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Monday, May 31, 2010

Missed


Missed, originally uploaded by cmason79.

Ozon F. Hodges
1934-2007
US Army Korean War Veteran

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Summertime Entrepreneurship at its cutest!


I guess summer has quite [un]officially arrived with the itch to host a bake sale. My girls came to me yesterday begging to take them to the store to buy some things for making goodies to sell at their grandma's house today.
So, being the good mommy I am (patting self on back) I obliged.
Here's the finished products. Whatcha think?


Brownies that were so moist they melted in your mouth.

Petite Princess cupcakes.

Cranberry Coconut Cupcakes

Mini "blueberry" and "cherry" pies.

Are these not so stinking cute?!

French fries and ketchup (toasted pound cake sticks and mini vanilla cupcakes with red icing).

Way to go girls! I hope you make your money back and millions more!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Wordless Wednesdays: "There Goes My Life..."


There Goes My Life..., originally uploaded by cmason79.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Post It Note Tuesday

Monday, May 24, 2010

And the battle rages on...

Do you remember my latest victory over the Devil's Warehouse, I mean, Wal-Mart?
Well guess what?!
There's a new leader in command and I just made a new law:
Starting now and from henceforth Wal-Mart shall bow down before me when I should thenceforth enter its realm and shall hand over to me all its possessions that I should demand at the absolute lowest price conceiveable to man. At which point, I will exercise my authority to shave from off that lowest conceiveable price another shilling's worth! Maybe 2 depending on my mood.
Storming the iron gates of the fortress and this time armed with double the ads and triple the coupons I mercilessly attacked each individual aisle and refrigerator bin. I found treasure after treasure that I could call my own "at the lowest price - guaranteed".
I have been trying to save money this past year, as I explained in the preview post of this saga. Not too long ago when I had chillins in diapers that needed formula every hour on the hour I had been spending almost $300 a week. Now that those are nostalgic pasttimes, my grocery bill has decreased to around $200.
I still want it lower.
My most recent goal has been to spend, for our family of 6, only $100-$150 a week.
And if I keep on with my tyrannical raids, I may just acheive that! (Although, I do feel somewhat guilty [not really] considering I overheard the manager say to the employees during the early morning pep rally in the milk aisle [why do they do that anyway?] that sales were down last week. I had to control myself from completely destroying their sovereign of hope by telling them that sales will be even worse this week thanks to my invasion.)

This time I went shopping for 2 weeks worth of groceries...
My total before coupons was: $304.75
My grand total after coupons and comparison ads, *drum roll, please*: $250.27!!
[proceeds to do spazzy dance]

And with everything I got, I may very well make it work for a full 3 weeks.
In the words of the circus train from Dumbo, "I think I can, I think I can..."
So I went and got my hair done...for the first time in 6 months.
You know how much it cost me?
$50
Thanks to my pillaging and plundering it was basically FREE!
And you know what else?
It. Felt. Dang. Good!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Grand Slam Luck


Grand Slam Luck, originally uploaded by cmason79.

Just playing around with my photos on flickr.com! Love that site!

Good Luck


Good Luck 2, originally uploaded by cmason79.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Wordless Wednesday "Good Luck for a Grand Slam"




Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Adventures in Dating











This little mishap only set us back about 20 minutes for our date night with the Albrechts since Mr. Simpleton and Kelly are pretty handy with a jack. But, it was quite embarrassing to sit on the side of the road with a flat tire while all the people behind us on the on-ramp that we flung dirt at as we squealed away, were now passing us...scornfully laughing and pointing.

No, we didn't see them doing it.

But you know they were.

Lesson learned: Never squeal tires...in your good clothes or within 100 yards of civilization where people might potentially see you crash and burn later. ;)

Monday, May 17, 2010

Clip and Conquer!


I've known all along that Wal-Mart honors other grocery store ads and coupons.
So, why am I just now taking advantage of it?!
I am so bad about just rushing in to that store just to rush around to get everything I need so I can rush my way back OUT.
Mr. Simpleton calls it the Devil's Warehouse.
I concur.
I've always wanted to try harder at saving money here and there by clipping coupons, buying the off-brands, going to different stores to buy certain items because their sale was better. I've even bought this nifty little book about penny-pinching, which once I sit down to read it, may prove very helpful.
But I always talked myself out of all those things because I was in too big of a hurry to have time to clip coupons let alone to go galavanting all over town to different stores. Or I'd argue that I had all 4 of my children with me and it was just too convenient NOT to buy all of my family's weekly needs in that one-stop-shopping circus.
However, yesterday I remembered some of my New Year's Resolutions, one of which was to save money and be more frugal. So, off to the kitchen to fetch the scissors and Sunday newspaper I valliantly went. I yanked the insert out to see if I could find any good deals when out fell also the competitor ads.
With that one piece of intel from the Inside Mole I knew that today, today would be a grocery shopping victory for me. (I can hear my theme song in the background: "They. will. not. controoool. uuuss. We. will. be. Vic-TOOORR-iouuus!" And if I had a good pre-battle monologue, I'd give it now. Yet, I digress...)

