Save Money on School and Daycare Tuition

Jul 31, 2009

The cost of daycare, preschool and private school is just extraordinary, isn’t it? No one likes to hand over that check each month – and the more kids you have and the more checks you have to write, the more painful the experience.

I have found a way, though, that you may be able to save hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars in tuition costs – but it’ll take some planning on your part.

My daughter attended a private school for Kindergarten and 1st grade. It wasn’t the most expensive private school in town, but it wasn’t cheap either. At her school, parents pay the tuition on a monthly basis (as opposed to writing one big check for the whole year.) When I went in for a tour of the school, I met with the principal privately and said to her, “If I pay for the whole year in advance, will you give me a discount?” Without missing a beat she said, “Sure. I’ll give you 10% off."

Now, 10% isn’t a lot off when you’re shopping for clothes, but when you’re talking about school tuition, it’s a bundle! It’s easily hundreds of dollars. Multiply that by a number of years or children or where you live in the country and it can easily become thousands. You couldn't earn a higher interest rate on that money if you left it in a bank or money market account - and we all know how much (or little) the stock market will earn you these days.

So, that is what I did for my daughter's first two years of school. I'd save all year long so that, come August or September, I could write one check for the year. The first time I went in to pay this way, the school's administrative assistant told me she'd have to call me later in the day to discuss the details of the transaction with me. She said, "No one's ever paid for the whole year in advance before!"

Now, for some reason, though I was doing this with my daughter’s private school, it never occurred to me to inquire about it at my son’s daycare/preschool – until a few months ago, that is. At that point, I emailed the director and asked her if I were to pay the year in advance (for either one or both of my sons), if she would give me a 10% discount. She wrote back right away and said she would. Thus, since that “email conversation,” I have been saving as much money as I can for the new school year – in hopes of paying for at least one of the boys’ tuitions in advance. Ideally, I’d like to pay for both that way, but I’m not quite sure yet if I’ll have enough saved up by the fall. Still, that is my goal. (And, though I say 'I,' I of course mean me and my husband. I refer to it as 'me,' though, because he and I have different things that come out of our salaries. School tuition happens to come out of mine and so, I try in every way to make my salary stretch as far as possible.)

Now, I realize that many private schools already require the full tuition in advance of the school year. When I was a school counselor, the school I worked for was like that and you had to pay right up front. But, if your school or daycare or preschool generally has parents pay month-to-month, then it might be in your best interest to inquire about a discount for paying in advance. After all, all they can say is no. But, if they say yes, you could be saving yourself quite a bit of cash. (When discussing this with my husband, he told me that he'd told a woman he knows that I'd done this. She decided to try the same thing, but actually asked for a 13 or 15% discount and was given it. You never know until you ask, right?)

I also recognize that this requires a good deal of discipline on your part – to set that money aside so that you can financially manage to pay upfront. But, just think how nice it will be to not have to write that check each month and know that you’ve saved yourself a ton of money!

If you try this and it works for you, please let me know! I love to hear about my friends saving money in a big way!

Cheesecake Factory Deal

Jul 30, 2009

Happy National Cheesecake Day!!! And, I have just the way for you to celebrate!

Do you live near a Cheesecake Factory? (Just the BEST place for cheesecake - and other delicious meals.) If you do, head down there today for a slice (or two or three or four) of your favorite cheesecake because today it's HALF PRICE!

My personal favorite? White Chocolate Raspberry. But, I've had a bunch of the others and they're great, too.
And, I've had the pleasure of eating those cheesecakes in Cheesecakes Factories in at least 6 different states. (I have a habit of finding the nearest restaurant location whenever I'm away!)

Hope you enjoy the special (discounted) treat. I may have to take the trek to my local (but not so close) restaurant for dessert!

A Fieldtrip For Mommy

Jul 29, 2009

Joy, in its purest form, can be witnessed on the face of a little boy when he sees a fire truck. Let him climb all over one and pretend to "drive it" - well, you'll have his love forever.

