Friday, May 27, 2011

Extreme Couponing

I have watched a couple episodes of that extreme couponing show on TLC. At first I thought they were crazy and that they are borderline hoarders. But - the show also sparked my interest. Not sure if it is because I am an accountant and my new position is in budgeting, or the fact that our income is cut in half since Mark is going to school.

I am aware of what we spend on groceries, but have not really compared prices at say Co-op to Extra Foods. Or when flyers come out paid attention to sale items before. I have definitely never used a coupon.

So ... I have decided that I am going to become a couponer!! Not to the extreme of the show - I know Mark is concerned our home is going to turn into an episode of hoarders. My plan is as follows:

I have signed up to some Canadian coupon websites and have requested coupons be mailed to me for products I USE. I am looking at weekly flyers for sales items and clipping out coupons from the paper for items we USE. I do not intend on buying multiple items and three grocery carts full of stuff (besides in Canada I am not sure if this is even possible).

Today was the first day I used coupons. I needed deodorant, razors and make up powder. By chance a drugstore I frequent often had all these items on sale. Here were my savings:

Deodorant - regular $4.99 on sale for $3.49 + I had a $2 off coupon = $1.49
Make up powder - regular $15.99 on sale for $11.99 + I had a $1 off coupon = $10.99
Razors - regular $9.99 on sale for $6.99 + I had a $3 off coupon = $3.99

Total regular cost was $30.97 and I paid $16.47 - close to 50% off!!

For the next month I plan on tracking what I am saving finding deals and using coupons. I may then save the savings and use it for something fun for our family to do. Or I may be bored of this by next week and forget all about it :0

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Happy Birthday to Me

I had a good day. It feels good to have so many people reach out to you on your birthday. My facebook wall is full, received some nice text messages through out the day, and chatted on the phone with family and friends - some of which I had not spoken to in awhile. It really makes your day when you know people are thinking of you and taking time out of their day to express that.

Karter has been wishing me "happy birthday mommy" all weekend so he was pretty excited that today was the day he got birthday cake. Even after we put him to bed he was talking to himself saying "happy birthday to mommy". Tres cute.

When I got home from work today I had a sweet home made card from Karter and a some beautiful flowers in a vase. I thought Mark and Karter bought the flowers but they actually went around our yard and picked them. So special. I also loved the i phone Mark bought me yesterday!!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Do the ... Potty Dance

For months and months we have been casually bring up going to the bathroom on the potty. Karter avoided the toilet like the plague. He wouldn't even sit on it and would lose it if we attempted to sit him down. But ... lately he has been getting pretty interested in the toilet and does his business in private and will let you know after that he has pooped. If you even look at him he yells "go away mommy". Lol.

So last night we could tell he had to go poop. We suggested do you want to go poo on the potty? And he said YES!! I have not seen Mark and I move so fast in all my life. He ran with K to the toilet and I ran downstairs to stock up on gummy bears. By the time I got upstairs I heard a loud "plunk". OMG ... there were high fives, a few tears, lots of gummy bears and of course a little potty dance.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Introducing Juice

I think we are half ass crazy ~ but we bought a dog. His name is Juice and he is a Staffy, which is part English Bull Dog and part terrier. We brought him home about a month ago and he turned five months old yesterday.

So far things are going great ~ and not so great. First off the great. This dog is so very smart. Mark taught him to “sit” one night, “stay” the next, and “shake a paw” the following night. Karter LOVES having a dog, and I really like it also. It has gotten myself and Mark off our butts and walking. Heck – I even jogged on the weekend with Juice. I was quite proud of myself. Juice is also kennel trained which makes things so easy. I can count on my fingers the amount of times he has barked in his kennel. Juice is also house trained ~ not going to lie we have had a few accidents. I think it is more so myself and Mark figuring out his cues that he needs to go to the bathroom. The dog is also leash trained. Yes – we lucked out. The breeder is also an obedience trainer. However, I must be doing something not quite right bc the dog is starting to pull on his leash. It is mainly when we turn around to go home. Luckily we start obedience classes next week.

Now ~ the not so great. He is a puppy and what do puppies love to do – JUMP. Not the worst for myself and Mark, but when he jumps on K they are eye to eye and it scares him. It is very hard trying to teach a two year old how to “be the pack leader”. I think it makes it especially hard on Mark because he is constantly having to monitor the dog and Karter when I am not home. So poor Dad does not have a lot of down time these days. Luckily – Juice loves to be outside and Mark can put him out there or in his kennel if it gets to be too much. I am hoping this obedience class will give us the kick start to ending this jumping habit.

The other issue – the CAT. It has improved greatly since we first brought him home. Ryder actually full blown attacked him the first night. We have baby gates up in our house and the cat is mainly upstairs when Juice is on the main level. Poor dog justs wants to play with the cat. On occation when they do meet – it is a gong show of the cat running around the house with Juice hot on her tail. Karter thinks this is the most entertaining thing ever. I just want a cohesive home. My dream about cat and dog becoming BFF’s is gone – so I hope they can lounge in the same room one day. That is my new dream.

