Playdates: The Good, The Bad, and The Monkey

We had a playdate yesterday at our house yesterday with another mom and a boy that is 6 months older than Boo.  At this point, Boo is not really playing with other kids.  They just walk around, checking out the surroundings and occasionally trying to play with the same toy.  After a while of playing, the boys needed a snack.  That is when things began to decline…

The other boy finished his snack before Boo and started carrying around Boo’s new monkey while Boo was still in his seat eating.  Boo totally freaked out and started pointing at him and screaming at the top of his lungs.  I was really surprised because he has never shown any protectiveness over his toys.  He usually doesn’t even care if you take something right out of his hands.

Well, the other boy seemed unfazed by Boo’s meltdown and continued to carry the monkey around the kitchen.  I tried to show Boo all of the other monkeys we own, but he was undeterred.  The other mom finally wrestled the monkey away from the boy and gave it back to Boo.  Boo didn’t let go of it the whole rest of the time they were here and he wouldn’t wave goodbye when they left.

Then this morning we had another playdate scheduled.  Yes, I know this kid has a busy social life – that’s why he has his own GooCal!  Our playdate this morning was at Jungle Java.  I had never been there before, but had been meaning to check it out.  The place is HUGE.  It is sized for adults too, so you can accompany your kids all the way through the play structures and down the slides – so cool!  If they had a ball pit, I might have never left.

It only cost us $3 to get in because of Boo’s age.  The other mom and boy we met there are some new friends, so it was nice to get to know them as well as play.  Boo was a bit timid at first, but he warmed up pretty quickly and even went down the slide several times (with monkey of course).

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Game Stop has good deals!?

Who knew, right?  We stopped in to Game Stop yesterday while we were out running other errands and I ended up finding great deals on a few DS games.  I usually end up laughing as I exit Game Stop because their prices, especially for used games, are RIDICULOUS!  Seriously, I very rarely end up buying something there.  We pretty much just use Goozex to acquire games, though I do buy a rare title new if it is a super deal or if it involves a certain Professor Layton.

So, I got Time Hollow which was made by the same people that did Trace Memory (aka Another Code: Two Memories), which I loved.

I have been waiting for this game to match on Goozex FOR-EVA!  I think it is out-of-print, but the price is so low that no one wants to sell (either that or the game is really, really good and people are squirreling it away).  I have also never seen it for sale in a store, new or used, so I was pretty geeked to find it for…wait for it…$8.99 pre-owned.  Since it is going for $12ish on Goozex, that is a mighty good deal, my friends.

So, once I had that in my hot little hands, I kept looking and found Crime Lab: Body of Evidence for $9.99 new.  I had just looked at it at Amazon that morning and it was $19.99, so I knew I had just found another good deal.

I don’t know much about it, so we’ll see how it goes.  It might be a bust like CSI, but it also might be good like Unsolved Crimes.  Either way it has elicited teasing from Sean.  He keeps calling it Crime Scene: Scene of the Crime…

Docomodake = Fun!

I just finished Docomodake this morning.  I had a lot of fun and really enjoyed it.  Why can’t more games be fun, cute, challenging, and interesting without being frustratingly hard?  Anyway, once you rescue all the family members (and watch the credits), a bonus level is unlocked – hooray for extra content!  Now the entire Docomodake family can attend the festival together.

It is just too bad this game is kind of obscure because it really is a lot of fun.  Pretty good for a Japanese cell phone company mascot.  Take that Domo-kun!

Monkey Conspiracy

We go to the thrift store at least a few times a month.  I get most of Boo’s clothes there and also manage to scare up other things as well.  Sometimes I find a ton of stuff and sometimes we just walk out with a few things.  My favorite are the post-holiday sales where all the clothing is 50% off.  Sean teases me about how excited I am when the thrift store is half off – MY FAVES!

