How to Subscribe to A Blog

I’m not sure about all of you, but I am pretty new to this whole blogging think. I lurked around a couple of other blogs for a while before actually committing myself to them. (Lurking sounds kind of creepy – but I can assure you, it was not J)

If you want to know when a blog has been updated, but you don’t want to keep going by the site to check, you can subscribe to the blog. I think there is a way to subscribe to a blog and have all updates to it sent to you in email. I have not figured out how to do that yet. (I told you I was new to this) But, if you do know and want to post about that you can email me, or leave it in the comment section.

I signed up with and created an account. After confirming my email address, I was able to add different blog addresses into my account. Now, when I sign in with Bloglines a list of the sites I have subscribed to are shown on the left side of the screen. All blogs that have been updated are in bold. All you have to do is click on the bold title and the blog article will come up for you to read.

You have the opportunity to organize your blogs as well as keep certain posts new. This way, you can come back to specific things when you want to. This is such a convenient way for me to keep up with multiple sites without all of the effort.

Saving Money on Entertainment: Free Movie Rentals

Renting movies is the perfect form of entertainment. You can watch in you pajamas, you can pause it when you need to refill our drink or go to the bathroom, and if you didn’t understand something or missed an important part, you just rewind. You don’t have to leave the comfort of your home, you don’t need a babysitter, and it’s cheaper than a movie theater.

But now, you won’t even have to settle for cheap, you can go all the way to free. Here’s the deal on free movie rentals:


Redbox movie stations (here in Tucson) are located in Walmarts. Go to to find a location near you. They will be easy to spot. They are large red boxes. (I know, amazing!!) Beside the box is usually a display with current movies that are available and movies that are coming out soon. Trust me, when you walk in, you can’t miss it.

Each movie rental costs $1.00, including new releases, provided that it is returned to the Redbox by 9pm the following evening. In order to rent, you need to swipe a credit or debit card.

The experience is even more convenient when you find out that you can return the movie to any Redbox, not just the one you rented from. This is one of my favorite aspects of Redbox. If we are on the way home from somewhere, we can stop and rent a movie and then return it closer to the house the next day.

But the best part about renting from Redbox is the opportunity to rent movies for free. Once you have selected a movie, the screen will have a place to press “Enter a Promo Code” at the bottom of the screen. You can enter a promo code and provided that you return the movie on time the next day, you will receive the movie for free.

You can find promo codes at This site gives updated news on Redbox and a list of codes and when they were last used. You can use each code once per card. Ever Monday and Wednesday you can go to the site and find a different code only good for the day.


You can also rent from DVDPlay. These boxes are green and can be found in Safeway stores. For specific locations, go to I am not sure of the exact cost of a movie through DVDPlay, but on the home page, you can get a few codes for 87 cent rentals. Just like Redbox, you can go to to have access to numerous free movie promo codes.

** I currently have a free Redbox code sent to my phone every Monday and Wednesday. I will try to start posting them to save you some time. If you want to get a super early start, go to a Redbox and try the code DVDONME.

Sydney Carton: The Last Dream of My Soul

I have been receiving hundreds of emails about the quote by Sydney Carton to the right. Maybe not hundreds, or maybe not even one, but I can dream, right? But you have to admit, you are a little curious.

In my previous life, before staying home with my kids, I taught seventh grade. Each year, we read through A Tale of Two Cities. Sadly, I read this book in high school and while I can’t remember the specific teacher, I am sure that she tried her best to unlock the mystery and dynamic message in the novel; but it was lost on a student who just didn’t get it.

And so, my time came. I remember the excitement I felt as I stood at the front of the class with my book in hand. Can you just imagine the looks on the little adolescent faces as I began the first line, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”? Then, it got worse, I asked them what they thought about such a conflicted opening line. The good news? It did get easier. The more I taught and the more I learned myself, it became bearable. Unfortunately, it was never what I wanted it to be for them.

During my last year of teaching, I remember announcing to the class that we would begin A Tale of Two Cities on Monday. They couldn’t stop laughing. I was horrified. This was one of my favorites; a story I held so close to my heart and there they sat, laughing. When I asked what was so funny, one brave soul said, “This is the one that you get all teary-eyed when that one guy says, ‘I dream of your soul, or something lame like that.’” They cracked up even more.

And so I decided to make them pay. This was the class that was going to get it. With this class I would give it my all and present it in such a way that they would not be able to escape the captivating themes and the meaning of the final sacrifice. I want so badly to tell you that as I read these words to them, foreshadowing the events to come, they sat crying their little eyes out and believing it to be one of the most touching moments in literary history. But no, I sat there misty-eyed, reading Carton’s lines and knowing what was to come and once again, they burst into laughter.

