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Well, at least I think so.

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As I’ve mentioned, Owen loves the show Dinosaur Train.  He also loves to play with his animal figurines and line them up on his nightstand like this:

Normally when I ask him where all his animals are going he tells me that they’re going to Aldi or they’re going to Mimi’s house.  Not sure why, but those are the two places the animals are always headed.  Today I went into his room and asked him where his animals were going.  He responded with, “They’re looking for food.  That’s called migwation (migration).”

Thank you Dinosaur Train.  Never in a million years did I expect to hear the word “migration” pop out of my almost three-year-old’s mouth.

And just in case you’re asking yourself, “What is this Dinosaur Train?”, here’s a video of the Dinosaur Train song that is constantly running through my head.  I’m proud to say that I know every single word…that may mean that we watch too much TV or it could mean that I’m just good at learning lyrics.  Regardless, it’s significantly less obnoxious than a lot of kids’ TV show songs.  Here ya go:

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i joined!

Yep, I’m a member!  I’ve been a loyal Sam’s Club member for the past few years, but then a new Costco opened up at a location more convenient to my house.  Sorry, Sam’s.  You’ve been good to me.  But Costco is closer and I’m all about convenience.  

We received the membership for Christmas but it took me until this past Saturday to run out of my mega-size packages of toilet paper and paper towels from my last Sam’s run.  We decided to make the trip to Costco a family event…and I decided to bring my camera.  Much to Travis’ embarrassment, I might add.  Since we’ve been doing this whole blog thing, I take my camera to a bunch of places that I never would have before.  Yes, I’ve been known to take pictures of my children at the pediatrician, in the movie theater, and now at Costco.  Travis doesn’t really get this and doesn’t really see the need to blog about Costco, but a lot of people who read this blog are mommies and mommies talk about kids, diapers, and where they buy their kids’ diapers.  So there you go, Travis. 

Anyway, similar to Sam’s, Costco has carts with the double seat.  I LOVE this feature.  I wish every store would adopt this cart-style.  You can just pop both kids in the cart and hope that they entertain each other…which is what my kids did on Saturday (but this was probably only due to the novelty of the situation).  Here they are…Owen is happily playing with his Indiana Jones action figure and a storm trooper (of course), and Molly looks amazed at the huge quantities of things you can buy in bulk at Costco.

Then Owen starts to realize that Molly’s head would be a good location for an action figure battle.  She seems surprisingly okay with this…for the time being.

And then she’s had enough.  He’s having a blast at his sister’s expense.  And Travis and I have filled our cart with 50 pounds of dog food and massive amounts of paper products.  Time to go.

I realize that it will be incredibly difficult to ever exit Costco without having spent $100.  You get in there and realize just how very much you need those peanut butter filled pretzels because where else will you be able to get that many for $5!!  Anyway, Costco’s great.  I gotta be honest, though.  I know people swear that it’s SO much better than Sam’s.  Granted this was my very first trip, but I thought it was pretty much the same…except that they don’t carry All Free and Clear which makes me very sad.  The amount of laundry that happens in this household makes mass quantities of that wonderful, sensitive skin friendly laundry detergent very necessary.  Oh well.  The price I pay for convenience. 

If you are a Costco lover, tell me…what makes it that much better than Sam’s?  I’m curious….

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I got this for Molly as a little stocking stuffer…

And I love them.  Molly is still very toothless, but she gnaws on everything.  There’s got to be some teeth in there somewhere.  She’s a big fan of the chilled teething rings, but I like this idea even more.  Today at lunch Owen was eating apple slices.  I took one of his slices and stuffed it in the little mesh pocket, closed the lid, and Molly devoured it!  These are a great way for her to be able to eat fresh fruits and vegetables without having to worry about the choking hazard.  Plus, these help keep Molly occupied at the table while the rest of the famiy finishes eating…a definite plus for me, considering I don’t remember the last time I’ve eaten a meal without simultaneously feeding another child.  

Just thought I’d share!

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With less than 3 weeks remaining until the baby comes, I keep thinking of things I want/need to do before he/she arrives.  One of those things happened to be finding the perfect gift for the baby to give to his/her big brother.  As of late, Owen has been BIG into Hot Wheels.  He loves how he can make them zoom super fast and how they fit just perfectly in the palm of his hand.  When thinking about a gift for him to receive from the baby, these were perfect.  Not only are they small enough that they can easily be wrapped to take to the hospital, but they are also very friendly on our budget.

I knew that Target has them for 99 cents each, and I was planning on getting them there.  But today as I was perusing the weekly coupon mailers, I came upon this great Walgreens special.  From now until next Saturday you can buy one Hot Wheels car at $1.29 and get one free.  There’s  a limit of 4, but that means you get 4 Hot Wheels for less than $3!  Pretty great deal!  I was pretty pumped to get Owen something he will really love that cost me so very little.

If any of you out there have a little guy at home who likes Hot Wheels or need a good birthday present idea, take advantage of this great deal before they get too picked over!

