Tuesday, March 31, 2009

While We Were Away...

A peek at how the boys spent their time while we were on vacation:
Making friends with the neighbor's dog:

eating snow:

jumping in mud puddles:

Cool tricks:

LOTS of playing with Mom-Mom:

General cuteness and mischief-making:

Friday, March 27, 2009

Happy Happy

Today is Mark's 31st birthday, so the boys and I spent the afternoon decorating the house for a family birthday party. Here's what Daddy was greeted with when he got home from work:

Pot Roast:

Cake (made and decorated by both boys):

Birthday crowns and a staff :

A 'Happy Birthday' banner:
Carefully colored by both boys:

A handmade card from Gus:

A handmade card from Max (on the inside it read "Happy Birthday. Birthday starts wtih a 'B'. Happy Birthday my dear. Love your son" which was dictated to me by Max):

A handmade card from me:

Birthday royalty:

Happy birthday to the greatest Dad and husband on Earth.

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Frugal Friday

For this week's Frugal Friday, I wanted to share my recent experience using Hotwire. Perhaps you already know about this and use it regularly, but until our trip to California, I had never actually used it. I cannot recommend it enough! It was fabulous. For those who don't know, Hotwire is a discount travel site that gives you incredible rates on hotels, cars, and airfare. The only catch is that you don't what company you will get until after your purchase is complete. I used Hotwire to book our hotels and here's how it worked:

I plugged in my dates and it pulled up a number of options, giving me the price, a general location and a star rating. I found a hotel listed for $59/night in the South Disneyland area with 3-1/2 stars. I chose this option and paid for it. Once I completed my reservation I found out we'd be staying at the Crowne Plaza Resort. The hotel was great--free shuttle to Disneyland, nice pool, really comfy beds. The posted rate in our room was $259.00!! The best internet deal I found for the same hotel was $109 so I figured we saved at least $50 on the room, per night. That's $100 total for our 2 nights!

We also got a rental car for $25/day. The cheapest rate I could find anywhere else was $35/day so it was a $50 savings!

If you're not picky about where you're staying, I would highly recommend using Hotwire to save money. The only drawback for me is that they mainly contract with major chain hotels, so you don't get the cute, boutique-style hotels that Mark & I love so much. But for a trip like Disneyland, when we're outside the hotel for the entire day anyway, it's perfect. I'll be using Hotwire from now on.

Anyone ever used them for air travel? How did that go?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

California dreamin'

For Mark's birthday I surprised him with a California getaway. I prearranged childcare with the grandparents & even worked with Mark's boss to get him time off without him knowing. I was all set to wait until the very last minute to surprise him, but alas...I cannot keep a secret and told him about a week before the trip. This proved to be a very good thing since I didn't realize I had booked the trip during finals week. I don't think he would have been too happy if I sprung it on him the night before and he had to pull an all-nighter to finish his paper.

We had a lovely time despite the lack of sunshine. We did get some sun on our last day. 2 days with our dear friends the Moceris & 3 fun-filled days at Disneyland. What could be better than that?

Mark at the beach in Malibu:

Me at the beach:

The two of us:


Team Moceri:

Our "hotel":

Mark's wild ride:

Mark outside the cursed elevator in the Tower of Terror:

Me outside Thunder Mountain Railroad:

Mark's crazy post-roller coaster look:

It's a small world afterall:

Me with Sleeping Beauty's Castle in the background:

Mark eating a Mickey-shaped pretzel:

Me enjoying one of many churros:

Mark with a chocolate-covered banana (can you tell we enjoyed the snacks?):

Friday, March 13, 2009

Frugal Friday

Welcome to 'Frugal Friday', a new little feature I've decided to do given the tough times we're all facing these days. I'm a self-proclaimed bargain hunter and, while I'm no financial expert, I do know how to find a good deal. Frugal Fridays will be a tip-sharing, bargain-finding, money-saving feature that I hope you'll enjoy. So, without further ado, here's today's topic:

What is a Sale?

Okay, this is a big thing for me. Everywhere you go these days you see huge signs proclaiming sales. Never being one to miss a good deal, I am often lured in to various shops by their promise of a bargain, only to be disappointed when I discover that their so-called sale is nothing more than a mere discount. My guidelines for a sale are simple: If it's not at least half-off, it's not a sale and I don't buy it. The only exception to said rule is if I'm looking for something specific on a time line, although even then I'll search long and hard before giving in to some measly discount.

What gets me the most worked up however is the extremely popular (and highly overrated) new BOGO trend. What is BOGO you ask? Simple...it means Buy One, Get One and it's a brilliant marketing strategy to get you to buy 2 items for a very small discount. The basic principal is this, you buy one pair of shoes, for example, at full price and get the second pair half-off. Half-off...well that follows your sale rule, doesn't it? No way. The reality is, while you feel like you're getting something for half-off, you're actually only getting the items for 25% off and we all know that 25% off is NOT A SALE! Not to mention the fact that most likely you only need one of whatever it is you're buying. The bottom line is this: Just say 'NO' to BOGO!!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Gus & Co.

Gus was brushing the teeth of each and every stuffed friend he has:

He looks a bit trapped:

Breaking free:

Giving me the cute Gus look:
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A Visit to Granny Crane

A difficult, but wonderful trip to visit my grandmother.

Max delighted her by "reading" his Bible to her:

Gus having a seat on the much-loved living room stool:

Tired Daddy & Gus fell asleep reading a book:

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Gus Gets Down

Thursday, March 5, 2009

The Farm Chicks

You may remember my post awhile back about all the treasures I found at the Farm Chicks Show last year. Well, I was just telling Mark last night that I can't stop thinking about the show coming up and it isn't until June. I decided to check out their blog this morning in an attempt to find something to tide me over until then and I discovered they're doing a giveaway. It ends tonight, but if you head over there & leave a comment today you can still be entered. The giveaway item is a secret but I guarantee it'll be good. These ladies have the best ideas! I'm so excited for their upcoming cookbook, and just about fell out of my chair when I read that they're working on a new book all about my favorite thing...Christmas!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Meet Roboti

A couple weeks ago I sat down and started working on a robot from a pattern Mark got me for Christmas. Before I even had one panel done, Max had named him and claimed him as his own. So we'd like to introduce you to 'Roboti' as he is affectionately referred to here at the Kaetzel House. I finished him up this past weekend and we took him for a little tour of the city. Here's a few pictures of Roboti's first outing:

Welcome to the family, Roboti.
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