Do you realize that tomorrow is May? Yes! It is! This year is flying by. Sunday is Jake’s last CCD class (until the fall). I wish I’d realized it sooner — I would have made each of his teachers a little gift basket with a couple handknit dishcloths and some yummy soaps just as a little “thank you.” He had a great time with them and they are such great women. Drew and I were discussing whether kindergarten contitutes the “first year” of CCD (because second year students make their First Communion). I don’t think it does. There were only 4 kids in his class. I would think that most people don’t send their children until first grade. I am guessing that “second year” = “second grade.” I made mine in either second or third grade so that seems right. I think first grade is still a bit young. But I’m sure we’ll find out. Also in May, Drew and I will celebrate 10 years of putting up with each other being together! June is our seventh wedding anniversary. The traditional gifts are wool and copper. Hmm… I will have to get creative with his gift this year, I think! Sure beats the modern gift though — a desk set. Yeah. That’s not boring at all. At least I have a month or so to sort it all out!

May CVS Sneak Peak!

I know that I am responsibe for getting Lisanne and Lynn hooked on CVS, and with good reason: awesome deals! With just a little effort and planning and coupon cutting you can save a lot of money. I, personally, did not do a tremendous amount of “CVS’ing” this month. I had a couple OK runs, but there were a lot of deals I did not take full advantage of because I feel like I never had the time to run down there. I will totally be making the effort in May though because it looks like a great month for their Extra Care deals. I thought I’d give you a heads up on some of the best deals that I saw coming up next month.

Here are the freebies:

Aquafresh Toothpaste (Advanced Whitening 6 oz or Extreme Clean 5.6 oz): 2.99 Limit 3

Adidas Action3 Anti Perspirant 2.8 oz: 4.99 Limit 3

Orapik Traveler Twin Pack: 2.79 Limit 3

Tums Quik Pak 24 ct: 4.69 Limit 2

Freestyle Lite or Freedom Lite Blood Glucose Monitor: 10.00 Limit 2 (You can donate these if you don’t have a use for them!)

CVS Allergy Relief 5 ct (Compare to Claritin): 3.79 Limit 3

Colgate 360 Clean or Deep Clean Tooth Brush: 3.99 Limit 3

I know there are coupons out for several of these items so they have the potential to be money makers. I have been slack in getting the newspaper the last couple weeks, I might be out of luck 🙁 But free is good too! One of the things I like about stockpiling free goods from CVS is that it allows me to donate extras. Several times a year I hear about collections for various shelters and having things like toothpaste, soap, and deoderant at the ready makes charitable giving really easy. Many churches have collection boxes too.

Other good deals of note:

CVS/Pharmacy brand items: Buy 2, get 1 free

CVS/Pharmacy Indoor/Outdoor Allergy Relief 60-100 count: Get $5 ECB Limit 5

Chapstick 100% Naturals: Get $1 ECB Limit 5

Green & Black’s Organic Chocolate: Get $1 ECB Limit 5

Buy 2 Ass’t Drinks (Lipton tea, Sobe Life Water, Aquafina): Get $1 ECB Limit 5

Celestial Seasonings Teas: Get $1 ECB Limit 5

Betty Crocker 18.3 Fudge Brownie Mix: Get $1 ECB Limit 5

There is so much more in the May book, but these are the deals I am most interested in. And this is just the monthly deals. Don’t forget to check the weekly circular for weekly sales!

Earlier this week in an e-mail, Lisanne had asked me about cash register tape coupons (often referred to as CRTs). She recieved a coupon for $10/$50 purchase and a few coupons for a certain amount off of a certain specific item. She wanted to know if she could use all those coupons in one transaction. The answer is: YES (provided you buy the items and spend the designated amount of money, of course). Store product coupons and $/$$ coupons are not viewed as the same type of coupon. “Stacking” would be using say a $10/$50 and a $4/$20 in the same transaction. This practice is generally frowned on because some stores see it as coupon abuse. Unfortunately there is a lot of that. Sure you can find a lot of CVS $/$$ coupons online to print (because CVS has an offer where if you update your e-mail address, you will be sent a coupon), but personally I think it’s wrong to use coupons that weren’t sent to you specifically. Other people feel different, and that’s fine but I do what I personally feel is ethical. I don’t want to be blacklisted from CVS! I think I would cry!

