Pajama Momma- Doing Lame, Tedious Stuff So You Don’t Have To.

I’ve been trying to figure out ways to cut costs in my household budget. Not just because of the way the gas and food prices have gone up, but because as my household manager it’s the responsible thing to do. I’m trying to play catch up now from some of the more idiotic financial mistakes I’ve made in the past. As a stay at home mom of 4, cutting costs has become sort of a game for me. An obsession.

 I can remember back in the day (last year) when, by the time I bought product, I got out of the hair salon for just under $200 and my hair didn’t even look anywhere near as purty as John Edwards.

I found a really good hairdresser at Hair Cuttery, shocker I know, but this woman has a line waiting out the door for her. If I don’t let her blow dry my hair, it only costs me $13. I also color my own hair now. I wanted to find a way to get my box o’ hair color cheaper.

So I found this chick’s blog, I don’t know how I found it. It’s one of those I clicked on a link that lead me to a link that had me click on another link until I stopped. She has a post called, “Couponing For Dummies”

It was about www.thegrocerygame.com. I was turned off immediately.

I’d done this game when I lived in San Diego. Back then I didn’t care what kind of stuff I got because I was a fast food mom, poor Graham, it was all about convenience. That and I didn’t know how to cook worth squat. Most of the coupons were for crap food. It was also annoying because everybody and their brothersister did the game too, so if I wasn’t up at 4am, everything was gone and I got rainchecks from the grocery store. Ugh, just what I wanted, more paper to stick in my coupon organizer. I was also overwhelmed with the whole deal. I lost interest.

Now, that I’m all growed up, I’m less than impressed with coupons. It’s all crap cereal and fruit snacks, right?

Nope, wrong! 

I decided to peak at the grocery game again because it only a $1 for a 4 week trial. I can’t lose only spending a $1 right? I got the newspaper last Sunday and the first coupon I get is a $1 off Pampers. No Gavin’s not potty trained yet, he’s anal retentive, er penil retentive stubborn. I’m ok with that, he’ll learn, either that or the kids are really gonna work him in junior high if he’s still wearing diapers.

Anyhoo, “the grocery game’s” not just about coupons, it shows you where the best deals on food are in your area by tracking the sales trends for items. It also tells you when and where to apply your coupons if you want them. Just because you get a coupon in this Sunday’s paper, doesn’t mean you should use it that Sunday. It might not be good to use it for 3 more months. You’ll get deals on items like meat and produce and baby items and toothpaste and shampoo and razors and soap. Not just crap food!

The Sunday before last it took me the whole day to cut and sort and figure out what the heck I was doing and I started to wonder if it was worth it. I went to the grocery store and got $280 worth of items for $140. This Sunday was a lot easier because I had my coupon organizer and new what I was doing. sorta. 

However, because I’m still a skeptic, I wondered, well, what if I took the list the Grocery Game gave me and compared it to Super Target or Super Walmart and applied the coupons and deals there? Surely the box stores would win, right?

I took the 3 little ones with me yesterday to Super Target to do some comparison shopping with a plan of comparing to Super Walmart the next day. Don’t even bother to say it, I’ll tell you the answer right now. Yes, I do have too much time on my hands. 

Mom, why are we here so long and we aren’t we buying anything?

Mom, are we ever going to leave?

Nope, we’re gonna live here forever. See those tents over there? That’s where we’re sleeping tonight. We’ll finish your schooling in the book section and you can get married in aisle 9.

Mom, I have to go to the bathroom.

NOOOOO! We were just in there!

Madeleine it’s ok if you have Lisa Gavin be your puppy, but please don’t have him play dead in the middle of the aisle. People might run him over.

Here, here’s some chocolate. That will keep you guys quiet, well at least till it hits your bloodstream.

3 1/2 hours and 5 bathroom trips later we left and I tallied the results. The Grocery Game won. Sometimes in huge margins, sometimes by only pennies and on occassion, not at all. But all in all The Game won. Best thing of all? There’s boatloads of haircolor coupons in there. Now I just have to pick a color and stick to it.

There’s no way in hell I’m going to Wal-mart today for any more comparison shopping.

Pjmommy also got a job! Did I forget to mention that? It’s a grueling 6 hours a week. When I got hired I forgot to even ask how much I was getting paid because it’s obviously not a life changing amount. I’m only in it because I can take the little ones with me as I work in the daycare and my gym membership becomes free. I’m also hoping being forced to be there anyways will motivate me to workout more.

I’m tired.

[update] I should clarify that with the grocery game I’m not running to a gazillion different stores. I go to Publix (which is our local grocer) and CVS and they’re two shops from each other in the same complex.

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Bike ride anyone?

This Friday I am planning on participating in Critical Mass. Not sure which role I will play -Rider or Spectator but either way it will be a fun experience.

I love stuff like this but to be smart, I will be extremely reserved…..I imagine the Sheriff’s academy would frown upon arrested recruits.

Interested? See if Critical Mass events take place in your town. Ride on!

Needs Salt

So the kids and I went to the local grocery store today and they have this really cool recipe deal where each week they feature a new recipe and have all the ingredients to it in a little fridge right by where this guy does a demo of the actual meal. It’s called Publix Apron’s Simple Meals.

I decided to try this out because I’m all motivated now as I’ve been watching the Food Network lately with the kids, thanks to tescosuicide and Madeleine wants me to make “fancy” meals for the family.

So I picked out a recipe for us to try, of course I don’t pick the one that has all the ingredients right there. I had to hunt all over the flippin store for my ingredients, but we did it.

