Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Kids these days

A while ago, I was helping a student with a geography assignment he was working on. He needed to lable every state's capital on a map. We were looking in the atlas for the capital of Montana. Keep in mind, this was a 7th grader.

Student: I can't read the capital of Montana. Is it Hannah?
Me: {blank stare} You're kidding, right?
Student: Well, I can't read it. It's too small.
Me: You seriously think that the capital of Montana is Hannah? Hannah Montana?
Student: Oh. Well, what is it then?
Me: Helena.

I got a good laugh out of it, and then proceeded to worry about the future of humanity.

Friday, March 26, 2010

What a week!

If I had to choose one word for this week, it would be "uuuughhhhh." Yep, that's a word.

Monday: The teacher I work with had a sick daughter and she had to stay home. It's usually a lot more work for me when she's gone, but not too big of a deal. Sh*t happens. Well, this time, it was difficult to find a substitute and we ended up with someone who I don't like. At all. In fact, this particular sub has been banned from one school in our district for telling the kids they're stupid and saying things like, "What are you special ed?" Plus I had to leave early to take Isaac to get his helmet adjusted.

On the way out of the doctor's office, I started feeling pretty sick. I had terrible cramping in my lower abdomen. It started out feeling kind of like menstral cramps, and slowly increased in intensity. That night I laid in bed crying because it hurt so bad. Needless to say, I didn't sleep well that night.

Tuesday: I woke up in the morning and still had excruciating pain, so I called in sick. I felt bad doing so, but, again, sh*t happens. James then informed me that he had started having the same kind of pain, but he was going to go to work anyway. At this point, I'm thinking the culprit for the sickness is something we ate. Somehow, I was able to get back to sleep. I woke up when James called at 11am to tell me he was coming home because he felt too sick to stay at work.

Around 1pm, I started feeling a lot better. I decided I would still  be able to go to my CPI (Crisis Prevention & Intervention) class with my mom at 4pm. Thankfully, we got done early (at 6:45 instead of 8:00). I got home to find that James hadn't put Isaac down for a nap until 6:30. Holy late nap, Batman! We finally woke him up around 8pm. Needless to say, he didn't sleep well that night so guess who was up with him every hour or so? Yours truly.

Wednesday: James and I were both feeling better at this point. Wednesday was a pretty uneventful day. These days I'm thankful for uneventful. However, Isaac did decide to wake up early, so I had to get up early too. Yay.

Thursday: The teacher I work with found out that her daughter has pneumonia (!!) on Tuesday. Her husband stayed home on Wednesday with the poor little two-year-old, so she had to stay home today. That means another substitute. Great. Luckilly, it wasn't the same one as Monday. This one was pretty decent. But after they kids came back from lunch, they were all one big ball of energy. It was exhausting! Then I had to go to CPI class again from 4-8pm. Thankfully, we got done early again - 6:30 this time! My mom and I went out for appetizers and $1.95 Long Island Iced Teas afterward.

When I got home, I could hardly keep my eyes open. I played with Isaac for a little while, and then my wonderful husband bathed him, fed him, and put him to bed. I went to bed at 9pm that night and fell asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow. I was dead to the world. I don't even know when James came to bed.

Friday: This was by far the best day of the week. First of all, it's Friday! That in and of itself makes it a good day. Second, when I got to work, there was a BK Mocha Joe on my desk from the teacher. :o) She knew it had been a rough week (it had been for her too!) and she knows I like Mocha Joes. Third, we watched a movie after lunch, which means the kids weren't unruly for the last few hours of school.

When we got home after I picked Isaac up from daycare, it was almost 50 degrees outside! So I tossed Isaac in the stroller and we took off for a short walk around the neighborhood. And no blog post is complete without at least one picture, so here is one from our first stroll of the season:

Later, we went out for supper with my folks and my brother, and as soon as I hit the "publish post" button, I'll be heading to bed to read for a bit, and then hit the sack.

