Catch Up, Smatch Up

Well, if I were to continue with this catch-up post business, I would now have to finish 2012 and do ALL of 2013.  I doubt even my closest friends are interested in revisiting what my kid was doing 2 years ago.  Apparently I’M not even that interested, or I would have done it by now!

On the other hand (yes, I am a Gemini), the OCD part of me wants to finish what I started and do it anyway.

Hm.  Decisions, decisions.  Blog as personal diary / journal?  Or something that others might actually find interesting to read?  Will I ever keep up with it and keep it current either way?

I’ll get back to you on that.  Don’t be surprised if it’s 2015 when I do.

Catch-up 2012: May

Need I even state that I’m the worst blogger ever and I’m now doing a catch-up post from over a YEAR ago?  No, I didn’t think so.

May 2012.  Mom had a PET scan on the 3rd to check on her progress with treatment.  On the 6th, my mom’s cousin and his wife had us all over for dinner.  I enjoy getting together with my older relatives and hearing about “the old days!”

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With the gift cards from her birthday, we got Hope a cool water table!  (Actually in April but I guess I figured I had enough April pictures!)

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Oh, or maybe I realized the pictures were kind of blurry and not that great!  Oh well.

For Mother’s Day, my sister and I decided to take my mom to The Betsy Ross House for their Mother’s Day Tea.  We were running late as usual; and my sister was pushing my mom through the city in a wheelchair.  My mom was scared and feeling out of control, I guess, so was freaking out at every intersection and bump in the sidewalk. She kept yelling at my sister to stop, slow down, not step into the street, etc. etc. etc.  I know I’m not explaining it well here, but it was kind of a nightmare.  Ugh.  Once we got there, it was nice.

Before:

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Mom and Betsy:

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Hope with her lemonade:

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Hope making me a necklace!

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Betsy Ross House

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On the 18th we went to a local carnival with friends.  Hope loves having someone her size to go on rides with!

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That weekend I participated in a consignment sale.  (I can’t remember if I’ve posted about this before or not.  Ugh.)  I was a volunteer, consignor and of course shopper!  I LOVE these sales because I get almost all of Hope’s clothes there; and I make some money too!  (To offset what I spend, of course!)

On the 23rd Mom started new oral chemo drugs called Xeloda and Tykerb.  It was convenient because she could take the drugs at home and not have to go to the office for infusions.  They were some very strong drugs, though, and bound to make her sick.  And it was a lot of pills per day – large pills – which she did not like.

On the 24th, our complex had their annual resident appreciation party.  Hope got to climb up into a fire truck and explore a little bit!

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We also found out that evening that Eric’s uncle Mike, his Dad’s brother, had passed.  He had been ill, although we weren’t aware of how serious it was at all.

Eric’s Uncle Mike & Dad:

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Cool old photo of Mike:

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On the 25th I got to go to a new Philadelphia museum, The Barnes Foundation, with a friend and some of her family members.  What an amazing collection.  I highly recommend it if you live in the area or are visiting Philadelphia!

My 43rd birthday came and went with no fanfare.  It was also on Memorial Day.  Hope enjoyed her water table again — and Daddy pouring water all over her!  (That is until Daddy threw an entire bucket of water directly into her face.  Men.  Why must they always take things too far??  Oy.)

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Catch-up 2012: April

April 2012.  Gramma & Grampa only stayed a couple of days.  We went to Franklin Square and The Franklin Institute that Monday.

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My mom’s brother, my Uncle Dave, was at Hope’s party at the end of March.  He had congestive heart failure and I knew he had been ill, but I hadn’t seen him for several months, and was completely shocked to see how he had aged in that short time.  He and my mom got to sit together and chat for quite some time.

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If my mom took off her wig they would totally be twins!  Anyway, I am so grateful to whoever had the thought to move that chair there for my mom and have them sit together.  Unfortunately it was the last time they would see each other.  My Uncle Dave passed just after midnight on Easter Sunday, April 8th, just a week after this picture was taken.  He was such a truly good man and we miss him a lot.  His memorial service was the following Saturday.

Somebody there must have had the stomach bug because we were all sick with it for the next 3 days.  Bleck.

Oh, wait, I skipped Easter!

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What, you don’t let your kid eat M&M’s at 8:00 AM?  LOL.

