31 October 2015

$15 Off First Peapod Order thru 11/30/15

For years now I have, in times of extra busy-ness, relied on Peapod's wonderful grocery delivery service to make my life a little easier.  I will likely start using them again when the cold weather makes me want to not drag 5 kids to the grocery store.

I'm always coming across coupon deals for Peapod (ever since I started extreme couponing) and for ages have thought about blogging them so that others can benefit from the match up work I've done.  As Peapod deals are different in different areas, I can't do match ups for all the geographical areas they cover, but I can at least for the Connecticut market.

This is just a quick post, so I don't have time for a coupon match up, but I do have time to share this pretty good deal:

Get $15 Off Your First Order at Peapod.com with code PPCJ15 through 11/30. Some exclusions apply, see site for details. Shop Today!

$20 off your first business order of $75 or more with code B2B20CJ at Peapod.com! Hurry offer ends 11/30. Some exclusions apply, see site for details. Shop Today!

Pretty good, right?  Pile $10-$20 worth of coupons on that and you've got yourself quite a deal.

26 October 2015

Out of My Shell - Confessions of an Extreme Introvert

I am an INTJ according to every Meyers Briggs test ever, and an EXTREME introvert on that scale.   I think I've always tended to be introverted.  My mother says my kindergarten wanted to hold me back because I wasn't social enough.  During college I picked out a perfect one bedroom house (I even toured the show house) I intended to be my spinster house.  And I was totally cool with that would-be life.

But now I'm married.  And I have five kids.  I am never really alone.  One side benefit that I hadn't really considered before starting is that I really don't have to interact with many people other than my own family every single day.  Pretty much all my contact with the outside world is really up to me.  No awkward conversations with other parents at pick up/drop off, no drama with teachers and administrative staff and PTA leaders, no having to watch asinine reality TV shows to keep up at the water cooler.  That part is pretty awesome.

But not all my kids are just like me.  In fact, most of them aren't.  Even the ones that tend to be more introverted still need to build relationships.  Introverts require truer, deeper friendships, especially since they generally only maintain one or two of them.

So I have to get out and meet people.  For the good of my children.  It sounds easier than it is.

I wasn't always this way.  Okay, if you take into account my kindergarten assessment, maybe I was.  But I never had a problem making friends or maintaining relationships in school.  I was in lots of clubs in high school and college.

Now, however, the idea of "hanging out" with a group makes me cringe.  I go to events and activities my husband gets involved in, or extracurricular activities for my kids, and I *think* I do a pretty good job of socializing.  I sometimes I even meet people I can have real conversations with.  You know, the kind of conversations about things that actually matter - topics that are considered taboo in most early relationships and group social settings.  Quite frankly, those are the only conversations I want to bother having.  It's actually draining and taxing to talk about things like the weather or current events or what's going on this weekend.

The hardest part of all is simply not ruining things for the rest of my family.  Take yesterday for example.  Last night we had a fundraiser dinner to attend in another town.  If was very family friendly, and all Catholics, so clearly these people are my 'in' crowd, even if I haven't met them yet.  But it's highly unlikely I'll see any of them again.  The number of meaningful conversations?  Zero.  Partly due to my not bothering to strike up a conversation with random people, but mostly because, well, we don't know each other and don't have much in common other than supporting the same organization.

Matt is different.  He's a little more extroverted (although Myers-Briggs always puts him right on the line, so at least he 'gets' me).  He's able to just...start a conversation.  And act like he really cares what the other person is saying.  I think maybe, just maybe, he actually does.  But that idea is so foreign to me, I can't even fathom what that feels like.  He also graciously pulls me into conversations, since I do feel awkward just sitting and not talking to anyone when clearly it's a 'mingling' sort of event.  He's smooth like that.  And then I remember everyone's names, because he certainly won't, no matter how much he enjoyed the conversation.