I took my two boys to a fire station a few months ago and we had a blast. My two year old was in heaven, getting to see the firemen's kitchen. (Did you know that, in some fire stations, when the "alarm" goes off, the stoves automatically turn off? Can't risk the fire station going up in flames while they're all out putting out another fire!) We also were able to see where the fire men sleep (they had fire engine comforters - no joke.) And, of course, best of all, there was the fire truck (or, as I was corrected by a firefighter friend of mine - a fire ENGINE.) My son must have climbed in one side of that vehicle and out the other no less than five times. And then, they let him "drive." Happy, happy boy is all I can say.
Even the baby - an 11-month-old BOY - was enthralled and pleased to watch and squeal from the viewpoint of his stroller.

This was not my first trip to a fire station with kids. (My daughter's first grade class went to one earlier this year.) And, though these fire men, on our most recent trip, were very nice, helpful and friendly, they were, well . . . a little bit older than the ones on the last visit. Perhaps it was because this visit was to the firehouse in the suburbs and last time we went to the downtown Austin city firestation. But, let's just say that after seeing those young and hot, hot, hot firemen the fist time, I could see why all the Mommies signed up to chaperone.

During our last fire station visit, one of the firemen put on his full fire gear during the presentation to the kids (mask and all) and told the children that if they are ever in a fire and see someone dressed like this coming towards them, to not be afraid but to go to them because they are there to save you. Then, the fireman said, "Now, who would like to touch Fireman Bob?" One of the 1st grade teachers raised her hand enthusiastically and said, "I would! I would!"

At the end of the firehouse tour, all of the firemen slid down the fire pole, one after the other, for the kids to see and we all took pictures. When they were done, a mom said to them, "Okay, now. Could you do that again, but this time, with your shirts off?"

Oh, yes. The dads all think that the moms take their little children to the firehouse for a learning experience, but I'm letting you in on a little secret. The little boys aren't the only ones with joyous looks on their faces! A trip to the fire station is a field trip that all of the mommies can't wait to take, too!

Kids' Glasses at Walmart

Jul 28, 2009

I know that not everyone who reads my blog has a young child who wears glasses. But, for those of you who do (and perhaps some of you might want to pass this on to a friend whose kid wears glasses), Walmart has a great deal this week. But, it’s only good until Saturday, August 1 – so you need to move quickly.

As I’m sure most of you know, glasses are expensive (especially if you don’t have eye insurance!) And, kid glasses are no exception. When my daughter needed her first pair of glasses, I found that it was cheaper for me to go buy her glasses at Costco (even though Costco wasn’t in my insurance plan, it was still less to buy them there than anywhere that was “in” network). But, even with Costco’s good deal, it still wasn’t anywhere near as good as the one Walmart has going this week. In fact, I think I’m going to head down there to get my daughter a “spare” pair – just in case she breaks or loses the pair she has now. The few times she has “temporarily” misplaced them has been stressful enough! I’ve wished many times that we had a spare – just in case.

Anyway, as for Walmart’s deal . . they have a variety of kid frames – both metal and plastic – on sale for $9. The lenses (which include scratch and UV protection) are $29. (Eye exam is not included – so bring your prescription from your eye doctor with you.) Thus, you can get your child a pair (or a spare) of glasses for $38! Trust me. THAT is a good deal.

This might also be a good time to take your child for an eye exam if you think there is a chance they might need glasses. Believe me - you’ll have a hard time getting glasses for less than this!

Baby Teeth and Bribes

Jul 27, 2009

When I was pregnant with my 3rd child, I decided that I was interested in taking some mother/daughter photos with my then-5-year-old daughter, Jordan. I had seen a great photo in a photographer's window display and wanted a similar pose with my daughter before she got too old.

