Friday, April 24, 2009

Vons "Living Well" shopping trips

I love this promotion. Love love love. This is the result of my shopping this week:

2 sun chips
2 capri sun (usually I don’t buy these, but they were free and they make nice treats for the kids)
2 jars peanut butter
2 boxed frozen veggies
2 bertolli frozen meals
3 ice creams (starbucks, ben and jerrys)
1 bag no yolk noodles
6 boxes spaghetti
6 jars classico pasta sauce
1 can pizza sauce
2 pizzas
4 cans green beans
4 boxes lipton soup mix
1 kraft salad dressing
1 jar mayonaise
4, 4 pack yogurts (16 total)
10 lb turkey breast
3 dove shampoo
1 crest toothpaste

Total cost, after coupons, promotions, and rebates (the turkey is free with the Unilever rebate): $42.65
(to put that in perspective, regular sale prices for these items is $131.84)

My pantry and freezer are full and happy and I plan to do very minimal buying for the next long time. :)

If you are interested in seeing what others are doing, Moneywise Moms has a Mr. Linky up for this promotion. There are lots of bloggers writing about what they're doing! Part of how I prepare for my own shopping trips is browsing what others have done - you can get good ideas that way.

Happy shopping! Happy saving!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Vons "Living Well" promotion

If you need to re-stock your pantry, now is the time to do it at Vons! They are currently running a "Living Well" promotion, where you buy $30 (pre-manufacturer coupons, but after store coupons) of participating products and get a $10 catalina at checkout, good on your next order.

Good things about this:
* You can roll the catalina. This means that you can do one order, and then come right back and spend your $10 on another "$30" of products, and get another $10 catalina. Sometimes clerks will even let you do them back to back, just splitting your order on the conveyer belt. Sometimes. Know your clerk if you're going to try this.
* There are something like 3000 participating products. It is likely that anything you want to stock up on will be part of the promotion, as long as you aren't picky about your brands.
* You can "double dip" promotions.

For example, this week there is a special offer where if you buy two Classico pasta sauces (2/$4) you get two Safeway pastas for free (specially marked, check the tags.) Now, $2 for a jar of Classico sauce is a decent price to begin with. Free pasta is even better. AND Classico is part of the LW promotion, which means that you are effectively (after catalina) paying only 67 cents on the dollar. And as if that wasn't good enough already, you can print a coupon here for $1 off 2.

So if you do this as part of the LW deal, your effective out of pocket cost for two sauces and two boxes of spaghetti is $1.68. Like I said, it is time to stock up. :)

A caveat:
BE CAREFUL and read your tags. You want to be very, very sure that you did this deal right, because sometimes, the catalina machine glitches. If you know you're right, you can either talk to a manager about it at the store, or you can call the catalina company (888-322-3814) with your receipt information (date, store #, etc.) If you did the deal correctly they will send the catalina to you in the mail in a few days.

There are some great scenarios floating around right now: a few blogs I found helpful are My Frugal Adventures and Nifty Thrifty Mama.

Happy shopping!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

I'd like to be lazy, please.

Today has been a difficult day. Jonathan and I both got out of bed on the wrong side, and we've been clashing since about 30 seconds into the morning. I'm still trying to get over being sick and could really use more sleep than I actually get to have. And some days (like today) I just want to be lazy.

I'd like to ignore my responsibilities around the house (I can't keep up with them all, anyway) and pretend that I don't have small ones calling my name (I can't keep up with them, either.) I'd like to sit cuddled up in pillows on the couch and watch a television episode. Or two or three. And read a book. Garden in peace and quiet and have the bulbs I plant stay planted. Take a long cool shower without listening for the tell-tale wails of one child who has just been bonked by the other. Bake a loaf of homemade bread, listen to quiet music, eat chocolate cookies and drink cold glasses of iced tea.

Seriously, doesn't that sound nice?

The thing is, when you're a mom of littles, you just don't get to be lazy. Even when you really, really want to.

Instead, today we have gardened together, and the bulbs have been planted twice, and some of the plants have been stepped on.

I have read my to-do list quite a few times without actually checking anything off. I have read Calvin and Hobbes comics to Jonathan and attempted to explain why they are funny.

I have tried to get the dishes washed in between putting my kids in time out for hitting each other over the head. They still aren't done.