Happy weekend everyone!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Target Escapades

I used to never use coupons. 25 cents here, 50 cents there - how could it really make much of a difference, right?


Lately, I've been looking on a lot of online sites - blogs and such - dedicated to something called "couponing." These people are hard-core couponers and I'm definitely not as dedicated as them, so I just read their blogs and let them find the deals for me. My absolute favorite one is http://www.totallytarget.com/, since Target is by far my favorite store.

First, let me explain a few things. I didn't know this until a few months ago, but at Target you can use two types of coupons - manufacturer coupons and store coupons. They will let you use one of each type for the same item. This is called coupon "stacking."

You can get Target store coupons a couple of different ways:
-They send coupon booklets in the mail periodically. I don't know how you sign up to get these, we've just always gotten them automatically. I'm guessing they have our address from when we set up our wedding/baby registries.
- You can go to the Target website and print store coupons.
- Sometimes store coupons will print at the register based on what you bought, and the cashier will hand them to you along with your receipt.

So I spent a few hours checking out the deals and doing some coupon organizing. Then I headed over to Target after work today to see what I could come up with.

Here are some of my best deals:

Campbell's Cream of Mushroom/Chicken soup -
These were on sale for .75 each and I had two manufacturer's coupons for $1 off of two cans (written as $1/2). I printed these coupons online.
.75 each x 4 = $3. Minus $2 coupons = a total price of $1.00 for all four. That's .25 each!

Dove shampoo/conditioner -
The regular price for these is $3.44 each. I had two printed manufacturer's coupons for $2 off of one ($2/1). I also had two Target store coupons for $1/1. I was able to stack these coupons for a total of $3 off of each bottle. That means I only paid .44 for each the shampoo and the conditioner (.88 for both). Pretty good if you ask me!

Physician's Formula makeup: 1 Powder Finish concealer stick (reg. $4.94), 1 Gentle Cover concealer stick (reg. $5.69), 1 felt tip eye liner (reg. $6.24), 1 bottle of makeup remover lotion (reg. $4.19). That's a total of $21.06.
I couldn't really get a good picture of these. I had already taken them out of their packages before I decided to blog about my day at Target, so this is the best I could do. Anyway, two of these items had coupons attached to the packaging (called "peelies") for $4/1. I also had two online coupons that I had printed for buy one, get one free (B1G1). My cashier was awesome and took the two most expensive ones off as my free items (-5.69 & -6.24). This is not typical. Usually they'll take the two least expensive items off.
So, we have:
$21.06 - $4 - $4 - 5.69 - 6.24 = $1.13.
That means I paid $1.13 for all four items! Seriously!

This picture was taken in our brand new upright freezer that we bought about three weeks ago :)
Ore-Ida bagged potato products were on sale for $2.50 (reg. $3.19). Target also has a special going on right now where if you buy two, you get one free (B2G1). $5 for three bags isn't a bad deal to begin with, but of course, I had two internet coupons for $1/1Ore-Ida Steam n' Mash potatoes.
$2.50 + $2.50 + Free Bag - $1 - $1 = $3 for all three bags. That's only $1 each!

(When I took this picture, I had already taken the meat out of the original packaging and vacuum sealed it with my handy dandy FoodSaver.)
Occasionally, the meat department at Target will have $3 off coupons stuck to select meat products. Today I scored a package of lean stew meat for $1.67, a package of two eye of round steak for $1.99, and a package of two eye of round steak for $2.19. That's all after the $3 off coupons. Last week, I got two packages of cube steaks for about $1 each (each pack had 3 steaks), and a pretty nice roast for around $4. They also had packages of boneless split chicken breasts for $4 (reg. $6), so I stocked up. I love shopping for meat at Target because they have great sales. Meat is usually so darn expensive now that we don't get it for free from James's grandma anymore. :(

I also got a jumbo pack of Huggies for $5.99 with my $3/1 coupon I printed. And two packages of Oxyclean stain remover pod things (that is their technical name)for less than $2 each. They were on clearance and I had two $1.50/1 coupons. And I bought a bunch of other stuff that I needed, some was on sale, some I had coupons for.