So now that Boo is older and can ride in the cart seat, he likes to point at things and even grab stuff sometimes.  The thrift store we currently frequent has shelves on top of the clothing racks where toys and stuffed animals sit.  I am not exaggerating when I say that Boo manages to find a monkey almost every time we go.  Not just any stuffed animal or toy, a monkey specifically.  This kid is really in to monkeys. How he manages to spot a monkey in a big heap of toys and stuffed animals is beyond me.

The good part is that since it is a thrift store, they never cost more than a few bucks.  That is extra good because I am really not interested in prying a plush monkey out of a screaming child’s hands.  We went yesterday and he found this guy, which he clutched the entire way through the store.

I should mention that since I am a bit of a clean freak, the stuff we bring home from the thrift store always gets a good scrub.  In the case of stuffed animals, however, it is more of an individual thing.  Boo tends to like Beanie Babies and since the crazy from the 90’s is pretty much over, the thrift store is chock full of them (at 50 cents a piece I might add).  Beanie Babies are SUPER easy to wash in the washing machine (no dryer).  Because they are more beans than stuffing, they dry out fast and the fur stays soft.  Some of the ones we come home with still have tags and if the tags are in good shape, then I assume they were just on display and I don’t always wash them.  My sister is gagging right now because she is UBER worried about bed bugs.  I am less so, I guess.

Here is our complete collection…

He was screaming at me while I took this picture because he wanted the monkeys.  Boo hoo.

Blog Love: Munch

I stumbled upon a new blog recently all about cooking healthy food, frugally for the family and specifically small children – basically it is perfect for me right now.  I am off to poach a chicken…

Seriously, though, I got some great ideas and I plan to try a bunch of her recipes.

Meal Planing

Have I mentioned here before that we meal plan?  I don’t think so…  I was reminded how great meal planning is today when I watched a video on one of my favorite blogs, Money Saving Mom.  She has a series going on how to reduce your grocery bill and meal planning is lesson two.  We started meal planning several years ago.  At first, I was resistant because I felt like I wanted to be spontaneous, but I just ended up spending more money and time at the store.  Now I love meal planning and would be a scrambled mess without it.  It allows me to to glance at the plan, which is usually posted on the fridge, and pull out whatever I need for the evenings meal.  It makes it way easier now that I have Boo too since my brain is usually fried by the end of the day.  I typically make the plan on Sunday evening.  I get out this form, which I downloaded free from The Project Girl.  She has lots of other free downloads as well.  I have tried other forms and found this style to be the best for us.  I really like the dept. breakdown on the grocery list side – it makes it a lot easier to shop with a baby if you have your list divided for easy reference.

So, I start by looking at my GooCal to see what is going on for the week.  If we have a busy day then I generally try to put a simpler meal in that slot.  I also try to keep track of leftovers so that there is something Sean can take for lunch as well.  I try to put a meal that will generate leftovers on Sunday or Monday to be sure there is something for him.

So far, it works pretty well.  We don’t always stick to the plan.  Sometimes I have a bad day with Boo and I just can’t cook something so we need to go out or just have a sandwich or something.  Meal planning keeps me honest and generally keeps our grocery bill lower, though I can make additional improvements there…  I should note that I really only plan for dinners right now, but I have been thinking about moving to a plan that includes breakfast and lunch since Boo and I are home all day and he is eating more normal meals now.  Right now, I just try to have some staples around for breakfast and lunch like cereal, oatmeal, fruit, tuna, peanut butter, etc.

Now Playing: Boing! Docomodake

I borrowed Boing! Docomodake from some friends and am totally addicted.  You play as a papa mushroom who must rescue the members of his family.  To do so, you must pass through various puzzle-like stages.  There are neat mechanisms in the game like where you break apart in to smaller mushrooms so that you can perform some of the actions to complete the stages.

I am totally hooked on it and wishing I had more time to play…

Fun fact: Docomodake is the mascot for a Japanese cell phone company and is the enemy of Domo-kun.  Seriously!

Crafty Reveal

So, I finally finished my cross-stitch on Thursday evening and since I was able to give it to the recipients, I can now show you the completed project.

