Saturday, February 28, 2009

Spend Less Saturday {3}

Good tips this week, L and Alison! I always enjoy reading everyone's comments, and Erin, I'm sorry you'll have to wait for your "all-al-ince" before you can discover the wonders of The Dollar Store.

Speaking of The Dollar Store, this week's edition of ThriftyThursday focused on cheap (and chic!) accessories for your home. I could (and probably will) do some more posts on this subject. I am feeling a little insecure because no one posted on whether or not they've ever set foot in TDS. Am I the only one? Oh, man, I feel like a loser. I hope ya'll don't think I'm one of those weird ladies with frizzy hair (shut up, Alison) who wears cat sweatshirts and paws through the clearance bin in the cat food section at TDS. I swear, I'm not. We don't even own a cat, but if we did I'm sure I'd spring for some quality PetsMart cat chow. If you have frizzy hair, wear cat sweatshirts, and shop for your cat's food in TDS's clearance bin, I'm sure you're very nice.

Here's Alison's tip for the week:
{I always wait for Bath and Body works to have the $5 sale on the Wallflowers plugins. They smell better and last longer than any air freshener I've ever used and are normally about around $12. Every few months there is a five dollar sale though and you can get the starter kits and refills for less than have the price!}

I have no sense of smell, so I'll take your word for it, Alison. I like to light candles, but I often forget to do it. Not having a sense of smell makes one forgetful about such things. I like the idea of just plugging something into the wall and not having to think about it.

L wrote:
{I love looking for lamps and frames at thrift stores. I also swear by Krylon's nondrip satin finish spray paint in black. So....I take those lamps, frames, and any furniture I find with good lines and spraypaint them. Voila!! "Matching" items, all very cheaply made.}

Loved that tip, L! When I go thrifting, it's usually for bigger items (like the *perfect* desk I've been combing the 'Burg for). I've neglected to notice the smaller home accessories like lamps and frames. I'm currently looking for apothecary jars in cool shapes. I'll have to be on the lookout for a neat frame to spray paint black and make a memo-board out of.

Boagie, I too am glad that I did not slice my finger off with the box cutter. I was extra careful, as I do not have a good track record with sharp cutting tools. I feel confident that my future box cutting endeavors will be successful as well.

Well, that's all I got! Have a beautiful weekend!

Friday, February 27, 2009

I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry

Can you see them? Late each winter, I have three little crocus buds that pop up out of nowhere in the middle of my front yard. I don't know who planted them or how they got there. That bright pop of gold always captures my attention the first time I catch a glimpse of them, swaying bravely back and forth in the chilly February winds.

Seeing those crocus buds out in the middle of the yard always reminds me of the song title in today's post. There's something about that old Hank Williams song that I love. Maybe it's the way he paints a picture with words and music. Whatever it is, those poor little crocuses must feel lonely out there in my barren yard, even if they are surrounded by weeds.

Sometimes I know how they feel. (That must be why they say children grow like weeds!) Motherhood can be isolating. With each of the C-sections I went through to have my girls, the doctor forgot to take the training manual out with the baby! I think if I had received my manual, I would have been prepared for that part of being someone's mommy. It truly was a real shock to me the first time around. I think many moms often have days or weeks where they experience feelings of solitary-confinement, even though they are surrounded by their children. Husbands are wonderful, but not always the best listeners..."how can I fix it, hon?" or "what do you want me to do?" are the comments I hear the most often, when I really just want someone to listen. Men always want to fix things, bless their hearts.

But I have to remember that those yellow crocuses are a sign that Spring is on its way! No season lasts forever. Perhaps next year I'll just plant a few bulbs so the crocuses don't have to sit all by themselves in the yard. Today, I'll leave you with Hank:

Hear the lonesome whiperwill,
He sounds too blue to fly.
The midnight train is whining low.
I'm so lonesome I could cry.

I've never seen a night so long,
When time goes crawling by.
The moon just went behind a cloud
To hide its face and cry.

Did you ever see a robin weep
When leaves begin to die?
That means he's lost the will to live.
I'm so lonesome I could cry.

The silence of a falling star
Lights up a purple sky.
And as I wonder where you are,
I'm so lonesome I could cry.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Thrifty Thursday: It's Chic to Be Cheap {3}

I don't watch Oprah very often anymore. If I want political commentary, I can watch Fox News. I do, however, tune in whenever she does the home makeover shows. I love watching the designers transform a home to reflect the homeowners' personalities. It doesn't hurt that Nate Berkus. is. a. hottie. Seriously.

If I can make it through an episode of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition without shedding a tear, I'm in good shape. That's another show that I like because the designers really seem to take the homeowners' tastes and style into consideration, unlike Hildi from Trading Spaces, which I haven't seen in years. Wasn't she the one who decorated a family room by gluing hay on the walls??!

I wish my house looked like this:

Or this:

But it doesn't. At all. (photos from I am too chicken to try things. (L, I haven't forgotten about our decorating playdate. When you get back from The Wonderful of Disney, I'll call you to see when you and La-La can come over for a consultation.) I did some soul-searching once when I wasn't watching TiVo'd episodes of Grey's Anatomy or The Office, and I decided that one of the decorating elements that's important to me is displaying family photos, both current shots and "heirloom" portraits.

This is where the thrifty part comes in. I promise I'll get there, ya'll.

T's grandparents came to visit over Christmas break, and they brought a packet of old photos for me to go through. My plan is to do an entire wall of old black and white family photos in the "new room." I used our crappy old HP printer/copier/fax/scanner to scan the photos onto my laptop. Much cheaper than taking them to the camera store or copy shop for a scan. I stuck the photos on my zip drive, and printed them out at Target's Kodak machine...again, much less costly than Ritz Camera!

But frames are expensive, and Natalie took all my Scotch tape to play some weird make-believe game after being inspired by an episode of The Berenstain Bears, so I couldn't just tape them on the wall, now could I?

What's a girl to do?

Well, because I am a good listener, I headed over to The Dollar Store in the nearest shopping center. My friend, Kelly, swears by The Dollar Store. She has all sorts of beautiful, crafty creations that she's made with materials purchased at TDS.

Much like WalMart, the idea of shopping at The Dollar Store used to make me break out in hives... until I actually went in and found some cute stuff! Not only did TDS have a bunch of 5x7 frames, but they also had many different sizes of mats, in a variety of colors! I purchased a stack of black 5x7 frames and white mats and hurried home to start on my project before Natalie came home from preschool and asked to "help."

