Thursday, October 20, 2011

Marek- ranch dressing/ kidspeak

marek saws hidden valley ranch commercial on TV: "I love ranches! Mommy do you love ranches? I love ranches! And TATER TOTS! And soups! And and and pinecones!"


Meagan ~ via blogpress on my iPhone :)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Ardyn- kidspeak

A: mom let's watch Harry Potter 3!
Me: we just watched it yesterday!?
A: Ahhh... But this time I'm gonna pay attention!

Meagan ~ via blogpress on my iPhone :)

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Random Sunday Rundown

Tonight I am testing out the new blogger interface.  It's not too bad. It is clean. Almost too clean. Not very colorful and pretty plain, but I don't think that's a serious problem. I can't say that it makes me "happy" to look at, but I guess that's not everything.

We had a great day yesterday, carving pumpkins and eating delicious food. I have two more pumpkins to carve, and there is a slim chance that I might do that tonight... however I know that PanAm is on tonight and it looks like the kids will still be awake, which makes it next to impossible to actually watch a TV show based on the fact that you can't hear yourself think. It's been pretty quiet this evening as it is, with a fairly late nap and everyone doing their own thing with the TV's all off, which makes me happy. Ardyn is playing her DS, but Marek has been playing with toys, and I loaded the dishwasher and lit the Jack-O-Lanterns while Evan went on an emergency toilet paper run.

Today I was in charge of fellowship at church, and Evan woke up sick in the early morning hours so I had to get both kids ready and take them with me while doing fellowship, which I really try to never do. We hightailed it to Sullivan's for some after-church goodies, and their bakery selection did NOT let us down. Everything that we took (something like 5-6 dozen treats) was cleared out quickly. But the issue I had at Sullivan's this morning, besides having to take both kids in during a brief downpour, was the fact that they have now decided to put a stand in the checkout line that includes MANY toys. How annoying was that? Incredibly. It was a constant "I want this", "Can we buy this?" and "Can I take this home?" that just did not quit. It was one toy after the other and they were so distracted and overwhelmed that it took twice as long to checkout our 6 items and get them paid for and out the door. What should have been a 15 minute trip (8 minutes with no kids involved) took us TWENTY-THREE MINUTES and then we were running in the door at church just as it was about to start. Oy. No matter how far in advance I plan for fellowship, it always ends up being stressful on me, because there is always some child-related situation that comes up.

This time, however, I did manage to keep the kids in the kitchen with me while serving and replenishing food and coffee, because some miraculous idea told me to buy a package of juice boxes to keep in the church fridge to keep my two occupied and nearby, and I sat them on the kitchen floor with their napkins, treats, and juiceboxes. I did make two observations... one being that keeping them in the kitchen made a world of difference. I knew where they were, they weren't trying to leave the church and go outside parentless, and they sat there and had their snacks while I served. Problem being, keeping the two doors to the kitchen shut and them inside. I realized at that moment that the only garbage for napkins and such was located IN the kitchen (which I quickly remedied) and that all the people are very helpful and return their dirty glasses and mugs to the kitchen sink so that I can wash them afterwards, which means the door is constantly opening and not as often closing as opening. But Paul came in and played with the kids for a bit and they were excited to see him, and then Becky came and took them out with her to play until I was just about completely finished with cleanup. THAT was a blessing for sure. And it was so cute because Becky came back and said "Um, Ardyn is in the bathroom and she said she has to poop!" and I thanked her and went to do my mom duties. Isn't timing everything?

Sharon was so helpful and stayed to dry and put away glasses for me, which cut down on my cleanup time immensely.

Then we came home and made lunch and watched a Harry Potter Movie and then we had a nice nap. The day really flew by.

This week I would really like to get to JoAnn Fabric, but I just don't think I will be able to afford to. I need a few SMALL cuts of cotton with some lycra to use as underwear wasitbands. I have several 40-50% off coupons, but I just don't think even that is going to make it affordable right now. In addition to Class Picutres being this week, we have all the usual expenses and they are always so overwhelming.

I have gotten into the habit of taking the things out of the paycheck right up front that I anticipate we will need that week, and then the rest goes in to pay bills. Oy. Problem is by the time I put gas in the van and grab enough cash to cover what I know I will have to pay for, I already am like $100-$150 less on the amount I deposit, which never bodes well. Expenses are just overwhelming! Unfortunately it wouldn't be any better if I were working, because daycare costs are through the roof. It doesn't pay to work but one income is also stressful.

It seems like every single week someone is selling something. I have been doing really good at saying no, but sometimes I think that people think I am lying when I tell them I just can't right now. Sometimes I ask them what type of profit their organization is actually getting, and when they say 10% I often say "So I could spend $20 for something I don't need, or I could just donate $2 to your organization, right?" That is so frustrating. I can donate and get a tax deduction at least. I really hate "selling" fundraisers. I'd rather have a chance at a 50-50 raffle or something like a gift certificate than to buy crap I don't need or overpriced food we don't eat. Especially on a tight budget. Right now I had to tell a friend from Gateway that I couldn't buy a fresh wreath from him. I feel horrible. I know how excited he gets with each sale, but spending $30 on something that will die when I have TONS (too many already from years of accumulation) of artificial wreaths already... it just is not something I can justify. especially when our spluges as of late have come in the way of Violin Lessons, Tickets for Dance recital, and one pair of jeans that actually fit me, which I do not regret yet.