Anyway, at the climax of the event, when the kids are breakin' it down on the dance floor and Matt's deeply engrossed in a conversation, I get an immediate sense of urgency that it is time to GO.  Because kids all over a dance floor looks like uncontrollable kids to me, mainly.  However, I resisted the urge pull the plug, because I've learned it really spoils everyone else's fun.

It is in this way that it needs to be understood that an introvert in a crowd is a person making a BIG sacrifice for the ones they love.  I would have MUCH rather been at home reading a good book.

12 October 2015

My Morning Makeover

Mornings have been a mess for me ever since...about when baby #4 showed up.  And ever since then, I've lost more and more sleep, and cared less and less for my physical well-being.  I just...forgot about me.  Or maybe, like most moms, I feel guilty even entertaining the thought that I need to maintain my own mental health.  How selfish is that???

I've searched for solutions to this lethargic, drained, can't-get-anything-accomplished funk that I've been in, and some things have truly helped--like putting together a vitamin regimen that really works. But what really kills me is being behind schedule before the day really even starts.  And that's exactly what happens when your kids are up before you are.  It. Is. Murder.

This is what my mornings would look like.

5:30am - Pat wakes us up, demanding breakfast, already asking for stuff we don't have, or that isn't breakfast food, so before I even open my eyes I'm saying "No! No! No!"  And in a grumpy mood.  I am a slave to my children.  Harumph.  Usually I discover that one or two of the younger kids have come in in the middle of the night.  Ah.  So that's why my back is wrenched.  Again.

6:00am - I piece together breakfast, often one or two kids at a time, since they stagger their wake ups, so the next hour is spent as a short order chef.

6:20am - Matt's rushing out the door and I have to throw together a lunch for him, or else he's spending $10 on some horrible street meat in the city.  Ew.  And those forgotten lunches add up.  A month of not being on my game in the mornings could easily cost us $100.  That's a week's worth of groceries!

7:00am - If Karol's not downstairs yet, I start hollering for her.  She does not like to wake up this way.  With four other kids, however, I usually don't take the time to go upstairs and gently nudge her.  I'd have to do it about 20 times, anyway.

7:30am - By now the boys are bursting with energy and must be sent outside, and I spend a good chunk of time cleaning the kitchen, because the morning's chaotic non-stop breakfast-making/food-prep-a-thon has left it totally trashed.

8:30am - Eventually all the kids are dressed, teeth brushed, and ready to start school, so we do, because time is of the essence.  I, however, usually end up staying in my pajamas until school and lunch are over and there's somewhere we need to be.  If there's nowhere to go that day, I may not change at all.  And I feel like a dumpy housewife.  Ugh!

Somehow several weeks ago, I stumbled on a bunch of promotional posts about Crystal Paine's Make Over Your Mornings course.  You probably know who Crystal Paine is, even if you don't know you know.  She's the Money Saving Mom!  I've used her coupon database for years, but I don't think I even realized how much more there was to her website until recently.

Well the post (or several posts, all over the mommy blogosphere, actually) sold me, and I signed up for the Make Over Your Mornings online course.  It took a couple of weeks to put together a morning routine that really works for me, and I'm still tweaking it, but for the most part, it's a huge improvement.

The highlights of the course that really affected me were 1) finally training myself to wake up early, 2) setting up my morning the night before, and 3) setting attainable goals.  The course also comes with a really cute e-book that has worksheets you can use to help you plan through your goals, and put together your morning schedule.

And finally, just finding the opportunity to dig deeper into Crystal Paine's website and all the other things she has to offer has really lit a fire under me to do things--like writing on this blog!--again.  Things that make me feel like I'm moving the ball forward: writing for GOPCampaigner.com and prioritizing my other work-from-home stuff.

As my mornings shape up, I hope to include things like exercise in the mix, but I'm not there yet.  One goal at a time, I suppose.

