Adoption Update- Halloween 2012

  • Final Adoption Class- Scheduled for November 5.  It’s Med Admin.  Because we will technically be fostering our kids for the 6 months or so that they live with us prior to their adoptions being final we are required to take this class.  It’s the most tedious thing but I understand why they teach it.  Basically if you have to give a Tylenol to a foster kid you need to put on some gloves and follow protocol including documenting the pill in a binder.  Every. Time.
  • Final batch of paperwork- signed, dated, and in an envelope addressed to our social worker, ready to be mailed tomorrow.
  • What’s next??  Once our SW gets our paperwork and we’ve attended the last class then she will give us the go ahead to start picking out some kidlets!   I don’t expect to be matched right away, I’m being realistic.  But I see a really fun Summer 2013 in our future!!!  I’m hoping by then we’ll have been matched, approved, and have completed our pre-placement visits…that means we’ll need to hit up IKEA for some kid beds!

Adoption Update

Home stretch!   We have had all of our home visits and inspections from the fire department, social worker, etc.  We have filled out all of our forms.  We have taken all of our classed.  We are CPR certified.  Right now we are waiting for the state of NC to approve our foster parent fingerprints.  Once those are approved then we have to have our fingerprints taken again.  These will be our adoptive parent fingerprints.  I think it is pretty dang silly that we have to submit 2 separate sets of fingerprints at 2 different times.  I promise we don’t file our prints off.   So now we are at the browsing stage.  We can browse for kidlets online.  It’s so odd to us.  You can browse the children too.  www.heartgalleryofamerica.org  or www.adoptuskids.org  Warning.  It will break your heart.  We want to adopt them all.   It’s so amazing to us that FINALLY we can just about see the finish line!

Shakes & States

The other night I went to see Horrible Bosses with my mom, Papa, & Momo.  Afterward we stopped by Steak & Shake for milkshakes.  We got to talking about who could name all the states and the next thing you know we’re all drawing out the map of the US and trying to name states and capitols.  I was impressed at how much we all remembered!

Things I am truly BAD at

There are some things I just can not do.  Or, at least can not do well.

  • Sing.  Sure, I can physically sing a song, but it won’t be in any key you’ve ever heard, although your dog might join in.
  • Dance.  I have no rhythm.  None.  Even when I’ve had a couple grown up drinks and think I do?  I do not.
  • Back up in a car.  Just ask my recycle bins, shrubbery, and neighborhood children.
  • Cut things.  I can not chop, slice, dice, or Julienne.  I mean I can do it, but my knife skills rival that of a blind 2 year old.  Once at my birthday dinner my MIL wanted me to cut the cake, which was a beautiful cheesecake she made from scratch.  I made one erratic, sloppy slice that took considerable effort on my part (and I thought looked pretty good for me) and my MIL quickly gathered everything up and ran back to the kitchen to cut the cake herself.
  • Stay still.  I’m a fidgeter.  I have tons of nervous energy.  I just can’t be still.  Waiting in a line quietly is full on TORTURE.
  • Watch a movie without saying a word, laughing out loud, crying out loud, or screaming.   I can’t help myself, I get into movies.  Don’t believe me?  Ask my sisters why they fight about who HAS to sit next to me, not who GETS to.

I liked it, so I made a ring out of it

For dinner last night I made breakfast.  I had a bunch of crescent rolls I needed to use so I made a sausage ring.  The original recipe was some other sort of ring from Pampered Chef.  I mixed up cream cheese and sausage one day and stuffed the ring as a variation on the original.  CSP loves this recipe.  It’s super easy peasy to make but looks like it took forever and is gorgeous.  I think it makes a fabulous brunch dish.

