The Game

I've been playing the Grocery Game for the past several months and I love it! For anyone who doesn't know, the Grocery Game is a website that matches up Sunday paper coupons with grocery store sales ( I was skeptical at first, but made myself commit to 3 months of really trying it before I made any decisions. At first, I really hated it. It really takes a lot of time, cutting out coupons, organizing them, and then shopping the sales. I didn't really understand how to shop at first, and so with all of the time I was spending and the mediocre results, I was pretty frustrated. But now, I have limited myself to two stores (Lowes Foods and CVS) and it really is a game. I can't wait for the beginning of the week when I can head out to ... CONQUER HIGH FOOD PRICES AND SAVE THE WORLD! Just today, my trip to Lowes was quite sucessful. I spent $56.94 and at the bottom of my reciept, my total savings were ..... (drumroll in your head) ... $77.90! $36 of that was coupon savings and the rest were store sales. Some of my favorite good buys have been:
A 6-pack of Bryers Disney yogurt for .50
Cinnamon Chex cereal for .43
Stride Gum for .08 a pack (I got that today!)
Barilla whole wheat pasta for free
Crest toothpaste and toothbrushes for free

There are a few rules to the game:
1. Sometimes it's a team sport. I take Kate with me every time I go and we're learning to shop together (umm ... I bring fruit snacks and an I-Pod)
2. You can't be brand loyal. If you'll only eat Jiff peanut butter or use Tide laundry soap, then you're not going to get super-great deals.
3. It takes awhile to learn the ins and outs of the system. For example, when Lowes foods has something on "buy one get one free", that really means it's 50% off, so if you have a coupon for the same item that says, "buy one get one free", then you can use the store sale and the coupon for an excellent deal.
4. Sometimes store clerks don't know their own policies. I have CVS's 1-800 customer service number saved on my cell phone in case I need it.
5. You have to stock up on things when they are on sale. Diced tomatoes might be on sale one week, but not again for another 2 months. So, if you buy as many as you can, you'll have what you need until they go on sale again. (I get 3 Sunday papers a week to get an optimum number of coupons)
6. Choose your cashier wisely. If she looks like the wicked witch of the west on a bad hair day, you might want to choose the clueless 16-year old.
7. Make it fun for yourself or you'll never survive
8. Some things are often on sale and some things are never on sale. We have enough cereal and granola bars to last us for months, but I don't remember ever seeing ... actually, I can't think of anything that doesn't at least go on a store sale. Never mind.

Well, that's my Grocery Game report. It is quite fun and satisfying. I keep telling Cletus how much money I'm saving him, but I don't think he fully realizes how awesome I am. Maybe some day when we're old, we'll shop together using the Grocery Game and then he'll realize ...

That are funny!

My cousin, Heather, shared these with me from a website called It shows some hilarious errors in translation. (Beware if you visit the website. Some of them are a little crude.) I don't know where she finds these crazy things. But, hey, they is make you laugh!

Steaming Pile of Stench

Do you like that title? I can't claim it as my own ... it's a quote from Kim Butterworth. Back when I had to beg rides to Broughton after seminary, Kim was kind enough to give me rides every now and then (we were almost always late for school). We parked by Fred Fletcher park and several times they had just dumped big piles of mulch to spread in the park. Kim would always laugh and say, "look at those steaming piles of stench!". It was true. They were steaming and they were stinky. Well, just recently we got our own steaming pile of stench. The town where we live delivers mulch for free to anyone who wants it. (Sometimes I love living in a small town!) So, we signed up for a load. Little did we know how much a load was! This pile is only part of what we got, and what we got was only half of a load! So, we have spread it in any and all parts of our yard that could use some mulch and the rest we dumped on our garden spot. We'll till it in sometime in the next couple of weeks. Cletus has been my Superman and has shoveled many, many wheelbarrows full of stinky mulch. Although, strangely, he thinks it smells good (?). Does anyone need some mulch? We have some to spare.

Saturday is a special day

Saturday was quite a busy day for us. And, despite my very diligent efforts, the pictures aren't in order. I would try again, but since they took fooorrreevveerr to dowload the first time, I'll just let them be unorganized.

We spent some time at the Simpsons celebrating the February and March birthdays. Kate loves getting sung to (which is good since the Simpsons have a 3-verse birthday song) and she enjoyed being one of the centers of attention. She calls it "happy Kate's party" when we sing to her. She is enjoying it with two of her cousins. Look at that family resemblance!

Cletus and Eric being good sports and looking at the camera when what they really wanted to do was look at the TV and watch the game.

Hayden and Scott - good friends (and cousins too).

Before the birthday party, we took a family trip to Western Lanes bowling alley on Hillsborough Street. We had fun bowling, and Cletus and I always enjoy walking down memory lane at NC State. Here are Cletus and Kate keeping score (Kate's making sure that Cletus doesn't cheat).

Hayden took this picture of us and I'm quite impressed. He did a great job. We don't have very many pictures of us together that are decent. I guess we're just not photogenic.
Who would have thought that twelve years ago amidst the drama of the singles ward .....

Kate enjoyed pushing her bowling ball down the ramp onto the bumper lane. We just couldn't keep that mouth off of the bowling alley ramp (nasty!).

Hayden is always a fun model for pictures. He was trying for three strikes and didn't quite reach his goal.

So, Cletus and I have wanted pictures of our parents to put in our home and we just don't have any good ones. I was determined to get some yesterday and I had willing models, so we went outside for a photo shoot. I didn't realize why my pictures were so bright until I was looking at them later and remembered that I had set my manual settings on my camera to let in lots of light at the bowling alley and that once I was outside, it was way too much light. (Arrggh!) I think it's the aperature that I didn't have set correctly for outside pictures. Anyway, the result is too much light. But, I still think they turned out pretty well. Hopefully my sweet in-laws don't mind me posting some of the pictures I took. What a good-looking couple!

What we've been up to lately ...

So, other than other than having a fun time just hanging out together, this is what else we've been up to: Kate has decided that she is ready to potty train (me: No! Not yet! I'm not ready!). She asks to go use the potty and then (shock) she actually does. We give her applause, a high-five, and of course, a treat. Her little face just lights up and it's very sweet. Hayden gets the big brother of the year award for cleaning up when I was in the shower and Kate had an accident in her underwear (and it wasn't pee ...).
I bought her some Elmo underwear and she was so excited about it that she put all 7 pairs on at the same time. I think that 7 pairs of Elmo underwear is about as safe as a diaper for catching little accidents.
Kate is also developing her own sense of fashion sense. She decided that she wanted to wear her skirt with her pajamas to bed. Hey, I'm not one to argue with a 2-year old. I guess they kind of match ... they both have brown in them ....
Hayden was so excited about the snow that he woke up at 5 am, and he and Cletus were outside building this mammoth of a snowman by about 6:45. His name is "Nuthead", because we used pecans for the eyes and mouth.
They made the head so big that they couldn't lift it onto the body, so Cletus made a ramp using long pieces of wood propped on our lawnmower. Sometimes I wonder what the neighbors think and sometimes I don't want to know. In the end, it turned out as the biggest snowman in the neighborhood. I think he's so big that he'll be in our frontyard until June. Come by and take a look!

6th in my 6th

So, I've been tagged. This picture is the 6th picture in my 6th file. This is my dad on the day before Christmas (it was Christmas for us) holding sweet Kate. She loves both of her Granpdas so much and .... they love her! (She actually loves men in general - all of them, strange or familiar. It's sweet and scary at the same time. I need to keep an eye on that girl)

I tag Angie K, Mary, and Heather P.