Snow Day

10. December 2013 07:39
When my younger son came downstairs at 7:30 this morning to discover that (a) he had a Snow Day and (b) it hadn't begun to snow yet, he was extremely confused. Half an hour later, though, it all made sense, and we picked up several inches before the snow stopped sometime between 2 and 3 PM. What do you do on a Snow Day? I cook. Today I've got 10 quarts of spaghetti sauce with meatballs simmering, plus a 12-quart stockpot full of turkey stock. It smells really good in my house right now. In between cooking things, I've been doing laundry, vacuuming, and trying to get some writing done. My daughter is holed up in her room working on school projects. My husband and mother-in-law found a crime-show marathon on TV. And my son is out in the backyard building a snow fort and having a snowball fight with other kids from the neighborhood. It's pretty out there, but I'm content to be inside with a blanket and a cup of coffee! While you're sitting around with your coffee and your blanket... [More]

Are You Done?

6. December 2013 06:23
That was the big question in the faculty room at school today. One teacher announced that she was all done purchasing Christmas gifts and only needed to wrap them before she was completely finished. I haven't even made my list yet, much less checked it twice or done any shopping. And I wasn't alone. Most of the others around the table had barely gotten started. With only 18 days to go, it's time to kick Christmas preparations into gear. Here's a few limited-time-only offers to get you started: At Target in the clothing, shoes and accessory departments, there's a buy one, get one 50% off sale on through Saturday, December 7. Save 25% off any order at Old Navy--and bump up the savings to 35% if your order is over $100! Plus get FREE shipping on orders over $50. This sale ends Monday, December 9. Use coupon code FF20DEC to save 20% at Kohl's. Discount not valid on prestige brands of cosmetics and skincare and select prestige brands of fragrance; select electronics; Kohl's Cares ... [More]

The Best is Yet to Come

1. December 2013 07:28
Maybe you slept through the 3-AM Black Friday special at your favorite store, or you were the 101st person in line for that deeply-discounted item that had a limit of 100 per store. No big deal--you'll find more, and sometimes even better, deals tomorrow on Cyber Monday! You won't have to go out in the cold at 3 AM. You won't have to circle the mall for 30 minutes to get a parking spot, like my daughter's friend did on Friday. You won't have to fight the crowds. Take a look at just a few of the best Cyber Monday coupons we've found at Tjoos. Then click through to get the best savings and knock a huge chunk off your holiday gift list! Save an extra 20% off sale items at Anthropologie. There's no coupon code required! ELF Cosmetics gives you a discount of 50% off orders over $30, with FREE shipping on orders above $35 with coupon code CYBER50. Use coupon code LKS13WK6 to save 20% off your order at Champs Sports, and get FREE shipping besides! Take the day off tomorrow and get every... [More]

Can't Wait?

26. November 2013 00:57
Want to get a jump on the Black Friday deals? says you don't have to wait until you've slept off your turkey dinner to get Black-Friday-worthy savings on over 500 items. You can shop online at Kohl' right now and use coupon code BLACKFRI to save 15% off your entire purchase. But wait! There's more! You'll also get $15 in Kohl's Cash for every $50 you spend. AND if your order is over $50, you'll get FREE shipping too! So why wait until Black Friday when you can save sitewide at Kohl's right now? This offer is good through December 1, 2013. See the rest of our Black Friday deals--there are other early-bird specials as well!  

Black Friday Shopping Plan

23. November 2013 01:59
What's your plan for the day after Thanksgiving? If you're my sister, you're gearing up for a second day of feasting on Leftover Day. Many of her guests will wake up early in the morning, shop for several hours, and arrive hungry for more turkey, mashed potatoes and (if the hunters luck out this year) pheasant. People who shop on Black Friday swear by setting an agenda well before they leave the house. This is not a day to leisurely browse in the mall. This is a day to know what you want and focus on getting that done. But it's also a day when limited-time-only deals abound, which is why you'll want to charge up your smartphone before you hit the stores and make sure to connect to Tjoos via your favorite social media outlets. Follow us on Twitter. Like us on Facebook. Put us in your Google Plus circle.  In addition to the latest deals, our social media pages feature fabulous giveaways! So whether you prefer to shop online on Black Friday and Cyber Monday or you like standin... [More]

