Thursday, July 24, 2008

Grocery Game-My New Binder.

Oh baby, I'm excited!!!!

With the school supply sales as of late, I found a great zippered binder on sale for $4.99. So I snatched it up and set to work organizing, clipping, sorting and putting together. And boy was it a fun way to spend 7 hours! It really was, couponing is my drug!

So, this is the front. I picked gray, a nice neutral color. I had it for only one day before little greasy fingers touched it. I think that is how they mark their territory. They just never know how many toddlers will come sniffing around their mom while she is shopping.

In the front I have a few little spots for scissors, extra paper clips, and a pen. I also have a zippered pocket where I keep my extra envelopes and other paraphernelia for my 'drug' habit.

Also in the front I have an expandable section. Here I have a pocket for my weekly list paper clipped to the specific coupons I need. A pocket for extra inserts, or store coupon books, and a final pocket for my calculator.

Then I used baseball card organizers, there are 9 pockets on each page, and I got a pack of ten of them for $2. I know they can be found cheaper, but I really wanted to get started. I still need to label my pockets. I have the similar categories as my previous binder, just a few extra. I split hair care/razors/body wash into male and female categories.

Then I have extra notebook paper for my lists.

In the very last section I have a coupon organizer for my food coupons. So many of these were large or irregular shaped, plus I just have so many, I didn't want to mess with the baseball card inserts. So I found this Q organizer at Target in the dollar section, so I set to work getting it organized. Not very many categories, but really it is very handy. My categories are fridge/frozen, meat, dairy/cheese, cereal, boxed and other.

Yay! I've already used it at the store a few times and I have noticed such a big difference in how easy it is to find things. No more flipping through pages and getting flustered at the checkout.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Tuesday Ten

Ten Things I Can't Stand

1. Bad drivers
2. Naptime cut short.
3. Having an empty fridge.
4. Waiting for something exciting.
5. Wearing shoes.
6. Leftovers that go uneaten.
7. Sleeping when it is hot.
8. Warm soda.
9. When DH drops his clothes next to the laundry hamper instead of in.
10. A messy house (even though I live in one every day).

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Disturbed and Amused

I recently went through Sitemeter to check who was visiting my blog. Not so much WHO....but HOW. I knew I was getting quite a few hits, but just not sure from where.

The post of mine that gets the most hits is this one.... Thank You Mom In Law which is one of the first options listed when you Google "Thank you Mom".

The second most popular post is Mosquitoes, Lawn Mowers and Whip-Its, Oh My. In this post I very innocently talked about my pleasant evening and a quick whip it that I did with my sister for the first time in 10 years. Okay, no big deal, right? Yeah, not so much. At least once a week I get a hit (heehee, a hit!) from a person searching "How to do whip its" "How do you do whip its" or "What is a whip it?" I even once got a visit from someone searching "Whip me" Oh yes, whip you indeed. So, for all of those teenage boys who have now killed their brain cells because of MY're welcome. And by the way, don't do whip its.

Also popular is The Five S's, people have stumbled upon that one by searching "What the HELL are the 5 s's?" Hmm... I think I sense a little sleep deprived testiness.

And the shocking post a few days ago about The Hubs and our wedding. It seems harmless, except for the fact that I mentioned the word corset. My blog is listed among quite a few results some of which include "Latex and corsets" "Hot men in pink corsets" and many other results that made me gasp out loud. Yikes. I am sure when the man (woman?) seeking some nasty photos of corset-clad sexsters arrived at my blog, he (she?) was a little dissapointed. Raunchy pictures? No. Mommy blog? Oh yeah baby!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Meet My Family: Alivia

First, go meet The Hubs and Chloe.

Now I would like to formally introduce you to the goofball of the family. The one that makes all the noise.

Yes, yes, Alivia Mae is the crazy girl of the house, she is outspoken and loud and wild and fiery. But first let's talk about how she entered this world......

