Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
And we have a winner!!!
Aviva, ST's mom, you are the happy winner of my $10 gift card checky thing! I'll toss it in your mailbox tomorrow-enjoy it!!
Thank you to everyone who participated...hee hee it was fun.
I'll have to make some more real giveaways in the future. Anything you all want me to give away? I'm relatively crafty and I coupon. Those are my qualifications for giveaway stuff.
Soo....on to my exciting news.
Y'all know how I am running on Team Lifeline. As is Benjie.
Well so is someone else. And I'll give you some hints.
He has Familial Dysautonomia.
He retches often.
He's a lover of french fries and chicken won tons.
This blog is named after him.
Yes, Dovi is running the marathon!!!! No, no, he's not running. He can hardly walk!
Raphi, his counselor (and maybe anyone else who wants a turn-Joe? You in?) is pushing him as a wheelchair participant on Team Lifeline!!
We're so so so freaking excited. Dream. Come. True.
Things are falling into place to make the trip work for our family, and we're all going down for the weekend. It's going to be a blast, and Dovi's so excited to "run" on Team Lifeline!
Yes, I promise. Lots of pictures. Insane amounts.
Six weeks and counting!
Monday, December 21, 2009
Scroll down and look on the right sidebar of my blog at the counter
I reached 100,000 hits!
This is cause for celebration!
Okay, I guess this calls for a party.
Let's make another
"Ask Sara a Question" party
And a giveaway. What to give away?
OK here's the plan.
I have a $10 "gift check"-a rebate check of sorts, that can be used at about 100 different stores. It can be used at movie theaters, or at bookstores for books, or for toys, and on and on. All the places it can be used are listed on the back of the check.
And in honor of my 100,000 blog hits, I'm giving it away.
All you need to do is leave me a comment.
I'll close the contest when I want to-hey, it's my blog, right???
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
I just finished my last final!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I have officially finished my first semester back at school!
I am now on vacation until January 19!
Big sigh of relief...
will report grades as they come in :)
Friday, December 4, 2009
Finally, at long last, I bought myself a new pair of running shoes. They are the same ones I had before, just two years newer.
I must say, I had not a clue how worn out my old shoes were. It was like running on pillows! All nice and cushy, and shockingly my calves didn't have shooting pains up the front anymore.
But why did I need new shoes?
And for that matter, why did BENJIE buy himself a pair of running shoes?
Why that's because not only am I running the half marathon for Chai Lifeline this year, but so is BENJIE!
What do they say? The family that runs together?
So this will be year FOUR for Team Lifeline for me, year one for Benjie for Team Lifeline.
Since we are a family team, Benjie and I have committed to raise $6,000 for Chai Lifeline.
Sounds a little daunting, huh? It certainly is. But Chai Lifeline is an organization that I am passionate about. Dovi has gone to Camp Simcha Special for the past six summers, for two weeks of fun and happiness. All the money that we raise goes straight to fund Chai Lifeline programs. I like to think that my fundraising sends Dovi to camp.
Won't you consider a donation? C'mon, you know you want to! Every donation gets us closer to the goal. I believe we're up to about $4,500 now...help us hit $6,000 by the end of December!
I'd love to give you a direct link to click to sponsor Benjie and me. But since I took our last name off the blog, I can't. Darn I'm silly. So if you want to sponsor me (remember, you really, really, REALLY want to!) email me at firstname.lastname@example.org I'll email you back with the link to my sponsorship page.
OR if you know my in real life and know my last name (like about 99.9% of you), go to wwww.teamlifeline.org, click on "sponsor a runner", and enter my name: Sara P.......
Thank you all for your support!!!
GO TEAM LIFELINE!
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Either way, a few nights ago I watched the A&E show "Hoarders" on TV. Oh My Heavens I almost passed out. Firstly, Mommy, DO NOT CLICK THAT LINK. You will have a nervous breakdown. Of course, watching the show made me want to clean house. You all know that my house is basically clean. But my closets could be neater. So.
OH! I remembered the word. It does not start with C. It is ACCOUNTABILITY. So in the spirit of both accountability and my twitchiness from watching Hoarders, I have made a list of that which needs to be done in my house. Obviously, I don't expect it to be done in one day. Or two. But the way I see it, if I do two tasks per day, my house should be loverly within about two weeks.
So I hereby give you my list of what needs to be done:
- Clean Dovi's closet
- Clean ESJ's closet
- Clean out ESJ's toys/books in their room/pack up baby books
- Clean MY closet
- Clean out/prepare to donate my clothes
- Clean out under my bed (moe Benjie's old shoes than anything-prepare to donate)
- Clean out hall closet-mostly kids' out of season clothes
- Clean out coat closet
- File the past 2 months of paperwork/prepare to archive 2009 (it IS December, folks)
- Organize toy closet (Sunday with kids?)
- Organize silver closet (I have this closet in my den in which I keep my silver and other Judaic stuff for Shabbos. It's a mess)
Straighten Living Room bookshelvesDONE THIS MORNING
- Clean out under den couch (probably enough toys to entertain a small child for a week)
- Organize meat pots and pans cabinet
- Re-organize basement now that we cleaned out my Dad's stuff-everything got shoeved around when we brought his entire apartment back here in Sepetember, and now that we cleaned it out and sorted everything, we went from 20 boxes to 4. So I need to straighten out everything.
- Straighten out entertainment unit. The decorative items aren't so decorative when they are messy and cluttered.
I'll check in as I'm progressing! Off to the pots and pans now, my dears. Let me tell you folks, it seems a heck of a lot less daunting now that I've assigned myself a bunch of small little tasks that can be done in under 20 minutes each, except for the kids' rooms which are scary.