We have looked at a dead bug, lying in the palm of my hand, and counted its legs and its eyes and marveled at its wings.

Josiah has nursed and I started to read a book in the "encouragement to mothers" genre, only to give up in mild despair. Some days those books are inspiring. Not today.

I want to be lazy. I want to be lazy in the pleasant, enjoyable way where I choose not to accomplish anything on my list and just do fun things instead. It isn't nearly as nice to keep being diligent and still get to 3pm without much to show for it.

Thursday, April 16, 2009


A few weeks ago I had the privilege of hosting Elena in my home while she was in California for a friend's wedding. There was a lot of running around and I didn't see nearly enough of her, which I had expected and which was part of my (admittedly selfish) reason for asking her to stay at my house. When someone stays at your house you have more chances to talk to them. :)

Elena is fun to talk to. At any given time she is sure to be engrossed in at least six huge thought experiments. Dewey's theory of education. Whether we should read picture books to children. Leaven. Did Willie actually swallow that crayon or just chew on it. Sonnets. Women and head coverings. Authority.

She thinks with intensity. Like a dog trailing a rabbit, she follows anywhere that rabbit goes, often far beyond where most of us would stop, either exhausted or else just satisfied where we are. Sometimes she ends up in the wilds. Sometimes she finds an unexpected and beautiful new understanding.

This week she has written a beautiful essay on sourdough. And remember that this is Elena writing, so expect to be challenged and to think hard on the topic. Yes, I said sourdough.

Before you read her very thoughtful essay, though, go read her own introduction to it on her blog. It is the other side of Elena - the Elena who laughs her way through life, even at her own expense.

Thanks for helping me think well, Elena. I wish we lived closer.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Catching up (and Easter pictures!)

I keep meaning to blog. Really, I do. I take little mental notes, and sometimes I even take notes on paper, and I mean to write a post tonight, ok tomorrow, ok tomorrow night...and so it doesn't happen.

Now I can't find my list of notes of things I meant to blog about. That happens when your inbox fills up, overflows, and spills on the floor (assisted by a preschooler) a few too many times.

I'm also having trouble remembering if I just meant to blog about something, or if I actually did and just forgot. Don't tell me if you've already read most of this, ok?

Josiah is sitting up!

I promise, usually he thinks it is great. He turned six months old on Sunday, March 29th and promptly sat unassisted on Monday, March 30th. What an on-schedule baby.

Jonathan turned four years old! It has been an odd, spread-out sort of birthday for him: Grandma and Grandpa took him out for dinner and gave him his present the weekend before (and oh, what a present - grandparents and aunts and uncles went in together on it and he LOVES it!), then we did our dinner celebration with "Cowardly Clyde" from us and an airport puzzle from Grandmommy and Granddad (Mom, you keep giving my kids puzzles to do and surprising me with how well they can do it - Jonathan can do that puzzle better than I can!), and next Saturday he's going to have a party at the park with friends. We had to wait for the park party because what fun is a party in Lent when you can't have cake? :)

Anyway, in some ways it is odd to have it all spread out like this. But I kind of like having the presents spread out. I think he's more able to enjoy and appreciate each one when he's not inundated with all of them at once.

We've been talking with Jonathan and Thomas about Lent and Easter a lot. Jonathan is old enough to really start absorbing a lot of what we say and what he hears at church, and it is really fun to hear it repeated back to us through his four-year-old words. On Good Friday, while Gabe was driving them to church, Jonathan informed him that
"Jesus needed the bad people to put him on the cross so he could save [us from] all our sins."
Funny how important those two little words are, isn't it?

And lest our heads inflate and we pat ourselves on the back too much for raising such a theologically sound preschooler, that statement was followed by this one:
"The bad men nailed Jesus to the cross so that he couldn’t come down when they weren’t looking."
(We followed that one up with a discussion of how very surprised everyone was when Jesus walked out of the grave when they weren't looking!)

I love getting to teach (and then observe) preschoolers/toddlers as they learn about Jesus. It is simultaneously a fearsome responsibility, an utter joy when they say something that reveals they're getting it, and oh-so-funny to see it all through their eyes. Speaking of which, a few days before Easter Jonathan informed me very seriously that Lent had been much too long and it was really, really time for it to be Easter so he could eat candy again.

