Thursday, March 31, 2011

A-thrifting We Will Go - March 31, 2011 it almost April? How? And how is it that Massachusetts is getting snow? (It's going to be in the 70s here. Sorry.)

Today I escaped and ran away and whatever you'd like to call it, and I visited with my amazing thrifting friend and got to do a bit of shopping with nobody to answer to but me me me (well, and her, but not a kid or a husband...). It wasn't enough time but then again I've found that after two thrift stores I start to get a bit antsy and overwhelmed and books start to blur together so it's OK.

I apologize, but there are lots of pictures about to fly at you.

This is in backwards order - so...LAST, we went to an independent-ish Humane Society store that had excellent prices and...THIS.

Five. Dollar. Brand. New. Snuggie. DELUXE even. It seems to be missing the (crappy) book light but I haven't unsealed the Snuggie itself, so maybe it's in there... I have ALWAYS wanted a Snuggie but I wouldn't pay whatever it costs ($20?) for a cheap piece of fleece. FIVE DOLLARS and to a good cause and sealed in a box = win.

Of course I also bought books...

Hardbacks were a dollar, paperbacks were 50 cents. That book in the middle is called Edison's Eve: A magical history of the quest for mechanical life. I cannot wait to read it (although the new Jean Auel book is waiting for me at the library, and the new Diane Ackerman book should be in my hands soon, so all this has to go in the ridiculously monstrous to-read pile...). The Chococat cell phone holder (because I have a plain old tiny little non-fancy-Internety cell phone - I have an iPod Touch, and that's enough for me for now and also all I can afford...) was a quarter. I gave them a bit more than that for it as a bonus donation.

And they had T shirts. For 50 cents each. FIFTY CENTS EACH. I am using lots of capital letters because I never go thrifting and FIFTY CENTS FOR T SHIRTS IS YAY.

I believe in Blueland! (Go Thrashers!)

Funny thing. My husband just bought a t-shirt with cassette tape images on it. We'll be all cutesy old skool matchy. Or...just old. This shirt is really soft. <3

I was a Brownie once! Also this shirt is huge.

So look. I'm old. My friend and I thought this shirt probably didn't mean anything and just had a wacky design and was from a mall store. But if it means something...tell me in the comments? Particularly if it's offensive or ridiculous or something so I don't make a fool of myself in public, OK? It's super soft so if it fits (I haven't tried it on yet) I would like to wear it.

For my daughter. Adorable.

Also for my daughter. Also adorable. Has a stain I didn't notice, but it was 50 cents so I don't really care. She'll likely stain it far worse - and I'll try some voodoo on it before she wears it to see if I can get it out.

She actually IS a social butterfly. Her IEP noted several times how social she is and how she has to say hello to everyone. That's my girl.

I squealed at this one. Kid Shirt Woot! And her size and everything! I have a Woot shirt from thrifting as well, with the upsetting image of marshmallows crying as they're being roasted or something. It's great.

Back to stuff for me. Italian touristy shirt. Love.

In the middle, we went to a brand new Big Lots. I was hoping to find K-cups, but instead I found that they'd marked down most of their books to FIFTY CENTS. There goes all those capital letters again.

There are two books about meat in there, and I'm a vegetarian. Go figure. And a book about Neil Gaiman that I bought at a different Big Lots for a friend for a whole $2 or something. And potty book for the kid (who is doing really well on her own but it was only 50 cents and has stickers so why not...). And a book by the wonderful creator of Mutts, Patrick McDonnell. And a book about a woman with a son with CP called Blue Sky July.

Then I was really excited to find this...

Liz Rosenberg was one of my college professors. Nice. $3.

And I bought some snacks and then some things to fix my teeth after the snacks...

Sno-Caps are my favorite movie candy ever ever ever. Yum. Not pictured, Goldfish crackers (cheap) and spicy Cheez-its (healthy!).

We also went to Goodwill...

The three baby/mommy books were $1.50, the Good Housekeeping amazingness was 75 cents. Mothering Multiples is being donated to my local La Leche League group to be part of their library. :)

I never find jeans that fit me. NEVER. And these were a fluke - not my right size nor my usual style. And yet...they fit, so I bought them, hooray! $5-something and worth every penny. At least...they seemed flattering in the fitting room...

