~my thoughts about life~

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Good news!

My Internet is still down but I now have access to time-wasting things again...I got a new iPhone 4S! This is my first smart phone and it feels so nice to join the 21st century! This means I am once again in the communication loop, although it's difficult to blog from a phone. Thanks for your nice comments on my last post...I miss you all too!

Back to my phone- what app can I totally not live without???

A Letter to You

Dear Friends,

I have not passed away, I am not in the hospital, and I have not slipped into a coma.  My internet is down yet again and probably won't be resolved until early next week.  Being without internet is like having my right arm tied behind my back.  I feel lost without it and can barely function.  I am, however, getting a lot more done around my house.

Currently, I am at my parents' house to do a quick email check.  I thought I would let you know where I am and ask you to not give up on me.  I'll be back soon!

With love to my readers,

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Feeling Accomplished

I feel that I must update you on my recent Ikea situation.  To quickly recap:  our family recently made a weekend trip out to Ikea for a few new purchases.  I got home several hours later to realize that I didn't have the necessary wooden slats for the bed we bought Baby Girl.  I called the company, which was less than helpful.  In my frustration, I wrote a great letter to Ikea, spelling out every detail.  In response, I received a form letter telling me to visit my local store to pick up the needed item.  I gave up and decided to ask my dad to make slats for the bed.

Meanwhile, Baby Girl has been sleeping on her old crib mattress in the middle of her bedroom floor.  I've barely talked to my dad lately...he and I have each been so busy.  I know he doesn't have time to make slats of wood so I haven't asked him.  I told myself that I would call Ikea back and ask for a manager some day while Baby Girl was napping.  I'm a procrastinator.

Yesterday, I was feeling adventurous.  As I put Baby Girl down for nap, a wash of guilt overwhelmed me that I was allowing her to sleep on the floor.  I'm a better mom than that.  I went right to the phone and called Ikea.  I politely explained to the operator that I've had a bad experience and wish to speak to a manager.  One thing I've learned in my life is to start off the conversation politely.  The person I'm speaking to didn't directly offend me, so there's no use being mean to her.  A person can be nice and firm at the same time.  If the situation rises to the point where I have to bring forth all my wrath, I can do that.

The operator quickly transferred me to a manager, taking my name first.  The manager greeted me by name and asked how she could help.  I attempted to spare her some of the details but explained my story.  My main points were 1) I had no way of knowing I needed the bed slats since the bed was not properly tagged.  2) The first person I spoke to offered no real help.  3) After sending a detailed letter to the company, I was sent a generic response. 

The woman actually listened to me.  She agreed that I was mistreated.  I was proud of myself that I had kept my cool this long.  I didn't feel calm inside.  She said she would open a case for my problem and would mark it high priority.  She said, "We need to get this resolved and get your daughter sleeping in a proper bed."  I loved that response.  She said someone from the head office would contact me within 24 hours.  She also asked if I could forward her the email I received because she would like to handle that also.  I obliged.

Just a couple hours later, I received a call back.  They said I would have to pay for the bed slats but they would be shipped immediately at no cost to me.  I was totally fine with that.  I am willing to pay for what I need but I'm not going to fork out extra money for someone else's mistake.  She said the package would ship out first thing in the morning.

Ahh, sweet relief!  I am so glad that's over and that Baby Girl will soon be sleeping in her own bed!  I'm glad I actually followed this through instead of letting it go.  Just a bit of extra work accomplished an important goal.  Feeling a sense of achievement, I decided to take care of a couple other phone calls I had been dreading.

I called our satellite company and got them to ship a new receiver, completely free.  Hubby was very happy about that!  The representative I spoke to had the same last name as me, which is very odd.  When my father-in-law came through immigration, they told him his name was not American enough and assigned him a new one.  I had never before met a person with my last name, who wasn't a direct cousin.  This man pronounced his name differently, as he was French, but continued to call me by my name, giggling every time he did.  It was actually quite neat.

It's amazing how accomplished you can feel just taking care of a few things you've been putting off.  I encourage you to do the same today and let me know what you did!

Friday, January 20, 2012

The Simple Things

Sometimes, it only takes a simple little thing to make a person happy.  Here's what's making me happy today:

* A sweet bear hug given by Baby Girl, totally initiated on her own
* Bright, colorful paper to write on because it's so much more fun than plain white
* Earl Grey tea -I'm back on it
* When I'm standing at the sink and the heater at my feet comes on
* We are heading toward the tail end of January and have had very little snow thus far
* Putting Baby Girl down for nap and enjoying a peanut butter & jelly sandwich, while watching a funny show I love
* The ability to change Pandora stations based on the mood I'm in 
* When all the kids buy lunch at school and I don't have to pack for them in the morning
* Fresh smelling laundry
* Flannel pajamas and leopard printed gloves
* Toblerone - any candy that comes in triangles is OK in my book

What are your Simple Things today?

