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Two Kids, Two Cats and No Clue
Friday, 1 February 2008
Viva Walgreens
Topic: No Clue

Okay, I admit it:  I am turning into a coupon whore.  It's a term of endearment from the Baby Cheapskate blog.  A couple weeks ago they were discussing how to stack coupons at Walgreens, combine them with the Easy Saver catalog rebates, and basically get paid to shop.  Now I've dabbled in coupon stacking, although usually at Target:  combine a store coupon with a manufacturer's coupon for a bigger discount, and bonus points if the item is already on sale.  This is a great way to get cheap diapers.  However, Walgreens' Easy Saver catalog was something I'd never gotten my paws on.

Yesterday on their website they had a coupon for $5 off a $20 purchase.  It was more than I could resist, so after the kids went to bed I ventured out, coupons in hand.  Walk in, pick up an Easy Saver catalog, and drool.  Free bodywash after rebate.  Free conditioner after rebate.  Walgreens coupons for lotion and candy that I can combine with my manufacturer's coupons.  Drool, drool, drool.  Ooh, clearance stuff -- my toddler could definitely use some tear-free hair detangler for 82 cents, thank you very much.

So I spent an hour walking the aisles, checking the Easy Saver coupons and deals against my manufacturer coupon stash, looking for clearance stuff and counting carefully up to $20.  I hauled my pile to the register, watched the cashier ring it all up, then handed her the Walgreens coupons.  Total: $29.68  Then handed her the manufacturer's coupons.   Total: $21.32  Then handed her the $5 off $20 coupon.  BEEP.  Scans it again.  BEEP.  "It says you have too many coupons."

WHAT?!  "It says you have more coupons than items."  I think about this for a moment and to my horror realize that's true.  I grab a small box of candy from the basket next to the register.  She rings it up, re-scans my coupon, and sure enough -- total $17.22.  Score!

So I got home, emptied my loot on the kitchen counter, and started adding.  It was $40 worth of stuff for $17.22 with $8 worth of rebates headed my way.  And the cool thing about the rebates?  If I elect to have them paid in the form of a Walgreens gift card, they'll add an extra 10%.  Gee, that covers sales tax AND the stamp used to mail the thing in.  And next month I won't have to pay anything out of pocket for my Easy Saver freebies.

Coupon whore?  Me?  You betcha. 

Posted by kyal at 4:23 PM MST
Saturday, 26 January 2008
WD-40 to the rescue!
Topic: Two Kids

On Tuesday the garage door wouldn't close.  Figuring that there was snow or ice jammed up in the track, I disconnected the opener and closed it manually.  It still wouldn't close the next day when it was 40 degrees out and the sun was beating on it, so I feared the worst.

Enter my trusty can of WD-40.  Spray the rollers, spray the hinges, and viola!  Problem solved.

Feeling greatly empowered, I hauled the WD-40 and a screwdriver upstairs to see if I could fix my baby daughter's mobile.  It had stopped spinning a couple weeks before, and when new batteries revived it, I stopped worrying about it.  And a week later it stopped spinning.  So I took it apart and poked at the gears.  It started spinning again, so I shrugged and went on with my life.  And two days later it stopped.  So this time I not only took it apart and poked at the gears, I sprayed the living daylights out of them with the WD-40.  Three days later it's still spinning.  Guess I can go on with my life again.

It never ceases to amaze me that my kids have turned me into a mechanical engineer, electrical engineer and seamstress.  I rewired the mixer that shorted out in the middle of making cookies.  I fashioned a new part for the infant swing out of a coat hanger when my toddler broke it.  I've sewn back together many a beloved stuffed animal, but the highlight has to be the time I completely gutted a musical pull toy after the string inside broke.  I swore profusely and vowed I would never do it again, but when my spouse broke it a month later of course I tore it apart and swore profusely again.  (At the manufacturer of course -- don't they realize how rough husbands are with their kids' toys?!)

I've become a jack-of-all-trades for my kids, and I love it.  I may rarely leave the house without them, but they've broadened my horizons in ways I never imagined. 


Update:  the mobile stopped spinning the very next day.  I took it apart, again, and discovered that the gears are jamming up at one point.  I can't see anything obviously wrong, and I can't get any closer to the gears without taking out a screw that is oh-so-inconveniently located underneath a circuit board.  I decided the ability to play music and project stars onto the ceiling trumped the ability to swing little stuffed animals around in a circle and disconnected the motor.  She's 5 months old -- we're not going to be using a mobile much longer anyway, right?

And the garage door is jamming again, albeit intermittently.  What the hell is up with that?!  Guess I'll do a closer inspection this weekend when I have an extra pair of hands around.  It's hard to fix things in the 15-minute increments I have available during the week.   I hate to do a force adjustment because I have nightmares about crushing small children, but as my spouse pointed out, that door was installed 10 years ago and things do shift and settle.  I guess that's what the infamous 2x4 test is for: preventing the crushing of small children.  Is there a charity for that?!  Wink

Posted by kyal at 9:04 AM MST
Updated: Friday, 1 February 2008 4:21 PM MST
Tuesday, 15 January 2008
Scrapbooking, and lack thereof
Topic: No Clue
I just ordered 162 prints from King Soopers.  No, this is not for all of 2007, but just the last 3 months of it.  Granted, 100 of those will go straight into the family album because I'm enough of a realist to realize there's no way I have time to make a family scrapbook.

This leaves 60 photos to be scrapbooked.  Two kids, two scrapbooks.  Makes sense, right?  Too bad it's also "two kids, half the free time" or more accurately, "two kids, no free time."  I did the math on this and am hoping I'm not generating 10 scrap-worthy photos a month per kid, because that pace is simply unsustainable.  Christmas is the annual curveball, right?  We don't go nuts taking cute kid pics on Valentine's Day and Easter and July 4th and Halloween and...  Oh crap, we do.

But one of my half-formed New Year's Thoughts (can't call them Resolutions if they're only half-baked) was to get caught up on my scrapbooking.  Since this is a noble yet laughable ambition, it was immediately discarded in favor of "I'd like to scrapbook, at least once, in 2008."  Doable, but notably less noble.  How about "I'd like to scrapbook once a month in 2008."

That seemed perhaps marginally workable, so I set off trying to figure out how to make it happen.  Oh!  Scrap Club at the library!  Pros: big tables, one afternoon a month, FREE.  Cons: run by a sales rep, populated by cliques.  That's okay -- I'm doing my own thing anyway, or I'll bring my own friends.  Oh yeah, one more con -- there are no dates scheduled for 2008.  No sure if the sales rep was asked to leave or if she realized library patrons aren't quick to whip out their checkbooks, but Scrap Club appears to be no more.

Oh!  Scrap Mania at Archivers!  Pros: big tables, access to cool tools, pick a weekend evening that works for my schedule.  Cons: populated by cliques, $15, and the hours are 5-11 and Kristen's last feeding of the day is 6:30ish.  I'm not ashamed to admit to you, my dear friends, that I am far too cheap to pay for 6 hours of cropping time when I can only use 4.  Seems wasteful to my eco-hippie-disestablishmentarian self...

And the COScrap weekend retreats are entirely out of the question until Kristen is weaned...  So I'm stuck at home with the baby and a spouse who's willing to watch her and the other kidlet between feedings.  The only way I'm going to get any scrapbooking done in 2008 is to schedule my own Club or Mania or Retreat here.  I'm much more likely to do this if someone goads me into it.  Anyone up for the challenge?

Hooray for 2008!

Posted by kyal at 3:53 PM MST
Updated: Saturday, 26 January 2008 9:04 AM MST

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