Like anything that is dirt cheap, the mats weren't exactly the right size for the frames, so I did a bit of "editing." I found T's box cutter, and managed to not slice a major artery while trimming off a little bit on one side of each mat. Like so:

I ended up with some beautifully framed family photos! I knew I had some extra 5x7 frames stuffed in a craft bin somewhere. They were brown wood, but a can of $0.97 black spray paint from WalMart fixed those, and voila! Matching frames.

Here's the finished product!

Now if I can just get the gumption to hang them....

What ways have you found to save in the home decor department? Have you ever snatched up a fabulous find at The Dollar Store? Please leave me a comment, and I'll feature you in this Saturday's post!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Have a Good Night's Sleep on Us...

Yes, that is a mouse pad on my (dirty) Kitchen floor. Natalie was rummaging through my computer bag yesterday and pulled out my old mouse pad.

"What's this?" she wanted to know. She held it gingerly, as if she might have accidentally stumbled upon a costly ancient relic.

"It's a mouse pad." I replied, setting the table for dinner.

"Oh!" she cried, running around the table with it.

She rushed over to the doorway that leads into our Family room. Very carefully, she knelt and placed the mouse pad on the linoleum.

"There." she said. "Now the mousie can sleep on it."

I am pretty sure T would have recommended something with a little more lumbar support, or maybe even a Tempurpedic, but I let it go.

Already such a good hostess, and only three years old. Next thing I know, she'll be putting little mints out in case we should have mousie guests.

I think I'll take a cue from Natalie. If you come to visit me soon, I'll just lay out a mousepad for you.


I was at set-up for a recent MOPS meeting when my friend, KK, announced that she's starting her own business, Fat Girl Cakes. KK took some cake decorating classes and her skills really took off. She brings a different creation to each meeting for the moms to sample: cupcakes, brownies, or beautifully iced cakes. She started joking that now she has a reason to "stay fat." If she loses weight, her business name could potentially be offensive to her clientele. Who wants to buy cakes from a skinny girl? Her cakes must not be that good if she's not eating any of them!

That's when it hit me like a ton of bricks. A revelation of sorts, if you will.

I could get paid to be fat! Oh, my dear gracious, it could work! I could totally ditch my plan to sign up as a contestant on The Biggest Loser, and just stay fat. Who needs good health when you've got pay checks rolling in for your rolls?! what could I possibly be qualified for as a fat chick who needs to make some extra cash? I believe Pillsbury already has a mascot, although our skin tones are quite similar. Michelin Man promo? Taken.

Then I remembered my days as a child model. (I can hear my sister laughing hysterically through the computer screen. I hope that the Diet Coke you're drinking burns on its way out of your nose, Alison!)

That's it! I thought. I can totally be a plus-size model!

I've always been interested in fashion and make-up.

I got my start as a swimsuit model.

It wasn't until the tender age of four or five that my runway career began. I was invited to be a model in Leggett's (what is now Belk) *couture* Spring Fashion show. I remember going in for fittings, hating the petticoat they made me wear, and being envious of all the cool clothes the big girls got to wear when the Fashion Show night arrived.

Having only participated in professional, European photo shoots, I was unsure of how an American runway show would go. The show's director gave me some hurried directions.

"Turn right here, then exit left." I remember her saying.

The only problem was that I had no clue as to what "right" and "left" were. So when I made my way down the runway, I ad libbed by spinning around and doing a curtsy. This would have been completely acceptable in my swimsuit photoshoots, but apparently the director wasn't pleased. I remember the feeling of glee I had when the audience responded with an "awwww," but I was never again invited to another runway show.

That can be damaging to a model's ego.

So I decided to give it a go last Thursday and see if I still had it in me. We did a Fashion Show for MOPS..."what not to bring to a MOPS Yard Sale." I modeled a motorcycle helmet with a boxwood branch stuck in it (don't bring not-so-gently-treated sports gear), a Dolce bag with a broken strap, a box of expired Cheez-its, and a XXX DVD.
I worked that runway.
Emme, watch out!
Now if I can only find a way to get paid for not folding the laundry....

Monday, February 23, 2009

It's Like Extreme Home Makeover!

I was looking at my blog the other day, and I decided that I really didn't like what I had going on design-wise. The colors reminded me of an old lady's purse. So I called up the people at Extreme Home Makeover to get their input. Turns out Ty Pennington doesn't do extreme blog makeovers, he only does houses...stooge.

Then I remembered that my friend, Meri, is an accomplished digital scrapbooker and once recommended for some design layouts. Meri's blog layout is beautiful, so I just knew that I'd find something cute if I looked hard enough. Ahem. I found a blank page staring, well, blankly out at me. It was unnerving. Not to be outdone by a fancy schmancy digital scrapbooking site, I emailed Meri and requested a personal tutorial.

We met this morning at Caribou Coffee, which is quickly becoming a favorite of mine. Mostly because their chairs are super-comfy, and the workers don't roll their eyes when they see me walk in with a baby. Plus, their mochas are divine. While our babies munched on Cheerios and Gerber puffs, Meri showed me the ins and outs of the site.

What would have taken Meri maybe ten minutes to complete, took me a good three hours--used up some of the treasured naptime hours and beyond. Granted, part of the period was devoted to reading the ever-stimulating I am a Bunny about 15 times to Michaela Byrd, who tires quickly of playing with Tupperware, and did not seem to grasp the importance of the task on hand. There were so many embellishments and backgrounds and was making my head spin! I finally just clicked on some things, and hoped it would work out.

At any rate, what you see here is likely a work in progress, as I shall assume my sister will see this and give me a scathing review. I'm not one of those girls who switches blog backgrounds the way I do handbags. I like to see something familiar when I log on. I'd like to keep this background, maybe making a few tweaks here and there. THANK YOU SO MUCH, Meri, for your help!

I hope you all like the new layout. I am a people pleaser. I hope you'll stick around to read some more. Until then, I'll keep Ty on my speed dial and hope he comes around!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

How Good and How Pleasant It Is...

"Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity."
-Psalm 133:1

As much of mini-vacation as blogging is for me, I don't normally do it on Sundays. Yes, there's that whole "day of rest" thing, but Sundays are usually when I take a breath and just sort of brace myself for the start of a new week. Another week of driving to and from preschool, changing diapers, grocery shopping, sending a certain naughty preschoolers to time-out, and prying a clingy baby off of my leg so I can do the 15th round of dishes for the day.

Up until a few months ago, Sundays were a chance for T and I to go to a Sunday School class and enjoy fellowship with other adults who are in the same stage of life as we are. We could learn, and relate, and discuss with men and women going through the same things we are. So refreshing! We can sit and not worry about customers vying for our attention, children vying for our attention, and the duties that come with various volunteer positions. Yes, we were truly blessed to have such a wonderful group of people to spend Sunday mornings with, although it's certainly hard to keep up those "couple" relationships with friends when there are kids involved!

Then TheGreatSickness arrived just before Christmas, and it has only now left my home! Someone in our household has been sick just about every week since Christmas, and even a few times before that! This winter has not been kind to us...and we made sure to get our flu shots! Boohoo!

As I drove the girls home from church today (T had to go in to work after Sunday School), it occurred to me how I had been taking Sundays for granted. We ought to be so grateful for the amazing church family we have. I suppose that sometimes you only realize what you have when you lose it for awhile. (Much like our LittleHouseOnThePrairieWeek).

My dad used to sing quite a bit at the church that I grew up in, and one of the songs he sang was a tune a friend of his had put to Psalm 133:1, listed above. It is so much more than pleasant to fellowship with other men and women in unity--in a peaceful, friendly setting where like minds can come together and share thoughts and experiences.

It is priceless!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Spend Less Saturday {2}

I'd like to first thank you, my readers, for not shunning me for the controversial subject matter in this week's ThriftyThursday post. (Except you, Meri. You are dead to me. Kidding!)

My friend, Meri, reminded me that sometimes it is better to buy quality items when they are on sale so that they'll last longer. I totally agree with you on that point, Mer. But if I'm just looking for some play clothes or something cute for them to wear out, I'm okay with hitting the kids' section at Target. With four boys, Meri definitely has a time of trying to coordinate those holiday photos, and I know she's a little apprehensive about Easter.
{She wrote that sometimes The Children's Place in our mall is the only place she can outfit all the boys in coordinating ensembles (is it okay to say "ensemble" if it's for a boy??!) without spending an arm and a leg, or auctioning one of the kids off.}

I found this simply fabulous Rothschild wool coat with a matching hat for Natalie at a local consignment sale. In perfect condition. I chalk that one up as a score for not only buying quality, but buying at rock-bottom prices! Are you proud, Meri?

The amazingly crafty Kelly, of SinfullyDeliciousBrownie fame, agreed that it is a challenge "to dress [your kids] for less" these days. She owned up to having shopped at WM a time or two so that I would not feel like a complete loser.
{Her tip was that if you really want to see your dollar stretch at WM, shop the clearance rack at the end of the season and do your best to estimate your kids' sizes.}
I'll admit that that's hard for me to do because I see all the other racks brimming with the upcoming season's new and adorable fashions. It's hard to bypass those for the sweaters you've already seen 45 times. On the upside, you might luck out and get an unbelievable deal on an item you've been eyeing all winter.

I don't know how you managed to escape the "matchy-matchy" gene, Tracy , because the legend goes that it's hard-wired into your DNA. Are you sure Boagie didn't adopt you? My grandmother used to send matching dresses for my sister and I, but she allowed the tradition to persist for much longer than it should have. Wearing a smocked dress identical to your kid sister is okay when you are five, but by fifth grade I was ready to drop the sister act. Our poor brother, Jamie, was usually forced into some sort of coordinating little man outfit. The picture below is the only one I have on the computer of Alison and I in something matching. I am guessing that my dad drew the line at pink and white striped swim trunks for his only son.

I love how I had to wear the stupid tee-shirt under my bathing suit because of my albino-like skin. Oh well, at least I won't look like my Great-Aunt Vera when I am 40.
Boagie unwittingly confirmed what was probably a subconscious theory of mine that buying matching outfits for your kids can actually save you money because the younger ones will have the *joy* of wearing the older child's hand-me-down in a year or two. "Hey, these capri pants look familiar!"

This, of course, leads me to my sister's tip:
{"when I have kids, I'm just going to use your kids' hand-me-downs."}
This is problematic. Growing up, Alison never got through a meal without some food item plastered to her face, clothes, or diaper. Alison, I know you're reading this. You lose stuff: clothes, shoes, jewelry, Cabbage Patch kids, walkmans on planes to Luxembourg (the jury's still out on that one-Jamie needs to be cross-examined)....Tim has off-handedly mentioned before that he would very much like to have a son someday so that he doesn't feel like a freak-show in his own home. Once I stop laughing, I might consider his thoughts on the matter. But if Fortuna doesn't spin her wheel in the right direction, we could wind up with a third girl. In which case I'd be calling you asking for my boxes of stuff back. And receiving a shoe box containing a onesie, two mismatched jumper sets, and an Easter bonnet with chocolate stains on it (because Mimi will give your baby chocolate when you are not looking).

So, to sum up, bargains are good and sharing is great, but be on the lookout for quality! Know what you're buying and why, and be sure to inspect items upon their return from sisters whose track record on borrowing is sub-par.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Thrifty Thursday: It's Chic to Be Cheap! {2}

Today is the one week anniversary of my very first ThriftyThursday post on my blog. Sniff. I can't believe how quickly time flies. It feels like it was only yesterday that I was typing up my thoughts on thriftiness. Well, it was seven days ago, give me a break--I've been cleaning up after sick kids.

The topic I'd like to write about in this post is highly controversial, and I ask that you not judge me, please, until you hear me out (or read me out, whatever).

I love dressing my girls, and I get lots of comments on how well-dressed they are. It's like having my own two Baby Alive dolls, complete with accessories (and poopy diapers!). When I was pregnant with Natalie, I did just what every other naive first-time mom does...I went crazy in Babies 'R Us finding the most adorable little outfits. Imagine my shock when my (giant) baby arrived, and not only did she outgrow the adorable outfits after only one or two debuts, but all the leaky stuff that comes along with babies required constant laundry duty, wearing out the clothes quickly. As she grew, the ketchup, peanut butter, and apple juice stains didn't help much either.