This reminds me I have to get chicken feed, (which isn't expensive at all in the sceme of things, and with egg prices) but I think I neglected to budget for that out of the last paycheck and now I hope I have enough to last the rest of the week for the ladies. Gonna need bunny food too!

We recently did the photos for the MOPS Fundraiser that sold Antiquities Photo Shoots with a FREE Storyboard for $10. It was a great deal, but I know that when we go back in the beginning of November there will be other cute pics to choose from, and that there is a chance I will want one. The reason I know it will be hard to resist? Marek in a tiny tuxedo and top hat. Oy. He is the most handsome boy EVER. And he SMILED so well! Oh did he smile! I am thinking I wish I had a little tux to take my own photos, but then I am remembering that he will be in Darrel and Leslea's wedding in May, although I am not sure if that means a Tux in his future. I had wanted to get some family photos done for this fall/winter to give to grandparents for Christmas, and because we haven't had them done in over two years... but I am not sure HOW in the world I am going to pull off that cost. Luckily my photographer friend who is uber-amazingly-talented has a great deal for a mini-shoot package... but I have nothing for us to wear, and by the time you add in clothes and also the package, Ouch. Not practical when I am struggling to just make basic ends meet. Thank GOD for layaway this year, although even that has me stressed out a bit. I wish Farm and Fleet's Toyland had layaway, but I am glad that TSC does.

This afternoon while the kids were watching their movie I entered things into my MobileMe Calendar, which I hadn't really been using as of yet, and I really liked the options for reoccurring events... however I instantly discovered the limitation that I can't print any of the calendars, which is frustrating because Evan doesn't have an iPhone so I can't send him our calendar. And no, I am not using Cozi, because he doesn't even have a smart phone so he isn't going to use any of it. I just wanted to print it out so he could see it but I just can't. Grrr. That's a serious limitation. I can print a screenshot, but if there are several things on one day, you can't see them all that way. You can actually only see like the first Six letters of each event and the start time. ANNOYING.


This morning Ardyn asked me if we could get the church choir to sing "livin on a prayer" by Bon Jovi (which was on the radio on the way to church) and then right after that was "Highway to Hell" Which she didn't comment on. :)

Well, our pizza in nearly done. If you haven't tried the Great value self rising pizzas, they are delicious and actually taste BETTER than a Digorno. Amazing. We love them here.

My son is dismantling a battery powered candle. Grand. Goodnight.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Wearever honors my warranty claim (#2) and Goes Above and Beyond

Special Thanks to Wearever for their awesome customer service. This is my second warranty claim on the pots and pans that I purchased 12 years ago before Evan and I moved in together. They sent me this Stainless Steel Set that is AWESOME and so nicely made. I hope it lasts! When I called I was told they could ONLY replace it with an identical set, but when I sent in the defective set I included a letter explaining that this was my second warranty claim for the same teflon flaking issue and that I wanted to request a stainless steel set for replacement so that I wouldn't keep having the same issue. They listened and I couldn't be happier! I used the skillet and the colander and spoon today while cooking the ground beef for my chili, and I adore them!

Here is a link to my previous post with photos and documentation of my warranty claim...
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Sunday, October 09, 2011

Illinois' Spoon River Drive, October 8th, 2011

All Photos Copyright Meagan Johnson. Do NOT Reproduce or Use without Written Permission!
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Tuesday, October 04, 2011

October It is.....

What a beautiful fall day :)

My kids are inside watching a movie. Yep. Well, for what it's worth I had intended for them to be outside today. And they were outside until lunchtime. They played in the yard, and Ardyn played outside at preschool. But after lunch, they both wanted to watch the Winnie the Pooh movie, and although I thought about pushing them back out the door, I realized that the movie might be a good wind down to naptime, and violin practice, and it would also allow me to dump the 4000 photos and videos that are on my iPhone and making it full. And switch the laundry and such. I spent the whole beautiful day yesterday inside (although the windows were open) because I am really trying to get caught up on regular housework and get some serious clutter under control. I have been working on our bedroom for several days now. I have cleared out my bookshelf, and Evan's dresser, and my jewelry armoire, and 94% of the floor and a good portion of laundry baskets and hampers of clean clothes. I still have two that need to be packed away (too small clothes of the kids) and one of kid clothes that needs put in their dressers yet. But even those need to be reorganized. Oy. I have been trying to sell pants and jeans of mine that are too small, I have sold all but seven of 17 pair of pants. I bought myself one new pair to replace them :)

My sock drawer needs gone through again, and my underwear drawer. So little time!