Dressed and ready to go to Aunt Donna’s:

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Hunting eggs at Aunt Donna’s:

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Aunt Donna’s mantle:

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Hope checking out cousin Collin’s new car:

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The rest of April was fairly uneventful.  My mom had a bunch of appointments and treatment.  My mom’s sister, my Aunt Lynn, stayed in town after my Uncle Dave passed to help out with going through his belongings, packing up his house, etc., so we got to see her much more often than usual.  That is the thing about when someone passes or when you attend a funeral:  it’s nice to get to see people you don’t otherwise get to see very often.  And we always say, “we need to get together more – not just at weddings and funerals!”

Catch-up 2012: March

March 2012.  Mom continued radiation.  I studied for and took a couple of exams for an online job which I passed & got the job.  I technically still have this job but I suck at carving out time to work and therefore rarely work and don’t really make any money at it.  Ugh.  Shocking that they haven’t let me go actually.  If I could have more discipline about it, I could actually be earning enough money to be helping our financial situation.  In my defense, it really is hard to find the time between caring for my mom and my child, taking my mom to many, many appointments and trying to keep up with the household cleaning, bill-paying, shopping, cooking, laundry, etc etc etc etc.  Oh and the sleeping.  I like to do that from time to time.  I know a lot of people do it but I really find it difficult.  OK, so still March:  another good friend had her thyroid out.  Turned out to be cancerous.  Good God, enough with the cancer already!!  Somewhere around here I was diagnosed with Diabetes.  Something else I suck at:  taking care of myself.  Oy.

St. Patrick’s Day:

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At the end of March I started touring preschools for Miss Hope for the fall.  On the 30th the in-laws arrived and on the 31st we had Hope’s 3rd birthday party!

That deserves more than a brief mention!  My sweet cousin let me use her awesome house for the party because our townhouse is just too small to have more than, oh, 4 guests here.  We did the theme Ni Hao Kai Lan and I had all sorts of Kai Lan and Chinese-themed stuff.  Of course I intended to do a whole post just on the party – planning, prep, execution – LOL.  I kinda’ went all out.  Here are some pics!

Gift / treat / favor bags:

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Wrapped Hershey bars:

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For our youngest guests’ favor bags:

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Popcorn:

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And all this other good stuff!

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Water bottles:

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I bought the labels from Personally Yours Parties.  (That links to her eBay store.)  Awesome stuff!

Decorated Chinese take-out boxes for utensils:

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Food:

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Fake sushi:

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Cake:

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The birthday girl!

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Balloons:

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Party hat!

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Photo booth:

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Blowing out her candles:

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Gramma & Grampa!

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So, yeah, we kind of went all out.  :)

Catch-up 2012: February

February 2012.  Had some medical tests myself including annual mammo.  No problems.  My good friend Lisa came for a weekend visit.  Always too short and too few & far between!  :)  I decided to try to babysit a child or 2 in my home for some extra income.  Had a couple of leads that didn’t pan out and never really pursued it further.  My sister and her sweet baboo came to celebrate her birthday.  My mom continued treatment.  She got a tumor on her neck that was giving her severe pain and she ended up having to have radiation.  Thankfully the pain went away quickly as they shrunk the tumor.  I participated (as a consignor, volunteer and shopper) at the “all-season” consignment sale.

Hope & my sis on her birthday:

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My sweet girl on Valentine’s Day:

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Catch-up 2012: January

*Insert obligatory comment about how I haven’t blogged in forever and I can’t believe I haven’t posted since August and I’m the worst blogger ever.*

There.

Gosh, even when I did post last it was political, and before that, about couponing, consignment sales, etc.  And while I know my blog doesn’t need to be a day-to-day journal of my life, it IS kind of nice to be able to look back on it in that way.  So … I’m going to bore you with a re-cap of sorts.  Of like, the whole year.  Sorry.  :)  I’ll do a post for each month to break it up!

January 2012.  Not too much was going on.  My mom was still going through chemo.  Hope was playing with her BFF while my BFF watched her while my mom had appointments.  One of my mom’s high school friends passed and we attended her funeral.  My BFF’s mom had a lumpectomy (yes more breast cancer – UGH.)  Joe Paterno died.