And oh, did we eat candy yesterday! I'm surprised the boys didn't make themselves sick - we did try to keep it in check but when there is a candy dish out for company and it is within reach - quite a lot was eaten. :)

We went to church first, even though we were sick. How can you miss EASTER??? (We couldn't.) There was an egg hunt for the kids afterward:

And we made an attempt at a family picture. Jonathan is still in the "don't take my picture" phase. How long does this one last?

We also dyed eggs and ate a lovely potluck meal with Gabe's extended family. We are blessed with some awesome aunts and uncles in the area. The boys love spending time with them...and dying eggs is so much easier when there is more than one adult per dye cup!

Isn't Jonathan's "oh my goodness!" face just priceless??

Thomas was ever so meticulous, as always.

Josiah and Grandpa:

Uncle Phillip taught the boys how to "chill".

And I do believe a good time was had by all.

Happy Easter Season!

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Shopping to give away

This weekend is a good time to get cheap and free items at Walmart. You probably won't need all of them, but think about spending some time picking extra things up anyway and donating them to a local homeless shelter or food bank. If you have a big Walmart you should be able to get all these; if you have a small one (like I do), YMMV. Also, depending on your area your prices may vary slightly. I find that my local prices (in Southern California) are often higher than the prices listed on coupon match sites.

For more Walmart coupon match-ups, visit Deal Seeking Mom. There are a lot more there - these are just some of my favorites that I'll be looking for this weekend.

While I'm thinking about it, there is also a good deal going on at Vons this week on Quaker Chewy Granola bars. They are on sale B2G3 (regular price $3.59), and there are two coupons out for $1/2. You can find it in the 3-8-09 RP insert, and you can also print it here. If you use 5 coupons, you can pick up 10 boxes of granola bars for $9.36. This caught my interest because my church is putting together bags of food for the homeless, and granola bars are one of the items they need.

This is a very satisfying way to give, because it is giving time as well as (a little) money. And I'm making that money go farther to help people in need. Give it a try!

Walmart deals:

Axe Shower Gel (trial size) $.97
-1.00 (RP 4-5-09)

Kotex LightDays Pads $1.00 x 2
-2.00/2 IP

No Nonsense Pantyhose $1.00
-1.00 (SS 3-29-09)

Olay Bar Soap $1.97
-2.00 (P&G 4-5-09)

Johnson’s Body Care Lotion (trial size) $.97
-1.00 (RP 2-22-09)

Rimmel Sexy Curves Mascara $6.47
-6.47 (ALL YOU Magazine April 09 issue)

Johnson's Buddies soaps $.99 (my kids love these!)
-1.00 IP or IP or IP

Beech-Nut Let’s Grow $1.06
-1.00 IP

Daisy Sour Cream $1.08
-.50 (SS 4-5-09)

Freschetta PizzAmore $1.98
-1.00 (SS 3-1-09)

McCormick Seasoning Packs $.50
-1.00 (RP 4-5-09)

Betty Crocker Cookie Mix Pouch $1.00
-.50 IP

Kraft Salad Dressing $1.58
-1.50 (SS 3-29-09)

Stacy’s Pita Chips Simply Naked $1.50
-1.00 (ALL YOU April 09 issue)

True North Peanut Nut Clusters $1.00
-1.00 (SS 2-8-09)

Celestial Seasonings Tea $1.88
-1.00 (SS 1-11-09)

Yo-Plus Yogurt $1.98
-1.00 IP

Sun Chips (small size at checkout) $.88
-1.00 (ALL YOU April 09 issue)

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Creative writing

Today Jonathan wrote a book. Well, he dictated and I wrote, and then we drew pictures to go with the words.

Two People and Two Doves

Once there were two people.

And there were two doves.

The doves landed on the people's heads!

And then, when the people went into a store,

The doves flew away.

The End.

Blogger turned the first two pictures sideways. (I hate that! Does anyone know how to fix it??)

Jonathan was somewhat distressed that his first person turned out looking "like an octopus". But isn't his second wonderful? I love how active it is - it looks like it is about to jump up and run off the page! He had me draw the first bird and then he made an attempt at copying it.

Jonathan has always cared greatly that his drawings look like what they are supposed to be, so much so that we spent a few years just coloring printed pages instead of drawing freehand (it was way too frustrating for him). I'm really enjoying the fact that he is starting to be comfortable drawing for himself now!