Thursday, October 30, 2008

Blogger issues

Blogger has been less than friendly these last couple of days (or Firefox, not sure which) - so every time I get a minute or so to blog, I can't get in, and then... I get busy again.

So, been to the doctor. This time I went to the only guy in the state who does PFO closures (along with procedures for other heart defects) - an outpatient procedure.

He does not believe that what I am currently experiencing is related to the PFO combined with a clotting disorder. Here's the theory we've been working on....

I clot in my veins - that makes me more likely to have a PE, not a stroke.
However, I also have a small, (quite normal & normally harmless) hole between the left & right atrium of the heart that allows some blood from the veinous side of the system to pass through it and enter the arterial system.
That hole allows very small clots (given its a small hole) to pass through to the arterial side - which leads to an increased risk of stroke.
I suffer from short periods of time where my right side repeatedly goes numb.
In the past, if my blood is more thin (the medicine I take to reduce clotting) - I don't have these episodes; but if my blood is more thick (the medicine isn't working effectively) - I have more of these episodes.
Problem started a few weeks ago when my medicine was registering normal (normally means no more episodes) - yet, I was still having episodes.

So naturally, the thought is a) medicine is no longer preventing issue - go to treatment step b) close the hole to stop clots from going through.

Here's his side of the arguement (and he is, an expert and when I called him on a couple of things, he admitted to it; and seems to be looking out for my best treatment)....

When people have clots passing through this hole in the heart - sometimes the clots end up in the arms or the legs or the left side of the brain, or the right side of the brain. They don't land in the same place time & again. (makes sense right?)

So, since my symptoms are always right-side and identical symptoms (i.e., I don't have slurred speach some days or vision changes some day or muscle weakness, nor pain in any extremeties beyond my "norm")... what are the odds that it could be clots?

Sheer randomness would argue that at least once in a while I would have different symptoms - not identical symptoms.

So far, I get it....

So, what is it? -- still don't know; but this time he suggested something that hadn't been suggested in the past two years.... that just perhaps, this is recurrent issues from damage from my original stroke. So, I need to get scheduled with a nuerologist to see if they think that might be it.

If it is - it's good news/bad news - good news is that if it isn't clots going through the PFO -- not only do I not need to have a heart procedure; but the medicine probably IS doing it's job and I'm not at risk for a second stroke in my near future... and? I could probably drop down to a more "normal" target range in medication treatment which has less risk of trouble if something goes wrong. Bad news? There might not be any treatment nor prevention for the symptoms... so I might have to learn to live with it. I think I'd be ok if there was an 'upper limit' to how bad these things are going to get and I knew what that was going to be... however, these symptoms are so VERY similar to my initial symptoms pre-stroke and basically got worse and worse until they became permanant. I really don't want to lose all sensation on my right side. I really don't.

So - more tests next week --- MRI on monday - if they find clots in my brain (odds are really unlikely) then we've proven that the PFO is still an issue and I still need the procedure... a TEE (shove an ultrasound wand down my throat while I'm sedated to look at my heart) on Wednesday - determines size & location of PFO to determine if I'm even a candidate for closure (depending on location - this won't always work)... and then the neurologist.

Friday, October 24, 2008

I know - more giveaways

But, I want to remember all these sites, as some of them, I've started to read their blogs.

Free Godiva chocolate & BC key chain at Afford Your Passions - Ends Oct 24th

Twisted Silver Hope Bracelet at An Island Review - Ends Oct 29th

$35 gift certificate for Christine Kangas Jewelry and Jot-It-Down notepad at Vanilla Joy - Ends Oct 25th

Thursday, October 23, 2008


Well, they talked me into getting the MRI (not sure when) but I talked them into discussing closing the PFO in an outpatient procedure. Not sure if its progress or not. I do know its another big medical expense. Sigh
Sent using BlackBerry

Five year old funny

Remember when the concept of time was fuzzy?

One of "a"s friends allowed him to bring a toy home after school. And "a" was happy to tell me that Sam said he could keep the toy for forever and ever and ever (and we're counting the evers on his fingers) and ever and ever.

