Thursday, June 26, 2008

Poor Girl

Kids are so good at exaggerating and coming up with excuses. Earlier this year Miss Rose had her first episode of faking sickness in order to not go to preschool. I was having trouble distinguishing if she was being truthful or not, so I let her stay home with a babysitter. She was SO faking...confirmed by the sitter. She tried to pull the same thing several times not long after, but I didn't give in.

When kids complain of aches and pains, it can be really hard to distinguish fact from fiction. Miss Rose is notorious for certain ailments that only show themselves at bedtime. Such as the itchy place on her back that needs attention...only at 8:15pm for the last three nights. But oh, it itches so bad and needs cream or a wet cloth or Mama's scratching.

There has been no doubt in my mind these last several months that Miss Rose had a chronic nose issue. The girls passed a lot of sickness back and forth this winter, so it was easy to associate it as lingering effects. I had them both in to the doctor several times, usually diagnosed with viruses.

Gracie has miraculously been healthy for a few months now. But Miss Rose's nose continued to pour. I mean, the hugest snot rockets ever! All day long. A month or so ago, the doc thought she had a sinus infection--so she had a round of antibiotics. It did clear up some, but not completely.

Finally after rescheduling the appointment a few weeks ago on my supermom breakdown day (see earlier post!) we went in today. After waiting for over an hour in the room, a nurse poked her head in and said--have you been seen? Um, no! Have you been waiting long? Um, yeah. A medical assistant forgot to tell the dr. we were waiting and he had been in his office for 45min doing other work. He felt really bad, so I spared them my mom wrath.

Long story short...my suspicion was correct and the poor girl has allergies. He pointed out the dark circles under eyes and the dark line across her nose from it being blown so much and her pushing it up as she wiped it. He even had me look in her nose with the light/magnifier to see how swollen the little things are inside (yeah, can't remember the name now).

So--it's another round of antibiotics to clear up the congestion again, nasal spray, kids Claratin and some bloodwork to find out the culprits and make sure food isn't one.

My low moment was when he asked if she complained of headaches. Which she has been lately and I've been completely discounting them. I did give her tylenol once. Does that make me a little bit of a better mommy?

Bean has allergies and had them pretty bad as a kid, so I'm not too surprised. Eczema is part of the allergy family and Gracie has had that pretty badly, but I'm really hoping she doesn't end up with allergies too.

Of course my little sponge soaked in every word the Dr. said and every explaination I offered her in the car later. She then gave an almost verbatim description of the entire episode to her Grammie and then her dad. She's too smart for her own good.

Monday, June 23, 2008

When I grow up

Do we ever "grow up?" I kind of don't think so. We are continually on a journey, moving from phase to phase of life. Each phase requires development, but then we move on to the next phase. I see this as a positive thing. Being grown up in all areas of my life would be boring. It's good to always have something to be working towards.

Here's a mental list I've been keeping lately.

When I grow up...

1. I will have complete lighting in my home. Not rooms that require lamps, which are insufficient and don't work right (see #2).

2. I will have lamps that function. Lamps that have switches that work so that every night I don't have to lean over and wrench my back to plug in or unplug the stupid lamps, risking being electrocuted because they are perpetually on.

3. I will have matching bedroom furniture...that isn't from Ikea. (although I do love my Bombay Company Outlet bed) I won't have a 3-drawer Rubbermaid storage unit for a nightstand.

4. I will have a bedskirt. I don't need a fluffy frilly one. Just something that covers the box spring. In almost 7 years of marriage, our box spring has always shown.

5. I will have curtains or blinds on every window. I won't try to make my own curtains to save money and have a too-short, crooked hem curtain in the bathroom. (Bean tried to install some blinds in the kitchen...but about 2 buckets of sweat, a few curse words and a lot of plaster dust later...they were un-installable. Therefore, still naked window, through which the HOT bakes the kitchen.)

6. I will have high quality carpets. Not a cheaply made (didn't know this when we bought it) area rug which sheds individual carpet fibers no matter how many times it's vacuumed, that my 1 yr old insists on chewing like gum. She has at least 10 of these in her mouth daily. She never swallows them though. Maybe her body is lacking some nutrient or mineral found in the fiber. (note to self...multivitamin for Miss Gracie)

7. I will quit buying cheaply made things to save a buck. Yes, the Dollar Tree has some things that are a good deal. Apparently a sponge mop is not one. I should just give in and spend the $10 at Target for a normal one, which will probably last a year or more. The Dollar Tree ones last about 2 uses. I finally threw it away today (after 10 uses), to force myseslf to buy a new one.

