Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Pantry Challenge

A forum I frequent has a group of us that is doing what is called a Pantry Challenge. It was an idea one of the girls on the board had and a group of them did it last month. This month I am joining in. The goal is to use up some of the "stockpile" in the pantry. Each girl gives a list of what she wants to use from her pantry over the next month. As she uses items, they are crossed off the list. The goal is to use as much as possible from the list before the end of 4 weeks (so about a month).

The idea is you cut your grocery bill because you are using what you already have. It also will cut down on waste as the items get used before they expire. I decided to bring my part of the challenge to my blog.

Here is what I plan to try to use up in the next 4 weeks (starting Friday).

6 bags Knotts Alfredo noodles

5 boxes chicken rice a roni

2 boxes Zataran's wild rice

6 boxes spaghetti

3 cans spaghetti red sauce

3 cans white sauce

2 blocks velvetta

10 bags frozen vegetables

2 boxes town house crackers

3 packs frozen chicken breasts

2 packs frozen ground beef

9 boxes organic mac and cheese

3 Betty Crocker Cookie Packs

1 Blueberry muffin mix

3 chocolate cake mixes

1 cashew chicken box meal

3 cans rotel

2 cans hormel chili

2 jars salsa

1 bag frozen hashbrowns

1 jar ricotta

1 jar sour cream

1 box hard taco shells

1 can grand biscuts

2 can cresent rolls

2 cans cream of chicken soup

5 cans diced tomatos

Groceries and Coupons

I do not do as well at groceries as I do at household and beauty items. Especially lately, there have just not been many coupons for things we eat. (However, a couple of weeks ago I did get 20 boxes of pasta for FREE.) I can typically save 1/2 or so...but nothing like you see on TV.

Then I watched the TV closely. I looked closer at the cart. I saw a lot of condiments. I saw a lot of junk food. I saw a lot of household items. I saw a lot of personal hygiene items. What I did not see was real food. I did not see a lot of produce. I did not see fresh meats. I did not see milk, bread or other staples. So unless they are feeding their kids mustard on crackers with a side of jello and cookies, I bet their actual grocery bills are higher than the TV lets on. Just a thought for those that are sad because they did not get $1000 in "groceries" for less than $100.

I have lowered my grocery bill significantly though. I buy sides when they are on sale and I have a coupon (such as the pasta mentioned above). I try to buy meats when they are on sale and freeze them. I buy frozen veggies (especially when there are coupons). I then buy bread and fruit (trying to mostly get in season fruit). This helps, even if I do still spend $ on these items. Plus I have the satisfaction of knowing my kids have food to eat and a bed that does not have condiments stuffed into the mattress.

CVS Week 3 of challenge

This week was a little disappointing. I did not get everything I wanted because they were out of so many things. That is okay though, what I did get makes me happy. I am not posting a picture, since I already opened one of the products, besides there is nothing too interesting about a box of dish washing detergent.

CVS has Finish Quantum 20 count Tabs on sale for $3 this week. There is also a promotion for buy $20 worth of certain products, get $10 ECBs. I knew this sale was coming up, so I bought coupons on eBay. I received 20 $2/1 coupons for $3. (This means each coupon cost me about $0.15.

This is what I bought:
(7) Boxes Finish Quantum @ $3

I used

(7) $2/1 coupons
$7 in ECBs that were left on my CVS card (where I messed up and they gave them back to me)

I paid $0 oop before tax.. (I paid $1.50 in tax) I received $10 in ECBs back.
Total saved this week off SALE price : $21

Total spent so far on $10 challenge : $0
Total worth of merchandise so far (SALE price): $126.78

Total ECBs I have to roll onto next week : $25

CVS Week 2 (catch up post)

Ok..so no picture this week. I made a mess getting things this time because I was in a hurry. It is a testament to the wonderful customer service at CVS that I was able to take wrong products back, exchange them and then get my ECBs back on a store card.

Anyways this is what I bought

3 Herbal Essence Shampoos
3 Herbal Essence Conditioners
3 Herbal Essence Moose
3 Herbal Essence Hair Spray
2 Men's Right Guard Body Wash

I used:
6 BO shampoo/conditioner G0 styling product free HE coupons
1 BOGO free RG coupons
$18 ECBs

I ended up paying $0 oop before tax and getting $12 back in ECBs.
I honestly cannot remember the tax..sorry.

Total Savings off SALE prices this week : $35.86

Total spent toward $10 challenge = Still at $0
Total $ amount of items during challenge after week 2 = $105.78

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Judging Parents of Screaming Kids..and the kids too..

