What I've Been Reading Instead of Cleaning My House

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas Quote

Alice-Grace on Christmas Day:

"Jeffrey! Don't use the bug zapper on Jesus' birthday!"

Ah, the holidays.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

My New Happy Place

I discovered this adorable duo by accident while searching for music to listen to while entering the payroll data at work.

But they're so cute, I can't just listen, I have to watch! (They remind me of a cross between my groovy neighbors and my crazy nephew, Six) I especially like the dancing grandma. She is rocking it!!!

Also, got to love anyone who shares my admiration for Earth, Wind & Fire!!!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

2009 Christmas Newsletter

Christmas 2009 for Lois & Family

Lois spent 2009 NOT cleaning her house, NOT scrapbooking, NOT making her kids dinner, and best of all, in this crazy economy, Lois spent the year NOT unemployed.

Nigel spent the year NOT being a starving artist (he actually sold many paintings), NOT getting away from scouts (he went from Webelos leader to Cub Master), but best of all, Nigel did NOT pop any more holes in his lungs.

Frances finished the year NOT reading classic literature when there's a good ghost story or alien book near by, NOT failing in school and NOT being one of those horrible children you see on an MTV reality show.

Jeffrey spent 2009 NOT cleaning up his Legos, NOT giving up his plans for his own Viking-themed amusement park, and NOT letting up on lecturing his family on NOT spending money.

Alice-Grace pretty much spent this last year doing "skin the cat" on an old broom stick that she places between the arm rests of the couch and love seat. Luckily, she has NOT been taken to the emergency room -- yet.

Stupid Rabbit ("Stew" for short) has NOT figured out that he's only supposed to pooh in his cage, NOT realized that he's a vegetarian, and it has NOT dawned on him that a balloon is NOT a girl rabbit.

Here's to a very merry Christmas and a happy and prosperous New Year from our family to yours.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Rocking Around the Christmas Tree...

One of our favorite holiday traditions is turning off all the lights (except for the Christmas tree lights), putting on some danceable Christmas music and rock out.

Here's some of our favorites.

We especially enjoy doing the robot to "Silent Night."

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Thursday Thopping

Actually, I did some grocery shopping on Monday, but I couldn't call this "Monday Mopping" because then people might think that I was actually cleaning my house (and we all know that's not going to happen). Here's a good coupon deal that I have to brag about:

Boxed cookie mix on sale for 98 cents a box.
Coupon for $1.00 off one box of boxed cookie mix.

So I was actually PAID* 2 cents to buy the cookie mix!

Super Score!

(They couldn't actually give me money back, so I had to buy something else and then the 2 cents was taken off of that)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Thursday Thopping

OK, I actually went grocery shopping on Wednesday, so maybe I should rename this "Wednesday Whopping" (especially since I'm trying to find some "whopping" good deals).

Alas, there wasn't that many things I could combine store sales and manufacturer's coupons on this week, but I still did pretty good.

I bought 25 items: 8 boxes of cereal, 2 pounds of cheese, 2 pounds of butter, 16 ounces of sour cream, 1 dozen eggs, 1 bunch of bananas, 7 bags of frozen veggies, 1 green bell pepper and 2 loaves of bread (and a pound of pistachio nuts -- they weren't on sale, they're just delicious).

Total = $60.21
After Store Savings = $39.24
After coupons = $34.14

So from $60.21 to $34.14 (a savings of 44%)

What's amazing is that I've cut my weekly food budget in half, and yet my pantry, fridge and freezer are more full than ever! It's great!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Grocery Shopping Class

So I went to the grocery shopping class on Thursday night and got some really good information.

For the most part, it's the same program I was doing before (combining store sales and manufacturer's coupons), but with some new insight.

Before, it was taking me hours to cut out all the coupons, study all the supermarket ads, and run from store to store to get the best deals. Needless to say, I got tired of that really quickly.

The way this program is different is that you buy in bulk (their theory is that everything goes on sale four times a year, so stock up four months worth of non-perishable items at a time). The way to do this is to get multiple Sunday newspapers (for multiple coupons).

The nice part is that they've done all the labor for you. Just go to their Web site*, click on the supermarket you want to go to (just visit one) and they have a list of what's on sale that week and which coupons to match up with. They even rate the sales so you know if you're getting a good deal or not. You click on the items you want, it shrinks the list down, you print it out and there's your shopping list. Then cut out your coupons (why do it before hand?) and you're ready to go.