Speaking of e-mail coupons, though… Yesterday I received a coupon for $4/$20 health and beauty products. So check your e-mail – you might have received one too! I have heard rumors that CVS is starting to associate certain coupons with certain card numbers, so be wise and don’t cheat the system!

I hope this gives anyone who is interested a jump start on their planning for next month! (Don’t forget to clip those coupons from the Sunday paper! That way you save even more!)

Almost the Weekend

Again, another week has flown by and it’s already Friday! Where does the time go? I have been lazy and unmotivated this week, unfortunately. I didn’t even make it to the post office because I was so cranky and I knew that Noah would want to play with the theater rope that they have set up (to help form the line). He’s at a very pesty stage, getting into everything. I could just see him pulling on it and knocking one of the bases over. I have a stack of items to go out though, so I’m going to have to suck it up at some point and just go.

Aside from the tee-ball game tomorrow and CCD for Jake on Sunday we have no plans this weekend, hooray! Unfortunately it looks like it’s going to be a little rainy. We could use it though. Maybe we’ll do fondue on Sunday – that could be fun. What about you guys – anything going on this weekend?

Thought This Was Interesting

Lately, a lot of blogs I’ve been reading have mentioned Dave Ramsey in one way or another. I’d heard the name before so one night I decided to tune into his show. I am all for being frugal and saving money, so I found some of the stuff interesting. Luckily, the only debt we have is our mortgage payment and one small car payment, so a lot of what he was talking about was not really relevant to our situation. However, one caller asked him about life insurance. He had been researching term life insurance quotes and wanted Mr. Ramsey’s advice on what to do. Now, I was always under the impression that whole life insurance is perferable to term, but in his opinion, the return you get on whole life insurance just isn’t worth the investment. I haven’t had the chance to research it further, but I probably will because I’d never heard that before. I just found that interesting.

Playing Catch-Up

Well, we had such a great weekend here! Saturday was Jake’s first officiall tee-ball game (as you might have already read). It was a gorgeous day and I got myself a nice farmer’s tan — oops! (Note to self: next Saturday wear a tank top.) But the real highlight of the weekend was Drew’s birthday on Sunday. All week I’d been planning a small party (just family), and I somehow managed to keep it under wraps. I did tell him Sunday morning, though. Because I had to work on Saturday afternoon I didn’t really make anything. Luckily, Stop & Shop came through, as always. I ordered a tray of wraps (chicken ceasar and buffalo tenders) and a very yummy cake (chocolate with strawberry filling and real whipped cream frosting). I also picked up a bunch of other random goodies to serve. I think everyone had a good time.

My brother and his wife very generously gave Drew a gift card to Sears, and as soon as everyone left, he was ready to head over there to get a new battery for the lawn tractor, LOL, so we did that. My parents gave him a gift card to Home Depot, which will certainly come in handy (no, not for Blanco sinks, lovely as they are, but more likely for railing for the deck or a screen door for the front). The boys gave him a very cute garden frog (I read that frogs bring good luck, and Drew loves frogs so that was easy!). And I gave him a gift certficate to American Musical Supply. Though next time I think I’ll stick to Musician’s Friend. I have to say that I was not really impressed with AMS’s service. I’ve ordered from Musician’s Friend several times and I’ve always been happy, but AMS wasn’t quite up to snuff. Oh well, I did eventually get the gift code and that was really what mattered.

Jake is back in school this week, so I am getting caught up on all of my projects. I guess that is about it! Hope your week is off to a good start.

Opening Day!


Today was Jake’s first official tee-ball game! Both teams played great and the kids are all so cute. The coach is amazing — so patient and really good with the kids. You can tell he enjoys it. Jake is working on focussing but I think all in all he does pretty well for a kid who has never played a team sport. Today was a little crazy because there was the opening day parade and all the teams had photos, so everything was a little late and the kids were pretty tired by the time they were able to play. But still so fun. And I enjoyed meeting some of the other parents. There are a few kids from his nursery school (from last year) so I caught up with their moms. Good stuff!