Of course, being nearly 9-months-pregnant, I didn't want to take them while I was big and fat. Thus, we had to wait until the baby arrived and I had lost most of the baby weight. I felt we couldn't wait too long, though, because I didn't want Jordan to lose her top teeth before we took the photos and they were starting to get a little loose. I had meant to make the picture appointment when the baby was about 7 weeks old, but at that time, the baby was diagnosed with meningitis and hospitalized and. . . well . . . in the midst of all the craziness, I just really forgot about those pictures all together.

That is, until one day when Jordan and I were driving to pick up her other brother from school. Suddenly, she yelled from the backseat of the minivan, 'My tooth is bleeding!'

I glanced back at her in the rearview mirror and sure enough, there was quite a bit of blood on her hand and mouth. UGH! Her tooth, though, was still attached - but VERY wiggly. Now, with most kids, the tooth might still have quite awhile at this point before it comes out. But, not with Jordan. She's the type of kid who pulls her own teeth out!

So . . . when we stopped the car, I looked at her very seriously. I said, "Jordan, I am going to make an appointment for Thursday afternoon to get our photos taken together. If you don't wiggle that tooth or pull it out before then, I'll give you five bucks."

Now, I'm not one who usually bribes my kid, but desperate situations call for those desperate measures.

She said, "Five dollars? I'll get five dollars if my tooth doesn't fall out before our pictures?"

Pleased with myself, I said, "Yep."

After all, this was a good deal for a kid who doesn't even get an allowance and I was certain she'd recognize that.

But, to my surprise she said, "That's not enough. I want twenty."

TWENTY? My five-year-old was now negotiating with me? Who's kid is this anyway?

"No, five."


"Five, Jordan. That's all you're going to get."

In all actuality, I would have gone up to at least ten, but hey, she didn't need to know that.

She seemed to mull it over and then asked, "What can I buy with five dollars?"

A little over-enthusiastically I said, "Oh, you can get at least five candy bars."

That would have been pretty enticing to me as a kid.

Instead, my baby girl said, "How much is a cell phone?"

Are you kidding me?

"Jordan, that's about $200. You're NOT getting a cell phone. Five dollars is it. Take it or leave it."

I sounded really firm but deep down, I was praying she'd take it.

And, she did.

That kid must have really wanted the cash because her fingers didn't go near that tooth for two whole days and that Thursday, we went for our photos.

As for Jordan's tooth - when we were done, she asked if she could wiggle it . I told her that she could pull it out with plyers if that would make her happy!

Driving with Children

Jul 17, 2009

The common belief in America is that it is most dangerous to drive while drinking, while eating or while talking on your cell phone. I, however , would like to add another option to that list which I think is at least as much, if not more, dangerous than all of the above.

Driving with children.

Honestly, I’m not even joking. I am truly shocked that more mothers (and by “more” I mean, ALL mothers) do not have more car accidents (and by “more” I mean, every single time they get in their cars and drive with their kids).

There is nothing more distracting to driving than having a child in the car and, with each additional child you pile in, the commotion quadruples.

If you have children, you know what I’m talking about. If you don’t, or it’s been so long since your kids were small that you’ve forgotten, let me give you a glimpse into my car and you’ll see what I mean.

The average person gets in their car, focuses on the road, maybe listens to the radio and drives. That is not exactly what happens in my car. Oh, I drive, all right, but while trying to focus on the road I am also yelling at my two-year-old to put his seat belt back on, handing the baby bottles and toys from the floor and listening to my daughter sing (very loudly and generally, very off key).

As I merge into traffic, my daughter begins to yell, “Can I have number 7?” (She means track 7 on the CD we’re listening to – and, by the way, it is never a CD of my choice. If I try to put in my music, my two-year-old screams so loudly that the car next to us can hear. So, it’s generally something like Hannah Montana or Sesame Street or Bible School Music.)

“Got it,” I say, as I hit the button to get to number 7 and look in my rearview mirror.

“Mommy! The baby is pulling Bennett’s hair!”

I glance back. “Bennett! Put your seatbelt back on and sit up! He can’t reach your hair if you sit up!”

