Wassup Wednesday – 6

News: I got a new-to-me ipod nano.  It arrived in today’s mail.  I have been playing around with it, but it will take me a while to figure it all out.  Already Nevin showed me how the volume control works.  I think of myself as technologically savvy, and here I am one of those parents who needs to have her kid show how something works.

Fun: Homeschool field trip to the Magic House this past Monday.  The Magic House is one of St Louis’s great family-friendly attractions, and it was a lot of fun to visit again.  We had enough homeschool families from our church present to divide the kids up into age groups, making it a manageable visit for everyone.  Here are couple shots of Evangeline enjoying her time there.  Her friend’s older sister took the pics.


 Books: Reading Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.  It is as fun as the others, and I am anxioius to move on so I can finish the whole series.

I picked up a Barbara Kingsolver book, Prodigal Summer, at Goodwill, this time for 35 cents!  I am looking forward to reading it because I really liked her book The Poisonwood Bible.  I’ll let you know what I think of this one.

Something cool: My friend, Lindy, uses the Grocery Game website to save money on groceries.  I have never been a coupon person, but Lindy’s family eats for practically nothing!  I am not sure if I am going to be able to work this system or not, but I am going to give it some serious consideration.  I do think that St Louis grocery stores are not as prone to doubling coupons, so maybe coupons won’t be as effective here.  Plus, I usually shop at Aldi where the prices are low to begin with and they don’t take coupons.  But if I can save more by using coupons at the regular stores, I’ll give it a try.  Anyone else have thoughts re: pros and cons of couponing.

That’s all for now . . .

10 thoughts on “Wassup Wednesday – 6”

  1. I don’t have a clue how an ipod works, just know almost everyone else has one and they’re really handy. Maybe Nevin or Calvin can explain the finer points to me next time I visit. I remember the Magic House and it is great fun. I finished Home by Marilynne Robinson and started Cold Sassy Tree while I was traveling. I love having a good book to read on the plane! Haven’t done coupons seriously for a long time, so no help from me. BTW, E’s hair is getting long!

  2. Mom,
    I love Cold Sassy Tree. I also have Leaving Cold Sassy if you would like to read mine. What I hated about both those books is that I didn’t want them to end.

    What’d you think of Home?

    Re: the Magic House, since we were there with you and since our membership expired last year, they have opened a whole new addition. So there is a lot more to see and do than before. Charis had been feeling deprived that she hadn’t visited since the new wing opened, so now she can check that off her list!

  3. I enjoyed Home, but it was a much more difficult read than Gilead and not as satisfying. I think the conflict between the son and father, which was never resolved as far as I could tell, left me a bit depressed. But now I have to reread Gilead because it sheds light on what was going on at the same time in Home. Then I’ll probably have to reread Home with more awareness. It never ends!

  4. How nice that you got your Nano!! Have fun with it…we use the Ipod every day for entertainment, school lessons in history, poetry, our hymns, and lit, and it has been so handy to pop in the car too! The children all love finding their favorite songs and picking music for us!

    (sorry this next bit is so long!)
    re the Grocery Game, it is a cool system, but I have mixed feelings. I did GG for about two years while my kids were in private school. it was a good way to hopefully save some bucks on groceries. i will say that now that we are homeschooling i cannot imagine finding time for it in our already very busy and full lives. Taking advantage of the best deals didn’t give me flexibility to go to the store when I was ready and had a block of time in my week, so as long as we are HS-ing, I will probably not pursue it.

    The way the coupons work, you wait for Saturday mid to late morning to get the week’s deals emailed to you. Assuming you can get coupons clipped/sorted from the Saturday edition of the paper (which means you need to go get a newspaper sometime Sat morning as well), the earliest you can shop is Sat afternoon. Which happens to be the last time in the week I want to shop given sports, family time, and often company on Saturday afternoon/early evening. The timing was just awful for me. It often got pushed to Sunday, but that was a bad day too, and I don’t like to shop as a rule on Sundays, so I ended up going Monday when a lot of the sale stuff was already pillaged and no longer available. If we had folks here for supper on Friday or Saturday, I had to make another grocery trip during the week usually.

