Thursday, July 31, 2008

Frugal Friday preview

Couldn't wait until tomorrow to post this coupon for $5 off a $20 purchase, good today only at Walgreens. Not as good as the previous ones ($5 off $15) but still good.

Here's what I got.

Jumbo pack of Pampers $9.49 less $1.50 manufacturer's coupon
3 2-packs of Sharpie permanent markers (buy 1 at $1.99 get 2 free)
2 boxes Saltines (2/$4)
1 box Wheat Thins ($2) less $.50 manufacturer's coupon
1 box Ritz crackers ($2)
1 box Triscuits ($2) [buy $10 of Nabisco crackers get $3 in register rewards]
2 wireless notebooks (2/$.99) [I keep these in the car for Audrey to color in.]

Grand total before tax was $20.47, less $5 coupon left me with $15.47 plus $3 in register rewards for when I send Josh back tonight! (one coupon per person)

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

In my dreams...

Oh wow, got the new J. Crew catalog yesterday and I am in love.

The perfect twist on a little black dress...

In the catalog it's shown without the rosette belt which I prefer.

These shoes are adorable, I'd love them in bright blue.

I'll take this skirt in bright rhubarb,
and this bag.

Audrey would look adorable in this.

Now I just need to come up with a few thousand to blow on over-priced clothes!

Phthalates Ban to take effect in 6 months...

Mark it down, friends. I agree with Dianne Feinstein about something.
Washington Post reported yesterday:

Congressional negotiators agreed yesterday to a ban on a family of toxins found
in children's products, handing a major victory to parents and health experts
who have been clamoring for the government to remove harmful chemicals from
Senator Feinstein is sponsoring the legislation that would ban three different types of phthalates from children's products and restrict three additional types.

I started cleaning out our products with phthalates (pronounced thal-ates) last year when I read about this study of human babies with elevated phthalates levels. Phthalates evidently act as estrogenic and decrease anogenital distance and impair testicular function. Yikes! I want grandchildren, people!!

They are everywhere. Basically if a vinyl or plastic is flexible and doesn't say PVC-free and phthalate-free on the label, it's toxic. So here were a couple of the primary culprits in our house...

teethers, bath toys,

vinyl books, cute little turtles,
vinyl bibs,

and, *sniff, sniff*, nail polish.

That's right. I have to officially withdraw my endorsement of my favorite nail protein. Months ago I went to Target and stocked up on phthalate-free nail polish and it's been okay, not great--it does chip pretty fast. I guess I didn't think (or want to think) that--duh!--my two week nail treatment would be poison too.
It doesn't stop with flexible plastics. Most cosmetics and soaps that have that catch-all ingredient "fragrance" contain phthalates. So let's clean house!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Naptime Bribery

I've finally found something to help Audrey transition to nap time. I've been telling her for a while that if she goes to sleep with no whining and no crying we'll have a movie party with popcorn on the couch when she wakes up. We've done this for weeks with no luck, then all of a sudden, she got it! I think it helped that everytime she asked to watch tv or surf the web, I said, "Sure, hon, if you're sweet at naptime you can play--would you like that?" Three times now she has gladly jumped in bed for a chance for a popcorn party.

So I'm thrilled, right? You would think. But I really hate her watching a movie everyday--and there's no way she'd settle for a 30 minute TV show. I've tried 30 minutes of computer time but she still greatly prefers the movie/popcorn combination. Maybe I'll try and portion it out and the popcorn party will be 20 minutes or so of her favorite movie. Any other ideas?

Monday, July 28, 2008

Week 3: Monday Menus

Here's what's on for this week--trying not to use the oven much since it's been so SO hot.

Beef stroganoff
Yep, it's been on schedule for three weeks in a row but never actually happens. We'll try again today!
Paninis with leftover pork and chicken
I add crumbled bacon to these to make them like the ones at our favorite taqueria.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Another cute find...

Just tried on this dress at Ann Taylor Loft and it's adorable.

It's also the softest, lightest, most comfortable garment I've tried on in a long while. But because I had a huge lunch it felt a little bit maternity, which made it easy to resist. They are evidently stocking a new designer called Trulli--it had different tags than everything else. I'd love to see what else Trulli has to offer!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Train them right...