Chloe was 1 when The Hubs and I started talking about having another kiddo. We wanted to have our kids close together. We started "trying" in February of that year. Although we didn't really try, we just didn't really prevent. I discovered I was pregnant in May of 2006. Imagine my shock when I went to the doctor and discovered I was due ON Chloe's second birthday!

My pregnancy was rough. Oh baby, it was rough. I have a fractured vertabrae and problems with my pelvis. I was always in pain, my back and hips hurt so badly. I quit working and decided to stay at home (on the couch) for the rest of my pregnancy. I never really felt well, and luckily I only gained half as much weight the second time around. The pregnancy went by very slowly and I spent a lot of time researching ways to have a better birth experience. I wanted a calmer atmosphere, no drugs, mobility during labor and alternate birth positions.

As my due date approached, and then passed, I got a teensy, wee little bit frustrated. The daily phone calls from my family members didn't help either "Did you have that baby yet???"

" I did not. I don't think I will ever have her, and I am doomed to be pregnant for the rest of MY. FREAKING. LIFE. Ahem..sorry Grandma. Nope, no baby yet."

The Hubs and I were doing everything to speed up the process which was great for him, ya know. He couldn't have been happier. Thursday morning when I was five days late, we decided that we were having a baby THAT DAY. We started out with a little roll in the hay, then went out grocery shopping. We spent several hours walking around the store to get things moving. I bought all of the ingredients to make hot chili dogs, since spicy food might move things along.

Once at home I made our hot dogs, with super hot chili, jalapenos, and pepper jack cheese. Although I didn't feel well, I still ate one. As I sat there with steam coming out of my ears and fire churning in my stomach, it hit me that the baby hadn't moved all day. I'd been so busy I hadn't noticed. I took a bath and pushed on my tummy a little to get her wiggling. Nothing, not a wiggle or bump or hiccup. I called my sister to take me to labor and delivery while The Hubs stayed home with Chloe, who was napping. I was trying hard not to freak out and panic over the child who was NOT MOVING. I was prodding her and poking her and nothing was happening. We raced to L&D, I jumped on the bed, stripped down and the nurse quickly hooked me to a monitor. The baby's heart was beating, but she wasn't moving. The nurse checked my cervix and smiled at me. "Your baby is not moving because you are in LABOR! You are having a contraction right now!"

What??? Ok, that works for me. This was 6 PM, and my doctor arrived to break my water. Over the next few hours things were very quiet. I was progressing slowly, not in major pain, very calm. Lights were dimmed, I was able to get up and shower, I even caught an episode of Wheel of Fortune. I bounced on my birthing ball, walked around the room, laughed and joked with my family, and concentrated on my contractions.

About 1 AM, I was getting so tired and I knew I was getting somewhat close. Time was going by so quickly. I got in and out of the hot shower three times in the next hour, with contractions so close together. The only complaint I have was that the hot chili dog from earlier....yeah that was not a good idea. I had heartburn from hell!

At 2:30 AM I was sitting on the soft chair in the shower when I realized wave after wave of intense pain was hitting me with barely a second to catch my breath. I stood up and very akwardly made it to the bed while calling out "Call the nurse, NOW!" The nurse ran in, checked me and lights were switched on, equipment was brought in; things went from calm and quiet (The Hubs was actually sleeping) to hectic and crazy in a matter of seconds. A group of student nurses piled in to watch the show, which I am sure was fun for them. I pushed only a few times, in an alternate position and within a few minutes...

Alivia Mae entered this world. Bright pink, a tiny bit of peach fuzz, crying quietly. She stopped the moment she was held though.

As a baby Ali was busy. Rolling, sitting, crawling very very early. When she could stand on her own at 7 1/2 months, I knew I was really truly screwed. She took her first steps at 8 1/2 months, and was running all over the place within a few days.

She is a little parrot, she will repeat everything she hears, so she *might* have a few four letter words in her extensive vocab. She is so incredibly smart, she learns very quickly. She can count to three, sings songs, and dances like there is no tomorrow. She throws and catches a ball perfectly, can climb anything, and runs like the wind.