8. I will CHOOSE to clean/organize my home above doing something for myself (like exercise or blogging or taking a nap).

9. I will quit being sarcastic with my 4 yr old. But, the things she says are so great I just can't help myself. (she's been acting as if I'm going to strike her when she spills or breaks something, which I have NEVER done. Spankings are very routine and regimented in our house. Finally the other day after she did it again I said--"what do you think I'm going to hit you or something? Have I ever hit you like that?" Mature. I know.)

10. Someday, when I grow up....I am sure I will still have more growing up to do.

Our Day at the Fair

Here are some photos from our day at the fair

The petting zoo. Gracie was excited about the animals (although they are all "dogs" to her). Miss Rose was brave enough to let some goats eat pellets out of her hands.



The first ride of the day. Miss Rose couldn't wait to have her first ride on a Ferris Wheel. She loved it.



My baby is growing up! She looked so big sitting her eating her sandwich I had to take a picture. The best thing we ever did was take a cooler with our lunch to the fair and check it with guest services for free!


One of her favorite places to be...a lap. If someone is sitting on the floor, she's in your lap in an instant.


Daddy and the crazy girl.

Yes, Miss Rose actually rode this roller coaster. Her "big" friends who were with us were riding and she insisted she was brave enough to ride also. This is the curse of having an amazon child...she was a few inches taller than the minimum--but usually a child is 6 or 7 before reaching that height. She wasn't so thrilled on the ride though. We quickly said no to all other big kid rides. Well, Bean wasn't there when she asked to ride this roller coaster and he claimed he wouldn't have let her. But I figure...it won't kill her and she'll learn whether she likes it or not.


Getting ready for the bungee jumping!! She loves doing this at Sea World too (although her Grammie is the only one that will pay for her to do it there. I always say no!)

Jumping up so high.


Happy family at the end of a fun day.


Friday, June 20, 2008

Just like Wine

Sometimes I wish I was a wine drinker. I know many who enjoy relaxing with a glass of wine or sipping wine with a yummy dinner. It seems so refined and sophisticated, yet also something so simple. But I've never really had a taste for alcohol, so I really haven't even tried much wine. One thing I do know about wine is that the older the better.

I turned 31 yesterday. No longer am I just "30" but now I'm in my thirties. I feel old...yet I also feel young.

The attitude I've decided to have about this birthday and those that are to come, is that I am just like wine. I only get better with age! Sure I could recount all the negatives of getting older. The added wrinkles, the marks of childbearing, or the joints that now crack and pop.

But I'd rather focus on the areas of me and my life that are now better!

-I am a very confident individual. In high school I was pretty quiet and reserved. I changed schools a lot, so I never had a close group of friends in high school. I did have long-time friends from church, and I was a bit more outgoing than them. But when I think back to myself in high school and in the beginning of college, I was unsure of myself. I think mostly because I wasn't sure who I was. But, I have really found out who I am and I like me!

-I'm in better shape now. Looking back at some high school and college photos recently, I was quite a chub! Although I don't think I realized how chub I was. I like to think of it as my baby fat. It just took me over 20 yrs to grow out of. Actually I was slim as a kid. I blame it all on my junior high where we ate lunch at 10:50am. Not normal. I'd come home and be hungry and eat a 2nd lunch. I was in pretty good shape when Bean and I married...but by the time I got pregnant with Miss Rose, I had put on a few of those "newlywed pounds." Thankfully after having my babies, I've had great motivation to lose the weight and have lost more than I gained.

-I can manage my hair. Again--those old pictures. I had the most kinky curly hair in high school and the beginning of college. I had straight hair until I hit puberty--so I was really at a loss as to how to deal with newly curly hair. It was crazy curly. My brother in law, who was a good friend in high school, used to tease me unmercifully! I think having babies and all the hormones involved there have made my hair relax and I've figured out the right combo of products.

-I have a wonderful family. I love my husband and my children. They are worth every wrinkle and all the stretched out skin.

