Thursday, January 31, 2013

Senior Citizen "Discounts"

The hubby went to a sports competition recently by himself that Lauren was participating in.  He was telling me that when he pulled out his wallet to pay the admission fee of $5.00, the cashier took a look at him and informed him there was a senior citizen "discount" available to anyone 60 and over. Since he met that  qualification, he was able to get in for free.  He also had someone ask him at the competition if he was another teammate's grandfather.  My husband likes to pride himself on the fact that he doesn't think he looks his age, so having both things happen within the span of a few hours might have bummed him out just a little :( When he was telling me all of this, it got me to thinking, what other kinds of senior citizen "discounts" are out there??? Has he already missed out on a bunch of savings??  Both my husband and I are considered to part of the "baby boomer" generation (born between 1946-1964). I remember thinking when I first met my husband, that he was my age.  This is a picture from when we first met.  Wow, look at the size of those glasses!!!

Fast forward to 2013.  I no longer wear my hair so short or get perms and my hubby's hair is now silver.

I like to tell my husband that he is like a fine wine, he has aged very well :)  Having children that are 29, 16 and 8 are what is going to keep us young.  I personally am looking forward to turning 50 this coming July, I can officially join the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) and start getting some senior citizen "discounts."  To celebrate my birthday, maybe we'll take the kids out to a restaurant that has an "early bird" dinner!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Clearance and Coupons

Before Lauren took off last weekend with her friends to go looking for a dress and pair of shoes for a dance at school, I told her that I had coupons for Kohl's and Payless.  Both my mom and my husband's parents used coupons.  Lauren has grown up watching both the hubby and I using them. I have taught my daughter well.  She used both of the coupons!  I went last week looking for some long pants and long sleeved shirts for Dominic at Sears. Even though I didn't have coupons, they had tons of winter clothes on clearance for men, women and kids and most of it was an additional 30% off.  I got Dominic two long sleeved shirts, two pairs of pants, and a fleece jacket.  For myself, I got a pair of jeans and two sweaters. Now is the best time to stock up on winter clothes.  Most of the stores are bringing in the spring and summer stuff.  Just about any store you go to will have at least one aisle (or at a minimum, a few shelves or racks) marked "clearance."  I went looking for Christmas cards a few weeks after Christmas at Meijer.  I think I got them for 50 percent off.  I thought I was getting a great deal, but then a week or so later they had marked down their holiday stuff even more.  It was 90% off!!  Geez, that's almost giving it away.  It really blows my mind that stores will mark their merchandise that much off.  I learned an important lesson though last winter about clearance items.  Dominic was in desperate need of a winter coat and L.L. Bean had one on clearance, it was Dominic's size and everything.  I kept checking back on the website, hoping the price would go down even further.  I waited too long!!! I ended up having to buy him a coat full-price!  I was so upset with myself.  Never again will I let that happen.  I don't carry binders or shoeboxes into stores when I go shopping, but we do have our food coupons in an accordian file.  It's small enough to fit in my purse and I go through it every week or so and file the new coupons and toss the expired ones.  A year or so ago, I bought a zippered pencil case (it was in the clearance area at OfficeMax) and in that I put my coupons for non-grocery items.   I always have it in my purse. Before I bought my pencil case, I would leave the non-grocery coupons at home.  Inevitably, I would be out shopping, wishing I had a particular coupon with me! Another lesson learned - always take my coupons with me!! Check with the different stores you shop at, most will have a shopper's "loyalty" card.  I have yet to get one that costs anything.  Taking a few minutes to fill out the form in person or online will save you money at the checkout.  There will usually be a place on the form to put your e-mail account - do it!  I get coupons that way too. When I went to Sears less than a week ago to get some socks for Lauren, the clerk said, "do you know you have points on your "rewards" card?"  She was able to apply the points towards my purchase of the socks - it took an additional $5.00 off the bill.  It made my day!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Books and Tickles


Dominic's interest in reading has just exploded over the past couple of months.  I have discovered Dr. Seuss books at our local library that I don't ever remember reading when I was little.  I love the Dr. Seuss books because they have a lot of repetition, which is the best way to learn to read.  We are very fortunate that we have a library within a few miles of our house. They have a color coded system so you can look at the spine of the book and know if the reading level is correct.  At Dominic's last Individualized Education Program (IEP) meeting in October (a once a year meeting to discuss his goals and objectives), they told me he is "fluently" reading at a first grade level.  Even though he is about halfway through third grade, I am a proud mom.  That was something I could have only dreamed about back when he would throw books across the room, slap them shut in my face, yell and run away! Something I thought of last week to get him to want to read even more was that if he read me a book he would get tickled.  He loves to say, "tickle me on MY belly!" Today, since his school has off, we have been doing a lot of "books and tickles." In the picture above, he is reading his favorite Dr. Seuss book from the library - it's called, "I Wish that I Had Duck Feet."  It's kind of a silly book, but I like it because he knows all the words and it's over 50 pages long.  Given that Dominic has Autism and ADHD, I give credit to any book that can keep his attention long enough for him to read all those pages and not get super frustrated :)  He rarely gets upset these days when he doesn't know a word.  He'll usually just point to the word he doesn't know and say, "what's this?"  It will only take one or two times and he'll remember.  We have been pulling books out of the bookshelf today that were Lauren's favorites when she was little and Dominic can now read them. It is so incredibly cool to watch that. I can't wait to see what book he'll want to read next!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Paying it Forward