BUT...she thinks she is way too busy to sleep and eat. She doesn't listen to a thing we say, she hits (hard!) when she is mad, she throws temper tantrums that are unbelievable, she dumps things out, and she throws things in the toilet and garbage.

She has the prettiest red hair (which she won't let me do) and the sweetest little grin (which she won't let me brush). She makes everyone laugh with her funny little quirks and mannerisms. If she hears someone toot she yells "Ooooh Nooo....POOP!"

Name: Alivia Mae
Age: 1 1/2
Loves: Books, cartoons, any sweet treat, cheerios, slurping milk off of her high chair tray, dancing, her binky, bathtime, Daddy, the vacuum, playing with her sis, and antagonizing her sis
Hates: sitting in the cart at the store, eating vegetables, riding in the car for long distances, going to bed, cleaning up toys, being told no
Favorite Food: Ice cream
Least Favorite Food: Meat
First Word: Dada
Favorite Word: Shoot

She is my hard headed, stubborn, crazy little monkey, but I can't imagine my life without her (although it might be quieter) because she is 1/3 of my heart.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Meet My Family: Chloe

Chloe is my oldest daughter, she is 3 1/2 years old. Technically she is 3 years, 5 months and two weeks. Even more technically, she is 1261 days old, counting Leap Day. Or 30, 264 hours.

But who's counting?

Chloe was born on a freezing cold January day in 2005. I was currently 3 days overdue, miserable, gigantic, nervous, terrified, and frustrated.

My contractions began around 9 PM on a Monday evening. I was vegged out on the couch, I had barely moved from the sofa for three straight days I was so tired and miserable. On the tube was a marathon of Made episodes on MTV. The contractions made me uncomfortable, but I just wasn't sure if it was the real deal or not. The Hubs had to get up at 5 AM to go to work, so he gave me a quick kiss on the head and went to bed with a cheerful "Wake me up if you have a baby!" The next three hours were spent getting in and out of the bathtub, timing contractions and drinking water. Still unsure if it was the real thing, I called my doctor. "Drink another glass of water and call me in an hour." I still was feeling crampy, a little uncomfortable, but not that bad yet. I was grinning to myself at how strong I was. This labor thing is no biggie! But then I started to panic a little thinking I was about to pop a baby out on my living room floor. I went and woke The Hubs and said "I think it's time." And did he jump out of bed, throw together our bags and herd me out the door?

No. He sleepily asked if I was okay, then resumed snoozing. I spent another hour timing the cramps, cleaning the kitchen and reading horrible stories about childbirth-gone-wrong on the Internet (caution: not advised!!!!). Finally at 1 AM I was feeling ready, pretty certain I was in active labor. I shook The Hubs a little harder and demanded he get up. When he realized I was serious, he set to getting us out the door. We were in the middle of a harsh winter, it was snowing heavily and very icy outside. He ran out into the pitch black night to warm up the car and I sat inside and rejoiced a little more about how easy-peasy this childbirth thing was going to be.

I wish I had some great story about getting stuck in a snow bank and delivering our child in the warm car while the rescuers dug us out. But the truth is we drove one block over to the brightly lit hospital, where we were informed I was not even in real labor. We settled in for a long night/day.

The next three hours we walked all over the hospital, I was given induction medication, we called our family.

The next three hours I cried about how hungry/exhausted/in pain I was.

My water broke.

The next three hours were full of hard contractions, terrible back pain, lots of visitors.

More contractions. Pain medication that made the world spin and made me throw up.

7 PM...I hadn't eaten in 24 hours, I hadn't slept in 36 hours, my body was battered and bruised and I just wanted to give up.

2 more hours of pushing with all my might.

A doctor's threat "Julie, if you don't push this baby out in the next five minutes, we are going to have to do a C section"

6 minutes later...........

Chloe Joy entered this world. A perfect 8 pounds 9 ounces, thick, dark red hair, deep brown eyes, and wailing her little lungs out.

