"$uper" frugal living. "$aving" money...one idea at a time.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

I have a confession....

I love this book set.

Little Red got it from one of his grandma's for Christmas last year.  He loved it....but we didn't fully utilize it until a few months ago.  And now...we can't get enough of it.

It comes with 4 titled books....If you give a moose a muffin, If you give a mouse a cookie, If you give a pig a pancake and If you take a mouse to school.  The book is also jam packed with recipes, activities, science expiraments and a CD to boot.

The CD is our favorite.  It plays each narrated story, plus tons of fun songs.

I'll admit....I love to sing along with them.  They are fun and silly....and to my utter disbelief and surprise (I mean, really!)...not annoying.

This jewel has hardly left the player in our car for MONTHS!  (I say "hardly" because daddy is not as much of a fan as I am. he he he...He prefers Metallica or sports radio)

It perfect for long car rides, errands, and when I have to run into the house (with the engine off, of course) and take "so and so" potty, and then "so and so" has to go, and then I forgot this, and forgot that.....you get the idea.  Keeps them happy....and without complaint (mostly) when I am "stuck" talking to some other mama through the car window for hours on end.  :)

I HIGHLY recommend it.

Stocking Stuffer, maybe?  Or for the Grandkids Christmas or birthday?!?

I've seen them at Costco (a while ago) or you can find them at Amazon.com HERE.

Happy singing along y'all.


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Friday, October 21, 2011



I'm SO excited to announce them.....

Winner of the Amazon.com gift card #1:

Winner of the Amazon.com gift card #2:
 Mommy with Selective Memory

Winner of the Dancing Princess Designs $10 gift certificate:
Jennifer at DPD also threw in a $2 off coupon for Grumpy Grateful Mom who said: "I love the She's Got Moxie set on GDS. :)"  Well, there you have it GGM...now you can go get that "She's Got Moxie" set....It's SUPER SUPER cute!

 Thanks from both Jennifer and I, for your participation in the Giveaways....it was a lot of fun for me to do and I'm glad to have y'all here with me.

Winners....you have 48 hours to email me at testosteroneoverloadXY at gmail dot com to claim your prizes (that would be 6:00PM PST Sunday, October 23rd...to be exact).  So don't delay!

Now, Roberto and I are headed off to, yet another, bombers football game.  Darn it all, though.  I never did get out to Goodwill to get all decked out in my green and yellow.  Oh well...I will most likely visit the "students section" again.  It was just way too much fun last time!

Can't wait...
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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

L.I.C.E is a four letter word

I mean....literally....and figuratively, too.  At least it is in our house.

It's naughty....very, VERY naughty.  

Why?...because when you say it mommy get's all scared and anxious and starts hyperventilating.  And her head starts itching.....really bad.

At least that is what happened the day we found a little creepy, crawly, egg laying nasty in G-McBabe's hair about 18 months ago (just a few weeks after Mr. Golden Locks was born).

(see here)
 But let me tell you, things haven't changed a whole lot.

A few weeks after the start of school, we got the customary "lice" letter home one day.

You know, the "it's that time of year again when we typically see an increase in head lice" letter?

I hate that letter.

But....not more than I hate the "Nits (lice eggs) and/or lice have been found on a couple of students in the 3rd grade" letter.

That letter came home today.

For a few seconds I thought about falling apart.  (Breath, breath, breath).

Instead I just did a little scream inside......


Why now?  I'm not medicated (at least not for a few more days).

How do you expect a "sister" to deal with something like this unmedicated, y'all?


I looked at the paper....I looked at G-McBabe.....and then I said,

"You do realize we are going to have to do a head check today, right?

"Yeah.....(sigh)....I know."

Poor kid....he knows his mama all too well.  Let's face it....she can be a little psycho.

We FINALLY got to it tonight just before bed....

Luckily....so far, so good (all heads checked, all heads cleared).....and I didn't even panic, at least not more than once.....or twice.  :)

We ended the day with the "do not share hats or coats or scarfs talk"....the "stuff your coat inside your backpack talk" (what are they thinking making kids share cubbies?)...the "I know you love your friends but just don't get too close to them" talk.

Oh....and I prayed.....HARD!

I think we have it all covered.

Did I miss anything?


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Friday, October 14, 2011



HOLY COW!  I can't believe it has been so long.  And I want to CELEBRATE!