This is when I discovered the wonders of the Wal-Mart kids' clothing section.

Did you read that? I typed it really small to lure you in and not scare you. Don't scream, or back away from your computer screen in horror. I know the scene that is flashing in your mind at this very second, because it is the scene that will flash through anyone's mind when they hear "Wal-Mart."

{It's a Friday night around 10:30 pm, and you've stopped in at WM to grab some paper towels because you are too lazy to drive the extra five minutes to Target. As you pass the beer aisle, you see Bubba and KellySue screaming at their four children. Bubba Jr. is picking his nose and rolling on the dirty floor while EssieMay cries inconsolably because she should have been in bed 3 hours ago and no one has changed her diaper in three days. Little Bubba Jr. Jr. (yes, that's two "Juniors") swiped a box of Cheez-its and is eating them while hiding behind a keg of Bud. CarlyJo looks shaky because they added another 6 ounces of Pepsi to her bottle to keep her quiet. When you roll your eyes at their poor parenting skills, KellySue screams at you to "mind your own business." You hurry to the paper towel aisle and vow to never again return to WM...until the next time you need paper towels. End Scene.}

I know Wal-Mart can be a scary place. I know. But I am hoping I just might win you over.

I like to dress the girls alike sometimes. I (heart) Gymboree. But times is tough, ya'll. I can't afford to go into Gymboree and spend $40 on a tee-shirt, some capris, and a matching hair bow. For one child! So my solution has been to scour the aisles at Wal-Mart, which is actually cheaper than Target (although not as dear to my heart). Yes, there is a lot of c*@^ to wade through, but if you look past the cheap Dora the Explorer pajamas, you can find some really sweet little outfits. I found these two weeks ago:

This is the price tag! $7.50 for a cute top and matching leggings. No, the quality is not Janie & Jack, but for something that may or may not have applesauce on it within five minutes of being worn, it'll do!

I went ahead and picked up these cute, little sandals for Michaela Byrd because I know the little sizes go fast. No, they ain't Stride Right, but I have yet to find a pair of shoes that will withstand the rigor that my kids will put them through. $5 or $6 beats $50 any day.

Now, you know Mama had to have something too, so I went shopping on the slipper aisle and found these:

$8.00, and they are the softest, most comfortable pair of slippers I have owned in years! They even have the hard sole so you can run (or trudge) out to get the paper. They remind me of the Cabelas slippers my dad used to wear, except that they did not cost $60.

I hope, dear reader, that I have not frightened you away by the knowledge that I buy some of my kids' clothes at WM. I don't have anything against Gymboree or Janie & Jack. Their clothes are stunning. Every so often, I splurge and buy something off the clearance rack at Gymboree. But if it's going to get snotted on, dirty, and worn, I want a bargain! I just can't justify $20 for a child's sweater any more.

If you aren't too scared, I can venture into the world of consignment/yard sales, but I don't want to send you over the edge.

I am anxious to hear about ways you've found to save on clothing, whether it's for you, your significant other, or your kids (or your pets!). Do you shop at the end of the season? If you leave me a comment, or post a link to your blog post, I'll feature it on Saturday's post!

Hope you have some Frugal Finds of your own!

Happy Bargain Hunting!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Whatcha Cookin' Wednesday?

For those of my two readers who aren't in my MOPS group, I just have to share this recipe. These brownies are comfort food at its finest! I was skeptical when I saw that the recipe calls for butterscotch chips instead of chocolate chips.
What in the heck kind of brownie doesn't have a form of chocolate in it? I wondered. So I improvised. I added chocolate chips in a move so genius, I am sure Martha, or Paula, or Rachael, or somebody will call me up and tell me how wonderful I am.

Our Creative Activities Coordinator, KB, organized a fun little craft for the MOPS moms back in November or December. This recipe is supposed to be used as one of those gift jar recipes that you give away in love and kindness. I really love myself, and I am not that kind. So I make the brownies for me. I'm only a little ashamed to admit that. I suppose someday, many, many years from now, when the wonder of this recipe has worn off, I might consider putting together the ingredients as a gift for someone else. Until then, it's "Merry Christmas, Amanda!" whenever I make them. (And sometimes "Merry Christmas, Mimi!" if my mom is over.)

{Chewy Butterscotch Nut Bars}


1/2 cup butterscotch chips

1/2 cup chopped pecans

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

2 cups Bisquick

1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 large egg

1/2 cup unsalted butter

*As many chocolate chips as you can cram in*
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Empty dry ingredients into a medium bowl. Stir in 1/2 cup softened butter, 1 large egg, and vanilla extract. Press into an eight inch square baking pan, coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350 degrees for 18 to 22 minutes, or until light golden with set center.
NOTE: I set my oven for 325 and baked them for a little longer, probably checking on them around 15 minutes or so. They baked much better this way.

I owe my eternal gratitude to KB for coming up with this project. There are some really cool websites devoted to making recipes in a jar as gifts. Maybe when it's closer to Christmas, I'll do a post on those. For now, enjoy your comfort food!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Forbidden Stairs

The Forbidden Stairs
by Michaela Byrd, age 13 months

Forbidden Stairs, your carpeted levels
Beckon me like a siren as I pause my play.
The danger lurking in your shadowed heights
Dares me to climb ever higher as I hear Her calling my name insistently.
Footsteps tap across the Kitchen linoleum as She seeks to end my adventure.
I stifle a giggle as I find delightful treasures hidden on step six:
Lint and Dog hair!
I know not what sort of magic awaits at your summit;
I only know I must reach it soon. I scale more quickly--
Drat! Forceful hands tear me from my climb. Flailing arms and legs, I screech in desperation.
We are separated by the impenetrable gate, Stairway to Heaven.
I mourn for a moment before turning to DogWater for solace.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

So, Was it Good for You?

...Valentine's Day, that is. Ours definitely had its highs and lows. T worked all day, so the girls and I were on our own. Yesterday was the first day in a week that Michaela Byrd was back to her usual, chipper self. Almost.

I had some errands to run, so I dressed them in their matching "Love Birds" tee-shirts, and we headed out. Every mom knows that the secret to a successful shopping trip is snacks. Not for you, silly. For the kids! Natalie and Michaela Byrd clambered into the double stroller and I doled out the Goldfish crackers. Natalie's were in a fancy plastic sandwich bag, and Michaela Byrd munched out of one of those cute "snack traps."