Armed with various newspaper promo ads from the Sunday paper and my checkbook, I stormed the Halls of Wal-Mart and overthrew the cashier lady with coupons upon coupons and ads from Walgreens and Dollar General, never once showing even an ounce of mercy despite her cries of pitiful, mournful dismay!
She didn't stand a chance.
My army plundered that store like it's never been plundered and took back to our homeland $8, which was rightfully ours to begin with!
Justice was served and all was well in the Land of Mason that springtime afternoon.

(Ok, ok. So, $8 isn't like a mound of golden nuggets or the Holy Grail or anything but hey! it's extra to put in my GNO jar!! Holla!)

Sunday, May 16, 2010

What Were They Thinking?



Have you ever seen anything like this?!
Probably.
But I bet the dancers were in their 20s and didn't have to have approval from their moms to do it!
This video has sparked an outbreak of debate and controversy from people all over claiming things like:
"It's ridiculous! Why would a mother let their daughter participate in such an offensive routine?"
and
"This is SAD. Shame on all the adults that played a part in this!"
to comments like:
"I honestly don't see the huge deal about this? Yeah, their dressed kind of trashy, and their dancing is too old for their age, but seriously, its a dance competition. Its not like they wear those outfits daily in public or dance like that."

Ok.
*takes a deep breath, steps onto soapbox*

Has our society become so simple-minded that all we can think about is sex and sexiness?
Do we honestly feel the need to shove that image off on to our little girls and boys because it's the norm? Because this is pop culture? And for what? Lack of creativity? Lack of imagination? I would hope not! I'm not about to put any blame on those little girls for the way they danced or dressed. They just did what they were taught. And being a dancer myself, I will say this: They were amazing and despite the few bumps and bobbles here and there, I would imagine they went on to win that competition. They possess wonderful skill and talent and I would hope they would continue on with that.
However, shame on their mothers for allowing a dance instructor to even suggest putting their daughters in such an age-inappropriate situation! And double shame for actually doing it!
I'm not as concerned with the costumes, so much as I was the dancing. They showed too much skin, yes. But as a dancer, I understand you want non-restricted movement, especially for some of the difficult leg lifts/holds they were doing. Could they have come up with less revealing outfits that gave the same less restrictive effect? If they had used their brain to get creative, absolutely!
Again, the dancing, that's what bothers me. These little girls from Orange County, CA are, according to the post, 7-9 years old. We're told they're in FIRST GRADE...and they are on stage in a world dance competition bumping and grinding.
Granted, they probably have no idea what they're doing.
But I do.
And it's offensive.
Not necessarily the dance itself. I've seen Beyonce do it. (Although, as hindsight is 20/20, I've realized just how desensitized even I have become to such things). But when I see these little innocent girls get up on stage performing a robotically calculated dance that displays a message I don't ever want any first grader, let alone my own, to be shouting to the world in any form or in any arena, that's when I want to kick and scream and cry and can't help but wonder what this world is coming to.
People, this is too much!
It's not about our minds going to the gutter when we saw little girls dressed in so little and gyrating on a dancefloor.
It's about why weren't more people shocked and disgusted enough to say something about it?
No trophy or prize should be worth letting go of your morals or values.
And what will happen once the girls reach the age where they DO understand what kind of dance moves they're performing? I mean, if their parents will allow them to do this dance, who's to say the next dance won't be as pervocative and pushing that envelope even further? What should we expect from these little girls, their parents and their instructors for the next WoD competition? An innocent graceful lyrical? It would be wonderful, but the problem is the position they've put themselves in. Now, that they've gone this route and done so well, people will want more!
I'm not trying to stifle these little girls dreams or creativity. On the contrary! I'm asking parents and instructors to get creative and bring innocence and wholesomeness BACK, not shove it off the deep end!
It seems like enough is never enough in our society.
Once PG-13 movies used to be rated such because it had an overly seductive kissing or makeout scene in it and the S-word would be shoved in and parents would cover their kids' eyes and ears.
Now, PG-13 movies have nudity and the F*bomb and that's ok, because we are all naked under our clothes and kids hear the F-word at school anyway.
We're desensitized to it all! This is our future, our up and coming leaders, our posterity that we're corrupting!
We need to take the blinders off and look around at the effect our choices have on others.
We need to quit drinking the kool-aid and get sober in this debacle we call our society!
We need to find our morals and values, dust them off and display them on our sleeves with pride!