Four years ago, today, I posted my very first post here on Testosterone Overload.  I was a lonely, sad mama who had just given birth to her third ...yep, you guessed it...boy, and wanted a place to post pictures and write stories about my boys so that my family, whom I had just moved away from, would have the opportunity to "see them grow up".

It was right about that same time that I began diving into the pits of Postpartum Depression (you can read all about that on my "other" blog Methodical Musings of an Unbalanced Woman).

Let's just say that we have had a lot of ups and downs since this blog was created....including the addition of, yet another, bouncing bundle of baby testosterone.....#4, Mr. Golden Locks.

I've blogged about the good, the bad and the ugly...about boogers and battles, stinky bodies (mine, not theirs), and poop (oh...and keys in toilets too)...about our very first head injury, a growth discovered in my abdomen, and falling off of pedestals.....of twin girl prediction, ingenious parenting moments, and amazing couponing skills and steals.

It really has been an amazing/hard/exciting/excruciating 4 years.  And I could not have gotten through it without you.  I have been comforted and supported more than you can imagine.  Now it's time to give back.

Here's to another 4 years of Testosterone Overload....cheers!  


Here's what's up for grabs:

A chance to win 2 (count them)  2- $10 Amazon.com gift cards (out of my very own pocket) and a 

$10 gift certificate to be used at Dancing Princess Designs godigitalscrapbooking store (donated by Jennifer at Dancing Princess Designs.)

How do I win?

$10 Amazon Gift Card #1

This giveaway has actually been going on for a week now....head on over to this post, Amazon Gift Card Giveaway [#1], to get the entry specifics.  If you already have entered...no further action needs be taken.  Good luck to you.  (be sure to leave all comments relating to this specific giveaway on the corresponding posts....DO NOT LEAVE THEM HERE!)

$10 Amazon Gift Card #2

#1 "Like" Testosterone Overload on Facebook (or use the Facebook Gadget on the sidebar)
#2 Follow melanie_gill on Twitter
#3 Subscribe to e-mails by inputting your email address in the "T.O. in your inbox" box (on the side bar)
#4 Subscribe to RSS feeds---posts and/or comments (on the sidebar)
#5 Head on over to Dancing Princess Designs and click to "follow" Jennifer's blog (sidebar---bottom right)
#6 Come on over to Methodical Musings of an Unbalanced Woman (my "other" blog) and click to "Join [my] site" (side bar--bottom right)

That's 6 different ways you can enter into the $10 Amazon Gift Card #2 Giveaway.  Just remember that YOU MUST LEAVE A SEPARATE COMMENT FOR EACH ACTION TAKEN ABOVE!  THIS IS IMPORTANT! (only one entry per comment, that's why you want to separate them...more comments...more entries)
$10 Gift Certificate to Dancing Princess Designs GoDigitalScrapbooking Store

#1 Go to Dancing Princess Designs GoDigitalScrapbooking Store and browse around.  Then come back HERE and leave a comment listing a product that caught your eye.
#2 "Like" Dancing Princess Designs on Facebook 
#3  Follow JennCamargo on Twitter
#4 Subscribe to e-mails on DPD (right sidebar)
#5 Subscribe to RSS feeds on DPD (left sidebar)

That's 5 different ways you can enter into the $10 Gift Certificate to DPD's GDS store.


Are you as excited as I am?  He he he....I doubt it....but try, will ya?


(for questions you can e-mail me at testosteroneoverloadXY at gmail dot com).

Random winners (for all three giveaways) will be chosen and announced on October 21, 2011 (next Friday).

So...have FUN!


Thursday, October 13, 2011

Worlds Best Caramel Popcorn

I mean it when I say that this Carmel Popcorn is indeed the World's Best.  It is SO incredibly chewy and gooey and lip smacking yummy. I love it....(a little too much perhaps)

I made a double recipe yesterday (that's 6+ cups of popcorn people) to feed to my family, the 3 19-20 year old missionaries that came for dinner and for my "BBC chicks" movie club.
This is all that is left.

Yeah....it's that good.

Makes great Halloween Popcorn Balls.  I also like to make it to give away to neighbors at Christmas time.

Now....the original recipe (published in a ward (congregational) cook book) didn't state the amount of popcorn to use (odd, I know), so I have experimented over the years.  Here's my adaptation of the recipe.

