Thursday, October 29, 2009

Productivity

This was my productive "task" today:


That is pear sauce for Brianna (once we get to fruits)! Each cube is one tablespoon worth of food, which is what she's eating at one meal now, so one tray equals 14 meals! I got more than this out of the pears mom graciously gave to me but this is just one tray of them. Now I will freeze them, and once they're cubed, be able to thaw them anytime for her to eat. So far she's only eaten rice cereal and peas, and next on the agenda is PRUNES! But soon enough she'll be eating fruits.

I have to tell you how much mom and dad have BLESSED us recently. Well, they always do, but it seems like God is really using them lately! Stephen had been talking about getting car ramps or a new car jack for my car. He always changes the brakes for me (savings = $400!) and our little dinky jack isn't cutting it anymore. It's really unsafe. I gave him the green light on spending whatever he needed to on a new jack. Well, then just a few days ago, dad sent me an email saying he had found two "barely used" car ramps (as if we care!) that he thought Stephen might be interested in. When I asked Stephen, his reply was, "Heck yes!" That was such a huge blessing!!

Well then Brianna and I went to their house for lunch yesterday as we always do, and got another huge blessing! Mom just out of the blue said, "Do you need any onions?" Boy did I! I needed onions for two recipes I am making in November (I like to plan ahead!) and I only had about 1/2 cup left in the freezer. I am going to freeze most of the onions but use one to step outside of my box and make onion rings. So that was a blessing because it saved me money! Then she offered me apples and pears! As you know, I used the pears for baby food which saves a TON of money! The apples I am either going to make applesauce or apple fritters. I have to find my fritters recipe so if I can't find it within a couple of days I'll make applesauce for Brianna and freeze it. Mom and dad also gave me two ice cube trays so I didn't have to buy any! Although I did end up getting three more from Family Dollar today for $1.50 because it'll never hurt to have more on hand. ALSO, while I was at mom and dad's, my great-aunt Elsie called telling mom she had a bucket full of grapes that she needed someone to take off her hand. Mom refused, but I said I would take them! They were just going to go bad. I'll make jelly and try to find people who need some! I love making jelly and haven't done it in a couple of years. Then I was telling mom how I needed to get some bleach so I could bleach the spoon I got for Bri at Myrtle Beach and I couldn't believe we had run out! Well, she ran right down to the basement and got me a whole thing of bleach! I just couldn't believe it. Of course she wouldn't let me pay anything for all this. It took all my strength to pay her $1. Then I was telling her about this stain in a shirt I found and she knows a frugal recipe for a stain remover. We had one ingredient (powdered Cascade) but not the other (powdered Clorox II) so I volunteered to purchase that and we can share those ingredients. So that will kind of pay her back for all the stuff they've given us. I know they don't care about being paid back but it makes me feel guilty. I'm sure I've forgotten something they've given us, this is all just from the past few days so you see we are never without anything with mom and dad nearby! So thank you so much to mom and dad! They have saved us money and we feel so blessed because like everyone else, money is tight for us! But it is cool because like, today I saw soups on sale at the store and I was able to buy some for around $0.39 with coupons and I am just going to hand those off to someone else who needs them. So I love to pay it forward!! And I love being blessed by someone because then I get a chance to bless someone else!

Long post over! Baby is crying, chicken's on the grill, and I gotta GO!!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Can I Go Back?

Oh my goodness, our trip to the beach this past weekend was so much fun! The weather was absolutely gorgeous. It was in the 70's and sunny both days we were there. Friday morning I left Brianna with mom and dad and set out with four other ladies to Myrtle Beach. We later met up with 14 other women who drove down at all times of the day. I am so glad I drove down with the people I did because it turned out we are all thrift store lovers!! We were in no hurry to get to our hotel, so when we arrived in Myrtle Beach around noon, we just started driving around spotting thrift stores. When we were checking out we'd just ask the cashiers about others in the area. It's so much fun just to cruise around town finding them on your own though. It reminded me so much of the trip Jenn, Mom and I took to Greenville. I told everyone in our car about that trip!! Anyway I got some AWESOME deals!!

At our first stop, I got this CUTE pair of pants for Brianna (they are 2T). I guess you can't really see but the buttons are flowers and they are kind of glittery.


I also got a dozen toddler spoons/forks brand new in the box for our children. My friend Renee who has a toddler says you can never have too many of these. And they were $1.00! When I went to check out, the guy rang the pants up at $2.50 (!!!) and I pointed out the sign to him which stated "All children's clothes 0-3T $1.00". I said, "These are 2T!" He apologized, said he didn't have any children, and rang them up as $1.00. Woot woot!

We stopped at TJ Maxx and I got these cute cards for $2.00. I write a lot of letters so I am always looking out for interesting notecards! Plus, they were marked down from $6.00, so sounds good to me!

Later on the trip we went to the mall and at the Old Navy they were having some great sales! I found a tank top that I loved and it was 50% off it's marked price - which was $1.99! So I went through the racks and got all the tank tops selling for that price. I'm keeping one and selling the others on eBay. You can't beat a shirt for $0.99!

