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Crazy Coupon People

As many of you know I love to look for a bargain.  I shop the clearance racks at stores, and use coupons on top of sales whenever I can.  Some of my best deals on clothes was at the now defunct Filenes.  I once got a $40 dress for $1.79 – Actually I got two of them and gave one to my friend since it was such a good deal!  Another time I got a $100+ dress for about $20.   On certain items or at certain stores, I find it hard to pay full price when I know I can find a coupon or wait for a sale.  My husband and I eat out a lot – more often that not it it is with a coupon, or going to an “Early Bird” special.  

There is a new show on TLC called “Extreme Couponing”.  I have my thoughts on it, but then this lady on her blog pretty much said it all!

Here are a few of my “problems” with these people:

1.  If you are spending 40+ hours a WEEK on “couponing” is it really worth it? Even with all that you save, what does the savings work out to per hour?

2.  Some people say they are BUYING coupons – that doesn’t seem like you are then SAVING money.

3.  Dumpster diving?  I don’t think so!   Asking your neighbors for their coupons is one thing, but digging through trash is another!

4.  On one episode, a woman had a closest full of her daughters favorite SODA.  No kid needs that much soda – EVER!

5.  If it is taking over your house, then you have to much of a stockpile!!

6.  I understand some people really do go through a jar of peanut butter in a week – that is great, then as mentioned on the other blog, buy enough to make it through the next sale – but when you have enough of an item “to last 15 years, then I think it is a bit to much.

7.  One lady had a stockpile of diapers – but she didn’t even have any KIDS!  That just seems like a waste of space and time!  Just because something is “free” doesn’t mean you have to take it!

8.  Clearing a shelf of an item is just downright RUDE! 

I made a little “pantry” section for us in the basement and did stock up on some items because of sales and coupons – well, because of our life this past year, I never got to use some of them, and now they are expired!  Sorry world to be so wasteful – but I will put it on my compost pile at least and give back to the earth!


Pie for Breakfast

Last night I made a Strawberry Pie  (recipe to follow at end).  The pie had to “set up” so we would have to wait until today to eat it.  As we were getting up this morning, I said to my husband “Maybe I will have the pie for breakfast”.  He said “that isn’t breakfast, that is lunch or dinner”.  I then said “well, how is it any different from a doughnut or what I made for us the other morning?”  (again at the end)  He did not have an answer.

When I was living with a family about 16 years ago and helping to care for the children, I walked in one morning to find the boys eating plain yellow cupcakes.  The mom looked at me and said “I didn’t feel like cooking, and what are the mom police going to come after me?”

How right she and I were!  Why is it that I can have Pancakes for dinner (as we did tonight) and it is considered fun and cool, but ask for Pizza and Pie for Breakfast and you get all kinds of funny looks!?

Sure, there are “acceptable” breakfast foods, but really, why is a doughnut okay, but not a slice of pie? Especially one that is made from Fresh Strawberries!


Strawberry Pie (don’t remember where I got this from)

1 Precooked Pie Crust (I used the Pillsbury kind – but it seemed kind of thin – I think one that was already made in a tin might have worked better – or make you own)

1 quart Strawberries – I cut them up kind of small, we think that bigger piece might work better

Arrange Strawberries in pie crust

3/4 cup white sugar

2 tablespoons corn starch

2 tablespoons white corn syrup

1 cup water

Boil above ingredients until think and clear

add 2 tablespoons Strawberry Jello Powder and stir until dissolved

COOL Mixture.  When cool, pour over strawberries.  refrigerate until set.


Baked Apple Pancake



1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup milk
2 eggs
2 tablespoons margarine OR butter – melted
2 medium apples – peeled, cored, sliced  (I used granny smith
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon


Combine flour, milk, and eggs. Pour melted margarine in 9″ pie plate. Pour mixture into pan. Combine remaining ingredients and pour evenly into pie pan.

Bake in 425 degree F oven for 15 minutes.

***Note – the second time I made this, I doubled the milk and flour and used a 9×9 square baker – I think it came out better, and we actually got 4 servings out of it even using just the two apple


Giving Poison to heal.

There was a great article today in the Globe.  It focused on one of children we knew – Alexander’s “girlfriend”. It talks about the stress families go through as they make choices to help heal, hopefully cure their children.