Chloe is my quiet girl. She had a speech delay for several years, and even now she is soft spoken. Shy and reserved at first, then happy and full of life when she is comfortable.

Her hair falls down her back in thick, auburn locks. Her eyes are the exact shade of dark chocolate and they twinkle when she is happy. She delights in ordinary things, and is very easy to please. Very rarely does she misbehave, she sleeps like an angel every night. I get so much joy in watching her play, she has such a rich, vivid imagination. She falls asleep every night with a stack of books in her bed and walks out of her bedroom in the morning with yet another stack. She is so sweet, she "lubs ebbybody so much!" and says the silliest things. She brings so much light and laughter to our family.

On the other end of the spectrum, she hates change. She doesn't like to leave a place if we've been there for more than a few minutes. She also gets frustrated easily. Wants to do everything by herself. Fights with her little sister. Cries easily. Sometimes too shy and quiet, she would rather sit on the sidelines. Gives up easily. Is super picky.

But the sweet and sour all combine together to make this fantastic, well balanced, beautiful and happy little girl that I am incredibly proud to call my daughter.

Name: Chloe Joy
Age: 3 1/2
Loves: Books, music, cartoons and movies, her cousins, the park, ice cream, fruit, bathtime, drawing, the Library
Hates: getting dirty, bugs, taking naps, tags on her clothes, plain milk, getting her hair brushed, sharing her toys, sparklers
Favorite Food: Apples
Least Favorite Food: Cooked vegetables
Favorite cartoon: Dora
Favorite Book: I'm a Big Sister
Favorite Color: Pink

Enjoys long walks, running errands with Daddy, quiet time with Mommy, making up stories, all holidays and family get togethers, riding her trike, blowing bubbles, going for ice cream, and dressing up like a princess.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Grocery Game Binder

I've shared a little bit about how well the Grocery Game is working for me, and how I shop. I thought I would post pictures of my binder system for organizing my coupons. This system works well for people who do not want to spend a lot of money on their system. Many grocery gamers spend a ton of money on zip up binders, organizers, etc. That didn't make sense for me, as I am trying to *save* money, not spend it!!

To create a system of your own, you will need:

A binder, a simple basic one will do just fine
Paper clips
Envelopes (standard size, not big ones)
Notebook Paper
A pen/marker

First, figure out how many categories you will need. I started with 6 and added more, I now have a total of 18. I found that the more categories I had, the fewer coupons per envelope (therefore less digging to find the right one!)

My categories are: (I'll explain these more in a bit)

Weekly Qs

Store Qs

Baby & Kid Items

Girly Stuff


Household & Paper Goods

Body Wash, Soap, Lotion

Razors & Deodorant

Tooth Care

Hair Care

Laundry & Dishes

Cleaning Supplies

Meat, Dairy, Cheese

Refridgerated & Frozen


Dry Boxed Food

Sauces, Condiments, Spices

Other Foods

Next, label your envelopes, then cut off the top flap (the triangle with the sticky on it). Then use tape (or glue or staples) and attach your envelopes to a piece of notebook paper (two to each sheet). Make sure the opening is facing out so you can slide your coupons in. Make sure to use a paper clip on each envelope to hold your stack of coupons in. If you drop your binder or tip it upside down, your Qs will not fall out (I learned this the hard way as I watched a hundred coupons flutter away across the parking lot!).

This is how mine is set up.

Front shopping lists, extra paper, a pen, extra paper clips. envelopes, labeled, Qs sorted by expiration date and paper clipped in

Back: (nice little paper clip marks LOL!) Extra coupon inserts, a bundle of food coupons (fast food, pizza, etc)

Ok, so more about my categories. In my first envelope I have the weekly coupons. Once I receive my list, I go through and pull out the coupons that I will need for that week. I also grab any coupons that are going to expire that week, bundle them together and put them in my Weekly Q section. I also clip together the ones for each store since I go to several.

