Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Mystery Plant Identified!!

Remember this weird plant that I called a rabbit plant? (The one in the white pot.)

Well, turns out it's a native of Madagascar (!) and is called the Mother of Thousands. Aptly named, I'd say. Highly toxic, so I will have to make sure that the dogs can't get any of the offspring, but interesting nonetheless. The plant has also grown about 2 feet since I took this picture, and has about a dozen or more babies in the pot with it. I do periodically have to go through and strip all the new babies off the leaves because one pot of these monsters is enough for me, thankyouverymuch.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Slightly Random Freebie...

If you need tires or something, and happen to go to Big O tires, they will give you one (or more, they gave me 2 for J) stuffed "Little O" animals. J says that they're "beews" (bears) and loves them to pieces, and they are just the right size for a toddler to hug. I had originally planned to pass one on to J's cousin Ian but I don't think J will let one go very willingly.

ETA: Here's a picture that I found on some non-ebay auction site (just for you Caesaria!): You can't really see but he has crazy dreadlock hair, I guess that it's supposed to look like tire studs. I think Little O is supposed to be like a tire-bear hybrid? I don't really want to think about the logistics or genetics of that...

Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Grocery Goddess

Apologies for the lack of keeping up with this. I've been busy. No pictures, because my camera died. I thought I would take this opportunity to address my overall coupon-using, money-saving strategy.

Each week, I make a careful study of the weekly circulars for the local King Soopers, Sunflower, Safeway, and Albertsons. I also go to Target but that is generally for non-grocery stuff.

If there are any fantastic sales going on at any particular store, or any store-specific coupons in the circulars, I make a note and clip whichever coupons we will use. In general, I plan to do most of our shopping at King Soopers in any given week, simply because they have the best prices for the most part. Safeway is most expensive, but when they have good sales it's worth stopping over there. Sunflower has fantastic produce and produce sales, and it's where we buy J his rice milk (which we mix with the goat milk; we're trying Oat Milk as a replacement for rice milk this week) and coffee. Albertsons is reasonably out of the way, and I don't go there unless they have a killer deal, like their frequent GM cereals for $1.50 a box sales, and so on. King Soopers and Safeway both "double" manufacturer's coupons up to $1 in final value.

To use coupons, I look through the coupons I've accumulated for those that I can stack with sales and/or store coupons. I get coupons online (links to the right) and from the Sunday paper ads, which my mom saves for me.

Before I head to the store, however, I make a list in a spreadsheet of everything I will buy, how much of it, at what store, and what the price will be after coupons. I've set this up to total the estimated costs, so that when I leave I have already got an idea of what everything should cost and that way I can stay on budget.

Here are my deals from this week (food only):

King Soopers (Kroger):
  • Colorado Proud milk, $1.88
  • 2 # bag of Sunmaid raisins, $4.99
  • Kroger canola oil, $2.69
  • Welch's frozen grape juice cocktail, reg $1.89, sale $1.29
  • 2 jars of Tree Top Applesauce, reg $3.99, BOGO sale, plus $1/2 coupon, final price $2.99
  • Honey Nut cheerios, reg. $2.95, sale $1.77, plus $0.55/1 coupon doubled to $1, final $0.77
  • Total cereal, reg $3.43, sale $1.77, plus $0.75/1 coupon doubled to $1, final $0.77
  • 1 Campbell's Soup at Hand, $1.89, plus $0.50/1 coupon doubled to $1, final $0.89
  • 3 small bananas, $0.54/lb, 0.82 lb, final $0.44
  • Ricotta Cheese, reg $2.69, sale $2.29
  • Locally grown Bartlett pears, reg $1.99/lb, sale $0.99/lb, total $3.08
I also brought 2 bags, so I got $0.10 in BYOB discount. Total after coupons and everything? $19.06

  • Market Pantry Natural Peanut Butter, $2.15
Whoo, big spender! I brought my own bag here, so I saved $0.05 for a grocery total of $2.10.

  • 4 jalapeno peppers, $1.69/lb, total $0.42
  • 2 green bell peppers, on sale for 2/$1, total $1
  • Sunflower brand ground Ginger, reg $2.99, sale $0.99
  • Raspberry jam, reg $2.69, sale $1.99
  • 2 Oat Milk, reg $2.59, sale $1.59, total $3.18
  • Coffee, $6.99/lb, 0.55/lb for $3.84
And, since I am awesome, I actually brought a bag here too and got $0.10 off, for a total of $11.42.