Join me! Let's be all organize-y together!
I wonder how many people are doing the same thing after watching that show. I guess it was a good thing, then?
Monday, November 30, 2009
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Guess what happens on December 17th?
It's a very exiting day for Mr. Dovi.
He's getting his braces off!!!!
Huh? You ask. Didn't he just get them on last summer?
Why yes, he did get his uppers on over the course of last summer. A few brackets here, a few brackets there.
Then he got a tooth pulled this past summer to make a bit more room.
And let me tell you, those upper teeth look beautiful. Straight and perfect. Seriously amazing when we remember where he came from. I might ahve to ask the orthodontist for before and afters to show you all.
Well Dovi still doesn't have his bottom braces.
And he's not getting them.
We (and his wonderful orthodontist) have decided that the effort, pain, and frustration that will come along with the lower braces far, far, FAR outweighs the benefit that he would get from them. We'd have to pull at least three more teeth and put bands and brackets on every one of his teeth. Yikes. That would be absolutely terrifying.
So we're calling it.
Yes, he has an itty bitty crossbite.
Yes, one of his bottom teeth is not even-it's a bit behind the others.
Yes, it could be better.
But sometimes, you've gotta be happy with good enough.
And when Dovi smiles at you, his teeth look good enough. And good enough is good enough for us to not put Dovi through hours and hours of torture.
So on December 17th, Dovi's getting his braces off.
He is SO excited.
Monday, November 23, 2009
I have introduced my daughter to the loveliness that is velour yoga pants.
I bought her a pair (where else than the Unique for $1) of black velour yoga pants.
Stuck them in her drawer.
She discovered them yesterday.
Ran up after school and changed out of her uniform skirt and into the velour yoga pants.
Happiest little clam ever. She couldn't get over how cozy she was.
She's soooooo my daughter.
And I am inappropriately obsessed with:
Velour Yoga Pants.
I cannot get enough of them.
Whenever I go to my favorite store (10 points, or a bottle of kechup, whichever your preference, to the first person who names my current favorite storethatisnotJewel), all I have draped over my arm are those two types of clothing.
It's rather ridiculous considering that I do not wear pants out of the house, unless you count tucked into my Uggs under a long black skirt.
My hoodie obsession is bordering on inappropriate. Yesterday was grey velour. Today was navy terry. Friday was black sweater. It's ridiculous.
I always complain to Benjie that I have nothing to wear.
I'm beginning to think that it's not that I have no clothing. It's because I constantly buy the same items over and over again in slightly different versions.
But then again, maybe hoodies are my signature look? Jackie O had her sunglasses, Sara P has her hoodies? That's gotta be it.
And I must say that wearing velour yoga pants and a terry hoodie while drinking red zinger out of my monogrammed mug while your kids happily eat their tuna quiche, salad, and veggie rice is rather lovely and Susie-Homemakery.
And it's also much more relaxing to drink my red zinger now that I don't feel like I need to ration it. I'm plowing through box 1 out of 6 at a steady clip.
Hooray for Hoodies!
Hooray for Velour Yoga Pants!
Hooray for Red Zinger!
I promise that I'll share the P for Dummies book soon. But really, it's not so exciting. Don't get all excited over it. I'm also just very lazy, and my camera is currently full with 9 months of pictures that need to be uploaded to Snapfish so as to empty my memory card and take pictures of P for Dummies. Yes, Shosh, I still have not emptied my camera. I'm clearly mother of the year.
Friday, November 20, 2009
It's the scary insane crazy people who read blogs and steal pictures and pass them off as their own families and know your personal address who scare me.
Not you people.
It's the ones who aren't commenting.
I hope to get to P for Dummies today-I just ran a few miles and have a few more Shabbos prep things to do (although my table is set and candles are as well!)
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Are there any of my loyal readers left?
After all I haven't blogged in almost a week! Horrors!
I wish I could say it was because I was off vacationing in some amazing spa.
Alas, it's just life.
Sunday was Dovi's birthday dinner out. We went to a yummy Israeli restaurant. Dovi (and Elisha) got chicken nuggets. Shana got a hot dog. My apparently only smart child, Jacob, got a steak sandwich. Goofballs.
I had a chemistry test on Monday, which I successfully argued a question to be correct. People in college or who know chemistry: What is the maximum valence capacity of phosphorus? Comment your answer and I'll explain what went down. All I know is that my class loves me now because I got everyone points.
Tuesday was my kids' school book fair. It was a blast but I was at school literally for over NINE hours.
Wednesday I had book fair wrap up, school for me, and then PT for Dovi, and then Jewel for like two hours. It's a process I tell ya.
And today is today and here I am blogging.
I'm happy to report that:
- Dovi had a rocking birthday. He got a Patrick Kane jersey from my mom which seems to be the coolest gift a 12 year old can get.
- I ordered and received SIX boxes of red zinger tea from Amazon. Then one of my loyal readers emailed me that she found it. At a store less than five miles from my house. But no matter, I'm stocked in red zinger for a while. Speaking of which, I'll go make a cup now.
- I'm sure no one noticed, but I have a request to make. I've decided that there are some nut jobs out there. None of you guys, my lovely readers, but there are some loony toons out there (the woman I saw by my school who was wearing gloves on her feet comes to mind). So I decided to take my last name off my blog. Now 99.9% of you know me in real life and can stroll on over to visit me. But in order to attempt to retain some level of privacy (kind of an oxymoron being as I blog), I no longer want my last name out there. So do me a favor and if you comment, don't write my last name. And DJ? Please call me Sara. It's making me nervous. I'm not a Mrs.