My store Qs are coupons that are exclusive to a store but ones I won't use that week (ex: a Walgreen's only coupon that expires next month). This envelope also includes register rewards and catalinas. These are coupons that are printed at the grocery store checkout (some are for a dollar amount off of your next order, free items, percentage off, etc).

The rest of the categories are pretty self explanatory. At the beginning I lumped them together (just one envelope for personal care) because I did not have very many coupons. As I have collected more coupons I had to expand the categories, they got way too full.

My binder goes with me all the time since I might be running to the post office and decide to stop in at Target suddenly. I usually leave it in the car and grab it when I go into the store. As I shop I place my binder in the front of the cart and grab coupons as I need them. If I have a kiddo in the front of the cart, I leave it in the back but refer to it often. Does it make it harder to shop? Sure. But I am willing to sacrifice a little time and convenience for a little more dough in my pocket. Often I shop by myself on Sunday mornings while The Hubs watches the childrens, which makes it a little easier.

So, that's the basics. I have several hundred coupons organized in my binder, and that is after only 4 weeks. Some weeks I use 3 or 4 coupons, some weeks I am handing over a stack of 30 Qs to the cashier.

One more note.....each Sunday I get my paper with coupons. I cut out the Qs, sort them by category and then add them to my envelopes by expiration date. At that time I can pull out the ones that are about to expire. These will all be right at the front of the stack, so it is easy to keep track of them.

Yet one more note...As I walk through the store I will grab an item on my list, then pull out the coupon for it. I put it aside with a paper clip on it. As I shop I will add the Qs I have used to the paper clip group, so once I am at the checkstand I can just hand over my stack of coupons that are organized. This way I am not fumbling around trying to find the correct one as my cashier is standing their impatiently.

This may work incredibly well for you. And it might not. I have received some odd stares from people wondering why I am shopping with a binder full of coupons. It may seem nerdy, but I am laughing all the way to the bank. My binder full of these little snips of paper...yeah it is worth hundreds of dollars. Just last week I used 20 coupons worth over $100. Boo yah!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Meet My Family: The Hubs

I haven't really talked about my partner in this blog very much. Probably because I wouldn't want my husband to find out about him.

I joke!

No, I've been with The Hubs for 5 years. We met one hot and steamy night (no really, it was 105 degrees outside!) when I was set up on a blind date with his roommate. His roommate was a no show, for reasons I can't remember now. The Crush and I hit it off right away, we sat up and talked for hours. When I left I thought for sure that it would be a fling, a little one night summer romance, I did not think we were going to end up together.

We saw a lot of each other that summer but were not exclusive. My best friend started dating the no-show-blind-date-roomie (who was really a good guy) so I found myself with The Crush more often. I was going into my senior year of high school, he was living on his own, working and going to school, I was totally hooked. A summer fling turned into a semi-serious relationship, then a steady relationship, then a full blown lovefest. We had a lot of fun together.

In March of 2004, after 7 months of serious dating, we started tentatively talking about tying the knot. My parents were not delighted (yet) since I had big college plans. We decided to move in together after I graduated high school, and then set a date.

I graduated high school in May 2004 (yes, I'm a young'n!) and went out that night to celebrate with The Boyfriend. We had big dreams and ideas about our future.

Two days later, during a routine gyno check up (birth control refill) I discovered that I did not need birth control, no siree. I was expecting, knocked up, great with child, preggo. Pregnant. I could not believe it. That was the start of our family.

We decided to get married that summer. I wanted to be married before I had a baby, and I wanted to do it before I was really showing. We set a date for two months down the road.

Our wedding was simple. (Read: Cheap!) About 100 guests, nothing too over the top or fancy. My little tummy was mashed down and squeezed into a tight corset (poor baby!) and I think I looked pretty decent (except for the giant scarlet P). The Hubs looked quite dashing.

Our honeymoon was spent camping. You knew that mosquitos and firewood are totally romantic, right? Sure. We go camping every year for our anniversary too.

