200th post

This is my 200th post on blogger, and my last. I didn't mean for my 200th to be my last one, it just happened that way.

I've "moved" to wordpress. I like blogger, its treated me well but I wanted to change my blog and my husband has been raving about wordpress (and pestering me to switch over), so it seemed like a good time to do both: move and get a new look.

And even though I (or Jake, as the case may be) imported all of my posts over to wordpress, I feel like I am starting over. Its a nice a feeling, I feel like have permission to change things a little. Not that I couldn't before nor do I have big plans for my new blog, because I don't. But I can't help but feel a little excited as I start anew (and confused, since I don't know my way around wordpress yet).

So visit me here and visit me often. Thanks for reading Tales of a Stay at Home Mom for the last 3 1/2 years!

Christmas Spirit

Recently my inbox as been full of Christmas details, questions, and lists. My phone has been ringing with family members calling for similar reasons. Blogs already are full of Christmas idea posts. Amazon is constantly reminding of their "super saver shipping" deal.

Normally I feel energized by this pre-Thanksgiving gift buying rush. My goal for years has been to not buy a single gift in December. I haven't actually met this goal yet, but I have been pretty close. I love the idea of having my gifts bought (or at least most of them) before December 1st and therefore having plenty of time for Christmas projects with Jonah. The busy December schedule normally doesn't stress me out because I'm not rushing around buying gifts.

So my December 1st deadline is only 9 days away and find myself with only several gift bags full of CVS bargains(does anyone really want those?) and the 2 gifts that I bought for Jonah yesterday. So fine, I'm behind on my gift shopping. I don't really have an excuse, I just am. But the part that is bothering me is that I keep forgetting that I have to buy presents! I think I think that I already have it taken care of, maybe that I have had a plan in place for months. But that just isn't true! And when I realize that I haven't started my shopping I just don't really care that much.

I understand that my heart hasn't quite mended yet from losing our baby and knowing that I am not able to have any more, but apparantly my mind isn't working either.
My sister-in-law said I that I am normal now (though I KNOW she is almost done with her shopping she just isn't admitting it to make me feel better) and my husband said "welcome to the rest of the world." I'm not sure how I feel about those statements. A small part of me screams "NO!". I want to be my old over-planning self, I want her back, I want to care about little details again, I want to care about them so far in advance that my I drive my husband crazy.

My friend Sarah said that I could be like that again if I wanted to. If I really wanted to get something done in my old self ways, then I would.

Maybe that is it. Maybe I just care less about things that don't really matter because I found out this year what matters. Life. Death. Friends. Family.

Now that I have that figured out I'm going to go slap some gift tags on the 15 tubes of toothpaste I have stockpiled and call it good (right after I place a big Amazon order).

Hip Hip for a New Coupon Organizer

It was time to make the move from an 8 year old dollar store cardboard organizer to a homemade "I'm serious about couponing" coupon organizer. Here is both my old one and my new and improved coupon binder:

I used 2 packages of baseball card holders and cut them done from 3 x 3 to 3 x 2. I then punched new holes and a put them in a small binder. Since my goal is to save money I tried to make my saving money tool as cheaply as possible. I already had this small binder, from college, along with some paper already cut and hole punched to fit it. I used the paper to form dividers between each section. My mom had one package of baseball card holders that she gave me (but she didn't give me the sports cards that were in it, so don't worry dear brothers)and I bought another package at Office Depot from $2.66. Since then I discovered that they have pacakges of 10 at my Dollar Tree for $1 (because its the dollar store!). The ones my mom had are the best quality but I couldn't seem to find any that sturdy. The ones from Office Depot and the dollar store are a little flimsy and I worry about the new holes I punched. My friends and I thought a little scotch tape or those little sticky circle reinforcers might help.

I love it! The binder has pockets for a calculator, pen and really big coupons. I also used single photo album pockets, hole punched them, and labeled one for each store I go to. I then put all of the coupons that I need for my next shopping trips to Walgreens, CVS, Kroger and Wal-mart in their own marked section.

The bad thing about my binder is this:

It sticks out quite a bit when I close it. I could cut it down to a 2 x 2 but I hate too. I'm afraid it would make the binder way too thick and therefore hard to turn the pages, stay closed, ect. It also is just a little big for a purse, even the new jumbo purse I upgraded to. But that was my big specification- it had to fit into a purse.

This binder is now worth more than my wallet! It has loaded giftcards in it to CVS and WAGS plus $18 in ECBs. You can cancel credit cards, but what do you do if someone still your drugstore "money"??? (Cry!)