    I also found that a lot of the coupons were for things I might not normally buy for our family: a lot of foods which were predone and not the healthiest: toaster strudels, lots of cookies/desserts, frozen meals of various kinds. When it was all said and done, I did spend less, but also bought a lot more food that we didn’t necessarily need. Meat and produce and dairy and basic breads were not usually included in coupon sales. The deals on meats and produce that GG notifies you about are already in your grocery circulars. The one area where I do miss GG is in the purchase of toiletries b/c they do have fantastic deals on tp, toothpaste, handsoap, etc. There are always coupons for those things, and if you are willing to switch brands on shampoo, etc, you can do very well.

    To keep myself organized when we did GG, instead of clipping only the coupons I might use each week out of the paper, I filed the various coupon pages whole by week in a filing system. Then when I got my deals email for the week, I’d go down my list and find and clip the coupons based on the date they came out in the paper. There always seem to be the most coupons that very week which is why i always made sure to get that weekend’s paper in as well.

    I do better nowadays with getting many of our basics at Sams and following my circular sales at Kroger or TomThumb, and buying most of my produce and a lot of my meat at Sprouts. I can shop when I want, and when I find a few minutes in my week. Usually during Tues afternoon piano lessons b/c I have a full 1 1/2 hours and only two children to go with me.

    That is only one person’s point of view – you might find GG is perfect for your family! I had a lot of friends at Covenant who used the GG b/c it saved money for them. Fwiw, I can’t think of one friend I know now who homeschools and also manages to implement this system…though I’m sure there are women who make it happen! Let me know what you think if you try it out!

  5. Tricia,

    I can’t imagine this system working for me if it didn’t work for you as you are much more organized than me. I still may give it a look, but it sounds super complicated. Interestingly, my friend Lindy who works it so well is a homeschooler to 3 kids, and she runs marathons and has recently completed her first half-ironman. I am not sure how she does it!

    I am enjoying my ipod, and I have been thinking of ways I can use it for school. I appreciate the input from you about how you’ve used it. Are you downloading pre-recorded files of recitations, etc., or are you recording them yourself. I am thinking it will be useful for Evangeline with encouraging her in reading. She is a great reader, as far as fluidity, etc., but she is overwhelmed by the sheer size of longer books. Her second book of the school year has not gone as well as the first, and I am trying to get her over the hump with that. I am thinking listening to an mp3 or on cd while reading along may help. But I think I would have to keep her with me while she does it to keep her on task. We’ll see.

  6. Jennifer, this comment is ridiculously long…I am going to email the content to you as well for simplicity of use in case you want to pursue any of the links…

    Firstly, you give me way too much credit — i am truly less organized than you think I am!! Parts of my life/household are an utter mess. You should come look in my closets for starters….But thanks for the kudos!

    Lindy sounds like Super Woman. I like to think i have lots of energy, but wow…she makes me feel like a slug! 🙂

    On the ipod: in addition to our musical cd’s, we burn a lot of other recordings to the Ipod; several school subject materials I ordered this year include cd’s which we transfer to the ipod for simplicity of use: we use SOTW for our history, so we enjoy using the ipod to listen to the lessons and then discuss before moving to activities and mapping and other enhancements of whatever we are studying.


    We have several books on cd that we also burn and use when my voice is tired and we’d rather listen to someone else read!