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Embarrassing Top Ten

Monday night, Son #2 and I went to Hubby's basketball game to cheer him on.  By marital contract, I am only obligated to attend one basketball game a season.  The last game I attended, they lost and I was unimpressed.  The following game, which I did not attend, the entire gym was chanting Hubby's name and saying, "Every week, baby!"  Whatever that means.  Sitting on the bleachers at one of his games brings me back to my teenage years.  I felt like I should be wearing his jean jacket while winking at him as he runs down the court.  Now, however, I only do the latter. 

During a break in the game, the deejay started pumpin' some old school tunes.  It Takes Two was the song of choice, which made my teenage years seem even closer.  I turned to Son #2 and said, "What will you give me if I stand up and start dancing right now?"  His eyes got wide and he answered, "I will give you this iPod Touch to keep for the rest of your life."  The mischievous grin on my face suddenly caused him to change his answer.  "Never mind," he said.  I think he really thought I was capable of doing that.  (By the way, it would have taken a lot more than an iPod to tempt me to behave that way in public...but it's not an impossibility.)

I began thinking of how embarrassed my second son would have been at that sight.  (Certainly not as embarrassed as my dear husband of fifteen years.)  #2 doesn't embarrass easily, but his brother does.  I decided to come up with a Top Ten List of things I could do to embarrass my children!

10. Dancing in public.

 9. Singing in public. I actually do this one from time to time, but only in front of people they don't know.

 8. Pick them up from school in my dad's 1994 Chevy Lumina van.

 7. Leaving the house with my hair in its natural state.

 6.  Show up to a band concert, basketball game, or other event like other people in my town: in my pajamas.

 5.  While in the car with their friends, ask, "Son, did you just pass gas?"

 4. Calling out, "I LOVE YOU!" as they get out of the car for school.

 3.  Make out with their dad.

 2. In front of a cute girl, saying, "You're right, honey, she really is pretty!"

And the Number One thing I could do to embarrass my children is:
Kiss them on the lips in front of their friends. I can think of nothing worse.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Peter Cottontail

We have a wild rabbit who seems to have made a winter nest in my garden.  I walked by the dining room window yesterday morning and saw the bunny resting.  He looked quite fluffy, which  I thought may be an extra winter's coat. 

Later in the afternoon, I walked by the window and noticed the rabbit again.  Same position, same place.  I wonder if he is a she who may be expecting?  Closer to my house, she would have been able to make a nest in our warmer, more protective landscaping.  I wonder why she is sitting out in the open?  Possibly, she's sick.  Oh dear, I hope she doesn't pass and my girls notice before I do...it will break their hearts!  Although, I'm sure a carnivorous critter would find her before they would.

Big Sis was oohing and ahhing over the animal and stated, "I wish I could just go out there with a little blanket and cover that bunny up!  She is going to be so freezing!"  And I know Big Sis would do exactly that. 

We may have a new outdoors pet.  Any name suggestions?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Still Cleaning Out

I mentioned that we bought a new desk recently.  The reason for that is because my brother, the IT guy, gave my kids a new computer for Christmas.  I think it's because he's sick of coming over to fix mine every time they mess it up.  Their computer won't store anything important.  It will be used mostly for homework and computer games.  He even loaded parental controls onto it.  No worries- I can decide how long they can browse the internet, which sites they go to, and what time it shuts down for the day.

I didn't take a Before picture and this is the only photo I found of the old desk.  You're not missing much...it wasn't a whole lot bigger than that.

Our 1500 square foot house is packed to the max with stuff for four kids and two parents.  There was nowhere to put a computer.  Our current desktop has lived in the corner of the dining room for a few years.  I wanted it somewhere out in the open for safety reasons.  My brother suggested getting a longer desk and setting both computers up next to one another.  They could share the same printer and everything would be kept together.  So that's what we did.

Finding a 2-person desk wasn't easy.  I found one that isn't meant for two people because it had a pull-out shelf on the side.  When Hubby assembled the desk, he left off the shelf.  Now, two people and two computers fit just fine.  BUT....I lost all my drawers.  We have a 2-drawer file cabinet that has been loaded with junk and really didn't get much use.  I knew I had to make it usable.

