Monday, August 17, 2009

Memory Lane

Here I am on my very first day of kindergarten at Holy Family of Nazareth Catholic School in Irving, Texas. I remember being so excited to wear that red dress. Ain't I cute?! I also had a brand new pencil box with pictures of America on it. My teacher, Mrs. Randall, was the loveliest lady I had ever seen. She had high heeled black shoes with no straps in the back so they made a satisfying clicky sound as she walked. She had long curly black hair and she was very nice. My best friend in kindergarten was Mary Garza. I also played a lot with Ryan Sitton. We would go Daddy Long Leg hunting together. Bo and Heidi were also good friends.

My mom taught me how to read and write. I have a long name for a kid to learn how to spell. She would write out my name E L I S A B E T H and then draw little lines underneath each letter so that I could copy my name out. But I thought she was mixing the letters up and wanted me to unscramble them. I would get so frustrated because I didn't know which letter would come next. I think she would get frustrated with me because she didn't understand why I wouldn't just write the letters down. It's funny now.

I loved kindergarten. We learned Spanish; learned to count; learned our addresses and phone numbers; went to the park and fed the ducks; had Halloween, Christmas and Valentine parties; played on the merry-go-round; listened to stories; made crafts.

I wish I was back in kindergarten.

Just kidding!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Frugal Friday

I think most everyone knows I love to use coupons. This is a picture of my little coupon organizer that I bought at the Dollar Tree six years ago. It originally had a foldover flappy thing and an elastic band to keep it all together. Now, though, it is showing its old age not very gracefully. Basically, it's ready to be retired... A few weeks ago, I started visiting all the Dollar Trees in our area (there are quite a few) to find a replacement, but it turns out "couponing" is much more popular now than it was six years ago, and these coupon organizers are very elusive and hard to find...

All that to say, that for my birthday, a very sweet lady in our church gave me this (pretend you hear a chorus of heavenly voices singing "taaadaaaa"):

Can you believe it???!!! I am THRILLED to have such a really cool place to organize all my coupons. Notice the handy dandy pink zipper thing that I can keep a highlighter, scissors and a calculator in. And also the very valuable "free" coupons. That way I won't forget I have them. There are divider tabs which provide separation between the different categories. And there's a funky folder in the back so I can put copies of coupon policies or sale ads there for reference.

It's been so much fun to sort my coupons and stick them in the little spots. I realized that this is a natural hobby for me. It combines shopping and sorting and saving- three of my very best skills and talents. (Also notice the alliteration in the previous sentence. "shopping, sorting, saving" - Man, I'm good. I should be married to a preacher. Oh yeah, I am.)

And this week, we are right in the middle of Harris Teeter triples. That means that HT will triple the value on any coupon up to 99 cents. Now, I've never seen a 99 cent coupon; the highest I've seen before you hit the dollar mark is 75 cents. That means I get $2.25 off if I use a .75 coupon. Limit of 20 coupons per day.

I'll spare you the sordid details of each transaction, but let it be known that with the help of this really sweet brand new coupon notebook from a good friend, I have purchased the following for the grand total of $36.44:

2 boxes Kix; Trix; Cheerios, 2 boxes Lipton tea bags; 3 boxes bouillion cubes; 9 cans pork&beans; 2 boxes Uncle Ben's rice; 2 bottles barbecue sauce; Lady Speed Stick; Head&Shoulders shampoo; 11 pounds chicken leg quarters; 4 bottles Sunny D; gallon milk; Chex Mix; 6 bars Dial soap; 1 pkg. Ziploc containers; microwave popcorn; 1 roll Bounty; Mentos gum; Spot Shot; hot buffalo wing pretzels; pkg of pretzel snack packs; 2 Zone bars; 2 Colgate toothpastes; 2 flosses; 4 pounds ground chuck; wheat Italian bread; 4 pack of yogurt; 2 pkgs. pepperoni; 3 2-pound bags of corn bread mix; Italian dressing; 2 boxes jello; 3 Weber spices; shaving cream; Sure deodorant; 2 loaves wheat bread; Starbucks ice cream; 2 Purell hand sanitizers; and a single serve of Minute Maid frozen lemonade.