Hmmm I think that's all for now. Tomorrow I'm blogging on my "P Family for Dummies" book and all that jazz.
Friday, November 13, 2009
Yup. Dovi is 12 years old today.
One year till the big Bar Mitzvah. I told Benjie that I need to figure out a way to tell people that Dovi's Bar Mitzvah is in one year without crying every time. It's getting a little ridiculous.
But I digress.
I'm trying to think of some amazing, inspiring things to say.
But then I realize that there is nothing that I need to say.
Thank G-d, Dovi is here. He's healthy (in his own way). He is happy. He is thriving. His surgery on his leg in April was a success and he's walking even better. His speech is improving all the time.
I'm not sure there's anything else to say.
Happy Twelfth Birthday, Dovi Bear. We love you so much.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
But I digress. I have an actually amusing (well other special needs people will find it amusing. The rest of you will be perplexed) story to tell you all.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but if I'm not mistaken, the statute of limitations to bill someone for medical procedures is two years. Keep that in mind.
On October 17, 2007, Dovi broke his tibia (remember the six month stint of ongoing broken legs?). How do I know that very specific date, now, over two years later?
Well, my readers, that's because I received a bill from the orthopedist who saw Dovi in the emergency room. In September of 2009. For the date of service October 17, 2007. And I had never received any correspondence from the orthopedists' office before.
Hmmmm who do you think was auditing their accounts and realized that they didn't collect from the insurance company and decided to try and do something about it?
So I called the orthopedist practice in September and informed them that there was absolutely no chance of them seeing a penny of the $431 they were billing me. I don't even have that insurance anymore, but I knew that the policy covered emergency services at 100% coverage after a $50 co-pay. Which I paid. So heck if I was giving them $431. And had they contacted me, say, 18-24 months ago, I would have been happy to contact my then-insurance company to work it out, but this was soooooo not my problem anymore. I believe I might have ever so slightly slammed the phone down after informing them of said facts.
Well, they sent me another bill in October. I called them again. The "sweet" woman I spoke to informed me that I could say it wasn't my problem as much as I wanted, but if I didn't pay the bill they'd take me to collections. And they had been corresponding with my then-insurance company for the past two years but had been unsuccessful in collecting the account. I believe I hung up on her.
I then rethought the issue and decided that it was to my benefit to get it taken care of before the bill collectors came a-calling.
So I called them back and informed them that since I was a very reasonable person (I actually SAID that! I'm gutsy), I would call the insurance company ONE TIME and try and deal with it. And by the way, can I please have my ID number and group number because I haven't had this insurance in almost two years thankyouverymuch?
So I called. Got a very lovely guy on the phone.
Want to know why they denied the claim over and over? Well it seems that the orthopedists' office was billing the claim as an inpatient service when Dovi had never been admitted! And since there was no inpatient authorization on file, the claim was denied.
Ooh was I pleased to hear it was the orthopedists' fault.
So I asked the guy if we could conference the orthopedists' office on the line. He was happy to oblige.
We called the previously condescending snooty woman. She was all "we've been submitting, you keep denying, she needs to pay" etc
Then the insurance guy told her how they'd screwed up. Let me tell you, she was silent. But she never admitted she was wrong! She just got the fax information and said she'd fax over the claim and hung up sooooo fast.
But today, I had a message on my answering machine from the insurance guy telling me that he had not yet received the corrected claim from the orthopedists' office. Now I need to call them again. Drat.
Monday, November 9, 2009
I love sushi.
It's relatively healthy.
And it appeals to my whole "everything in its place" mentality. Those little rolls of sushi are so nice and organized!
Sushi is often misunderstood. It looks a little daunting-all those ingredients, all sliced so neatly, yikes!
But I promise. If I can do it, so can you. You only need a few items.
Let's get started.
First, we need our rice. And the rice needs its seasonings.
Sushi Rice-you can buy it in the grocery store in the ethnic food aisle. I've never made sushi with regular rice. I suppose it sort of would work, but sushi rice is stickier than regular rice. So you can try it. But don't blame me if it doesn't work.
Rice Vinegar-the most important ingredient. Once I was making sushi and didn't have any rice vinegar-I used tarragon vinegar, and while it was ok, it DID taste a little funky.
I think you all can safely figure out what these items are. But for those who really don't know what's going on in the kitchen, these are an avocado, a cucumber, and a carrot. Maybe this tutorial isn't for you. But for everyone else... And don't you see the package of mock crab next to the veggies? The invisible ones because I forgot to take a picture? C'mon. Pretend it's there. Mmmmmm. I love me some mock crab. Yummers. You need it. You can buy it most anywhere-but I generally run to the kosher store to get it because I also need...
Seaweed and wasabi powder. And a bamboo mat. The bamboo mat lasts forever, the seaweed does not. And I used to buy seaweed at the grocery store because "they" said any seaweed was fine, but then I read the back of the seaweed package, where it said that it might contain shellfish. Ahem. Sushi Metsuyan seaweed for me.
So now you have everything you need. Oh yeah.
You also need a cutting board, a sharp knife, some measuring cups and spoons, a small bowl of water, and a pot. And some yummy coffee. But that's to sip as you roll. Or as you blog. And a sick little girl (is 99.8 fever? Discuss)who is making me stay home in my pjs today. And ditch school. In my pjs. Did I mention that I'm in my pjs? I feel so decadent!
Ok back to sushi, enough about jammies and coffee and 8:15 on a Monday morning.
Let's make about 6 rolls of sushi yumminess.