And finally, super-soft gray jeans for my kid. $2-something and adorable.

I used to go thrifting weekly and now I get to go once every few months (or more). I miss it, but I'm hoping that will change over the next few months. Or years. Eventually it will change, I know.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

We Will Miss Her - March 29, 2011

Today I got an email from my daughter's current physical therapist letting me know that her first PT (both in home through Early Intervention and, later, in school) passed away last week from breast cancer. I won't name any names because of the wild and wacky world of Google, but this woman was the co-owner of a large pediatric therapy group and worked with hundreds or maybe even thousands of children. When she was our EI PT, my daughter couldn't sit unassisted, couldn't crawl (she rolled), and had no diagnosis. The PT held my hand through the early days. She helped me understand what doctors were saying and what the MRI really meant. She helped me wrap my head around a diagnosis of "mild cerebral palsy" when the words were clanging around in my consciousness but not making any sense.

And she got my daughter to sit. To crawl. To thrive. She gave us hope and strength, and I looked forward to her visits for many, many reasons.

When she had to resign from being our PT the first time for health reasons, we said our goodbyes as if they were our last. (And she set us up with another amazing PT who continues to see my kid outside of school to this day.) It turns out they were, but that was two years ago (more?). Imagine our surprise when my daughter started preschool and we found that her therapist in school was this same woman. We were thrilled, but we never managed to connect with her in person. We sent notes, I sent a Christmas card/gift, and we made sure the teachers and aides passed along how happy we were to have her back in our lives.

A few weeks ago she abruptly (at least to us) had to stop seeing kids again. A new PT was hired at the school. We heard rumors of health concerns, we were told of surgery, and the last I'd heard she was doing OK, getting her own therapies, and putting off seeing kids again for a short while. And then this. So while it was not sudden nor unexpected, it totally was at the same time.

Her memorial service is this weekend. My kid is simply a terror at things like that, so I'm not sure if we'll go. I'll make a donation as her family requested and I'll keep her in my heart. I will always tell my kid about her, and we'll always remember her.

Her official obituary.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

What Are Your Kitchen Staples? - March 23, 2011

I'm procrastinating writing some book reviews for you all (I know, thousands of people are waiting for those - or people) so instead you get this entry. I'm on a diet - and I've said it before and I'll say it again, my "diet" is that I try to watch what I eat and don't have ice cream. Oh. Ice cream. I haven't had any in a long, long time and I'm sad about that. And it hasn't really helped me so maybe I should switch tactics and go on an ice cream diet... Anyway, here's a list of what I always like to have in my fridge/freezer/pantry. Maybe you'll get some ideas or share some of your ideas with me? Note that as you should know anyway because you totally read my intro post, I'm a lacto-ovo vegetarian and I avoid artificial sweeteners and trans fats/partially hydrogenated oils as much as I possibly can.

Also, I'm going to name brand names. Nobody gave me anything to say this stuff, but hey, if you're a company and you found me by Google Alert and you want to give me free stuff/coupons, get in touch!