I cleaned out the file cabinet.  I cleaned out the old desk.  I sorted, I filed, I threw away, I wiped and cleaned.  Wowzers- that was a major job.  If I would have realized all that, I probably would have turned down the offer of the free computer!

Now that it's done, I feel SO much better!  Things are organized and I found lots of really interesting stuff.  I found a lot of old computer software, much of it was older than all four of my kids.  What in the world am I going to do with a 1998 encyclopedia CD?  Guess there was no Wikipedia back in those days.

I found photos, mementos, and videos from Son #1's baby days.  No, I don't have any way to watch the videos, but at least I have them.  Best of all, I found my old, old computer backup, the one that crashed years ago.  It's very important because it contains the very first digital photos we ever took.  I've been looking for it for about two years.  I am really happy to have that back!

I guess I got a really good jump on Spring Cleaning.  Either that, or I'm really behind from last year.  Yep, it's the second one.

I already have my next project in mind- switching the kids rooms around.  We're going to put the girls in the same room and split the boys up.  The bad news is that everyone has to move.  This job is going to make the desk job look like a cake walk.  Can't wait.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Never Too Young

Baby Girl has started asking me to take pictures.  I think it's a great idea!  I place the strap over her neck, make sure her finger is positioned above the button, and step back to have my photo taken.  The cool thing is that she usually gets me in the picture!  (That might be partly because I move around to make sure I'm standing- or squatting- in front of the lens!)

Maybe we have a future photographer here!  I've certainly gotten worse shots on vacation when I ask strangers to take our picture!!!

Here is her work thus far:  (Some are better than others!)

Friday, January 13, 2012

+ & -

+ I'm going here tomorrow.  (Midwesterners will know what I mean.)  My cousin's fiancee is having her bridal shower and I've never been to her home town.

-  It is a snowy tundra outside.  Last weekend, it was in the upper 50s.  Nope, they couldn't have scheduled the shower for last weekend.

+ You can see the floor in every room of my house right now (well, except for Baby Girl's room). 

-  I've been working like a dog trying to get everything organized around here.

+ Hubby found my favorite hooded sweatshirt that I didn't even realize was missing!  It somehow got put in with his laundry and he thought it was a work shirt.  When he showed it to me, I was so excited to have it back!  I haven't worn it since last year and today is definitely a hoody day!

-  I won't be leaving the house any more today.  It's pure nastiness out.  When I attempted to turn onto the street the school is on, my car kept going straight.  I had to go to the next block and backtrack.  Our district won't call any snow days because the state (I guess) reduced the number of snow days allowed.  Last year, we had to make them up.  So, go ahead and let people get in car accidents due to the weather instead of allowing us to have more snow days in an area of the country that is covered by snow a good 1/3 of the year.  (Sorry about that run-on sentence.)

+ Son #2 left this post-it note stuck to my cereal bowl this morning.  It was so cute because I keep forgetting to call the dentist.

-  I have to call the dentist because he has this nasty thing growing on the side of his gum.  They discovered it at his last appointment but I wasn't the one who took him.  So I was supposed to call them quite a while ago.  I guess I was kind of hoping it would go away on its own but that sure isn't happening.

+ A day like this totally calls for a cup of tea and a good book.  If I can get inspired enough to get the house clean, maybe I'll bake something and sit down with my Kindle.

-  My poor husband has to work outside all day in this.  Last time I checked, it was 16 degrees F.  The wind gusts keep covering the road with snow so the snow plows can't even keep up.  I feel really guilty enjoying a warm, relaxing day inside when I think about him.  I'll just have to plan a special back rub for him when he gets home.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Still Saving

In case you were wondering, I am still on this crazy, roller coaster, coupon ride.  I still check the coupon sites several times a day, I still spread the newspaper inserts all over my living room floor, I still have scissors strategically placed throughout the house for quick clips, and I still run my poor printer to death with internet coupons.  There is nothing quite like the feeling of getting something more than half off or even free. 

This week at the grocery store, I scored four Colgate toothbrushes for free.  Someone had cleaned out the shelf before me but I happened to find four in the wrong place.  Luckily, I remembered to score a rain check so I can use the rest of my coupons to get free toothbrushes next week!  I got shampoo for $1 and deodorant for $.50.  Kraft shredded cheese came to $1 a bag.  My bill before coupons came to $147 and $84 after coupons.  Not too shabby!  It's really nice to leave the store with money still left in my wallet.