Both the baby and Bennett start to cry.

“Can I have number 10?”

“Ten. Got it.” Click, click, click.

More off-key singing. Now Bennett has joined in. I smile at him and start to sing along myself.

“No, Mommy! You no sing! No singing!" He starts to cry, throwing his body back and forth in his carseat as if he's having a seizure.

“Geez," I think. "Some people actually like my singing."

Oh, well. Back to focusing on the road.

“I want juice!”

“Where’s your sippy cup?” I ask.

“Down there!” Bennett points to a spot I just can’t reach.

“Wait until we get to a stop light. I’ll get it then!”

“I’m thirsty!”

“You have to wait!”

“I want my sippy!”

“PLEASE may I have my sippy,” I remind him to be polite.

“Pweese may I have sippy,” he says.

“When we stop at a light,” I say again.

He starts to cry. I try to reach over as I drive. I can just about get it . . . if I bend over a little more . . . there . . . got it.

“Here,” I say, handing it to him.

“Can I have number three?” Jordan yells. “No, wait. Can I have the Camp Rock CD instead?”

I glance down, sort through the pile of CDs next to me with one hand, as I steer with the other, and locate the desired disc.

(When my best friend, Shanika, came to visit about a year ago, she said to me, “My gosh. You’re like a DJ when you drive you the car.” And it’s true. I am.)

“Can I have number three on this CD?”

I click to number three.

“Fire engine! Fire engine!”

I turn left at the light.

“Fire engine. Fire engine.”

I start to zone out.

“Mommy! Fire engine!”

“Oh, yes.” I say, coming back into reality. “Fire engine.” Because, let me tell you, if I don’t acknowledge that Bennett has seen a fire engine, or a truck, or an ambulance or a fire hydrant or a tractor or a school bus . . . you get the idea . . . he will keep saying the word again and again and again until I repeat it.

“Mommy! I’m hot! Can you turn up the air?”


“Mommy! It’s too cold back here, can you turn it down again?”


“Mommy. Can we play, “I spy?”


“I spy something orange.”

“Outside the car?” I ask.

“No, in the car,” Jordan says.

I name every orange thing I see. None of them are right.

“Where is this thing?” I ask her.

“In the back seat,” she tells me.

“I can’t SEE the backseat,” I remind her.

I try to focus on the rush hour traffic.

“Look, Mommy,” she says.

“I can’t look,” I tell her.

“Just look.”

“I can’t,” I say, getting more and more frustrated.

“Look at me!” Bennett yells. “Look at me!”

“I can’t look right now. You have to wait until I stop the car.”

“Please! Just look quickly.”

I try to glance in the rearview mirror and pray I don’t hit the car in front of me.

“Nice orange crayon, Jordan,” I tell her. “Nice banging your head into the back of the carseat, Bennett. Baby – please stop screaming.” I try to hand the baby, who is behind me, a graham cracker.

“I want one! I want one!”

“Can I have number 9?”

“Mommy, turn down the music. How old will I be when Bennett is 5?”

“Mommy! I spilled my juice!”

“Mommy! Can you hand me that book?”

“Mommy! Mommy! Mommy! Mommy! Mommy!”

And then, out of sheer frustration, I drive my car off the side of a cliff, just to stop the noise.

Okay, I’m just kidding. I’ve never done that, nor would I ever (I don’t think). But, sometimes, I just want silence. I just want to focus on my driving. I just want to listen to an actual radio station and not a CD of the Wiggles. I just want quiet.

“Mommy, Bennett’s throwing his cars at the baby’s head!”

“Mommy, the baby’s eating Bennett’s shoe.”

“Mommy! Mommy! Mommy!”

Finally, I pull into my driveway and rest my head on the steering wheel.

Another excursion accomplished safely, though I don’t always know how. I just thank God, because he must have had some Guardian angels around us to get us home in one piece throughout all the chaos. I know that I could never have done it alone – especially not day after day, trip after trip.