My total savings for the day were more than I spent. That means I saved over 50% on my total order! I'd say I did pretty well.

I try not to think about all the money I used to waste when I didn't use coupons.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


As you may have noticed, I like to take pictures. After I found out I was pregnant, I decided that I needed a good camera. So I went out and bought a Nikon D40 on a day-after-Thanksgiving sale. I never really learned how to use it though. I mean, sure it took some nice pictures, but I didn't even know what half of the settings were used for. I just took all my pictures on the auto setting.

At the beginning of March, my mom and I started taking a photography/photo editing class. It was held every Monday night from 6-8 PM for four weeks at a local high school. Yesterday was the last class. I really enjoyed it and I learned a lot. Now I know about things like aperature and shutter speed, how to get certain shots with cool effects, etc. I also learned a thing or two about Photoshop.

During a few of the classes, the instructor went over a bunch of info and then set us loose around the school to get some photos. Now, a high school doesn't exactly give you a lot of cool photo opps, so one has to get kind of creative (of course, that was the fun part!). I thought I'd share some of my favorite (unedited) shots. We were working with close ups and backround blur when I took these particular ones. Enjoy!

Monday, March 22, 2010


In my first post when I introduced my family, I forgot one very important person, er... dog. GIZMO!

He is our almost three-year-old Cairn Terrier. James and I got him about two months after we were married. He's an awesome dog! He is slightly hyperactive, but he listens when it's important and he's great with kids. He loves to cuddle, which is completely uncharacteristic of the breed. He loves to chase small animals and rodents, which is completely characteristic of his breed. He's extremely fast. In fact, once while James was taking him for a walk, he actually caught a gopher. He instinctively shook it back and forth rapidly to break it's neck. That poor gopher. If he wasn't dead after that, he wasn't happy that's for sure.

But other than being a gopher murderer, he's really a great dog. We love him very much!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Baby Food Adventures

I'm going to start by saying that I never thought I'd be the kind of mom that wanted to make homemade babyfood. Why do all that work when you can just go to the store and buy the jars? But when Isaac started actually eating it, I tasted it and WOWZA! Some of those flavors taste nothing like the real thing! I also realized that there are so many fruits and veggies that you can't buy in the jars. Now, I have nothing against jarred baby food. In fact, most of the time, that's what Isaac eats. But I decided that I wanted to do what I could to expose him to all sorts of different flavors, not just the standards like peas, green beans, squash, sweet potatoes, applesauce, you get the idea.

I bought this book on Amazon. I didn't follow the recipes to the T, just used it more for inspiration than anything else. It's a pretty good book with lots of good ideas.

Today I decided to make mangos, rutabagas, and asparagus. Then after I made the first two, I decided to save the asparagus for later.

Here are the supplies I started with:

I bought a baby food mill, but I'm going to return it because the Magic Bullet that we already have works wonderfully.

I started with the mango, since it's the simplest. Up until this point, I've only used foods that don't require cooking - bananas and avacados. Mangos are the same. You just peel and slice it, then stick it in the Bullet and voila! Although it was VERY runny, so I added a little rice cereal to thicken it up a bit.

One mango yeilds about two servings. I just use these little Rubbermaid containers because I haven't had the foresight to save our used baby food jars. I put one in the fridge to use later today. The other I put in the freezer after labeling it with my handy dandy labeler.

Next up - the rutabaga. I'll admit, I've barely even seen a rutabaga before let alone know what they taste like. This was one of my inspirations from the book. First, you have to peel it, kind of like a potato but way harder. Then chop it up into little cubes. That was also harder than I expected. Who knew rutabagas were so tough!