I was so distracted by the joy of being out of the house after a week of being couped up by myself with Barferella and Miss Whiney Pants that I scarcely noticed Michaela Byrd frantically stuffing as many crackers in her mouth as quickly as her tiny little hands could move. It wasn't until I heard the gagging sound that the Mommy Instinct kicked in and I could properly assess the situation.

Scan 1: Natalie calmly eating snack while showing her doll, Caroline, the new line of Crayola products. No gagging there.

Scan 2: Michaela with an odd look (the throw-up look, you know what I'm talking about!), slumping down in the front seat of the stroller.

I managed to make it to her just in time to catch the nasty Goldfishy barfiness in my hand. Eeeeeeeewwwwww!!! If you had told me five years ago that my primary job these days would be vomit-cleaner-upper, I would have flipped out.

I managed to disengage the Snack Trap from her freakishly strong little grip, as she hollered in rage. The poor thing was so hungry from being sick this week that she just wanted to keep eating! I reassessed the matter, and saw that it was not a case of sickness....she was just plain greedy and shoveled too much in.

With one hand, I waved at the customer service worker who had been helping us to find AC Moore's nonexistent supply of construction paper. The poor guy was a witness to the incident, and he looked only too happy to let us know where the bathroom was and to run for his life.

The other hand dripping in ickiness, I maneuvered the stroller back to the bathroom, strong-armed the door open, shoved the stroller in and proceeded to use the one paper towel to attempt to clean Michaela Byrd off. Of course, there were no workers within 15 miles of that area of the store. The last time I was in AC Moore, they were out of toilet paper--completely out, as in none in the store anywhere. Who runs a business like this?

*Slightly miffed,* I considered knocking on the men's bathroom door before raiding it, but decided against ruining my morning even further. We settled for using toilet paper to clean most of the mess up, as Natalie lectured me on the fact that I was wasting water. But you know, what's love if you can't clean up throw-up in a public restroom using only one paper towel, water, and one-ply toilet paper.

We pretty much left after that. The rest of the day was spent waiting for the laundry to be done.

T, ever the romantic, planned a *romantic* dinner at his parents' house with 14 other people. Yay. He asked me what I wanted, and I wisely choose this book rather than flowers that die, and chocolate that will only "enhance" my waistline:

"Sew excited" to learn more about sewing!

I really was excited about the gift, and he bought the sweetest card. He also brought each of the girls a balloon, which they were excited about. Natalie got a tiny box of chocolates from Michaela Byrd, and two new people for her dollhouse. Please don't tell her, but Emma ate the chocolates.

We gave Michaela Byrd this little, pink "goggy," which she was thrilled with. Honestly, we could have given her an old, wadded up magazine, and she would have loved it, but that's not as much fun now, is it?

Mimi came over earlier in the day and surprised Natalie with a new dress-up cape, and some candy. Michaela Byrd got the cutest little bear that you can stick a piece from the inside of his tummy in the microwave and make him warm. So cute! She's the best Mimi!

Our Valentine's Day certainly had its ups and downs. How was yours?

Happy Belated "Balentime's" Day!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Spend Less Saturday!

I actually received several great tips this week, which I am excited to share with you. Who knows what might spark an idea for a reader somewhere?

Paula over at Sweet Pea teaches school and says:
{When I'm off during the summer, I spend way more money than I do during the school year because I have time to shop. If I go to Target or Walmart, I'm going to buy a bunch of stuff that I didn't know that I needed. I save money during the school year because I rarely have time to go, or if I do go, I have ten minutes to get exactly what I need which doesn't give me time to look for anything extra. }

To some degree, having kids is helpful in this area. If I take both girls with me into Super Target, I know I might have 45 minutes max if I'm lucky, maybe an hour if God is feeling extra gracious. It's hard to browse and grab impulse buys off the rack when your three year old is dangling precariously off the back of the cart, and your one year old is choking because she shoved too many Goldfish crackers in her mouth at once. But if I leave the kids with T and shop by myself, that's asking for trouble. It's easy to just start pitching stuff in the cart when it's not full of children.

My friend, L, had fabulously frugal ideas that you can incorporate into your friendships:

{*potluck dinners, in versus of Girls' Nights Out

*coffee at a friend's house instead of Starbucks meetings

*meal planning rather than "buying-what-looks-good-the-moment" shopping trips

*bulk shopping with a gfriend at Costco: split the cost and the amounts

*redbox movies versus theater trips}

I loved all of those suggestions, L! I'm always complaining that we don't have any "couple friends" to do things with. This is mostly due to the fact that T works a LOT, and he is sort of reclusive when he gets home because he's so tired. But once he gets out, he always seems to enjoy himself. I'd love to start doing potluck dinners with friends. Maybe split the cost of a babysitter, and feed the kids beforehand so they can play while the adults converse? I recently started using RedBox for DVD rentals, and while you do have to wait for those movies, it's only $1 a night! Put that up against $18 movie tickets, plus the soda and candy you just have to have, and it's no contest. I think I'll save my movie tickets for the absolute must-see flicks!

My friend CK has the Sunday paper delivered solely for the coupons! She wrote:

{I get two Sunday papers delivered for the coupons. The past month (this current week included) the 'Burg Shoppers Food Warehouse has been tripling coupons up to 50 cents and doubling them up to $1.00. I go there just with my coupons, and save about 65% each time. Last Sunday I spent $17.50 on 21 items. Several items were free and others were just pennies. My husband is in the Air Force so I go to the commissary twice a month. I plan two week's worth of meals before hand and use coupons there as well. It takes a bit of time and planning, but they do save money.}

I clip coupons, but I forget to use them. Have got to be better about that!