Measure into a pot: (oops, no picture. Imagine)
1 1/2 cups rice and 2 cups water. As per the rice bag (toldya I'm lazy-my own recipe? ha! Read the bag to cook the rice, m'dears), bring to a soft boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer, covered, for about 20 minutes, or until water is absorbed. Let it rest for 10 minutes.I often find it takes much shorter. Keep an eye on that rice. Don't forget it's cooking and then go jogging with your hubby and leave it cooking on the stove. It will burn. Just sayin'. Don't know who that happened to.
After it's done resting (it was hard work for that rice), you want to add some seasonings. Sprinkle about a few teaspoons of salt, a tablespoon or two of sugar, and lots of yummy rice vinegar. Don't ask me how much. Some. Sprinkle. Sprinkle some more. Then take a spoon and taste it. If it's too salty, add some sugar. Too sweet, add some salt. Not tangy enough, add more vinegar. Told you I'm lazy. Just sprinkle. Trust me.
Then, dump the rice into a bowl-it cools a but faster that way. I've burned my hands on too hot rice.
Oh yeah. Drink a bit more coffee. Mmmmmmm
Then unwrap about half of the mock crab-each piece is in plastic. Remove the plastic. Plastic is not yummy. Sushi is.
OK everything is all laid out nicely and ready. Cooked, seasoned rice, veggies, mock crab, and the bamboo mat and seaweed are nearby. Oh-one more thing-fill a small bowl with water to dip your hands in.
Now it's time to roll some sushi!
First things first. Lay out your mat. You can do that!
Lay a piece of seaweed on it.
OK here we go. Dip your hands in your water. You want them wet. Gather up a ball of rice in your wet hands. Kind of form it into a ball with your hands. It will look like this. Not sure why that's important, but it's what they do at the sushi places. So I do it too.
Then, lay your veggies at the end of the rice closest to you. Choose what you want. I didn't have too much mock crab left (ate some by this point) so that's why I don't have a ton. But you can do whatever you want-no carrot, extra cucumber, whatever you, or your picky kids, want.
Pull back the bamboo. Your roll will hopefully look like this.
Now that you've done the whole roll/squeeeeeze thing twice, you're left with a little bit of seaweed still to roll. Roll it right up. Don't need the bamboo at this point. But sometimes I flip the bamboo over again and squeeeeeeze again.
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
I have an obsession in life.
I adore red zinger tea.
It is the most perfect, delicious tea around.
I drink a cup a day. (1 tea bag + 1 splenda = bliss)
I am down to one ONE ONE ONE ONE ONE tea bag.
Why is that you may ask?
Well, no grocery stores here sell red zinger. They sell lemon zinger. wild berry zinger. raspberry zinger. But (sob) no (sob) red (sob) zinger.
I have purchased it in Publix in Florida and brought it home with me.
Most recently, someone found a box in a random fruit store and bought it for me.
However, I don't remember who bought it/which fruit store it was.
Hence, I am down to ONE ONE ONE ONE bag of tea.
And I am freaking out here, folks.
I will pay a premium for it.
I now return you to your regularly scheduled programming.
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
If you live in Chicago
and eat bread
and buy said bread
and like to save money
and even if you don't
then please, please, PLEASE just listen to what I'm going to tell you.
Choose one Monday.
Go to the Entemenn's outlet. Shosh has blogged about it in the past. I thought I had blogged about it in the past but cannot seem to find it so pretend that I did.
Save lots and lots of money.
Why a Monday, you ask? Well the Entemenn's outlet gives you a punch on a card for every $5 that you spend. When you fill up the card you get $5 off your next purchase. Well, Monday is double punch day. So you get $10 of punches for every $5 you spend. Nice.
What do they sell at the Entemenn's outlet?
Weight Watchers products
They also have something called the counter special, which is a specific item for $.50 with any other purchase, no limit. Be still my heart.
AND they give you free product for every $10 you spend.
Basically, they keep throwing stuff at you.
Today, I bought:
16 loafs Arnold's bread (yes, I have a deep freeze)
6 bags mini bagels
3 boxes Pop'ems (which are popping right onto my thighs as I type)
2 bags hot dog buns
2 bags Thomas' english muffins
I paid $19.88 for 27 bags of bread products.
The bread was the counter special. So the bread was $.50 a loaf! Cannot. be. beaten. Ever. Trust me. I've tried.
Pop'ems were counter special as well so $.50 per box. Ahem. Usually...what? $3.79 per box. Ha.
English Muffins were free item with each $10 purchase) she was nice and gave me a second bag even though I was at $19.88.
Even if you say you have no time to coupon. I totally get that. So send the hubby. Go on the way to work. Drag the kids.
I figure I had about $150 worth of bread. For $19.88. Oh and I filled up my card so next time I go will be $5 less.
But I figure I won't be going until after Pesach.
Monday, November 2, 2009
So what was so exciting?
Dovi had a play date.
On Shabbos, Dovi informed me that he wanted to invite his buddy Seth over on Sunday "we watch da Bear game, Mommy".
So we called Seth on Sunday morning.
Wait, wait, I need to back up a tad. Seth is not a Keshet kid. Seth is a regular old kid from Schechter-who happens to love Dovi, and Dovi feels the same way. Through the years of awesome, incredible inclusion between the Keshet and Schechter kids, Dovi has managed to make himself some real, true friends.
And Seth is one of them.
So we called Seth. He wasn't home. We left a message.
His mom called back (speaking of which, didn't Sunday morning feel like it just went on forever? It had to be because of the time change. I'm telling you-at 10:30 am it felt like it had to be at least 3 in the afternoon). She said Seth was thrilled to come.
He came at about noonish, and stayed until 4:30. They watched the Bears game and played Wii.
