Sunday, March 30, 2008

Big Shoes (or Slippers) To Fill

Ella has always been in to shoes. She loves her own shoes. She loves my shoes. She loves Aunt "Mimi"'s shoes. Last night she walked around in Aunt Michelle's slippers and then put them on Daddy to see how they looked.

And when she got bored with the slippers she tried to try on some of Aunt Michelle's tennis shoes. Unfortunately, the laces got in the way.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Why Do They ALWAYS Pick Us?

About two weeks ago or so I headed out of our apartment to get the mail. As I rounded the corner towards the front of the community, a little orange kitten attached himself to me (it may have helped that I petted him). I didn't really expect him to follow me. It's not a long walk -- Ella usually goes with us and walks there and back with no problem -- but it's not just down the sidewalk either. But that cat followed me all the way to the mailbox AND BACK! I couldn't believe it.

Ever since our little evening walk, that little guy has been hanging around our porch. He really, really adores Felix (our 4 year old male cat). Unfortunately, Felix is not in to other cats (other than Violet, our 6 year old cat, and she's just OK to beat up on). This morning, Ella noticed him during breakfast at the patio door. She and Mitch went out and we brought the little guy some food and water (he was famished).

We let him inside briefly, but he's kinda dirty and he's not neutered. He poked around inside and then fond what he was looking for -- Felix. When Felix when out, so did he. When we closed the door on him, he sat there and HOWLED!

We went grocery shopping and came back about two hours later and there hew as on the patio, asleep.

This is not the first stray kitten to adopt us. He is the third in four years. And we are big softies! The other two we took to shelters. I'm not sure about this one. He is super sweet and he loves Ella! But a third cat...? In an apartment...? I'm not so hot on that one. I'm sure we'll find a good home for him soon!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Not So Great

I didn't think the deals were great this week at CVS and Wal-Greens, but I had a $5RR to use up by tonight at Wal-Greens.

Between the 2 stores I got:
2 4 packs of Scott TP
2 Toddler Toothpastes
2 240-count Plakskool wipes
2 Johnson's Buddies Soap
1 CVS Vapor Steam (DD2 has a nasty cold)

I spent $10 out of pocket and got back $6 ECBs so the total is $4. Again, not the greatest of weeks, but adding in the toothpastes and Vapor steam makes it not too bad.

I also found some $2 off a $10 purchase of CVS products brochures and $50 in Wal-Greens brand coupons. Not sure if they'll let you double those up with sales, but we'll see!


I am (mostly) without computer today. But I will be back in force this weekend and/or next week!

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Thank You!

I've started playing around with FeedBurner to see the stats for my blog. While I started it to keep friends and family updated about our family, I'm trying to branch out to other topics. I'm not very good with FeedBurner, yet, but I do know that there are 11 subscribers out there somewhere and I just wanted to say thanks for reading!

Time Out is Out

Time outs are not working with 20 month old Ella. She has had them for the past 5 months. Yesterday, at about the 5th time out, she trotted over to her chair with a big grin on her face and sat there smiling and singing to herself for the 1 minute she sat there. Yeah. Not working. Understand, she only gets a time out for hitting or biting. We're not talking minor infractions -- she has a temper and she isn't afraid to take out her frustrations physically on another person (adult or kid, she doesn't care).

So yesterday, after the 5th time out, I told her if she hit again, she would get a spanking. Of course, she's never had one so she had no idea what to expect. Sure enough, she socked another little girl a few minutes later so spank her I did (once on her diaper clothed bottom). Ella was shocked. And immediately repented -- she repeatedly signed "I'm Sorry" (amidst tears, of course).

There is pretty big debate amongst our friends regarding spanking. We've done the research (Dobson, Swindoll, etc) and we've pretty much concluded that for hitting and biting, spanking, at least for now, is going to be the punishment. I still have an internal debate: how does spanking (hitting) teach her NOT to hit....but when it is viewed as discipline, not as hitting out of anger, then it isn't the same. Or not. We're willing to try and see what happens. But after the spanking yesterday, Ella didn't hit or bite for the rest of the day. That never happened with a time out (or 20).

If you have any other suggestions for teaching a 20 month old not to hit or bite, I'm all ears.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Is There Anything Sweeter?

And this is how our weekend ended -- looking at family pictures on Daddy's lap before bedtime.

Easter Egg Hunt

Sunday after the last service our church, Central Christian, had an Easter egg hunt. We belong to a "mega" church in that we average around 10,000 people in attendance on any given weekend. Of course, on Easter, that number doubles. Our church's main campus is in Henderson, but we attend the Summerlin Campus. We see and hear the sermon in HD TV every weekend. Between the two campuses our church had around 11 Easter services last weekend. You would think it'd be difficult to get to know anyone with that kind of crowd, but we ran in to one set of friends during the service and another at the egg hunt.

Given the size of our church, I wasn't sure what kind of crowd to expect at the egg hunt, but I knew they had 3,000 eggs for the kids. We had to divide and conquer as the little kids and big kids had separate areas of the football field (thank goodness!). I would guess that only 100 kids or so were there and they all scored big time! By this time Ella knew there would be something good in those eggs. She opened up the first one she picked up and found chocolate Teddy Grahams -- SCORE! And that was all she got. One egg. She was too busy eating to be bothered with anything else except that orange tape. Sarah, however, had a basket full.

The last picture is Ella and Victoria -- the daughter of some friends in our small group.