Grocery total: $32.68

I could also include the shampoo I bought at King Soopers (and evidently had a $1 eSaver coupon which I had forgotten about, plus another $1 off coupon) for a total of $2.49. Apparently Kings will stack MF coupons if one is an ecoupon, but I can't guarantee that this is usually the case.

At Target I bought some Johnson's baby wash with a $1/1 Target coupon plus a $1/1 manufacturer coupon, for a total of $1.29. I also got some Colgate toothpaste with another $1/1 Target coupon, and a $1/1 manufacturer's coupon, total $1.79. I did need to buy some travel baby wipes for the diaper bag, so I got some Up and Up brand ones for $1.47. I like them better than Huggies, because they don't rip so easily. The price is a bonus too.
Target total was $4.55.

Non-food total? $7.04. Sweet.

Happy Couponing!

Mylar Balloons = Hours of Entertainment

At my niece's Bat Mitzvah yesterday, J got a nice star-shaped, silver, helium filled Mylar balloon. He's spent hours playing with it, sometimes just hugging it, sometimes pulling the ribbon to send it careening back toward him from it's failed venture toward the ceiling, and sometimes just bopping it and saying "Woah!" He also likes to say "wah, oo, free, WHEEE!" (one, two, three, whee!) and letting it go on "whee." We're pretty sure he thinks "whee" is the number after three. Another bonus? Latex-free, so no rash on J's face when he tries to kiss his reflection. It also still has helium in it today, and is much more indestructable than a traditional latex balloon. It rates pretty high on his favorite things list, as the first thing he said this morning when he was out of bed was "BLOON!"

The balloon did not help me give him a haircut this morning. That was left to the magic of Pluto cartoons. He still has a lovely odd patch on one side because he moved and I snipped at the same time, but otherwise it's pretty good for a non-clippers, scissors only cut. No pictures, because, alas, our camera has totally broken and I haven't called Target yet about getting it fixed.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

A Sentence, and Other Toddler-isms

J is now 20 (nearly 21) months old.

His first "sentence," inasmuch as a toddler his age constructs sentences, was "Hound out pee." He said this while I was taking the beagle out to pee. I was floored that J put three words together in a sentence!

He is also totally into cars, ducks, and rocking in the big armchair recliner in our living room. He actually sits in it and throws himself back and forth so that he rocks. It's pretty hilarious.

J constantly amazes C and me with his never-ending stream of new words. He takes after me, I guess, as he's an early talker and also isn't satisfied until he communicates his intentions.

Another Lesson Learned

If you desire to teach your child what a real animal, say, a mouse, looks like, the appropriate way to do so is not to show him the mouse you caught in the mouse trap in the garage.

If you want your child to look absolutely horrified that this strange thing with it's head smashed in is being shown to him, and being called a mouse, but looks nothing like Mickey ("Moush" if you're J) and start panic crying, then by all means, show him the mouse.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Smoking is bad for you, Mmmkay?

I went to one of the schools that the show South Park is based on. So I got the "drugs are bad" lecture from this guy (image courtesy of Comedy Central):

This unfortunate man does, in fact, exist, and his name has only one letter different from his South Park moniker. Anyway, he also gave my class the "smoking/tobacco is bad, mmkay?" lecture, which basically consisted of showing us lots of gross pictures of black and tarry lungs, and video of people who'd had cancer and therefore had parts of their faces and necks removed.

Well, I never smoked or chewed (ick!) but that's beside the point. All the nasty images in the world cannot prepare you for the reality. I sometimes come across samples from patients who claim not to smoke, when from examination of the white blood cells in their lungs I can tell that they are, in fact, BIG FAT LIARS. Or small skinny liars. Liars nonetheless. Today's sample takes the nasty tar and ash covered cake.
Can I just say EEW?! That, right there, is 14 million of the most tar- and smoke residue- filled cells I have ever seen. This person's lungs looked fairly normal on the grand scale, but when you get down to it, his or her poor little white blood cells may as well have been tarred and feathered.

Lets think about this for a moment. Your lungs have immune cells in them to keep you healthy. If you drown them in nasty tar, how the hell are they going to catch the bugs that make you sick?! Not very well, that's how.

I'll step down off my soapbox now.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Vampire Fantasies...

I just watched Twilight. I put it off as long as I could, and I can't believe I lived this long without seeing it. (Yeah I read the books a while ago. So badly written, yet so damn addictive.)

Screw Edward biting me, I want to bite him. Except that would probably break my teeth. I could totally go for some rough vampire loving.

Wow. I need C to get back, AF to leave, and I need to get laid. Seriously.

Really though, the men in that movie were so...tasty looking. Mmm. I don't know who was better, Edward or Carlisle. Hell, if I'm fantasizing, can I have both?

