Sunday, November 30, 2008

$5 off $25purchase at Walgreens 12/01 & 12/02

Click here for the coupon. Good for this Monday and Tuesday.


Ahh....two of my favorite things. What about getting the books for free and the Starbucks coffee? Too good to be true? Readerspoils is offering free Starbucks gift cards to anyone that reads and reviews the books that are sent to them. Their reasoning is that with so many self published authors out there, books get written, not read by anyone other then grandma and then these books become forgotten.

This is totally sad fate for a book someone has put their heart and soul into writing. I can see how this would happen and I take pity on these authors as I know one of my goals is to someday be published.

I have tried to do my part and for six years, I have had my book review site, Sara Says. I don't update it anymore like I should, but over the years I have received hundreds of dollars of free books and Amazon gift cards. Publishers would send me their books, I would read review the books, post the reviews on my site and would earn the amazon gift cards. Since I got the say in what I wanted to review, I accumulated many many many books on pregnancy, parenting, teaching, and healthy living. I then could pass these books on to my friends. Its fun and I still have some publishers that send me their books, but this new idea from reader spoils may be worth looking into and could be kind of fun!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

I am taking a short break from blogging the next few days and am ready to enjoy this holiday with family. There is much to be thankful for and am looking forward to uninterrupted time with my children. I hope you have a blessed Thanksgiving. Off to make some pumpkin muffins with the girls...

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Our Little Handyman...(or wannabe?)

I am sure you have seen a such a good deal, that you feel you can't pass it up?! Well...this is one of those times. Max is 18 months, but I think Daddy has such high hopes for him to be tool inclined that he ordered him one of these Tonka Wooden Workbenches for only $19.99 (including shipping) from e-toys. Upon review, I found that this really is too awesome of a deal to not pass on. It got rave reviews and is a 60% savings. As for the recommended ages of 8-10, Dave admitted that it would be great for him to put together and build things with our daughters. I am thinking that maybe Daddy just wants to play...;-)

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Dave Ramsey is My New Hero!

I've read his books and am in the loop with his online subscription. He really knows what he is talking about. Check out Dave Ramsey's Top Ten Shopping Mistakes here. Just in time for the holiday shopping spree. While you are at, just take a peek at his site. I promise you will be enlightened!

This just in...Thanksgiving Sale at Everything on his online store is $10. All books, CD's, DVD's...

Saturday, November 22, 2008

The first (annual??!) Thanksgiving Talent Show

The impending holidays are going to be different and definitely a bit more reflective and sad. This will be the first Thanksgiving and Christmas without my big sister there to share in the fun and festivities. Becky loved this time of year and was inevitably the one we all turned to before our big family meals to lead us in saying grace. She had such a beautiful and thoughtful way with words and always rose to the occasion.

Well...different times call for different measures. I knew we had to do something unique to spice up our Thanksgiving holiday and the Talent Show idea was born. My girls love putting on shows and will perform for hours for any willing sitting soul. As much as I love my daughters, I knew that watching dance routine (flopping around) after dance routine wasn't going to do anyone any good.

After a brainstorming session with Lucy and Megan, they decided they wanted to invite everyone to share a talent. Megan is emceeing, Lucy is reciting a few poems from Shel Silverstein's, Where the Sidewalk Ends, Max will make an appearance as "Magician Max", Dave and his text messaging talents and me TBD (any ideas???). We made up little invitations for Grandma and Grandpa, Aunt Erica, Uncle Andy and Cousin Madison who were also invited to bring a talent. The invitations stated that the show will be "after the feast and before the pumpkin pie." Can't wait!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Borders Bookstore: Free Dessert with Beverage Purchase

Borders Logo

Valid only November 21-23, 2008. Purchase a 20 oz. beverage at a Borders bookstore and receive a complimentary dessert or bakery item with this coupon.

Scholastic Books Warehouse Sale: 50%-80% Off

This annual Scholastic Book Sale is one of the best kept secrets in Des Moines! I get excited just thinking about it: A huge warehouse stocked ceiling to floor with children's books (hardback and paperback), computer software, cookbooks, calendars, chapter books, notebooks, pencils, posters...basically everything you see in the Scholastic Book Order form that your children bring home from school. But everything is at least half off!

I have been going to this for at least eight years and first heard about it through being a teacher. I still remember the wonderment of my first time and getting ready to stock my kindergarten classroom with books. It was exhilarating! Here's the scoop and you don't have to be a teacher to get in! Holiday shopping anyone?!