I never did post here about the whole PSU / Sandusky scandal business.  I really did want to.  At this point it’s old news and I’ll be brief.  Glad Sandusky got his due.  Sad they fired Joe.  I understand that he could have done more, but I still feel like he and the football program at large were made into scapegoats.  Think the NCAA sanctions were / are WAY too strict.  I don’t 100% trust the Freeh report / findings, especially with news that has come out about it over the past several months.  And I don’t think they should have taken Joe’s statue down.  Anyway, as a PSU alum, the whole thing sucks / sucked and really did sadden me.  If you didn’t go there, you don’t understand.  Period.

We had the winter’s one and only snow in January.  My mom got Hope a sled and boots for Christmas; by BFF handed a great snow-suit down to us.  All of it got used exactly once.  *sigh*  Here’s a picture!

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Or two!

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Or three!  She really liked eating the icy snow a lot!

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And Hubby turned 37 in January!

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I know – I should have my own show on cake-baking.  And decorating.  And inserting candles.  I mean, it’s totally fabulous, right?  LOL.

My Politics

I am a liberal Democrat.  I am also a Christian.  I support President Obama; healthcare reform; a woman’s right to choose what to do with her body and life; equal rights for LGBT individuals (including marriage); stricter gun control laws; social programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, Food Stamps and Social Security; and a host of other issues that are considered by many to be liberal, Democratic or Progressive.

Is the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (commonly referred to as “Obamacare”) perfect?  Nope.  But it’s a hell of a lot better than what we had … and a hell of a lot better than nothing.

Am I “Pro-Abortion?”  Nope.  That’s a term made up by conservatives.  Nobody is Pro-Abortion.  I would hope, first, that people would be smart and use birth control.  If not, I would hope that a woman or girl facing an unwanted pregnancy would consider adoption.  I would never HOPE she would have an abortion.  But is it my choice?  No.  Should abortion be legal?  Yes.  Because if it’s not, people will find a way anyway – just as they used to – and women will be butchered or do it themselves and be injured and get infections and possibly die.

Yes, I’m a Christian.  No, I don’t think homosexuality is an abomination.  I don’t think God does, either.  I believe that people are born heterosexual or homosexual or bisexual or asexual.  I believe that God created everyone and that God doesn’t make mistakes.  Is there anything to back up my beliefs?  Yup.  And I plan to share it in another post.

Gun control.  Let me start by saying this:  if you want guns because you hunt, NOBODY IS TRYING TO TAKE AWAY YOUR HUNTING RIFLES.  If you want a gun to keep in your house for protection, NOBODY IS TRYING TO TAKE IT AWAY.  You want to shoot tin cans in your back yard?  Be my guest.  (Although for the latter 2, at least once a year I hear of a child killed at home as a result of an accidental shooting.  But if you have guns and kids and don’t have trigger locks and don’t have the guns locked up somewhere and the ammunition locked up somewhere else, then you’re a moron.)  All I want is for it to be a little bit harder for the psycho serial killers to get guns.  Just a little harder.  That’s all.  You want a gun to hunt?  You can wait a few days.  Good God.  Get over it already.

The argument against stricter gun laws is usually, “Criminals will find a way to get them anyway.”  Yes, yes they will.  And if that is your argument, then you need to apply it across the board.  If you make abortion illegal, people will get them anyway.  If you make stricter regulations surrounding social programs like Medicaid, people will lie and get it anyway.  There will always be criminals.  There will always be people who lie and take advantage.  They are the exception, not the rule.  So, yeah, I get it.  The criminals don’t obey the laws.  But I’d still like to try to stop the ones with the guns.  And, heck, if that’s your view … why make any laws at all??

Some people seem to think it’s OK to insult me because of my views and beliefs.  I’ve had some tell me that I’m brainwashed and not so smart.  Specifically, that “HE” has me brainwashed, presumably referring to the President of the United States.  LOL.  Yup, I’ve met with him in person – was summoned to the White House personally for my indoctrination, in fact.  Weren’t you?!?!?!

I’ve had some say they don’t know how I can call myself a Christian and support the President.  Huh?  Believe it or not, I am not the only person alive who is a Christian and a Democrat.

I like political debate.  If I, for instance, post something on Facebook, I expect comments.  As I said on Facebook once, this is a social network.  If you don’t want commentary, write in your diary.  So I expect and, for the most part, welcome comments and debate.  What I don’t like is for someone to come to my page and insult me.  You know what?  Screw you.  Unfriend me, hide me, block me, scroll past my posts – I don’t really give a damn.  But don’t come to MY page and insult me.  If I comment on your page, I’ll take what I get.  You put what you want on your wall, I’ll put what I want on my wall, mmmkay?

