Wednesday, October 22, 2008

I am a GENIUS!!!!!! (or at least resourceful)

We had decided not to throw the car seat out.

I kept feeling that there had to be a way to salvage it and truly disinfect it without damaging it, or without having to purchase a new car seat. We even went "shopping" for one last night and found some at decent prices. But what's the best price for us? No price at all! Trying to salvage it would be much more economical.

Anyway, I keep a very well stocked folder full of every owner's manual for every single item we have. I found the car seat's instruction manual and read that the canopy (which has mold on it) can be washed in the washing machine-therefore, it CAN be removed. I just had to figure it out.

I came downstairs and took the seat cover off (which I had previously known that I could) and then after closer examination of the car seat figured out a way to fully remove the straps!!! There is a black plastic part that attached the straps to the actual car seat that I couldn't remove successfully, so I will just pull those to the very end of the straps and make sure I don't submerge them into the bleach solution I will submerge the rest of the straps (plus, there wasn't any mold near those plastic pieces).

So, two down (the seat cover and the straps) one more to go (the annoying canopy)!

I looked on google for help on taking the canopy off. I found a cool site called and found some tips on how to do it. One of the explanations didn't make much sense to me, because I couldn't figure out what parts the person was talking about, but I saved it just in case. I then called evenflo directly (because I couldn't find ANYTHING on their website to help me) and the customer service rep was very nice and explained how I could do it. I hung up and tried and of course I wasn't able to come even close to getting it off.

I examined the canopy attachments even more closely and put two and two together. With the not so very helpful help the evenflo lady gave me and with the info from I figured out my own way to get it off. And I did!!!

So now, I'm off to make a bleach solution to soak the straps in for a few hours and then I will put the seat cover and canopy in the washing machine with hot water and bleach and I will have a clean and mold-free car seat! I am completely confident that I will be able to get it safe for baby Ezra.

My bean bag is lost forever, though. No biggie. We paid about $10 for it and have had it for about 5 years, if not more. We can always get another one. And its one less bulky thing we have to move across the country, right? :-)

The play mat is also a goner. But we found some for under $20 at Walmart and I can probably find some on ebay or craigslist, too. Maybe one of Ezra's grandmas will get one for him this Christmas! (hint,

The playpen is also gone, BUT!!!! We have a spare playpen in NJ-its a few months newer than the one we just threw out, so no biggie there.

I'm grateful for my brain power! That and some definite divine intervention/inspiration!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

When it rains, it pours

Why does it seem that when one little thing goes wrong it becomes the start of a domino effect and then every other little thing come crashing down, too?

Its not the end of the world, but I'm still annoyed and a bit upset. The finished part of the basement has always been sound and we've never had any issues. Our computer is down here and we feel completely comfortable that its safe (from humidity and such).

Yesterday as I was doing some major packing and major loads of laundry (we hardly had any clean clothes left) I decided that I would close the playpen and have Ben take it upstairs into our storage room. The playpen has been down here since the summer, when my niece Heidi used it. As I went to move the playpen I noticed that there was something sort of fuzzy on the bottom. Lo and behold! It was mold!

It was disgusting. It seems that something must have spilled in there (like maybe from a sippy? Benny has used it a couple of times while I've been on the computer). Anyway, mold everywhere on that playpen. I examined everything else-the floor, some blankets on the floor, but everything else was fine. I continued with my tasks for the day and started emptying out my downstairs pantry-moving all my food upstairs, since its no longer going to be full (we're trying to use up all our food). I noticed that a fabric bean bag that was right by the playpen, that I hadn't previously examined also had a tad bit of mold on it. Ugh! So frustrating!

I then started getting paranoid and decided to look EVERYWHERE and once again didn't find anything. Except I hadn't looked at the infant car seat (that Ezra will be using). Inside the car seat was a play mat/play gym thingy that you put on the floor for the baby. I checked the car seat and the actual seat was fine, nothing on it. I checked the visor thingy that keeps the sun off the baby and sure enough the nylon lining did have a bit of mold, just a bit. I then looked at the inside of the play mat and yes, there was mold inside it. I examined the car seat once again and sure enough I looked at the straps that I hadn't looked at before and they were covered in mold. What the heck?!