This morning, I went to Target with a friend.  I scored a Smurfs playset for $4 after a 70% off sale.  I got a Giada saute pan for half off that I will give as a bridal shower gift this weekend.  Feels good!  What doesn't feel good is that I forgot to give the cashier the one coupon I planned on using.  I'm going to blame that one on Baby Girl who was arguing with my friend's kid in the giant Target shopping cart.

I honestly didn't think I was going to make it this long.  At first, I was overwhelmed by the amount of time it took.  After a two week break with no Sunday coupons during Christmas, I kind of got refreshed.  I was anxious and excited to get back to it.  My poor binder looked sickly after removing all the coupons that expired 12/31.  Now, it's healthy and fat again (like me) and is saving me lots of money!

I may not be working my way toward the TLC show, Extreme Couponing, but I'm saving my family money and getting stocked up on the things we use the most.  It's definitely a "hobby" I plan on sticking with.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Hiding From the Kids

Bright and early this morning, I was getting the boys ready for school.  As I was making my bed, my door slams open against the wall.  There stands a grouchy looking, pajama clad Baby Girl holding pink Puppy.  She doesn't speak; she simply scowls at the floor.  I know the seconds are numbered so I catapult into Mission Impossible mode.  (Cue theme music here.)  I bolt toward the door, scoop up the baby, and slide down the wood floor toward her room, all while making minimal sound.  As I duck inside her room and close the door, she finally becomes aware of what is happening and begins to protest.  "No, Baby, it's still dark out.  I will rock you." 

I carefully sit down in the rocking chair, well, after I pick up a pile of junk that was on it and quietly transfer it on the floor.  I begin a monotonous back-and-forth motion, hoping that she still has enough sleep left in her to doze back off.  I can hear backpacks begin zipped downstairs and hope that Baby Girl doesn't recognize the sound.  If she realizes her brothers are up, I've totally lost the It's Still Dark Out reasoning.  My only hope is to convince her it's still the middle of the night.

You see, the boys wake up at 6:45.  Their school starts much earlier.  I have the luxury of getting them ready and out the door while the girls are still dreaming.  After they leave, I have five or ten minutes to myself and then I wake up Big Sis.  Baby Girl usually doesn't wake up until after Sis is done with breakfast.  Occasionally, I have to wake her so we can drive Big Sis to school.

So this morning, the entire plan and routine was almost foiled.  One sure fire way to get me in a grouchy mood is to ruin my routine.  I'm not one of those people who has to have everything all laid out to be happy, but I'm pretty darn close.

As I continued to rock Baby Girl, I realized that the moments were quickly passing.  My aunt would soon appear in the driveway to take the boys to school.  I wasn't sure if they boys were aware that we had a Level Three Emergency and that I was in the Baby's room trying to get her back to sleep.  All I needed was one of them to come up the stairs doing that really loud whispery, "Mom!" thing.

The moment was now.  In one motion, I stood up, repositioned the fidgety toddler, and laid her back down in The Hole.  She was beginning to protest, but I covered her up and handed her Puppy.  "Go back to sleep," I whispered.  "It's still night-night time."  I maneuvered back through the door like an acrobat to allow as little light and sound in the room as possible. 

Downstairs, I could hear her muted cries.  The sun was peeking through the living room window and the boys were zipped up and ready to go.  Fortunately, Baby Girl's room is on the west side of the house.  It takes the sunrise a minute longer to reach her.

After the boys left, I stopped and listened.  Complete quietness.  I had been successful in my mission!  Still unwilling to go upstairs for fear of waking the beast, I decided to spend my ten minutes starting my daily blog post.  Yes, I'm at the computer, hiding from the kids.  It surely isn't the first time and certainly won't be the last.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

It's All Random Today

Son #1 left for school at 7:30 this morning.  Immediately after school, he has French Horn lessons.  Straight from lessons, he goes to rehearsal for Youth Philharmonic Orchestra.  The same minute that's over, he is supposed to be at a tournament (20 minutes away) for the Bible Quizzing team he's on.  He won't get home until 8:30.  Can anyone say "overscheduled?"  I'm going to have to take him something to eat for dinner in the car between orchestra and quizzing.  And yes, this kid also maintains a straight A average in school.


The Dora Memory game was probably the best gift I purchased for Baby Girl this Christmas.  Didn't you have Memory as a kid?  She loves it and plays it daily.  It's a game I don't have to cheat to lose.  She actually can beat me by her own merit.  That kid has some fabulous memory!