Scholastic Book Fairs
4241 NW Urbandale Drive
Urbandale, IA 50322
(515) 278-8558
Thu., 12/04/2008 - Sat., 12/13/2008
Weekdays ~ 10am - 8pm
Saturdays ~ 8am - 4pm
Closed Sunday

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Letting Life Happen...

This morning I had five quick stops I wanted to make. They were all quick-n-easy and in-n-out sort of stops; mail a package, stop at the bank, return an item... The goal was to get them done quickly and move on the things I really wanted to do today (make pumpkin bread with Lucy, paint Max's toy box, and write some thank yous).

Since I had Max and Lucy in tow, I knew these five stops would take longer with all of the unbuckling, unloading, and reloading, but I knew we could do it! First stop, mail a baby present (check! The kids were mesmerized by the Valley Junction Post Office and proceedings since we rarely go there and the little dum dum suckers were a big hit). Second stop; return a scrapbook. Roadblock. The store didn't open until 10. It was 9:15. Normally no big deal, but it was freezing outside and everything in the entire Valley Junction was closed except one place...the senior center.

Heading into there turned out to be one of the best detours I have ever taken. The place was filled seniors citizens conversing over coffee, playing pool and munching on donuts. They greeted us newcomers warmly and before I knew it, Lucy was chatting with the ladies on the couch and Max was involved in some sort of "roll the pool balls across the table" game with the men. Lucy was beaming as she regaled tales of her "mischiefy" little brother and asked the women about their families.

When it was time to go, I watched as Beverly zipped up Lucy's coat, press a quarter into her hand and told Lucy to come back. Lucy was quiet in the car and finally she reflected that she felt sad for some of the people there because their kids were all grown up and lived so far away. She was right and it had made me a little sad too. She asked if we could go back there again.

Yes, definitely. The wheels are in motion. Next time we will take in some books to read and games to play with them. I think that will be entertaining for the seniors, but also a life lesson for us.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Free Papa John's Pizza

If you get tired for turkey next week...

Papa John's: Free pizza with any order


Here are the details. (You do need to have a facebook account).

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


I love their crescent rolls and ready to bake cookies. Click here to get your $10 worth of savings.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Striving for Simplicity: Part 4

To read my other Striving for Simplicity blog entries; click here


This does not indicate shopping only for myself or by myself (even though that is certainly more enjoyable then totting busy 18 month old Max along). This instead means shopping only one day per week.

You can see why this may be a quandary. I live in the suburbs. Everything is nearby and easily accessible. It is too easy to swing by the grocery store to grab supper or stop by Target for some serious perusal. Therefore, the proximity of the stores is contributing to the problem, not the solution. If I do all my shopping in one day, then I am finished. No need to think, conteplate my strategy or plan on when I can go. I can spend that extra time on more important matters.

I seriously don't know if it can be done. There are so many times I run out of bread before milk, the veggies are gone for tonight's stir fry or that sale is good for only that one day. I am not going to starve my family or put myself into an inflexible box. It won't be easy, but I am going to give it an honest try.

The timing could be on my side, with a cold Iowa winter upon us. I'll keep you posted....

Monday=Free Movie Rental

Here is the code for November 17th.
Thank you, Redbox!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Free Countdown to Christmas Daily Activity Book

I am so excited about this perfect little book for several reasons! Every holiday since having children, I have struggled with finding a balance with all of the material things that the holiday season offers and focusing on the real reasons we celebrate Christmas. I want to instill good values in my children, but want them to still be kids and enjoy all that Christmas brings.

This book is my answer! It includes daily short spiritual messages and a simple corresponding activity that the children can easily relate to. The ideas are creative and fun and include making dough ornaments, writing weekly prayers, family games, giving items to people in need, helping around the house and singing Christmas carols.

Children already anticipate Christmas so early (how can they not with reminders in every store), but this book will help us slow down and focus on the true meaning.

I was looking through the book with four year old Lucy and she couldn't wait to begin. The fun starts on November 30th! Get yours now right here.

Another main reason that I can't wait to begin this book is that it was found while cleaning out my sister's Becky's, apartment. Countdown to Christmas 2008: This Christmas. That gives me a pang knowing that, but I also know she will be smiling down watching her nieces and nephew anticipate Christmas like she always did.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Striving for Simplicity: Part 3

click here for Part 1

With the holiday season upon us, there is not a better time to evaluate what is really important and what we truly need. I am continually looking for ways to teach my children the importance of giving back and being grateful for what we have.