I wonder if there’s any chance a chauffeur is in our household budget?

Love taps

Jul 16, 2009

I commonly pat my kids on the legs or on their bottoms - for no apparant reason. Oftentimes, though, when I do it, that particular child who I am "swatting" will yell out, "Hey!"

I always tell them, "I'm just loving you." And it's true, I am.

This afternoon, though, when we pulled into our driveway, my daughter began to climb out of the minivan, down the middle aisle, past her two brothers.

As she went by them, my two-year-old whacked his sister on the rear end.

"Bennett!" I yelled. "Don't hit your sister!"

Without missing a beat he said, "I'm just loving her."

Sometimes, the things we, as parents, say come back to bite us, don't they?

Free Starbucks Ice Cream

Jul 15, 2009

I've got a deal for all of your Facebook users out there. And, if you're not "on" Facebook, you might want to create an account just to take advantage of this offer.

Starbucks is giving away a pint of ice cream (one deal per computer). You're supposed to "send" the coupon for the pint to a "friend." In our house, I sent one to my husband and he sent one to me. (Well, he might not know he sent me one, but he did . . .)

Anyway . . . I just read on their site that you can actually send the pint coupon to yourself, so that solves that problem.

What you need to do is log onto Facebook and type Starbucks into the "Search" bar at the top right of the screen. Type in Starbucks and click on the link that says, "Share a Pint of New Starbucks Ice Cream." When you open that page, click on the dark blue bar on the left that says, "Go to Application." That'll open the correct screen and you just need to follow the instructions.

You are best off if you try to do this at the beginning of the hour. They only give out about 800 an hour and they "run out" after a little while. If they have "run out" when you try to get your pint, they'll give you a coupon for $1 off a pint. (Make sure your printer is working when you hit "print." Mine wasn't and I was only allowed to hit print once! I lost out on that coupon on one of our computers.)

If they have "run out" by the time you get there, try again at the beginning of the next hour.

This offer runs until July 19 (that's this Sunday.)

Hope you (and I) enjoy the pint of ice cream! I know that I enjoy ANY ice cream - but free ice cream? That's even better!

Selling Things on Craigslist

Jul 14, 2009

I am a big fan of garage sales. In fact, I’m going to eventually write a blog post on them. But, let’s face it, people do not expect to pay a lot for anything at a garage sale. If it’s more than $3, no matter what the item is, people will tell you that you’re asking too much! So, the question remains, what do you do with the items that are worth more than you’d get at a garage sale? My answer: Sell them on Craigslist!

Ever since our third child was born last summer, my 6-year-old daughter, Jordan, and I have been planning our first “real” family vacation. We want to go on a cruise. We also recognize that it will be a few years before we can “happily” take her younger brothers. (All the parents out there understand what I mean. It’s not a vacation if your children are too young to do anything except annoy those around you with their screaming!) Thus, we need the money to go on a cruise, but we also have a few years in which to earn it.

An important issue, to both me and my husband, is that our children learn the value of money and how to save it. Many times, I have wished that, instead of taking geometry in school, I had been offered a class in personal finance. Now, that would have helped me in life. But, since such classes are generally not offered in schools these days, we need to teach these valuable lessons at home. (In addition, I knew that the way we were going to be making a lot of the money for our future vacation was by selling my daughter’s old clothes and toys. I didn’t want her to freak out when she saw them go out the door. I wanted her to be “invested,” so to speak, in the process.)

So, last summer, my daughter and I created a “vacation chart.” We printed out a photo of our family and cut out our heads. Then, on a piece of construction paper, we drew each of our bodies and glued the heads on top of each “person.” I numbered each family member like a thermometer. Each member’s body was worth $1000. I explained to Jordan that, when we made money selling things, we would color in the “bodies,” to the appropriate money line. (I didn’t think the vacation would cost $5000, but I figured it was better to plan for more than I thought we would need. And then, if we had left-over money, we could go on two trips!) My daughter was super excited about this plan! No one loves to color more than a 1st grader!