Walking the Line

19. November 2013 07:06
When you have kids, you can very easily wind up on a first-name basis with your pediatrician and his office staff. Both of my kids who still live at home have seen doctors in the past week, with similar symptoms:  a low fever, sore throat, and absolutely no appetite. My kids are slender, but they're good eaters. When they're turning their noses up at their favorite foods, that's a good indicator right there that something is wrong. I have nearly 22 years of parenting under my belt, so I'm very familiar with walking that fine line between taking a child to the doctor too early, which means that rapid-strep tests will come up negative, and making the poor kid suffer a little longer in the hopes that he'll be the winner in Antibiotic Roulette. For the record, I'm 1 for 2 in that game of chance this month. The child parked next to me, watching pro soccer while he should be in school, is huddled under a Scooby-Doo blanket and dozing off during the game. Yeah, he's sick. If he were h... [More]

Creepy Holiday Stalkers

16. November 2013 10:35
As if the song Santa Claus is Coming to Town wasn't bad enough... "He sees you when you're sleeping; he knows when you're awake." In other words, he's the guy from the Police tune: "Every breath you take, Every move you make, Every bond you break, Every step you take, I'll be watching you." That Jolly Old Elf is a jolly old stalker when you look at it that way! And now he has help:  the Elf on the Shelf. Have you heard of this guy? If not, head over to Pinterest and take a look. There's a whole industry built around this creepy-looking little figurine who travels around the house spying on small children and ratting out bad behavior to the Big Man in Red. If I were under 5 years old, I'd totally be afraid of this little stooge. Parents, don't let your children be terrorized by diminutive tattletales. Seek out another decorating scheme. Might I suggest candy canes? BONUS:  they're delicious! Save 15% on Christmas decorations of all kinds (including elves) at Bronner'... [More]

No Lines Online

13. November 2013 06:43
I went Black-Friday shopping exactly once. It was crazy. I didn't really mind the part where I woke up at a crazy hour, because I do that already anyway. But to wake up at a crazy hour, go out in the cold and then wait in lines? I just don't see the appeal. When I pulled into the parking lot of the third store I was visiting before 6 AM, the store entrance was blocked by police cars and other emergency vehicles. The next day's newspaper carried front-page headlines about the riot that had happened only a few minutes before I got there. For some people, Black Friday is a social event and it's about more than the thrill of the hunt. It's a time for family members or friends to enjoy a day of shopping together, of doing something different. And if they want to wait in line for an hour or more behind a family who brought their toddler to Toys "R" Us at 3 AM, they're free to do so. Me? I'll wake up at a crazy hour, brew some coffee and power up my laptop. There are deals to be had, and ... [More]

Last Call

5. November 2013 06:00
I stopped in my favorite donut shop to buy a cup of coffee yesterday morning and saw the writing on the wall (or, more accurately, the donut rack). The sign read "Last call for pumpkin!" Last call? Thanksgiving is more than two weeks away, and they're already rolling out the winter flavors like Peppermint Mocha. Rumor has it that the coffee shop across town is serving up gingerbread lattes. Now, I can understand that craft shops need to set up for a season well in advance, stocking all sorts of Christmas and Hannukah items in the middle of summer to give crafters some lead time to finish their projects. And it's nice to have winter clothes available in early fall so your wardrobe is complete before it gets really cold. But I have to draw the line when it comes to food. Now hear this, coffee-and-donut shops:  pumpkin pie is still in season at least until Thanksgiving. And much as I love me some gingerbread lattes, I'm happy with pumpkin spice until the big turkey has been carve... [More]

Making Mischief

30. October 2013 06:44
Today is October 30, and you know what that means. Mischief Night. Devil's Night. Cabbage Night. Hell Night. Goosey Night. Gate Night. Whatever they call it in your neck of the woods, it means you might do well to bring those jack-o-lanterns inside for the night, lest you wake up in the morning to find them smashed in the street. The radio DJ (who I wish would just shut up and play more music) reminded his audience this afternoon that they should beware of kids and teens bearing toilet paper and bars of soap. I'm pretty sure that DJ doesn't have kids. If he did, he'd know that very few children (or teenagers) have touched a bar of soap recently. Not that they aren't clean--but the soap they use doesn't come in bar form. It's shower gel, body wash, liquid soap in a pump bottle, foamy soap in a pump bottle, foamy soap in a "magic" bottle that doesn't even have to be touched before it squirts soap into your dirty hands, and hand sanitizer, which isn't soap at all but which kids slath... [More]