So that's it. Our family grew from 2 to 3 to 4 in just a few years. And the road to where we are now has been rocky, bumpy and dark. But it has also been thrilling, joyous, and laughter-filled.

All About The Hubs:

Real Name: Tony

Age: 25

Occupation: Operator at a box making company

Enjoys: All kinds of sports, outdoor activities, computers, his kiddos

In high school he: was a sports freak. Star of the football, wrestling, and track team. Enjoyed snowboarding, fishing, dirt biking

As an adult he: Fishes as much as he can, likes to golf, is pitcher for the city's baseball league, likes to tinker around with computers, enjoys working out

Best qualities: Is fiercely protective of his girls, works very hard, fun-loving, strong, great cook and grill operator, smart, bilingual

Worst qualities: Total slob and packrat, can be pretty anti-social, he's a bed hog, selfish sometimes, major selective hearing issues, rarely finishes projects

Can't wait to: Buy a house, have a son, win the lottery


So, that is The Hubs. Even though he forgets dirty socks on the floor, leaves the toilet seat up, steals my blankets, and forgets Valentine's Day......I love him.

And when he is crawling on the floor giving horsie ride after horsie ride, wrestling with his beautiful daughters and laughing as they squeal and jump on him.....I love him.

And when he makes a nice dinner, gives me a back rub, brings home flowers, and watches the kids while I sleep in.....I love him.

And when it feels like our marriage is not a calm, tranquil sea, but a hurricane with howling winds and blustering storms.....I love him.

Tuesday Ten

Ten Things I Have To Do Today

1. 3 loads laundry, bringing my two day total to 11 loads.*

3. Put together two packages to mail out tomorrow.

4. Clean my living room and kitchen.
5. Pay online bills.
6. Vacuum.
7. Clean my bathroom.

8. Shower. ***

9. List kids' clothes on Ebay.

10. Clean girls' room.

* The Hubs decided to clean out our closet. It was very scary. You see, we are total slobs, and we both have an insane amount of clothes, most of which we never wear. The discarded and unworn clothes were taking over our closet floor. The Hubs threw them all into my laundry pile, which soon became a mountain, and I am washing them all, then sorting them to take to charity. Since I am sure they don't accept wrinkled clothes *rolls eyes*

**I am going to try to squeeze in two hours of schoolwork at naptime, and two hours tonight and then maybe I'll be caught up. Sigh.

***Shower is on my list today because it is desperately needed. I usually shower every other day, which is all fine and dandy. But my showers consist of jumping in the water (sometimes scalding hot, sometimes ice cold) and spending exactly 5.8 seconds washing hair/body before I am wrenching off the water, and jumping out to make sure Ali hasn't knocked the house down. I need to take one of those wonderfully productive showers where things like shaving and exfoliating happen. Oh the bliss.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

The Line Sirkit

A few years ago I worked as a customer service representative at a large, world-wide computer company. I don't really want to say which one it is, so for the purposes of this blog entry, we'll go ahead and call it Hell.

I first started at Hell during the summer of 2006. The group of newbies I was hired with were in a training class every day. For the first week we spent our days in a classroom, learning applications and procedures. The next week we were put on the phones, taking calls from irate customers who had all kinds of computer issues. Not technical ones, just customers needing help tracking their Hell package, or exchanging their Hell Computer.

My very first phone call. I was incredibly nervous to take the phone call, but I lined up my notes in a neat stack, did a quick review of my opening script (Thank you for calling Hell, my name is Julie, how may I help you today?) and accepted the first call.

Now first of all, I was so nervous I stumbled over my opening lines and could feel myself blushing furiously. All during training we heard all kinds of horror stories about furious customers, bomb threats, screaming callers, and complicated issues. I just knew that my first call would be a doozy.

And it was.

The lady who was calling Hell that day was incredibly polite. Oozing with sweetness and Southern charm. And when I say Southern, I mean Southern. Picture the deep swamps of Georgia, then go a little further South. Little more. Little more. Yep, that's where she was from. Very, very strong accent, a lot of ya'lls and yes'ms. She spoke incredibly fast and I was getting very flustered as I was sorting through the information I had on my notes and scrambling through the complicated computer system.