Oddly, Jacob looks like a Native American version of my ex boyfriend. Huh. Still totally hot though. Also oddly, a while back I had a dream that I was with Edward and we were "flying" through the trees. Exactly the same trees as in the movie, from the same angles. That scene gave me chills. Weird.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Wish List Wednesday

Not all of these are physical objects, but bear with me here. Click the images for the source.

1. (I wish we could win Power Ball)2. I wish we could cut up our credit cards.
3. Hardwood floors

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Post #200!! Who Are You??

I am "stealing" this from a couple other blogs, and thought it would be a fitting way to celebrate post number 200. I think that means I blog too much, but whatever ;-). I obviously spill a lot of randomness about myself here. I notice that many people from all over the world (!) visit my blog, but only one person regularly comments. So who are you?

1. Who are you? (You don't have to leave your name if you don't want to.)
2. How did you find my blog?
3. What do you like most on my blog?
4. What would you like me to blog more (or less) about?
5. A totally random fact about yourself!

Monday, September 14, 2009

A Girl Named Juice

I set J on the floor of the daycare, watching him saunter away like he owns the place. He carefully balances his bowl of cheerios and banana slices in one hand as he happily approaches a little girl, slightly younger than him, named Jenna.

"Juice!" He exclaims, pointing at her face, then waves and says, "Hi!"

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Facts and Fiction about H1N1 Influenza (Swine Flu)

In case you are totally clueless about H1N1, here's the CDC Fact Page.

I thought it would be a good idea to provide some information about the H1N1 flu, just because it's in the news, and unfortunately people are not always getting the right information. I'll do my best to debunk some of the myths and also to spread the knowledge. Most of this comes from a combination of my own background and what I've been told by immunologists and physicians at work, as well as some interviews I've heard on Science Friday, and also a lot from the CDC H1N1 page. I'll provide specific references in the form of links where I can.

Fiction: Hand sanitizer will keep you from getting the flu.

Fact: Influenza virus is not killed by alcohol-based sanitizers (according to Dr. J. Owen Hendley). The only surefire way to remove flu virus from your hands is to wash with soap and water, while rubbing hands together, for at least 20 seconds. Hand sanitizer will kill most bacteria and some other viruses, but not H1N1. Regular hand washing is the best defense.

Fiction: Flu vaccine causes you to get the flu.

Fact: The flu vaccine cannot give you the flu, as it consists of pieces of a dead virus that only serves as "training" for your immune system so that your cells will recognize the strains against which the vaccine was developed, so that your body can more efficiently fight off the virus. You may experience soreness at the injection site (I do, anyway), and if you are allergic to eggs (albumin) you should not get the flu vaccine.

Fiction: I don't need to get the vaccine, I haven't gotten the flu in years.

Fact: In general, the flu shot is a good idea for people who take care of small children and the elderly, as well as individuals in both of those populations. However, as a novel virus, H1N1 is a cause for greater concern because most people don't have an immunity of any kind against it. This seems to be manifested best in the observation that people under 50 have presented more cases than those over 50. According to the CDC (via Science Friday), as of May 11:
"the more recent illnesses and the reported death suggest that a pattern of more severe illness associated with this virus may be emerging in the U.S. Most people will not have immunity to this new virus and, as it continues to spread, more cases, more hospitalizations and more deaths are expected in the coming days and weeks."

Fiction: If I get the flu vaccine, I am protected against all kinds of flu virus.

Fact: The flu vaccine varies from year to year, and each year the developers of the vaccine target the predominant strains. This means that you are reasonably well protected, but you can still get a less common strain of the flu. This year, because of the H1N1 flu, there will be two separate vaccines. The first one, which is currently being shipped out and will be available very soon, is the one that comes out every year, geared toward the "old" flu viruses that make up the seasonal flu. The second vaccine is specifically for H1N1, and will not be available until later in the year and will come out sometime in October. The H1N1 vaccine will be given in two doses, about a month apart. If you have a small child, this is the same way that the regular flu vaccine is given the first time your child gets the vaccine. This is because the first shot may not provide complete immunity when your immune system has never seen the virus (dead or alive) before. The second shot gives your immune system a second chance to get things figured out so that you will be better protected. The only time you need to get the vaccine in two doses is the first year you get the vaccine.

Who should get the vaccine?

