Thursday, April 30, 2009

April grocery savings

I tallied up my grocery savings for the month of April today, and I was amazed at how much I was able to save in my first full month of really organized, focussed couponing. The total was: $974.16! My goal was $750, so I'm really thrilled with this amount. The actual money out of pocket that we paid for all our groceries was just over $200. We had to go to Publix tonight to get some things for a school assignment Joey had (he had to write a step by step paper about how to do something- anything, of his choice. He chose "how to make a patty melt", then he had to make a video of him completing the steps he wrote.) While we were there, I used my 6 "buy 1 get 1 free" Schick razor coupons on the razors that were already BOGO- so I got 12 three and four packs of razors for essentially free- all I had to pay was tax. The cashier (who was about a 19 year old girl) got so flustered over my coupons, she kept saying "you know, I hate you. I am going to steal your coupons!" It was kind of odd, but John really got a kick out of how she so grudgingly announced "you saved $75.00 today at Publix." :) My "big" shopping trip will be Saturday, because that's when some of the new sales start- I'll make sure to avoid that cashier's line, because she'd probably combust if she saw the stack of coupons I have ready for THAT shopping trip!
Edit: Here's the video that Joey made for school. He filmed and edited it all himself, and wrote the music on Garageband. The best part was that we split the patty melt three ways after it was done- it was GOOD!

Monday, April 27, 2009

James Taylor concert

I'm just back from the James Taylor concert, here is the setlist:

It’s Growing (not sure of the title, but I think that’s it)

What A Mighty Storm

Witchita Lineman

Country Road

Why Baby Why

Oh What A Beautiful Morning (from Oklahoma)



You’ve Got a Friend

Shed A Little Light


Hound Dog

Down In the Hole (sez JT: “Here’s a song about clinical depression. Hope ya like it!") :)

a cover that I didn’t recognize, originally by Junior somebody

Sweet Baby James

Fire & Rain

Sweet Potato Pie

On My Roof

Steamroller Blues

Carolina In My Mind

Shower the People

Whenever I See Your Smilin’ Face

Walking Man

How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You)

You Can Close Your Eyes

The two partially acapella songs that he did with his 4 backup singers were worth the price of admission alone, they were "Shed A Little Light" and the final encore, "You Can Close Your Eyes". Here is a video from a few years ago of that song- so beautiful!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Random bits o' stuff....

I don't have anything substantial enough to generate a whole blog item from, so here are short random bits of things I wanted to get out to my blog readers (all three of you!)

Tomorrow is my last concert for a while, (though I heard a rumor that my musical boyfriend Rick Springfield is coming to town, so there's hope on the horizon) I'm seeing James Taylor in Clearwater. I think this will be the 5th time I've seen him in concert, but I'm not sure. His concerts are so mellow and soothing, I just love seeing him at small venues like Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater. The show is sold out, but my seat isn't bad at all- 21 rows from the stage. Considering that I once saw him at a huge hockey stadium where the only glimpse of him I could see was the occasional stage lights gleaming off his bald head, those are excellent seats.

We got a letter in the mail this week that Joey has been selected to receive and academic award a week from tomorrow. They are having an award ceremony at school, we don't know what exactly he's getting an award for but I'm tickled pink about it. He has to wear dress pants and shirt, which means we need to shop this week- he's had such a growth spurt that his dress pants end a few inches above his ankles!

For any of you who would like to check out the articles I've written recently, the page with links to all of them is here. The last two articles were assigned topics, so they are a pretty light- one on the top 10 Meat Loaf songs and one (not yet published) on venues for children's birthday parties in the Clearwater area.

Check out my coupon tracker on the right of this page- my goal was to save $750.00 in coupons for this month and as of today I'm at $861.67! I've really stocked up on a lot of things, plus many of the things that I've gotten free with coupons I've given away to friends and to the food pantry at church. My out of pocket cost for all the groceries this month is just over $200.00, it's really worth the time to cut, organize and plan those coupons.