Remember the awesome gift I scored for 70% off on Black Friday?  It's pure junk.  Even at 70% off, I still got taken.


I haven't mentioned this on my blog yet but I am planning on reading the entire Bible through this year. It's something I've never done before, even though I've tried many times. Something always comes up- like pregnancy, sickness, or just pure laziness. I don't know what will make this year any different but I'm going to try really hard. Currently, I'm still caught up.


Our grocery store has free child care when you shop.  No, I am not kidding.  When a friend of mine moved back to Florida, she told everyone about the store up North that had free babysitting.  Everyone called her a liar, but it's true.  This Friday, they are showing a movie at the store.  I can check the girls in at 6:00, sit in the cafe for two hours by myself, and pick them up at 8:00.  It's truly ridiculous how excited I am about getting two hours alone!  I have my Kindle loaded up with all those new books I just "purchased."  I will likely drink some hot tea while I sit and relax.  At some point, I will end up buying my groceries for the next week.  But I still get an hour and a half!  I can't wait!


I hate to say this for fear of losing blog followers, or worse yet, getting flogged.  But I just don't care for Chick-Fil-A.  I know, you've never heard such nonsense in all your life.  Personally, I don't know why people go crazy over this restaurant.  I have a friend who camps out at any new store opening in exchange for free Chick-Fil-A for a year.  She's done it no less than 8 times.  She's nuts.  What I want to say to all these addicts is, "Have you never tried Chipotle???"


This weekend, I am going to a bridal shower for my cousin-to-be.  It's in another state, 3 hours away.  Too bad it's in the opposite direction from the Ikea that stole my happiness last weekend.  I still haven't called Mr. Ikea yet.  Too much to do, too much to do.


I realize it's not even close to Spring yet but I've got some serious organization hangups right now.  We got a new desk, which Hubby set up all by his little self last night.  Now I have all kinds of junk in the old desk that needs a new home.  Unfortunately, the new desk didn't come with any drawers.  Believe it or not, that's how I wanted it.  We have a small two-drawer file cabinet that the printer sits on.  It, too, is filled with junk.  I am going to be itchy all over until it's cleaned out and taken care of.  I possibly may need the talents of a professional organizer.


Listing all these many things makes me realize all I must do today.  Time to leave the blogging world for another time.  Don't talk about too much without me...

Monday, January 9, 2012

A Shopping Trip Gone Sour

I think I could make a living writing strongly worded letters.  It's something I'm really good at.  I can portray so much aggression and irritation after a To Whom it May Concern and a colon.  I try to write my letter while at the height of my frustration so that I can remember each detail and make sure that every speck of my anger comes spewing out.

Over the weekend, we made a day trip to Ikea.  We don't have one locally and have to drive a couple hours to get to one.  With so many little kids around the house, I don't like to pay a lot for new furniture.  They're going to end up banging it up or coloring on it, so I might as well get something replaceable.  That's where Ikea comes in handy.  Every couple of years, we make a trip to the next state to pick up a big item or two and several little household things that cost a few bucks.  This trip, it was a computer desk we were after.  We need something bigger that can seat two people.

The store was packed and there were people everywhere.  We finally located what we wanted, asked a few questions, and wrote down the necessary information.  From previous trips, we've learned that you write down the aisle and bin numbers on your little card and pick up the items from the self-serve warehouse.

Then, we were browsing through the kids furniture.  Hubby spied a bright pink and red toddler bed and declared that Baby Girl needed to have it.  Big Sis was awestruck by it's girly-ness and wholeheartedly agreed.  I didn't care for it but spotted a white, iron bed next to it that looked so precious.  Poor Baby Girl is still in a crib with the sides down.  She gets in and out as she pleases but I haven't had the time to decide what route we were going to take with her Big Girl room.  Hubby confirmed that we had the money available and I decided to get it.  However, there was no tag on the item with warehouse information.  I sought the help of an employee who explained that the bed would need to be picked up from the satellite store across the street.  I was fine with that and he wrote me up a ticket.  We also picked out a frumpy little mattress to go along with it.

The shopping trip was over; the desk and the bed were both piled into the trunk of the minivan.  All was well and we drove home.  Hubby wanted to get the bed up right away so we turned our home into a mini workshop.  We took down the crib and started putting together the new bed.  Of course, we had a few problems as the instructions include only smiling and frowning people with no words.  But it finally came together. 