After that, we began sorting through her “stuff.” The first thing I tackled was her clothes. I had saved every single clothing item she had ever worn in her life – with the thought, and perhaps, the hope, that I would someday have another little girl to dress. But, after the birth of my last child, a boy, I knew that I would never have another little girl and thus, it was time to part with those clothes.

Selling these clothes was a slow process. I had a ton of them. I don’t know where they all came from! They were all organized by size and so, one size at a time, I sorted through them and began to sell. I first picked out a few items, from each size, that were sentimental to me and put them aside to keep (can we say “future granddaughter?”).

Once I was done with that, I began putting the clothes in four separate piles and labeled those piles from $1-$4, depending on the type of outfit or piece and the brand and condition of the item. I just kept all of the piles in brown, paper grocery bags, writing the price and size on the side of the bag.

Once that was done, (and mind you, I only did one size at a time and sold that size before moving on to the next one. If I hadn’t, these clothes would have taken over our house!) I took a few photos of some of the nicer items. I then put an ad on Craigslist (with the photos) and explained that I was selling my daughter’s clothes, most were in excellent condition, and how I had priced them. I invited people to come over and “shop” through my bags. And boy, did they ever! When all was said and done, I had made over $800 selling my daughter’s old clothes (and a few small baby items). And, I want to make it clear, these were not expensive children’s clothes. There were some brand names, and by that I mean, “Baby Gap,” “Old Navy,” “Carters” – maybe a few from “The Children’s Place” or “Gymboree.” Most pieces, however, were from stores like Target and Walmart.

There’s no doubt that selling these clothes was a slow process and it took me most of the summer. I had to list, and re-list, my ads. You have to figure that when an ad is a week old, not many people read it any more, assuming most of your items must be sold by now. And, I painstakingly sorted through all of the clothes – washing many of them, if they had stains. No one wants to buy stained clothes! I also had to set up times to meet with the people who wanted to buy the clothes. (For safety reasons, I tried to either do it when my husband was home, or a friend was over. Or, I met the people in my open garage or in my driveway.)

Once I felt I had “exhausted” Craigslist and could sell no more of the clothes there, my neighbors and I had a garage sale and I made a little bit more money on my leftover items. (Though, as I’ve said, you never get as much for an item at a garage sale as you can on Craigslist. People are willing to pay more if they are searching for something in particular.) When the garage sale was over, what clothes were left (and we still had quite a few) were donated to Good Will (and we then deducted that donation on our taxes.)

I’ll admit. It was a lot of work. But, in the end, it was worth it! By the time we were done, my husband’s “body” was nearly colored all the way and my daughter was thrilled to be seeing something good come out of parting with all her old items! As I write this, we have saved a little more than $2000 for our future vacation, primarily by selling thing we had around the house, and no longer have a need or use for, on Craigslist.

I recognize that many people out there will think that all of what I did was just too much work. You just can’t possibly be bothered with the hassle. But, I challenge you to really think about it. I am a stay-at-home mom. I am (generally) not making any money while I am home with my children. Thus, any extra effort I can make, (especially if I can get my kids involved in the process) that involves bringing in extra cash into our household, is worth it to me. And, if you pick a goal and name it - such as we did for our vacation fund – then it makes the effort seem worthwhile and, dare I say it, even a little fun!

Now that I am done selling my daughter’s clothes, my Craigslist selling has not ended. We have large closets that we built for our garage and one of those cabinets is specifically designated for things I’m selling, or going to sell. Whenever a child outgrows an outfit (or I clean out my closet and find clothes I no longer wear) or the baby stops playing with a toy, I take a photo of it, list it on Craigslist and put it in the garage cabinet (so it’s out of our way and yet, in a centralized location.)