World's Best Caramel Popcorn

1 cube (8 TBSP) margarine or butter
1 cup light Karo syrup
2 cups brown sugar
1 can sweetened condensed milk

You are looking for the equivalent of about 12 cups popped popcorn (that makes it really gooey.  If you want a dryer popcorn add 1-3 more cups.)  Honestly, we usually use microwave popcorn (the "healthy" stuff with just a bit of butter and salt...yum) but you can used regular air popped as well.  For microwave, use about 3 bags...for air pop you are looking at about 9 TBSP (just over 1/2 cup).  It's really not an exact science...just a good jumping off point.  :)  Try to weed out as many of the un-popped kernel's as possible (no one likes to chomp into a hard kernel after all).  You can do this by collecting the popcorn into a large brown paper sack (or a large bowl) and shaking lightly to "settle" the un-popped kernel's in the bottom.  Then lightly hand spoon the popped corn into a (another) LARGE bowl.  Set aside.

After popping and making ready the corn, pour all ingredients into a large saucepan.  Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly.  Once it reaches a boil, cook it for another 3 minutes (no candy thermometer needed...yeay!).  Pour over popcorn and stir until well coated.  Lay out on wax or parchment paper to cool.  Store in an airtight container or bag.



Wednesday, October 12, 2011

"BBC chicks" movie club---Under the Greenwood Tree

Tonight, I had the privilege of attending our first ever "BBC chicks" movie club movie night.

It was a blast.   

Good food, good company.....good (doesn't even to begin to describe it) movie.

Tonight.....Under The Greenwood Tree....

Oh. My. Lanta.......

I'd never seen it before but went in good faith, trusting our "leader" and her choice.  And....let me tell you, she did a bang up job.  It was FANTASTIC!

My heart pitter-pattered the ENTIRE time.

In fact....Whew!....there it goes again just thinking about it.

There were a few good "Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennett" moments....and some super "savory" smooches too (all in clean fun, of course).

But my oh my.....

There's nothin' like a good romance.......

Anyhow....I would HIGHLY recommend this one.  HIGHLY!

Maybe Rob will buy it for me for Christmas (oh...and if you have a BBC/romance lover in your house, think......CHRISTMAS!)

At any rate....I can't wait for next month.


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Just keep in mind that I don't make recommendations lightly.

$10 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway__CLOSED

Alright...so I think there was a lot of confusion concerning the $10 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway.

The confusion being that I linked this giveaway to a blogging challenge and only left teeny tiny instructions on how to enter this giveaway without actually doing the blogging challenge (that part is just for those of us who LOVE to write).

No fear, I am here to diffuse the confusion.

You DO NOT have to enter the blogging challenge to be entered into the giveaway (the blogging challenge is just a really fun way to earn even more entries).

So....do you want to know the easiest way to get entered into the giveaway?

You just have to sign up to "follow" Testosterone Overload.

Here's how: 

#1 Click on the gadget on the sidebar that says "Join this site".

#2 THEN....leave a comment telling me you did it (something like this "I now follow T.O., or whatever) or, if you already "follow" T.O. leave a comment that says something like this (I already "follow" T.O.)  Simple as that.


***The winner is picked at random FROM THE COMMENTS THAT ARE LEFT on this post (or the original blogging challenge/giveaway post).  If you do not leave a comment you will not be entered into the giveaway. ***

So don't skip that crucial step.

And now because I am so generous (wink, wink) I am going to give you a way to receive additional entries without entering the blogging challenge as well.  You ready?............

Ta Da....Refer a friend to Testosterone Overload.

That's right.  I will give you additional entries into the giveaway for EVERY friends and/or reader, you refer to my blog, that chooses to "follow" T.O. as well.

Here's your instructions (I work by example...I need everything spelled out for me...hehehe)

#1 You post a link to this giveaway/blogging challenge on your blog.

#2  Go ahead and tell your readers that for every one of them that comes here and "follows" T.O., YOU will get another entry into this giveaway.

#3  Don't forget to tell YOUR readers that they need to mention who "referred" them to T.O.

(for example their post would look something like.  "Hi Melanie, I now follow T.O.   I was referred to this giveaway by ___________.")

So...that comment will count as their "personal" entry as well as a "referral" entry for you.  Does that make sense?  (if not you can e-mail me at testosteroneoverloadXY at gmail dot com)

The possibilities are endless.

Just remember that your "referrals" have to "Join [my] site" in order for the entry to count for either of you.

The winner will be announced Friday, October 21, 2011.

Now....if you actually LIKE to write (like I do) you can earn EVEN MORE entries into the giveaway by

#1 entering "Melanie's Blogging Challenge"

#2 encouraging your friends/readers to enter as well (yes...more "referrals).

See below for details.