As for being brainwashed … I will admit, I don’t watch Fox News.  They lie and most of what they broadcast is opinion.  So do I follow the conservative media and the liberal media and then form an opinion?  Nope.  My opinions have been formed over my entire lifetime.  I was raised going to church.  I was raised by parents who were registered Republicans.  But my mom was also a “women’s libber,” and taught me that girls are just as smart and capable as boys.  She taught me not to judge people based on the color of their skin (even though my dad is a Bunkeresque bigot.)  She always worked; she was active in Business & Professional Women and other working women’s groups.  She was involved in neighborhood issues, in my education and in the PTA.  I grew up in the suburbs in a largely Catholic neighborhood.  I finished High School and went off to college.  I completed 4 years of college and have a Bachelor’s Degree.  And, yes, I’m smart.  You want to call me conceited because I say that, go ahead.  But I don’t think I should have to apologize for it.  I’ve been told I’m smart my entire life.  I got high scores on standardized, placement and, yes, IQ tests.  I was in the enrichment programs.  I skipped a grade.  An employer I used to work for did some testing on the entire staff and I scored better than one of the owners.  (He told me that himself.)  The guy administering the tests told me.  Then they had me start administering the tests.  Do I go around saying all this?  Of course not.  But don’t tell me I’m brainwashed and not so smart.  How insulting. I believe what I believe based on my life experiences and my personal opinions.  Oh, and I READ.  I research.  If I see something that seems outlandish (from either “side”), I think to myself, ‘Gee, that seems outlandish.  Let me do some research on that.  Especially before I post it online as if it is the truth.”

It’s funny because I’ve been composing this post in my head for quite some time.  A couple of weeks ago, a friend of mine posted a Facebook status that said much of what I was thinking in my head.  Here is her post:

“I am a liberal democrat.  Some people believe they have the right to judge me, call me names, or say that I am ignorant because of my politics. I believe that same-sex couples should be allowed to marry, that women have a right to choose what to do with their own bodies, that social programs are a necessity, that educating our children should be a top priority, and that George W. Bush is the biggest boob to have ever sat in the white house.  Here’s the thing though, I welcome other people’s opinions and I respect their beliefs.  I listen to others, read information, follow the issues, do research, and then form my own opinion. I can say that I am disappointed with Obama’s lack of leadership, that many of our current social programs are poorly run and in desperate need of a complete overhaul, and that our economy is a mess and something needs to give.  I have never voted a straight party ticket as I vote for the republican or other party candidate if I believe they will best serve our country (although at this point I am kinda feeling the whole “lesser of two evils” thing when it comes to the next presidential election).

So, if you want to say “liberal democrat” as though it is a curse word, judge me because my beliefs may be different than yours, keep a closed mind and stubbornly refuse to hear/acknowledge that I may have valid points or concerns, be unwilling to discuss/debate the issues in a respectful manner, and/or call me names simply because you don’t agree with my politics, then I must say that you are the ignorant one.”

Yeah.  What she said.

Thank you Beth Richino Nichols for allowing me to publish your post here.

Adventures in Couponing

So I’ve been following a bunch of couponing pages on Facebook for quite some time now.  I signed up for Coupon Mom and probably some other sites that I can’t think of at the moment.  I join whatever I need to or Like FB pages as necessary to get coupons.  I love to watch Extreme Couponing or Couponers or whatever it’s called – LOL.   (I would totally do it, but we have so little space, I have absolutely no room for any kind of stockpile.)  But I’ve only really looked at the deals and match-ups and gone to get those deals a couple of times.  And I’ve never split my purchases into several transactions to get the best deals. Until today.

Here are my scores from Walgreens and Target and how I did it!

Walgreens:

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Transaction #1:  Lanacane Spray – on sale for $6.00.  Paid $6.00. Got back a $6.00 Register Rewards coupon.

Transaction #2:  2 Chex Mixes which were on sale 2 for $3.00.  Sharpies which were .79 with their in-ad coupon.  Walgreens tampons for $1.50 on sale.  Lipton tea for .99 on sale.  I gave them 2 coupons for .60 off Chex Mixes.  I gave them the $6.00 coupon from Transaction #1.  The total was less than $6.00 so I had to grab the 3 caramels for .99.  Total paid:  .14.  I got a .99 Register Reward coupon for the tea and a $1.50 Register Reward coupon for the tampons.