Fighting back a chuckle I tell him (with as somber a voice as I can manage) Wow, that seems like a really long time.

His response "Yeah, mom, it's like SIX DAYS!"
Sent using BlackBerry


Ok - enough giveaways? huh??? lol

Let's see - "a" is still crabby a LOT of the time as since September, he got moved to a new classroom at the daycare/preschool and he no longer gets to take a nap. It's killing ME. Not him, nope, he's just crabby. Me? I can't stand dealing with him.

"A" on the other hand, is depressed and grouchy - yeah! ugh. He got "let go" from his new job after three weeks. I won't go into it as that would only tick him off. But, not good.

Me? I've been sick for three weeks - however, I am definitely on the right side of things now. Still have a bit of flem that finds its way out at odd moments and definitely run down. But, not at the want-to-go-to-bed-at-6 stage any more.

However, in other health matters? I've got another doctor appointment today... because my "episodes" that are very similar to TIAs, but we're not supposed to call them that... are back. They've been back for a little while. However, when they first started, it was because my medication wasn't working as well as it was supposed to - the INR from my blood tests was low (that's how we monitor the medication)... and in the past, when I've had "episodes" it was always because my INR was low. So, the easy answer was to increase my medication and bring up that INR as in the past, every time we did that - my "episodes" stop. Well, it's been a couple of weeks now... and my INR from last Thursday was normal. Only my "episodes" didn't stop. In fact, at this point, they are more frequent. If the medication I'm taking wasn't so dangerous, it would be easy to suggest (and believe me, I've thought about it) that we should just increase it a little more. However, my doctor that monitors my INR would have a heart attack over concern that I would spontaneously develop internal bleeding and bleed to death - yes, the medication is THAT dangerous. Add to it that mom died from inter-cranial bleeding? And they are VERY nervous just having me at the range I'm at now. Now that this range isn't "effective" means something else needs to be done, or it's just a matter of time before I have a second stroke. Problem? They don't know what else to do. I've got a few ideas - but they've been rejected in the past; perhaps now is a time for more drastic or alternative measures. Don't know. Know I don't have a ton of money for a ton of medical bills. So, basically, I'm just putting out caution-flags every time they want to run a $5000 test that they've ran five times before with no results. My primary thought is we need to do something DIFFERENT. It's not like I haven't had these symptoms before. I've had them off and on for two years now. Only difference? the medication isn't preventing them any more. So until they are confident that there's more than 1 in a 1000 chance we'll find something in the test? I'm not interested. Right now? they just want to run the test because if it is the 1 in a 1000 problem - they want to know. HOWEVER, a) it's probably NOT going to be the 1 in a 1000 - because my symptoms are MILD - very, very mild. If it was the 1 in a 1000 - my symptoms would be SEVERE - not MILD. b) they can't tell me that the treatment if they did find the 1 in a 1000 would be any different - well, except that they would have me in the hospital. But the treatment would NOT change. So, what's the point? If my symptoms do become severe, I'd be happy to go to the hospital. But, they aren't. I'm functioning. I'm going to work, I'm cooking dinner, I'm even knitting. I keep asking them what the point of the test would be. Their only answer - it rules something out. That "something" isn't going to change my treatment if they found something... so again "what's the point?".

Sorry for the vent - I'm prepping for my appt. this afternoon... preparing my argument that they'll probably ignore and we'll end up ding the test anyway. ugh. double-ugh.