Nothing else had mold on it, nothing. I even had all of our luggage and suitcases and gym bags under the car seat and nothing had a even a tiny bit of mold on it. We figure it started in the play pen and spread from there. I think I may have put some of the damaged items inside the playpen at one point to get at something else that was behind those items.

So, we threw the playpen out. We threw the bean bag out and the play mat, too. The car seat still has to go. I looked up info on how to clean this stuff off and theres no way I can get any of these specific items clean enough to be safe for the baby (or Benny).

So now, money for a new playpen, money for a new play mat and money for a new stinkin' car seat. It's truly pouring now! If we had known we would have had to buy this stuff for the new baby we would have budgeted it in-no problem. **sigh** Now its just an extra expense we don't need right nor were expecting.

And me being anal, what bothers me the most about the whole situation is that I already have a date set for the installation of the car seat into our car. Its coming up and I hope we can have it by then so I don't start getting all anxious about the situation, because once again, if you haven't noticed, I'm kind of a control freak. :-)

Friday, October 17, 2008

Should I be ashamed?

Despite the current economy and the increase of coupon usage, there are many people who look down upon those that try to save money by using coupons. There are people who may possibly huff and puff behind you in the checkout lane because they have to wait for you to scan your coupons before you can pay. What do I think of this unreasonable phenomenon?

Deal with it, buddy!

I did some shopping at Meijer last night. I got some superb deals! Some of them:
  • Kellogg's brand cereal (different flavors) for $1 each, with coupons.
  • Dawn dish liquid and Cascade dishwasher gel for $1.40 each, with coupons.
  • Minute Maid Fruit Punch and Cherry Lime-aid, half gallon cartons for 47cents each, on clearance.

My total out of pocket expense was $48.03. I had a total of 22 coupons. 4 of them were doubled to $1.00. My total coupon savings was $22.50. My total non-coupon savings was $39.24.

My total savings on the shopping trip was $61.74. I saved over 50% of my grocery bill. I was so happy! I did a little dance before leaving the store, and yes, people did stare at me. But it was worth it! Also, the Catalina (the little machine that prints out coupons for you as your receipt prints out) printed out 3 VERY nice coupons that I will surely use.

So should I be ashamed that I walked out of the store thrilled and giddy and pretty verbal about my joy? Should I be ashamed that I search for my deals and prepare with lists and comparisons before I hit the stores? Should I be ashamed that I sit and clip coupons? Should I be ashamed that I carry a bulky file organizer with me EVERY TIME I go ANYWHERE, just in case I run into a good deal and I have a coupon to make it even better? Should I be ashamed that I am prepared to shop around and not make the first purchase I see? Should I be ashamed that I share my coupons with others that might benefit from them? Should I be ashamed that I stop people in the store because I notice they had something in their cart that I have a coupon for that I'm not going to use? "Hey, excuse me, but I noticed you were purchasing X product. I have a great coupon here for that same product if you would like to use it." Only once has someone declined-and only because they already had the same coupon in their possession! :-)

I saw a lady at the store last night with an awesome coupon binder! It was an actual binder, with 3 rings and it had card protector sheets (you know, like for baseball cards) and she had coupons inserted in each of the pockets. I complemented her on such an awesome binder and showed her my file folder. She said that her husband gave her a hard time before leaving home, saying "you go alone, its embarrassing to be shopping with so many coupons." She proceeded to tell me that she thinks its funny that he says junk like that but when she gets home "he doesn't complain when he sees the receipt!" He knows that she saves them tons of money, but he's just too proud to admit that it takes work.

I love couponing. I love what I do for my family's budget. I would hope that people would be happy that I can come home saving over 50% of my bill, because of what I do. I will stand tall and show my receipts off to the world! I will not be ashamed that we can have extra money because of my snips and clips and deal huntings! :-D

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Back at home!