My friend Mrs. TB, who runs our MOPPETS program at church (and she's E, S, H, and Emily's mom), really said it well. She reflected on some of the hard times she had when the girls were young and how they affect her now:
{I feel like I had many years of being poor to prepare me for this time! As unbelievable as it may seem, I know from experience that the following are not "necessities": trash service (just ask the girls about getting a chance to ride in the front seat to the dump and the crown from Burger King), the newspaper, anything other than basic cable, cellphones (except the prepaid kind), eating out, professional haircoloring, or a closet full of clothes.Now is the perfect time for sharing meals at home, girls beauty day where you help color each other's hair, sharing clothes and jewelry for that special event and sharing recipes that are good and healthy and inexpensive. It's not the time to be hoarders but sharers and watch how God multiplies what we have to offer. I've seen God do some of His greatest work in my life during the times I had no one to depend on except for Him. I doubt that this bump in the road in our economy has Him wringing His hands and wondering if He'll have to sell His cattle! Let's share how God as provides during these times to encourage each other and give Him praise.}

I was about shocked speechless when I read what Mrs. TB had to say. And you can ask T, it's pretty hard to render me incapable of speech! We can start here by sharing our thoughts and ideas, and then go from there! Hope you found some thrifty tips today!

Enjoy your weekend, and Happy Valentine's Day!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Help! I've Fallen and I Can't Get Up!

Some time ago, I realized that we would have a serious situation on our hands if something happened to me while T was away at work. There are several days a week that he is gone from 8:30 or so in the morning until around 9:30 at night. If something truly horrible were to happen, such as if I have a heart attack after NBC announces it is bringing back the entire cast of Friends in a revival of one of the greatest television shows of all time, I could lay there for hours while Natalie feeds Michaela Byrd pilfered M&Ms out of the hidden candy stash, which she would clearly have time to find.

So one day last winter, I sat Natalie down for a talk in a rare moment when she was not glued to the television in semi-conscious state watching Elmo (I pumped for 7 months...the kid watched a lot of television, poor thing).

"Nollie, what would you do if Mama got hurt?" I asked her.

"I dunno," she replied, glancing askew at the TV across the room.

We ran over a list of neighbors she could run to: The Rockys next door, Mr. Roger behind us, The R family across the street...heck, even the trashy family next door with six ferrets and five dogs would do.

"Now, after you run really fast to their door, what would you say?" I quizzed her.

"Help! Mommy is sick and she can't get up!"

Eh, that'll do.

I think she has been waiting for her moment to shine and save us all.

This afternoon I was coming down the stairs holding Michaela Byrd. We'd been upstairs trying to find a distraction from the teething. She needed distraction from the pain, and I needed a distraction from the screaming directed at my left ear for the past two days. I was a little over halfway down when my shoe caught the edge of the stairs and we tumbled. Luckily, I had a good hold on the baby, and my other hand sort of slowed the fall, but I landed square on the bony part of my knees. Ow! I managed to not shout an obscenity, despite the fact that all 62875486e34 pounds of me nailed the linoleum by the front door.

As I lay there crying with Michaela Byrd, who was also crying, I heard the toilet flush and bare feet running through the Kitchen.

"Can I ask 'Woger' for help?" asked Natalie hopefully, peering around the corner.

Her pants were down around her ankles. In her obvious thrill at finally getting to practice being my a super-hero, she had neglected to tend to her clothes. I'm pretty sure Wonder Woman would have remembered her pants, or leotard, or whatever it was that she wore.

"No, thanks." I said, surveying the damage. I have a lump on my arm where it scraped the banister.

I should've sent her anyways with this message: This has been a test of the emergency broadcast system. If this were an actual emergency, I would be covered in peanut butter swiped from the cabinet I can reach when I climb on Daddy's chair. When you do receive an alert, please assume that my sister has scaled some sort of dangerously high furniture piece, and enter our home right away. Only please pretend like you don't see the folded laundry piled on the couch. I'm sure Mommy would want it that way.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Thrifty Thursday: It's Chic To Be Cheap!

Saving money does not come naturally to me. Confessions of a Shopaholic, one of my favorite chick lit books, comes out in film to theatres this weekend. It could very well be the story of my life. Well, I'm not quite so bad as Becky Bloomwood, but I do find it hard to resist the urge to splurge.

I enjoy finding a bargain, perhaps almost too much. The Dollar Spot at Target lures me like a siren each time I enter the sacred store's doorway. The Dollar Spot is truly fabulous, but 20 items later, I am $20 in the hole. I love knowing that I am finding fun and afforable merchandise, whether it's clothing, shoes, accessories, or stuff for my house. When I eventually get to decorate a little in the "new room" (we still call it that--I don't know what to call it!), I will have to post photos of the amazing ways I found to save in decor by "shopping my house", and shopping cheap! L, if you are by chance reading this, I still haven't decorated, and I am not too big of a person (figuratively, not literally) to ask for help!

Luckily, my children are too young to know that I'm being thrifty. Growing up, if the tag didn't read Abercrombie & Fitch, Express, Limited, or J. Crew, I didn't want to be seen in it. My mom would bring me home a red prairie-length skirt from Wal-Mart, and I really didn't have the power to disagree with "she who holds the purse strings." My sister, Alison, who has always been billed as the smarter of the W girls, discovered at age 16 that she could (gasp!) earn her own money and do what she wanted to with it. I took note.

This turned out to be a mixed blessing. I finally had my own money to purchase whatever skimpy, poor quality tee-shirts from Abercrombie that I wanted, but I became a shopaholic. If it was cute, if it was on "sale," I had to have it.

Fast forward ten years. I still struggle with this. To keep myself honest, and to get some more ideas, I am planning on doing a Thrifty Thursday post every Thursday, or for as many Thursdays as I can remember. If you have ideas on how to save money, where the best buys are, or anything that works for your family, please feel free to post a link to your blog's post in the Comments section. On Saturdays, I'll attempt to remember to do a little feature with your suggestions. (I know my sister and her twenty-something friends will love reading these. I guess I will too, since I'm still a twenty-something)

So now you know how much I am enjoying being thrifty! I have a cute frugal find to share with you for next week's Thrifty Thursday, but for now I bid you Adieu. Naptime doesn't last forever, and my TiVo'd episode of Fringe is calling my name before I tackle the dishes!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


Several times a day, since T left on Sunday, Natalie wants to know when Daddy is coming home from "Lost Baygis." I have repeatedly assured her (and myself) that he is coming home tonight. Unless he decides to run off to Mexico with any cash he might have won at the poker tables after the conferences. In that case I will be holding a big yard sale. If you know of a guy who likes expensive power tools, send him my way.

Natalie has been very curious about this magical place called Lost Baygis.

"Do they have beds in Lost Baygis?"

"Yes, Natalie. Daddy will sleep in a big bed in a hotel."


"Do they have food in Lost Baygis?" She eyes the cookie jar with the candy we reserve for extra special treats.