Other than that? Things are hunky-dory. Except for the bill collectors calling all day long and the car in the parking lot that doesn't run and two grouchy kids. My life is awesome.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


Laptop case (very nice) from Kolobags - at EverythingUpClose - Ends October 31st

$25 Amazon Gift Certificate (if I promise to make the recipe & while making the recipe do the Chicken Dance :-D ) at The Apron Queen - Ends October 26th

An IToys ME2 Online/Excercise Game - this might be just the ticket for "a" at Deal Seeking Mom - Ends October 25th

A coupon bag from Dani - Ends October 26th

A monogrammed market tote by Walk with me by Faith - Ends Oct 26th

A monogrammed cosmetic bag by Preppy Mama - Ends Oct 27th

Hand crafted Bloom necklace by Freebies 4 Mom - Ends Oct 29th

Hero Arts stamp set by Krista - Ends Oct 26th

Nokia Smart Phone by Babies Gotta Have It - Ends Oct 29th

Holiday Personalized Stamps (for snail mail) by Mommies united - Ends Nov 2nd

Bissell Carpet Cleaner by MomDot - Ends Nov 9th

$100 gas card by The Hunters Wife - Ends Oct 23rd

Lands End giveaway at My Thoughts, Ideas, Rumblings - ends Oct 29th

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Dyson Giveaway

Ok - this giveaway deserves it's own post! In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month - there's a pink Dyson giveaway. Given I just bought a $40 cheapie Bissell this weekend to replace the last Bissell cheapie (which admittedly survived for five years with "a", Junior & now Kyra all attempting to destroy all carpets).

Go sign up at

Thursday, October 16, 2008

More Give-aways

I'm loving this... so, gotta put in a few more entries, which means - yep! A post about give-aways out there that I'm signing up for.

A free coupon binder (for those free coupons I won on Monday :-D ) at Raging Bear Ranch

A cashmere Pashmina, Silk sash & bangles from Nimli - enter at SageAndSavvy

Several Breast Cancer Awareness items at notimemom
- gotta love the "save the tata's shirts"!!!

Land's End Pullovers over at A Cowboy's Wife

A very cute screen-printed tote (of your choice) from RainbowSwirlz - enter at EverythingUpClose

$25 grocery card at The Apron Queen

I won another giveaway

Cashmere Yarn - yummy!!!!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Astrology - never a bad day

I occasionally check my sign for the laugh more than anything else. I've never, ever had anything ever come true (except maybe now). And, honestly? I always thought it was odd that you never, ever see one that says "It's going to s*ck to be you - go home, crawl under the covers, and hide... you're in for a bumpy ride." No, they always tell you "good" things. I figure that if there's ever ANY truth to be found in any of those... then to me? It has to have both good & bad things.

Well, yesterday I was reading an old magazine while in a doctor's office (no problems, just "a"s annual physical). And, I found a negative forecast for myself for this month. I can't remember it exactly, but what I do remember:

People don't think they like fear, but everyone does seek it out. There are thrills to be found by watching a scary movie, riding a big roller coaster, etc. The rush of adrenaline something something. Wouldn't it be great if when we are dealing with negative situations we could treat it like a scary ride? Things are going to get rough, but with the right attitude, you can ride right through it.

So, here, I am riding the roller coaster that is my life. Things are"going" not great, but they are going. I've had a nasty cold for a week. I've paid some bills. My car is "current" not because I miraculously came up with $1200, but because they finally decided they could approve the two month deferment I requested months ago when I realized I wouldn't be able to afford the car payment for a little while. Funny that. I've got two bills that I have paid, claiming they never got the payment... so I have to call tomorrow to deal with that. Other than that? I'm surviving.

"A" is driving me nuts. We're driving "A" nuts. He still sleeps almost all day... we still wake him up when getting ready in the morning. He still wakes me up when he stays up too late at night. He is working. Hasn't gotten a check yet - doesn't have a clue when he's due to get paid... so for all I know, he's got a check sitting and waiting for him because he's too lame to go ask about it. I've threatened him twice in the past two weeks with eviction. 1) cause he was sneaking out at night and taking my car to the gas station to buy cigarettes -- without a license and without insurance. 2) cause he keeps smoking in the apartment... not cool. He's sick of living in the living room, I'm sick of him living in the living room. Cannot wait until he can afford his own place. I've started browsing Craigslist to see the "roommates wanted" ads. Doesn't that sound like a good solution? Cheaper than his own apartment, might be able to swing that sooner than the other? Unfortunately, he's got to start paying his fines & bills for his parole... and he's not working 40 hours a week yet, since he's still in "training". But, he's making $9 an hour during training, so, hopefully it won't take too long to get to full pay and more hours and his own place (or at least NOT my place).