I decided to try it out the next day. I went on their site and what used to take me hours only took 15 minutes! I had coupons from two Sunday papers and set out to the supermarket (just one!).

Total (47 items): $123.25 (gasp!)
After Supermarket Savings: $75.93
After coupons: $51.63 (including tax)

I went from $123.25 to $51.63 (total savings of 59 percent)

(Let's just say that I won't have to buy Kleenex tissues for a VERY long time)

*Please note that this service is only available in Arizona, California, Idaho, Nevada, Utah and Washington right now


Jeffrey and Alice-Grace had play dates, so I wanted to do something special with Frances (but didn't want to spend any money). Here's what we did:

Two craft projects (a cute embossed Christmas card and an adorable snowflake ornament -- free make & take day) and five sheets of card stock (coupon) at a scrapbooking store at the local mall = $0.00

One really large (though they called it a small) ice-cream cone (coupon) at the food court = $0.00

Frances being able to spend time with her parents without any annoying younger siblings = priceless

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Quest Continues...

I'm still on my never-ending quest to not spend money. I'm usually pretty good at this (mostly because I loathe buying clothes), but my downfall is food (specifically grocery shopping and eating out). I've taken a few measures, but so far I'm getting mixed results. Such as...

I'm now having milk delivered to my house to keep me out of stores (I'm notorious for going in for just a gallon of milk and coming out with 20 pairs of socks, three books, and a porch swing -- hence, why I am no longer allowed in Costco).

I must admit that me and the kids did go to Burger King last night, but that's only because we found three coupons for free fries and three coupons for free burgers while cleaning up the house. Free dinner for the kids -- yay! But then I bought dinner for myself -- boo! (Nigel was gone, so he had to scrounge whatever he could find for dinner at home -- here, lick this postage stamp and see what's between the couch cushions!)

Tonight I'm going to a special class on grocery shopping. I'm curious as to what their system is. I've tried coupons and all of that before, but I ended up buying a bunch of stuff I normally wouldn't have and spending a lot of time running from store to store. Hopefully I'll get some good tips!

What are your favorite ways to save (or not spend) money?

Friday, October 9, 2009

I think it's time for some hearing aids...

A conversation at our house last night (obviously we all need to get our hearing checked).

MICHAEL SCOTT (From TV's "The Office"): Oh, you must pass the dungeon wisdom test.

JEFFREY: Mushroom seeds? Everyone knows that mushrooms don't have seeds.

FRANCES: What about Muslims?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Shameless Plug

Be sure to go see this genius little movie with some great music (done by my neighbor) called White On Rice!

Right now it's playing in San Francisco, Los Angeles and Orange County (check local listings).

The film opens in Utah this Friday and will play 5 times a day at the following locations:

Century 16, Salt Lake City
12:10 2:25 4:45 7:15 9:30

Cinemark 16, Provo Towne Centre
11:55am 2:10 4:20 6:45 9:00

Co-stars Hiroshi Watanabe (Letters From Iwo Jima), Justin Kwong , and directer Dave Boyle will be attending Provo screenings at 6:45 and 9:00 on Friday, and 11:55 and 2:10 on Saturday.

They will attend Salt Lake screenings at 7:15 and 9:30 on Saturday night.

Check it out!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Oops, I Did It Again!

When I was a little girl, I loved writing letters and making my own cards, stationery, postcards, etc. One day I made a postcard with a short note on it for my grandparents. Later that day my mother told me that she had a stamp ready for my postcard. I just looked at her strangely and said, "But I already have a stamp for it." My mother asked me where I got it from. "I drew it on myself, " I answered. She asked where the postcard was and I said that I had already mailed it in the mailbox down the street.

This threw her in a tizzy and she hurried down the street to the mailbox. She noted when the mail pick-up time was and returned to the mailbox and waited and waited and waited for the mailman to pick up the mail, with stamp in hand.

The mailman never came.

She waited the next day, he never came.

Finally she gave up. Oh well, it's just one little postcard lost in the mail.

A few days later my mother was surprised to get a phone call from her mother-in-law saying that they had received the cutest little postcard in the mail from me -- complete with hand-drawn stamp.

Well, last week I was again making my own postcards and mailing them out to friends and family. I made sure to use real stamps this time, but then found out -- too late -- that my postcards were much too large for postcard stamps, they needed full first class stamps.