-I have weathered many storms and my relationship with Jesus continues to grow. If I were to list out all the valleys and low points I've been at in my life--it would be long--like most people's. And some of the storms have been pretty brutal, leaving my broken and bruised. But God has always been faithful to heal and restore. These storms have left marks that are a permanent part of me now. But I'm better for each experience.

-I have amazing friends. Facebook is my new hobby! I tried myspace for a while...and while I do still have my account there, Facebook is much more my cup of tea. I've connected with so many high school and college friends that way. I have co-workers that are incredible friends. Many of my "church friends" I grew up with, I have now known for more than half of my life. So many of us have children and it's special to see them play together and interact. If I could, I'd just arrange marriages for my daughters to their sons!

See--I'm getting better with age. Just like wine. By the time I'm 75, I'm going to be primo!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Hanging Up the Cape

I hung up the superwoman/supermom cape today. That's not so easy for me to do. The decision came at Bean's prompting, but like a good wife I listened. Well, I'm always a good wife, but I don't always listen!

I registered for two online classes this summer. An easy one and a more difficult one. I completed the first few assignments alright, but then I got an email from one prof today that I had missed a quiz. I didn't carefully read the schedule enough and thought the quiz was related to an extra credit assignment I didn't do. Enter stress numero uno.

Work is very hectic and busy right now. And we're going to the Fair on Thursday--so that means getting 3 days worth of work done in 2 days. Well, it's probably more like 4 days worth of work that I usually do in my 3 office days. I spent the day in meetings and have so much piled up. Stress numero dos.

Then I realized I had scheduled a dr. appt for Miss Rose tomorrow morning--which was going to cut at least 2hrs off my day...and make me miss another meeting. It's not an urgent appointment, but one I've wanted her to have for a while. I'd like to know--or at least have confirmation why--Miss Rose personally supports the makers of Kleenex with the insane amount of snot that comes from her poor nose daily. I'm pretty sure it's allergies, which Bean was plagued with as a kid, but I want to know how to best treat it. So--stress numero 3.

Oh--and I was trying to go running after work today, but it was going to really make the night's schedule tight.

Bean must have had some weird sort of 6th sense today. He called as we both were leaving work--not a time he normally calls. We're lucky the guy even has a cell phone and uses it. When we were dating he had a cell phone and a pager. He'd only use the cell phone if he got a page he wanted to answer right away. He got rid of the cell phone not long before we got married to eliminate a bill and because he never used it. The pager went the way of the buffalo after not long either. Bean is reachable about 95% of the day at his desk, so truthfully a cell phone wasn't a huge necessity. But when baby #2 was on the way...he decided on his own, it was time to get a cell phone. He's realized it does come in handy when he's at the grocery store and doesn't understand my list or wants to know what kind of ice cream I want.

I digress. So he used the cell phone and called me at the height of my stress. I told him what was going on and he had such easy solutions. Drop a class and reschedule the appointment. Practical. Realistic. Simple. The supermom in me hadn't even considered those options. I was trying to figure out how I was going to manage it all.

Guess what. I took his advice. On the way to pick up Miss Rose I rescheduled the appointment. Tonight I dropped the easier class and decided to just get the difficult class over with. By the way, if anyone knows why statistics is necessary to study for anyone who is not a statistician, please enlighten me. And I decided, running could wait. The earth will still revolve on it's axis if I miss a few days of exercise. My family and my sanity have to be the priority.

I hung up the cape. With ease. And it felt good. Miss Rose will just continue blowing snot rockets for another week. I'll do the class later. And I will stress less!!

However, I will confess that you will probably catch me taking the cape off the hanger at some point in the near future.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Sleep Issues

I have sleep issues. You probably read the title and thought I'd be talking about my kids. Nope. Gracie goes down like a champ without a peep. Miss Rose takes a long time to fall asleep but once she's out, she's out. I'm the one with reoccuring issues. (I know that cutting out Miss Rose's 2-hr nap--she's almost 4.5 after all--would probably solve her problems...but see, sometimes I need a nap too!)

I have somewhat of an overactive mind...at the exact moment my head hits the pillow. I've never been one to fall asleep at the drop of a hat (unlike Bean who is infamous for it). It takes me a while to unwind. The second I get in bed, I begin to think about my day, to think about my job, to plan the next stages of life, to calculate our budget, the train of thought just never ends.