Still loving freecycle

I'm still loving freecycle... it's not as great as CraigsList for getting rid of moving boxes... as I had to post a couple of times, and it was CraigsList that got them out of my house.

But, I've posted three times... and understandably (given the donations) got the following responses:

1) Bath chair (for the old or handicapped) -- I now consider myself neither of those, so given there's only one tub and we have to share, I have to give away the awesome convenience of being able to sit IN THE shower and shave. sigh. Got four responses in a period of about a week, offered it to someone, and three weeks later, still have it. Need to try to get this OUT OF THE HOUSE pronto.

2) Kid's dishes... "a" is grown into using my dishes (although his temper-tantrum the other night ended up with one of them smashed... maybe I'm being too hasty???)... but, I've got a home daycare provider coming to pick those up tonight. Got probably six or seven responses for these within 24 hours.

3) large bag of outgrown boy clothes - sorted through "a"s stash of winter clothes and realized NO child needs forty pairs of pajamas... pulled out everything he'd outgrown throughout the summer, and everything that wouldn't fit him from what he wore last winter. Within TEN MINUTES of posting this ad? Got over 20 responses. WOW! One of whom was the daycare provider stopping by tonight to pick up the kids dishes! Figured one-stop-shopping means they'll be gone tonight and I don't have to deal with them anymore. How awesome is that? And, she's got a mom who's struggling financially who has a little boy who needs these... so I can feel good about that.

But wowsers... I had barely even hit send before I got a handful of responses... sadly, it's probably a sign of the times, huh?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Thought provoking dream

twas the night before last - ahem... so I had a funky-odd dream. I know, I have them often. But this one? Was a real weird, but thought provoking one. And, although I know a lot of my "odd" dreams are stress induced... usually stress induced ones tend to send me off in a panic mid-dream - like a couple more nights ago, I dreamed that my 5 yr old & I had gotten separated. You wake up, know the dream was just stress speaking out... and although you probably woke up in a cold sweat, it's easy enough to put it aside as NOT REAL and get on with your life.

This one? Not so easy to put aside.

So, lets start off with a question? How do you imagine the "afterlife" or "heaven" or "limbo" or whatever-you-want-to-call-it. I don't know that I have a name for it myself... "heaven" implies I believe in God, which I no longer do... but closest comes to the image in my mind for what happens to souls after death. Having been through a couple of haunting experiences, I firmly do believe that something does happen to those souls. But "heaven" also brings with it an image of cloudy, fluffy goodness, wings, halos and what-nots... which really isn't what I imagine. Instead I imagine a very 'real' type of locations - based on things that are familiar to the souls experiencing it and are their feel-good experiences. So, for example, I don't believe it's similar to a battle-ground. Instead it might be similar to recreational types of experiences. And I believe its very much individualized... so if you were very into bars, drinking, playing pool - those kinds of things would be familiar to you and could be part of your reality. If you were very into the kitchen, cooking, etc - well then that is the kind of reality you would experience. If you preferred to be alone, then alone you get to be. If you were social - then your experience would be shared with others of similar "preferred" experiences who have also passed on.

The reason I bring this up - is that my dream was in an environment that would pretty much match what I believe my mother's "heaven" would be like. Full of people, similar to a VA hall, with lots of tables, lots of people, lots of chatter. Some alcohol - but not falling-down-drunk drinking, playing cards, tons of activities. She was there and while she & I never spoke directly to each other... we did sit together and "share the experience" - she looked young & beautiful. That's another part of my belief system - I believe that our 'mental' image of ourselves doesn't always age adjust. I know mine hasn't yet. When I think about how I look, I'm always younger, thinner, and blonder... if I'm not careful, I buy clothes two sizes too small, etc. I believe that in "heaven" our image is that of our mental image. So, mom looked about 30-40-ish instead of 73 (the age she was when she passed a year ago).