When Alexander first got sick, someone asked us, “So what exactly is Chemotherapy”.  I resisted the urge to smack this person for asking such a question to us – I mean, couldn’t they have looked it up themselves? A textbook answer would have been this (from

Definition: Chemotherapy is a form of cancer treatment that involves taking one or more of a type of drug that interferes with the DNA (genes) of fast-growing cells. These drugs are further subdivided into specific classes such as alkylating agents, antimetabolites, anthracyclines, and topoisomerase inhibitors.

My answer:  “It is Poison”.   We choose to give our son poison – poison that we hoped would kill the cancer cells, shrink the tumor and get us back on track to the life we planned.   We had to sign consents for everything – and more often than not, under “side effects” one of them was death.  Death?!?!  You mean to tell me, if I DON’T give my child this treatment, he could die, but if I do give it he could die?  Um…hello!?!?   What kind of choice is that?   Not an easy one at all.  We did choose to give him treatments.  but what if we hadn’t?

Recently in the news was the conviction of a mother that did that – she choose NOT to giver her child the treatments the doctors told her could save his life.  Of course none of the news stories tell the whole story.  Why did she stop the treatments?  Had she reached her wits end in seeing how sick they made him, loosing hope that he would truly get better?  Where was the help for HER, to give these treatments to her son.  Some may say, “just MAKE him take it” – well , that is easier said than done.  Alexander was too little to fight us, and he had his feeding tube which made it so much easier to give him his medications.  But just the SMELL of some of these medications made me gag – I can’t imagine having to take them every day.  At one point, he was taking them orally, but kept throwing them up, so I had to put the feeding tube back in just so I could give him his medications.  That was hard for me.  I learned how to do that, so that I didn’t have to keep taking him to the ER to have it done if it came out.  I didn’t want to learn that – what mother does? But, it was something that I choose to do to help him.  There were times that I had to give him shots in the leg every day.  I hated that – having to give my child pain!  Again, because of his age, he couldn’t really “fight” me – although he tried!  Some of the other children who are older, will kick, scream, say “I hate you, you are bad”.  There were many a time I wanted to NOT give him his medications or treatments because of the reactions he would have.  Sometimes, I was actually GLAD we were in the hospital, because then the nurses would do the “bad stuff” and I wouldn’t have to.

Since I do not know the whole story – I can not judge that mom.  I can only pray for her and the life she now has to face without her son.  I am sure she did not come to her decision lightly.  I do question where the doctors were in her situation – how did they not know until it was to late that he wasn’t getting his treatments?  And couldn’t they see the stress she was under, and how she would need some help?

Cancer sucks – the treatment sucks – there are no easy answers.


Mother’s Day

So tomorrow is Mother’s Day.   A Day to celebrate mom.  For some this can be a wonderful joyous day – for others not so much.

Perhaps you had a bad relationship with your mom – or maybe mom was abusive – if that is the case, then you would likely not want to celebrate her!

Perhaps your mom has died, and it is a sad day for you, because it reminds you of all that you have lost.

Perhaps you don’t have a “mom” in your life – again, a day filled with sad reminders for all you don’t have.

Perhaps you CAN’T have children, and want nothing more than to be a mom.  Sadness again.

Perhaps you have chosen to NOT have children you are frustrated that you can’t buy roses this week, because the prices has doubled from last week just because of this “holiday”

Or perhaps you are in a situation such as mine where you child is no longer with you here on earth.  It is a very sad place to be.

Before I was pregnant with Alexander, I was pregnant with our first child.  We were so very happy.  Sadly we lost that child about 7 weeks into the pregnancy.  That child, who we decided was a girl and named Sarah, would have been born on mothers day. Not a happy day for me.

When I was again pregnant, this time with Alexander, I was still having nausea! Again, mother’s day not so thrilling, because I was sick!

Last year, my “first” Mother’s day – we spent it in the hospital.  Alexander had been admitted for 1 night, and it turned into 5 weeks.  While, Richard and I were ale to enjoy a nice meal out thanks to a gift from an Aunt, it was not really a happy day for us.

And then that brings us to this year – can it get any worse?   I have read all the poems about how I am “still a mommy even if my baby is in heaven” – but that doesn’t make it any easier, or make it hurt any less.   I don’t feel like a mother any more – I just feel a sadness and emptiness inside.

So on this Mother’s Day, give your mom an extra big hug and kiss, and pray for those who on this day, are filled with sadness and heartache.



How many patients is to many?

This week was a tough one for the patients and staff at Tufts Medical Center and Floating Hospital for Children.  The union had voted to strike, and it was going to start today at 6am if things were not resolved.  Thankfully they were, and all is well – for now at least.