This brings to mind, Megan and Lucy’s birthdays last February. They were fortunate to have a big joint birthday party at Pump it Up with 22 friends. I knew this would be the last year that I would be able to have their birthday party together as their interests and friends are changing. I had asked them if they would rather have a smaller party with a few friends that bring presents or a big party with all of their friends. They both agreed that a big party with all their friends would be really fun.

Next came the trickier part. Did they need 22 gifts? No. Not with gifts from us, generous grandparents and aunt and uncles. I knew they would still get to open plenty of presents and I do understand that presents are a very big deal to children. I wasn't going to take that away from them.

What to do? With perfect timing I heard about Hope Ministries, a homeless shelter for Women and Children in Des Moines. After talking with the children's director, she mentioned that the children at the shelter love doing crafts, but didn't get to do a lot of them because most of the donations are for food, clothing and supplies.

This was perfect! Megan and Lucy love art projects and I knew they would be able to relate to the importance of kids needing to be creative. On their birthday invitation, the girls asked for craft supplies such as construction paper, scissors, stickers, glue…in lieu of birthday gifts. I asked for the guests to bring the supplies in unwrapped so they didn’t even appear like birthday gifts in case a change of heart ensued. ;-) I got a lot of comments from parents how it had been a teachable moment for their own children in helping them pick out a suitable art supply.

The day we took the art supplies to the homeless shelter, I don't think I have ever been prouder of my kids. They were only four and six years old and as they laid out all of their donations on the table, I didn’t hear a single question on why they were giving away all of these things or how they really wanted to keep some. They were beaming. They understood that they have so much and how little these kids had.

The staff there brought in cupcakes with candles and sang Happy Birthday to Lucy and Megan. It was an unforgettable moment. They got it. They understood giving. The trickier part is, helping them understand that this can happen in day to day situations; not just birthdays and holidays. We need to do more giving and serving as a family. I am continuing to look for ideas.

click here for part 4

Friday, November 14, 2008

Walgreens $5 off $20 Coupon, Good 11/14 and 11/15 has posted this coupon for Walgreens that is good this Friday and Saturday.

Another Shopping Deal

Thanks, Liz for passing this on! If you are heading out shopping this weekend, might as well get the most bang for your buck! An extra 15% off anything at Kohl's in store or online this Friday and Saturday (November 14 and 15). Here is the coupon.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

30% off at Gap, Banana Republic, and Old Navy

Hey, 30% is a pretty good deal at these places! I heard about this from a couple of different people (thanks Liz and Shannon!), but didn't know if it was okay to post since its labeled as a "friends and family deal). It turns out, that it is fine! You can print the coupon and use as many times as you want. Click here for the coupon. Happy Shopping!

Laundry Soap Recipe

In an effort to be more green and natural, my wonderful friend, Kim, passed this homemade laundry detergent recipe my way. She said making it is incredibly easy and works better then Tide, which was her former favorite. Thanks, Kim, for thinking of me and sending it my way. I can't wait to try it!

1 quart water (boiling)
2 cups Ivory or Fels Naptha Bar grated soap (food processor works easily for this)
2 cups Borax
2 cups Arm and Hammer Washing Soda
-Add grated bar soap to the boiling water and stir until soap is melted. You can keep on low heat until soap is melted.
-Pour the soap water into a large, clean pail and add the Borax and Washing Soda. Stir well until all is dissolved.
-Add 2 gallons of water, stir until well mixed.
-Cover pail and use 1/4 cup of each load of laundry. Stir/shake the soap each time you use it (it will gel).
-You can add between 10-15 drops of essential oil (per 2 gallons). Add once the soap has cooled to room temperature. Stir well and cover.
-Essential oil ideas: lavender, rosemary, tea tree oil, lemon...
Use a 5 gal bucket to mix the soap in and then pour it in clean used laundry detergent bottles. It will make a lot, so have a couple jugs on hand.Then use a smaller one and pour the excess in a big Tide container (the one with the spout). Make sure you shake/stir soap often and before you use, it does gel quite a bit and may be a little lumpy. Don't fill the jug completely so there is room to shake it.

Kim reinforced that this detergent can be made for "pennies" and is so much more natural and earth friendly.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Striving for Simplicity: Part 2

Click here for previous striving for simplicity post.