Anyway, back to the dream. She wanted to play cards. I wanted to play cards. We sat down together and "whoosh" in swooped 2 other people - both to play; and about 25 onlookers, from seemingly nowhere - another part of my belief system, that people can be "where" they want to just by wanting to - heaven sounds cool in my mind, anyway - no need for "teleportation" technology - just THINK yourself there. We were going to play "Banff" -- another funny aside, a blog I read recently visited Banff (an area of the Rockies in Canada) - no idea why the name stuck & became a type of card game... The young women who wanted to play dealt the "cards"
only they weren't cards. They were sheets of notepaper with stories written on them.

The guy next to me - young, good-looking, ok, hot.... said that he knew it was my turn first, but that he wanted "three". Me, having no clue how to play, nor what was going on - said "give me two, then". Mom was silent and in fact, didn't actually "play". As the woman started to deal, she took a moment to try to sell us something? and showed me a flyer with some used items for sale - printed up like a pdf brochure, but garage-sale-type things - filled with the kind of stuff you can buy for a college kid for their dorm over at Target. Kind-of 70's inspired design, but definitely current. I nodded & said "nice" - but didn't know what to do with it. Then she dealt herself "four" stories - handed me two, and the gentleman three. While we were receiving our "stories" my mom turned to a group sitting at the table behind the dealer and got the attention of an American Indian - dressed in flannel/jeans - sitting with some of his friends - dressed similarly. She said, your story came up. And he told the story about how he died searching for "his" Susanne, the love of his life. And that his friends were with him, not to search for "Susanne", but to search for HIS Susanne... as his love for her was so great, she was always going to live in his heart. (so sad, and yet, powerful to use "his" as if it was part of her name).

Anyway, the game was over - that was it, deal out the stories (?! whatever ?!) - and I understood that neither the guy next to me nor myself won. Mom turned to the gentleman, handed him a notebook and a pen and said, it's your turn now that you've lost - we need YOUR story. I went with him as he wandered away to start to write his story. I wanted a piece of paper so I could write mine (after all I had lost as well)... he didn't want to give me any paper. And then, told me that I would need a pen as well. Well, I can find a pen anywhere - and then I woke up.

The whole dream was in a foggy, surreal kind of experience that felt very "important" somehow. As if there should be time spent reflecting on it and trying to decipher it. Mom playing cards & being sociable, that's mom. Mom enjoying hearing others stories, that's mom. Collecting them? Not too sure about that - but then again, mom could surprise anyone. But, could this be my mom in her version of "heaven" - yes, possibly. She didn't speak to me, it wasn't like she was being cold or distant (been there, know what thats like... as much as I just wasn't her focus, this other guy was). Telling his story - is that something that happens when you die? Or is it that I truly do have to tell my story? Or do I need to be able to help someone else tell their story? I'm sure it really doesn't mean anything. But 24 hours later, I'm still pondering it a bit.

I have stories, I have millions of stories, short-little-blurby-stories. Some sad, some funny, some scary - mostly true. Things just "happen" to me. Good & bad. Scary & freaky. Joyous & cute. Things happen... even when I think my life is boring, things still happen. Or maybe I just don't know when to shut up? Lord knows I can take a 10 minute dream and turn it into a novel. I've thought about sharing more of my "older" stories, things that happened years/decades ago... but what would the point be? Are there any "lessons" to learn? Certainly no great "love" like that of the man who loved HIS Susanne... except perhaps for my sons.

I imagine, when my time is up, I'll learn that this dream was nothing more than reading too many blogs and watching too many movies like Ghost Hunters & White Noise (which I watched on Saturday). But, it really has been very thought-provoking. It FEELS like it has meaning - but I'm not sure what to take away from it.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Everyday bloggers having contests

Did you know that everyday bloggers do contests - like often?

To help drive traffic to their sites, they do give-aways and ask people to leave comments to "sign up".