We actually got one recipe from the Food Network too. Banana Pudding Bites. Not my idea of a dessert, but the kids were really excited about it. I don’t use sugar free anything because I think artificial sweeteners are the spawn of Satan. and we only have full fat milk for the kids so that’s what we use too. One other substitution is that Madeleine wanted chocolate pudding instead of vanilla. Fine, no problem.
This is what the dinner is supposed to look like:
Warning, this is no foodie blog. If you’re a food snob (kare-kare) you can just bugger off right now, cuz this ain’t near as purty as the photo above, but it tasted divine. 
This is what mine looked like:
This is what it looked like trying to show off and be fancy with wine.
The recipe required a 1/2 cup dry white wine and so there was plenty left over. Someone needed to finish the bottle. I don’t normally drink wine, but I magnanimously volunteered myself for the job. I didn’t use an expensive bottle of wine, it was $16, but the better the wine, the better the flavor. Oh yeah, it’s called Chicken Primavera with Parmesan Pasta.
And here’s the dessert that Madeleine and Garren helped make.
They were actually yummy. I’m so glad I got 40 min. in on the elliptical today.
On a side note, since some of  you will be looking at this post for Warrior Diet information, the dinner portion is approved, however, try to eat the veggies first, then the chicken, then the pasta. That’s not how it’s presented in the photo
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« Reply #1 on: August 14, 2007, 09:56:13 AM »
 

Hey, great question. You know we all struggle with that particular issue. Let me just say – make the hierarchy of food your standard for all meals, as delineated in the Warrior Diet book. It is of utmost importance, especially for proper digestion and maintaining optimum weight and health. But, as you state, there are times when you want to have a pasta or other dish that has everything mixed up therein. In those cases, enjoy yourself. Just don’t make that the norm for your diet. If you do, you’ll have trouble getting the results that you want. It won’t hurt to stray on occasion. However, if you do mix it all up, just make sure that you don’t overdo the carbs by eating bread with it, if you can help it. The other thing I suggest is to eat a good salad prior to such dishes. You shouldn’t have any problem doing that first. It’ll set up your stomach with good enzymes for digestion of what’s to follow.

I hope this helps!

Tummy Tuck Results

still got a pink bellybutton, but I’m very happy with the results

The lines you see below my bellybutton are from the brace I will have to wear for a couple more weeks. I don’t have any “before” photos of my stomach, but it looked very similar to this one.

I’d like to thank Dr. Dean DeRoberts of Aesthetic Center of Jacksonville. I could not have gotten better quality if I had a “surgeon to the stars”. You rock!

[UPDATE] For those of you curious, they took five pounds of fat and tissue off me. Hah, I was actually disapointed. I was sure I had like 12 lbs of fat there and was so excited thinking there was going to be this insane difference in the scale. Um, nope, not gonna happen.

This is what I looked like the day after my surgery.

This is why I got it done.

Love Letters

It’s old, but I’m PMS and craving some serious carbs right now.

If My Kids Wanted An Organized Mother They Should Have Thought Of That Before They Were Born

My kids, like any other kid need to be exercised, pretty much like a pet does. They got ripped off the first part of summer because of my surgery. It’s only lately that I’ve been taking them to the local pool.

This local pool is actually about 40 min away because it’s the only one with a baby pool and this way I don’t have to get in the pool with Gavin. I have dissolvable stitches and told the kids my stomach would flop open and my guts would fall out if they got wet. What? It could be true, I don’t know.

I feel really bad for the kids being so bored. It just didn’t dawn on me that I would be incapacitated for so dang long, so I didn’t plan ahead for things to keep them busy. I have a couple girlfriends who enroll their kid in every single vacation bible school they can find regardless of religious affiliation. It’s free and they take your kids all day. I can’t bring myself to do that. We’ll see by the end of summer how crazy they’re driving me. I might be tempted to take them to live in a hippie commune by then.

Anyhoo, it took me a while to get motivated to take them yesterday. The pool’s open from 1-6 and we got there about 3. I had to stop and get a hat because it’s hotter than a mofo out there and I don’t need any more freckles. I also got the kids Chik-fil-A kids meals because I had a free coupon. There’s no way I could afford 4 kids’ meals without that coupon.

And this is how the day at the pool went.

arrive, lifeguard kindly brings me a chair so I can sit by the baby pool.

puts sunscreen on kids, sets up beach towels, makes sure everyone has their drinking water and puts their shoes over by me. puts swim pants on Gavin and sets everyone loose

kids hop into the pool.

lifeguard immediately blows whistle and says, “Alright, everybody out of the pool. Break time.”

15 minutes later lifeguard blows the whistle signaling free swim

everybody gets back in the pool

hour later lifeguard blows whistle break time

15 minutes later lifeguard blows the whistle signaling free swim

1 minute later the lifeguard blows the whistle

“Everybody out of the pool, lightning.”

I can’t wait till we can go to the beach.

 

Garren’s Checklist

Several times a day since I’ve had my tummy tuck my 4 year old Garren comes in to check on me, not out of concern, but curiosity, kinda like seeing a carnival freak show.

“Mom, can I see the bruise on your bootie?”

“Mom, can I see your blood thing?” (my stent drain)

“Mom can I see your new bellybutton?”

“Mom, can I see your gold tooth?” (not sure how my crown worked it’s way into this)

The day of the procedure I came home and the kids were dying to see me. Before they came in my room my mother warned them,  “Do NOT touch your mother because it will hurt her, she’s in pain.”

Garren’s standing over me going thru his checklist of things to see for the first time and he was just so cute I couldn’t resist cupping his little face in my hand. He said, “Mom! Don’t touch me! Are you in pain?” Poor kid thinks he’s the reason for my pain. (If he only knew)

Ok, gonna show some of my photos under the fold, if you’re squeamish don’t look. Any perverted comments about my backside will be deleted. Continue reading