Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Shame on PBS Frontline Show "The Vaccine War," From Jay Gordon, MD, FAAP

Wow...I just stumbled on this blog today and they have several informative posts.  I used to love Frontline years ago but stopped watching once their bias started became apparent.  This was sometime during the 2004 election when they started showing several politicial documentaries that seemed really one sided. I did not watch this vaccine story but am glad I didn't.  I used Dr. Sears' book to come up with Cayden's vax schedule and I agree that it's scary how many shots they try to give babies at one time.  That was my initial resistance to the vax issue.  It wasn't that kids are being vaccinated.  I understand the health implications of an unvaccinated population BUT, I just could not find a good reason to inject a few weeks old baby with five shots at each appointment. The pediatrician still tries to argue with me about it when I take Cayden in for his check-ups. He tries to convince me it makes no difference and I just tell him, if it makes no difference how many shots he gets at one time, why are we even having this discussion?

I really can't believe Frontline has stooped to this low level of journalistic integrity.  I did watch the 60 Minutes documentary about the swine flu vaccine that they aired during the height of the media spurred hysteria and I was equally disgusted with their lack of objectivity on the subject.  

Shame on PBS Frontline Show "The Vaccine War," From Jay Gordon, MD, FAAP

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Healthier First Birthday Cake Ideas

I'm still on the hunt for a healthier baby birthday cake option.  To make matters even more confusing, Publix just sent me a coupon for $4 off a 1/4 sheet cake....and they give you a free small cake just for the baby when you buy a sheet cake. It's oh so tempting...

Healthier First Birthday Cake Ideas

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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Birthday Party Planning

So I’m trying to plan Cayden’s first birthday party. I don’t know where the past 12 months have gone but it’s been a blur. I’ve decided to keep going with the safari theme. It was the theme for my shower, the theme for his crib bedding, it will be the theme for his room when he moves to a regular bed. I just love it. I got a catalog in the mail from 1st Wishes and it was so timely because it got me thinking about what I need to get. I set a budget of $150...which still really seems like a lot to me for a 1st birthday party…and so far it looks like decorations and the cake are going to eat up most of that. I was tempted to get a birthday decoration pack from 1st Wishes but I honestly think that for $60, the pack should include a birthday banner. Plus, there were quite a few things in the pack, like the invitations, that I knew I wouldn’t use and I did not like the fact that all the napkins had the giraffe on it.  I would much prefer lion napkins or even a mix of animals. Love the lion though.

So, I’m currently trying to order a few things a la carte and will probably go to the dollar store to get some coordinating items like napkins, cups, and dessert plates. So, my order subtotal is currently $26.75 for a personalized birthday banner, 16 dinner plates, and 6 balloons with “1st” on them and a #1 candle. This is still a little steep for me. Most of the total is the banner and I keep trying to rationalize it by saying my baby will only be 1 once. But, is that any reason to spend money all willy nilly. Especially when he won’t remember it?

Another issue I have is the cake. As tasty as Publix cakes are, they are loaded with crappy ingredients. I just do not want to feed that to my baby, so I’ve looked into making his birthday cake. I’ve been testing out a few cakes on him to see which one he’ll like. So far, I’ve tried a buttermilk cake with cream cheese icing. I have made this cake in the past for potlucks at work and for Christmas dinner and it has gotten raves. What did my baby think? He took one bite, chewed it for about two seconds and then crawled away. Next, I tried a plain cheesecake, same thing. One bite and he was done. Then I tried chocolate cake with chocolate icing. This one got three bites so he liked this a little bit more than the other one but it still didn’t thrill him. I’m going to try carrot cake next and I’m hoping that this one’s a winner. I’d hate to give him a birthday cake that he won’t enjoy.

Using this cake as my inspiration, I went to Michael’s this past weekend to price the things I would need to decorate the cake. At last tally, I was near $30 just for the decorations and cupcake cups. This is without even factoring in the cost of making the cake.  The sugar animals stuck on the side are $5.99 for a pack of 8, I think.  I would need at least 2 packs.  The fact that the decorations alone will cost more than if I just went to the store and bought a cake is a pretty big deterrent.  But, I am committed to making this a special day for my boy.  I'm currently trying to think of a few ways to cut down the cost some.  I know nixing the cupcakes is one way.  That's $7 I've saved right there not having to buy the cute cupcake holders. I also think I'd prefer to bake the cake in a #1 pan instead of having a round cake.  That would eliminate the need for the #1 candle.  But how would I write "Happy Birthday" on such a narrow space?