I'm signing up for the 100 coupons at Savin Some and this post is hopefully going to earn me a second chance to win :-)

And 3 different options to win at Saving our Cents -- with a second chance to win by blogging this contest here!

And 3 more chances to win if I post a link to Saving And Giving's contest. Would you believe I won this one? YEAH! $145 in coupons getting mailed to me! SOO Glad I entered!

And now? I'm going back to Deal Seeking Mom's blog to find others to sign up for!!! AND - I promise not to write posts every day posting links to winning coupons... but a girls' got-to-do what a girl's got-to-do!!!

Here's a link to Frugal Finds from your Frugal Friend for a chance to win gorgeous re-usable shopping bag which really do seem like something that I would actually LOVE to use (though at $30 each -- I can't afford to buy my own.)

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

So, if the bill was in a fire, does that mean I still have to pay it?

It's not often that I get something in the mail that cracks me up - but here it is:

This was inside a large envelope whose front was 100% window & back was a message from the Post Master indicating that although its rare and they take every effort to avoid damage to mail, sometimes it happens. I can't imagine it happens very often!

Included with the mail item, was a letter from the Post Master in the Des Moines area (mail is actually from Florida) stating similar things... only this added the clue that it occurred during transportation.

Obviously a fire was involved, as it is quite charred... so, can you imagine the poor guy/woman who was handling this & did actually manage to save at least one letter (and possibly, hopefully more)? Can you imagine having to call your boss & say "um, there was a fire... and um... the mail caught on fire... and I think I saved some". Not a fun conversation, I'm sure!!!

Monday, October 06, 2008

Offer for the Rav4

Got an offer for the Rav 4, they want to pay cash & pick it up tomorrow. Told them I had to get the finance company to approve it (had to go through an interpreter). I thought it was a simple process? nuh-uh. Got to fax the offer to them and it'll take up to five days for the approval. So, I'm going to call the interpreter and ask him to relay over the message and find out if the guy is still interested if he can't pick it up tomorrow.

Friday, October 03, 2008

New web site - I'm so excited!

It's a simple concept - writing a to-do list. BUT, I've ALWAYS had trouble with the "stuff from home" that has to get done between 8-5. I make lists, but forget to take them to work (for days, if not weeks). I have pieces of paper laying around at home that I'm afraid to file or toss as I need to do something during the day about them. AND I NEVER GET IT DONE.

But, here's a website (with great cellphone adaptation) - that will let me create a simple & quick & easy to-do list while I'm at home. Record everything I need (like phone numbers and account numbers)... and then, I can pull it up during a break at work and check off the tasks.

Ok - so I'm easy to please - but YEAH!!! This is going to help me SO much in tackling the odds and ends that I just can't seem to manage while on task at work.

Messy Or Clean

Disclaimer: pre-Flylady - this was NOT the result I would have gotten!!!!

You Are Not Messy

You're so clean, people have accused you of being a clean freak!

You like things tidy, organized, and smelling fresh.

Messes drive you crazy, especially when you didn't make them.

It's hard for you to live with a slob - or someone who leaves their dishes in the sink.

Need Proof??? I re-took the test using answers I would have had to use last month?

You Are Very Messy

You are a slob, and you really don't care if other people know it.

You don't love messes, but you just can't be bothered to clean on a regular basis.

While being messy and disorganized feels easy, it's probably making your life harder.

Maybe it's time for you to get a maid.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

On saving money (or not, as the case might be)

I've long been a fan of Walgreens. I get all my prescriptions filled there. They often have some good sale prices on odds and ends... and they often have store coupons in addition to sale prices.

A few years back, I discovered the trick of "making" money - not much, but a little bit at Walgreens. Not sure why I've never shared it. I suppose because the only people I thought that might be interested were my family - and they never read my blog.

The disadvantage is that 1) it's Walgreens which isn't nation-wide. and 2) it takes about six weeks to get money back when you first start out. However, they do appear to have fixed a previous issue with the program, that means that once you start working with them - it only takes a couple of weeks (depending on time of months) post submitting the information.