This truly is one of my favorite stories. And yes, even now thinking about Sydney Carton, speaking to Miss Mannette and telling her of his feelings and what he would do for her, and then at the end of the book, finding that he fulfils his promise! I can’t help it. My eyes water a little. And I know that this audience is reading along, and laughing.

So, I hope this explains the facination with the man: Sydney Carton.

Guess What I Found in My Bathroom

One of the down sides of finding deals (did you ever think that you would hear me say that?) is that we have too much stuff. When things go on sale, especially free, I always buy more than we need so that I can use it in the future. (see the previous post) This is most obvious in the items that can be found in our bathroom.

You can usually find great deals on the newest items when it comes to hair products, lotions, and body washes. We are consistently able to try these items for free or close to free. The downside to this becomes the accumulation of items that we keep trying out without finishing.

My example begins in the shower. I wanted to clean out the shower so this meant that all items that were in the shower needed to come out. It doesn’t seem like that big of a deal does it? It becomes time consuming when you are pulling out 4 bottles of shampoo, 4 bottles of conditioner, and 3 bottles of body wash. (This does not include Husband’s items – one shampoo, one body wash.) This may seem like an exaggeration, but it isn’t. I had shampoo for curly hair, straight hair, damaged hair and color treated hair all with matching conditioners.

The upside of this confession is that these shampoos and conditioners were all free, but the downside is that they were making the shower feel a little too cramped. I think I was really shocked as I looked at all of these products. Did I really need all of them?

It gets worse. My curiosity was peaked, so I started going through the drawers and the baskets on the shelf. The amount of hair products was astounding. I found more shampoo and conditioner, tons of hair creams, gels, and serums as well as about 7 types of lotions. Overkill, huh? These lotions were for all sorts of things anti-cellulite, tanning, dry skin, and even stress reducing soft skin.

All of this leads to my idea. I found a box and put all of the items from the bathroom inside. Then I took out one shampoo, one conditioner, one body wash. Next, I brought out two lotions; one to put on the nightstand and one to put in the bathroom. I put the lid on the box and put it as high up in our closet as I could get it. (It is in a super inconvenient place so as to prevent me from sneaking in there to get something on a whim)

This may all seem very trivial and silly, but I think it has a broader application to life. First, the bathroom can now feel like a sanctuary. Before, it just felt cluttered. The last thing I needed in the shower was to have to make one more decision as to which of the 100 different products I need to use. It’s simpler now. Two, our bathroom looks cleaner. There is less “stuff” everywhere and I can actually see the shelves in the shower now. It has an openness about it. Finally, I can actually finish something, throw it away and move onto something new. I can actually complete something from start to finish, even if it is just body wash.

You are wondering where the broader life application is aren’t you? Some things to think about:

If the house doesn’t feel comfortable, you aren’t going to want to spent time there. As far as stay at home moms go, our home is our office and we spend a lot of time there. It is important to be able to look around and have a good feeling about it, no matter what room it is.

Secondly, cleaning is something that I feel like I do all the time. By getting rid of the clutter, rooms instantly look cleaner.

This leads to the final application; completing tasks. I really struggle with following through on things and finishing them. Here’s the irony: I complain that I don’t have a sense of accomplishment when it comes to what I have done in the day. If you don’t finish things, you lack a sense of closure and you forfeit the feeling of reaching a goal.

I know, I know, this is just shampoo and conditioner, but it is a start.

What to Do with All the Sausage

Lame title, I know, but there was nothing to creative about this one.

Today I walked into Albertsons and after the sale and coupons, I received 9 (one pound each) rolls of sausage. Obviously, this was quite interesting to the cashier and she asked what I was going to do with all of this sausage. My response was the obvious, “Well, eat it of course.” But actually, she had a great point.

It is wonderful to go into the grocery store and get things for free, but sometimes, if we go in without some sort of plan, things end up going to waste. So, in light of this conversation, I decided to post what I am planning to do with some (not all) of the sausage in the form of a recipe from my grandmother. I made two versions of this same meal tonight. I will denote the variations below.

Breakfast Brunch

6 eggs (beaten)
6 slices of bread (broken)
¾ tsp dry mustard
salt and pepper
1 lb. Sausage
2 cups of cheese
2 ½ cups of milk

Mix eggs, milk, mustard, salt and pepper and cheese together in a large bowl. Next, add sausage and bread. Place the mixture in a 8 X 8 pan. Refrigerate overnight. Then, the next day, bake at 350 degrees for about 55 minutes.

Some variations to consider:

I am substituting ½ cup of milk in one of the recipes with salsa and adding some chopped green chilies.