  • Laughing Cow cheese wedges. My everyday favorites (which I use instead of cream cheese) are the Garlic&Herb and the Light Swiss. The French Onion was the gateway drug, and I still love that on crackers. And the Light Queso Fresco & Chipotle is divine when melted. I get twitchy when I'm out of these and far too excited when a sale + coupon = $1 a package. I still can't figure out why Velveeta is gross to me and these are not, but there you go.
  • Arnold Sandwich Thins. I've tried several brands (including Trader Joe's house brand) and these are my favorite to the point where I'm not even swayed when another brand is on super sale. They taste the best to me, they don't break when you pull them apart, and they have a good ingredient list.
  • Kale. Which sometimes goes bad in the fridge but sometimes gets made into Kale Chips or thrown into smoothies. I prefer organic but the conventional is WAY cheap.
  • Frozen veggies - spinach in particular. I throw these into everything - pasta sauce is a big one. Yay sneaky veggies. For these, Trader Joe's is my favorite source. Organic and inexpensive.
  • Frozen fruit - organic strawberries in particular. Same as above - great for fast smoothies.
  • Almond Breeze in Unsweetened Vanilla. I learned about this from Hungry Girl and now am addicted. I stock up when it's on sale and I use it in my coffee and smoothies. I tend not to drink it straight, though, and I do still drink cowmilk all the time.
  • COFFEE. K-cups and ground coffee to use in my Solofill (usually whatever's on sale).
  • Vitatops in Deep Chocolate. Pricey but worth it. You can get better prices ordering online on occasion but when they go BOGO at Publix...that's the best thing ever.
  • Gardein - the frozen kind, not the refrigerated kind, though those are good too. My favorite mass-market fake meat product. It tastes the best and has the best texture. I was really upset when my favorite Publix didn't have a spot for it on the shelf a few weeks ago. I hope that was a minor blip, but Kroger and Whole Foods carry it too. Seriously, noms.
  • Tofu. Because...tofu. And seitan, TVP, and tempeh. I love soy (and wheat) and I don't care what you think about that.
  • Tofurky slices. Hush, they're good. Also, that's a brand name, but I do tend to go for the turkey-ish version.
  • Smart Dogs by Lightlife. I eat them cold with ketchup. My husband taught me that, so blame him.
  • My friend's chickens' eggs. I wish everyone was as lucky as I am to have access to backyard chicken eggs. I've met the chickens that lay my eggs. That's amazing to me. My friend also is a beekeeper so she also sells me honey. YUM.
  • Fresh fruits and veggies because I have to say that, but it is true.
I am sure there's something I'm forgetting, but those are the basics that I always have around. You?

Monday, March 21, 2011

I Hab a Code in By Doze - March 21, 2011

I feel icky and sleepy thanks to the kid bringing home a lovely cold from preschool. And yet I have so much to write about...

  • I need to write a full, well-thought-out review of the book Home/Birth by Arielle Greenberg and Rachel Zucker. It was a beautiful book about birth, homebirth, motherhood, and more. I owe you a better writeup than that.
  • I'm the new sponsor at Blacktating! Well, my Etsy store/button biz is.  Elita is fantastic and she's bringing issues of race and breastfeeding to light when not many other sources are. Plus she's funny and bad-ass.
  • I bought some adorable new art for buttons, mirrors, necklaces...I can't wait to make new things!
  • I'm incredibly angry at the website Franklin Goose for ripping the rug out from under me and many other mamas who were expecting the credit we earned in the promotion last year. The promotion was poorly handled and the customer service has been terrible throughout this fiasco. Learn more here. My personal experience? I wrote a few reviews for products I knew about. I then, on their suggestion, banked the credit I accrued figuring I'd earn a bit extra and that I'd use it when the big rush for products had died down (and when more things were in stock). Just as my credit matured, I was told that all credit would be banked for the near future while FG figured out what to do. And then...poof, I was told that I couldn't use it at all. Disappointing.
  • My kid is driving me crazy. Perhaps sometime this week I'll have time for a real, non-bulleted-list entry.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Quick Note - March 19, 2011

Thank you to everyone who clicked on the link I posted to learn more about Purex Complete Crystals (as part of my being a Purex Insider). I won $25!

Monday, March 14, 2011

So It's Monday Again - March 14, 2011

  • I finished two books over the weekend - Matched and On a Dollar a Day. One I liked until about 3/4 of the way through, one I didn't much like at all. I am trying to get up the passion and energy to actually write a review of one or both. In the meantime, can you guess which one I give a solid B+ to and which one was a disappointing C-/D+?
  • Daylight Savings Time has begun. Surprisingly, the kid went to sleep very easily at her regular bedtime according to the clock. Well, maybe not that big of a surprise - she skipped her nap. I still haven't decided if I like that tradeoff. People keep telling me that she'll give up her nap completely soon but I don't see that happening - if nothing else, she'll be expected to "nap" or at least rest at preschool for another two years. If she does stop napping, though, that means that she'll be pretty much almost completely but not quite weaned. And I'm so OK with that. 
  • I had a long to-do list for today and did...some of it. One big thing I did was toss out all my expired coupon circulars. I had a lot. A lot lot. Nothing to do with hoarding, I'm just lazy. I'm going to try to do this every three months from now on. I waited quite a bit longer than that between the last cleanout and today and it was not pretty. 
  • I also broke my "no international sales" rule for my Etsy store and set up a listing for someone in Australia. This is a test. If it goes smoothly, I may consider doing more international sales. The trickiest part is getting to the post office, which can be a giant pain in the ass. The shipping cost isn't as much as I thought it would be - or at least, that's how it appears on the USPS website - so it's more of the hassle factor. We'll see. This person ordered ten breastfeeding buttons - so basically they played to my softer side. 
  • I didn't make it to a blogging meetup on Saturday because I just couldn't figure out the logistics. Instead, there was lots of time at the park - it was in the high 60s and low 70s - and walking around outside. Disappointingly, we ran into a mother who could not understand why I might not like her son climbing a swingset (not a climbing structure) and then dangling right near my child's face. I thought that it was a universal understanding that if one mother is uncomfortable/feels that her child is in danger, particularly if she expresses it in a as-polite-as-possible-while-being-concerned manner, other people back off. Alas, no, apparently sometimes it leads to a lecture instead. 
  • I also got to go to an art gallery to see an incredibly provocative installation/show called My Sweet, Sweet at Agnes Scott College. (It closed yesterday - we saw it in the final half hour of it being up.) It felt good to look at art, take in meaning, and even talk to one of the artists himself. Go me, doing a not-mommy thing.
  • So now it's almost time for lunch and then preschool pickup. I've got to find my groove for the week. Today it feels very elusive.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Friday Four - Four Freebies from the Mall Last Night - March 11, 2011