The last step showed a faceless man putting slats onto the frame of the bed.  "Where are these?" Hubby asked.  Panicked and becoming nauseated, I looked around the room and in the box.  No slats.  I read and reread the instructions.  No words, no notes, no information whatsoever.  Getting irritated, I looked up the style of bed on the internet.  It said that this style of bed requires the use of a certain type of wood slats, which are included in the price but packaged separately.  Oh, great!  That's no good to me now! 

Quickly, I picked up the phone and called customer service.  It was nearly closing time and the Baby's bedtime.  The man on the phone informed me that the slats are necessary but not included.  I was instructed to return to my local store and pick them up.  I explained that I don't have a local store.  We live a few hours from the closest store and that was not an option.  "Oh," the man said.  "Well, I can transfer you to home shopping to purchase the bed slats."

"Let me ask you, sir," I said, "how is a person supposed to know that these particular bed slats are needed when there is nothing on the box that says so and no one at the store informed of this."

"It's on the tag, ma'am."

"Hmmm...." I continued, sarcasm rising in my voice, "there was no tag anywhere on the bed.  There was a sign hanging from the ceiling with the price.  There was no other information.  I had to seek help from an employee who ordered the bed from the warehouse.  He did not mention this information.  Again, I ask you, how is a person supposed to know?" 

"I'm sorry to hear that." he said.  "You can order the slats for $9.99."

"On your website, it said the slats were included in the price but packaged separately."

"Yes, that's just for internet orders," he said.

"Fine."  I was getting more irritated by the moment and just wanted this to be over.  "I will just buy them."  He transferred me to home shopping and I explained my story to the fella there.

"Oh, I see you need the XXX bed slats.  Those aren't available from home shopping!" he said with a lovely spring in his voice.  My blood was boiling at this point.  I won't replay the entire conversation but it went much the same way as with the last guy.  He finally explained to me that I can order twin-sized bed slats, which will work, but will only allow the bed to be used in one size.  I won't be able to adjust it like I'm supposed to be able to.  I sighed and said that will have to work.  He then told me it will take 7 to 10 business days.  "Is that OK?"

"Well, I guess it will have to be, won't it?  I don't have any other option.  I've already gotten rid of my daughter's bed so I don't know where she's going to sleep for 7 to 10 business days."

"OK, ma'am.  Those slats are $19.99." 

"$19.99?  So they went from being included, to $9.99, to $19.99 plus shipping?  Forget it!"  I hung up.  I was frustrated with myself for not asking to talk to someone much more important than him.  But it was bedtime for Baby Girl and I needed to start finding a sleeping solution for her.

I always cry when I'm ticked off.  I cried.  I decided to put her in bed with Big Sis and retreat to a hot bath with a candle and a book.  Co-sleeping did not go well.  Baby Girl got up numerous times, walked around, played with toys, wrestled with her sister, and was basically a menace.  About this time, I began thinking Why in the world did I want her out of a crib anyway??  In the morning, Big Sis said, "She got up in the middle of the night and was looking out the window and stuff!"  A serious change was needed.

I wrote my letter to Ikea.  I thought it was a pretty good one.  Anyone who would take the time to read it would certainly feel my frustration and would want to somehow make the situation right.  I got a form letter in response.  Guess what it said? 

We recommend you contacting IKEA XXX to place a home shopping order for the slatted bed base by calling XXX or email at XXX @ikea.com. We are open everyday from 10am-5pm.

Gee, thanks guys!  If I could have done that, I wouldn't have needed to write my letter, now would have I?  They didn't even read my letter!  Anyone speak Swedish?  I think I'm calling Mr. Ikea himself at some point today!

Last night, Baby Girl slept in "The Hole."  The bed frame is still set up in the middle of her room.  I made a little area for her to sleep on the floor inside of The Hole, which she adequately named herself.  She cried during the night, lost her pillow, and pulled the ole' "Mama, I NEED you!" 

Needless to say, Hubby told me he's never taking me to Ikea again.  I feel bad using the name of the store in this rant but they have done nothing to resolve the problem.  I'm stuck with a useless bed and a girl who has nowhere to sleep.  Period.

Happy Monday to you.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Inspired to Simplify

Does anyone read LivingWellSpendingLess.com?  It's a blog I discovered when I was trying to learn how to get started in couponing.  This year, she is beginning something called Project Simplify 365.  She says that this project "is based on the idea that consciously doing one small thing each day towards creating a simpler life can ultimately add up to a big change."  That makes total sense to me and I like it.