I have also become the “go to” person for my friends and family members who want to sell things. Recently, my inlaws moved to Texas from New York. Their new house came with a refrigerator, but they wanted to buy their own. They had arranged for Lowes to take away the old, perfectly-fine, fridge when the store dropped off the new one. My husband said to them, “Are you crazy?” and then handed the phone to me. I told them I would sell the fridge for them on Craigslist. My mother-in-law said, “Fine, but you have five days to do it. If it’s not gone by the time the new one arrives, I’ve giving the old one away.” I had planned on doing it as a favor for them, but my mother-in-law insisted that if I sold it, we would split the profit. I listed the fridge at a low price ($200) because I didn’t have much time to sell it (usually, I price high and lower it if I can’t sell and item for that amount). The refrigerator was gone and out of their house in three days and we both made $100 in the process.

As my husband says, I can sell virtually anything. I have even been known, in the past, to find things on the curb for our city’s “bulk trash collection day” and resell them on Craigslist. I don’t do it often, but if I see something of value and I think I can sell it quickly, I’ll grab it.

So, get moving! Sort through your closets, and your kids' closests, and log onto Craigslist. Trust me, you'll be happy that you did!

Oops. Did I say that?

Jul 13, 2009

Years ago, before I had my children, I used to teach high school English. In those days, when I would tell stories about my "kids," I didn't mean my biological ones, but rather, the ones I taught all day long.

One day, I was passing back graded papers to my class. I handed one to a student and, when he saw that he had received a 30%, he said, "Damn."

I gave him the evil eye and, without missing a beat he said, " . . . is a very bad word and should never be said in class."

I smiled to myself. Smart kid. Smart.

Free Slurpees at 7-Eleven

Jul 10, 2009

Okay, I don't normally do two blog posts in one day, but I didn't want any of your to miss out on this deal.

Tomorrow, July 7 (i.e. 7/11) - the store, 7-Eleven, is giving away free Slurpees to celebrate its birthday.

The drinks are 7.11 oz and will be given away from 7 am until 11 pm (or while supplies last - something like a 1000 per store.)

Hope you all enjoy the cool drink on a hot day!

Free Mocha at McDonald's

Okay, here we go. I have another FREEBIE for you. Starting THIS Monday (July 13) McDonald's is giving away a FREE hot or iced McCafe Mocha to consumers every Monday (until August 3) from 7 am to 7 pm.

There is no purchase necessary. The iced drink is 7 oz and the hot one is 8 oz (they are small - even smaller than the "smalls" on their menu - but hey, they're FREE!)

And, you know . . limit one per person per visit . . . I wonder if my 2-yr-old would like to have one and then share with Mommy???? He's a person, right?

I'll see you at the drive through (because, as you moms and dads out there know, it is IMPOSSIBLE to actually go into a restaurant anymore!)


Free Meal at Chick-Fil-A

Jul 9, 2009

By now, you all must know how much I love a free meal! So, here’s the latest deal I’ve found and want to share it with you. And, you only need to make a “partial” fool out of yourself to get it!

Tomorrow (Friday, July 10) is Cow Appreciation Day. What? You didn’t know? It’s not a holiday you celebrate every year? Well, it’s a big day at Chick-Fil-A and they are so enthused about it that they have a proposition for you. If you go to your local Chick-Fil-A dressed as a cow (yes, you read that correctly) they will give you a free combo meal. They say you must be dressed from head to toe (and they have a starter kit on their website with cut-outs and ideas.)

They say if you come in “partial” cow attire (such as a cow hat or vest), you’ll receive a free entrĂ©e.

What a fun activity to do with your kids! Just think about how much fun they’d have making their costume and then going out as a family “all dressed up.”

So, if you can tolerate the embarrassment, then get moooooooo-ving on your costume and we’ll see you there!

Buy Your Casket at Costco

Jul 8, 2009

About 3 years ago, our local Costco opened. And, coincidentally, around that same time, ABC’s 20/20 featured a story on Costco and its CEO, Jim Sinegal. During that special, it was mentioned that Costco sells coffins and I remember thinking, “Who on earth buys a casket from Costco?” Well, let me tell you. I now know the answer to that question.

