The times…

Last night, SB and I were trying to figure out if we’d ever been to Carrabba’s. I don’t really know what got us on the subject… but SB remembered someone had told him that Carrabba’s was an “upscale Olive Garden.”
I was pretty sure we’d been there years ago… but couldn’t recall what we’d eaten, or if we enjoyed it. Alas – the search feature on the trusty old blog!
Yes, we have in fact, been to Carrabba’s – in 2004, with some old Tri-Cities buddies. I didn’t write much about it, but as far as I can tell… we only went to the bar for drinks- and possibly an appetizer.

While perusing the results of our question – I was once again reminded of the days when I wrote somewhat-lengthy posts, and had more random thoughts to write about. I still have random thoughts, so many years later… but I question – who wants to read them? does anyone read them? and do I really want them out in the open?!

A few months ago, I wrote about the “50 Pieces of Unsolicited Advice” that I hoped to publish. Well, now I have NINE things. My friend is now due in 3 weeks, and honestly, I think she’ll meet her baby boy before then.
I decided not to give her the list – or even make mention of it – I’m no expert… I’ve only been a mom for three years. I can only tell you the things I’ve learned, and what worked for me – every parent is different…. so I’ll just keep out. Maybe someday I will finish it, and post it here – if one piece of advice gets used; it’s worth it.

Sean turned three about 5 weeks ago- we had his party ON his birthday.
I was thrilled for a beautiful sunny day, because we booked a pavilion at a nearby park (with no refunds for rain). We only had 6 kids plus Sean, but it was really perfect – not overwhelming, and manageable. Mostly girls were in attendance – Sean sure is the ladies man, I guess!

Having a party at a park is good and bad…
-You don’t have to entertain the kids – with a huge playground, and a duck pond (I brought bread) – the kids were easily entertained.
-No one is in your HOUSE!
-You have to carry everything you could possibly need to the park
-You have to keep food covered and cold/hot
-You have to clean up and take everything home with you

Speaking of parks, my next goal is to make some short reviews of parks in our area. We have visited several, and I’d love to share my thoughts on them.

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The Penny Pincher vs The Unlikely Mommy Blogger

The Penny Pincher
My friends know that I love to save money where and when I can.
I’ve been doing online surveys since 2006, and for the most part, know the ins and outs on how to make a little bit of extra cash with them. Sure – I’m not getting rich doing it, but that extra $10 or $20 here and there is fun to get.
Lately, my favorites are Target gift cards and Amazon gift cards. My weekly goal is to redeem at least one $5 gift card to Target – it’s not much, but these days, every little bit counts. Amazon gift cards are a little more scarce, but I love the ability to save them in my account and let them accumulate for a larger purchase. I’ve bragged to some friends about purchasing the kid’s birthday and Chanukah gifts solely with Amazon gift cards – and sometimes even had some funds left over to buy for my niece and some cousins!

Last weekend at Target I had $10.25 in coupons… plus my Cartwheel savings… 5% red card discount… and survey gift cards – I felt so smart. And then of course, I uploaded my receipts to my random sites that give cash back. Yay.
Once, a woman behind me in line asked me if I was ‘extreme couponing’ – I laughed and said, no… just lots of research and my shopping list.
I certainly don’t need 6 bottles of mustard – but if I have a coupon for shampoo, I’m going to buy it even if I don’t need it right away – it’ll get used. And used at $1.00 off the regular price!

The Unlikely Mommy Blogger
I’ve fallen down on “the job” of posting my thoughts about kids and babies… I have good ideas in my head sometimes, but they don’t always make it onto the keyboard!
A friend is having a baby boy in July, and said she is willing to accept any and all advice from various sources – As something fun, I started writing a Word doc titled “50 pieces of unsolicited advice,” but so far I only have 6 things. Geez. I feel like there is so much to say…

We’re loosely working on potty training right now. Some days it’s easier said than done. We have had some success, and I think the kid understands the concept… but I also think sometimes he is distracted or lazy.
I’ve read a few tips and tricks, including how to reward your child for using the toilet. Jellybeans, M&M’s, stickers, etc… my kid likes stickers okay, but isn’t a fan of candies.
So far, nickels are working pretty good – he just loves putting nickels in his bank! Thank goodness my husband saves his change – I went through some, and found 25 nickels to keep upstairs for when we need them. The kid is definitely smart – the idea of money appeals to him so much more than candy and stickers.

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Here’s to 2016

My New Year’s Resolution last year was to MAIL CARDS.
I can honestly say, with about 96% certainty, that I SUCCEEDED.

I’m so proud of the number of cards I sent… I had a list somewhere, and now I can’t find it.
I think it was almost 50 cards! (I missed a cousin at the very end of the year, and I kind of felt bad about that.)
Many people told me how thrilled they were to receive a card out of the blue… some didn’t acknowledge at all… and  a couple of friends sent ME cards on MY birthday. Yay.

This year I didn’t make a new year’s resolution – I thought about it… and thought about resuming sending cards… but in the end, I didn’t. So there – no cards for you, this year. Maybe next year….

My 20-year high school reunion is this year…
I went to my 10, and expected so much more. Unfortunately, I was let down – everyone was just the same. I don’t know what I expected – maybe that we had all ‘grown-up’ and moved on. I know I changed – moved away, came out of my shell, branched out…
I guess when you go to school in a small town – a lot of people stick around, still run with the high school crowd, marry their prom date… and raise their babies together. And I didn’t. (Thank goodness)
But I didn’t fit in then… I didn’t fit in 10 years ago… and I bet I won’t fit in now. I’m okay with that – I’m not likely to join those guys for the 2016 reunion, and life will go on. They won’t miss me, and I won’t miss them.
The only link we have these days is Facebook, and I’ve thought about dumping that high-school chapter altogether anyway to clean up my wall. We’ll see – might make a good new year’s resolution.

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The skinny kid

I was never “the skinny kid.”
Sometimes I envied those that were thinner, better proportioned… thinking that those people would never have the problem of finding the perfect outfit, or finding clothes that fit well.
Me and my clothes have always been a sore subject – I don’t feel like today’s clothing fits the reality of women and their bodies.
BUT that’s a whole other topic for a different post.

I’m slowly learning that ‘skinny’ doesn’t always mean things will be a good fit.
I’m the mom of a small, skinny kid. At almost 2.5 years old, I bought his new jeans in a 2T. And yesterday, I exchanged them for a size 18-24 month. The 2T length was at least 3″ too long, and as he walked, the jeans slid right off his waist!
It’s frustrating, having no idea what size to buy… because the “printed age size” isn’t always what I need – I do love the stores that add the height/weight on the label, so I can make a better decision. At this age, there’s no time or patience for dressing rooms!


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