Benjie and I always say that you can tell how parents raise their children by how they behave towards Dovi. And let me tell you, Seth's parents are doing something right.
He is so incredibly lovely to Dovi. Dovi tries, but he is really not a "normal" almost twelve year old boy. He's really more like a six or seven year old. But Seth? Totally gets Dovi. Totally cool with it when Dovi decided that he needed to lay down for a bit with his num num while watching the game. Exclaimed excitedly over Dovi's new Nikes that I picked up for him today (Famous Footwear, BIGI 50% off + 10% off entire purchase coupon-you don't think I'd just go in and buy a pair of shoes, do you?).
He was just so incredibly lovely. And what was really cool was that they are really friends-he wasn't just being nice to Dovi-he really likes him (you like me, you really, really like me! points to those who identify where that was said, and by whom).
Dovi had a fabulous day.
So did we.
Friday, October 30, 2009
If you leave your silly putty
on your bed,
out of the container,
immediately adjacent to your flamingo,
it might, just might
end up stuck to your flamingo.
Then your flamingo might just have to spend some time in the freezer to try to harden said silly putty so your devoted mommy can attempt to deputtify said flamingo's beak
Thursday, October 29, 2009
(Alternate title: How Sara is an Idiot)
Well, I sorta knew. Back in March (yes, March) I got some work done on my van at a mechanic, not a dealer. Regular maintenance-new belts, etc. No big deal. In about May, it started making a squeaky noise. Kind of a squeal when you started the van, and every so often as you were driving, this awful, fingernails on a chalkboard squeak would happen for about 3 seconds, then stop.
So I took it to my dealer, because I have an extended warranty. They told me that it was from the belts my mechanic put in, they could change them for $180, but it was just an annoying sound, it wasn't anything wrong. I decided to keep my $180 and ignore the sound.
And ignore I did.
From May until October.
Around mid-July, I started getting concerned that my ignoring the sound was going to cause some real damage to my beloved Sienna.
Continued ignoring. Did not want to pay money. Was afraid now that real damage had occurred and would cost much more than $180
FINALLY took the van to the mechanic on Monday.
"Oh, we need to tighten the belt."
Took about 20 minutes.
I'm an idiot. I've been driving a sqeaky, rebbe-mobile for six months.
For no good reason.
Monday, October 26, 2009
Friday, October 23, 2009
Tonight, I bought myself another shelving unit for my basement. I'm now up to six shelving units STUFFED full of food.
Check them out!
I would say that 99-99.5% of the food was bought for literally pennies on the dollar. Let's go on a little tour of the
Shelving unit 1:
all types of snacks for kids: pudding, chex mix, applesauce, granola bars, cookies, chocolate, crackers, and some other stuff.
Shelving unit 2:
canned stuff-tomatoes, veggies, manwich, tuna
baking stuff-flour, sugar, corn syrup, yeast, salt, jelly, bisquik, tons of dunkin hines
Shelving Unit 3
Not pictured (visible in corner of picture):
Shelving Unit 4:
Shelving Unit 5: (picture in larger picture with home care stuff):
And last but not least:
Shelving Unit 6: Wire Drawer Unit
Full of all types of health and beauty aides:
Now I didn't post this all to show off. I promise. Well I am rather proud of it.
But I'm showing this all for a reason.
We all know the economy sucks.
People are losing jobs. Businesses are closing. Money is tight. Budgets are being cut, people are cutting back.
But my basement is chock full of food. So full that is the unthinkable occurred, I could probably feed my family for a few months.
I have amassed this stockpile by only couponing heavily for about the past 10 months. And let me tell you, I now spend about 50% less on food per month than I did before. I used to spend about $1000-$1200/month on food. Now if I spend $500/month I've spent a lot. And that's including the $40-$50 per week I spend at the fruit store.
Now I'm not going to tell you it's easy. I spend a lot of time on couponing and chasing deals. A lot. As in an hour or so per day reading blogs, clipping, printing, going to stores. I go to multiple stores multiple times per week. There are coupons ALL OVER my house. It drives Benjie batty, all the little scraps of paper everywhere.
But to me it's worth it. I save literally at least $500 per month, usually more. This month I've spent a bit more but there have been some great deals that I've wanted to take advantage of. But in July I spent $300 TOTAL on food. Yes. $300. And that's with keeping kosher and buying kosher meat and cheese.
You have to be willing to be a little nuts. Yes, I go to Jewel and buy 25 bottles of mustard. People look at me a little funny when I check out with 30 boxes of cereal (Ma'am, do you run a day care?). But when my kids need more ketchup and I can send them down to the basement to get a bottle of ketchup that I paid $.05 (yes, that's five cents) for instead of buying one bottle that week at Jewel for $2.50, it's worth it to me.
I will say again that there is a huge investment of time that needs to be put in. You might not have that kind of time. But maybe you have an hour or so per week? Do CVS or Walgreens. With very little effort, in a very short time, you will amass a very excellent stash of health and beauty aids-toothpaste, shampoo, razors, etc. I will never pay for toothpaste again. I used to buy generic shampoo. Now I use lovely Dove shampoo.
And it was free.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Because they really are quite entertaining.
As you all know, there is a holiday at the end of this month that we do not celebrate, but involves much candy consumption.
Much candy consumption means much cheap candy. Much cheap candy means much cheap candy purchased by Sara.
So this past week I purchased 8 bags of Hersheys yumminess. (For about $1. Total. At CVS).
I had it on the floor in front of the basement stairs-that's my universal "I bought this food please go shlep it down to the scary slasher basement and dump it near the
But before Benjie came home, the kids did. And that Elisha is one nosy little guy. He found the candy. His face lit up. I mean glowing.