We have all heard the old cliché of how fast life goes and how our children grow up in the blink of an eye. This is really hard to grasp when you are in the midst of parenthood, but it’s true. I am witnessing it right now. Why are we rushing our kids through childhood?

Childhood should be about unstructured play; the time to create, explore and discover. When does this happen?

I think I am especially feeling the pull as I have a first grader, with friends becoming a priority, another daughter that thinks so uniquely that I am fearful of all day kindergarten, and my little guy that still screams his head off from the separation of taking him to the church nursery (but inside I know that before long...he won't mind going and that will probably hurt me more then it ever hurt him to begin with).

This Fall, we have made some adjustments toward getting back to the basics and it has slowed down life a little. We continue to have our Family Fun Night four times a month. It is something that we all look forward to and has been a very easy and inexpensive thing to implement.

We also started going to church and Sunday School on Saturdays. Nothing beats our Sunday mornings of not rushing around, making a big breakfast, drinking my coffee, reading the Sunday paper and the kids playing happily in their pajamas. Ahh…peace. There is nothing else like this.

We also stopped getting the daily paper. This may seem like something small, but it got to be "something else to take care of." It would lay on the table unread all day except for a quick headline skim. Finally at night after the kids went to bed, I would get the chance to look at the almost day old news. Dave had been reading it online anyway and we both agreed that the whole Register had declined with so many articles were taken from other newspapers or from online comments (especially in their Iowa Life section). Of course we still get the Sunday register, which is the best paper day anyway. It has been three weeks and except for the initial shock of not having it after 10 years and being able to see our dining room table, it hasn't been missed.

Adjustments can be made big or small. Life is short.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Free Meal at T.G.I Fridays

Guess who is now lookout for a good deal? My hubby, Dave! Come to think of it, I think it might be because Dave really really likes eating at Fridays and he thinks that passing along this deal will increase the likelihood of eating there? He's probably right...
Click here for the 2 for 1 coupon.

A Kindred Soul...

Someone I have never met, has summed up some of my swirling thoughts from the past few weeks. It is too perfect not share. The "big picture" always needs to be kept in mind.

Click here to read Shannon's beginning of her blog.

...What is it, I wonder, that they'll take from this moment, right now, this very day? Standing right here, right now, spinning all these plates, am I being the mother that I hope they remember?

The question plagues me, sometimes.

Because this parenting gig is hard. Very, very hard. Many nights I fall into bed with a list of things I mean to show them or meant to explain or meant to apologize for, and my heart is heavy. I wonder if the frazzled, impatient mom is the one they'll recall the most easily.

But then some evenings we collapse in a snorting fit of laughter at the dinner table, and I think yes, God, let this be the one they remember from today.

It's not that I'm out to win a popularity contest in their minds. Who my children become is of utmost important, and I'm fully prepared to be the Bad Guy occasionally, as it will surely be a necessary part of their journey. But I want to be mindful, as we wade through the necessities of everyday-ness, that I'm not just getting them from point A to point B. I'm building a framework of memories, things they'll turn over and ponder and re-hash when they're grown. When Frazzled Mom appears--as she surely will--let me be sure that I'm balancing her out with memories of good jokes and good books and gentle pats and deep talks and easy laughter.

Let me never forget the destination. It isn't soccer practice or a cleaned plate or a folded basket of underwear. Those are tiny little stops along the way, and they're stops that often create a sense of urgency, blinding me from the big picture.

They'll never remember the folded underwear. But if I listen? And laugh? And encourage? And smile? And understand?

They'll remember that. And so will I.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Recap and Walgreen's Deals

I am going to continue to post deals and steals on my blog. With the downturn of the economy, we can all use a little help...and I think we all agree its fun to get something for almost nothing. What I am not going to do is spend excess time analyzing, planning and scouring out the savings. I'll let you know if its a freebie or great deal, but there are many other sites out there that dedicate hours to store research and coupon matchups.

I do believe that Walgreen's has awesome deals and used to be an overlooked store for my shopping stops. It was mainly used for prescription refills and the "oops I forgot something" items. If you have a Walgreen's nearby, it is worth looking into your weekly shopping rotation. Click here to see the How to Shop at Walgreen's Blog entry.