Over-the-Top Birthdays

I have a confession: I love, love, love birthdays. I love celebrating. I love making the day of someone’s birth extra special for them. I do not, however, feel like you have to spend a ton of money doing it. I read this story on CNN about over-the-top birthday parties for small children and I just could not believe it.

Two years ago, Stephanie Kaster of Manhattan set out to plan the birthday party of a lifetime for her daughter. Granted, little Sophie didn’t have many parties under her belt with which to compare it: She was not yet 3.

“I just thought, ‘If I go to another paint-a-ceramic-bowl or stuff-a-bear party, I’ll shoot myself,'” says Kaster.

So she booked a fondue restaurant, hired a musical troupe to perform as the Wiggles (her daughter’s favorite group) and ordered a four-layer cake. Each guest took home a Fisher-Price guitar and custom CD.

The price tag? $5,000

Seriously? What kind of message are we sending to our kids when we feel like we have to go to such lengths for a birthday party? Sure we all want to celebrate and “spoil” our children on their big day, but isn’t dropping 5K on a three-year-old’s party a little silly? I don’t know, maybe it’s just me. I know most parents have to think long and hard about spending money on “big” presents like an xbox 360 or something, forget about the party itself.

I guess I understand the people who say that if you have the means, why not do it… but how many people can really afford these things? People are defaulting on their mortgages, putting everything on credit cards. I don’t know. The last birthday party we went to was at Jake’s friend’s house. The kids designed their own t-shirts using foam stamps and fabric paint. We played games outside (potato sack race, pass the orange to the next kid without using your hand, hold the balloon between your legs and make it to the finish line without dropping it). My friend used those star-shaped cupcake molds and each child had his or her own chocolate star cake to eat. It was simple and so much fun. The kids played. The adults got to chit-chat. I guess I just wonder why people feel that is not enough? Why do you need to spend hundreds of dollars on a cake? Forget about saving money for a minute… wouldn’t it just be more fun do make it with your child? (They’re not going to care if you’re not an experienced baker, and really anyone can open up a Duncan Hines box.)

We’re already planning Jake’s 6th birthday party, and we’re going to do it at home, as always. We’re going to invite a few of his school friends. Drew is going to do a magic show for the kids, we’ll have plenty of outside games and they can run around. There will be some snacks, and Jake already asked me to make him a robot cake. (He picked it from a cake decorating book I have.) He’s totally excited about it all, and it’s not going to cost a lot of money. Money doesn’t make it magical. The people do. I think this country would be a lot better off if people would understand that.

Seeking a Push Mower

So my latest conquest is looking for a (preferably cheap or free) push mower. Yeah, yeah I know – why, right? We have a rather large yard and a lawn tractor which we use to mow it, but we also have some rather awkward areas where the tractor can’t go. So I’m in the market for a push mower. Plus, it’s good exercise, right? In the summer I would so much rather be doing yard work outside than be one of those people in the gym walking on treadmills. Of course I realize that not everyone feels that way (or has a need to work outside!), so nothing personal again treadmill-walkers, LOL! I still love my recumbant bike so I guess I really shouldn’t talk. But yeah. I’ve been keeping my eyes on our local E-cycle (similar to Freecycle, but not related to it because of trademark issues). One was snatched up the other day before I had a chance to reply, but I think it’s likely that another one will show up on the list. They always seem to. I could check Craigslist too. I never think of that! Otherwise I’ll be out there on my hands and knees with a pair of scissors, LOL!

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Creepy, nasty, yucky creatures

Possums. I’m sorry, but they are totally gross. A couple of years ago, one found its way onto our roof and climbed down our screen, hissing and snapping the whole time. Well, spring is clearly here because last night I was sitting in the den watching TV when suddenly the motion sensor lights on the garage came on and startled me. Who the heck was heading down our driveway at 10 PM? After looking a little closer, I noticed that there was a vicious little possum walking around by the garage. Eww. I like most animals, really I do, but these things just freak me out, especially after our close encounter with one that time. Yuck!