    We are using this poetry anthology this year, and it comes with a cd…it is fun to listen to others read poetry (and they do it better than I!):


    I have all the volumes of Hymns for a Kid’s Heart (I wonder if we gave you one of these books/cds at Christmas one year? cannot recall) and we try to learn/practice a hymn each week or every other week during our opening time in the morning. These are orchestrated beautifully and have all verses so after studying the writer and the content of the hymn, we use the recordings to sing along with it each morning for a week or two till everyone feels very comfortable and familiar with it. This is Volume I


    Nico’s Song School Latin is also on the ipod…it is mostly songs that reinforce his vocabulary…but it also has all the vocab read and pronounced (a good thing!) on the recording:


    A/J’s Latin also comes with a CD for listening to the chants/vocab covered in each chapter:


    jay recently purchased a Spanish curriculum to listen to during his commute now; he added it to the ipod and the children spend time (completely apart from me) listening to that and they are coming along with their vocab. I don’t have a link to share but I know it’s a program which bases the teaching entirely on listening and Jay is pretty impressed with it.

    With E, I wonder if you broke each book down into manageable sections and asked her to complete say one chapter in the first half of the week, another in the second half, etc (or whatever pace works for her) and no more, if it would feel less intimidating to her. I also wonder if you found books on cd at the library, if you could burn them to the ipod w/o violating any copyrights since of course you are not distributing them, only listening to them for your own use. (I think I would do this unless someone convinced me it was akin to theft!

    E could then follow along in the book as you suggested for some of the chapters if she is struggling through reading it entirely on her own? Maybe every other one?

    My kids are all voracious readers so far, but we all do enjoy listening to someone read, and I believe it develops a different skill in addition to seeing and reading on one’s own. It challenges their brains in a different way: I personally find it harder to listen and comprehend, so I love that we can all work on that skill while enjoying some wonderful books together.

    We have found a wealth of great books on cd at the Dallas Libraries, we can have materials sent from the many branches to our local one, and we do a lot of listening to books. Everyone enjoys it, and it is esp great if the reader has good voice. Some we have enjoyed on CD include the Little House Books, the Wizard of Oz, Rudyard Kipling’s Jungle Book, The Cricket in Times Square, The Narnia Series, The Tale of Desperaux, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and the Sequel Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator (if you can find these books put out by Harper Audio read by Eric Idle he is WONDERFUL and i bet your kids would LOVE them!)


    Rabbit Ears productions has a bunch of great stories on cd. Here is their website, but hopefully you might be able to find them from a library or friend:


    My last suggestion is another WONDERFUL and FREE source for classic tales from Brothers Grimm, Hans Christian Anderson and more. Sometimes in teh afternoons I will have the boys sit and listen to tales for some quiet down time, and Abigail enjoys them too. Jay found tons of these stories for free at


    Ok, this comment has turned out to be a book in and of itself, again so sorry to take up so much space. But maybe a couple of these ideas will be of help to you…

  7. I was thinking exactly what Tricia said about coupons. I will say that I think I am kind of intense about this issue because of the whole “tsk tsk tsk, you really should clip coupons” mentality of the people who do. I realize you are not saying that, but I will give you my spiel anyway. You know, because I am sure you want to hear my coupon rant (I have a similar rant for stores that are supposed to be less expensive and are actually not ahemshopnsaveahem).

    First of all, as far as GROCERY shopping goes, I don’t think coupons work for perimeter shoppers (me). There are no coupons for apples, carrots, potatoes, ground turkey, meat, milk, etc. Most coupons are for processed junk food kind of things. I used to go through my mother-in-law’s Saturday papers, but I always ended up with tons of coupons for fruit roll ups, pop tarts, and frozen pizzas- GROSS! But they are good for non-grocery sort of things- toiletries, cleaners, paper products, and the like, except that even when you factor in the difference of the coupon, they are for products that don’t usually cost less! And I don’t buy that kind of stuff often enough so my biggest problem is that the coupons are always expiring. But every now and then, you do get a great coupon for canned tomatoes or baking essentials (the latter, particularly during the time of year), but for the time you’re spending, it doesn’t always seem worth it. I think you have the right idea- shop sales and stock up on what you need when it’s on sale (if you can- doesn’t work for perishable things that won’t freeze).