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cars-vitaminsToday I bought these vitamins for Owen. He really hates those vitamin drops…and I can hardly blame him. The smell is enough to make me gag. I’ve known that gummy vitamins exist, but I also have known that the labels say they are for ages 2 and up due to a potential choking hazard. While in the vitamin aisle at Target, Owen saw this box and started yelling “CARS! CARS!!”. I decided it was worth paying a little more for the excitement of eating a Lightning McQueen shaped vitamin. (And he’s pretty close to 2 and does a great job of chewing, so I figured it’d be worth a try.)

I paid $5.24 for this bottle of 60 vitamins. So this should last me 2 months. Maybe by then he’ll be so excited about eating gummies that we can switch to a cheaper brand. Anyway, I was a bit apprehensive about buying these only because of Owen’s aversion to trying anything new.

Whoever created these vitamins knew what they were doing. We now call them Owen’s “Car cookies”. He thought they were fantastic and wanted more. Now the challenge will be helping him understand that he can only have 1 per day.

Now that I’m sure Owen is getting his vitamins, I won’t stress as much about what he does (or doesn’t) eat.

By the way, I tasted one of these gummies. I actually wanted to eat more than one, too!

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my new love

Those of you who know me well, know that I’m always looking for a good bargain.  (Or a way to make money to buy something for a bargain…hence my Craigslist obsession.  Which is still going on, I might add.)  My friends Anna and Abbey have told me about the deals they get at Aldi, but until this week I had never ventured inside the store.  There were a couple of things that held me back…a) you have to bag your own groceries…not always fun with a toddler, b) you have to pay using cash or debit card, c) you have to bring your own bags or buy them there, and d) you have to pay a quarter for your cart.  These may seem like silly reasons to not visit a grocery store that’s supposed to give you great bargains.  Well, it held me back for quite a while.  Probably because I have really enjoyed shopping at Schnucks…I have a favorite checker who really likes Owen, I can go through the entire store and get everything I need in less than a half hour because I know the store like the back of my hand…and there’s something to be said about knowing your grocery store.  But recently the prices at Schnucks have continued to go up, up, and up.  In a quest to save some money on groceries, I decided to get over my hesitancies and GO TRY ALDI!!!

And boy am I glad I did!  First of all, paying a quarter for your cart is not a big deal at all!  You put your quarter in and then you get it back when you return your cart at the end of your shopping experience.  If this helps cut down on the cost of food, I’m all for it!  As for the buying/bringing bags, I’ve recently gone “green” and purchased reusable grocery bags that I take with me whenever I go shopping.  I just brought those with me to Aldi…problem solved!  Bagging groceries was no problem either.  They have a counter where you can take your groceries to bag them before you leave.  I actually enjoyed bagging my own groceries so my bread didn’t get smashed by my bananas…like sometimes happens when others bag for me.  And finally, the paying with cash or debit was fine, too!  I just had to remember to leave the house with my cash and I was good to go!

So, I got over my aversions to Aldi quickly and fell in love when I walked in the door!  Now, the atmosphere isn’t what I fell in love with.  I mean, it’s not dirty or anything, but it’s nothing to be amazed at.  The thing I fell in love with were the prices!  Something kind of quirky about me is that I have this weird ability to remember exact prices of different things I often buy down to the cent.  This actually serves me pretty well in my money-saving quest.  I was able to look at the items at Aldi, mentally compare them to what I pay at Schnucks, and then bask in the glow of the money I’d saved!!  Here are some examples of the prices at Aldi vs. the prices at Schnucks:  Aldi BBQ Sauce $1.19…Schnucks at least $2.50; Aldi Hamburger Buns $.85…Schnucks $1.80; Aldi Wheat Bread $1.09…Schnucks $2.99 (I don’t buy the cheapest bread at Schnucks).  Well, there’s a glimpse at my savings.

I was able to get most of my groceries at Aldi.  They don’t have everything you need, so it is necessary to go to more than one store, but for the money I saved…it’s definitely worth it.  I got all but about 10 things at Aldi.  I was expecting my total to be at least $55…considering it probably would have been close to $70 at Schnucks.  I could hardly believe my ears when the check-out lady told me my total came to $36.60!!!  I was pumped, thrilled, tickled…and can’t wait to go back next week!

I definitely got great deals at Aldi…but I’ve also been very impressed with the quality and taste of the food I purchased.  It was great to save a few bucks on groceries but still be able to provide my family with healthy food choices.  If you haven’t been to Aldi and are looking to save a buck (or $30), check it out!

Now, how do I make sure the Aldi people see this blog post and give me even greater discounts for giving them free advertising???

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my new obsession…

I’ve known Craigslist existed. I thought it was a cool concept. I’d even bought things off Craigslist before. But then I started to think that there could be money to be made through Craigslist. Money to be made that could pay for things I want around the house that aren’t in the budget. But maybe they could be in the budget if I use money I’ve made from Craigslist??

