Sunday, July 14, 2013

More of the Free

You might be tempted to think that dressing up like cows and dodging the cow mascot would be enough excitement for one day. You would be wrong. We were just getting started.

Drew lost his first tooth! FINALLY. Poor kid has been waiting all year. As you might expect the whole thing was fraught with drama. I was not allowed to touch the tooth. Only dad would suffice as the tooth puller, and frankly, I was more than happy to pass the buck on that guy. I do not enjoy a loose tooth. This is something I'm going to need to work on if I'm ever going to teach kindergarten. You think they offer a continuing ed course in tooth pulling??

Anyway, Drew's tooth fairy money was burning a hole in his pocket, so off to Target we went. Drew is the most deliberate shopper on planet earth. He needs to look at and ponder over ALL of his choices. Luckily, on this day, we weren't in a hurry, so he was able to shop at his own pace. He also learned the sad lesson that things cost a lot more than you might think they should. I told him it was a sad fact of life! Being the kid that he is, he was insistent on getting something for Emily and himself. This is why I have no problem giving this kid money. He has the most generous heart ever. He gives away toys without thinking twice if he knows the kid on the receiving end, and he always, always considers Emily in every equation.  So, while Drew spent some money at Target, I did not. By 1 p.m. and I was still at $0.

Our next stop was McKay's bookstore, which I've written about a million times. My whole family, including Big Dan, are in love with the place. A few weeks ago, on a rainy day, we made it our project to go through our books and take the ones we were finished with to McKay's. The kids did a great job culling a lot of books, so we have racked up quite a bit of credit. Here's another amazing miracle of my summer. When we go to McKay's now, my kids will hang out in the kids section and I am free to BROWSE. In a leisurely fashion. The first time it happened I almost burst out laughing! When you are the mother of young kids you hear about things getting easier, but honestly, you don't believe the hype. So, when it starts happening, it's like a fabulous little surprise every time! The kids had a blast looking at books and picking some out. I turned in some movies, so by the time we left McKay's I made $13 on the day. Not too shabby.

Our last stop was Kroger. I haven't mentioned yet that my Kroger just recently rearranged the whole store. This has put a serious kink in my shopping efficiency. However, when you're in the grocery store around three times a week, it's a little easier to get the new lay of the land. Kroger has also started doing something really fun-on Friday's they put up a digital coupon for a free product. You can load the coupon to your Kroger card and get the item for free. Generally, these are things I wouldn't pay money for, but I mean, if you're giving it away, count me in! The last time they issued a coupon, the product was already sold out in the store. So, this week we got two free snacks!

Brown sugar cinnamon caramel corn? Yeah, never coming in my house again.! If you invited me to jump in a vat of it with you? I totally would. Of course, I had to pay tax, so these two snacks cost me $0.25.

I ended a full day in the black by $12.75. Who says frugal can't be fun??

Friday, July 12, 2013


If you've known me for any length of time, you know that I enjoy a good bargain. And really, there is no better bargain than FREE!.

Thanks to the ever informational Facebook, I found out today was dress like a cow day at Chik-fil-a. If you dressed up like a cow, you got free lunch. A whole meal... at Chik-fil-a... for free. Um, we were totally going to make that happen! The reaction of my two kids pretty much sums up their personalities to a tee. Emily was pumped. She couldn't wait to get dressed up. Drew totally refused. No way, not happening, I'm not doing that, it's dumb. We were locked tight in negotiations. Me, threatening to just take Emily, him still refusing. Me, saying things like, "Free! Do you hear me?? Free!" Him saying, "Still dumb." Finally, he got a sly little grin on his face and he said, "I'll dress up if you dress up." The kid nailed me. The truth of the matter is, I'm just like him. Or he's just like me. Or whatever. We are the "please don't look at me" kind of people in any and all situations. Walking into a public place in costume does not rank high on the list of things we want to do. But, the cheapskate in me sucker punched the introvert. Costumes all around!

By the time we were ready to go, Drew was pumped. It was fun, not dumb. I was the best mom ever, not the worst. This is the pendulum we get seasick on everyday!

I made sure we got to the restaurant early, knowing that it would probably be crowded. When we got there it was me and one other lady there dressed up, with our kids. Gulp. But, because my kid did not need to see me flinch, I marched in there like wearing construction paper cow ears was THE COOLEST THING EVER. Did I mention I made pink balloon udders? Yeah. I did. The costumes were a hit and all my embarrassment melted away when I got three meals for $0.

The kids were having a blast and getting ready to go into the play area when I spotted something outside that made my blood run cold. A cow mascot. Have I mentioned how my daughter feels about a mascot? Not good, friends, not good. So, I said in my most mild mannered voice, "Emily. Don't freak out. I just want you to know there is a cow mascot outside." Her eyes got as big as saucers. She whipped her head around and looked back at me in a state of sheer panic. A few minutes later, the cow mascot came inside. I could feel her panic rising from across the table. So, I beelined it to the "cow handler" and asked her to please keep the cow FAR AWAY from my kid. Convinced that the cow would keep his distance, Emily went off to play.

They were having a big time playing. Emily, in true fashion, had already made a new friend. And that's when I saw the cow make a break for it. He was leaving the capable company of his handler and was walking straight towards the play area. I looked over to the giant fishbowl-esque window only to see my daughter plastered to the window, SCREAMING her head off. I jumped up and grabbed her as quick as I could. By this point, the cow handler had steered the cow back towards the other end of the restaurant. But, sadly, we were done. Emily was shaking. Her heart was beating a million miles a minute and she was sweating. Poor girl. This is a seriously real phobia.

On the other hand, I'm the kind of mom who gets cracked up about inappropriate things. As Emily sat on my lap trying to catch her breath, all I could think about was her plastered to that window in panic. I started laughing and I couldn't stop. It was like inappropriate church service laughter that you can't contain. There is nothing like a little girl with wild hair, in a cow costume, freaking out behind sound proof glass. Good times.

At least I didn't have to pay for lunch.