Today, I was doing a little grocery shopping at one of the stores here in town.  I had a medium amount of items in my cart and was waiting for the gentleman ahead of me to finish checking out.  Out of the corner of my eye, I saw an elderly woman with about three items in her cart come up behind me.  I told her to go ahead of me since she only had a few items.  She seemed a little flustered and was telling me her kitty was out in her car. I guess she was hoping to stop briefly in the store, get what she needed and get out quickly. While we were waiting in line, she looked down into my cart and noticed I had some reduced yellow and orange peppers.  She was asking me if there were more and where they were in the store.  I told her they had plenty and they were in the back of the store.  I decided that it was easier for me to get out of line and get another bag of peppers, so I let her have mine.  I said, "I have my tennis shoes on and could use the exercise!" I have let people go in front of me before at the store, but I don't know if I've ever taken something out of my cart and given it to somebody.  My parents are older and I would hope that at their store where they shop at, that somebody would do something like that for them.  Back before I had a cell phone, I got a flat tire and had to pull off the side of the road.  I tried to flag a police car down, but none were stopping. After a little while, a truck stopped behind my car and a couple of guys got out.  They said they could change my tire for me. I let them do it and offered to pay them. They refused to take my money and their response back to me was, "we wouldn't want our wives out here and we would hope somebody would help them if they needed it."  I never got their names, but I was so grateful to them!!  Dominic has the same bus driver for both the morning and afternoon.  He is so nice, always has a smile on his face and most importantly, is never late!!  It definitely takes a special person to drive a bus for special needs children.  Since the beginning of the school year, I have been baking him muffins, breads or cookies and giving them to him at random times.  He is SO appreciative!!  Teachers get gifts from students, but I think sometimes the bus drivers get overlooked.  I feel like it's a small token of my appreciation to him for transporting Dominic to and from school every day :)  When you see someone in a wheelchair, offer to open up the door.  If a mom is struggling with crying/screaming kids behind you at the library, let them go ahead of you.  I wish someone would have done that for me in those early years with Dominic!  When life gets busy and chaotic, take the time to slow down for just a minute or two and find ways to "pay it forward."  It will make you feel really good inside :)

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Library "Etiquette"

A few months ago, I was in my local library and a lady (and I think her son) came in.  They were having a very loud and intense discussion the entire time that they were in the library.  I was kind of curious as to whether the librarian was going to tell them to keep their voices down.  No employees of the library said anything to them and this lady and her son kept talking loudly until they left. I was raised to keep your voices low and/or whisper in the library.  I have worked really hard with Dominic to get him to understand that in different places (like a library)  you use a different tone or level of your voice.  I have a "buddy" that works at the library and when we bump into each other, I always make sure that she and I conduct our conversations quietly.  I looked at my library's website and found a "code of conduct" or as I like to call it, library "etiquette" rules.  There are actually 20 rules listed. Rule number ten said you can't sleep for more than 15 minutes at a time.  Rule number eleven had to do with personal hygiene (you can't bathe, shave or wash and dry clothes in the restroom).  Rule number four had to do with disturbing others.  It said in particular you can't sing or talk loudly. I would definitely qualify the lady and her son as disturbing others.  What I found interesting was that most people in the library that day were just ignoring how loud and rude they were.  My own personal opinion is that when you act that way, you are not being respectful to others. How about you? Does it bug you when people are loud and don't follow library "etiquette" rules??