Oh well, more postcards lost in the mail.

How surprised was I when I got a call from my family thanking me for the cute postcards.

Thank you, United States Postal Service.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

First Impressions

Have you ever seen an actor or actress in a certain type of role and then no matter how hard you try (or how hard THEY try), you can't picture them any other way?

I'm not a fan of mafia/mobster movies (maybe it's because I don't like Italian food), so the first movie I saw Ray Liotta in was "Corrina, Corrina." So when I'm flipping through the TV channels and happen upon "Goodfellas," I can't stop picturing him playing the Jell-O jingle on the piano with Whoopi Goldberg. Not very threatening, I know.
The first time I ever saw Hugh Jackman, he was playing Curly in the musical "Oklahoma." Now I can't watch any of the "X-Men" movies without expecting him to break out singing "Surry with the Fringe on Top" in the middle of a big battle scene.
Don't even get me started on Shirley Jones. After years of watching her as Mrs. Partridge, I still can't bear to see her play a prostitute in "Elmer Gantry," even if she did win an Oscar for the role. I'm sorry, I can't. It's just not right.

Is it just me?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

"Be Kind Rewind"

This little gem of a movie I discovered at our local library. I didn't know what to expect about a movie I'd never heard of starring Jack Black, Danny Glover, Mia Farrow and Mos Def (a rapper), but it is so cute! I don't want to say too much because it's fun to just see where the movie unexpectedly takes you, but I do recommend it.

Disclaimers: Please keep in mind that it is PG-13 (some swearing and inappropriate dialog, so maybe not for the kids -- especially since they will be bored by the subject matter) and the director is French (so don't expect your typical "everything tied up neatly in a bow" American movie ending).

Monday, September 14, 2009

Yard Sale Blues

Labor Day weekend my family decided to have a yard sale. Though I usually try to save money by NOT spending it, rather than trying to make more of it, I decided to still give it a go.

I started by cleaning out the house (including all the closets) to see what we could sell. Though I kept adding things to my "sell" box, my pile of yard sale goods kept getting smaller and smaller. Then I discovered that my kids were returning everything BACK to the closets as soon as my back was turned.
We finally had a few items that we ALL agreed to sell. Yippee!

Of course, it was raining the morning of our yard sale. I outfitted my children in matching aprons so they could work hard to earn some money! Then I realized that I had forgotten to feed them before heading out (the yard sale was at someone else's house, since we don't have a yard). So a quick trip to McDonald's for breakfast solved that (did you realize that they sell Breakfast Happy Meals? Who knew?).

FIVE HOURS LATER the yard sale was done -- and so were we. We made a whopping $12.00. Minus the $16.00 I spent on the McDonald's breakfast and the 50 cents my kids spent buying other people's stuff at the yard sale, we actually were in the hole $4.50!!! I could've save money by NOT cleaning my house and sleeping in!

I think I'll stick to saving money by NOT spending it. I don't do so well with the earning it part.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Family Reunion Memories

As I'm reading everyone's blogs, "family reunions" seems to be a big theme for the summer.

One year my family had a camping family reunion. As I was getting out of the communal shower, my sister, Rena, jumped out and took my picture. Luckily, I was able to cover most of my "naughty bits" with a small (very small) towel.

I thought the funny little episode was over. But no. Several weeks later, I get a package in the mail from Rena. She had taken the photo and had a PUZZLE made of it!!!

I must admit that it's my kids' favorite jigsaw. They really love leaving out the pieces with the towel on them so that it looks like I'm naked. This is especially fun for them to display it on the coffee table when they know company (preferably someone from church) is coming over.

I must admit that I don't remember much from that family reunion, but I do remember that! Thanks, Rena, for being such a fun sister.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Guilty Pleasures

What are your guilty pleasures? Not really things that make you feel guilty, but rather things you enjoy that are slightly embarrassing and you find yourself hiding or making sheepish excuses for if someone walks into the room and catches you. Here are some of mine:

Guilty Listening Pleasure -- Tom Jones.
I admit it. I LOVE Tom Jones. How can you not love a Welshman who meows in his songs? Throw those panties, ladies!

Guilty Cinema Pleasure -- Cheesy Mormon movies.
I have to sneak these into the house to avoid Nigel's inevitable eye-rolling and sighing. "The Singles Ward," "The Home Teachers," "Church Ball," etc. I know they're stupid, but I like watching them.