"Yes, they do. Daddy gets to eat at nice restaurants."

Twirling her hair. "But what does Daddy do in Lost Baygis?"

"He might be winning some money after he goes to work with Mr. R." (Aside to myself: And he better bring home some swag for me!)

"Ooohh, what will he do with his monies?" Eyes lighting up with genuine interest. "Will he bwing me a pwesent?"

"I think so, Natalie."

She grimaces. "Aw, man. I knew I should have gone to Lost Baygus!"

I nod in agreement as I finish cleaning throw-up off Michaela Byrd's high chair. "Me too, Natalie. Me too."

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Beast

A fearsome beast lives with us. Just the mention of her name on our street strikes fear into the heart of residents everywhere. She can dig deep holes, frighten away prowlers, kill and/or maim small animals, and leap over fences in a single bound.

Not so much.

Our dog, Emma Woodhouse, who we call Emma, is a tiny, prissy, ball of fur. Her biggest achievement in life is the time she found a dead squirrel (possibly shot out of a birdfeeder...I'm not saying) and dragging it through the backyard. She is also extremely bossy. When we had Beauregard, our 18 year old miniature long-haired dachshund, we could call him to come inside until we were blue in the face. One sharp bark from Emma was all it took, and he'd come running because he knew he'd get nipped otherwise.

T loves to bemoan the fact that not only is he stuck in a houseful of girls, but even the dog is a girl, and she's not even a real dog. I've seen cats that would win a fight with Emma. T's most embarrassing moment was when he once decided to take Emma on a run through the local battlefield. He hadn't even gone half a mile when Emma gave up. He looked down because he felt some extra weight on the leash, and she was laying on the pavement as he dragged her along. She absolutely refused to go another inch. I couldn't blame her, really. The one time I went running with T (in the days whe I was in slightly better shape), he ran way too fast, and tried to lecture me on the finer points of running correctly. He claims he was humiliated as he walked home holding his dog in his arms, as other runners rushed by, their sleek labs and shiny retrievers panting as they galloped alongside their masters.

It really didn't help Emma's rep on the block when she returned from PetsMart grooming last week with a blowout and two pink bows in her hair. The dog has a better beauty regimen than I do! Natalie, of course, was thrilled with the addition of hair bows. Michaela Byrd was just excited to ride with the "goggy" in the car.

Maybe I should surprise T with a golden retriever puppy for Valentine's Day? T talks a big game, but every night when I go to kiss him before I head upstairs to shower, that little fluff ball is perched on the leather couch with him. He claims she is warming his feet.

Her yappy bark always alerts us when there is a car in the driveway...or a cracker being handed out in the Kitchen, or someone jumping out of bed upstairs during naptime. Yes, Emma Woodhouse is worth her weight in plated, that is...all ten pounds of her.
This is Emma Woodhouse. She would sell her soul to the devil for a Cheez-It.
What kind of dog wears pink hairbows, T wants to know. I really can't say. This is more of a fur muff than a dog.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Viva Las Vegas

*Hypothetical* Question:

Which situation would you say is more desirable?

Situation A: Be picked up and driven to an airport. Ride on plane with ample time for napping, reading, conversing (so long as your traveling companions aren't weirdos), or just sitting there and staring at the back of the seat in front of you. Arriving in Las Vegas and staying in a nice hotel. Clean sheets, clean towels, mint on your pillow-the works. A nice woman named Carmela or Juanita will be wiping down the bathroom fixtures each morning. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner out in nice restaurants that do not serve "special sauce" with the entree. Spending the day (admittedly) hitting the pavement in Vegas at the world's largest furniture trade show. Making new contacts. Deciding what the store will buy. Picking. Up. Swag. {FREE STUFF!!!} Meandering a casino after work to play poker with people who don't talk about Sesame Street, graham crackers, and the potty. After winning (or losing) a few bucks, heading back to your hotel room and sleeping soundly with no fear of sickly children crying for you in the middle of the night. Knowing that you wouldn't wake up, even if you were home and the sickly children were calling your name. Riding home on an airplane at the end of the trip, catching up with any sleep you might have missed while carousing the strip.

Situation B: Watching person from Situation A back out of driveway in "chauffered" car, as you hold a snotty, barfy, beligerent baby and your three year old runs up and down the sidewalk wearing her new pink bedroom slippers and a bib from lunch, yelling "Roar, roar, roar." Feeling like yelling "Roar" yourself, but don't because it will make baby more beligerent. Go inside while baby barfs on you some more. Hold baby on couch for two hours while she sleeps, cries, and wallows around because if you move, all hell will break loose. Finally get both children in their rooms for naps and *getting* to catch up on the work you missed earlier because you were at the casino. Wait, I am getting my stories confused...that was Situation A. You wash dishes, clean throw-up off the high chair, let the dog out, consider making a screwdriver but realize it's only 2 pm. Spend the rest of the day pretty much the way the first part went, except the three year old wants to know where person from Situation A went. You tell her repeatedly, and she wants to know "who lost Vegas?" and "where did it go?" Children go to sleep for the night. You eye the cookie dough in the fridge. You would like to go to bed, but have to stay up late enough to let the dog out again so she doesn't start barking at the bottom of the stairs at 5 am. Sit and consider all the ways to burglar-proof the house. Wish person from Situation A was home to protect you. Blog. Go to bed.

If you haven't figured out who the people from Situations A & B are, then I am just plain at a loss. T was shocked when I expressed my frustration that he'd be leaving me for Vegas (baby!--sorry, couldn't help myself) for a business trip.

"It's not like I'm going to be having any fun, Manda." he retorted. "I'm going to be working."

Sigh. If I didn't have sickos in the house, I'd leave them both with Su-Su and head right out to Vegas (baby!) right now and konk him on the head. What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas, right?

Friday, February 6, 2009

It's Your Party, and I'll Barf If I Want To

My brother, Jamie, had the birthday of his life tonight: dinner, cake, whining babies, and throw-up! Oh, boy! Jamie and Su-Su just moved back to town and they're staying with my mom (Mimi) for a bit until they decide whether they want to rent a place or purchase their first home.