It's basically a form of what I'm trying to teach my children (but failing).  If you consistently throw your clothes on the floor at the end of each day, your bedroom will be a constant mess.  If you make an effort to put away your clothes or throw them in the hamper at the end of each day, you will be exerting very little effort toward the hefty goal of keeping a clean room.  It works on so many levels.  It only takes moments to clean up your dishes after you eat.  However, left unattended, dishes pile up to the sky and take hours to clean up and put away.

Project Simplify 365 is my new mantra.  Putting forth just a little bit of effort, I can end up achieving great things.  On this site, she is going to post what little thing she does each day.  I think it will be a very interesting read and, hopefully, an encouragement for people like me.

Anyone else inspired?

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Getting Taken

Sometimes I just feel like the world is out to get me.  All the little things in life are just so hard to take care of.  For example:
  • I have my own business checking account.  I barely have a business, but I occasionally take pictures of people for money.  My mom is a business banker and insisted that I open an account for my business expenses.  Well, I don't really have expenses, but opening a new account would score me $100.  Fine...free money is always good to me.  Unfortunately, I don't know how to pay my bill.  I have no clue how to do stuff like that.  When we got married, I informed Hubby that I wanted absolutely nothing to do with the financial part of our lives.  He agreed so all was peachy keen.  So now that I have my own account, I feel like I should be the one to take care of it. I received a letter this week saying that I have a $15 late fee.  Great.  Now what do I do?  I don't even know how to pay the bill, let alone the late fee.  I had to call my mom and ask her to pay my bill for me.  Thankfully, she didn't act like I was the complete moron that I am.
  • My local grocery store has electronic coupons that you can load onto your store loyalty card.  I think that's pure loveliness.  This week, I decided to check my receipt to make sure I'm getting all the credit I deserve.  I had gone $7 over budget and had my panties in a wad because of it.  I don't like going over budget.  Turns out, three of the electronic coupons didn't come off my card!  I'm pretty sure you could see the steam coming out of my ears.  I'm doing all this work to save a buck and it's not working.  I called the 800 number on my card and tried to get all my problems sorted out.  The jerk on the phone said that e-coupons can't be combined with manufacturer coupons and that's why they didn't come off my receipt.  Not convinced, I went to the coupon policy on their website.  Turns out, he was exactly wrong.  E-coupons totally can be stacked with manufacturer coupons.  Dude was trying to take me!  I feel like the store invented these internet coupons just to get me to spend more money than I normally would so I sent them a letter telling them that.  I didn't need Pantene shampoo and only bought it because I thought it was fifty cents a bottle.  Now I'm out $3 just on shampoo.  I didn't go over budget after all.  The savings were there, they just weren't applied to my total.
  • Our satellite receiver totally isn't working.  We're paying a fortune to watch good TV and we can't even do that.  I have called and complained time after time.  They keep resetting things and changing things but nothing helps.  Last time I called, the lady told me they're coming out with a new receiver this month.  I'm just biding my time waiting on it to come out.  If I'm going to get a new one, I might as well get the newest one.  Meanwhile, I have to hear a lot of grumbling from Hubby about how he can't watch the Broncos game.  (I could care less about the Broncos and am actually quite happy when they're not on at my house.  All evidence to the contrary.)

These things are just getting under my skin and I want them all taken care of.  Things like this really start to bug me.  Oh, I also have to call and schedule a new internet connection to be set up, install Magic Jack, and cancel our land line.  Things like this are what make me grouchy in life!  I hate spending my good money on things that I shouldn't be spending it on.  Well, it's Hubby's money...but you get the point.

What little things in life are taking you right now?

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Puppy Chow

Puppy Chow
1 C chocolate chips
¾ C peanut butter
¼ C butter
8 C Crispix cereal

1½ C+ powdered sugar

Melt chips, peanut butter, and butter.  Place cereal in a large bowl; pour mixture over cereal.  Pour coated cereal into a Ziplock freezer bag.  Add sugar; shake until each piece of cereal is coated well with sugar. 

Don't worry about storing it because it won't make it that long.  (I just keep mine in the same Ziplock bag I used to make it.)