For the other one, I am using cinnamon swirl raisin bread and sausage with diced apples.

Also, if you are looking for something a little more sizeable, I have doubled the recipe and baked it in a 13 X 9 pan.

Blogging: Good for the soul

I came across this article while reading another blog today. Pretty interesting, huh?

The End of the World is Near

Daughter (1 yr old) spits her milk out and Dad tells her no. She does it again. Dad tells her firmly, “No!” Son (3 yrs old) scrunches up his face and in his most serious and firm voice announces to daughter, “May Doc have mercy on your soul!” (from the movie Cars). We mistake it for, “May God have mercy on your soul” and just about fall out of our chairs. Apparently, there is no longer a need for son to watch Cars. He has already memorized it.

A Dear John Letter to Soda

Dear Coke (and Dr. Pepper, Sprite, all the off brands and occasionally Pepsi if there is no Coke),

It’s not you; it’s me. We have been seeing each other for a while now, but this has to come to an end. I can’t keep going like this. Those empty calories, the sodium. I just can’t take it anymore.

There are lots of other people out there who love you. They love when you are around. You get invited to all the big parties. Some of them say they can’t even live without seeing you once or twice a day. But for me, this relationship has taken a turn for the worst.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not just my relationship with you. McDonalds has played a part too and Brownies, don’t even get me started on that one. If I really want to make a change, I can’t hang out with the same crowd anymore. How can I make the right choice with you sitting there looking at me everyday in the fridge? Let’s be honest, you look great and you are just calling to me.

So, now here comes the hard part. You can’t even come over anymore. We can’t even be friends. It has to be a clean break. I know, chips and salsa aren’t leaving and neither is the ice cream, but I have to take this one step at a time. I have to look around, evaluate who I have been hanging out with and see if they are really benefiting me. I’ve started to ask myself, “What kind of person am I when I hang out with Coke?” and you already know the answer.

I have a family to think about. And don’t think they haven’t noticed what’s going on. I heard Husband gave up on you about a week ago. And the kids, they’ve been asking for you! Hasn’t this gone far enough? It will take me weeks or months to reverse what’s been done. Don’t you want what’s best for me?

I see now that you don’t. We are headed in two different directions. We want different things out of life. All you want to do is hang out and look cool. Show up for the parties, quenching people’s thirst.

I can’t end this without being completely honest. There is someone else. It’s water. I know what you’re thinking right now. But you aren’t the same. Water is so versatile. He can be Crystal Light one minute and then tea the next. I even used him the other day to make orange juice. I know, I shouldn’t rub it in, but I can’t help it. I need water.

So, that’s where it stands. Remember, we will always have the memories.


A Case of the “Mommies”

Every once in a while, I find myself with a case of the mommies. No one likes to talk about it. Rarely do mothers sit around discussing their different symptoms and solutions. It seems like something that just happens privately and we suffer alone. Sometimes, we don’t even let the people around us know, the ones that love us the most. Then, there are other times when you want everyone to know and you have no problem telling everyone that you see.

A case of the mommies can describe a lot of different things that mothers experience. It can be the feeling of being taken for granted by everyone. It can be the feeling that no one sees you. It can be the feeling that no one cares about what is important to you. There are lots of different emotions that attach to a case of the mommies. It can be disorienting if you are usually an upbeat and positive person.

I would venture to say that every mother at one point or another has had a case of the mommies. It doesn’t matter if you are a stay at home mom or a working mother. I doesn’t matter if you have one child or fourteen. It just comes with the territory.

One of my favorite books about being a mother is The Invisible Woman: When Only God Sees by Nicole Johnson. It tells the story of a mother with a severe case of the mommies and how a friend steps in to help. The friend doesn’t change anything except the woman’s perspective. She gives her a new way of looking at her life and the family that she is working for. This is a must read for all mothers. (If you are ever looking for a gift for someone who is a mother and you aren’t sure what to get her; this is it!)

So I came up with some of the things that I do to rid myself of the mommies.

Drop everything, turn on the music and dance with your kids. You may feel silly at first, but it is so liberating. It feels like you are just shaking off all of those bad feelings. You can see your kids having such a good time and it puts life in perspective when you can’t do that for yourself. (Here are some of my favorites: Fever and Save the Last Dance by Michael Buble, You Give Love a Bad Name – the Blake Lewis version J, and Eye of the Tiger by Survivor).

Treat the grocery store like a red carpet event. This one is specifically for the stay at home mom crowd. Lots of times we get into the routine of wearing clothes that are functional for the day. We get drooled on, covered in food and the occasional booger (just being honest) and some days it feels like the idea of clean is impossible. We are in the sandbox, cleaning the bathrooms, and then if we are lucky we may run through the sprinklers. Obviously, Vera Wang is not going to last the day with me. However, you just don’t want to get too comfortable with this being okay. (If you are in doubt – ask your husband.)