Reading for a short time in bed usually helps my mind focus away from life stuff and onto the mundane (usually of christian romance novels!) But this can also be a catch-22. I'm a fast reader...and if I'm really into a book, or close to the end, I have a hard time putting it down. Which can mean being awake well past midnight. The girls wake between 6:30 and 7am and on workdays I'm up at 6:15. This means not enough sleep!

So on the weekends, I sometimes resort to naps. I must confess...I've napped 3 days in a row this weekend, which is above average for me. But napping is a catch-22 also. Because a nap longer than 45min means I'll have even MORE trouble falling asleep. Like tonight. I was up too late reading last night, was tired and took a nap and now when I should be going to bed, I feel wide awake.

Tylenol PM is one of my most treasured friends. I discovered this friend during my 1st pregnancy when sciatica made it next to impossible to sleep. Of course a breastfeeding mom must be ready to wake at the drop of a hat, so Tylenol PM and I can't really be friends during baby's first year. Now that Gracie is 14 months, Tylenol PM and I are getting reacquainted. In fact, I just took two right now. Gracie still wakes occasionally and needs a bit of attention at night, so I still try to avoid drugging myself. But sometimes a girls gotta do what a girls gotta do. And if baby wakes...and mama is out cold...Daddy will get up. I have committed to NOT take a nap tomorrow...which means I need sleep tonight.

What I SHOULD do is...
quit caffeine...been there, done that...still LOVE it; although I do try to avoid it later in the day.

stay off the computer in the evening...but that is my computer time, my downtime and I'm taking online classes, so it's my study time

do Yoga or some sort of meditation before bed to relax...um, I'd rather surf the web!

get in bed earlier to unwind....Bean doesn't need much sleep, and he likes to be up at night, so when I go to bed too early, I miss hanging out with him

So, I just deal. Poor Miss Rose. I'm afraid she's headed down the same path. I wonder when I'll have to introduce her to my friend Tylenol PM. Just kidding. I'd never drug my child! It would probably have the opposite effect on her. The kid swam for 3 hrs today and STILL was up 1.5hrs after bedtime.

I'm off to bed to wait for Tylenol PM to work it's magic while I read something. I finished the books I had...time to visit the library again.

Sweet dreams!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

The Yin and the Yang

Can someone please explain why my 4-yr old is obsessed with guns, swords and weapons? Did I mention that my 4-yr old is a GIRL?

Growing up with a brother only 18-months younger than me, I definately played my fair share of "boy" games. Mostly they were just outside games. We played a lot of Indians and Pioneers and war. I remember telling my brother if he would play dolls or house with me for a time, I'd go play outside with him. I was definately a tomboy--but I did like my baby dolls and miniatures. I didn't do the Barbie thing, wasn't super into clothes or my looks (as evidenced by some horrendous pictures of my youth!).

I'm still not that girly...although there was something about meeting and marrying my husband that made me want to be more feminine at times. In high school my friends joked that I was "the man" because I didn't cry at the drop of a hat, didn't exhibit intense emotion of any kind and I always thought anything a guy could do (carry heavy stuff, fix cars) I could do too. And I did!

Apparently I haven't exhibited enough balance to Miss Rose. While she does like her baby dolls (usually at nighttime when she is supposed to be going to sleep) the kid is obsessed with action and all things Transformers, Power Rangers, a multitude of superheroes and martial arts. Mind you---she hasn't SEEN any of this stuff. (well, I did let her see the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles last week!) We are very guarded with what she views and she has a sensitive spirit---so she actually doesn't like super violent stuff.

She just knows what she's learned from boys at daycare and church. She has this whole Transformer routine that's hilarious and involves a lot of wide leg stances, jerky arm movements and a lot of sounds that include spitting. Her 1 year old cousin was copying the moves tonight. It was really cute.

Recently, she has told me she only likes boy things. One of her good friends knows every My Little Pony and accessory. Miss Rose NEVER plays with the ones she has. She loves to watch Jon and Kate Pluss 8--and she's always pretending she's one of the boys or Jon. One day when she was wearing a new shirt she told me I could only say it was "cool" I wasn't allowed to say it was pretty or cute.