Guilty Eating Pleasure -- Ding Dongs.
They're especially good frozen. The ritual is actually more important than the eating. First, smooth out the foil into one large square (careful, don't rip it!). Then pick all the chocolate frosting off. Then eat all the chocolate cake (this is actually the worst part). Last of all, savor the Crisco-y goodness of the creamy filling. Mmmm.

Guilty Active Pleasure -- Roller Disco.
Not roller blades, not roller derby, but roller skates with the big orange wheels and neon green laces. You know, the kind that you wear with leg warmers. Crank up that Donna Summer and just boogie, oogie, oogie until you just can't boogie no more!*

Guilty TV Pleasure -- "iCarly."
I must admit that I usually watch this with my kids, but there have been a few times when Nigel has caught me watching this alone. His usual question is, "Why are you watching this? The kids are outside playing." I just mumble something about it being on and I can't find the remote. He then will notice the TV remote in my hand and proceed with more eye-rolling. I'm sorry, but the writing is really clever and I have a tiny bit of a crush on Spencer.**

Guilty Reading Pleasure -- Gossip magazines.
I actually look forward to going to the doctor/dentist so I can sit and read People, Us Weekly, Life & Style, etc. Most of the time I have no idea as to who they're talking about, but it's still fun. I'm always early for appointments just so I can have more time to read.

There. Embarrassing, yes. Fun, oh yes! What are your guilty pleasures?

*Yes, I know "Boogie Oogie Oogie" is by A Taste of Honey, not Donna Summer.
**Spencer is the adult on the show -- I do NOT have a crush on a little kid.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Another Shopping Score!

I got tired of getting bonked on the head by wayward bags of chocolate chips every time I opened my pantry door, so I decided to buy one of those hang on the door shoe holders to store them all in.*

I headed to Kohl's in their "decorate your dorm room" section. There they had the door shoe holder thingy for $21.99. YIKES!

Luckily, it was half off, so it was only $10.99

Even more lucky, I had a Kohl's gift card (free in the mail) worth $10.00 on any purchase.

So with tax, I ended up only paying $1.06.

From $21.99 to $1.06!!! Whoo-hoo!

*By the way, my pantry looks much more organized now (it works perfectly for storing bags of chocolate chips, envelopes of gravy mix, seasoning envelopes, bags of Lehi Roller Mill mixes, etc.).

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


The other day, we smelled gas in our home* (natural gas -- this is not a comment on my lack of cooking skills). I called the gas company and they told us to leave immediately and wait for the gas guy to come and check it out. I told everyone to grab what they needed and to go outside. It was quite eye-opening to see what my family considered "essential."

Me (Lois) -- purse and car keys (give me a credit card and I'm fine; in fact, I was secretly hoping that the place would blow up so that I didn't have to clean it anymore).

Nigel -- photocopies of all of his artwork and some sketch books (gee, is anyone surprised at that one?).

Frances -- our pet rabbit, her favorite teddy bear, her favorite bandana, a poster of Zac Efron (I kid you not) and a "ecstacy/rave" binky (she says because it has a whistle and light). She later lamented that she forgot to bring a book (luckily I always keep one in the car -- never know when "Cujo" is going to trap you in there for days).

Jeffrey -- his favorite (and largest) Lego set, his 1st Grade math trophy and a can of red spray-paint (what?).

Alice-Grace -- a tiara, a pearl necklace and her favorite stuffed animals (keep in mind that she forgot shoes).

I'm sure that I forgot some of the items, but you get the gist of it.

Of course, our 72-hour emergency kits were in a state of disarray (I started reorganizing them months ago and never put them back together again), so we couldn't bring those.

*Luckily, it was no big deal -- just some problems with our water heater that were easily solved.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Bangs & Pops

My youngest child, Alice-Grace, has her own unique view on the world. Some recent examples:

We're watching a show about vampires and Alice-Grace proclaims, "Mom! I think I'm a vampire! Look, I have bangs!"

Yes, she mistook "fangs" for "bangs."

Last month we went on a family vacation. Before boarding the plane, I gave all my children some gum to chew to help their ears pop.

During the flight, I was sitting next to Alice-Grace. She kept reaching up and feeling her ears and commenting on how she wished she had a mirror. Then she would look up at my ears and touch them. Finally, she said, "Yeah, I think they're about to pop, they feel really big and squishy."