I took a deep breath and asked her to please explain the problem again. She, again very politely, said "No probm ma'am. The som'n som'n line sirkit and ya'lls som'n som'n, k ma'am? So I kulled the please and ya'lls...." I was lost. I calmly placed her on hold and then took off my headphones and shot a panicked look around the room. I found my trainer and explained what was going on.

"I can't understand this lady! She's talking about a line SIRKIT or something? Help!"

I got back on the phone with my trainer by my side and asked the woman to repeat the problem slowly, explaining that I could not understand what she was saying because of her accent. She laughed and again blathered on about a line sirkit with little pause for breath. I was near tears now. I started to think she was talking about something related to the circuit board, which would be a technical problem. I started to direct her towards Hell's technical support team, but she insisted it was not a technical problem.

This went on for about twenty more minutes. Her talking about line circuits, and me confused and unsure of how to help her. I asked her if she was talking about a computer part. She said no. I asked her if something was wrong with her computer. She said yes. I asked her how we could fix the problem. She said "I need a new computer because line circuit."

Wait, line circuit?

Then very sloooowwwwlllly she said "Ma'am lass nigh' there was a big stome (storm). There was thunner and LINE and all a suddn, LINE CIRCUIT. Now my computer's broke."

"Ooooooh, there was thunder and lightening and lightening struck it?"

"Yes'm. Line circuit."

I think this is where my deep loathing of the word ya'll was founded. Hearing that word sends shivers down my spine. It reminds me of the day I cried over the southern woman calling Hell's customer service about her line circuit.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Snack Attack

I have a hard time getting my kids to eat healthy snacks. Technically, it is me that has a hard time putting out a healthy and easy snack. It just seems so time consuming, and much easier to just unwrap a granola bar.

Last Sunday I started "Snack Bags". So far the system is working INCREDIBLY well, I don't know why I didn't think of it earlier.

I took a box of the small size snack bags (the ones that zip, not the ones for sandwiches) and our haul of produce and snacky type items I had purchased that day. Then I set to dividing it all up.

Here are some examples of our snack bags:

-3 or 4 carrot sticks, a few broccoli trees, a few cucumber slices
-A handful of grapes, 1/4 of a sliced peach, kiwi chunks
-2 slices of cheese, a handful of grapes
-1/2 of a sliced apple (A little bit of lemon juice to avoid brownness), cucumber slices
-5 ritz crackers, 2 cheese slices
-A scoop of dry cereal
-2 graham crackers, 1/2 a banana

And on and on. Together, Chloe and I cleared 1/2 of a shelf in the fridge and filled it with the snack bags. She had a great time helping me prepare them too.

Throughout the week, when it is time for a snack, both girls can grab a bag then sit down and eat. I can also snag a snack bag on my way out the door for school. No clean up, no preparation, no fuss, no junk. Although I did throw in a couple of "special" bags which aren't the healthiest, but once those are gone they are gone. I think this will help Chloe learn the value of eating healthy and having an occasional treat.

This was a bit time consuming when I put them together last Sunday. But I just tried to remember it will foster a bit of independence in Chloe (since she can get her own snacks now) and will eliminate me giving them junk because I am too tired to cut up fresh veggies. We are also reusing the snack bags, I just give them a quick rinse and put them aside for next week.

Tuesday Ten

Ten Things That Make Me Deliriously Happy:

1. Climbing into a neatly made, freshly washed bed.

2. Air conditioning.

3. Reading through a big stack of books with my 3 year old.

4. Naptime.

5. Rocking and cuddling my girls before bed.

6. Putting the kids to bed and relaxing with a brand new fiction book, a comfy pillow, and an ice-cold soda.

7. Unexpected money.

8. Tivo.

9. Popping popcorn and watching a movie with The Hubs on the weekends.

10. Getting an excellent grade on a test.