Yet she can be so sensitive and sweet. She's great with her little sister and cousins and smaller children. She can be very nurturing. She loves role modeling me in the care of her sister. I hear her saying things to her baby dolls all the time that I say to Gracie. It's very sweet. Miss Rose is very affectionate, always wanting to be sitting on my lap (again, enter mental picture of a big puppy trying to crawl on your small lap) or wanting to be carried (next to impossible for me now--as she's almost 50lbs and over 42 inches).

I know it will all balance out in the end. Whenever I comment on it, my family and close friends just point right back me siting my tomboy status. But seriously--I wasn't obsessed with the stuff like she is. Many Sundays, she's in a pretty dress with her hair all done up--running through the church lobby, doing her Transformer moves or on the floor showing her panties.

It's just the yin and the yang of Miss Rose. I can't wait to see what Miss Gracie's will be! While I don't mind her obsession with boy stuff--I do try to bring balance and remind her that it's okay to like boy stuff, but she is a girl!!

P.S. My smart little miss---she asked me a question about a conversation I had earlier with her grammie. I said I didn't know the specific detail she was asking for. Then she said "do you really not know, or do you just not want to talk to me about it." Smart butt. She was right. But I didn't tell her that!!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Check it out

Check out my recent post on my fitness blog about my race!!!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Sleeping Beauties Sleepover

The first time Miss Rose ever slept over at someone's house was when Gracie was born. There were a few times Bean and I were gone overnight...but at the time we shared a house with my parents, so my mom was there with Miss Rose. I like keeping my kids close! In the last year Miss Rose has chalked up a few more sleepover's with grandparents.



But tonight, both my beauties are sleeping over at my mom's house. I am a bit sad about this. Gracie is just 14 months. She needs me, right? Bean and I are running in a race that requires at 5:15am departure. It only make sense to have the kids sleep over.



Miss Rose is thrilled about it. She misses my mom a ton. We shared a house with them from the time she was 8 months old until she was 3.5. My parents now live about 45min away, so we only see them a few times a month. My mom of course, can't wait to have them both--and having Gracie too is a special treat.



It's a good milestone. Good for me and Bean. Good for the kiddos and my parents. But I will miss my sweet girls!

This is what my mom gets to experience...

Miss Rose is forever falling asleep in the funniest positions. We have so many hilarious photos of her! This is the most recent. She had a sinus infection and came out for Kleenex so many times we finally gave her the box. And I guess she was so attached, she fell asleep with her arm inside it!


Gracie attached herself to this blanket when she was around 6 months old. She would cuddle up to it so much that we started making sure it was in her bed. Now, when she sees it, it means instant sleep. We throw it over our shoulder during her "sleep routine" and she lays her head on it while we sing. Then as soon as she hits the bed, she cuddles it and often falls asleep on top of it or holding it. So sweet!


Love my sleeping beauties!!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Motivation

It's Thursday night and the house is quiet. I finished putting Miss Rose to bed, Gracie is already down and Bean is at worship practice. There is a WHOLE house calling my name. Calling for me to do the dishes and clean the kitchen. Our wood floors are crying to be swept and cleaned, as is the kitchen linoleum. There is laundry that needs to be done and countless items laying around that need a home.

But I'm tired. It's the "end" of my work week. Wednesday is my marathon days, so by Thursday I am just toast. I actually went to bed a little early last night so I wasn't as tired this morning, but my brain is still fried. The last thing I feel like doing is cleaning.

I seriously lack motivation. And yes--while all of the above about my work week is true...the fact of the matter is, on any given day, at any given time--I lack motivation. There is always something else I'd rather be doing. I'm always fried from dealing with children and want down time. I'm overwhelmed by the tasks. And though it will probably take me less than 30min to complete, that feels like about 5 hours right now.

Let me clarify though...my home is not dirty. It's just messy. I have a real issue with having a dirty home--lots of dust, grime etc. But messy, I guess doesn't bother me so much.

A few years ago I tried out the FlyLady techniques. Me and "flying" just didn't get along. First problem--you're supposed to put on shoes every morning. I live in Southern California. We don't wear shoes very much. Mostly we wear flip flops, but I don't wear them in the house. As a kid I was barefoot outside ALL of the time. In fact Bean jokes with me and my sisters about our "dirty feet" because we never wear shoes. I just couldn't agree with the FlyLady about that one.