The last issue - Tail Chasing. OMG - this dog has found his tail and is OCD about catching it. It sounds cute but honestly if we let him this dog would tail chase all frickn' day. Like Karter - we redirect this bad behaviour.

All in all – Juice is doing great. I just have to keep remembering that he is a puppy and like Karter – will grow out of it. One of the reasons we decided on this breed is for their temperament with children. This breed is nicknamed the “nanny dog”. I am sure once he grows out of this puppy stage he will be K’s sidekick.

Friday, May 6, 2011


With Mothers Day fast approaching I find myself reflecting on motherhood.

I look back at my early childhood and truthfully I do not remember a lot. Not sure if it is because it was a long time ago or maybe my mind has chosen to block out a lot of it.

You see - my mom is a great mom. Loving, compassionate, funny, would help out in any way she could – when she is sober.

I love my mom – but I HATE her disease. The following stories are not to bash or disrespect my mother – this is her disease that has caused these memories – not her. But these are some moments that have helped shape the type of mother I have become and the core values I think are very important.

My mom was so supportive through out my pregnancy. I was so excited to share our new baby with her. As a new mom, I was scared – the person I wanted there the most after Mark was . my . mom. There is just something about a mothers presence at that point in your life to just put you at ease. The day Karter was born obviously I could not wait for my mom to come down from PA. I was surprised when she said that she was not coming immediately but would be there the next day. I remember praying “please – let her be strong and sober. I need her”. The next day we did not hear from her, but then on Monday she said she was coming in on the bus and for Mark to pick her up at 6pm. I was thrilled!! I kept looking at the clock – 6:05, 6:15, 6:30 … finally Mark was back and opened the door to our hospital room – but - there was no one with him. My mom was so induced in her disease that she had neglected to call and let us know that she did not get on the bus. My heart sank and my eyes filled with tears. I looked at Karter and just remember promising him “I will always be there for you – you will always be able to rely on me”.

I remember in high school money was tight for my mom. Her and my dad had divorced and she had lost her job as a nurse due to her addiction and struggled to maintain any job there after. I lost track of how many times the utilities were cut off and having to dodge landlords as they were wanting their rent money. I remember working to help pay these bills or the numerous ambulance bills that were necessary to get my mom to the hospital because she was too weak to even stand after many days of binge drinking. One instance that is still so vivid is I was staying at the farm with my dad and had not been able to get ahold of my mom for three days. On the fourth day I went to check up on her. I remember opening the door to her apartment and boom – a strong rotting smell instantly started making me gag. The first thought that came to my mind was – this is it. I am going to find my mother dead in her bedroom. I opened the bedroom door and luckily she was alive. The rotting smell was actually from the meat in the deep freeze – the power had been shut off and the meat was rotting. Once again my mom was so induced in her disease she did not even notice. As a mother – It is so important for me to provide a healthy, solid living environment for my son. To most parents – this is just a given to have a roof over your child’s head. It may seem like such a small accomplishment being able to provide the basic living needs for your child. But – I take pride in this. The fact that my son will never have to worry about losing our house or how we are going to pay the utilities is so important. I am so proud that my son will never have to worry about my health and wellbeing due to alcohol abuse. I want Karter to see me as a confident mom, not a poor, struggling woman whose addiction has robbed her of all her self worth.

I think one of the greatest gifts that I have given my son is that I stopped this disease from passing down another generation. My grandmother was an alcoholic, and then my mother. If it is in our genes I have no control. But the fact that my son will not be exposed to this addictive addiction on a daily basis is so empowering. He will observe that Mark and I deal with our problems not through downing a 66. I promised myself a long time ago I would never let that disease affect me and in turn my family.

I would like to finish this post by reflecting on a recent experience I shared with my mom – not her disease. Mark and I were married last August. It was a magical day and part of that magic was the fact that my mom was sober. She was such a strength for me the days leading up. It felt so good to be able to rely on my mom. Finally – she was there – for me!! I was so proud of her on our wedding day - she was happy and proud and so helpful. Everything a mom should be. A little girls dream of their mother helping them into their wedding dress came true. On that special day – My mom won - I won - and the disease lost.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Dear Deena

It was my turn this past weekend to be featured on Deena's tribute to mothers. I have very much enjoyed reading each moms take on motherhood. I also enjoy how Deena has described each mom and her relationship with them. Of course – after I read what she had wrote about me it brought me to tears. And then I realized - what a great opportunity this is to tell Deena how I feel about her as a friend and a mother. So - here it goes Dee:

Deena is a compassionate, loving, caring friend. Her love and thoughtfulness is inspirational. No matter how many projects Deena has on the go, she is always willing to lend a hand or a shoulder to cry on.

Deena is a creative person - her talents are endless and continue to touch so many people.

Deena has one of the most amazing families. I love being in their presence and consider it home.

Deena motivates me ... motivates me to be a better mother, better wife, better friend.

I look up to Deena as a mother and in my eyes she is “Super Mom”. The love and adoration she has for her children is inspirational and I believe her children will be better people because of this. Willis and Lucia are wonderful little munchkins and a joy to be around – a true reflection of Deena.

I am truly proud to call Deena my friend :)