keira 04

Moody Keira 05

Life Decisions

Life decisions that people make are never simple. The importance of the initial decision should always be examined over the long run. Memories made and cherished are sure to be tempered along the way. Consider the following two choices…

Should I Get A Dog

Dog Couch

Or Have Children

Kids Paint

Adoption Update

Back in December I reported bad news about Keira’s teacher’s adoption. It ended up that Little Girl had to go back to Mexico for only 8 days instead of 3 weeks. They did grant her a new temporary Visa, but of course not until the holidays were over, so she had to spend the holidays alone in the orphanage.

BUT, last weekend, Ms. Lupita went back to Mexico to talk to the brand new judge who has been assigned this case. And this guy actually has morals and feelings! He met with Ms. Lupita on a Saturday, which is a huge deal. He had to cancel their meeting on Friday because his mother is gravely ill . . . but he made the trip back to the city on Saturday to meet with Lupita because he said what had happened and what was happening was ridiculous and had to end with a happy adoption.

Soooooo, it was in his hands. He was working with New Hampshire (sorry, not Mass. as I previously reported) to get the birth certificate thing all straightened out – and he even admitted NH is a state 😉 He’s very actively involved in all aspects of the adoption rather than making Ms. Lupita do it all herself and battle the system from afar. She is going back to Mexico in a couple weeks to hopefully finalize the entire adoption and be done with the mess.

Prayers for Ms. Lupita and her family that this adoption is finalized SOON!

Wordless Wednesday – Dog Attack

Dog Attack

Babies vs Puppies

How is it that a tiny little puppy can be outside with you for 15 minutes, poop and pee in every place possible in the yard, yet 5 minutes later decide she just CAN’T wait to go again and has to pee on the floor?

Life with Duma is fun :-) But I’m a total zombie because quite frankly, having a puppy is WORSE than having a baby in the house.

Babies – feed them a bottle and they go in to that milk coma and take a nice long nap.
Puppies – feed them a meal and they become something akin to the Tazmanian Devil. Not so much fun when you’re house training and HAVE to have them in your sights at all times.

Babies – are toothless when they are born and even though they like to put things in their mouth, they can’t bite.
Puppies – come with a bunch of tiny needles attached to their gums! They especially like to chew on little fingers and antique rocking chairs. (I immediately moved the chair downstairs to the guest room – that thing is NOT getting ruined!)

Babies – stiffen, turn red, and pee and poop in their diaper.
Puppies – get up, walk around the room 3 times, sniff everything except their own behind, turn in 3 circles, then sit down – psych! They let you take them outside anyway, and they just sit there and stare at you like you’re crazy for making them freeze their paws off in -5 degrees. They oblige by peeing a bit so you’ll take them back inside. 10 minutes later, without any warning, they squat and do their business.

Babies – lay on the floor on a blanket and love it when you lay next to them and talk to them.
Puppies – lay on the floor on a blanket and love it when you lay next to them and talk to them, because that’s the signal that they can jump on your head, bite your hair, and try to run down the hall with you in tow.

Babies – wake up at night because they’re hungry or have a messy diaper. You walk across the hall into a warm bedroom, pick up a warm cuddly baby, change its diaper, feed it, put it back in bed, and walk back across the hall to your warm bed.
Puppies – wake up at night because they have to go potty. You get out of bed, walk down the hall, down 2 flights of stairs, into the office, pry open a kennel door, try to wrestle a collar on a 13 pound ball of fire, stuff your bare feet in snow boots, put on a flannel jacket, head outside in to 2 feet of snow and -10 degree temperatures, and follow your dog around the yard for 10 minutes until she finds EXACTLY the right spot to go potty while you keep an eye out for coyotes and the occasional mountain lion. Then you high tail it into the house, wrestle said puppy back in to the kennel, and race upstairs to your own bathroom because cold weather is not a good thing for a full bladder.

Ahhhh – good times, good times.

Random Recipes – Birthday Cheesecake

Pam at Random Thoughts is hosting another Random Recipes exchange!

Nothing says Happy Birthday like sugar and more sugar, right? So here goes – thanks to my MIL for this AWESOME cheesecake recipe!

CHEESECAKE

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 C Graham Cracker Crumbs (about 15 squares)
  • 3 T Butter or Margarine – melted
  • 5  8 oz. pkgs Cream Cheese – softened (the real stuff, not low fat)
  • 1 3/4 C Sugar
  • 3 T Flour
  • 2-3 t Lemon Peel – grated
  • 1/4 t Salt
  • 5 Eggs
  • 2 Egg Yolks
  • 1 1/4 C Whipping Cream

To Make Graham Cracker Crust – Oven 350

Mix graham cracker crumbs and 3 T butter. Pat in bottom of spring form pan. Bake 5 minutes then cool.

To Make Cheesecake – Oven 475

Beat cream cheese, sugar, flour, lemon peel, salt, and 2 eggs in mixer until smooth.

Add other 3 eggs and yolks one at a time until smooth.

Blend in whipping crem on low speed.

Pour over graham cracker crust in spring form pan.

Bake 15 minutes at 475. Reduce temperature to 200 and bake 1 hour.

Turn oven off and leave in for 15 minutes.

Remove and cool completely.

Loosen from side of pan and remove outer rim of pan.

Cover and refrigerate up to 10 days.

*Best when served after being chilled in fridge for a few hours to make it firm.

*Be careful not to jump around when it’s baking or the center will crack.

ENJOY!

Is It Possible?

I’m a Target person. I am not a fan of Wal-Mart. I avoided Wally World with all my might, UNTIL they built one about 5 miles from my house. When all you need is laundry detergent, it’s a lot more convenient to go to Wally World than drive 10 miles to Target. In the past 8 months I’ve been known to bless Wally World with my presence, without even yelling at my kids while in the store! While I still prefer Target and am still not converted to full Wally World-dom, I did go there with my daughter this morning on our way to school – had to get a couple things for Duma.

While in Wal-Mart, I exclaimed not once, not twice, but three times “OMG – this is EXACTLY what I was looking for!”

I didn’t even know it was possible to find exactly what I was looking for in Wally World!

Have I been converted? Not yet . . . but today didn’t hurt.