There....I hope that cleared up some confusion.  I was really surprised to see so little entries.   I mean, it's a SUPER easy way to win $10 to use at Amazon.com (Christmas is coming)

So DON'T delay.

"Join" me at T.O.  Be prepared from some pretty funny upcoming stories and, hopefully, some useful frugal tips as well.

Original Posted Rules:

Melanie's Blogging Challenge/Giveaway! 
(this giveaway is part of the Happy 4th Birthday T.O. Birthday Bash/Giveaways--which will be announced NEXT Friday (Oct 14th) where you will have a chance to win even MORE stuff).

Choose one of the following topics....FALL, FOOTBALL, DATE NIGHT, THE GOOD OL' DAYS or 30 YEAR OLD WOMAN PARADING AROUND PRETENDING TO BE A TEENAGER (or any other story of you as a "not so acting your age" person)...which ever one tickles your writing fancy... (read MY story entitled:  Date Night brings out the "best" in Melanie)


(story can be a previously posted, yet related, post as long as you re-post it a. with the current date (so it comes up the first post on your blog page) b. with the challenge rules and c. with proper links to this post). 

What can I win?  
The winner of this blog challenge/giveaway will randomly be chosen to win a $10 Amazon.com gift card (provided from my very own pocket lining).  

How can I win?
One entry will be counted for every "valid" comment/entries left on T.O. (Remember to leave a separate comment for each of the "valid" entries).

"Valid" comments include:
#1 a personal story entry (see below)
#2 a referral story entry (see below)
#3 by signing up to "follow" T.O. and leaving a comment to tell me that you did (if you already "follow", just leave a comment stating that you already do.)

What is a "personal" entry?
A personal entry is a single comment left on T.O. by you consisting of a link to your Melanie's Blogging challenge/giveaway entry (aka your posted story).

What is a "referral" entry?
A "referral" entry is a single comment left by one of YOUR READERS listing YOU as their "referral" to Melanie's Blog Challenge/Giveaway.  The more of YOUR readers you can engage in this challenge, the more entries/chance YOU will have to win.

Things to remember:
#1  BE SURE to link back to this post (any submitted story NOT linking back to this post will be disqualified from the giveaway) and post the challenge/giveaway rules for your readers (copy and paste from the pink text down).

#2 BE SURE to leave a comment linking me to YOUR challenge/giveaway entry (again, your story) as well as your e-mail address so that I can contact you if you win. (your "personal" entry)

#3 BE SURE to tell your readers to A. come back here and post a comment linking me to THEIR story (which will be their "personal" entry) but also leave ANOTHER comment telling me who referred THEM (which would be one of YOUR "referral" entries).

Do you need an example.?  I know I would (if I hadn't thought it up myself...and even that confused me).

"Personal" entry comment example:
Hi, Melanie, that was a great story.  :)
My name is ____________ and here is a link to my Melanie's Blog Challenge/ Giveaway Entry http://_________________. 
I hope I win.

"Referral" entry comment example:
Hi Melanie....I was referred to your Blog Challenge/Giveaway by (insert Name) at (blog name or address you came from).  OR just leave the blog name if you don't know their name personally.

Does that make sense?  If you have any questions please contact me at testosteroneoverloadXY at gmail dot com.

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Winner!!! announced from the "browse week" giveaway


Andrea L.

For winning the "browse week" giveaway.

Not only did Andrea receive a box full of some of "my favorite things."  But, because I know her personally, we get to hang out together the next time I'm in Spokane.  Lucky girl!   ;)

Don't forget...there are more giveaways to be won. 

Currently: $10 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway.


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Monday, October 10, 2011

"But it's not 'cold cereal' day"

I woke up, or at least got out of bed, this morning to the sound of "a waterfall of little somethings" cascading down onto the floor in my kitchen.

"Little Red" (the informant...aka the tattle tale) comes bursting into my room, "Mom, [Mini Rob] just dumped Kix out all over the floor."


I get up, put on my robe, and head out to survey the damage.  I brace myself as I turn the corner into the kitchen.

"Mini Rob" is standing there with the, now mostly empty, box of cereal, outside the pantry door (while Little Red and Mr. Golden Locks are squatted down shoveling as much of the contraband into their mouths as they can).

I look inside the pantry and groan....it's EVERYWHERE! (they were on the TOP shelf, after all).

"[Mini Rob] what are you doing?"

"I want these...I'm hungry."

"That's great, but, it's not 'cold cereal' day, you can't have them," I say in my frustration.