Last summer, a dear friend of mine passed away and her sister (another close friend) and I planned her funeral. I remember telling her sister, as we discussed funeral arrangements (and the enormous cost involved) about that show I’d seen on Costco and how they sell coffins. I asked if it might be something she was interested in. I thought she would think I was nuts, but she made a joke (or should I say, attempted to make one, considering the sad situation we were in) about how it’ll make her mother happy that she was finally using the membership her mom had purchased for her last Christmas.

Anyway, we ultimately decided to at least look into it. Afterall, what did we have to lose? We went to the Costco website and looked at their options, picking out a beautiful coffin that cost approximately $1800. When we went to the funeral home to make final arrangements, we asked to view their selection of caskets (in the interest of “shopping around”). Their equivalent casket, in quality and appearance (and actually, I think the Costco one was a higher quality of steel), was close to $10,000. Guess which casket we went with? And, not only was it enormously cheaper to buy the casket from Costco, but shipping was free if you don’t need to expedite it.

(And don’t worry, they deliver it to the funeral home and not to your house!)

I know this seems like an odd choice for a blog post, but . . . I love, love, love Costco. In fact, this is probably the first of many posts about them. This “deal” may seem like an strange one, but none-the-less, it’s a legitimate and seriously financially beneficial one.

In addition, who has the time to research these things or “shop around” when in the midst of a crisis? Naturally, most people automatically turn to the funeral home to make all of the decisions. And, let me tell you, after going through the process of planning a funeral for my friend, I was shocked and horrified by how much a funeral costs. Trust me, if and when your time comes to plan a burial (and sadly enough, for most people, that time will eventually come for someone they love), the information I gave you regarding coffins will come in very handy.

Daddy's Name

Jul 7, 2009

Yesterday, after Jordan’s speech therapy session, her therapist came out to talk to me.

She said that Jordan is doing much better with the /r/ sound, but still struggles some with the /er/ sound. In order to improve, the therapist had Jordan working on the name of her dad – Robert.

She said that Jordan had no problem with the first /r/ sound in the name, but was having difficulty with the second /er/ sound.

According to her therapist, after Jordan tried a number of times, with no success, she turned to her therapist and said:

“That’s okay. At home, my mom just calls him ‘Rob.’”

Judging Those Books By Their Covers

Jul 6, 2009

I pulled into the gym parking lot last week and, because it was so crowded, had to park in the back corner of the lot – further away than I normally park. As I opened my door, I noticed that the car parked next to me had its windows rolled down and there was a woman sleeping in the front seat. She opened her eyes, just a slit, when she heard me, rolled to her other side and appeared to fall back asleep. I quickly glanced in her car. There were shoes, a hairbrush, a bike, food wrappers, clothes and books thrown all about.

“Gosh,” I thought. “I bet she’s homeless and she’s living in her car.” I know that in this economy, that situation is becoming more and more common, but I’ve never really come across it.

I opened the back door to my minivan to begin unloading my kids and, as I started to undo the baby’s seatbelt, my eyes skimmed the interior of my car.

Shoes, fast food wrappers, a bag full of trash, clothes, toys, hair ties, drink bottles, books, socks, papers scattered all over, a portable potty . . .

And then it hit me.

Oh . . . My . . . Gosh . . .

I bet people look inside MY car and think that I’m living in it!

Because, in reality, my car was no less cluttered with stuff than that lady’s car next to mine. In fact, I think mine was worse. The only difference between us was that she was sleeping and I haven’t done that in at least a year.

When I came back to my car about 10 minutes later, to grab the water bottle I had forgotten inside, she was reading a book.

I realized then that she was probably just waiting for someone who had gone inside the gym and I had judged her to be homeless!

All by the contents of her car!

I cringe at the thought of what people must think about me when they look inside mine . . .

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