These deals are for the week of Nov. 9th:

Arm & Hammer Laundry Detergent $6.99 B1G1 free
-$1.00 printable
HERE, use two
Final Price 2/$4.99

Libby’s 100% Pure Pumpkin 15 oz. $.99 (with Wags insert coupon)
-$1.00/2 printable
Final Price: $.49

Jack’s Pizza 2/$5
-$.75 from 10/5 SS
Final Price: $1.75 each

Jif or Smuckers 3/$5 (with Wags insert coupon)
-$.55 Jif from 8/24 RP or $.35 from 11/9 RP
-$.25 Smuckers from upcoming 11/9 RP
Final Price: $1.12 - $1.42 each

Coffee Mate Liquid 16 oz. $2.49 B1G1 free (with Wags insert coupon)
-$1.00 printable
HERE – use two
Final Price: 2/$.49

Quaker Quick Oats 18 oz. $2.79 B1G1 free (with Wags insert coupon)
-$.50 from 9/7 RP – use two
Final Price: 2/$1.79

Nestle Toll House Morsels $1.99
-$1.25 from 11/2 SS
Final Price: .74

Betty Crocker Frosting $.99
-$.55 printable
HERE (first register or sign in, then choose GET COUPONS from bottom of screen)
Final Price: $.44 each

Carnation Evaporated Milk $.99 (with Wags insert coupon)
-$1.00/2 printable
HERE (sign in first, then come back and click)
Final Price: $.49

Renuzit Adjustable Air Freshener $.99 (with Wags insert coupon)
-$.55/3 from 10/19 RP
Final Price: 3/$2.42 or $.81 each

Kleenex Facial Tissues $2.19 B1G1 free
-$1.00/4 from 11/2 SS
Final Price: 4/$3.38 or $.85 each

Glade Spray Air Freshener $.99 (with Wags insert coupon)
-$.75 from 10/12 SS
Final Price: $.24 each

L’Oreal Skin Care 25% off
-$2.00 from 10/5 RP
- FAR item from November EasySaver catalog

Schick Quattro Razors $6.99
-$3.00 EasySaver Coupon
-$2.00 from 10/5 SS
Final Price: $1.99

Reach Toothbrush $.99 (with Wags insert coupon)
-B1G1 free from 10/12 RP
Final Price: 2/$.99

Colgate Toothpaste $2.49
-$1.00 EasySaver coupon
-$1.00 from 10/26 SS
Final Price: $.49

Kellogg’s Cereal 4/$10
-$1.00 various coupons in upcoming 11/9 inserts
-$2.00 RR at checkout when you buy 4
Final Price: $1 each

Progresso Soup 4/$5 (with Wags insert coupon)
-$1.10/1 printable
HERE (only prints once)
Final Price: $.15

Thanks, Wendy for compiling!

Striving for Simplicity

No, I am not packing up to move to an Amish community, but I am actually thankful that daylight savings time is here. When it gets dark at 5 pm, it is so much easier to hole up at home and not be out and about. I am tired of the rush from day to day things. Life is already busy with three young children, but I am beginning to evaluate exactly what we need to have in our life. Yes, I love my children having varied experiences and I don’t feel my children are over- scheduled, but where is the time for sitting on the floor and playing a game together? What about just laying on the carpet in the living room after supper and having tickle time? Where is the downtime for those impromptu experiences that create lasting memories that are much more important than getting to gymnastics class on time?

click here to read Part 2.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

A Tribute

My sister passed away unexpectedly a week ago. She was 34. This is a difficult blog to write, but one that I need to. It’s not going to be lengthy as I am not ready right now to delve in deep, but I miss her. I know that the grief process takes time and I am only just beginning, but I am not the same person I was a week ago. Life is uncertain. What are the things that really matter? How do I want to be remembered? I continue to be amazed at the thoughtfulness, compassion and generosity that have surrounded my parents and continued here in Des Moines. I am not ready to enter the routine of my regular life. It doesn’t feel right and know that it is understandable. I am still processing everything as I learned so much from Becky. Her last words to me were of what a great mom I was to my children…

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Is Your Favorite Store Closing?

We all know the economy is lagging. Retail is in a slump. I knew it was getting bad, I just didn't know it was this bad. Check out the following store closings and layoffs. This was a huge eye opener for me as I shop at a number of these stores. I am guessing they are not anticipating holiday spending to make a difference.

If you have a gift card at one of these store, I would use it now. If you truly love someone on your Christmas list do not purchase them a gift card from one of the following...


