Saving Money with Coupons

Saving money is on everyone's minds these days. In our house we pay special attention to online coupons anytime we're making a large purchase. When ever we buy things from large stores like Sears, Home Depot, Lowes, Amazon and even Toys R Us.

Recently we saved some money using an online printable Lowes Coupon. The coupon is good for 10% on certain purchases so it can really add up if you're buying something large like new cabinets or a lawn mower.


Can I get a head count of how many of you count to anywhere between 1 & 5 to get your kids to do something? I do it all the time. All the time, despite wondering what this means about my parenting skills, I prefer it to yelling or spanking both of which I have been known to do on occasion.

So...Little Man was sick, but coming out of it. We were packing up to go to daycare and work. I was trying to get my almost 4 year old, who is fairly self-sufficient, to get on his jacket. My attempts fell on the heels of him not wanting to get out of bed, not wanting to brush his teeth, not wanting to come downstairs...I was already annoyed. So when he wouldn't put his jacket on this is the unbelievable conversation we had:

Me: "little man. Put. Your. Jacket. On. Now."
Little Man: Waaaaa, Waaaa, Waaaa. "I can't. I don't know how."
Me: "If you do not put your jacket on by the time I count to 5, there will be no movie in the car."
Little Man: Waaaaa, Waaaa, Waaaa. "I can't."
Me: One.
Little Man: Waaaaa. Waaaa. Waaaa.
Me: Two.
Little Man: Ahhhhh. Waaaa. Ahhhh. "STOP COUNTING."
Me: "Three."

I could not believe my ears. Did my precious Little Man, whom I carried in my womb for 9 months, whom I nursed for one year, whom I snuggle when he's hurt, just call me an idiot and use it in perfect context? By the time I was done yelling at him up one side and down the other, I am fairly certain he will not say the word IDIOT ever again.

When it was all said and done, I realized that he really doesn't know what an idiot is. He knew how to use it in context, knew that it is a name you call another person, but didn't really know what it meant. What I wonder, however, is what's the next horrible thing he's going to call me and how long will I be waiting for that one?

Knocked to our Knees

Where have I been? I have been through Pneumonia with 2 kids, an ear infection, 2 teeth and melanoma. It's been a rough couple of weeks, but I think we have pulled through it.

So Little Man started with a fever one Sunday and just wasn't feeling good. I did what any good parent would do when he woke with a fever on Monday morning (and I had to be to work because my boss was on vacation and 8 new employees were starting that day), I loaded him up with tylenol and motrin and sent him to daycare. I get so angry at those parents...darn them for exposing my child, then I went and did it myself. He was okay at the end of the day and for the rest of the week. Then the next Saturday he woke at 1:30am crying in pain. I went in and calmed him down, he felt warm but I didn't do anything about it. He woke again at 2:45am. That time he was burning up and taking very short and shallow breaths. I gave him some motrin and breathing treatment. He was breathing normally during the treatment, but went right back to short shallow breaths as soon as I took the mask off. I took him back to my room, then decided to take him to the ER (30 minutes away). By the time we got there, his fever was gone and he was breathing normally. $100 later, we got sent home.

He threw up Saturday morning then he was in and out of a fever of over 102. By Sunday I couldn't get his fever down. At one point he had a temp of 102.5, I gave him motrin, and checked him 45 minutes later - he was up to 104.1. I called the pediatrician who said to take him in. This time I took him to the best hospital in the area (45 minutes away) that has a pediatrician on in the ER staff at all times. Another $100 later we found out he had bacterial pneumonia. Oh...and by the way, since your daughter is cranky and running a low grade temp take her to the pediatrician tomorrow.

Little Man got his antibiotic on Sunday and starting taking that with the probiotic miracle powder (if you haven't used this stuff for your kids when they are taking antibiotics, start - it's great).

On Monday Ladybug went to the doctor where we discovered she had viral pneumonia and an ear infection. Hellllooooo....this explains why my normally easy going child was being a cranky and clingy mess. Poor little thing cut 2 teeth during this whole thing.

Both came out of it like troopers and are back to normal. During this whole thing we also discovered that the hubs had another Melanoma. If you are counting, I think this makes #5. It was another one that he found himself and asked to have it removed. Another one where the doctor thought it was nothing but removed it anyway. The path report came back last week, and thank goodness it was a melanoma that was just on the skin level; it hadn't gone in any deeper.

The doctor seems to think that he is rare because his body is making melanomas out of moles that appear to the normal run-of-the-mill moles. This rarity does not make me feel good. It actually scares this crap out of me because he has hundreds of moles and we just don't know what's lurking in any of them. The doctor suggested that he get back in touch with his doctor at Mass General in Boston because he is the number one guy in the country for up and coming genetic testing for melanoma. I am working on the hubs for this. I am also working on getting him to call his oncologist, whom he only sees once per year, about a full-body scan.

After all of that, I was sitting in my office last week listening to two of my co-workers (just outside my office door) discuss the pros and cons of a particular tanning salon in the area. I wanted to scream at them!

So what appeared to be a long bloggy vacation wasn't a vacation at all. It was a time of sickness and healing.


I buy my diapers in bulk at one of the big buy in bulk stores (like costco). I went today to buy 2 boxes, and in the time span of one month the cost of said boxes has gone up $6 per box. That's right - $6 in one month. That was a 15% increase in cost over 1 month. What the hell? How can they do that? I know how...we are stuck and they know it. They know most mothers will not switch brands once they find one they like. We mothers are very picky about which diapers leak and don't.

I am so annoyed...those little pampers point do not make up for the cost!

Lessons Learned So Far

Things I have learned on my quest for a healthier life:

1) Chewing a piece of sugar -free fruity gum helps cure my craving for a sweet treat. I recently discovered a pina colada flavored Trident White. Delish. When will they have a chocolate sugar-free gum? Now that's something I could really, really use.