  1. I went to Aveda and scored a sample pack of their Smooth Infusion Hair Care line. (Freebie seems to be gone from their site, but the store may still offer this deal if you ask.) It's a nice little set and I look forward to trying it, as my hair is kind of out of control right now.
  2. I used my LUV<3BBW CLUB card (no longer available, sorry) at Bath & Body Works to score two free candles (the small ones) in yummy fruity scents. I wish I'd gotten to use this before - it gives you one freebie a month, but only on a Thursday. Still, the hoops I had to jump through were worth it, as the free candles were worth $7.
  3. I used my Godiva Rewards card to get a free dark chocolate truffle. (I believe you can still sign up for this deal in the store/online - you get one free chocolate a month, plus specials and shipping deals.)
  4. I tried to get my free Haagen Dazs Midnight Dazzler (freebie on Facebook) but the shop had some complications with their ice cream order, so I need to go back and get it another time.
This week flew by. My kid had two nights where she was up screaming for hours and then two nights where she slept for 9 hours straight (unheard of). She went to school in underpants every day and did really well, with only a few accidents. And she said my cat's name - just once - loudly and clearly. I'm off to my second consignment sale of the season, and I'm hoping to hit a third tomorrow. Happy weekend!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Well Hey There, Kroger, Thanks for the Freebies - March 10, 2011

Hello Kroger, hello gorgeous. I know, I know, we've had our differences in the past. I'm still crabby that you didn't give me my free soda. Your little brother is really rude about my coupon usage. Your parents don't care about me or you. You're expensive and you're inconsistent and I just don't understand you sometimes.

But when you give me $19 worth of paper towels for free, throw in a free shampoo, and then give me a giant pack of TP for $2.99 (alongside the free TP and Tide detergent you gave me earlier), well, I kind of forgive you. For now, anyway.

Thank you very much to for tipping me off that the free Bounty coupon I loaded onto my card a few days ago had no size limit. My paper goods closet is now fully stocked for a while. I probably won't be home for today's freebie, but I'm thrilled at what I have scored from this promotion so far.

However, the truth is, I'm still a Publix girl. Shhhhh.

PS PLEASE help me win $500 by clicking here and learning about Purex Complete Crystals. All you have to do is click, you don't have to do anything else. THANK YOU!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Purex Complete Crystals Update - I used, I liked - March 7, 2011

I finally had a chance to try the sample of Purex Complete Crystals that I was sent. And my verdict is...I like it. I used it in one load of laundry and found the end result to be fluffy, lightly scented towels that were a pleasure to use after a shower. I used it in conjunction with my regular laundry detergent and didn't add anything else in either the wash or the dryer (although I did use dryer balls).

I think it's fascinating that the first ingredient is sugar. Sugar! Go figure. Here's the complete list of ingredients for the scent I was sent (haha, see what I did there?): Sucrose (Sugar), Bentonite (Clay), Peg Disterate (Blending Agent), Fragrance, Sanolin Blue (Colorant). Nothing too weird or wacky at all. And I could just dump it into the wash and forget about it. I liked that too.