Transaction #3:  Tape (.39), Wexford pens (.99), Sharpies (.79), Glue Stick (.39), Correction Fluid (.99).  I used their in-ad coupons for all of them, and also used the .99 and 1.50 Register Rewards coupons from Transaction #2.  Now that I’m looking at my receipt, there was another 1.00 deducted but I’m not sure how or why!  LOL.  Total paid:  .34.

So for everything pictured, I paid $6.48.  I’m pretty proud of myself because it was my first time doing this kind of thing!  Also, I did get this scenario from an example online, but it included 4 packs of Bic pens that my store was sold out of, so I had to substitute the Sharpies and kind of re-figure it out on the fly!

Target:

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For my Target trip, I went to Coupon Mom to check out what freebies or cheapies I could get this week.  I went to Target.com and printed out the coupons.  I also had a .75 off coupon for the deodorant from the newspaper.  This was just 1 transaction.

According to Coupon Mom, the deodorant was supposed to be on sale for .97, but it wasn’t – it was $1.72.  The Reach flosses were .97 each and I had a coupon (printed from online) for $1.00 off 2.  The pens were either .99 or $1.00 and I printed 2 coupons for $1.00 off one, so they were free.  The Scotch tapes were .49 each and I had 2 coupons for .50 off, so they were also free.  The crayons were .99.  I (thought) I had a coupon for .50 off that would have made them .49. but I didn’t read it carefully – you had to buy 3.  So my total was $2.47 which was more than I had expected, but still pretty darned good!

So for everything I got today (both pictures) I paid a grand total of $8.95!  Not too shabby!

Potty Training Sucks!

Haven’t been here for a while … and there are a lot of things I’ve been thinking about blogging about … Penn State; a Catch Up post; our vacation; political stuff; some research I found concerning what the Bible really says about homosexuality.  But right now, this is it.  Potty training sucks!  Ugh.

We made some not-so-serious attempts before.  The first time I felt like Hope just wasn’t ready.  After that I kind of toyed with it but didn’t follow through with any consistency.  I know that was not a good idea.  Well, now she’s starting preschool in September and she has to be potty trained.  Also not the ideal situation.  We went on vacation at the end of July, and drove … so it seemed pointless to start seriously training right before we would be spending 4 days in the car.  So we told her that after vacation, no more diapers / pull-ups.  She is 3 now and it’s time to go on the potty.  They don’t make any bigger pull-ups than the size she is wearing.  She’s a big girl now.  Period.

So we started on Wednesday.  We hyped it up as Potty Day.  She got stickers AND M&M’s for saying she had to go, sitting on the potty, going, flushing, and washing her hands.  I set the timer to put her on the potty every 30 minutes.  Day 1 went GREAT.  Like, unbelievably great.  She came to me many times saying she had to go.  She went.  She got stickers and M&M’s.  She loved it!  One small pee accident and one poop accident.  All. Day.  Wow!

Day two wasn’t as successful.  She went on the potty a few times.  Had a few accidents.  Not nearly as great as Day one.

Day three was a nightmare.  I think we went through like 15 pairs of panties.  When the timer went off, she would go into the bathroom, pull down her pants and sit on the potty, but would get right back down and would not actually try.  I would put her back … she would fight and scream and cry.  This went on all day.  All.  Day.  I did wash 3 or 4 times, mainly her panties.  She peed all over the rug numerous times.  She couldn’t have cared less about stickers or M&M’s.  After Daddy got home and dealt with this just once or twice, he asked me how I keep my patience.  I replied that I don’t and I was about to lose my mind.

Day 4 was more of the same.

She hasn’t been that excited about going to school, so I haven’t said anything like, “If you don’t go on the potty, you can’t go to school,” because I figured then she REALLY wouldn’t do it.  I slept in this morning and Daddy said that she WAS excited about school today … and starting ballet … and seemed to be getting the idea that she couldn’t start those things until she is going on the potty.  But when I said that to her later?  “I don’t care.”

Ugh.

This is no fun at all!!

Tiny?

These are our canisters:

They sit out on the kitchen counter and we use the largest one as a cookie jar.

This is the sugar bowl:

We rarely use it and I keep it in a cabinet.  Hope has rarely, if ever, even seen it.  I had it out a couple of weeks ago and she asked me, “Why did you make such a tiny cookie jar?”  LOL.  I love this kid.