2) Everyone in the house of Cali Girl has been sick at least twice since the first of the year. I, on the other hand, have not. I am convinced it has to do with the amount of water I consume. I flush (literally)away all those bad germs.

3) Once 8-10 glasses of water a day become a habit for you, you find yourself sprinting to the bathroom less often.

4) Fiber One is my new favorite brand. They have some many new and great products out there. I love their english muffins, their bread and their frosted shredded wheat cereal. Their granola bars have peanut products in them, so sadly I have to stay away from them. I’m pretty certain they don’t read my blog, but I will post my request anyway: I would love for them to add refrigerator biscuits and/or crescent rolls to their line of products. The dough boy needs a "healthy" dose of competition to lighten his roly-poly self.

5) Said Fiber One products should not be consumed the night before a weight check. One serving on the frosted shredded wheat cereal packs 8 grams of fiber, which is 1/3 of your entire daily needs. I find that it leaves me feeling rather bulky in the morning and not at all prepared to face the scale.

6) Not all hummus is created equal. My brand and flavor of choice is Cedar's original, which has just 30 calories per 2 tablespoons. My local grocery was out of the original, so I opted for the Heavenly Spiced variety. After a week of spreading 2 tablespoons on my pita, I noticed that my weight loss had slowed down. I read the dietary info and notice that this little concoction packs 90 calories per 2 tablespoons, which is really okay when you plan for it. I wasn't planning for it.

7) If it passes by your lips, write it down. The only way for me to be successful is to write down everything I eat. It holds me accountable and is a great visual reminder of what I can and can not eat at the end of the day.

8) After 7 weeks of drinking only 4 ounces of wine a couple of times a week, I can not drink 16 ounces without expecting to be looped. Calm down...16 ounces is only 4 glasses. Sometimes I need more than a 1/2 cup of wine.

9) Salad with salt sprinkled on it and dressing on the side, for dipping your fork into, is not as bad as I thought it would be. In fact, I prefer it to the light dressings on the market that aren't so great.

10) 1/4 cup of golden raisins has the same amount of calories as 3 small peppermint pattys. I am all for healthy these days, by 3 bits of minty and dark chocolaty deliciousness might be worth trading in the golden raisins on occasion.

11) 1 reduced fat Chips Ahoy chocolate chip cookie is worth 1 weight watchers point and sharing it with my 11 month old makes it worth it.

12) Applebee’s weight watchers meals…at least the one I had….aren’t that great. I would have been more satisfied at another restaurant with a plain salad and a grilled chicken breast. I would have spent less points and could have enjoyed it with a nice glass of wine.

13) Wii Fit can be your friend and foe. I love the fun of trying to beat my score each and every time I turn it on. I don’t love knowing that my wii fit age is 54, a whopping 19 years older than my real age, and I don’t love seeing my cute little mii turned into a pudge pot.

14) The WW oatmeal raisin cookies, for just 1 point are really good! Unfortunately, I don't think they intend for you to eat all 9 cookies in the box one day.

15) Sliced strawberries with light vanilla yogurt on top are a delish way to have dessert and satisfy a sweet tooth craving once the kids are in bed.

16) I'm an evening snacker. I do my best to save a few ww points for the end of the day when I know my temptation will be greatest.

I am quite sure I could keep this list going and add to it every day. For now, these are the lessons I have learned and am happy to know them. If you have any lessons or tips to share…don’t be shy….leave me a comment!


I know the political season is over. I tried to stop talking about it. I can't help myself today because my butt feels burned.

It would seem that our new president is formulating a plan to bail out people who are at risk for foreclosure on their home. President Obama has dropped the annual income range to eliminate me (he's moved me to the upper class), which seems so odd to me since my pocket book doesn't feel out of the middle class (and it certainly doesn't feel like Channel pocket book of a Real Housewive of Manhattan or Orange County or Atlanta), so I am not eligible for any tax breaks. Okay - I knew that was going to happen. When his number dropped a few times, from $250K, right before the election I knew we were going to be out and it would drop to less than $75K.

His new bailout is my new beef. Why am I busting my bum at work? Why did I even go back to work? Should I quit and let my family become threatened by foreclosure just so we can be bailed out and enjoy our lovely home on hardworking Americans? No! You know why? It's not in me personality to do that. We built a house that was more expensive than we could afford on one salary, so I went back to work. Simple. I am doing what I can to make it work and to help us pay our own way. We found a way to live within our means. Sure, we built outside of it, but we fixed the problem ourselves. There is no way in this world that I would ever let someone bail me out like that - no, not at the expense of my fellow hard working Americans.

What would happen to this country if other families like mine decided "to hell with it" and just quit working to accept the fine free benefits being offered? I know what would happen...the system would fall apart b/c our tax dollars wouldn't be there to support the "freebie" system.

I feel us becoming more and more socialistic all the time.


How in the world, blogging universe, do you get a 3-year-old to stop the most disgusting and foul behavior you can think of? He's putting his fingers in a place where no fingers belong, and I am not talking about his nose people. Do they have books on this matter? I need a book. Do I need a parenting book or a picture book that says, "Don't stick your fingers there?" Quite frankly, I don't want to see a picture book like that and I'm pretty sure such book wouldn't be publishable.

I took my "no! That's foul and disgusting!" to a whole 'nother level this week when I saw it happen in the bathtub. I asked him what he would do if he knew his friends at school did that. Would he play with them? What would he do if they started calling him names based on his disgusting digging? What if I asked him not to touch me anymore because of it?

I don't know if I made an impression, but I am fully grossed out and don't know where to go. Help - has this happened to you? Am I alone in this foul behavior?

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