Thursday, October 1, 2009
I received quite a few questions about my coupon tactics. First let me state that I am not an expert. I don't clear the shelves of my local CVS and my groceries don't equal five dollars. I recently cut our grocery budget from 100 to 65 dollars a week. Of course this is a loose interpretation because sometimes I run back if we run out of milk or bananas thus making it more then 65. One of my goals is to stick directly to the budget but more on that later.
My Wednesday Ritual
Here is my strategy for grocery shopping. Every Wednesday the paper comes with the grocery ads. I only look at two ads, Albertsons and Publix. First I look at Albertsons' ad. Albertons publishes about 6 in store coupons a week. These are for things such as buy one pack of pork chops get 2 free, buy one london broil get 2 free etc. The one coupon I look for in the Albertson's ad is the 5 dollars off fifty dollars or more. The coupon is only good Thurs-Sunday (sometimes Friday-Sunday). I clip these and then move on to the Publix ad.
Since Publix is the closest grocery store to me I only shop there (I also shop at CVS and hope to incorporate Aldis soon). There is a Superwalmart about 10 minutes from me but I try to avoid it. Publix will accept competitors coupons (this varies by store so ask). Mine honors Albertsons so I apply any of the Albertson ad coupons I find to the sales in Publix ads. I go through the ad and circle everything I might want/need. Then I make a list. I split things up into dry, dairy, frozen, breads, beverages (usually only beer and wine..I stopped buying soda and brew Iced Tea instead), produce, baby, household etc. Once I organize my list I go through all of my coupons. If I don't have a coupon for the item I cross it off. Rarely do I buy things now that I don't have a coupon for in addition to being on sale. Then I make sure I don't already have the item. I then sit on the list for a day and make sure I really need the items I have listed or if I just wrote the item down because they are on sale.
FOR MARYLAND/VA/DC PEOPLE
If I lived in Maryland I would probably compare Giant and Safeway ads. Check to see which stores double coupons. Stores in Florida do not double coupons. I wish they did! Also check out they have ads for foodlion, cvs and target. Foodlion has printable coupons that you can use.
Where do I find coupons/deals?
Sunday Paper- My mom saves her coupons for me and we have the Sunday paper delivered.IF the coupons are really good I will buy 1 or 2 additional papers. My MIL is also going to start mailing me her coupons. I will discuss the benefits of multiple coupons in a later blog.
I heart Publix This site compiles all the ad specials each week. She then matches each sale item to every possible coupon. This includes online coupons. All you have to do is click the link and print out the coupon. She also links the target coupons. If you print these out you can use them at Publix. In addition she runs another site I heart saving money On this site you can find sections for CVS, Krogers, Food lion, Rite Aid, Target, and Walmart.
Money Saving Mom - Sign up for her emails!! She sends out 1-3 a week with easy links to online coupons and free offers. She also discusses her $45 a week shopping trips. These are very informative and fun emails.
Target Coupon Generator -this is the most amazing thing ever. It lists all the coupons Target has. You simply fill in the number you need of each coupon and print! This site also has a living database of all the prices at Walmart. You can see if an item is actually cheaper at your store or there. I could spend hours on this site. There is a ton of useful information.
Organic Coupons and shopping I just found this site in the process of writing this blog. I don't know much about it however, it seems to offer info on the major health food stores.
I started organizing my coupons by product (ie. dairy, dry, frozen, vegetables etc) but that did not work for me. Then I progressed to a small index card box. I bought alphabet dividers and arranged my coupons alphabetically by product. This works great except now I have too many coupons. My current system is two large index card boxes. One is for food items and the other is for household, personal items, baby and pet supplies. This has kept me even more organized.
Some people prefer a binder system. If you look through the sites i provided or Google coupon organizing I'm sure you will find what works best for you.
These sites should guide you in trimming your grocery bill. I will post again on this topic to discuss how to use your coupons, mistakes I have made,what my future money saving goals are. Happy shopping!
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Karrington turned one year old a few weeks ago so I figured this Blog should be about my hopes for her.
Those that know me understand I am an introspective, sensitive, constantly rehashing the past type of person. And nothing has made me think more about my past then watching my daughter grow this first year. Not only have I thought about my youth (teens and twenties) but I am constantly thinking of how I want hers to be different.
My husband and I laughed when a old high school friend commented on how confident I was in high school. My husband replied "You must have been one hell of an actor" and I suppose I was. That or I was just really good at hiding everything that was going on in my life. Neither of these things seem to be positive characteristics.
If I had to say the first word that came to my mind when thinking about my past it would be shame. I look back and shudder at choices I made. From certain people I chose to love or allow into my personal life to actions I preformed, I can't help but be embarrassed by how little I must have thought about myself to make such choices. I'm sure a shrink (and there have been many) would have a field day tracing it back to my desperate need of love or some Freudian need of a penis.