*sighs heavily, steps off soapbox*

I just wish we as a whole, could see where we have come from and where we're headed.
It's not good.
This dance was not good for those little girls, (I won't even let my daughters watch this video).
If you're not disheartened, even a little, by watching this video, I'm sorry.
Truly, I am.
I don't mean to sound preachy or judgmental - not at all!
I am just hoping to bring light to a subject covered in darkness. I have a right to my opinion just like you do.
And my opinion is, it's sad.
Very sad.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Your typical not-so-typical birthday gift....

So, yesterday was Mr. Simpleton's b-day. (Sshhh, he's 34).
We aren't your typical couple and therefore don't get each other your typical gifts. Typically.
I like to make his cards and gifts or go out and search for something unusual he might like.
I found these cute pillowcases online for $35 + shipping.
I thought they were cute. But not $35 cute.
The more I looked at these pillow cases, the more I thought, "Hey, I can make those!"
So, here they are for a fraction of the price!
Whatcha think?








Friday, May 7, 2010

LOL! I had no idea...

This is a survey all the kindergarteners answered about their moms.
These are Garrett's answers...


LOL!
... but the last one makes my heart super happy!

Delusional Valley: Revisited

Do you remember a while back I wrote about this guy?
Well, he apparently found his way back out of the Valley and came for another visit with us normal folk.

Picture it: I'm standing in the deli ordering lunch meat for tonight's hoagie bar. And you know when you get that feeling that you're being watched or followed? Well, I turn to see if someone was standing behind me breathing down my neck and drooling or staring at me from across the produce section.
No one stood out to me.
So, I grab the bagged meat and turn to go.
When, lo and behold, there stands not 6 inches from me 40-ish Year Old Overweight Creepy Bearded Man. (Although, I didn't recognize him right off, but I knew he looked familiar to me.)
I nearly jump out of my skin because he startled me so, and decided he was the one who gave me the watched feeling I had and must have used his stealthy Chick Pick-up Jet 3000 to zip himself over to me unnoticed like he did. Either that or he borrowed Harry Potter's invisibility cloak.
"Excuse me," he stops me with a finger pointed on his chin and a look of confusion and I can already tell he's going to ask me some lame question, probably about how to pick the best melons...
"But can you tell me what Bavarian-filled Bismarks are?"
I pause, partly because I'm grateful he didn't ask about melons and partly because I haven't a clue as to what those stupid things are.
"Umm, no, I'm sorry I can't."
I look over my shoulder for an escape route.
"Well, " he begins again and motions to a white bakery box in his buggy, "I just wondered. I'm actually looking for something strawberry-filled, but I'm not sure I've got the right thing here."
I peek from a distance in the clear window of the box and notice that they were donuts, obviously cream-filled of some kind, and completely drenched in an artery-clogging glaze.
"They look good, [gagging] but I'm sorry, I don't know what they are filled with." I smile and start making my towards the frozen foods as I had this uncontrollable urge to start putting things I didn't need in my buggy.
"Well, thank you anyway", he says and I get a few steps away.
[*sigh* Home-free!]
"By the way...",
(crap!...Crap! Crap!! CRAP!!!), he continues..."You sure are cute."
That's the moment it hit me. I knew him, alright. This was the same man who tried to pick me up in the chip aisle a few months back!
I couldn't believe it. What are the odds of the same dude using the same cheesy pick-up lines on the same girl in the same grocery store and getting the same sad rejection? Apparently for this guy, the odds are pretty high. How could they not be? He probably uses his Fridays to scope out the grocery stores and find a way to use the same line on a different girl in every aisle!
So, it stands to reason that I knew exactly what was coming out of his mouth next...
"I'm single by the way," he states as he clumsily tries to lean on his buggy handle, elbow slipping off once, then, trying to recover, smiles devilishly at me.
By this time, every other man within earshot of our conversation has groaned to himself, is hanging streamers for the pity party they are throwing for the guy, or is taking notes on what not to do to pick up a girl in the produce aisle.
Unfortunately, I can't think of anything else to say but the predictable give-my-identity-away-and-embarrass-this-dude answer,
"Well, I'm not!"
I saw every light in the attic come on for him as he exclaims, "Ah!" and straightens his posture booking it to the nearest exit.
I almost felt sorry for him and I might have even given him a few pointers on how to use those pick up lines more efficiently if he didn't just completely wig me out. Seriously, just hearing his voice in my head makes my spine tingle.
And don't get me wrong - not every guy who tries to talk to me or even pick me up gets that kind of judgment or reaction from me. (They all get a form of rejection, OBVIOUSLY, but not one so harsh as I deal to 40-ish Year Old Overweight Creepy Bearded Man).
*sigh*
Seriously, I can't make this stuff up.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Baby Bird Blues

Today my son, a girlfriend of mine and I were outside playing in the front yard when we noticed our neighbor's dog (which very similarly resembles a child in desperate need of attention from his owners who already give him more than enough), chasing what appeared to be a leaf.