She thought I meant that the outside of her ears would expand so much that they would eventually "pop" like a balloon.

Now keep in mind that for both of these instances, she was very EXCITED about either being a vampire or having various body parts explode.

She's an odd duck. Oh, to be six again.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

The Wheels on the Bus Go Round and Round

I'm famous for never paying more than $1.00 for any car that I've owned and I think it's starting to show. The other day my kids were singing their own version of "The Wheels on the Bus" in reference to our current buck-mobile. It went something like this:

The wheels on the car go flat, flat, flat...
The oil in the car goes leak, leak, leak...
The battery in the car goes dead, dead, dead...

On and on it went.

The final straw was when I was watching a news report about the federal government's new plan nicknamed "Cash for Clunkers." You get a $4,500 rebate towards a new, fuel-efficient car when you turn in your old gas guzzling clunker. In the report, they were showing various cars which should be turned in -- and there was mine. Same make, model, year, color, everything.

No wonder my kids nicknamed our car "The Cause for Global Warming."

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

She shops, she scores!!!

Here's my latest shopping conquest:

$3.99 V-8 Peach Mango Juice
$2.99 Colgate Toothpaste

$6.98 Total (Regular price)

-$2.60 preferred card savings
-$2.00 manufacturer's coupons
-$2.00 store coupons (special offer doubling coupons savings)


From $6.98 down to 38 cents (imagine me doing victory dance right now). Oh, it's so sweet.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Are you boring?

I've just realized that I'm even more boring than I thought -- so I win!

We often play a game we call "Who's the Most Boring." It's a get-to-know-you game where everyone gets 10 pennies and you have to say something that you've NEVER done, but you figure everyone else HAS done. If the other people haven't done it either, they hold on to their pennies. If they have done it, they toss one of their pennies into a center pile. Whoever is the last one with pennies is proclaimed the most boring -- and thus, the winner.

Here are some of my "never" dones:
  • I've never sent a text message
  • I've never broken a bone
  • I've never gotten a parking ticket

And the ones that always win:

  • I've never been to IKEA
  • I've never been to Walmart

What about you? Are you boring, too?

Monday, May 18, 2009

Here's Your Sign...

My last few posts got me thinking, what would I put on my sign? If I needed help (financial, spiritual, emotional, etc.), what would I write in Sharpie on an old piece of cardboard?

Maybe "Clean House for Food" (meaning I'll give you food if you clean my house).

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Buddy, can you spare a dime?

Geo's comment to my last post got me thinking.

I used to be very good about handing out spare change to people on the street (I was figuring that it was theft protection -- if they got enough money that way, the less chance they would mug someone or break into someone's house), but it seemed like as soon as I made eye contact and handed over a few quarters, they would somehow think this meant that I was their girlfriend. This was particularly problematic if it was someone I passed by quite often.

One especially enterprising young lady (we'll call her "Mary Meth") used to panhandle at the entrance of my bank. That way no one could say that they didn't have any money. It got to be so bad that I actually switched banks.

In my prior post I wrote about how I didn't help out with my friend's scrapbook project (just donated money for supplies instead), that I left it up to the "experts." If I can't even put stickers and photos on a piece of paper, what makes me think I can help homeless/jobless/mentally unstable people on the street? Instead, I donate money to foundations and community programs and leave it to the experts.

So sorry, buddy, I really can't spare a dime.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Charity Never Faileth

It seems like everyone these days is holding on to every penny they've got and charitable organizations are really hurting. Of course, there's more need out there for these charities, so they're being hit especially hard.

So I'm trying something new. I've added a "charity" category to my budget.

Now when I go to the store and the check-out lady asks me, "Would you like to donate $1 to help fund cancer/autism/diabetes/whatever research?" I gladly reply, "Why yes, I would!" That usually takes the woman by surprise (since I assume most people say no -- I know I always did). Come on, really, I'm buying three boxes of Twinkies as part of my groceries and I can't spare a buck to save someone's life? Just put back one of the boxes of Twinkies!

The other day I got an e-mail from a friend linking me to a Web page of another friend who is biking for cancer research and asking for donations. Oh, did I mention that this biker is fighting her SECOND bout with cancer? How awesome was it to be able to help out in such a small way.