In the event of a limited vaccine supply, the following groups receive the vaccine before others: pregnant women, people who live with or care for children younger than 6 months of age, health care and emergency medical services personnel with direct patient contact, children 6 months through 4 years of age, and children 5 through 18 years of age who have chronic medical conditions. Once the demand for vaccine for these target groups has been met at the local level, programs and providers should begin vaccinating everyone from ages 25 through 64 years. (From the CDC:

Here is the email that was sent out at work, by the Infection Control Officer of the hospital:

As there is growing concern regarding the upcoming influenza season and the current novel influenza A (H1N1) pandemic, I wanted to provide a brief update on the situation.

∙ The influenza season in the southern hemisphere appears to be winding down, with most countries having past the peak level of influenza activity. Novel influenza A H1N1 was and is the dominant circulating influenza strain, supplanting seasonal influenza A. The disease spectrum appears to be similar to what has been seen in North America.

∙ In the US, influenza activity has been stable over the summer, with most states currently reporting local or sporadic activity. Novel influenza A (H1N1) is causing the majority of influenza in the United States, and is expected to be the predominant cause of influenza this fall and winter.

∙ In the United States, most of the persons affected have been younger than 50 years old. Symptoms have included fever, cough, and sore throat in the majority. About 25% of infected persons have presented with diarrhea or vomiting. Most disease continues to be mild and self-limited.

∙ The rapid influenza test is an insensitive test for novel influenza A (H1N1). A negative test does NOT rule out infection.

∙ H1N1 PCR testing (in Colorad0) from the state health department is only being done for hospitalized patients, in order to better understand the epidemiology of the virus, rather than as a diagnostic tool.

What this means:

∙ A person with sudden onset of fever, cough, sore throat and other flu-like symptoms such as muscle aches and headache should be considered to have novel influenza A (H1N1) if there is not another probable explanation.

∙ Every person suspected to have influenza should be treated as if they have influenza until proven otherwise, and be placed in the appropriate isolation precautions. If influenza testing is ordered, the person tested should be considered to have influenza until proven otherwise.

∙ Antiviral medications are available for treatment and chemoprophylaxis. However, most people with influenza do not require antiviral therapy. Antiviral prescription is appropriate for persons with severe illness and those at high-risk of complications of influenza ( If appropriate, antiviral therapy should be prescribed based on clinical suspicion, not on testing results. Healthcare providers with unintended, unprotected, close contact to a patient with influenza may be offered chemoprophylaxis to prevent infection.

I hope the email above was informative. Other random tips:

If you are coughing, cough into your elbow, not your hands. This applies whether you have the flu or not.

Wash your hands frequently with soap and water.

Don't spit on the ground if you cough up phlegm. This releases your personal "bugs" (viruses, bacteria, etc) into the environment around you and exposes your fellow citizens to your illness.

If you have the flu, stay home until you are well. It's best not to expose anyone else unnecessarily.

Use the sanitizing wipes on your grocery cart and hands before you start your shopping to minimize transmission of anything you may be carrying.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Just a Friendly Public Service Reminder

For source, please click on the image above.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

BRU Gift Card with Pampers Purchase

If you are a Pampers lover, you should check this out. For once, you don't have to buy the huge boxes of diapers for this deal, just 3 84-count or lower Pampers diapers and you get a $10 gift card for Babies R Us.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Wish List Wednesday

This looks like fun, so I am going to play along. Click the button for more info! (Click the pictures below for sources.)

1. I have always wanted to live in a Victorian house.
2. The bedding, not the room:
3. Ah, shoes...

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


The last time he just snuggled in, sucked gently, but mostly just laid there nestled into me with his small hands wrapped around me in a sweet embrace. Ten minutes.

The first time he was so tiny and sleepy that he hardly opened his mouth wide enough to latch, I had to keep tickling his neck to keep him awake. Twenty minutes, switch sides, twenty minutes.

As he grew he became possessive, hugging my breast as if it were a stuffed toy or lovie. Sometimes he would slide one hand behind me and wiggle his fingers, gently stroking my side or my back. Soothing me as he was soothed.

Before I cut my hair he would run it through his chubby little fingers, so gently, loving the softness. After I cut my hair he weaved his hand in and out between my fingers, smiling between swallows.

One morning I was sitting on the couch with him and he pulled my camisole down and latched right on, just sitting there facing me. Sometimes he tried nursing standing up, with absolutely no success.

Whenever he got shots at the doctor he nursed afterward, the comfort of his mother washing away the sting of the needles.

He was perplexed if I wore a shirt with buttons, because that didn't pull up or down. I'll never forget the morning I went in to get him and he sat up and chirped "Nurse!" with a big grin.

My favorite part of the child-nourishing process was breastfeeding, even with two rounds of mastitis, months of battling thrush, and a nipple infection.

I can't wait until I get to nourish my next baby with milk from my body again.