We had a fantastic time in New Jersey! We got back at 5am on Tuesday. It was along drive back, we ended up leaving hours after we had planned to and we made several long stops. It was so nice to get home and sleep in our own bed (and crib)! We missed Smoochie a lot and it was nice to snuggle with her, too.

So on Friday morning we went to the Manhattan temple and had an incredible session. It was wonderful to finally be back in the temple. The last time we had gone I was in my second trimester of pregnancy with Benny! I was very pleasantly surprised to see that my receiver at the end of the session was a man that has known my family since before I was born. The feelings were overwhelming. I held his hand longer than you normally would in that situation and told him how glad I was to see him and he remembered who I was!! It was really neat, considering he is an old man. One of his sons could be my father. :-) Both Ben and I felt much comfort about the worries we've had in our minds-especially the whole moving thing.

Oh! And we got to see Parson's School of Design!! We got out of the subway right in front of it!! It was so cool! (Its the place where Project Runway is filmed)

Friday evening we (including my parents) went to Aime and Paul's house to stay there for the rest of our visit. We had a great time watching movie after movie after movie. On Saturday we went to wonderful IKEA!! I was able to purchase some things that I've been wanting for Ezra's room and some other little goodies that I probably could have lived without. :-) We then went to Toys R Us where Ben and I found some AWESOME clearance deals on clothes for the boys (boys...that sounds so surreal!!). They had things on clearance plus a 20% more off of that. We got these cute shirts...Big Brother and Little Brother. Oh, I can't wait!

When we got back to Aime's house there was company waiting. Paul's cousin Sondra and her hubby Cesar and their two kids came up from Maryland (Rockland) to spend the night (funny coincidence, huh? Since Eddie and Kelly and their kids were supposed to come up from Maryland, too). We had a great dinner (take out roasted chicken, salad, veggies and Spanish rice from a Portuguese restaurant nearby) and then we had great dessert consisting of ice cream. The kids went to bed and the adults started to have a party! Aime invited two of her closest friends-Nadia (and her hubby) and Diana. We played Apples to Apples for like 3 hours and had such a blast!!!! Ben won and he was pretty proud of himself. Hehehehe It was just really nice to have such a good time.

Sunday morning was another story. Ben and I didn't end up getting to bed until 2am, so we decided that we would skip church. The only real reason why we wanted to go to church was to check out the ward that we will be in. But since we were only going to stay for sacrament meeting, we decided it wasn't worth getting up super early to shower and iron clothes and get out there just for sacrament and then come back to half of our last day. So we slept in a little and when we got up Aime came to tell us to get dressed because we were going to the park.

We went to this really cool Family Amusement Park. It was full of rides and yummy amusement park food. I had funnel cake for the first time! I was even able to have cotton candy (you may not know this, but I had a very bad craving for cotton candy back in July-when the county fair came I think I ate more cotton candy than any human being should). Benny rode on the carousel for the first time and even I got on one of the horses, too. We took a train ride around the park, too. All the other adults and children except for me and my dad went on a bunch of other rides. Ben got on this really cool roller coaster and it was fun to watch. Although, I must say I lamented being pregnant some, because it would have been fun to get on the rides AND it would have been nice to really get my money's worth, ya know? After a light snack at the park Sondra and her family left to drive back to Maryland and the rest of us went to the mall. We had a really yummy dinner at a buffet place and then went home to watch more movies.

We got to bed late again, but it was worth it. I spent some really great time talking with my sister and in the morning we were laid back and took our time to get ready to leave. It was a wonderful trip! And it was very nice that it wasn't so hard to say goodbye to my family, because they'll be out in less than two months for Ezra's birth, so we'll get to see them soon.