What I don't get to do is try this out at CVS. CVS is not in Iowa - however, maybe, just maybe Phil can try it out as I assume it's in the NY area... as it does have a lot of geography.

Both stores take regular manufacturer coupons in addition to their coupons and sale offers. As a result, you can often get things free or nearly free.

IN ADDITION - they both offer rebates and rewards. These are equivalent to cash back. Walgreens has two - both Register Rewards (new program, still has kinks)... but those are instantaneous. They print out with your receipt - and are $2 to $5 to $10 off of your next purchase. They do tend to have a fairly short time line they are good for. But since I'm in there almost weekly, it works well for me. In addition they have a rebate program which provides you either a check or a gift card with no expiration date. These are the ones you have to fill out a form (although now you can either mail it in or fill it out online). Now that they aren't automatically sending you a gift card every month - and are refilling it... you get these faster than you used to. Benefit to getting it on the gift card is that you get 10% bonus (making money).

CVS has similar programs - but they have the added benefit that they have more "deals" or options typically than Walgreens.

So, for example - last month I got free with rebate (actually earning 10% of the cost in the bonus) - $5 bottle of mens brand name shampoo, $5 Oral B toothbrush, $5 Crest Mouthwash. In addition - I got 10 boxes of Poptarts (admittedly, a LOT) - but I spent $5 after coupons on all 10 boxes AND I got $10 in RR rewards (earning $5) AND I was able to mail the receipt & proofs of purchases off to Kelloggs who was running a buy 10 products, get $10 rebate by mail. Don't have it yet, but when I do - they basically paid me $15 to take 10 boxes of Poptarts home. And, lets face it - it's not like they'll go bad... they've got enough preservatives in them to last 10 years. Not that they will with two boys at home...

Most recently, my deals haven't all worked out in my favor - so I'm not saving as much as I would like.

1) Buy 3 12-pks of Mid-Continent Soda (7up, Root Beer, the like) for $11 earn $4 in Register Rewards - still $2.33 per 12-pk, but considering how fast we drink this stuff, it's good.

2) One Oral B toothbrush free with RR (I got confused, the RR didn't print out, and I didn't catch it) - so I spent $4.50 on a toothbrush that should have been free, but wasn't - and we didn't need it... I was just stocking up while the freebee lasted.

3) Special K cereal bars (to which I'm virtually addicted too)... usually $3.50 or more a box. I bought 6 boxes... they were 2 for $5 (which is an awesome price); only they had a $3 RR -- so I ended up paying $6 for 6 boxes.

But, here's the rub - I spent almost $20 on things that while we will certainly use them - we didn't "NEED" them. Am I really saving money? To me, I am. But, in reality? We could probably drink Kool-aid instead of the soda - but then I have to mix it up in a pitcher, wash the pitcher each time it's emptied - wash the glasses we have to pour it into - and grabbing a pop & popping the top is easier. by much!

Anyway - my other "options" for saving include HyVee - a midwest institution grocery store. They have AWESOME weekly specials. A couple of recent examples:

- 12 pk Pepsi $.99 (sooo cheap, normally $4.89)
- Dozen eggs $.15 (seriously???)
- 5 lb bag of sugar ($1.10)
- 10 for $10 Lipton Rice or Noodle mix pack (we inhale these) -- normally $1.90 each
- Buy 4 products of a given product line - get a free pack of hotdogs (worth up to $3.99) - Kool Aide counted - so 4 packs of koolaide ($.40) netted me free hotdogs
- Buy 4 products of a given product line - get a free package of Kraft Cheese slices - Koolaid still counted so got a $2.50 pack of cheese slices for $.40 plus four packs of koolaid mix.
- Buy 4 products of a given product line (again koolaid counted) - get a box of Wheat Thins free - again, only spent $.40.