I got the idea from here.  You can even download the pattern and select different controllers if you want.  Once it was totally finished, I got a frame for it and cut it down to size.  I just put it under the glass and was able to get the frame back in place without any trouble.  I had been a little concerned that it would be too thick to get the backing on and I would have to improvise a solution, but it worked out okay.  The frame was even on clearance – score!

Here is the framed product:

Our friends liked it – yay!

Momputer

Shortly before Thanksgiving our laptop died.  Our old laptop was a hand-me-down from my father-in-law that lived on our kitchen counter, but it had a major flaw – you couldn’t turn it off EVER!  If the battery was drained or it was shut down manually, it would not come back on without some serious massaging.  It was really mean like that.  Whenever my sister would house-sit for us I would leave Post-it notes around saying “PLEASE DON’T TURN OFF!”  …and I didn’t mean that in an Enrique Iglesias way either!

I was the only one in the house who could baby it along and convince it to turn back on (most of the time).  One day, I let the battery get too low (it only took about 20 minutes) and it turned off.  For the life of me, I could not get it to come back.  It had finally given up the ship.

I was totally bummed because since having the baby and turning my old office into a guest room in order to create a nursery, my desktop computer had been dismantled.  We have several other computers in the house, but I am seriously scared of my husband’s computer.  Turning it on involves a trip to the basement, knowledge of home networking, and several remote controls – and that is before you even see the desktop.

So picture me without a computer right before Thanksgiving feeling all sad because I miss my interwebs.  Also, picture me taking one for the frugal team and telling my husband that we didn’t need to replace it right away because I don’t want to spend $$$ on that right now.  So, we decided to wait for a good deal to come up.  At the same time, husband is trying to convince me to go the netbook route and I am all, “Those screens are WAY too small.”

Within a few weeks, the Black Friday sales start being released.  I am all about Target, as some of you know, so I was glued to their sales fliers.  Like most stores, they were trying to push pre-Black Friday sales to get people shopping early.  So, we are sitting at the breakfast table on Sunday morning while I paw through the paper looking at the sale glossies and coupons when I notice that Target has some electronic deals.  So, I dutifully pass the flier to husband in case he is interested and he says to take a look at the netbook on sale.   The sale flier shows an acer ASPIRE ONE on sale for $180 with a bonus free case.  At this point, I am coming around to the idea of a netbook, so I say that we should go take a look.  He says that this is a not-to-be-missed stellar deal, so we better haul our buts over there before they are gone.

Next thing I know, I am being asked to choose between a black case and a purple one and we come home with a new computer.  I still feel badly about how fervently I avoided netbooks because I love my new computer.

Sorry, honey.

Iglesias

Learning Tower Love

I love our Learning Tower!  Pretty much every other baby gear item has annoyed me in some way and I can’t wait to be done with all of it.  The Learning Tower is great, though, and we couldn’t wait to get it.  Boo loves to see what we are doing/working on and was not happy to play with toys on the kitchen floor while I was cooking.  Since so much of my day is spent in the kitchen, it made sense to invest in something that would allow him to participate and me to cook without hearing whining.  We actually asked for it for his birthday and my parents got it for him – thanks!

I originally saw it here and thought it looked like a neat contraption, but I didn’t have a kid at the time, so I didn’t really “get it”.  I totally see the value now because Boo can see what it going on in the kitchen and while he can’t really help much yet, he does like to splash in the sink and dig in the drawers.  I would much rather have him participate in what I am doing, when possible, and learn about food/cooking than be on the floor just wondering what I am up to all the time.

Hot Tip: Costco currently has the best deal on these suckers – they are not cheap.  It killed me that this thing cost so much since I am the queen of getting things used and/or cheap, but I scoured Craigslist and they disappeared in record time if they were under $100, so it didn’t seem realistic to get a used one.  Also, I figured that we will get daily use out of it for our kid(s) and then sell it later to recoup some cash.

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