This topic has been very interesting to me as both a Nurse and the mother of a former patient (and the friend of other parents who kids are still patients)

One of the main sticking points was Nurse to Staff Ratio.  The nurses wanted it capped at 5 patients, the hospital wanted them to go up to 6 patients.  From what was in the news, it is unclear of what the parameters would be to give a nurse 6 patients

When I was working as a nurse, I was on a “SNF” or Skilled Nursing facility floor.  They got paid like they were a nursing home from Medicaid, which is not much.  Because of that, even if we had a full house of 40 patients, we never go more than 4 nurses at a time.  On Average we would have 5 nursing assistants, maybe 6 if we were lucky.  At this facility, the assistants could check patients blood sugars, which was a big help (this is not so at all hospitals)  On our floor the “acuity” level of our patients was suppose to be something like 60/40 – 60% Rehab, 40% “medical” – it didn’t always seem to work out that way. Some days we could have very “easy” patients and work was great.  But other days, we could have 5 easy patients and the rest more difficult.  I might have two different patients on IV antibiotics every 6 hours, at different times, or even at the same time!   Some patients had a few medications, others had MANY medications.  Some were pleasant, some were down right rude!   When I was in school, the joke was “you never get a bathroom break as a nurse” – I thought No way would that happen to me!!  Well, yup, it did.  I would think “I need to go to the bathroom” and then 2 hours later, realize that because this patient or that patient, needed my help I never did remember to go!

Okay – back to my point – setting patient limits for nurses is very important!  Sure there might be some nights you get all “easy” patients – but then you can help the other nurses with their more difficult ones!  There were many nights that I helped someone finish their med pass, or someone helped me so I could get out on time.

On the unit that Alexander spent most of his time on, there were only 5 patients and 2 nurses.  Except in rare cases, there was never a nurses aid to help out.  These nurses worked incredibly hard!  I remember one particular weekend – Alexander was very sick – and so was another young girl that the nurse also had that day.  It seemed as if they were competing for her attention – He would throw up, nurse ran down to us clean him up, buzzer went off – other patient was throwing up!  She spiked a fever, deal with that, Alexander spiked a fever!  on and on it went.  I can’t even imagine how it would have been for her had she had even ONE more patient to have to help!   Cancer patients require a lot of work and attention.  When they are getting Chemo, they can have a reaction, and need a skilled nurse to be able to see that reaction right away.

Alexander spent some time on the main unit of the hospital as well.  Those nurses did have a 5 patient limit, and they put up a good fight for the Cancer patients, that if they were giving them Chemo, then they would only have 3 patients at a time.  Thankfully, Alexander had a wonderful “Team” on the 7th floor – who of course fought over him at times!

I always find the “comments” on news stories interesting. Some of the writers clearly don’t have a clue about things.  One in particular was “complaining” at how much the nurses make. (the article said the the average nurse makes $114,000 a year – I am sure that was more based on nurses that have been there a LONG time, as many of them have! )  I would like to ask the writer of that comment “just how much do you think a nurse, who is giving life saving treatment to your mother, father, CHILD, should make?”  In my opinion, the nurses that worked with Alexander deserved every penny they got!  Another writer wrote something about “Nurses only have to have an Associates degree and pass a 75 question test”.  Actually, I think it is 85 for RN (74 is LPN) – get your facts straight!  And the test is as FEW as 85, but could be as many as 225.  And, they just don’t take a test – they have graduate from School!!   As for the Associates Vs bachelors degree:  I actually have both – (not in nursing)  And I have looked into both kinds of programs.  From what I can see, the main difference is more school time, and more “non-nursing” classes.   The state mandates how much clinical time is needed, so that is the same.    Sorry – I don’t really see the difference.  I would understand if an RN with a BSN made a few bucks more an hour.  I also read in a nursing magazine, how they didn’t like Associate Degree nurses being called “professionals” because “only people with bachelors degrees are professionals”.  That was a crock of baloney!  But that will be a topic for another day!
So thankfully for now, the nurses are back to work, and hopefully all will be well.   Today is the start of nurses week – if you know a nurse, send her lots of hugs, love, and chocolate!  And remember, always be nice to the nurses, they are the ones that keep the doctors from killing you!


Hello world!

I have decided to try my hand (or should I say keyboard?) at blogging.  I hear things on the news, read things, watch things on tv, and get ideas in my head and talk to myself – or yell at the tv/radio/computer so I thought I would get them out here instead!

Of course I have a million ideas running though my head right now – and can’t think of how to put any of them into words – but don’t worry, I will!


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