That's all the news from here for now. I'd better go check the rump roast (buy one, get two free with coupons- I got $40 worth for $13!) we're cooking in the slow cooker with corn on the cob to eat while we watch the wrestling pay-per-view tonight. Yum! :)

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Good news on the job front!

The supervisor of all the school libraries in the county sent an email last night that sounds like good news for my job next year. A few months ago, I was told that each school would have to eliminate one of four jobs, with media specialist being one of the four possibilities. The email I just got, while full of loopholes and qualifiers, seems to indicate a much better outlook than that. It's a lot of doubletalk, but here's what it says:
"Based on our current understanding, you may complete your roster on the assumption
that media specialist positions will not be affected by the budget reductions." That's good news, as long as their "current understanding" and "assumptions" don't change at random.

This week Joey signed up for his classes for next year, his required classes are Bible, English, history, science, P.E. and math. His math class will be pre-algebra, it puts him on the accelerated math track so he can do "dual enrollment" classes in high school to complete his college math classes as a high school junior and senior. His elective class is media production (like making videos with a camcorder and computer software), it usually is only for grades 9-12, but the teacher is letting him in the class as a 7th grader because of his experience running the video camera at church. I'm fairly worried about the pre-algebra class, since I'm having a hard time keeping up with his regular 6th grade math this year! I'm NOT a math person- math is a dark and scary thing for me. We'll see how it goes, any math whizzes out there?

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Easter pics...better late than never?

Here is a picture of Joey and I coloring eggs last Saturday night. I was a little worried that Joey might think he was "too old" for Easter events like that, but he didn't even hesitate when I asked if he wanted to color eggs. I boiled the eggs earlier in the day while John and Joey were at the gun range, and I almost ruined them. Since I have zero domestic skills, I really didn't know how long to boil an egg. I just put them on the stove and left them for a half hour- apparently that's not the right way to do it, because a lot of the shells cracked. Oh, well I never claimed to know my way around the kitchen! We did have a good time coloring our rubberized, vastly overcooked eggs anyway. We all had our own Easter baskets on Sunday morning too, there was a lot of chocolate around. We went to the sunrise service at church, then to my mother in law's house for lunch. It was a very full day, but we had a good time. (Oy, I just realized that I'm wearing the same exact shirt in the last three pics of myself I've posted here. Apparently, I really like that shirt!)
We don't have any big plans for the weekend, tomorrow the boys are going to the gun range and I'm going doing my weekly grocery shopping. It's a wild, wild life we live. :) I had another freelance article published this week, submitted a third and picked up assignments for two more. I'll post a link to my home page where you can see the articles I publish soon, if anyone is interested.
As of tomorrow, there are 32 days of school left for me, and a even less for Joey- summer is rapidly approaching, thank goodness!

Friday, April 10, 2009

In memory...never forget the danger of driving impaired

I was shocked to pick up the newspaper earlier this week and see the face of an old friend on the front page of the local section. Tina (Howard) Harrison, a local jazz singer and music minister, was killed by an drunk driver last Saturday night in Tampa. She performed under the name Tina Lad'e, you can listen to her music on her website. Tina was a friend of mine in middle school and high school, I'll never forget when we ate school lunch together every day in 7th and 8th grade- she had a BIG personality and always kept us laughing. Please take a moment to read the article and remember her, especially my friends here who knew her. The driver that hit her was under the influence of alcohol and multiple drugs, never forget the deadly damage that driving drunk or impaired can cause. She was 39, and leaves behind three children and one grandchild.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

I got paid for freelance writing today! (Yes, I'm easily thrilled.)

About a week ago, I read in a magazine about doing freelance writing for Associated Content. They purchase freelance writing on topics of the writer's expertise, and also offer writing assignments based on topics that they choose. They don't pay much- if I do 2 or 3 articles a week over the course of a month I might make enough for a dinner out- but I'm just vain enough to be giddily thrilled by seeing my byline on an article and getting comments from readers. I've written two articles for them so far, one on the best vampire books for young adults and the other on preparing a child for open heart surgery. The second article is three times longer than the first, I'm still waiting on them to approve it. However, the vampire lit article was approved yesterday and sure enough, some cash from Associated Content showed up in my Paypal account today! If you'd like to read the article, here is the link to it:

Beyond Twilight: The Best Vampire Fiction for Young Adults
There is more to the teen vampire genre of books than Stephenie Meyer's Twilight. Here are five recommended vampire books for young adults, with plot summaries and notes of age appropriateness.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Coupon madness!