At another thrift store, I was able to get Bri a cute 18-month outfit for $1.00. It was actually marked $2 but I haggled with the lady. I can't stand to pay over $1 for anything!!

We went to the Salvation army where I got a great wooden spoon (I love cooking with wooden spoons!) and a baby spoon for Brianna for $0.29. When I got in line my friend Linda pointed out that kids clothes were Buy One Get One Free, so of course I had to go look! I found a brand new Old Navy jacket so I picked it up thinking I could sell it on eBay. I picked up another cute outfit for Brianna that she didn't need, but hey, it was going to end up to be 50 cents or something. So as I was checking out I realized my friend Renee has a little boy who the jacket might fit. So I asked her if he could use it. Turns out he needed a new jacket and she was going to get him one on the trip! I mean, this jacket was super nice and I really think it was brand new. Of course she wanted it! She offered to pay for it and I said, "No way! That's the free one!" Haha! I love it when things like that happened. When I checked out, the cashier said, "Can I please keep the two pennies that would be your change? I really need pennies!" Of course I said SURE! And then started digging through my wallet to give her all my pennies. Well then the four other women I was with overheard and started digging through their wallets! Then two other customers saw what we were doing and did the same! Soon this lady was having to cup both her hands to get all the pennies, dumping them into her cash register and holding her hands back out! One of the other customers said, "What about nickels? Do you need any nickels?" and the lady said, "Lord no! I just need some pennies! Look at how the Lord is providing! Pennies from heaven! Ask and you shall receive!" She was just laughing and we all started laughing. It was so funny! I've thought about that several times since it happened - this cashier who was so grateful for pennies. What a great moment!

At the Kitchen Collection, which is one of my favorite stores, I bought four of those can toppers so your soda won't go flat. Also so bugs don't fly in there. We had those growing up and I've looked everywhere for them. They were only 59 cents each so I bought four. I also bought a chopper/scooper for the kitchen which everyone on the Food Network uses and I've been so jealous. I splurged on that ($2.99) but it will be so worth it!

I splurged in another store too, called $5 Christian Books. Although after you walk in the signs say "$5 unless otherwise marked." Don't you hate that?? Anyway I paid big time for two books. One is a Comparative Study Bible. It compares the Bible translations of NIV, KJV, NASB and AMP. I paid $30 big bucks for that one, but I love looking at other Bible translations although we primarily use KJV and NKJV. I know you can look them up online but there's something about having them on hand as well. The other thing is a gift for Brianna. It's a book called "100 Ways to Know God Loves Me!" and comes with two CDs. So you can read a page in the book about something specific, say discipline, and it has a short story that says something like "Just like your mom and dad may punish you when you do something wrong, God may punish us to teach us to obey." Then you play #13 on the CD and it plays "Trust and Obey". I love it! It was definitely worth $7.

At Home Goods I was able to get this great skillet for only $15! It had a little scratch on one side which you really can't even see, so they gave me a 10% discount. I'm gonna scratch it up anyway, might as well take the discount!

I also got a great soap caddy for $1. It will replace the ashtray we are keeping our soap in right now. That will make us one step further from Redneckville.

And then at one last thrift store I was able to get 8 books for $2. Six for Bri and two for me. One First Dictionary, one Bible dictionary, and a few of my favorites and "I Can Read" books. Yay!

That's just the shopping portion of the trip. This trip was so memorable and I learned way too many things about some of these girls. No, it was so much fun. I have to admit it felt so good to hold my baby girl again when we got home late Saturday night!! But I wouldn't have missed the trip for the world. Thank you mom, dad and Stephen for making it possible for me to go!!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Not Happening

Tomorrow I'm going on my first overnight trip away from Bri! Stephen is keeping her (eek!) so that I can go to the beach with some girlfriends from church. Unfortunately, Brianna thinks the girls trip includes babies...





Not happening!! I am excited about going away and having some adult time. I know Stephen is racking his brain to think of ways to occupy her - for example, tomorrow night a friend and his 17-month old will be visiting our house, and I'm sure Grandpa Steve and Kathy will see her Saturday. I found a large supply of breastmilk in our outside freezer that I had forgotten was out there! So that's good news - I thought Bri was going to turn into a formula baby while I was gone. (Obviously there is nothing wrong with that, I'm just kidding!) Mom and dad are graciously watching Brianna for what could be six long hours until Stephen gets off work. That should be interesting. I'm much more worried for them than Brianna. She's got enough toys at their house to occupy her that whole time so I can't see her having any issues.

I can't wait! Yay!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Vacay!

I want to blog about our trip to Georgia before I put it off and put it off and then totally forget about it. We went to Georgia from Friday to Monday so that Bri could see her family down there for the first time in a few months. The real plan was to go down there and see her Opa (that's German for "grandfather") when he returned from Baghdad. Unfortunately his return date has been pushed back so we won't get to see him until Thanksgiving. We decided it was still a great opportunity to test the waters with long-distance traveling with Brianna since we always go see them at Christmas.