Fall weather gets me in the cleaning mode, plus the fact that I am hosting Bunco next week means that I need to find some horizontal surfaces to have room for everyone in this little place. I still need to go buy the food ingredients and also the prizes, which I think I might get this weekend while I am on the Spoon River Scenic Drive with my mom. I am so looking forward to that. But first I must get through this week, which includes getting the house picked up before the cleaning ladies come on Friday. There is also a PJWC meeting Thursday night, but I don't know if I am going yet or not. There just seems to be a TON going on.

Today I finished painting a footed bowl for my friend EA. She is part of a Race for the Cure team and is doing a large fundraiser in a couple of weeks, and asked if I would hand paint a piece of pottery that could be auctioned off at the fundraiser. I worked on it last week and finished it today, while Ardyn was in school. It was fun for me because I didn't have to pay for it, and she watched Marek so I could go while Ardyn was in school. It was like "me time" in most regards. I can't wait to see it finished, it's hard to tell what it is going to look like when it is unfired. If you have never painted pottery before, the paint colors are dull and chalky looking and most of them don't even look like the finished color, so that leaves a lot to the imagination. I sure hope it's pretty.

After school the kids and and I came home and collected a BUNCH of eggs. I think Gloria might be laying again, and now I think BOTH pullets (young hens) are laying. There were 5 eggs in the last 30 hours or so, and we were lucky enough to see ONE of them being laid first hand. One of the younger hens was pacing around the bunny hutch, and you may know that we have recently found an egg on two separate occasions, inside the bunny's nest box. The chickens fly into the attached run on the front of the bunny hutch (which has an open top) and then they settle in the bunny hutch to lay in the nest box. it's so much like theirs, and lined with the same pine bedding, they just feel at home. The bunny is not terribly fond of it. She doesn't seem to mind the chickens themselves, even when they are in the hutch with her. It's the foreign oval object in her nest box that terrifies her. She won't even go IN the hutch if there is an egg in there.

So today we watched the hen fly over the top and go right into the bunny nest box and start to make herself a nest. Then I even caught the laying off the egg on video, and the kids saw it, which was pretty cool.

While we were watching the hen in the nest box, Briar Bunny was in the other side of her hutch watching, and Licorice (the wild bunny that escaped) hopped inside the fence to check out what all the fuss was about. Talk about crazy!

Although it's a beautiful day and I have a ton to accomplish, I am seriously thinking about taking a nap with the kids today. Partially because I know Ardyn won't take one because she will be busy peeking out her windows (and if she lays down with me I can prevent that) and partially because I am tired. I stayed up late last night working in my room on the dressers. It takes forever because they seem to be landing place for all kinds of confiscated items, and all kinds of things the kids lay up there. Like hair clips. There must be 5000 hair clips around this place. Ardyn takes them off wherever and hands them to me or sits them on the dresser, and then I find them as I uncover the layers of crap that get stacked there.

I also went through all my DVD's and put them into a DVD organizer (a binder style one just like this one) that I have had for exactly EIGHT MONTHS but have yet to take out of the package and take the time to organize the DVDs. Yep. That's how my life is. So I finally say down yesterday and took all the DVDs out of their cases and put them into the binder. I really like it. It is a pretty THICK binder, but it does take up less space than all the DVDs did. I decided that I do need a few more movies, I only have the first two Harry Potter movies, which the kids started watching, and I also only have the first Pirates of the Caribbean. Plus the Bourne movies are some of my favorites and I love to watch them over again, and would love to have all of them on DVD. I keep the kids DVDs in a separate binder that is smaller and doesn't hold liner notes. I just keep the cases in the same cabinet that holds all the VHS tapes. But with mine, I didn't have room or the desire to keep the cases.

I went to JoAnn this past weekend to grab the plastic for the dining room table. About once a year I use a 50% or 40% off coupon to buy the heavy 16-18 gauge plastic to cover my tablecloths. If I don't cover them, the kids have them destroyed in no time. the last piece of plastic I bought cost me about $14 and lasted me almost a whole year. it would have lasted the whole year had Ardyn not decided to stick foam gingerbread stickers onto it. Those foam things are EVIL. They do NOT come off. So anyway, I had a cool fabric halloween tablecloth that I had bought on clearance last fall, and I wanted to use it but didn't DARE until I got more plastic. When I was there they also had a tie-dye fleece print that I hadn't seen on sale for about 3.5 years. I was super excited and it was 40% off so I got 2 yards to make a blanket with. Of course, they were out of the coordinating orange anti-pill so I have to go back another time to get that other side of the blanket. I was frustrated because they had ELEVEN bolts of Orange Blizzard fleece, but no anti-pill. Sounds like an ordering mishap if you ask me.

They had their paper stacks (like DCWV) on sale for $9.99 instead of $19.99 and I was excited because I wanted to see the "performance stack," which is new, in person. It has lots of musical and violin papers, but they were almost all GOLD and I was kinda like eeeew. the paperstack wasn't as impressive as I wanted to be, and the few papers that I really did like can be purchased separately on, so when the time comes I will just do that instead.

I have more I could say, but my wrists are bugging me (ala carpal tunnel) and the iPhone still has 97 videos to upload, so I will just call it quits here for now. Look out for the egg laying video, which I will try to get posted today, hopefully here, but at least on facebook if I can.
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