I left Audrey alone downstairs for a little bit while I changed Clark and put him down for nap yesterday afternoon. I came downstairs and Audrey had dragged the chair over to the Kitchen-Aid mixer and pulled out the chocolate chips, brown sugar, baking soda, salt and vanilla. She has the entire chocolate chip cookie recipe memorized.

Yes, while some of you parents are teaching things like manners, ABCs, and Bible verses, we are mastering the finer art of "licking the paddle attachment." It was so cute. She said, "Mom I have an idea! Let's make chocolate chip cookies all together! I'll get the eggs." She also pulled out the cinnamon and said, "Is this for chocolate chip cookies or for French toast? I can't remember. Sorry, Mom, I forgot."

Here's my little chef stuffing her face with chocolate chips.

Yes, if you are wondering, cookies taste better if you bake them sans clothing. (Maybe this is why Natalie is having trouble replicating my recipe?)

So we made chocolate chip cookie dough for the third time in ten days. This is really not good for my waistline, but I figured it would give me a chance to incorporate some of the suggestions in this NYT article about the endless "perfect chocolate chip cookie" debate.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Frugal Friday Edition #2

Christine from Michael's in Temple just called and said they are running a 60% off special on custom framing until August 2nd. Just come in and tell them that you want Christine's special! Perfect timing to get some of these beauties framed.

Check out these elephant pajamas I got at Gap Kids this week...

They are still priced high online but in Waco they were marked down to $4.89--I had a coupon that knocked them to $3.78!

HEB has a couple of can't miss deals too...

and peaches for $.77/lb. If they're ripe I'm making French Peach Pie.

Express has a printable coupon for $10 off a $20 purchase this weekend.

And there are still a few days left to use your Lowe's Visa coupon $10 off $25 purchase (sign up here).

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Thinking about bridesmaids dresses

Black Sarah and I have been looking through magazines for bridesmaid dress ideas. Sarah has fallen in love with this one.

I think it's adorable but would prefer the extra little pleats at the knee go away. That's a little bit over-the-top for my style.

I love this one...

and this one...

I normally think strapless dresses are super boring but I loved this sash and big box pleats. Any other suggestions?

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


I'm not a big beauty-product girl but I recently rediscovered this, and I'm in love...

I first started using nailtiques in high school after an ill-advised affair with fiberglass nail tips. My nails were literally peeling off layers at a time. Add in a fifteen year nail-biting habit (which the tips were supposed to cure, yeah right) and my nails are pretty much horrible all the time. No longer.
I bought it again at Walgreens last month when they ran one of their $5 off $15 purchase printable coupon. Even better, inside the box they had a free sample offer, so of course I immediately sent off for it. It came today, a travel size bottle of Formula 2 and a travel size bottle of cuticle oil. Free! Like a $12 value.
It's the little things in life that make me happy.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Preschool readiness

I found this list at my mom's a couple of weeks ago and thought I would share. We have a lot of work to do!

Skills suggested for your preschooler

1. First and last name
2. Address
3. Telephone number
4. Parents' first and last names
5. How to skip
6. How to zip, button and buckle
7. How to put on and take off shoes
8. Correct bathroom procedures
9. Count to 10
10. Identify by touch quantities from 1 to 5
11. Colors
12. Names of body parts
13. Nursery rhymes
14. Books have names, books have authors, book etiquette

Extras (any or all are helpful to know)
1. Days of the week
2. Own birthday
3. Emergency telephone number and contact person
4. How to print name (capital and lowercase letters)
5. Recognize rhyming sounds
6. Do finger plays
7. Recite alphabet without singing
8. Direction words: (over/under, around/through, up/down, left/right, forward/backward)
9. Position words: (beside/underneath, inside/outside, top/bottom, high/low)
10. Opposites: (fast/slow, boy/girl)
11. Sizes: (big/little, big/bigger/ biggest)
12. Shapes
13. Traffic safety
14. Time relationships (yesterday/today/tomorrow, morning/afternoon/night, early/late)

Monday, July 21, 2008

Monday Menus

Here goes week two! We stuck to last week's menu pretty well with the exception of Chuy's for Josh's birthday instead of stroganoff. So stroganoff will get moved to this week. Still nothing too healthy...