And lastly? Angel Food Ministries.... for $30 you get a large box of food. I did this for the first time last week. You can only pick up once a month. And, until I get used to it, I'm only going to buy the "basic" box and only one. Though they do have "add-ons" and people buying multiple packs. But we got 4 6oz Sirloin Steaks; a large pork loin, ground turkey, Chicken Breasts, 2 lbs chicken nuggets (which funny enough - if Chickens had "nuggets" these look a lot like that as they are tiny pieces and round of all things), plus pasta, beans, frozen veggies, a frozen pizza, canned veggies, frozen french fries - cookies, milk, eggs, etc, etc. All in all? A very good price. I've heard the quantity of meat isn't the greatest. However, so far? Yummm.... The pork loin was a little fatty - but "A" LOVES shredded pork with BBQ anyway - so that's how I fixed it and it was far better then when I bought the pork loin at full price and picked it out myself... of course, it could be because it was fattier??? LOL I've never been overly fond of ground turkey - but I mixed it half and half with hamburger and made a meat loaf - that was to die for. I figure there isn't much they could do to screw up the Chicken Breasts... Now the nuggets? Those I'm hesitant with.... they really do look like slightly smaller than marble-sized balls. A little "too" odd... but we'll fry some up this weekend and give them a try. The steaks, those too I'm a little nervous. A little too much of my past life growing up where we butchered our own cows means I'm a bit of a meat snob... so I have high expectations. I figure though that if I do a good job marinating them, that they'll be good anyway - and maybe during the marinating process - they'll age enough to be really yummy. We'll see. But, quite honestly? So far, very good, very good deal indeed. It appears it's just shy of enough food for two weeks (including leftovers for lunch)... which for $30? Is incredible pricing. Next month the menu changes...

-Chick Breasts
-Heat & Eat Meatloaf
- Chicken Fajita Strips
- hot dogs
- Center cut pork chops
- Ready to heat Meatballs

Plus pasta, veggies, eggs, milk, juice, and even tortillas (I assume for the fajitas).

If the meat this month is good all the way through - I'm tempted to add the "meat add-on box" next time around....

For $21 - October's "grill" box includes:
2 lb Top Sirloin Strips (4 x 8 oz.)

2 lb Baby Back Ribs

1.5 lb Hamburger Patties (4 x 6 oz.)

1.5 lb Pork Chops (4 x 6 oz.)

I didn't do it - as I hadn't really had any of their meat yet, and had heard some not-so-kind reviews of it. And honestly? its still $3 a pound... BUT, for $21 it would count as the main courses for up to 7 meals for the three of us... and $3/pound for hamburger is about what I'm paying now - and it's an upgrade to include Sirloin Strips; more Pork Chops, etc.... so I think it's worth it... as long as the quality holds. Of course, next month will have different items... but September had fairly similar options for about the same price for the box. So, I think it's reasonable.

The hard part is that you have to pay for this stuff three weeks in advance. They order it. They receive it. There's one day a month to go pick it up... and then you bring home all of this food. But, if you plan well enough in advance (and don't forget to pick it up - no refunds if you do)... you can have the freezer pretty empty before it's time to pick this stuff up. I was so happy with my "box" when I picked it up this Saturday, I had no hesitation to order the following months (Oct) box before I even left the premises. Saved me a little in postage... but I was pretty impressed with the "volume". I didn't even look at the menu. Now that I have, I'm even more happy that I ordered it as I can now plan for our meals based on what I know is coming... and know what NOT to buy. So, for example - I bought some frozen potatoes just the other week, forgetting that I was getting frozen French fries in my box. Oh, well... I only bought hash browns - so it's fine... it's just that I wouldn't have bothered if I'd remembered.

Hmmm... who would'a thought

You Are 92% Interesting

Believe it or not, you are a very fascinating person.

You're probably too busy being interesting to realize exactly how interesting you are.

You have a rich, full life. You are curious about the world, and you are very open to new experiences.

You have a lot to talk about, and people find you to be an amazing conversationalist.

And most importantly, you are truly interested in other people. How could anyone find that boring?

You truly listen and learn from others. You're not self absorbed or shallow.