Friday, October 30, 2009

A Lesson Learned.

Shana has learned a lesson.

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

It would've helped to just find out

the cause of the squeaky, icky noise my van was making. (

(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.

No charge.

I'm an idiot. I've been driving a sqeaky, rebbe-mobile for six months.

For no good reason.

Monday, October 26, 2009

A Little Reminder

Lest we all forget what we're really doing here.

It occurs to me that my readership has grown recently. But it also occurs to me that Thank G-d, Dovi has been doing really well recently. So, at the moment, my blog that started out about the life and times of all things Dovi, has sort of turned into my blog about myself and my hobbies.

So I've decided to take a step back here and talk a bit about my Dovi.

For my newer readers, Dovi is my eldest son, who turns twelve next month (how is that at all possible?). He has Familial Dysautonomia, or FD for short. FD is one of the Jewish genetic diseases (Orthodox ladies who read Binah magazine, I've been told that there was an article about FD last month. I need to get a copy of it). Rewind back to high school biology class-FD is an autosomal recessive disease-which means that each parent needs to be an asymptomatic carrier of the disease. Remember the Punnett Square? Well Dovi is a little Punnett Square, being a aa, while Benjie and I are Aa. Remember that little square?

What is FD, you ask?

Well here you go.

FD affects the autonomic nervous system. Basically, the autonomic nervous system is not fully developed.

What does the autonomic nervous system do?

It controls all the things our bodies do automatically-blood pressure regulation, temperature regulation, and the suck/swallow reflex. In our bodies, these things happen automatically. In people with FD, they do not.

Additionally, people with FD have low muscle tone, they lack overflow tears, they lack taste buds, do not feel heat, cold, or pain, and have scoliosis.

Dovi has every single one of those symptoms.

He's on three different blood pressure medications. His temperature has hit 107 degrees. He could not successfully nurse or take a bottle as a baby. He has low muscle tone and cannot run well at all. He needs eye drops every few hours to keep his eyes moist-he has had horrible corneal abrasions in the past-his eyes have scarring over them and he's legally blind. He doesn't feel pain. He's broken his tibia three times and has not felt it. He's had scoliosis surgery twice and currently has the most beautiful posture ever, thanks to the titanium rods and about thirty screws in his spine.

People with FD also experience something called Dysautonomic Crisis. Some of my older readers might recall last winter when Dovi suffered through a Crisis for four days. Basically, when people with FD's bodies are stressed, their bodies experience something called a Crisis. In a Crisis, blood pressure skyrockets, the digestive system doesn't function, and retching ensues. It's really not pretty. It can take hours to days for a Crisis to abate; sometimes people who are in Crisis need to be hospitalized for IV medication to control the symptoms. Thank G-d Dovi has never had to be hospitalized-but Crisis is not pretty.

Basically, the bodies of people with FD just do not work correctly.

So that, on paper, is what Dovi is.

But what is Dovi in reality?

Dovi loves hockey, baseball, football, and basketball. Specifically, the Blackhawks, Bulls, Bears, and Cubs. Dovi loves fish sticks, cheesy bread, french fries and pizza. Dovi loves to see his friends at school, camp, and shul-and let me tell you, anyone who says 11 year old boys are mean hasn't met Dovi's friends. These boys will hug Dovi and do anything they can to help him. Dovi is a Wii scam artist. He loves music. His current favorite song is "Chaverim". He loves to call his counselors from Camp Simcha and chat with them. He literally strolls around the house, "Hey, Asher! What's up?". Dovi can't wait for his Bar Mitzvah and when he gets to put on Tefillin. Dovi loves to hang out with his brothers and sister and watch movies with them. Dovi wakes up at 6 am every morning ("it's my time!") and scoots himself downstairs to watch TV.

So, yes, Dovi does have FD.

But Dovi is not only FD.

He is so much more than that.

Friday, October 23, 2009

A Serious Post

About Couponing and my Stockpile.

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 grocery store stockpile

Shelving unit 1:

crystal light
peanut butter
all types of snacks for kids: pudding, chex mix, applesauce, granola bars, cookies, chocolate, crackers, and some other stuff.

Shelving unit 2:

barbecue sauce
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):

grape juice

Shelving Unit 4:

Home care:

paper towels
toilet paper
cleaning supplies

Shelving Unit 5: (picture in larger picture with home care stuff):

Dovi's Benefiber

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

Like a Kid in a Candy Store

I really need to blog more about the funny things my funny little kids do.

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 grocery store food storage and I'll find a place to shove it" message to Benjie.

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?"



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
Kit Kats
Take 5 (have you had them? Chocolate. With caramel and pretzels. OMG divine)
Reeses Pieces
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

Dinner Success!

I don't generally do this, but I figure I'll share with you all a great dinner success I had yesterday. It's not often that we have a dinner that

(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 egg
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.

Make it.

Go forth and manicotti.

Bye for now!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Just What I Needed!!


I feel so special!

All My Monkeys honored me with this extremely prestigious Superior Scribbler Award. Ooh la la! I'm so posh. I'm so fancy. My first award!

So I'm going to try and do this correctly.

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 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 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

Something Seems to Have Been Lost

(I apologize in advance due to the slightly questionable nature of this post. I just could not resist)

In translation.

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.

Just sayin'.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Truth About the Cat Treats

OK, OK, I'll fess up.

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

Happy Mothers' Day

All you day school mommas sending your kids back to school after almost two weeks off of school.

We survived.

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.

Woohoo, everybody!

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

Exciting News

Well OK, all thing are relative. But this will be exciting news for some of my loyal readers.

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.

Until now.

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

Please take a moment

And daven (pray) for our first cousin's son, Ahron Menashe, who was diagnosed with lymphoma this past weekend. He's 7 years old.

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

Won Ton Love

I've come to a conclusion:

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

In Which Shana Throws Me Under the Bus

So I've blogged in the past about little Miss Shana's puking habit. She actually did it the morning of my father's funeral.

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.