"What is this?"
"What do you think it is?"
"Is it for us?"
"CAN I EAT IT?"
I told him that after dinner, if he finished his book report nicely (yes, they are in second grade and doing book reports. So help me. While we were in Dovi's therapy clinic today and doing homework in the waiting room one of the other moms was laughing her head off at me and the kids doing homework. If it wasn't me struggling through it it would have been rather amusing) and took his shower, yes, he could have some candy.
He proceeded to artfully arrange the candy bags on the floor in preparation.
Here is the candy which I purchased.
Hersheys Cookies and Cream bars
Take 5 (have you had them? Chocolate. With caramel and pretzels. OMG divine)
Hersheys with Almonds
Reeses Fast Break
Heaven. In our house.
Extra points if you can match the proper kid with the proper chocolate product selected.
Extra points if you go to CVS and do a similar deal.
Negative points if you show up at my house and take my candy.
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
(a) everyone likes
(b) is reasonably healthy
(c) is not insanely expensive
(d) is not Wacky Mac (which btw folks, can be gotten for $.58 a box at Wal-Mart. It's $1.08/box regular price, and there are $1/2 coupons that you can buy on eBay. Click here to go there and buy some. Always looking out for my bloggy readers)
(a) would be pasta
(b) would not be pasta
(c) would be Ken's Diner
(d) would be pasta
So there you have it.
Tonight I made an oldy-but-goody that I have not made in like forever.
Meat Manicotti. (which does involve pasta but is not a bog ole pot of noodles with parmasean cheese which my children claim to be their favorite dinner in the entire universe. Stinkers)
Stop, stop, all ye of little faith. It's really, really yummy.
Here's what you need:
1 pound ground beef
1 1/2 tb seasoned bread crumbs
1 1/2 tb onion soup mix
1 tb ketchup
1 box manicotti noodles
1 can cranberry sauce
1 bottle marinara sauce (or if you're like me and don't have any, maybe a can of diced tomatoes, a can or two of tomato sauce, and some italian seasoning)
1 tb water
Mix together ground beef, egg, bread crumbs, onion soup mix, and ketchup. Stuff raw noodles with ground beef mixture. Lay in sprayed 9 x13 pan. Mix marinara, water, and cranberry sauce. Pour over noodles. Cover and bake at 350 for about an hour or so.
Everyone ate it. Should I take a picture? Frankly, it's not so lovely. I think I'll ruin the yumminess of the recipe by including a kinda-ugly looking picture.
So trust me. It's yummers. Everyone loved it.
Go forth and manicotti.
Bye for now!
Monday, October 19, 2009
Here are the rules:
- Each Superior Scribbler must in turn pass The Award on to 5 most-deserving Bloggy Friends. (See below!)
- Each Superior Scribbler must link to the author & the name of the blog from whom he/she has received The Award. (Thanks, All My Monkeys!)
- Each Superior Scribbler must display The Award on his/her blog, and link to This Post, which explains The Award. (Done)
- Each Blogger who wins The Superior Scribbler Award must visit this post and add his/her name to the Mr. Linky List. That way, we'll be able to keep up-to-date on everyone who receives This Prestigious Honor! (Done)
- Each Superior Scribbler must post these rules on his/her blog. (Done)
OK, so here are my five bloggy friends.Shosh @ Day by Glorious Day...my couponing partner in crime
My dear, dear IRL friend Peta @ Utterly Chaotic...Mommy to two amazing girls and two cutey pugs
Rayli @ 4 Kids and a Large Coffee...girl, you crack me up!
Writer Girl @ You Get What You Get...girlfriend, I think we were separated at special needs birth.
Peg @ ABC Trio...mom to a set of triplets including the amazing Brock, who inspires me every time I read about him.
So read forth my friends and enjoy!
Friday, October 16, 2009
Benjie and I were in a parking garage today. This sign was up in the elevator.
When there is stripping, they are not responsible for damage due to grinding. But what about bumping? Ohh I crack myself up.
When there is stripping going on, there might be damage from grinding.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Here's the story about the cat treats.
As Orah figured, it had to be some type of money making scheme. Why else would I be buying treats for animals (dogs as well as cats!) that I do not own? Seriously. I'm not that insane. Well ok I sort of am. I did buy cat and dog treats.
But here's the story. This week at Jewel (well it ends tonight) is the ever lovely "spend $10 get $3 off instantly" promotion. For every $10 in participating products that you buy, you get $3 off instantly at checkout. And the deal stacks-which means that you can buy $20 of participating products and get $6 off, $30 and get $9 off, and so on and so forth.
I can't believe I'm spelling this out for you, I'm embarrassing myself with my insanity.
The cat and dog treats are included. The dog treats are $2.50 and the cat treats are $2.00. But after the discount, the dog treats are $1.75 and the cat treats are $1.40. And, like Orah hypothesized, there are $2.00 coupons out for these items. Which scan at $2.00, even though, after the instant, I only "paid" $1.75 and $1.60 for the items. So for each box that I bought, I got either $.60 or $.25 cents in "overage" towards the other items that I bought.
And here's how it gets even better-on the back of those little cat treat packages are little survey cards-for a $10 gift card!
Let me tell you, those little coins add up.
In the past week, let me tell you what I've gotten during this loverly sale:
36 boxes pasta
21 boxes dunkin hines mixes
10 boxes chewy granola bars (different sale but all bought together)
12 boxes instant oatmeal
4 large canisters quick oats
4 bottles syrup
10 boxes Life cereal
2 4 pound packages sugar
4 4 packs of yo-crunch
4 bags cat treats (hee hee)
8 boxes dog treats (hee hee again)
3 boxes horizon yogurt tubes
2 bags pretzels
2 bottles soda
And I have paid a whopping $45 ($35 after you take into account my expected gift card!) for it all. That averages out to about $.40 ($.30) per item.