Okay, so I will admit. I used to be guilty of this as well. I used to wonder why someone did not just punish the kid. I wondered why the mom did not do more than just look sad and nearly helpless. I swore that when I had children someday, they would NEVER behave in that way. I had it all planned out! Then, I met my children.

I have to say I do feel judged at times. Actually, I feel judged a lot of the time. I feel like people are staring (they probably are, after all who could help but look at the screaming child who is yelling "ouch ouch ouch" at the top of his lungs even though he is being held gently considering he is kicking and screaming). Do I give into what ever he is wanting? No, I do not. That is part of the reason he is behaving like that. Have I ever just "given in"? No. You see, it is not just the fact that he is not getting what he wants that is causing the tantrum. It is that (which by the way makes all children mad) plus how he is interpreting his environment. The florescent lighting...it hurts his eyes and ears too because he hears the hum it makes. He hears all the beeps from the cash registers. He hears the other kids fussing a few aisles away. He can hear all the people taking. He is in sensory overdrive. The slight hold I am doing to keep him from hurting himself also hurts more than it would for most people. He is also hungry and tired, but he has lost his words in all the commotion in his head so all he knows to do now is scream. Once I get him to the car and get him strapped in and he has something to hold tight, he will be okay.

Now, put yourself in his position. What if every little thing you feel on a daily basis you felt x at least 10. What if you could actually hear all the sounds around you 100x louder than they actually are. All this is happening while you are wearing something that makes you itch, you are suddenly very hungry, and you are in a country where no one speaks your language. You can't communicate that anything is wrong. That is how I imagine he feels most of the time.

Do I punish him? Yes, he is punished when it is appropriate. I am not making excuses for him per say. I am doing my best to help him learn to live with the challenges he has been given. Doing this is the challenge I feel God has given me. These special kids like my son are still His creations. He made them, and we know God does not make mistakes. He has entrusted me with one of these special children and now it is my job to help him. In fact, he has entrusted me with two, S has her own set of problems but that is for another blog. My job is to teach him that he does have these problems, but that does not mean his problems have to have him. I am to help him learn to deal.

So the next time you see a screaming child and a tired, sad looking parent who appears to be calmly talking to the child when you would be spanking them, think of my little boy. Before you assume that the kid is out of control and the mom does not care, take a step back. I can tell you from experience she is tired. It can be exhausting dealing with any child..but even more so when the child has special needs (in his case Sensory Processing and probable Autism). I can tell you she is sad..not necessarily because she is being judged (that sometimes tends to lead to anger more than sadness) but because she is worried and sad for her child. She is sad that life has to be like this for him and worried that he will be mistreated because people do not understand. The one thing you can do to help? Be understanding..do not judge..oh and if the kid is running away from her..stand in the way so she can catch him.. :)

For all the parents who do truly understand because you have been there..here is a funny book..

Friday, April 1, 2011

Sensory Processing Disorder

IE started exhibiting some "off" behaviors around the time he turned 2 1/2 or 3. He lost eye contact. He started spinning in circles. He had not really talked before, but then began speaking like a 30 year old. He would do repetitive things and become very angry if he was prevented from doing them. He was no longer quiet and laid back. He now had tantrums out of the blue that could last for hours. Much of the time it was hard to figure out where it was coming from. If anyone barely touched him he would yell "Ouch" at the top of his lungs. However, he would crash into people and things with surprising force. He would contort his body into strange positions that most people would find very uncomfortable and stay that way. He would beat his head against floors and walls when he was mad. Everything around him was too "bumpy". "itchy", "soft", "hard", etc (any of a slew of adjectives or adverbs).

It was around this time we found out he was not just starring at books - he could read them!

We had him evaluated and it turns out he has something called Sensory Processing Disorder. He also may be on the Autism spectrum somewhere. We are awaiting an appointment with a psychologist to determine the extent of his "problems". While we wait, he is in Occupational Therapy.

When I found out his diagnosis I purchased a book from Amazon called The Out of Sync Child. It is a wonderful book that has really helped me to begin to understand what it might feel like to be him. It talks about how people with the disorder interpret (or fail to interpret) their surroundings. I highly recommend it to any one who knows a child with this disorder. I also recommend it to anyone who works with children at all. It can really help you to understand that child that always seems just a little "off".

This book also has a companion book, The Out of Sync Child Has Fun. I would also recommend it for the same reasons as above. It takes the first book a step further. The first book does an excellent job of describing the disorder via the use of case studies. This book shows you things you can do to help the children. I think "normal" children would also enjoy many of the games!