Here's how my mornings are going so far, now that I've completed the Make Over Your Mornings course:

4:30am - Yeah, that's right.  I'm waking up at 4:30am.  And not hating it!  Thanks to a few sleep tweaks, I wake up--feeling genuinely ready to be awake--somewhere between 4 and 4:30 in the morning.  I sneak out of bed (Jack is still waking up to nurse around 2am, so he's usually still there when I get up) and grab anything I need on the way out (my computer, so I can work).  I start my tea, and watch Crystal Paine's periscope from the previous day on katch.me while I'm unloading the dishwasher.  She does them live at 7:30am, but by then I'm on to other things.  I'm getting a little obsessed with this woman.  Well, at least all her work.

4:45am - I try to take some time to read the Bible and do my morning offering while enjoying my tea and something to tide me over until breakfast (usually a little yogurt or fruit).

5:00am - Then I head downstairs and move the laundry forward.  Sometimes that means starting a new load in the washer.  Sometimes it also means taking clean clothes out of the dryer and sorting them into the kids' baskets (they fold their own clothes) and folding my, Matt's and Jackie's clothes and the towels and sheets.  Sometimes I even pull out the iron and get some of Matt's things pressed.  I am definitely feeling accomplished on days I get ironing done.

5:30/6:00am - Depending on how long I spend in the laundry room, by this time I'm hopefully ready to get some computer work done.  Sometimes I spend this time prepping for school work.  Usually a hungry child shows up, but since I've started this new routine, Matt and I are working hard to enforce the rule that children stay in bed until 7am.  But I can't refuse a hungry child, so usually I give them something snacky to tide them over.

6:00am - I try to make a salad sort of lunch for Matt, and a snack and something breakfasty for the train as well.

6:30am - After all that, I want to do blogging work.  And I think at some point I'll be able to comfortably do this.  But for now, I'm still worried about the kids interrupting me and it's not often I'm willing to risk it.  I usually do things like go over my calendar and to-do list and check and respond to emails.

I may rearrange things so that I do computer work first, thus guaranteeing myself a solid hour or two of work before the crazy sets in, but I don't want to sacrifice Bible time, and getting those housekeeping items taken care of are an absolute must if we're going to have a smooth week.  I also haven't yet worked out when to get myself dressed and ready for the day; I need to make planning my clothes for the next day a part of my night-time routine.

That's my new morning routine so far.  There's still a lot of kinks to work out, but it's loads better than waking up with kids jumping on me, still dead tired from going to bed too late the night before.  It's a definite improvement!

07 April 2015

College Days

Hail, Hail, to old Purdue!

Was digging through old pics to find stuff to upload to the Purdue College Republican Alumni Facebook page and found tons of stuff!  Thought I'd share here as well.

Kathy was actually a real sweetheart.  Wonder what she's doing now...totally have to find her on Facebook!

Ah, look at my awesome computer graphics skills...not.

Look how cute my boyfriend is!  Actually, we broke up (for the second time, *sigh*) during this campaign.  Stupid, stupid man.

Michelle, Me, Annie.


Daniels/Plomin football tailgate.  

14 February 2015

Life in the Boot

As I write this, hubby is singing "Pick it up!" to the tune of Disney Frozen's "Let It Go" in a (feeble?) effort to get the kids to tidy their rooms before stories and bed.  He'll do bedtime for five kids all by himself, and then come down here and do the dishes, clean up the kitchen and tidy the rest of the house.  After that, I wouldn't be surprised if he goes down to the basement to work on the playroom he's building for the kids and the laundry room he's building for me.

Meanwhile, I'm chillin' on the couch, sipping soda and playing on the internet, and attempting to crochet this yarn into "10 minute booties" (for the last hour) for Jack.

This would all be fantastic, IF it weren't for this:

Yup.  Broke my ankle.  If you knew how skinny my feet normally are, this would REALLY freak you out.

Even though I slipped on ice over two weeks ago, my leg is still a bruised and mangled, achy mess.  It's not excruciating pain, but it's constant, and draining.

For the next few weeks, my life will be hobbling around in this thing:

With crutches.

(End of pity party.)