Around 5 pm we headed over to Mimi's for Jamie's birthday dinner. The girls were excited to get out of the house. I ditched them this morning so I could take my Body Jam class at the gym, and neither one was incredibly happy to be left with T. As we walked out to the car, Michaela Byrd was beaming and Natalie was playing choo-choo train, a game which consists of me following her as she ambles down the sidewalk singing "Chugga, Chugga, Choo-Choo" in her loudest voice. I bet the neighbors think she's in the gifted and talented program at preschool.

By the time we had arrived at Mimi's, the anticipation of cake was thick in the air. Su-Su, who is a really talented cook, made an awesome meal. Jamie requested a chicken casserole with rice and broccoli and a squash casserole. Su-Su wasn't thrilled with the starchiness of the menu, but he is the birthday boy, after all. Natalie's refusal to sit at the table should have been my first warning. Girlfriend can chow down with the best of 'em, and she never misses an opportunity to be social. She put up such a fuss that I told her to go play in the family room, but reminded her that there would be no cake until she ate some dinner.

Enter throw-up. About 10 seconds later. All over Mimi's new couch and the hardwood floor. I think she was subconsciously getting back at me for not just letting her have the cake already. It amazes me how calm I am able to stay when a small person is barfing everywhere. We cleaned her up, and that was that. No fever, no chills; she just wanted to lay down. I think T must have slipped her some sort of treat earlier that upset her stomach.

Mimi was exceptionally gracious (those words were typed dripping with sarcasm), and muttered about how she has not had a couch stay "new" in 20 odd years. Jamie just stayed in the kitchen and ate his dinner. He must have mustered some real internal fortitude for that. The look of abject horror on his face the last time he witnessed one of my children throwing up was evidence to me that he is nowhere near ready for parenthood.

You have not really arrived at Motherhood until you have cleaned up throw-up. Or caught it in your hands. Or held a baby while they throw-up all over you. Ah, the joys of Motherhood.

I'm crossing my fingers that I don't spend tonight cleaning up more throw-up. We only have so many sheet sets. And only two couches....

Monday, February 2, 2009

The Bailout

As most of you know, Natalie loves staying on top of CurrentEvents. A few weeks ago, I heard her singing to her dolls, "NObama, NObama, I doesn't like NObama" in a catchy little tune. She's obviously been listening to all the talk about the disastrous, obviously partisan stimulus package. We were upstairs the other night, and she came running out of her room holding her silver piggy bank, which was a baby gift from one of T's cousins.

"Here, Mommy." she said, holding it out to me. "You can put your monies in here so Obama doesn't get it."

So young, yet so wise.

Why didn't he nominate Natalie to a cabinet position? She certainly doesn't have the tax problems that Tom Daschle, Nancy Killefer do. And Chris Dodd, Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, has had six months to produce his mortgage papers to no effect.

Natalie's solution to the bailout? Keep your own money in your (piggy) bank and let the dimwits who took out mortgages for more than they could afford fail in their investments; otherwise we'll soon be bailing out toddlers who took spills off of tricycles they were too young to ride, kindergartners who took loans from bullies for lunch money that they can't repay. The list goes on.

I think I'll write my Senator (little good that will do) and let him know just how outraged I am at this ridiculous pork package they're ramming through. I look at my precious girls' faces and it breaks my heart that these morons in Washington are going to make my children and their children pay for these mistakes. Thanks a lot.

Rock On!

My friend, Emily, hosted a bunch of moms from our MOPS group last night for the annual "Game Night" (or "Watch Me Cheat Night," as I secretly call it). I don't cheat at all games, just most of them. Especially Spoons. If you've never played spoons, it can get pretty heated as the players rush to grab the last remaining spoons on the table. I think I saw a girl lose an eye once. So in my defense, when I cheat at Spoons, it is for my own safety. Technically, it's not cheating. I just don't look at the cards that are passed to me. I sit and watch for the first person to grab a spoon, and then I follow suit. Unless I get distracted by something shiny.

You can only cheat for so long before you start to get bored. I was skeptical when Emily broke out her family's Wii and decided we needed to give Rock Band a try. Can you cheat at Rock Band? I wondered. Before you judge me, I should tell you that the last time I played a video game was probably 1993. My brother had a Play Station and spent many hours in the basement with Fifa and Madden. He's lucky that he's athletic and played lots of real sports, or he could have turned out to be on of those 600 pound kids that lives in his mom's basement playing video games all day. I just never got into the whole video game thing.

Emily set me up with the drums, her sister E took guitar, J grabbed the bass, and Emily and KO shared the microphone for vocals. We are the most pitiful rock band ever. Not a tattoo, pierced tongue, or ripped jeans to be found. Even our groupies, the other moms, were sitting in the back of the room playing cards and wearing their nice suburban garb. Our tentative name is "MOPSS Rock" due to a spelling error with the Wii. Kind of like KISS, but cuter and with better make-up.

"Wait!" I called out. "Don't start yet! I have to get my glasses!"

I rushed across the room while everyone laughed...what kind of hard-core drummer wears DKNY frames on tour? That's really not a fair assessment, as J was discussing her astigmatism with KO as they strained to see the tiny lyrics on Emily's big screen TV. So I'm not the only one with a handicap!

Um, we pretty much rocked it out. Well, the drums are hard to use, but I eventually got my score up to the 80th percentile. I pretended like I was drumming at a Metallica concert. Or maybe Blink 182. After you get used to the way the Wii works, it's actually really fun! I can see how it can be really addicting, and this is why we will not be purchasing one. T and I don't have a separate garage like Emily does, so the strains of our beautiful music would be heard throughout the house, and then I'm sure the kids would want to play, and I don't like sharing. Plus, I already have visions of the girls standing in the doorway.

"Mommy, can I have a snack?"

"Not now, sweetie. Mommy's playing Rock Band."

At any rate, our first gig as a garage band was successful. At one point, we added some new friend L tried her turn at vocals, and AS gave J a breather on guitar. We signed autographs in Emily's driveway, and I'm pretty sure some of our groupies were crying. Our agent, a Ms. Byrdie of Nollie's Talent World has already booked us a second gig at a local Bar Mitzvah. I envision a world tour, a platinum album, and a pony. The pony is really because I've always wanted one, and I'll be rich enough to buy one after my check from the record label comes rolling in.

MOPSS members, if you are reading this, can I wear pink in our first video? Is that not hard-core enough?

Rock on, chicks!
MOPSS ROCK! You can buy tickets now at ticketmaster for our summer tour.
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