What you’ll need:

  • Round baking stone
  • 16 crescent rolls.  Pillsbury are the best.
  • 1 package fresh sausage.  I like Neese’s country sausage.
  • 2 packages of cream cheese.  The standard size box.
  • eggs

Recipe:

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 350*.
  2. Brown your sausage.  Drain grease if any.
  3. Mix in both boxes of cream cheese.  I know it seems like a lot of cheese but a good bit of the moisture will bake out of it.
  4. On your round stone, arrange 8 of the crescent rolls where the long ends are meeting corner to corner.  They will make a ring like this.   Click on all photos to enlarge.
  5. Open the other 8 crescent rolls.  Line up the long ends of the crescent rolls with the long ends that are already down on the stone.  You’re filling up the middle of the ring with these rolls. 
  6. Spoon the sausage mixture where the long ends of the crescent rolls meet. 
  7. Now pick up the pointy ends of the rolls from the middle of the pile first and lay the dough across the sausage. Tuck any loose ends under the ring. 
  8. Your final ring should look something like this. Take any extra long pieces and fill in where there is lots of extra sausage poking out. 
  9. You can brush the rolls with egg wash if you’d like.  Some people even sprinkle more cheese on top. Bake for 25-30 minutes at 350* or until golden brown.    If you are being fancy and serving for brunch you can chef up some scrambled eggs and pile them up in the middle of the ring.  Looks very nice.  Garnish with parsley or dill if you’d like.  Even some chopped tomatoes would be nice.  You can make all sorts of variations on this ring.  Make sloppy joe meat and bake it into the ring.  Or chicken and broccoli.  All are guaranteed to impress!

 

Where to get coupons

When you first start couponing you need coupons.  Where to get them?  The Sunday paper is your best bet.  Some people buy multiples of the paper to get lots of inserts.  Red Plum and Smart Source are the main inserts in most Sunday papers.  You can also print coupons from their websites.  If you really think you’re going to get into saving money by couponing, I would go ahead and set up a folder on your favorites bookmarks bar marked Coupons.

Then go to these sites:

Red Plum

Smart Source

Coupons.com

Coupon Mom

 

Coupon Network

 

There are a TON more sites out there, just Google Coupons and you’ll see!  Don’t forget eCoupons too.  You use them for your groceries as well.  Go to Upromise and set up an account, then once a month activate their eCoupons.  Then when you buy say, a can of soup, you can use a paper coupon on the soup at the store, then get credit in your account for your eCoupon. Saving Star is another great resource for eCoupons.  They have an app too so while you’re in store you can check your account.  Build up $5 at least then transfer it to your Paypal account or get gift cards.

Don’t forget, there are 2 main types of coupons.  There are manufacturer coupons issued by the companies that make the products and there are store coupons issued by the stores.  You can stack these coupons for ultimate savings.  Example:  you want to buy Tide detergent.  You clip a manufacturer coupon from the Sunday paper for 50 cents off.  Then you read  Target‘s ad and clip a coupon with the Target logo on it that says store coupon next to the expiration date that is worth 25 cents.  You are allowed to use both to save a total of 75 cents.  That’s called stacking.

You may want to check with a friend or neighbor and start swapping coupons.  My friend Christina and I swap coupon inserts every couple of weeks.  She has 2 small kids and I have 3 dogs so our needs are different and we clip different coupons.  We swap the coupons and it’s like we bought 2 papers!   Some people also participate in coupon trains where they will receive an envelope full of coupons, pull the ones they want, add the ones they won’t use, then send them on to the next person in the train.

Now go get clipping!

What to do with expired coupons? Send them to the troops!

At the beginning of each month I go through my coupons and pull out all the expired coupons.  Seems like such a waste to throw them out though right?  Well, we don’t have to.  Did you know that there is a very special group of people who can benefit from our expired coupons?  Our military families stationed overseas!  They can use expired coupons for up to 6 months past the expiration date!  Isn’t that awesome!?!  No need to add to a landfill when you can help people.  Now, how to get the coups to the troops?  There are a ton of organizations that help, so depending where you are you may choose a different group than I would.  If you Google Coupons for Troops this is what you get.   So just pick a group and send them your expired coupons.  They take food and nonfood coupons.  Basically you separate the coupons into food and nonfood piles, add up the dollar amount then put them in baggies and send them in.  Consider it the least we can do for the people who protect our freedom every day!