I guess it all started with my friend who recently lost her baby. Even though this was incredibly hard for her and her family, she decided to put her energies into making scrapbooks for other families in similar circumstances; something to preserve those memories of such precious little lives, no matter how short. Of course, no one wants me to do any scrapbooking, but I could donate some money so the more talented people could buy supplies.

Now I'm not funding wings of hospitals or anything like that, but every little bit counts, right? If I keep my heart open, who knows where this can lead me.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Do you "Wonder"?

"Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium"

I know it got bad reviews, but I love this movie. We just checked it out from the library and I think I've seen it three times. It just cracks me up and inspires me. My 11-year-old Frances balled her eyes out and cried even more when she found out that the movie isn't based on a real toy store. It's rated G and stars Dustin Hoffman (who is hilarious), Natalie Portman (who actually acts, as opposed to what she does in those horrible "Star Wars" movies), Jason Bateman (loved him in "Arrested Development") and a zebra* named Mortimor.

*According to the "behind the scenes" extras on the DVD, you can't just bring in one zebra to be in a film. You have to have another zebra AND a pony. I think I'm going to bring that up with my boss, "Sorry, if I'm going to work here, I'm going to have to have another woman named Lois AND a pony at my cubicle."

Friday, March 20, 2009

Just Plain Giving Up

So in my last post I talked about giving up my laziness and cleaning my house for Lent. Well, let's just say that it's not going so well.

The other night, Nigel told me that he couldn't find our youngest child, Alice-Grace. We looked all over the house, couldn't find her.

Much to our relief (and my embarassment), we finally found her fast asleep in the middle of the living room floor -- there was so much stuff in there, we couldn't see her!

(Please note: In my defense, I just want to say that I have been busy working on our food storage, so most of our living room is filled with cans of food -- next project: how to make furniture out of #10 cans)

Friday, February 27, 2009

Giving Up Lint for Lent

So this year for Lent I decided to give up my lazy ways and finally clean my house. I think I'm going to need a rake and a leaf blower just to find my carpet (not to mention our stupid bunny). So far, I'm not doing too well.

I sat my kids down and had them tell me what they were giving up for Lent. Here's their answers:

Frances -- giving up bubble gum (and she's doing a good job so far).
Jeffrey -- giving up watching TV (he's actually doing it!).
Alice-Grace -- giving up staying up late (she's about as good at that as I am at cleaning my house).

Nigel has decided to give up combing his hair for Lent (this is a long story, don't ask).

Of course, living in a very NON-Catholic area, I'm sure my kids' friends are wondering what the heck Lent is and why they're giving stuff up. I'm all for any religious holiday that makes my life easier. Now, if I can just get them to observe Ramadan this year (no feeding my very picky children during daylight hours? Bring it on!).

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Why I Married Nigel

So we're driving down the street and I point out to Nigel a sign in front of the local wild game meat processing plant that reads:

Smoked Dog Bones
$1.25 each

Without missing a beat, Nigel replies, "Wow. I wonder where they get the dogs."

Friday, January 30, 2009

Science Fair Follies

This past week was our elementary school's science fair. Being the good PTA member (and evil wife) that I am, I volunteered Nigel to be a judge all three days. Just to be fair, I was a judge for one day, too.

As you would expect, there were tons and tons of magnet displays, analysis of various microwave popcorn brands, and way too many "how to grow crystals" projects. Come on, people, did you all read the same "101 Science Fair Projects" book? What about the other 98?

My favorite one was this cute little girl who did hers on how cats and dogs would react when seeing themselves in a mirror. She had a large animal cage that was covered in mirrors that she would stick the animal in and then record what it would do. Very original, clever, but the best part was this "behind the scenes" story that she told me:

"Yeah, the cage is really neat, but it's hard to open. See, this latch sticks. I know that because I crawled in it and then couldn't get it open. We had to call the police."

I was a little confused. The latch wasn't THAT complicated. I asked, "Why did you have to call the police? Couldn't your mom open it?"

She replied, "Oh, I was locked in it in our car and my mom had locked her keys in the car, too. The police had to come to get the car open and get me out."*

Wow! I can just imagine what the police were thinking. What kind of a ticket do you get for that?

*Disclaimer: I found out from talking with the mother that this is not exactly how it happened. Yes, she did lock herself in the cage while her mother was running a quick errand in the store and yes, her mother did lock herself out of the car, but she just threatened to call the police. The little girl managed to get out of the cage and unlock the car for her mother. Personally, I like the little girl's story better.