So, for now, my decorating budget of $30, has ballooned to more like $45 and my cake budget seems to be increasing the more I look around because everything is so cute.  Although I've set a budget of $150, I'm challenging myself to do the whole thing for $100 or less....food, decorations, cake, everything.  The only thing that's certain at this point is that the picture cake topper is a must have.  I absolutely love it.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Weekly Couponing Deals

It's been a while since I posted one of my shopping breakdowns but April was such a busy month for us and honestly, I slowed way down on the couponing.  This week was a good week for me though.

I started off at Target and spent a little over $48 on 3 clearance shirts, 2 Vaseline Sheer Infusion lotions, 2 Vaseline petroleum jelly creams, 2 Freschetta pizzas, 2 boxes Tazo chai teas, 2 four packs storage containers for my baby's food, 2 Seventh Generation spray cleansers, and 4 bags of shredded cheese.  I had about $14 in coupons.

After viewing next week's Walgreen's flyer on Southern Savers today, I decided that this week's ad is a better ad to shop.  So, I stopped there after Target and got:

1 four pack Bic Soleil razors $3.99 - $2.00 manf. coupon
2 Mentos gum bottles- $2/2  - 2 $0.55 manf. coupons
2 No Nonsense hose- B1G1 @ $4.39 each - $1.00 off 2 manf. coupon (I got 2 packs that included a second free hose so I ended up with 4 pairs of pantyhose.)
1 box Puffs w/ Lotion tissue - $.99 - $1.00 manf. coupon
1 Niagara spray starch - $.99  - $.25 manf. coupon

I also got a Snickers bar and a small bag of peanut M&Ms as filler items.  After store and manf. coupons and $3 in RR, I ended up paying $5.81 after tax.

The last stop was CVS.  Not only did I do great, I was able to do my shopping for this week's ad and next week's ad in one day.  They seem to have stopped putting out the $3 off $15 coupons which has taken a lot of the pressure off that I used to feel.  I went in earlier this week and just bought one item.  It was liberating not having to come up with a $15 or $20 transaction.

3 Nivea Body washes @ $4.88 each. I had 3 manf. coupons totaling $9 and CVS was offering $5 ECB back when you buy $15 worth of Nivea or Eucerin.
1 Crest Pro Health rinse- $3.50 with $3.50 ECB back.  I had a coupon but it was for a larger size rinse.  I got it anyway since it's technically free.
2 Cheer detergents, 50 oz. @ $4.99 each -2 $1.00 off manf. coupons
2 Purex 3-in-1, 20 count B1G1 @ $8.99 each - 2 $2 manf. coupons
1 Kotex U pads, 18 count @ 4.99 with $4.99 ECB back.  I also had a $1.00 off manf. coupon.
1 Colgate Total toothpaste @ $2.99 with $2 ECB back.  I also had a $.75 off manf. coupon.
3 bags Gold Emblem candy at prices ranging from .88 to .99 cents.  I also had a $1 off 3 bags store coupon.

I scanned my Extracare card when I walked in the store and I got a store coupon for $2 off any 2 body washes so I stacked this coupon with the Nivea coupons.

My total before coupons was a little over $51.  After he scanned my coupons and $19 in ECB, I paid $12.38 out of pocket and I got back $15.49 in ECB.  The best thing is that I am done for the week.  It feels great not to have to worry about this tomorrow.  I'm going to relax and enjoy my first Mother's Day.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Selective Penny Pinching

This article is way too long to post in its entirety but it makes some good points.  I've often been overwhelmed by the many ways one can save money but I've found that I only tend to do the ones that make sense to me. 

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/24/your-money/24shortcuts.html?scp=4&sq=alina%20tugend&st=cse

This is my favorite part of the article.

"I’m not saying my choices make sense. I’m simply saying that saving is as individual as spending. And perhaps, despite common wisdom, the small ways to save don’t really help us. They can even but hurt us by fooling us into believing we are making genuine financial changes when we’re not."