[The dog will be called "Max" from here on out as I feel this name is appropriate for his personality. He maxes us all out of patience here in our quiet little neighborhood.]

Nevertheless, we giggled at the cute little doggie playing and I mumbled under my breath to my friend, "That dog is something else."

The "leaf" bounced and fluttered a few feet from the tree from which it fell coming to rest and then being pounced on again by Max shortly thereafter.

Max didn't play with it necessarily but rather just stood over it waiting for the next breeze to pick it up and try to move it to its next destination just a few feet away.

Up the "leaf" went and there went Max to chasing it.

As it flittered and fluttered this time, I noticed unusual movement...for a leaf.

(It's a good thing I'm so observant. *rolls eyes*)

My girlfriend asked, "Is that a bird?"

"I don't think so?" I replied in question form.

But my friend was right and it didn't take long to come to the horrific realization that the "leaf" was actually an undercover baby birdie fallen from his nest just trying to stay hidden in the grass until his mother could come rescue him. And the little dog with too little too much attention had blown his little birdie cover.

I quickly rushed over but not before Max snatched him up in his mouth and was carrying him away.

As I chased the dog all the while trying to coax him to drop the innocent creature I rounded the corner just to see his owner there watering plants. She looked perplexed as to why I was chasing her pet with hands folded in prayer fashion. I explained what Max had in his mouth and she immediately told him to drop it, to which Max promptly let the little guy fall to the ground and ran off to find another less troublesome toy.

I walked over with my son to survey the damage. Little Birdie Blue was slobbery and shaking and had hopped to a couple rocks and stuck his little baby bird head in between them hoping he was sufficiently hidden from any further attacks.

I scooped him up (I know - a no-no worthy of a head-to-toe shower in anti-bacterial soap and tons of germ training hours had that been one of my children) and carried him back to the tree from which I thought he fell and foolishly hoped the nest was within reasonable reach.

It wasn't.

In fact, I saw no nest at all.

My son decided we should take Little Birdie Blue inside and see if our conure, Steve, would take care of him.

Hmm...worth a shot.

"Steve, meet Little Birdie Blue." I said as I shoved the little guy in Steve's beaked face.

In perfect unison with my offering gesture, our conure leaned back as far away from the little foreigner as was physically possible. I pulled the trembling baby bird closer to me as Steve straightened back up simultaneously. I pet the little birdie so Steve can see I love our visitor and he should, too.

I slowly gave Steve the chance to be sociable again.

The same cold reaction, only this time he squawked something that sounded like "What the heck!" and flew out of the room.

I sighed.

"Garrett go get some bread." (This is the extent of knowledge I have of birds; that birds fly in groups - hence the confusion as to why Steve didn't like the newcomer - and that anytime I throw bread outside, birds eat it. So why shouldn't this little guy love something yummy in his tummy?).

I figured he was cold in our house with the air conditioner going full blast, so I opted to take him outside and feed him under our pergola.

He wasn't hungry.

Garrett asked to eat the bread so as not waste it. "No way, Jose!" and I made him break it up and throw it in the yard, much to his disappointment. I got distracted watching him and the little bird jumped right out of my hands and began a frantic flittering, falling, bouncing, hopping act to get across the yard.

I stood back to watch him and see if he knew where to go so maybe I could find his nest.

I watched him bounce.

Flutter.

Fall.

Hop.

Get pummelled by my cat from out of nowhere!

Garrett nearly sucked all the air out of the southern region of Oklahoma when he gasped from sheer shock.

I was all over that cat like stink on poo! My afternoon had turned into MISSION: Save Little Birdie Blue!

After a frantic dart-and-grab foot race around the yard, I was finally able to catch my feline huntress. I grabbed her by the scruff of the neck and shook her gently so she'd let the birdie go. As he fell to the ground, she growled at me in obvious disgruntlement and ran off. I looked at the birdie who was on his back in just-play-dead-mode and once again salivated heavily upon. I seemed to hear him yell, "Oh, the humanity!!"

You're right. You've been through enough today. If you were a cat, you'd be in debt with all your lives, I thought.

So, I opted to release him close by but, hopefully with some kind of feline forcefield considering the 4 of them had the yard flanked on all sides.

So, I went to take him back to his tree.

But Max was still searching for a new toy there.

I looked at the little birdie who was wide-eyed and sticky and decided to leave him in one of my other neighbor's big deep bushes surrounding his mailbox where there was hopefully plenty of cover for my Little Birdie Blue.

I said a little prayer for him and a safe return to his feathered family. About an hour later I heard a lot of bird commotion going on outside. I could just imagine the lecture he got from his mother after the initial hug and kiss upon finding him scarred but safe, no less.

Flittering back to the nest, "Just wait till your father gets home..."

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