Farmer’s Wife

CSP fancies himself a farmer.  He bought a few tomato plants from the clearance section for 75 cents a piece.  They started out looking like this: The beginnings of our tomato empire.  He had 3 in that planter.  They grew quickly so he transplanted them to big pots we picked up at IKEA for just $6 each. DSC_5059 They are doing so well. Look! Is that a little tomato I see there? We've got a mater!  CSP is so proud!  He visits his plants every night and gives them a good water.  He keeps telling me “I’m a farmer!  I’m making tomatoes!”

I drank the Kool Aid

So I’m a couponer now.  I haven’t gone whole hog yet with a big system, but I’m doing better each week.  I’m getting better deals all the time and it’s pretty exciting to start with a GIANT subtotal then walk out paying less than $20.

Things I’m NOT doing:

  • Going to more than one drug store.  I’m a CVS girl and I just don’t have the time or desire to bounce around from drugstore to drugstore.
  • Same with grocery stores.  We use the one CSP works for and the one down the street from us, plus Aldi because you just can’t beat their prices even though the don’t take coupons.
  • Turning my house into a mini grocery store.  We do not have a pantry.  We have precious little storage space.  So while this week’s deals at CVS means we’re set for body wash and lotion for like 6 months, that’s about it.  I can’t be buying 47 bottles of mustard just because they are only 12 cents.  We just don’t have the room.  We currently have 3 bottles of mustard but they all fit in the kitchen cabinets.  I refuse to turn our guest room into a bomb shelter or store steak sauce under our future kidlet’s bed.
  • Paying for coupons.  It just seems counterintuitive to me.
  • Buying 19 papers every Sunday.  I buy one.  There are just 2 of us for now.  Maybe when the kidlet comes home and the demand for granola bars skyrockets then I’ll shell out for more than one paper.
  • Dumpster diving.  I am not judging.  But I am a huge priss.  I can not stand dirt.  I understand that people throw out their coupons and it’s just money sitting in a bin somewhere but it’s just not worth it to me.  Knowing my luck I’d get stuck and have to call CSP and NOBODY wants that drama again.
  • Being as efficient as I know I could be.

Right now my system is very beginner coupon girl I know.  I am currently using a little accordion file coupon organizer like this one from Carolina Pad (holla! Gotta represent my favorite local office supply company) for all my loose coupons.  Then I make my lists and put all the coupons I plan on using at CVS or the grocery into zip loc bags labeled with the store name.  Those are all held in a little notebook in my purse with a binder clip.  Binder clips are my all time favorite office supply, by the way.   I’ve seen/heard of a couple methods and I’m wondering which you all prefer.  I’ve seen people use the big binder.   I can totally see the pros and cons of using this system.  But I’ve also heard of people just filing the entire coupon insert into an accordion or hanging file  and going back to clip each coupon as they need it instead of clipping all at once.  I also see pros and cons with this system.  What do you use and why?  Thank you for your help!

Shower Games

For Shannon G’s shower I wanted to find some fun shower games.  She was not into the whole “let’s measure the Mommy’s belly” thing or the melted candy bars in diaper game (thank goodness- that just seems gross to me!).  So I looked around online and found the Don’t Say Baby Game.  As guests arrived I gave them all a hot pink Mardi Gras bead necklace to wear.  Once everyone arrived I explained the rules of the game.  You can’t say “Baby”.  If you do and are caught then you give up your beads to the person who caught you.  The guest at the end of the shower with the most beads wins a fabulous prize.  I was the first person to lose my beads when I called Kiki “Baby”.  Doh!  It was really fun, especially because we all got a little competitive and MAN is it hard to not say baby at a baby shower!

The other game we played was baby pictionary.  I borrowed a giant dry erase board from Gigi that’s on an easel.  That made it super easy to play.  Susan brought some dry erase markers for us.  A few weeks prior to the shower I compiled the list of word clues for the game.  I came up with a few on my own but then turned to Google.  You would not believe what some people suggested!  Pablum?  Dilation?  Crowning?  Ok, I don’t even know what pablum is but it doesn’t sound good.  And I sure did not want a bunch of ladies trying to draw a baby’s head crowning or any other anatomy class pictures!   I finally came up with a good list:  Continue reading