I did get good at shining a sink. Our previous house had a stainless steel sink and that thing SHONE...when I decided to go through the whole process. Our kitchen sink now is ceramic. I've taught Bean the art of bleaching it to get it clean...but it doesn't really shine.

The first level of FlyLady is being a "Flybaby." I don't think I ever made it to flybaby status. I created my own new bottom level of "maggot." I have issues with throwing stuff away. I have issues with organization. I save stuff in case I need it...but then when I need it, I can never find it. Bean is a minimalist. I border on pack-rat. Our home needs something in between.

But---I know if I don't get up right now and clean up, Bean will probably go agro when he gets home and do it; well at least the kitchen. And if I put it off until the morning, I will miss out on sweet time with my girls and that just won't do.

Alright...alright...I'm getting up...I'm doing it...

Gotta at least keep my "maggot" status. Don't want to fall down to larvae.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Will it ever end?

I paid $4.11/gal for gas today. It was $4.07 on Friday. Ouch. We typically get gas at Costco, which can be .10-.20 cents cheaper than local gas stations. I think it was $4.25 down the street. I was near Costco today and since I was at half a tank, I figured I would just fill up for the week.

It's scary to say, but I wouldn't be surprised to see $5.00/gal before summer is over. I remember around my Junior year in college when gas was $.99/gal. My VW beetle had a 10 gallon tank and so I filled up for under $10.

Food costs have risen too. None of this is news to any of you, I'm sure! It is frusterating because Bean and I are really working at being good stewards of our money and focus on our goals (like paying off debt). Yet, cost of living continues to increase. How do we beat it??? I aim to feed my family healthily--and that food gets pricey!

There's a few things I've been doing to try and save money. Maybe you can share some ideas too. (also check out Jaimie's Penny In My Pocket)


Shopping at Dollar Tree and discount stores (like GTM if you are in San Diego).

  • Today at Dollar Tree (all at $1) I found Puffs Kleenex, bleach, mozarella cheese, popsicles, pretzels, Rubbermaid reusable tupperware and a Fitness magazine.
  • GTM has Fruit Leather for $.25 each. A 50-75% savings from Henry's. Flavors are limited, but Miss Rose really likes them and there is no added sugar. Just fruit!! Also discounted graham crackers, hydrocortisone cream for $.99, lotions, beauty products and more.

Skip the paper products. We used to go through a ton of paper plates in a month. It was just easier. But I realized--although I would buy them inexpensively, it adds up and isn't too green either. It's been 2 or 3 months since I last bought paper plates. We just use the dishawasher more! And rags work just as well as paper towels.

Buying in bulk at places like Henry's. If you like to bake and cook, items such as rice, flour, sugar, beans are all usually cheaper in bulk. And you can buy exactly the amount you need. Bean is threatening to get me containers for my birthday for all the small plastic bags of stuff in the cupboard.

Shopping at children's resale stores and craigslist. If you are looking for baby/kid related gear---you can get them at great prices if you are patient!

  • craigslist: When I am looking for something in particular, I hound craigslist several times a day until I find it. My crib was just $60 (great condition, just a few knicks in the paint) and a coordinating changing table for $30. I saved about $200 on my double jogger. A $100 swing for $60 that was almost brand new.
  • Resale stores: these can be really hit and miss, so just make stopping by a part of your routine a few times a month. Usually great supplies of blankets, onsies and basics. If you are looking for a toy or particular item, they'll usually write your name down and call you if it comes in.

If you are on baby #1 and plan to have more, you will probably get your money's worth from new stuff. I remember the fun of all the new baby gear with my first. However--you can save SO MUCH buying gently used stuff.

Splitting food items at Costco. Unless you are large family, it can take a long time to use up food purchased at Costco and it's hard to pay out the intial cost. If you have a friend or family member who likes the same stuff, share the cost and the food.

Little Markets. We have a little mexican food shop/market less than a mile down the street. They sell a decent variety of fruits and veggies WAY cheaper than the grocery store. For instance today (can you tell it was errand day) I purchased apples for $.69/lb, oranges 3lbs/$1, cucumbers 2/$1 and they also had watermelon for $.29/lb. If you've bought produce at the grocery store recently--you know the prices are WAY higher. The only item we still get regularly at a grocery store is bananas. Even fruit at Henry's and Costco is usually cheaper than the supermarket chains.

So, how are you saving money and cutting costs these days?