So…yesterday during naptime, I raided the storage area of our basement to find some junk that could become someone else’s treasure. Sure enough, I found 14 items! I became obsessed with taking pictures and putting these items on Craigslist. I even opened a new email address for the sole purpose of sending and receiving Craigslist emails. And yes, I realize that it is almost 11pm on a Saturday night and the only thing that I can say that I’ve accomplished today is putting up 14 ads for things I’m hoping people desperately want, but I already have visions of the things I want to buy for my house with my Craigslist fortune.

In case you’re wondering what kind of treasures you might find if you ventured into my Craigslist account, I’ll name a few. A fabulously cute picnic basket that I’ve never used. A chandelier that was in the house when we bought it. A wine rack. A hand mixer. And many, many more!

I’ll keep you updated on how rich I get.

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The above title is a pretty stretched homage to this scene from A Mighty Wind. But I felt that I needed at least some kind reference leading into this post. Here’s why: this will be the first of what I expect to be many posts on the different movies, books, or albums that either I or Emily have recently consumed and either liked or disliked. Looking back, all of these happen to be positive reviews…

Movies: The Bourne Ultimatum, Rescue Dawn, Juno

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The Bourne Identity really surprised me. Exciting, unpredictable, and refreshingly realistic action. Then The Bourne Supremacy kicked everything else up a notch – without becoming cliched. But The Bourne Ultimatum is, in my opinion the best of the three. The story gets richer, the characters deeper, and the action more intense. I got all three DVDs for Christmas during my family’s Dirty Santa game, and fought hard to keep them. See one of Ultimatum’s great fight sequences here.

Em and I watched Rescue Dawn last weekend. I’m getting to the point that I’ll watch anything that Christian Bale is in, and he’s really good in this real life Vietnam prison camp escape movie. Coincidentally, the first movie I ever saw him in also involved prison camps – Spielberg’s Empire of the Sun, which he starred in as like a 12-year-old. Anyway, the movie’s very impressive, and the filmmaking process even more so. Watch the special features to see what the actors and crew really did to recreate what the real solders wen through. See a “behind the scenes” feature here.

And then there’s Juno. This was the first movie Emily and I have seen in the theater in months, and we picked a good one. It’s not for everyone – rather offbeat humor. But if you were a fan of Rushmore or Little Miss Sunshine, you’ll probably dig it. I’m not comparing it to either of these movies, necessarily, but trying to give some reference. Anyway, the acting’s great, the writing is hilarious, and the movie is much more poignant than I ever imagined. I’ve heard it’s getting a lot of Oscar buzz…I think it’s deserving. See the trailer here. Also, the soundtrack is great.

Music: Into The Wild soundtrack, all songs by Eddie Vedder

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Pearl Jam has remained one of my favorite bands for years. I really got into the book, Into The Wild by Jon Krakauer. So when I hard that Sean Penn was writing and directing a movie (which I haven’t seen, but am anxiously anticipating on DVD) based on the book, and that Pearl Jam front man Eddie Vedder was doing the soundtrack solo, I was pretty excited.

I got the CD for Christmas, and am really loving it. The songs are surprisingly short, but they work together well to form a whole. Knowing the book, I can imagine how it’ll compliment the movie – and in my mind, it’s perfect. The sound is quite a bit softer than Pearl Jam’s usual stuff, but you can definitely see a relation. I’m sure I’ll appreciate it even more after seeing the movie. You can see one of the songs’ music video here.

Book: Born Standing Up, A Comic’s Life by Steve Martin

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So Emily’s definitely the reader in our family. We joke that she can get in three books in a month, and I get in three books a year. But I’m proud to say that, by January 8th, I have officially read my first book of 2008. Born Standing Up was an unexpected gift from my parents this Christmas. But I had heard of it, and really wanted to read it, so I was happily surprised to get it.

Steve Martin was probably the greatest influence on my sense of humor growing up (well, besides my parents, of course). Whether I was watching The Three Amigos (which I can’t wait to watch with Owen some day), Martin bits with The Muppets, or listening to my Dad’s old records of his stand-up live in concert, I found that being a “Wiiiiild and Crrrraaaaaazy Guy!” was the life for me.

What’s so interesting about this memoir is that it focuses solely on Martin’s stand-up career. It’s quite a story; the things he learned during his influential teen years working at Disneyland ultimately led to his sell-out crowds of over 40,000. Reading it, you realize how long it took him to find his unique brand of humor…and for audiences to find it, too. It’s a very insightful book: life as an on-the-road comedian – famous and not famous – takes its toll. If you’re a fan of Steve’s, or of stand-up comedy in general, I highly recommend it.

I got a few more books for Christmas, too. If they’re as good as this one, I’ll have another review for you soon…

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Then you’ll love Trigger 5. Featuring the vocal stylings of my friends and co-workers Amy and Mike, and the guitar goodness of my old intern and friend, Greg, Trigger 5 simply brings it. Check out their “hot off the wordpress” blog on our blogroll.

There’s some darn good music yonder, and I declare you’ll be a toe-tappin’ and hummin’ away in no time ‘tal. Seriously.

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