    Oh, and second, the reason the people even make coupons is so you’ll buy their stuff, right? Just like Tricia said, you end up buying things you don’t need. If I had a nickel for every time my mother-in-law tries to give something to me that she bought “because I had a coupon” that she can’t eat before it spoils or has been laying around forever (like an ancient pack of highlighters just last week or a large stash of cake mixes that have a box designs that can’t be any less than ten years old), I’d never need to use coupons anyway! 🙂 The idea that you might could use it eventually (yes, “might could”) is a gamble and often a waste.

    And that concludes my rant. But I will say that one thing I enjoy about shopping at Target, even though it is also sort of creepy, is that they print out coupons for you at the register based on what you have bought in the past. I know they do this at grocery stores based on what you buy that day. But Target regularly prints coupons for me for things I haven’t bought in a while that I will need to buy soon- coupons I will actually use because it’s based on what I, personally, buy (I guess they retain my debit card number?). This is perfect because they don’t expire before I run out. I almost always have a coupon for my shampoo, toothpaste (and really most of my toiletries), toilet paper, diapers, detergents and cleaners, pet food, and even Target brand items that I buy regularly (and I tend to think that Target brand is of higher quality than most generics), all for at least $1 off, often $2 or $3, on hand. So take that Walmart! [ I have my own separate Walmart rant- that one’s good too :)]

  8. Abby,

    I do buy some of those “gross” things you mention, but I buy the cheap ones at Aldi. Really, Aldi is the reason I haven’t pursued coupons much. And, I also shop the perimeter of the store a lot–but 2 frozen pizzas, frozen waffles & pop tarts, and 2 bags of chicken nuggets per week are almost always on my list.

    I don’t really agree with you about shopnsave. I still find them to be less expensive than Schnucks & Dierbergs, but I know you buy special items at S & D that are not part of my cooking requirements. I honestly can’t stand Schnucks. I only shop there for milk and things I need when it is late and I just want to run up the street to get something. And, I always found Wal-Mart to be the best buy for groceries when I lived in Oklahoma, but here, they are not very competitive.

    I really think my friend Lindy saves mostly on cleaning items and toiletries, too, because she is very health conscious, so I can’t imagine she uses a lot of packaged stuff. But she lives in Seattle, and it could be they get coupons for stuff like produce. Who knows?!

  9. so what you’re saying is…i’m a food snob! or i guess, in so many words, i said that 🙂 well. i will admit that i regularly venture away from the “perimeter” for m&m’s and coca cola… just not frozen pizza (to my husband’s dismay- which is how nevin had such good luck with him!).

    also, i’m a grocery store snob. but have you seen the new schnucks in des peres?! totally over the top, totally unnecessary and blatantly american materialistic silliness, but it is BEAUTIFUL. and it has a KALDI’S inside. and the produce is bright and shiny and abundant. and the flower section… see, this is what i want from a grocery store- a pretty and pleasant experience that will be remembered as i use the groceries throughout the week. i sound like i’m courting the grocery store, i know. but doesn’t it feel that way sometimes? the thing is, the prices at that schnucks are the same as the prices at the cruddy schnucks in overland. maybe they’re not as good as at aldi, but until aldi has everything i need, i just don’t want to make the extra trip- but i understand why everyone else does.

  10. Abby,

    That’s funny that you used the term “food snob.” I called Maggie at church that 13 years ago, and we still laugh about the whole story that brought it about. In her case, it was restaurants, though.

    I understand the grocery store love. When I lived in Nashville, I used to go to HG Hill in Brentwood just because the boy brought the groceries to the car. I only did it on occasion, and it was when it was just Mark and me, and I was working full-time. I also think shopping at Aldi would be hard when you live in Eureka since there isn’t one close by.

    We can still be friends if you shop at Schnucks. I won’t hold it against you. Have a good week!

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