Last Monday, my mother in law and I took a coupon class with Sherri McCann, whose couponing blog I have been following for about a month. She taught us how to match up coupons with the best sales to save money, it was very good (and fun) class. Today, I put that class into action at the grocery store, and it was thrilling to save so much money. (Yes, apparently I am easily thrilled.) I spent $67.82, but I saved $148.33! My groceries at full cost would have been over $200.00, but I walked out paying less than $68! I even stocked up on frozen pizzas (the good ones, not the cardboard ones) and boneless pork roasts (buy one, get two free with coupon) so we won't have to buy meat for a while. I'm keeping track of my coupon savings for the month on the right side of my blog, I'm interested to see just how much I can save. If you want to save some serious coin, check out Sherri McCann's blog- it certainly worked for me! She has "live" classes in the Tampa Bay area, or she can mail out her class in book form- I started with the book, then took the class later but even just the book will get you off to a great start. (I love the vintage grocery picture in this blog- I had a great time looking at old pics on Google image search!)

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Concert report: Colin Hay

Last night I saw Colin Hay in concert, and it was a really remarkable show. I nearly always enjoy the music at every concert that I go to- I mean, you wouldn’t drop the cash on a ticket unless you had a reasonable assumption that you will like the music. This show was different- not only did I enjoy the acoustic music, I also alternated between laughing until it hurt and surprisingly, having tears run down my face in response to songs that I had never even heard before that moment. The show was at the Largo Cultural Center, a very small venue, and my seats were three rows from the stage. From the start, Colin Hay told stories that were genuinely hilarious. He was cursing a blue streak, (actually not so much a streak, it was just one word, over and over, used in every part of speech), and he finally said (in that beautiful Scottish accent of his) “I’m sorry for my language if there are any children here. But, the fact is that I’m simply a very bad man.” He sang many of his 80’s hits with Men At Work, such as “Who Can It Be Now”, “Down Under” and (my fave 80’s song of his) “Overkill”. He also did a great selection of his solo music, with highlights being “Beautiful World” (one of the top 5 songs on my iPod), “Waiting For My Real Life to Begin”, “I Don’t Think I’ll Ever Get Over You” and “Are You Looking At Me?”
He sang two songs that had me very unexpectedly weeping, the first was “Maggie” The second is from his upcoming album “American Sunshine”. He told a story about his parents, both in their late 80’s. They live in Melbourne, Australia and he lives in Los Angeles. He spoke about having had a blissfully happy life as a child and even today, then said that he wrote this new song in response to himself being “terribly unprepared for tragedy”- essentially, the song is him practicing mourning for his parents while they are still alive. I spoke with him after the show, mentioning that it is so powerful, particularly in context of the stories about his childhood that he tells before he sings it. I told him that the song absolutely destroyed me, I had tears running down my face and didn't recover for another song after it- he said “that’s what it’s supposed to do!” I **think** that he said the song is called “You Love Me Across the Water”. It is amazing, and if it’s any indication of the quality of songs on his upcoming album, it’s not to be missed. As you can see from the picture above, I'm still sporting some wounds from my fall at the Todd Rundgren show, and Colin Hay really is looking at the camera, despite appearances. His independently wandering right eye is a bit of a trademark, hence the name of his record company, "Lazy Eye Records". He was very sweet, staying after the show for pictures and autographs and thanking each person who spoke with him. I already had two of his CD's, but I picked up a third that I hadn't seen before and he signed it to me (even taking the time to spell my name right, that's an oddity!) This was a small concert, but I enjoyed it immensely and I'll make sure to take John along when Colin Hay comes back to town next year. My next concert is a whole month away, but it's James Taylor (swoon...that man just knocks me off my feet) so JT is most assuredly worth the wait.