I don't like how strongly it is scented right out of the bottle - it stunk up my small laundry room. Not a fan of that. I don't think it's a necessary product - white vinegar is chemical free, cheap, and just as effective in softening clothes. But as I said earlier, I do like my towels to be fluffy and to smell good, so I probably will buy Purex Complete Crystals in the future to use in those laundry loads instead of using a dryer sheet or a liquid product that could gunk up my washer and reduce the effectiveness of the towels. I don't see myself using it on my clothing on a regular basis, but perhaps I'd use it in loads of just jeans or just certain other pieces.

I wish there was an unscented, color-free version - it looks to me like it could just be sugar, clay, and peg disterate and it would work just fine. But yes, in general, I liked this product and felt that it did what it promised. I don't know that I would've tried it at all without being sent a free sample, so the marketing also worked. Sneaky sneaky.

Learn more about Purex Complete Crystals (and if you click that link, you'll help me win $500! Thanks!).

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Connecting - March 5, 2011

I feel like lately I'm doing a lot of...connecting.

  • There's the local Twitter-mama Tweet-up (I know, it sounds silly, but it is what it is) I went to a few months ago. I really liked the women I met at it and have continued to be in touch with them, mostly on Twitter.
  • There's the local Twitter-lady Tweet-up that I've gone to twice. Some mamas, some not, all interesting. Plus I get to learn about wine.
  • There's the Moms' Council that I'm a part of - at least for now. I had a nice dinner/drinks night with other moms from across the board one night.
  • Today I went to the IRL event and met other parents of kids with special needs (and the list I made previously about not fitting in didn't really come into play because those topics just didn't come up - sometimes because I deliberately didn't bring them up, heh - yay!). 
  • Next weekend there's a blogger meetup I'm considering going to.
  • In a few weeks is the monthly Kid Lit night in town. I don't technically have a reason to be there - I'm not a YA author and I don't work at the bookstore anymore, but I read YA, I used to work at the bookstore, and I love children's literature. Plus I like the people who run it and who go.
  • And I am technically on the PTA - there's a meeting coming up. Wheeeeee.

It's a lot of being social. It's a lot of energy. It's interesting. I'm not necessarily making new besties, but I am learning a lot from people all over the place. I guess it's part of reclaiming my brain. Figuring out who I am now. Trying to be a better listener and to not necessarily always default to some of my soapboxy type ideas. (Although I still do sometimes.) I have no grand conclusion for this, I just wanted to make a note of it.

Oh look, an Etsy order came in as I was typing...

PS PLEASE help me win $500 by clicking here and learning about Purex Complete Crystals. All you have to do is click, you don't have to do anything else. THANK YOU!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Learn about Purex Complete Crystals Softener & Help Me Win! - March 3, 2011

Purex Complete Crystals - shiny!
I'm a Purex Insider, which means I get to try new laundry products, often before they hit the general market. Yesterday the FedEx man handed me a package with a generous sample of Purex Complete Crystals - their new fabric softener. I am really looking forward to trying this on my towels - the formulation of Purex Complete Crystals promises to not coat my towels with oils that will make them less absorbent and not to mess with my kid's flame-resistant sleepwear. Also it smells really good.

I'll post again when I've tried it - likely in the next few days - to let you know exactly what I think. But for now, if you could click and learn more about Purex Complete Crystals, you'd be doing me a huge favor - the blogger with the most clicks wins $500, and I could really use that right now. Please click! And then if you really want, share the following link on Twitter, Facebook, or wherever you want, and encourage others to both learn about Purex Complete Crystals AND help me win a great prize:

I believe in transparency in things like this, which is why I'm sharing the actual link with you and telling you exactly what's at stake. I also really think this product is interesting and that you might like it - I wouldn't bother talking about it otherwise. I also will tell you that my fabric softener of choice is plain, white vinegar - chemical free and super inexpensive. But there are times when I wish my clothes had a nice scent to them (I love scented candles, scented bodywash, scented oils...) and I do sometimes use a dryer sheet (scented or unscented) with my towels to make them softer and smell fresher. I hate that it can reduce their absorbency though, so I'm hoping I've found a new solution that works.

Thank you in advance for clicking, sharing my link, and learning about Purex Complete Crystals!