I should have been an Environmental Science Major

I have been working on this plan. A plan for my life for the time being. A plan that involves filing for adoption, volunteering at Jonah's school, and saving up for said adoption.

Unfortunately, to save up that means I probably need to do more than coupon. I really should get a job. But I don't want to. Instead I've decided that I'm going to try to substitute teach and maybe look for something in the school system. Maybe.

But then yesterday I subbed my first day in the district (I have subbed a couple of days at the Christian School).

The real question is if I never sub again do I have to get a real job? But honestly, Kroger is looking real good after my experience in this third grade classroom.

It reminded me a lot of when I was in High School and a few fellow classmates and I were talking to a sub. He was an Environmental Science major without a job, so he was subbing. And he was clueless. This is when I first realized that you didn't have to have a teaching degree to sub.

I feel like the third grade teacher was probably in her classroom for 5 minutes this morning and thought "that sub definitely doesn't have any teaching experience". Its not like they were bad or mean or even really disrespectful. They just couldn't stop talking. They just couldn't. It made me so sad because I was suppose to teach multiplication. I had a lot of math hours in college, it was my emphasis. But I was too busy telling everyone to stop talking and threatening nasty notes to their teacher to get too far.

The good thing for me, but maybe not really, is that I'm only signed up to sub at Jonah's school and they have 3 retired teachers who sub there often. They are the first to be called. I WAS trying to figure out how I can sub at other schools and still manage to avoid any type of before or after school care for Jonah. Right now I'm feeling unmotivated to pursue a plan such as that. Maybe I should instead explore getting another degree (maybe in the earth sciences). Or maybe I just give subbing another try (but I do I have to?).

Five Year Old's Views on Politics

At Jonah's school on Tuesday the whole student body voted. They learned that they didn't have to tell anyone who they voted for, that they there were choices, and that there would be both a winner and a loser.

Jonah announced that he voted for Barak Obama.

"Why?" I asked.

"Because he was first on the paper."

His Kindergarten teacher then shared with me that she asked the class the following day what they had heard about the election. Most of them heard who had won.

"What do you know about Obama?"- Teacher

"I know a LOT."- a girl in Jonah's class

"What do you know?- teacher

"I heard he's a good dancer." - same girl

"I'm sad that Sarah Palin didn't win."- fellow kindergartener

"Hey, I think Sarah Palin rides my bus."- kindergarten bus rider

Couponing for the Good

So I have quite the stash now of personal type items: 20 something bottles of shampoo, a dozen tubes of toothpaste, a stack of soap. It was time to make a donation!

I chose to make my first donation to Operation Santa, a Central Illinois group whose goal this year is to send 30,000 filled stockings to troops serving over seas. They are collecting trial size toiletries, gum, Crystal Light, and DVD's.

If you are like me and you have a stash of free stuff from many recent Walgreens and CVS runs, here's what works: single pack toothbrushes (I gave them ALL, but don't worry, we still have 3 double packs in the drawer in case there is a teeth brushing emergency), Biz Fizz and other energy shots, Soy Joy bars(and other power bars) and regular packs of razors (I think they open them). You can even get free (or almost free or make-a-little-money-on) razors at CVS this week by doing this deal, from Money Saving Mom:

Buy 1 Bic Comfort3 Advanced Shavers (4-pk) at $4.99, Get $4 ECBs (Limit 4)
Use $2/1 coupon from 9/14 or 10/12 Smart Source insert
Free plus $1 overage after coupon and ECBs
(I only had 3 coupons but still bought my limit of 4, so made I $2 and got 16 razors to donate!).

If you do live in Central Illinois the above link has drop off locations, the full list of items to donate, and even the pattern if you are willing to make stockings (but do it FAST, they are due soon).

If you don't live in Central Illinois (or you do but want to give to someplace else), don't forget that the deadline for Operation Christmas Child is coming up, most drop-off locations want boxes by November 17 because they must get them to the packing centers the week of November 17-24. Acceptable stash items: toothpaste, toothbrushes, soap (don't forget to put it in a baggie), and school supplies. We have been saving our duplicate unopened Happy Meal toys for our box too. And I plan on having Jonah pull out some candy from his Trick-or-Treating loot that will not melt on its trip over seas.

One other idea of where to donate items to is your local crisis pregnancy center. I've heard of lots of people donating to theirs and so I asked at ours, they take any kind of female, child, or baby type personal item, even make-up (I know I have quite the pile of mascara and foundation right now).

So go and do some good with your deals instead of letting them take over every closet and under the sink area like it has at my house!