So there. Mock my cat treats.
They got me lots and lots of almost free food.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
All I can say is THANK G-D for my lovely sister in law's babysitter. They were out of town for Sukkot so I borrowed her sitter to watch my little monsters whilst I went to school.
Speaking of which? Chemistry quiz? That would be 100%, baby. Cannot say the same for my recent biology quiz. Nowhere near as pretty. Oy.
But back to the kids' school.
What are your plans?
Mine include school, Jewel (where else? It's been, what, three days? I have great plans. They involve cat treats. Love those cat treats, right Shosh?), and maybe Walgreens.
And oh yeah, must study for biology test on Thursday and chemistry test on Wednesday.
But we made it!
How was everyone's Sukkot?
Monday, October 12, 2009
I (well not me, my lovely BFF since the old days of high school, Keren) have found...
A new kosher yogurt.
Allow me a moment to explain.
I don't totally understand it, because I'm not a yogurt maker, but the majority of yogurts have gelatin in them. Gelatin, unless it's made by some lovely kosher company, is never kosher. So there are almost no yogurts that are kosher. Dannon vanilla, coffee, and lemon flavors, YoCrunch, and Stoneyfield Farms are basically the only not "kosher brand" yogurts that are kosher.
Keren called me about the exciting news.
Aldi now carries a kosher (O-U!) yogurt. And get this-it's really good! There are four flavors: Lime, Strawberry, Peach, and Cherry.
I know that many of you are completely perplexed by my bizarre excitement. But others of you are putting on coats and shoes and getting ready to run to Aldi right this moment. Just go with it.
But I haven't even gotten to the most exciting part of this.
Remember, Aldi is a discount grocery store.
So the yogurt costs....
Yes, thirty seven cents a cup.
Be still my thrifty beating heart.
My kids love it. I love it. BENJIE loves it.
And when I go and buy the yogurt, I also go and buy $1.49 milk. Woah.
Last week, I wanted to stock up on some more yogurty goodness. So I will bring you thestoryinwhichsaraisadirectionalidiot.
I noticed while at school on Thursday that there were lots of people walking around by my school with Aldi bags. So logic would dictate that there was an Aldi nearby. So I called Benjie and asked him to go on the Aldi website (yes, I am one of the few people left in the world without a Blackberry.) and find me the store. He tells me that there is one like .15 miles south of school, on Broadway (I park on Broadway every day). I'm perplexed-how is it possible that I haven't noticed the Aldi when I park approximately .15 miles from school on that very street, every day?
Well after school, it was raining, and I was parked .15 miles north on Broadway. So I decided to have Benjie mapquest me over to Aldi. He did. I followed his directions.
It seems that the Aldi was the very building that I park in front of almost every day. But the sign was on other side of the building so I had no clue that it was Aldi.
OK it's not as funny as I type it. But trust me. It was absolutely hysterical while I was on the phone with Benjie.
Whatever. Go to Aldi and buy some yummy cheap yogurt. And pick up your milk while you're at it.
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
A link to his Caring Bridge site is here.
His name is Shalom Ahron Menashe ben Chaya Esther.
Please daven for success in chemo and strength for his parents and siblings as they embark on this journey.
We love you David and Chaya Esther.
Monday, October 5, 2009
Dovi loves him some fried food.
Remember the french fry?
Well we always knew that the Dov man loved another. He was not loyal to just the french fry. He has another love.
The Won Ton
Over the two days of Sukkos, Dovi ate approximately his body weight in fried chickeny won tonny wrappery goodness.
While my entire family loves them, I have always been petrified of making won tons. Something about the individual wrapping of little cubes of chicken gave me hives. Maybe it was the multiple steps involved. Or the fear of all the work and the wrapper opening during the frying process. Or standing over a vat of oil deep frying. Whatever the cause, I had managed twelve years of marriage with nary a won ton in sight in my house. I mooched many a won. But never actually made a ton.
So....when my father was diagnosed, he sent my brother David and I to start cleaning out his apartment. He told us to clean out the fridge. One of the items in the fridge was an innocent package of won ton wrappers. Upon inquiry, my dad told me (a) to take them please and (b) that he was planning on making homemade ravioli with them. For those who don't know, my dad was a gourmet cook. My mother spent many a holiday butterflying lamb shanks (whatever that means...). I told him that I wasn't going to make ravioli (although that does sound rather tasty. Might have to google "ravioli with won ton wrappers" and find a recipe), but I was going to make Dovi his ever favorite won tons.
So I took the wrappers and tossed them in my freezer. Made the chicken, marinated it over night, and psyched myself up for the great assembly.
I was shocked.
It was not hard AT ALL.
Not one won opened.
I served them the first night on Sukkos. Yes. I have a Sukkah. And because I am too darned lazy to take a picture of it, I'm linking to a picture I put LAST year of our Sukkah. It looks essentially the same. Decorations are in slightly different places, but that's it. Click here and enjoy!
Dovi was enraptured. He ate about 15 won tons until we cut him off. Yes, his won ton suppliers cut him off.
But then, like all good dealers, we hooked him up again the next night when we ate the leftovers from the night before.
And THEN, when we went to friends for lunch the next day, our friend remembered his love for the ton from last year. So she made him a batch.
Not only did he eat about 10 at lunch, but he managed to scam the remainder in a little tinfoil packet for later (it involved hugs and great cheering in the kitchen after lunch)
Last night, Benjie went in to hook Dovi up for his overnight feed.