So, get dressed up to go somewhere ordinary. Go the whole nine yards. Hair done, make-up, and even clothes that are not made out of t-shirt material. It may be time consuming. It may take a lot of effort. I personally find that the television can be a huge helper in the fight to get mommy out the door in a presentable way. But it will be worth it.

I have a tough time explaining this to my husband. He believes that it is all in my head, but honestly, people treat me differently when I am dressed in my mommy uniform as opposed to when I have taken the time to get dressed up. This isn’t an every day occurrence. But, it is one of the quickest ways to send that case of the mommies packing.

I can thank my mom for that tip. Sometimes when I look nice at church or a family event, she will say, “I don’t see why you don’t just throw that outfit on to go to the grocery store. It looks great and it’s easy to throw on and go.” And this leads me to my final suggestion.

If you are lucky, you are surrounded by people around you that care about you; some of whom are mothers themselves. And so, tell them what’s going on. They have been there and they will understand. I don’t even have to go into detail with my mom. I just tell her that I am getting a case of the mommies. She usually chuckles a little and I know that she is thinking back to that time when she too felt the same way. And then, she always does something to make me feel better. Sometimes she offers to have the kids spend the night. Sometimes, she takes me shopping with her. One time, she mailed me a magnet that said, “You are so important.” But, the best thing she does is tell me about a time when she felt the same way. It makes me realize that I am not alone and that I am not the only mother to face this and that I will live through this.

This is not a complete list by any means, but I think it is a start. I would love to see this post filled with comments about what you do to get rid of the mommies! If you don’t feel comfortable commenting, you can always email me with your ideas and I will add them to a follow up post.

Get Thee Behind Me, Starbucks

If this quote looks unfamiliar, it’s from the Bible (only slightly modified). Shame on you for not reading it more. If you know where this quote comes from, you are probably thinking that I am sacrilegious. Perfect. I have offended everyone before I have even taken the first sip of Chai Tea. All in a day’s work.

I am sitting here writing at Starbucks and feeling so grown up. Only people who are incredibly creative and super important bring their writing to a coffee shop. If someone asks me what I do for a living, I may have to say, “I dabble in freelance writing.” Would that be bad?

One of the most difficult aspects of cutting back on a budget is taking a good hard look at all expenditures and deciding what stays and what goes; what is a necessity and what is extra. So, I headed up this investigation and Starbucks Tazo Chai Tea (Venti, non-fat, iced) rose to the top of the unnecessary items list. I was horrified! I made every excuse possible:

I am a stay at home mom; haven’t I sacrificed enough?

The baristas always have stimulating, intellectual conversations with me and I need that regularly

I’m sick of Kool-Aid and chocolate milk

It’s just $4.08 (including tax)

And there it was, staring me in the face. How much was that per drink? How many times do I like to go? I had single handedly plummeted our family into financial turmoil! Not really, but it was still pretty shocking. The so called “latte effect” had darkened our door. What were my options?

It was here that I gave pause and did some deep thinking. Is it possible to not give up this luxury in its entirety? Is there a cheaper alternative? And so my quest began.

Here’s what I discovered. Tazo Chai Tea mix is sold at the grocery store! The box is $4.95. I am sure that you are doing the math in your head already. Each box of Chai Tea mix can make several Chai Teas (depending on the size that you make). Skim milk is always in the fridge, so I was set.

My Starbucks experience is kept even more realistic by saving the cups from my actual Starbucks trips (like today) and rinsing them out and using them at home. For those of you who would scoff at this and you snobs who would never stoop to this level, I pull out this one from the old playbook, “I am just doing my part to be green; to protect our environment. Rinse and reuse so that I can reduce waste.”

Opening Remarks

I have wanted to start a blog for a while now, but so many things kept standing in the way. Actually, to be more accurate, I have been standing in my own way. I worry about whether or not what I have to say will be interesting enough, whether or not it will be perceived the right way and even how people will view me after I open up a little and let them see inside.

So, after much thought and reflection, I have decided to push these worries and concerns out of the way and jump in with both feet. For those of you that know me, this is way out of character! I am such a planner and such a worrier that usually, stepping out into the unknown would not be something that I would consider under any circumstances. But I'm trying to make some changes and see things in a different way.

So here goes. I would love to be able to write about my experiences being a stay at home with two children, my endeavor to do a better job with finances, my couponing hobby, and finally, my journey to becoming the person that I believe I was meant to be.