"But.....I waaaannnnnneeeeemmmmm."

"Too darn bad....it's not 'cold cereal' day.  Now, go get the vacuum and clean up this mess."

Ah.....the weeping and wailing.

(I've gotta hand it to the kid, though.  He has never been one to shy away from getting himself food when he is hungry...(while my older two will just whine and complain until someone else gets it for them) and he is pretty efficient at cleaning up after his messes...(since he has been doing it since he was just 20 months old).

No...I'm not a bad mom that wants my kids to go hungry.  I was just enjoying the warmth of my bed this morning rather than concerning myself with the welfare of their empty bellies.

And....it's not my fault he can't have the cold cereal he just worked so hard to acquire (although like I said, "Little Red" and "Mr. Golden Locks" were enjoying the fruits of his labors).  I am merely following the "Breakfast Menu"...the one we all worked together to come up with and agreed to follow.

Anyone can see that Monday is NOT cold cereal day.  It's oatmeal day.  Hello!  (despite the fact that "Mini Rob" is only 4 and can't read...it's in plain sight)

(please don't be jealous of my insanely good photography skills...
oh...or my crafty/scrapbook-y skills either....
they just come naturally.)

We are now on our third week of said "Breakfast Menu".  After having many many days of "breakfast issues", I was given some very solid advise to make a menu and stick to it.  And we have (other than one of the days my family was in town and my sister and I tried to put cut up apples and cinnamon in their oatmeal....heaven forbid).

This way, there are no surprises as to "What's for breakfast?"  Plus...it has been a HUGE money saving devise mostly because we only eat cold cereal twice a week now (oh, how I miss the days when I used to make $22 by picking up 21 boxes of cereal at the store---story from my other other blog).

All in all it's been so nice to have.  Thanks MOM (aka queen of frugalness and good ideas)!  :)

Just one more "adventure in frugalness", saving my family from being eaten out of house and home.

Even if they don't appreciate it every morning....they'll thank me in the long run....when the snow starts falling (IF the snow starts falling) and they are snug in their beds instead of freezing to death on the streets in a cardboard box somewhere.

What's on the menu for tomorrow?  Eggs and muffins....YUM!


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

HELP! I need you!---creating jeans that fit

This post is the first in a serious of posts entitled, HELP!  I need you!, where I, Melanie, am asking you, my readers (old and new) for help on a project/task/or parenting issue.

Let's face it....I'm just not as smart as I profess to be.  And I need help and advise from the outside.

Problem of the day:

Fall weather is now settling in...shorts are being put away...pants are coming out to play. 

For me, in a house full of testosterone this presents two problemas.  #1 holey knees  #2 fitting issues (either too short, too long, to fat, too skinny,...you get the idea).

After publishing the post Eclectic Fashion in our home of XY's, I was directed to an awesome blog, Living Locurto, where I found a tutorial How to Sew Monster Knees (both very cute and very doable).  I'm sure I'll be trying out this tutorial in the next few weeks, since that is about how long it will take for the newest crop of pants to go from the "someone must really care about you" to the "no one seems to care about you" stage.  I'll post pictures.

Until then, I am currently dealing with problema #2.  

That is why I need YOUR HELP!

In the latest batch of "we feel bad for you because you have a million (4) clothes destroying boys" (aka gratefully received clothing donations from friends and neighbors who are either a. very generous or b. trying to save themselves a trip to Goodwill, DI, Salvation Army, etc, and choose to drop them off here instead.  Either way, we are thankful for them)....anyway....in the last batch of these were a few pairs of jeans, big enough for G-McBabe (#1) that are still in very good, very useable condition.

Sort of.

They are definitely long enough....but are so HUGE in the waist (G has his daddy's superman build---broad shoulders, narrow waist).  G refuses to wear a belt and they do NOT have an adjustable waist band (that should be a crime, don't you think?).

So....to the point.  What do I need your for?

Ideas.  How do I make these pants into something usable for my 8 year old without the use of a belt, also keeping in mind that I HAVE a sewing machine but am not as savvy as to it's usage as I would like to be (aka I'm not much more than a beginner.)?   

Any ideas?

Please come to my rescue...(he is wearing the same two pairs of pants over and over and while that may be enough for some kids, it is not enough for him).

Feel free to either leave a comment (directing me to your totally awesome tutorial idea) or e-mail me at testosteroneoverloadXY at gmail dot com.  Thanks!

P.S. You don't have to have an idea to leave me a comment. I love hearing from you regardless.

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