Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Top 10 Movies of 2010

These are the best movies I've seen in 2010 (not necessarily movies that came out in 2010)--in no particular order.

1. Shutter Island Surprisingly good, kept me thinking about it long after.

2. Girl with the Dragon Tattoo I've not read the books, but I thought this movie was great, good mysteries.

3. Last Station Great acting!

4. Secret Life of Words I can't describe this, just check it out.

5. Young Victoria One of my top 3, so romantic!

6. Bright Star Also in my top 3, very romantic, very sad.

7. The Blind Side Probably #1 for me. Great story!

8. Once Great story and great music.

9. The Hurt Locker Last year's best picture. Well-deserved.

10. The Messenger Hard core, great acting. I think actor Ben Foster (also of Pandorum and 3:10 to Yuma), is going to be the next big thing.

Honorable mention: Precious. Very hard to watch, but you've got to see it if you haven't already.

Check out more Top 10s at Oh Amanda's Top Ten Tuesday! You can also read more of my movie "reviews" by clicking on the movies tab in my sidebar.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

What's Working for me right now (Top Ten)

So my parents lived with us for most of November. They've now moved into their own house (thank goodness!) but I lost what should've been a big month of holiday planning and progress. So I'm a bit behind. Meanwhile, my daughter is the definition of the Terrible Twos. And L has been out of whack since the grandparents arrived--super sensitive and prone to tantrums (come on, you're 5, get over it!). I'm working on a new mantra of "just love them." Obviously not in the only love them sense, because I still have to feed, clothe and discipline them, but basically love them. So when I can, instead of leaving the room when they throw a fit (and who can blame me?), I try to stay and comfort/distract the wailing child or whatever. Sometimes it works, sometimes the fit continues and I leave. It's a work in progress, I'll let you know how it goes. Meanwhile, here's what has been working for me lately in top-ten-catch-you-up-and-link-to-Amanda-Kristen-and-Jill fashion:

1. Scotch paper cutter. I've coveted these for years but always found them too expensive/overpriced to indulge in this luxury. This year, when I saw it on sale for $3, I bit the bullet. Oh my goodness, spend the money, it is worth it for the savings in time and frustration! {Then the next day Target dropped the price to $2.50 and there's was a $1 off coupon in the paper. Anyway.}

2. Kmart. I've been meaning to write a pro-Kmart post for a while now. They are saving me big bucks on T's clothes (regular everyday price of $3.50 per piece (including jeans!) and sales on 2-piece sets as low as $6, wahoo), but I generally want to give them a shout out for sending their ads in the mail, which helps me catch a bargain. This week, you must go there and buy super soft fluffy pajama sets for $10.99. I bought a set yesterday for my sister (who asked for soft pjs on her wish list) and went back today to get a set for myself and for my BFF whose birthday is at the end of the month. So soft and super cheap!!!

3. Gifts that give more. A bunch of blogs have been highlighting charitable giving this time of year, like Amanda's post about giving a goat etc. Sadly, those are mostly out of my price range (my budget is $15 per gift outside my hubby and kids). But here's what I've managed to do this year: I bought my aunt a pair of earrings ($11, I think) from the Mercy House shop, that funds a new maternity house in Kenya. I bought my mom stationery ($12.95) and my grandma a necklace ($6) through the Hunger Site store (my purchase funded 75 cups of food). And I found a website called Orphans Hope that let me buy a winter jacket ($10) for an orphan in Ukraine on behalf of my sister.

4. Roku. This is a box that somehow hooks up to our internet and lets us stream Netflix instantly to our TV. Every night, Hubby and I watch (part of) a movie or an episode of Intervention after the kids go to bed. Love it! I should also mention that Care Bears To The Rescue has come to my rescue more than once during the daytime (I will not mention, however, that my 2-year-old will grunt for the Roku and point to the show she wants to watch, ahem).