Now its back on track time! Packing, cleaning and more prep for baby and moving! :-)

(I'll get some pictures of our trip up soon)

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Vacationing on the east coast

We went to Manhattan tonight. We had such a great time! We walked a lot, however, and now my feet are killing me!!! We had Mr. Softee Ice Cream, which I grew up with and it was yummalicious! We also had some guy do some magic tricks for us on the street and we bought some cool watches off a stand in Times Square, too. They're nice! I always wanted to buy something off one of those street vendors. Hehehehe We also went into the mega huge Toys R Us in Times Square. We had a really good time looking at things. We tried to make it to the NBC store, but they had already closed by the time we got there. As we walked along I started getting really painful contractions. I was freaking out a bit. They were strong enough to make me have to stop walking. Baby Ezra was also moving in such a way that made me be in even more pain. I felt ginormous and I couldn't believe that I had walked so much AND that I would have to walk even more just to get home. All is better now, though.

Today we also had some delicious Termini's Pizza. Oh my gosh, this stuff is THE BEST! Ben and I look forward to having some every time we come visit. It was sooo gooooood! We have some leftovers, and I think I'll have a slice before hitting the bed. We walked some on Bergenline Avenue today, the shopping district, if you will, in my hometown. I saw some familiar faces, but I hate to admit, I didn't make eye contact because I didn't really want to talk to anyone.

We also went to Boulevard east this evening and took lots of pictures of the skyline and we took a few family shots and lots of pictures of Benny, although, Benny was really cranky because he hadn't taken a second nap (like he normally does). He was fussy and whiny and wouldn't smile. He's also been REALLY clingy with Ben-since we left home, so I know its not an unfamiliarity thing. I'll share photos when I get back.

Abuelita and Abuelito have been having a blast with Benny! Playing and laughing and holding him. He's been loving on them like crazy, too. Giving kisses and hugs. Its amazing how he hadn't forgotten them. He knew right away who his Abuelita was and quickly gave her lovins.

Tomorrow will be a good day! We are going to the 11am session at the Manhattan Temple and then later in the day we will go to my sister Aime's house and we'll get to visit with her and her hubby Paul. We'll spend the rest of our vacation at her house, along with my parents.

Our drive out was the most pleasant ever! It was laid back and relaxed and it was awesome to have cruise control! We ran into rain the first 5 hours or so and that was annoying, but it wasn't bad at all. Gas outside of Lafayette is way cheaper. Gas here right now is between $2.80 something to $3.20. Nice prices compared to the $3.58 a gallon we paid before heading out of Lafayette. We stopped to rest a few times and got some good sleep. Ben and I also had some really great conversations-very meaningful ones and it was really nice. I hope our drive back is as good!

I'll tell you all about the rest of our trip soon!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

What to blog about today?

I have plenty of things to gripe about, but I don't want to lie beneath a negativity blanky, so I'll bypass that route.

We have discovered Benny's favorite TV show. Yo Gabba Gabba!

Benny smiles really big when the show starts and looks at us, like "Are you serious? It's really on?! This is awesome!"

He dances along with the music, loves the characters and laughs hysterically at certain parts. We have not gotten reactions like this from him from any other TV show. We have like 17 episodes DVRed so far and it works like MAGIC to calm him down from a cry-fest. Seriously, its like a magic pill or something. We put it on and all drama disappears instantly.

Ben and I really enjoy the show, too. We watch the new episodes together-the three of us. They have real bands play on the Music Friends Show portion of the show and they also have famous people come in for Dancy Dance time where they (the famous person) teaches a new dance. This season Melora Hardin (Jan on the Office) showed up for a birthday party and the creator of the show let it slip in an interview that Jack Black was going to be on this new season, which just started at the end of September.

The other day at Walmart we went by the toy section because we were looking to see what sorts of things we might consider for Benny for Christmas and we found Yo Gabba Gabba toys! Oh my gosh, I wanted them all. How silly, huh? I got just as excited as Benny did (and so did Ben).

The music of the show really sticks to your head, but not in an obnoxious way, they're really cool songs with really cool beats.

Variety magazine has a neat article on the show you can check out:

We love Yo Gabba Gabba!