I'm certain I am not alone in these thoughts. Everyone has their own personal shame, things in their past that they hope to god their children never repeat. The question is how do we prevent it? Can we? If we remove the threats of kidnappers, pedophiles and teen pregnancy, this is one of my biggest fears as a parent.
The greatest gift I could give my daughter is first and foremost a love of self (I was going to write self-love but I know you with sick minds would take it somewhere else). If she is able to respect herself and make every choice based preservation of that respect she will be better off then I was. I want her to ask herself "who is this benefiting" before she acts. It may sound selfish but I would rather her look out for number one then what other people might think of her. I always wanted to be a tough as nails chick but I really wasn't. Maybe my daughter will be able to pull it off.
I shudder while watching shows like 90210 or Secret life of an American Teen. Sex seems so insignificant now days. It's like fucking mutant bees pollinating every flower it lands on. Don't get me wrong...white should not have been the color of my wedding dress. However, I did care deeply about everyone I was involved with...whether they cared about me was another story.
It seems that today the pressure to have sex is even higher then when I was a teen. Or maybe I'm confusing sex with sexuality. I just want my daughter to be above sending a naked photo of herself via cell phone at age twelve. As I told the 14 year old daughter of a friend yesterday "You have to make them work for it" I don't expect my children to never have sex. I just hope they make it worth it. I have a feeling that raising a daughter is going to be quite difficult in the upcoming years. Nothing seems to be sacred any more. Hopefully my daughter can hold onto her sense of self a lot longer then I did. I hope even more that she can just find an awesome man like her dad with out kissing a bunch of losers in the process.
I think this post may have jumped around a bit but I started it a week ago. My thoughts are usually a mumble jumble anyway. Rock on my fellow undercover mothers!
Friday, July 10, 2009
You know things are bad when you call your pediatrician and ask numbly "Why will my child not nap? She is crying. Please help." Before I placed the call, I knew deep in the depths of my denial, they wouldn't be able to help. They gave me the spiel of "set a routine" done. "read her stories" done. "maybe she is testing you" hmmmm my daughter? nahhhhhh. And so on and so on until I wanted to scream "What are you a witch doctor? Why can't you solve my problems? "
This issue seems to be going on for weeks but in reality it has probably only been a day or 2. Most people who know Karrington would say I am blessed (ie spoiled and in for a rotten bit of luck with the next one, or so they hope) with a easy going child who never fusses in restaurants, loves going to the daycare at my gym, and never EVER cries. And with this nap time issue she still does not cry. She screams. Not a little shriek but full on top of the lung, never ending screams. she lets out a silent scream where her body just shakes. Sometimes she gasps for air. Whatever she decides to let out though she can turn it off in a second. Until that is you piss her off again. Which in the last few days means laying her down for a nap.
I have to believe it has to do with teething. Which, as my loving husband points out, is why it feels to be going on for weeks. She seems to get a new tooth every 2 1/2 or 3 weeks. I feel bad for her really I do. I'm not a heartless mommy. I would gladly grant her wish to remain toothless for life. If we never take her to the dentist she can have that wish eventually. Until then however she is stuck w/ shards of bone cutting through her gum and me sending her on a Tylenol binge.
Yesterday was really bad though. I tried unsuccessfully for 2 1/2 hours to put her down. She completely missed her afternoon nap. I took her to daycare while I went to Weight Watchers (where I had a breakdown) and warned them that she might be possessed by the devil. When I returned they said gleefully "Look how happy she is! We never heard one scream"I suppose they thought this would make me feel good. Instead I wanted to shove my daughter's bottle up their loving butt holes. My husband knows I am a selfish troll and nothing makes me feel better then others experiencing my pain. This time though I just felt like a failure. I was glad though she wasn't unhappy. Until she got home that is.
My husband rescued me with a bottle of Wine and Roses. Never before has wine tasted so good. Instead of leaving the hospital with diapers and manuals they should just give you a case of booze and say "good luck" In fact, Similac would make millions of mothers happy if along with the sample
Today (knock on wood) the first nap appears to be successful. We will see about the next one. For those that are saying "Gee and you think you want another one?" I say that I think I handled this very well. I remained calm and loving through it all. I didn't throw her out the window. Though I did want to kick the termite lady that rang our doorbell during her nap in the boob. You can only take so many hours of screaming however, before you hit your own breaking point. There is nothing wrong with crying in front of your Weight Watchers leader and 5 other ladies because they have all been there. Granted they probably all thinking "Sucker!" as I imagine most mom's with grown children do. But that is their right as woman who have survived. Once you get over any certain hump you are allowed to silently gloat over those who are currently going through it.
We all have our breaking points. Sometimes it's once a week, maybe once a month. In these hard times remember this. We are blessed to live in America. Where there is a liquor store on every corner.