5. Walmart for photo cards. I got an email about a great deal from a website I'd never heard of to get 60 photo cards for $4.90 shipped. Awesome, I thought. Till I went to the website and I tried to make a card and I just couldn't get it figured out (theoretically, you could add as many pictures to a blank card as you wanted, but I could not size the various pictures (I wanted to use 3) so they would fit). So I gave up on the great offer and headed to walmart.com which I've used the last 2 years for cards. I picked a card that was made for 3 pictures, plopped in my photos and within minutes, I'd ordered our cards. 36 cents per card, not bad. {No shipping, I'll pick them up in-store.}

6. Elfing Around. My apologies, I should have done a big post about this last month, so you all could buy an elf in time. Alas. Anyway, it's a website that sells you not just an elf but an experience. I won an elf for L last year in a giveaway and he loved it so much that this year I bought T an elf of her own plus the Year 2 package. So they send you the elf, plus 12 nights of mischief that the elves get into--you stage the elves and in the morning your kids are blown away by all the fun stuff the elf did overnight. Kind of like Elf on the Shelf, but it's so wonderful because the activities, and sometimes even the props, are provided. Awesome! We love our elves. L even brought his elf to speech yesterday and explained to his teacher that "he's not really mine, he belongs to Santa at the North Pole." Precious!!! {Of course, it's kind of a pain to stage elves every night, but most nights it takes 5 minutes or less.}

7. Nesquik. Okay, this is kind of a long story so here are the main bullets--L drinks this nasty formula called Neocate. For 5 years he drank it from baby bottles, then around Halloween he finally switched to cups, but then his volume dropped--he can't/won't drink as much of this foul beverage from a cup--and he needs all the calories. So we started adding Nesquik powder to turn it into chocolate "milk" and his volume has gone back up. It's not a permanent solution (his GI and nutritionist are worried about cross-contamination from the processing plant), but for now, I'm thankful for Nesquik.

8. Sharing bargains. My BFF and I have various websites and blogs we read/subscribe to for bargains, coupons, deals and when we come upon a deal we think the other could benefit from, we call or email to spread the word. This has helped me find some great deals and I hope she would say the same.

9. Bribing for diaper changes. I'm reluctant to even mention this because you know in a couple days it won't work anymore, but for now the way I've started dealing with T's refusal to let me change her diapers, is to give her a pretzel stick. That (so far) is usually enough distraction to let me lay her down and change her pants. Hallelujah, fewer tantrums.

10. Priority mail flat rate boxes. This is how I do out-of-town Christmas gifts. If it fits, it ships. No guessing/wondering about prices plus easy checkout at the post office during this hectic time of year. Last December, I stood in a long postal line, then at my turn I start unloading my bag and tell the guy I have all flat rate--one large, 2 mediums and 2 envelopes (or whatever it was)--he was able to calculate what I owed as I was putting the stuff on the counter. He said it was the easiest transaction (for that many packages) he'd had all day. Heehee. Oh and this year the post office sent me a postcard asking if I wanted them to drop off some flat rate boxes. Yes please! I sent the postcard back in and the other day a pile of boxes showed up at my door. Even easier! (And free of course.)

Wow, this turned out to be a long post! I wasn't compensated for any of these opinions, they're just stuff I like. No affiliate links either. I'm linking to Oh Amanda's Top Ten Tuesday, We are THAT Family's Works for Me Wednesday, and Diaper Diaries' Thing I Love Thursday, for obvious reasons. ;-)

What's working for you these days?! And how do you get your kid to cooperate during diaper changes?!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

WFMW--Share Your Wish Lists

Today's themed Works For Me Wednesday is Holiday Tips and Tricks. You know I don't link up to WFMW very often, because I rarely have my act together, I'm not one to be offering How To's. But today I actually have a holiday tip that's been working for years and years and years. Here's the thing, my sisters and parents and I still exchange gifts at Christmas. {In fact, this year, almost everyone is coming to Phoenix so we can open gifts together. Hooyah.} Anyway, we aren't super close and don't live near each other and so even if we know what the other is into, we don't know what they already have. So what should I get them for Christmas?! Starting around Thanksgiving, we email each other our wish lists. Some are long and specific (with links to show what and where to buy), some are short and general; sometimes I get them exactly what they ask for, other times I already have something in mind for someone so I veer off their list. In any case, it's super helpful this time of year. If you are always banging your head against a wall trying to figure out what so-and-so wants for Christmas, just ask for a list. That Works For Me!

Now, as an added bonus, I thought I'd share what's on MY list this year:

-anything Vera Bradley

-8x10 frames for hanging

-Willow Tree figures

-picnic blanket

-seasonal decor

For more tips and tricks (holiday or not), head to We Are THAT Family. And if you link up a tip today, you're entered into a great giveaway. Ho ho ho!
So, what's on your wish list this year?