Mazzio's $6.99 large one-topping pizza
We have taken advantage of this Monday night special several times over the summer--though sometimes they try and change the price to $7.50.

roast, rice and gravy with homemade bread

Schoepf's barbecue

beef stroganoff

red beans and rice

Friday, July 18, 2008

Frugal Friday

Ok in addition to Menu Monday I thought I'd try Frugal Friday. Here are some of my favorite most recent finds. At Sur La Table, this set is a steal for $39.

My mom and I found this Happy Birthday banner at Hobby Lobby for $9.99 ($6 with your 40% off coupon!).

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Cute new dress

Well I wasn't planning on splurging but Fur-Fur came home today from Austin with this dress (she found it on clearance) and it's adorable. I'm hoping Laura will help me accessorize. I'm hoping it will work for lots of weddings, reunions, etc. There's a cute little cropped short-sleeve cardigan that coordinates with it so I won't be strappy in church.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Petite Woes

I'm mildly obsessed with these shorts. My mom and I went to Macy's last week and saw these (except in a darker wash). I love the big hem, the straight leg--they are adorable. But because I am less than 5 feet 4 inches tall, they hit me in an awkward spot, right below the knee cap. Black Sarah hems everything including denim but I was too scared to try.

We have had a pretty much continuous string of company for the last week and it has been so much fun. After spending the fourth in Nacogdoches, we brought JPB home with us. Patrick and Fur-fur really hit it off--he is like the little brother she never knew she wanted! Then Danny came by Monday on his way home from Fort Worth and spent Monday and Tuesday with us. Wednesday my mom came for the day and Jason, Kendra, Gavin, Jeremiah, and Cathy all came for dinner. (Patrick had made me a birthday cake almost all by himself--once he figured out the frosting goes on after baking, he was good to go.) Kendra spent a couple of days with us and Thursday Stephers came over too. My mom picked up Kelly and Black Sarah and we had a nice big crowd at Texas Roadhouse for my birthday dinner. I just love--LOVE--how our families mix--it really made it so much fun. Jacob is here now and Audrey is over the moon. She started begging to wake him up at 8:30 and I held her off until 10:39. She hasn't stopped talking since.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Monday menus

I'm trying to be a little more pro-active in menu planning so we can eat a little healthier and little cheaper. So here's what on the menu for this week.


chicken stuffed with crawfish jambalaya

These are so good--my mom has brought me a couple the last couple of times she has come to visit. She gets them at Woody's Smokehouse in Centerville (they also have great beef jerky, according to Josh).


BBQ shrimp




beef stroganoff

This is Josh's birthday and even though we just had it last week for my birthday he wants it again.


quiche lorraine

Audrey is kind of obsessed lately with "egg pizza" as she calls it.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

First post...

Well I've decided to start a little blog to share ideas and get some accountability on all of my ongoing projects. I have evolved into quite the little blog-stalker so hopefully this will be a more positive use of energy that will help me get some stuff done! I'm pretty sure the Oliver sisters (Candice and Sara) will be my only readers but the three of us will have a gay old time. I've decided to name my blog "Shannon and company" because we have so much company I'm sure they'll give me plenty to blog about! I don't want to post on Josh's blog because the Audrey and Clark fan club would likely be bored with my posts.

Our good friend Ella Grace is turning one next month and is having a picnic themed party...I designed these invites for her and she is sticking little 3-d ant stickers in the blank space. (I blocked out the personal information in case either of you creepers tries to crash her party.)

Can't you just picture those cute little ants dancing across it?

So I thought it would be cute for her to have a coordinating outfit! I got this tank top at Target for $2.98, then the fabric and buttons cost about $1.19 so this is a bargain gift I will be making again!
"Our" idea (sorry Ashleigh, I have completely taken over) is to take a picture of EG wearing the tank and then design a cute little thank-you card that says, "Thanks a melon!" You guys know I do love a theme. Now imagine if we could only attend this shin-dig! We are going to my cousin's wedding in Austin that day so we can't make it.
If I decide to do a second post (and we all know that's a big "if"), you can count on some fun links and a new layout--stock templates just stink!