Sunday, June 28, 2009
Pet names are a big thing in this family. The sillier they are the more love there is behind them. My husband fondly calls me crackhead, hot pants, sexy llama butt and so on. In return I refer to him as little lumpkin butt, my lamal (love of my life but with my spelling errors), cocky locky, my chocolate love torpedo etc. It only made sense that as soon as our daughter was born that we should shower her with our terms of love. Which is why I called her my little aids tested monkey.
No one seems to understand how we could call our little cherry blossom such a thing. Children should be called precious (which we do call her but we say it in the lord of the rings voice 'my precccciiooous), handsome, little man, princess etc. Occasionally we will call her a generic term. This typically occurs when we are sleep deprived and calling her "it" doesn't seem quite right.
I think our loving pet names fail to settle with some people. My one girlfriend's baby became cursed with the pet name Yoda. I don't think she was terribly pleased with this. I however think her child is the most adorable thing and I just want to shake him like a magic eight ball until he tells me my future (see this is the weird stuff I'm talking about). I haven't even seen Star Wars so I'm not quite sure who Yoda is. But I think he's some wise person, yes? Sensing that she did not seem quite at ease with the nickname I changed it to peanut brain. This is the exact opposite of Yoda and really doesn't sit well on my tongue. So I made up another one a few weeks later. That didn't work either. I suppose I could call him by his birth name but where is the fun in that? Mentally I will always call him Yoda and sing the Weird Al song in my head Ya-ya-ya-Yoda!
So in conclusion, since this post has gone no where, I like to express my love in weird ways. I'm usually a very serious individual and goofy nicknames make me smile. And nothing makes me happier then changing a horrible leaky, stinky diaper then calling my daughter (in the same baby ga ga ga voice you guys use) a little shit. She looks up at me with her big blue eyes, pees on my carpet and smiles. She smiles because she knows that is exactly what she is and we love her for it!
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
1. Do not eat in my bed (crumbs)
2. Do not read in my bed (waking up to being jabbed in the side with a text book)
3. Do not sit on my bed (your fat ass makes an imprint on my perfectly made bed)
4. Do not masturbate in my bed.
This last one I never did, nor would I ever do. However, if you have never been to college (or are about to go) I can assure you that this is a universal law of etiquette. It is also one that must be laid out because yes you could live with someone that might consider doing this (you can assure this will never happen by keeping your bed a disaster like mine).
I kept wishing that I could have an peaceful room like my friend. She tried to convince me that I could indeed do it. Making my bed would be a wonderful start.Ten years later I am finally getting around to it. This week's journey is about how the undercover housewife learns to make the bed.
First let me state that I see no purpose in making the bed. You sleep in it later that night. Plus I sleep like a tornado. Between my twitching, flipping and flailing, I also have night terrors. This involves me sitting up screaming in the middle of the night about people being in my room, smacking my poor husband, etc etc. In the morning the bed looks like some of Michael Vick's pitbulls had a cage match on it .
However, I want to teach my daughter how to make a bed so I'm determined to figure out this domestic art. My first attempts were not successful.
Yes much like my first attempt at college this was indeed a half-ass effort. So I tried again.
Now this might not look much better but I can explain. The design on our quilt must fit just so on our bed. Otherwise it looks strange. So I end up running from one side to the next tugging the one side, checking it and then running back to the other side to correct it again. Apparently I don't know my own strength because the above is what happens. It actually takes me about 5 tries to get it right. It makes me want our queen bed back instead of the king.
The other obstacle I face is hospital corners. Everyone I speak to says, "Don't worry about them!" but if I am going to do this I am going to do it right dammit! The problem I having though is that the sheets don't appear to be long enough. Perhaps someone can explain. Shouldn't all king sheets fit each mattress? Or are their special king size sheets for tall beds? In any case I spent about 3 days trying to wrestle the sheets to the perfect length and failed each time. It appears that hospital corners are not in my future.
Decorative pillows. I bought them because they look pretty but they always seem to lay scrumped up in the corner. I put them on my bed but because our regular pillows are so huge they float about with no purpose. I think what I need to do is buy more decorative pillows so it balances the other two out. My husband (and others that know me) are thinking "this will only lead to more pillows on the floor" but I have faith that purchasing more of the worthless item and not throwing out the ones I have is the best course of action. Why? Because decorative pillows are pretty.
I made my bed every day this week. Once you get into the routine of making the bed it becomes fairly simple. I actually feel lazy if I don't do it. The other amazing thing about making the bed? When I walk up our stairs it is the first thing I see. It distracts the eye from the piles of clothes all over the bedroom floor quite nicely. I will have to work on that another week.