After Holiday Sales

Yesterday was that day again -- the day after a holiday. This time it was Easter and I headed to Wal-Mart to stock up for next year. I got my egg dye kit for $.25, napkins and plates for about $.60 each pack, and some little gift bags for $.10 each that I can use all year round. But the biggest score was two sets of Wilton's Silicone Baking Cups for $4.23/each! They retail around $9.99 and I've been meaning to use my 40% coupon at Jo-Anns to pick some up. But there they were -- I couldn't believe it. Half-off because they are pastel colors. I still can't believe it.

I was also surprised by how much Easter inventory was still on the shelves. We didn't go until after 7 PM and I figured it would be slim pickings. Not so! I think that while most people plan on the after-Christmas sales, few people plan to go shopping the day after other holidays. I even managed to grab a few St. Patrick's Day goodies for next year.

I had stocked up on candy after Valentine's Day to use in Easter baskets. I wondered of my 8 year old would notice. She didn't really -- she just thought all the hearts were cute! But I did buy way too much candy (easy to do when it's half off)! I'll be sure to buy less next year.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

The M&M Gabels

Make your own!

Easter Morning

A Night at the Bellagio

Saturday night we got a baby-sitter for Ella and took Sarah to one of her favorite places in Vegas: the Bellagio.

First we hit the conservatory. They change the decorations/plants/theme every season. They just changed from Chinese New Year to Spring and we saw lots of butterflies!

Then we hit the World's Largest Chocolate Fountain at Jean Pierre. We took some time out for cappuccino gelato and a Nutella napoleon.

And of course, the real reason we made the trek in: the fountains.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

A Visit to the Easter Bunny

Friday, March 21, 2008

Makin' Money

I am always looking for a way to make a few extra dollars here and there. Every little bit helps! So I found this article at Money Saving Mom very informative. I decided to give Cash Crate a try. I figure if I can average $2/day, that's $60/month. For doing nothing. A few tips Crystal mentioned:

1) Set up a junk email address. Oh my the spam mine has received since I started doing surveys!

2) Set up an internet voice mail only phone number. Some offers will check to see if your zip code and phone match up, but most don't. I just googled the above and found that worked for me.

I'll let you know when my first check arrives, but everything I've read on-line says this is the real thing. I have yet to see anyone NOT receive a check.

You can sign up for Cash Crate here.

Look Who's Riding A Bike!

Last summer we picked up a used bike for Sarah to learn to ride. We have a smaller bike with training wheels, but she had obviously outgrown it. Sarah adamantly refused to learn to ride the bike. Mitch took her out once and that was the end of that.

I was frustrated. Not because she didn't know how to ride a bike, but because fear was keeping her from learning. Sarah is not the bravest of souls and we have always tried to encourage her to be brave and try new things. As she gets older she gets a teeny bit braver every year, but having patience with her fearful nature has always been a struggle for my adventurous personality.

On the way home from the airport the other night/morning, she said she wanted to ride her bike. And today she did! I am so proud of her for overcoming that fear! She's off riding around with the other kids telling her Dad "I love my bike! I love it!"


I really wish Spring Break was the week after Easter, rather than the one before. I feel so rushed and busy this week that I haven't really taken the time to take in Holy Week.

When I was a kid our entire town (except the gas station) closed down between noon and 3 PM on Good Friday so people could go to church. When we were little we were too antsy for church so when Dad came home for those 3 hours we colored eggs. For the 13 years I was in school there, those three hours on Good Friday were sacred.

When I was in college Holy Week was busy for me as a vocalist. I usually sang at a minimum of two different churches that week and weekend. And I was always booked by the end of January! I'd sing Handel on Good Friday and a celebratory Easter song on Sunday. I never tired of singing along to the hymn "Up From the Grave" as the service opened on Sunday. It didn't matter what church I was at -- we sang that hymn and recited with the pastor "He is Risen Indeed!"

Now it is at least 20 some years since the days when my hometown shut down for Good Friday and at least 10 years since I spent the week singing in churches. Sadly, today it is difficult to find a Good Friday service, much less a church who hands out palms on Palm Sunday or offers a Seder service on Wednesday or Thursday. We won't sing "Up From The Grave" on Sunday and my Handel's Messiah has been tucked away for years (it's not just for Christmas -- it covers all of Christ's life including his death and resurrection). Perhaps today while I meditate on the awesomeness of what Christ did on the cross for all of us and I grieve for the pain and torture He endured for my sins, I also mourn for the days when Holy Week was indeed "holy", when Good Friday was a communal day of meditation and prayer, and when the traditions of the church were embraced rather than shunned for dramas, choruses, and multi-media presentations.


FINALLY! While I've gotten some really good deals in my new pharmacy game endeavors, I feel like I've still been missing the mark. Yesterday I finally scored! I got all of the above (plus another deodarant and a lip gloss) for $2.75. I spent $14 in ECBs and came out with $22 in ECBs ($6 leftover from a previous transaction).

Green Eggs and Ham

And Who Pancakes! At IHOP for breakfast this morning. They are celebrating "Horton Hears A Who" and we decided to join in the celebration. The green eggs and ham were delicious. The pancakes were a bit much -- even Sarah agreed!

I can't Help Myself

When I see matching outfits, I have to get them! The funny thing is that with my sisters there was 3 of us in 3 years and we never had matching outfits. Grandma sent matching swimsuits yesterday... pictures coming soon.

Easter Party

I attend a women's small group every Thursday morning and we decided to throw a little Easter party this week for the kiddos.

First we dyed eggs...

Trying to decide who gets to use what color. Sarah, Aidan, and Mia.

While the big kids dyed eggs, Ella and Ali try to break in to the pool.

Then an egg hunt...

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