Of course, this is not a typical week at the grocery store. That's why I get so excited when I'm able to do this. I do spend some time getting my coupons ready before I go to HT - on their website, they have where you can do online shopping and then go pick up your order at the little drive-thru place at the store. I go onto the online shopping section of their website and look up prices. That way I can know what's a good deal and what's not. I always inwardly chuckle whenever the cashier tells me, "You saved __ dollars!" Because, really, I didn't "save" it - if it was full price, I never would have bought it in the first place.

But that's the fun of couponing. You never know what you'll end up with in the cart! I can't be brand loyal; although I have my brand preferences (Duke's is the best mayonnaise, Heinz is the best ketchup, Grandma Mildred's is the best bbq - but you can't buy that in the store). And it's good scissors practice for the kids. They practically beg to cut the coupons out...

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

That's The Way It Is

Chris is always telling me I need to go blog. But a lot of times I don't know what to say, and thinking of something requires way too much brain energy. No smart-aleck comments allowed. So I've decided to think up a weekly plan that would guide me in my posts, so that it would require only minimal brain power and maximum fun and creativity. It is on purpose that the day that goes with the topic starts with the same letter. That helps me to remember on any given day what I'm going to write about without me having to think real hard. Heh, heh. You may think it's lame, but even lamer is having a blog and never posting. So there. If I miss a day, I forgive myself. And I might even be lucky enough to have extra posts on a day if I have something really interesting going on, such as yesterday with Autumn learning how to climb out of her walker. That was indeed a blog-worthy feat!

Monday - Memory Lane
Tuesday - Told Ya So/That's the way it is/That's what I think (Basically, I get to say whatever I want about whatever I want)
Wednesday - Wordless Wednesday - I post a picture and you get to think up a caption
Thursday - Thoughtful Thursday
Friday - Frugal Friday
Saturday -
Sunday - Song and Verse

Unfortunately, I can't remember the "S" word for Saturday. And my list is ... somewhere. So I'll have to figure that out, but I still have a few days before I have to worry about it.

That's the way it is.

Hmmm, now I wonder, was it Silly Saturday, Saturday Snack, Saturday's Surprise, Sneaky Saturday,...

Monday, August 10, 2009

Autumn's Escape

Monday's Memory Lane

My mom was here last week visiting. My kids call her "Grandma Julie". When I was growing up, we called our grandparents "Grandma" and "Grandpa". All of them. Yeah, I know. It was very confusing. So confusing, that in fact we kids resorted to calling them the "Big Ones" and the Little Ones". Not to their face, but just when we were talking about them to each other. Obviously in this picture, this is the "Little Grandma" since she was very short. The other Grandma was the "Big Grandma" since she was much taller (although she was not nearly as plump) than this one pictured. I was nine years old in this picture. This was taken on one of our annual pilgrimages to Michigan to visit the Grandmas and Grandpas. Of particular note in this photo is my baby brother who is screaming his head off. Very cute, John.

This is Roseanna and Lawrence, my dad's parents. They raised 5 boys, so Grandma was a "tough cookie". I remember that several years before this picture, she had a heart attack. That's when she quit smoking. She used to tell us about how when all her boys were at home and she made cookies, she had to hide the cookies in a special hiding spot so that they wouldn't eat them all at once. I begged her to tell me where she used to hide them; she finally told me, but only after we got all alone in the kitchen and she whispered the secret into my ear. Whenever we would leave at the end of our yearly visit, she always handed a goody bag over to my mom for us kids. It was filled with miniature candy bars, jars of hot fudge, jelly rings and gumdrops. Grandpa was a brick mason. He thought nothing about running around the top of smokestacks at factories, or riding a motorcycle while standing. He even rode his first rollercoaster in his late 80's. He told the best stories about living through the Great Depression. I can still hear his voice in my mind as he would laugh and tell jokes and say things like, "You can say that again!" or "...Go a ways down the pike..." or "You must have a hole in your glass, you need a refill of root beer!" At least once during each visit, he would take us grandkids on a walk up to town and we'd get a donut at the grocery store. I don't know what was more fun - that donut and chocolate milk or playing with the cattails near the pond on the way to town.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Sunday's Song and Verse

These are written so that you may believe Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and by believing you may have life in His name. John 20:31