Sunday, October 30, 2011

An Unexpected Visitor

Stella, our dog, started barking ferociously in our backyard tonight. Honey went to check it out, and found THIS in our neighbor's yard:

Deer aren't unheard of in our area, but we've never seen one. We're inside city limits, and new construction (mostly stores and restaurants) are popping up all around us. There aren't a lot of places left for deer to really thrive in our area.

He's a young buck, so we think he got lost. He had to have either walked down our street and jumped the fence into our neighbor's yard, or he jumped over EVERY fence on our street. We've had a bumper crop of pesky acorns this fall, so maybe he was hungry.

Our neighbor wasn't home, so I snapped this picture to show her tomorrow.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Online Coupon Codes

The frugal part of me loves to find a good deal. But I'm a mom of three kids, two of whom are toddlers, so shopping around to find the good deals can be a real headache. Thankfully we live in the Internet age, where I can do a fair bit of my bargain-hunting at home in front of my computer.

My boys are small and skinny for their ages. My almost three-year old is just now fitting into a size 2T, but he still needs a belt. I've fallen in love with adjustable waistbands! The only places I can reliably find them is Carter's and Children's Place. (Please let me know of any other stores!) I will gladly pay more for clothes at these businesses, because I know they are a good quality that will last through a hand-me-down to my youngest boy.

But as I don't particularly enjoy shopping with two scrappy boys in tow, I usually just visit their websites and call it a day. Yes, I'm happy to pay shipping charges if it keeps me from hauling the little guys out "just shopping." Anyone who is a Mom can understand that, right?

A money-saving trick I've learned with online shopping is to ALWAYS look for online codes/coupons before I complete my order. My favorite site to find these codes is Retail Me Not. I just do a quick search on the store where I'm shopping, and there will almost always be a few different codes that I'll be able to browse. (I am not paid to endorse their site, I am just letting the world know that I love their service.)

I just got 20% off a $40 order at Osh Kosh B'Gosh. I looked through the clearance section for some sweaters and shirts, and I got some good bargains. Saving an additional $10 off my order was just icing, if you ask me!

What coupon sites do you like to visit?

P.S. I am not a clothing snob...Most of my boys' play clothes are hand me downs from another family. And I'm happy to share the clothes that my boys outgrow with other families who will use them. A few weekends ago, we found my 2 year old a nice London Fog winter coat at the local Goodwill. I paid a whopping $8 for it! But some clothing items I want to buy new. We're having a new family portrait taken in December, and we need to look handsome!

Friday, October 28, 2011

A Pet Peeve

I promise, this will be a short vent.

But it really gets on my nerves when people type "Opps" instead of "Oops." I mean, are we Americans so dumb that we've forgotten how to spell?

See? I promised it would be short.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Where is Your Milk From?

I can't afford organic milk. Sorry. There's no way I can justify $7.50 per gallon of milk when my grocery bill is already over $900 a month. (Ouch, it hurts just to type that!) Uhm, have I mentioned that we're living off of Honey's military pension and GI Bill?

But... I can find out where the milk I am buying originates.

Go to: Where Is My Milk From?

Put in the code from your milk container, and it will tell you the farm where it came from.

I feel a little better about my non-organic milk, because it comes from a farm that is less than 115 miles away. At least I'm buying more (semi) locally!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Train Days and Misc Photos

We went to a town up north this afternoon for their Train Festival.  It was held at the train station, so we thought it would be more "hands on" with real trains. Not so much, but we still had fun. There was a small train museum and some model railroads, which the boys enjoyed. But then Honey and our 2 year old went for a ride on a miniature scale model of a train (our 1 year old was too young, bummer!) Here is a picture of them getting ready to go:

Then Honey, our daughter, and son got to ride a pump car. Here they are coming down the rail tracks:


A few weeks ago, our daughter's high school had homecoming week. This year's theme was "Hawaii." Here are two of her costumes:

Luau Party

Tacky Tourist Day

Our 1 year old has such a long torso, he's the same height as his big brother when they're sitting down:

But about a half-head shorter than him when standing up:

Here's a blackmail photo for later ammunition: He just spilled a bunch of water down his shirt and shorts. He managed to get his shorts off (but he's wearing boxer briefs, which are still incredibly big for him, even though they're a size 2T), and he got into the drawer where I keep my hot pads. He was quite proud of himself for getting the oven mitts onto his feet!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Captain Obvious, and Middle-Aged Parents

This morning my 2 year old son was patting his hands on the dining table.

"Look Mommy, I'm playing the drum!" he said.

"Yes, you're doing a good job," I replied.

He stopped and gave me a stern look. "Mommy, this isn't a drum, it's a table!"

The same son has cabin fever in a major way, mostly because we've been stuck inside due to rainy weather for several days.

This afternoon, I tried to give him something new to do--look at a AAFES catalog that came in today's mail.

"Here, read this," I offered.

"No, I can't read it. I don't have my glasses."

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Sausage Patties

Honey loves sausage with breakfast. We try to eat less sodium whenever possible, but store-bought sausage is extremely high in salt (not to mention other chemicals that I have trouble pronouncing). For a while, we were buying Morningstar Farms soy sausage patties, but like so many other products these days, the price went up while the amount you get went down. (There used to be 8 patties in a box, now there's only 6.) It was costing us about 50 cents for ONE patty! Sorry, but that's not do-able on our college-student budget right now.

Shortly before my second son was born, I found a recipe for homemade sausage patties that Honey really enjoys. He says they taste just like the store-bought stuff, and WAY healthier and economical. I usually cook up two pounds' worth and freeze them. Honey heats up one or two for breakfast, so it's really convenient for him.

I've made this recipe with ground turkey and ground pork, and we think it turns out tasty both ways:

Sausage Patties
1 lb. ground turkey or pork (Don't get super lean, or the patties will turn out too dry. Reduced fat is okay, though.)
1 tsp. prepared mustard
1/2 tsp. salt (or less if you desire. Honestly, the other spices blend so nicely, the salt is really unnecessary.)
2 tsp. poultry seasoning
1/4 to 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes (I like our sausage mild, so I generally use a scant 1/4 tsp.)
1 tsp. ground black pepper
1 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. garlic powder

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl. Make sure the spices are evenly distributed throughout the meat. (I use my hands to really "smoosh" things around.) Take your time to make sure the spices aren't clumped up anywhere, it really does make a difference. (I think a food processor might make this step easier, but I've never tried it.)

At this point you can either shape the meat into patties and cook in a skillet, you can use it like ground beef for a zesty alternative, or you can shape it into a log and freeze.

**Hint: Before cooking up the whole batch, I cook one small, quarter-sized patty to sample in order to correct the seasonings if necessary.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Blogger Comments?

Is anyone else here having trouble with Blogger comments lately? I have had trouble posting to other blogs lately, and I can't figure out what the deal is. At first I thought it was that I had the "keep signed in" box checked whenever I logged on. If I logged out first, then posted (then logged in again at the prompt, but without checking the box) it seemed to work better. But now that's not working...

Anyone know what's going on? So many wonderful blogs I've not been able to post on...and I want people to know I'm totally enjoying them.