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
It seems that everyone has a blog these days. Even my husband has one, except he receives payment for his. I, on the other hand, only receive the pleasure of heaping my emotional vomit upon you from time to time. I have buried my creative streak for the last year and I have now decided that perhaps this would be a new venue to pursue. That is, before blogging is replaced with twittering, twattering, or whatever new craze passes me by as I wipe poopie butts.
The purpose of this blog is to journal my process of finding my place in the land of playdates, classes, and diaper changes; all while being the undercover mother. What does it mean to be an undercover mother? To me it is a mom trying to find where she belongs in this subgroup of species known as mothers. Let me tell you, there are so many types of moms it's intimidating. There are moms that never venture out of the home, stuck in a no man's land of sweat pants and ponytails (trust me we've all been there. Why do you think moms chop off all their hair?) There are moms that strive to look like they stepped out of Vogue magazine and expect their husbands, children, homes, cars and animals to follow suit. There are the moms that set the bar so high for their children. I am convinced they are making up for their own short comings (You know the type—the ones that have tutors for their children to make sure they are prepared for pre-school). The list goes on and on.
Then there are the undercover mothers like me, stuck in the middle, not sure where they belong, or even where they want to belong. If you are like me and you are the queen of constant thoughts, you might even lie awake twice a month pondering whether you should buy Leave it to Beaver on DVD to learn how to run a household. So that is what this blog is about. Discovering what kind of mom I want to be, what kind of wife I want to be, and what kind of household I want to run. It may not be a feminist's wet dream and it certainly won't be free of vulgarity but hopefully it will make me a good mommy.
Let me give you a brief rundown of myself. I am a 29 year old first time mother, and yes, despite the fact that my fingers are still fat and bloated, so I can't wear rings, I do have a husband—somewhere. I am an only child and I had absolutely no experience with little ones. When I babysat in my neighborhood, my mother had to come with me to help (I kept the money). My mother and I had an extremely close relationship growing up and she raised me to be a "free spirit" (more on that later). My husband and I find this highly amusing because my mother and father are glued to Fox News and are devout Republicans. I'm assuming she is secretly dying to break free from Glen Beck's tight squeeze on her brain. Why else would she have raised me to be a tattooed weirdo?
I grew up as a quasi spoiled child. I never had any interest in wearing designer clothes or material possessions; in fact, most of my shopping was done at Good Will. I was however, waited on hand and foot. I refused to make my bed, clean my room, wash dishes, fold clothes, wash clothes or do anything that had to do with work. My mother did it all. I had to call someone to tell me how to work a dishwasher once. These are things I am not exactly proud of but I do find amusing. I know how sad and pathetic it sounds. My days were spent at a small liberal private school (yet again, why did my conservative parents send me here??) and my nights were spent dining with my parents friends at local restaurants or at the country club.
You see this is why I am such a confused human being in need of much therapy. My conservative parents sent me to hippie high (we learned about social nihilism in 7th grade), yet they wanted me to take golf lessons and learn to play classical piano. In addition I was constantly associating with my parents' peers rather then children my own age. I was supposed to be a free spirit that used a 9 iron??????? I started to color my white blonde hair in with magic markers at age 9. When my mom took me to her hair salon at age 6 I told them I wanted purple hair. My entire life consisted of trying to raise me with one sent of fantastical ideals, yet prepare me to marry one of the heirs to the koosh ball industry. I currently take .75 milligrams of Efexor XR if anyone would like to send me some.
When I hit my late teens/early 20's I ran further from the country club straight into the gutter and formed a punk band. Yet another place I never fully fit in. I was just as happy listening to Brittney Spears as I was to Fear. I didn't have the "street cred" to be accepted by the crusties, or street punks (though I suspect their upbringings were similar to mine, they were just better liars), I wasn't mean enough to be a skin chick, and I didn't have the discipline to be straightedge (lest you forget, rich white girls drink to forget their problems). So I hung out with the other mismatched nice, yet musically snobby, pop punk kids. I really hated pop punk music. I formed a band and lived the lie of someone who loved being on stage and drank my way across the country and back. Have you seen the movie The Rose? I'm sure that would have been me if I hadn't quit when I did, except minus the talent. Please keep in mind that this is the short sarcastic version of my life. There was actually quite a bit of happiness and fun times, but I'm sure you don't want to hear about that. Here is an interesting story. You would think a touring punk band would spend their down time trashing hotel rooms. We went to Wal-Mart and bought a puzzle with Kitty Cats on it. We went back to the hotel room, turned on CSI and put it together.
After 10 years of being in a band, watching fights (which I hate), kids drinking underage in alleys (lame), and trying to mother everyone in sight I was wiped out. Having a golf caddy didn't sound too bad. So I quit. Luckily my amazing husband (who was in the band with me) supported me and agreed it was time to have a normal life that didn't involve living out of a van.
So to bring you up to speed, we packed up, moved to