*Note:  Some people make this recipe with Chex cereal.  I don't think it's nearly as good with Chex.  It's a more dense cereal and doesn't absorb the melted chocolate like Crispix does.  Also, make sure you use as much powdered sugar as necessary to completely cover the cereal.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Free Kindle Books

I went on a free digital shopping spree today!  Getting anything free is so much fun for me!  I really enjoy reading, even though I haven't found time to read in quite a while.  One of the couponing sites I read daily will often tell about free book downloads for Kindle.  A couple of times, I've downloaded the books and shared the deal with you.  Today, there was another free book:  Ryan's Return by Barbara Freethy.  I read the description and thought it looked interesting.  If it's horrible, I've lost nothing.  Then I noticed at the bottom "Customers who bought this item also bought..." and it grabbed my attention.  Many of the recommendations were also free!  I don't care for the smutty, Harlequin romance-type books but several of the books looked quite interesting.  I even downloaded one for my son about middle school (I'm sure I'll read it too).  I ended up with 8 or 10 free books that I'm really looking forward to trying out!  I'm sure out of 10, there will be a few that I delete without finishing.  That happens.  But I'll surely enjoy sitting down on the couch some evening with lots of new reading material!

I wanted to pass on this deal to all my blogger friends...hopefully you can use some free books right now.  Enjoy!


These delicious little squares are such a weakness for me!  I haven't made them in so long because I always want to eat the entire pan myself.  I don't know what it is, but this combination of ingredients is just sinful.  I don't even like butterscotch, but mixed with chocolate, it totally hits the spot.

For New Year's Day, we make a bunch of party food and gather at my mom's house.  They guys watch football and the girls play board games.  Every year, I make Puppy Chow.  It's become a tradition.  I used to make a double batch, but my brother and I would gorge on it and make ourselves physically sick.  That's also what I do with Scotcharoos.  (I made both for this year's New Year's party.)

If you have never tasted these, I strongly suggest that you give them a try.  Just cut up half the pan and give them away before you allow yourself to taste them.  That way, you won't be able to eat the whole recipe yourself.  (I will post my Puppy Chow recipe another day.)

1 C Karo syrup
1 C sugar
1 C peanut butter
5 C Rice Krispies
1 C semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 C butterscotch chips

Mix Karo syrup and sugar in a saucepan.  Stir over low heat until it becomes clear and starts to boil.  Remove from heat.  Stir in peanut butter.  Pour mixture over Rice Krispies.  Stir until well combined.  Spread into a 9x13" pan and cool.  Meanwhile, melt chocolate and butterscotch chips.  Stir until smooth and spread over Rice Krispie mixture.  Cut when hard.

*  Tip:  You should microwave chocolate in 30-second intervals to reduce the risk of scorching.  Stir every 30 seconds.

*  I don't care to refrigerate the Scotcharoos because they are very difficult to cut.  I think they are best at room temperature.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Grocery Store Etiquette

It's been a while since I've blogged about my pet peeves.  I went to Target Saturday.  So now I have quite a few more.  How many of these things bug you?
  • People who stop their shopping cart right in the middle of the aisle while they study something on a shelf.  They are in another world and are totally oblivious to the fact that you need to pass by.  Even a polite "Excuse me" gets no response.  One of these days, I might be in the wrong mood and ram one of them with my cart.
  • People who walk in groups (very slowly) down the aisle.  They can't follow one another in a straight line...they must all be side by side so that I, again, cannot pass by.  When I go grocery shopping, I am on a mission.  I like to speed walk, get what I need, and get out of there.  (By the way, old ladies are exempt from the slow walking rule.  When you're old, you have earned the right to walk slowly.  These aren't the people who irritate me.)
  • People who leave their shopping cart messy.  Saturday, I found a half eaten, orange peanut butter cracker in my cart.   Baby Girl picked it up and showed me, saying "Ewwww!"  Sure, my kids make a mess in the cart, but I clean it up afterward.  Also, don't leave the deli paper in your cart from your sample of maple ham.  Don't leave your store ad or shopping list in there either.  Take all your trash with you when you leave.
  • People who block off half the parking lot because they're waiting on a space.  If the person before you has just started loading their groceries into the trunk, you may not sit there and wait on them.  (If no one is behind you waiting, you are exempt from this rule.)  It is not proper parking lot etiquette to wait on another driver unless they are already in their car, getting ready to pull out.  (Another exemption- when it's Christmastime and there are no spots to be found anywhere in the lot, you may stalk another shopper and follow them to their car.  Sometimes ya gotta do what ya gotta do.)
  • People who write checks.  Seriously.  It's 2012.  They have this little plastic card now called a debit card.  It does the exact same thing as a check, only it takes a half of second to swipe instead of the fifty-three seconds it takes you to fill out a check.  "Was that fifty-two cents or sixty-two cents, Mildred?"  Come on, join us in the 21st century and get a debit card already!
And yes, believe it or not, every one of these things happened to me during one solitary Saturday shopping trip!  I think I should write a book on Grocery Store Etiquette.  Anyone have anything else I should include in the book?