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

A Real "Comedian"

One thing that has slowly evolved over the past couple of years with Dominic has been watching his true personality come through.  He is a lot like me in that we think similar things are funny and we both tend to be kind of silly sometimes. For the past couple of months, Dominic at least a few mornings a week, will take all of his sheets off his bed and toss them in the middle of the bedroom floor. When he does it, I will ask him, "so, do you think that's funny to take the sheets off your bed??"  His response is always the same, "YES!" Over the weekend, my husband was watching a football game on the television. It was the Washington Redskins game which is rarely on here where we live and the hubby was pretty engrossed in watching it. Dominic kept positioning himself right smack in front on my husband and kept sticking his finger up his nose. I was in the kitchen kind of chuckling to myself.  Another thing Dominic likes to do is to build a tower of wood blocks and then knock them over on the kitchen table while my husband is sitting there just to get a rise out of him.  I try not to laugh, but it is kind of funny, he looks right at my husband while he's doing it! From time to time, Dominic will call me "grandma" just to bust my chops.  I always say the same thing back, "I'm old enough to be your grandma, but I'm mommy!"  The picture below is one I took during the summer.  The little stinker filled the bucket part of the way up with water and then proceeded to throw it at me.  Look at that smile - he knows EXACTLY what he is doing!!!

We like to tell Dominic that he's a real "comedian" when he goofs around with us.  I think it's actually kind of cool.  Trying to engage us and get our attention is a non-autistic behavior.  Maybe Dominic has a future in comedy, who knows???  Only time will tell :)

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Cobbler, Slump or Pandowdy??

For about the past week, I've had an idea for a dessert that involves fruit and biscuits.  The hardest part has been deciding what to call it!! After looking through a bunch of cookbooks and researching online, I have it narrowed down to these - cobbler, slump or pandowdy.  To make it even harder, the hubby was telling me last night he was planning on eating this for breakfast. If he does that, would it still be considered a dessert? or would it be a breakfast cobbler, slump or pandowdy? What do you think this should be called? My husband was saying it doesn't matter what I call it, it just matters what it tastes like!! He had two helpings this morning for breakfast, so I guess that means he liked it :)


21-ounce can peach pie filling
8 pack refrigerated biscuits (any brand)
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly spray a 9-inch pie pan with non-stick spray.  Pour filling into pan and spread evenly so the bottom is covered.  In one bowl, melt the butter in microwave.  In another bowl, put the sugar and cinnamon and combine well.  Cut each biscuit in half and flatten slightly.  Dip each half into the butter first and then the cinnamon/sugar mixture.  Place biscuits on top of the filling and press down gently. If you have any cinnamon and sugar mixture left over, sprinkle the remaining all over the top.  Bake for 25 minutes. Serve with whipped topping or ice cream if desired. When cool, cover with foil or plastic wrap and store in fridge.  To reheat for breakfast or a snack, pop into the microwave for about 45 seconds.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Realistic Resolutions

The hubby and I had a conversation yesterday morning about resolutions.  He said he doesn't make New Year's resolutions because most people he knows can't keep them.  I've known my husband for over 22 years and I didn't know that about him :) I asked him if it was because most people make unrealistic resolutions and he said yes. I was watching a story on our local news station last night and they were interviewing the managers of different fitness centers in the area.  They were saying that they get a big increase in gym membership at the very beginning of the year, but then after a little while it drops off.  The reporter was asking why and one of the managers said something like, "most people want instant results, if they aren't losing two pounds a week they get discouraged."  One of my resolutions for 2013 is to continue to strive for good eating habits and make sure I find time for a 20-minute walk at least three times a week.  During different times last year, I would come up with excuses not to exercise  and I wasn't always eating as healthy as I could be.  Having a couple heart "issues" means it is absolutely essential I limit my sodium intake.  I don't want to have to add another medication to the four I already take!!  As moms, it's not always easy to find times in our schedules for ourselves. Another resolution is to get our whole house less cluttered. I had planned on using the holiday break to get things more organized, but the last couple of weeks of December ended up being kind of chaotic. My hubby painted all of our kitchen cabinets as a Christmas present to me, so we had drop cloths all over the place.  After he finished with that, we got our new kitchen floor after two months of a subfloor. At one point, we had our refrigerator and stove in our family room and our washer and dryer in the garage.    Both Lauren and Dominic have been sick the entire Christmas break and are almost back to feeling 100%, but not quite.   Lauren has had pneumonia and Dominic has had both an upper respiratory and stomach virus. All of my focus has been on getting them feeling better before next week when they go back to school.  Once things get back to normal with the "kids",  I am spending part of a day organizing all my papers, one stack at a time!  When I look at something I need to do in it's entirety, it can be very overwhelming.  Instead I'm going to look at projects I need to do and break it down into smaller chunks.  It's seems easier to handle that way :) One last thing I want to do before 2013 is over is to finally write the cookbook I've been talking about writing for years.  Since it's only the beginning of January, I think it's realistic to think I can have it ready to publish in time for Christmas. My approach to resolutions for 2013 is to make them more realistic for myself.  I know I'll have a much easier time keeping my resolutions if I do that!!

Welcome to "Holland"

Have you ever heard of the "Welcome to Holland" story? I had heard of it, but never read it until about a week ago. It is wr...