Dovi woke up and saw what Benjie was doing.
He told Benjie "Abba, no tubies"
Benjie asked him "Why, Dovi?"
Dovi rubbed his tummy "All da won ton, Abba"
A little won ton overdose seems to have occurred.
Thursday, October 1, 2009
And again today.
But today she did it with style and pep.
This morning, she told me she was really tired. Well, that made sense because she didn't fall asleep last night until about 9 pm. Due to the misplacement of a certain small pink elephant by the name of Pinkie.
So when she was tired this morning, I didn't really think much of it, asked her if she felt ok, if her tummy hurt, and when she said no, fed her her oatmeal, helped her pack up her backpack, and popped her in carpool.
Don't worry, she didn't puke in the carpool car.
She puked on the floor of school.
Actually in the middle of the hallway.
Luckily, she was not phased.
However, when the school office called me, this is what they told me:
"Shana threw up. She's here in the office waiting for you to come and get her. She told us that she told you she was cold and her stomach hurt this morning but you told her to go to school anyway"
Little stinker. I most certainly DID NOT send that child to school after she told me she felt sick. I sent her to school after she told me she felt fine. She NEVER, ever told me she was cold. or her tummy hurt. Stinker. Stinker. Stinker.
I could not believe how she threw me under the bus. After she threw up on the floor. (Ooh funny pun. I'm pretty funny that way.)
Thank G-d for my amazing friend Michelle who picked her up from school for me-I was stuck downtown at a meeting and she watched Shana for 45 minutes until I could get home. Thank you Michelle!!!
And by the way, she was totally fine the rest of the day. Ran a few errands, ate asparagus for dinner. All is well.
But here's the question: Do we pursue this more? It's seriously not normal that she pukes like this. We have not been able to figure out any connections between the puking and ANYTHING.
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
When Elisha, Shana, and Jacob were little, I did not keep baby books. Instead, I kept two things. Baby Boxes and Toddler Notebooks.
Baby Boxes are little boxes where I tossed all their meaningful papers and stuff. The stuff from the NICU, papers from pediatrician visits, birthday cards, and the like. With three itty bitties to deal with, baby books were not in the cards.
Toddler Notebooks were little notebooks in which I wrote the funny things they said. And let me tell you, they said some funny things...
I hereby bring you...
funny little things said by funny little kids...
- "I wanna see the bunder"...
- "We went to Baby Country' (Chicagoans know where this is!)
- "Where's the fly sweater?"
- "I have a boo boo. I need a headband"
- "I like my paci. It is red. I like it in my mouth"
- "I was thinking of dirt. I digged"
- "That cloud looks like a lawnmower"
- "And I have three more things to tell you. I love you. How many phones are there at the cell phone store? Let's have a slllooooow hug"
- "My mouth is a kind of a bouncy cave. Because my tongue is in it. How dark is it in my mouth?"
- "Why are the Golden Grahams not gold?"
- "I want a bagel with pop machines' (anyone know what those are???!)
- "Mommy, where is Calcutta?" (huh?)
- 'Fishy, you cannot wear my pink shoes. Not today, not right now"
- "Moosie is a giant. A giant of the ABCs"
- "Don't worry, Mommy. I am the girl who helps"
- "Princesses DON'T clean up" (well that's not what you said before, Miss Shan)
- "On Yom Kippur the grown up don't eat. They rush" (get it? Fast? Rush? she's too cute!)
Extra points for those who guess who said what...
Friday, September 25, 2009
It took us about four hours to finish packing up-luckily some stuff had been packed already. As we were packing up, we left the storage locker unlocked. Benjie went back to get some stuff and found an old man going through the boxes. Ahem? That is not your stuff, mister.
So we packed up the van. Luckily we had no children with us. Or we would have had to strap them to the roof.
See those big silver things in the back? Those are two foldable, portable wheelchair ramps. They are now mine. Dovi has had much need for wheelchairs in his little life, so we're quite excited to have them in our basement. But we got to thinking: Dovi needs the ramps every so often, but, ThankG-d, not all the time. There have to be times when other people are temporarily in wheelchairs, or they are having wheelchair bound guests. How about we help them too?! So we called the people who maintain G'Mach listings. For those who don't know, a G'Mach is almost like a lending library of something that you might need for a short time. G'Mach stands for (I believe) G'Milas Chasadim, or good deeds)\. There are bridal clothing G'Machs, baby equipment G'Machs, medical equipment G'Machs, to name a few. In New York there is even a GPS G'Mach for people who are traveling out of state!
So we are starting a Portable Wheelchair Ramp G'Mach. Sounds a little goofy, but why not? People can now invite wheelchair bound guests and have an easy convenient way to help them into their houses. I'm mighty excited, and hope that the word gets out and people take advantage. I already printed out labels with our last name and phone number and stuck them onto the ramps. We'll see what happens.
Also notice in the right hand side of the picture is a burgundy van? That's my dad's wheelchair accessible van. It has now been towed to Chicago and is parked outside my house. We need to sell it. Know anyone who wants a van with undermount lift and hand controls? I hope it sells quickly...
But let's look at another view of how out van was packed up.
Oy. Makes me stressed just looking at it.
After all the holidays are over, I will begin the enormous job of sorting and cataloging everything so everyone can figure out what's going where. Oh also notice the 2 reams of copy paper shoved by the door? Heck if I was leaving good office supplies behind. I shoved those suckers in.
I still cannot believe the volume of stuff we got in there. Our van was so loaded down that Benjie could not go over 55 on the highway. And I was terrified that our tires were going to blow out. They did not. We got home intact.
Wish me luck in the sorting....