*Ann Taylor closing 117 stores nationwide
A company spokeswoman said the company hasn't revealed which stores will be shuttered It will let the stores that will close this fiscal year know over the next month.

*Eddie Bauer to close more stores
Eddie Bauer has already closed 27 shops in the first quarter and plans to close up to two more outlet stores by the end of the year.

*Cache closing stores
Women's retailer Cache announced that it is closing 20 to 23 stores this year.

*Lane Bryant, Fashion Bug, Catherine's closing 150 stores nationwide:
The owner of retailers Lane Bryant , Fashion Bug , Catherine's Plus Sizes will close about 150 under performing stores this year. The company hasn't provided a list of specific store closures and can't say when it will offer that info, spokeswoman Brooke Perry said today.

*Talbots, J. Jill closing stores
About a month ago, Talbot's announced that it will be shuttering all 78 of its kid's and men's stores. Now the company says it will close another 22under performing stores..The 22 stores will be a mix of Talbot's women's and J. Jill, another chain it owns. The closures will occur this fiscal year, according to a company press release.

*Gap Inc.
closing 85 stores
In addition to its namesake chain, Gap also owns Old Navy and Banana Republic . The company said the closures - all planned for fiscal 2008 -will be weighted toward the Gap brand.

*Foot Locker to close 140 stores
In the company press release and during its conference call with analysts today, it did not specify where the future store closures - all planned in fiscal 2008 - will be.
The company could not be immediately reached for comment

*Zales, Piercing Pagoda closing stores
The owner of Zales and Piercing Pagoda previously said it plans to close 82 stores by July 31. Today, it announced that it is closing another 23 under performing stores.
The company said it's not providing a list of specific store closures. Of the 105 locations planned for closure, 50 are kiosks and 55 are stores.

*Disney Store owner has the right to close 98 stores

*The Children's Place Retail Stores. The exact number of stores acquired will depend on negotiations with landlords.Those subsidiaries of Children's Place filed for bankruptcy protection in late March.

*Home Depot store closings: The Home Depot Inc announced Thursday that it is shuttering 15 of them amid a slumping U.S.economy and housing market.
The move will affect 1,300 employees. It is the first time the world's largest home improvement store chain has ever closed a flagship store for performance reasons. Its shares rose almost5 percent.The Atlanta-based company said the under performing U.S. stores being closed represents less than 1 percent of its existing stores. They will be shuttered within the next two months.

*Macy's - 9 stores

*Pacific Sunwear - 153 Demo stores

*Pep Boys - 33 stores

*Sprint Nextel - 125 retail locations New Sprint Nextel CEO Dan Hesse appears to have inherited a company bleeding subscribers by the thousands, and will now officially be dropping the ax on 4,000 employees and 125 retail locations. Amid the loss of 639,000 post paid customers in the fourth quarter, Sprint will be cutting a total of 6.7% of its work force (following the 5,000 layoffs last year) and 8% of company-owned brick-and-mortar stores.

*J. C. Penney's, Lowe's and Office Depot are scaling back

*Ethan Allen Interiors: The company announced plans to close 12 of 300+
stores in an effort to cut costs.

*Wilsons the Leather Experts - 158 stores

*Pacific Sunwear will close its 154 Demo stores after a review of strategic alternatives for the urban-apparel brand. Seventy-four under performing Demo stores closed last May.

*Sharper Image: The company recently filed for bankruptcy protection and
announced that 90 of its 184 stores are closing. The retailer will still operate 94 stores to pay off debts, but 90 of these stores have performed poorly and also may close.

*KB Toys posted a list of 356 stores that it is closing around the United States as part of its bankruptcy reorganization.

*Dillard's to Close More Stores
Dillard's Inc. said it will continue to focus on closing under performing stores, reducing expenses and improving its merchandise in 2008. At the company's annual shareholder meeting, CEO William Dillard II said the company will close another six under performing stores this year.

For those of us in the Des Moines metro, does Jordan Creek Town Center come to mind? They have over half of these stores. Play it safe-if you are gift card giving this holiday season, get it for the mall and not a specific store.

My Little Goblins

ok...not a goblin in the bunch, but my kids had so much fun dressing up for Halloween. I think we hit every category with the costumes this year with a witch (traditional), pioneer (respresents current interest) and a bumblebee (animal related). Ideas for next year are already being tossed around; an angel, Dorothy, a firefighter...we will see if all that holds up in 364 days...