I saved a little more than half of it because James said he wanted to make fried rutabagas or something crazy like that. And he thinks I'm weird for taking pictures of food and posting them on the interweb. (Anyone get the Scrubs reference?) But I digress...

Next you have to steam it. The book said about 12 minutes, but it turned out to be more like 20. (That's ok because while they were steaming, I whipped up a quick meatloaf and popped it in the oven for dinner.) 

Then I threw them in the Magic Bullet and blended them. I found that I had to add about two ounces of formula or else it was too thick. 

And here is the final product! 

Update: Isaac loved the Mango! Unfortuately, he wasn't so crazy about the rutabaga. I don't think it was the taste he disliked, since he opened his mouth willingly each time for another bite. But then he'd just hold his mouth open and start spitting it out while babbling. I'm thinking it was a texture issue. I ended up having to add a lot more liquid to it because it was so thick. Next time I'm going to try mixing it with something else, like peas, carrots, or sweet potatoes.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Old Navy

Two posts in one day, wow! I just wanted to mention that if you got one of those Old Navy coupons for 30% off your entire purchase, GO USE IT! I went yesterday and got:

1 tank top for my niece
3 t-shirts for Isaac
2 pairs of shorts for Isaac (1 denim, one khaki)
1 t-shirt for me :)
2 of those hard reusable plastic cups that are made to look like those disposable water glasses, complete with straw.

And I got it all for... $34.69. They have some pretty good sales, plus the 30% off coupon. If you don't have an Old Navy near you or can't get there before the coupon expires tomorrow, look on www.retailmenot.com and I'm sure you could get a coupon code to use online.

Happy shopping!

Edit: Ok, so I actually looked and I guess you can't use the 30% coupon online. Sorry.


You've stumbled upon my new blog. I've tried blogging in the past, but I'm afraid I wasn't very good at it. So, I decided to give it another go. Here's what you can expect: Everything. Baby related posts, cooking related posts, money posts, and just general posts about what's going on in my crazy life. Oh, and I'm going to include pictures.

Lets begin.

I am Rachael, a 25 year old mom, who is constantly flying "by the seat of my pants." I don't have the slightest clue what I'm doing, but does anyone really? I work as a para-educator at an in-house school at a treatment facility for emotionally disturbed adolescents. I really like my job. It can be hard at times, but it makes me feel good. Isn't that really what it's all about?

I have an associates degree in accounting. I've always been good with numbers, but to be honest, I just kind of picked a major. Accounting was the first thing on the list and it sounded good to me. After graduation, I got a great job at the best known accounting firm in town. It took me a year to realize that it wasn't for me. I didn't like working for the man. It took everything I had just to make it to 5:00, and that wasn't how I wanted my life to be. That's when I found my current job. I am SO much happier, and I don't regret making the switch one bit.

James and I were married on June 9th, 2007, after dating for almost four years. He is the most wonderful man I've ever met and I am so very in love with him. Sounds corny, I know, but he is truly the love of my life and my best friend. I don't know what I'd do without him.

James works as a Senior Regional Team Lead at a company that does tech support for a lot of major companies worldwide. James is on the McDonald's desk. He is in charge of an entire region and a whole team of technicians. His section of the company is currently being sold to McDonald's, so soon he'll work for corporate McDonald's, but we'll save that story for a whole different post.

Our son, Isaac James, was born on July 13th, 2009. If you'd like to know the story of his birth, read this post on my old blog. He is now 8 months old and the absolute joy of our lives.

You're probably wondering about the helmet. He got it at the beginning of February. His head was a little too flat in the back and his ears weren't totally aligned. It really wasn't very noticable, but it could lead to jaw alignment issues and migranes and stuff when he gets older, so we wanted to nip it in the bud. He'll have to wear it until at least his next appointment. So far, his head growth has been slow, but it has been correcting and his ears are now aligned. Hopefully we can amp up his growth this month so he can get the darn thing off.

Well, that's enough background for one day. We'll talk later. Thanks for reading.