Thursday night I could tell Stephen was really itching to go! He didn't want to leave too late and get stuck in traffic in Atlanta, especially if something happened and Brianna hated traveling. But he kept saying, "What time is too early to leave??" I know him well enough to know that tone of voice now. Our plan was to leave after Bri's morning feeding, which could come anytime between 4am and 10am depending on the day. When she woke up Friday morning at 4:30 for a feeding, I knew we were in trouble. I went ahead and showered and finished packing, and Stephen packed the car while I fed her. We were on the road by 6am and he was ecstatic! Brianna was asleep 13 minutes after we pulled out of the driveway, and I was right behind her. She did beautifully for the 7-hour drive. We stopped a few times - bathroom breaks for the adults, food and gas, and fed her just whenever we got the chance. She didn't eat great on the road, all scrunched in the backseat with me, but it was enough to keep her going!

Out of the whole time we were there, I got ZERO pictures! Everytime there was a picture opportunity I picked up Leila's camera while mine stayed in my suitcase. I can't believe it!

The trip was a lot of fun. It definitely took some time for Brianna to adjust to different settings. She didn't eat well until Saturday night, when I think she was finally starting to get used to everything. She didn't ever sleep well at night - and therefore, neither did we, because we were all three in the same room. It was bad enough that one morning I woke up with her beside me in the bed and Stephen told me I had put her in there at 2:30 that morning. I never even remembered doing it! Talk about sleep deprivation! But she was napping a lot during the day and I think that just threw her off. She didn't sleep well Monday night either, and she had napped a lot on the ride home from Georgia. Yesterday she was back on a normal schedule and last night she was back to her regular 9 hours a night.

Bri certainly didn't lack for attention while we were there! I'm not sure that her family got to see the full extent of her playing abilities, but they certainly got a good amount of her kisses!! By the time we were leaving she was well-adjusted to her new surroundings, just for us to whisk her off back home. We were able to go to Josh and Jenn's soccer games (well, I just went to one of each), Zaxby's twice, Five Guys, bought a stroller for use down there, and had lots of quality time with our family!

One of the coolest things is that I was able to go to Plato's Closet to buy a pair of jeans. Almost every pair I own is stretched to the max or starting to rip, so I wanted a nice pair of used jeans. Amazingly, I found a paid of 7 For All Mankind jeans for $20! $20!!!
Maybe it's only Jenn that really appreciates that but those jeans retail on average around $180 or more. Success!! They are a perfect fit and I'm so happy to own my very first pair of 7 jeans!

Better go. Bri has entertained herself now for the better part of 20 minutes which means I only have a few more minutes before she'll want to be picked up!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Real Food - Hallelujah!

That's what Brianna is saying now - "Real food - hallelujah!" We went to Georgia from Friday to Monday and during our stay Bri turned six months old. We celebrated by eating chocolate cake in her honor. I'll write about that visit later, but I wanted to post these pictures while I have the chance. When we got home last night we fed her rice cereal for the first time. We didn't really know what to expect, but she loved it! After the first bite, she was reaching for the spoon almost every time, and by the end she had learned to suck all of it in really fast like a vacuum. The only problem was we had to put her in the Bumbo and she gets tired of that after a few minutes. But she's still just a bit too little for her high chair. Anyway, here are the best pictures from her experience!














Success!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Grocery Deals

Okay, get out your coupon books, because you have the opportunity for some great savings at grocery stores this week!!

Family Dollar:
I had to go to Family Dollar because we are taking disposable diapers to Georgia this weekend and we only have a handful at the house. But while I was there I got three packages of Snuggles dryer sheets. I don't use dryer sheets at home, but they are $3 at Family Dollar and I had three $3 coupons, making them free. So I don't care if you use them or not, if you have that $3 coupon for Snuggles, go get some! Give them away, sell them, or use them, I don't care, but don't throw away that coupon! It would be such a waste. So I paid only for the diapers.

Food Lion:
This trip wasn't as good as it should have been. I had to pay full price for rice cereal for Brianna and breastmilk storage bags for me - I just ran out. Otherwise:

Carolina Pride sausage:
Regular price $3.89. This week's sale - 2/$4. I had a $1.50/2 coupon, so ended up paying $1.25 each (16 oz). That is a great deal, especially because these freeze so well. I mean, just yesterday I made sausage gravy with some from several months ago. So it's worth it for me.

Ragu sauce:
Regular price $2.47 each. This week's sale - 3/$5. I had a $1.25/3 coupon, so ended up paying $1.25 each which is a better price than store brand. We use this all the time for lasagna and other pasta dishes, so it's definitely worth it.

Total spent:
Paid $11.85 for groceries which should have cost me $20.08. Didn't do as well because of buying those things that weren't on sale, but still a good run.

Harris Teeter:

Hefty Onezip bags:
Regular price $3.29. This week's sale - BOGO, making it $1.64 minus a $1.00 coupon, making it $0.64.

No Yolk dumplings:
Regular price $2.39. Not on sale but I have a mail-in rebate, so I will get back my purchase price, making it free. I use these all the time in homemade chicken noodle soup.

All detergent:
Regular price $6.19 (32 loads). This week's sale - BOGO, making it $3.09. Used a $2.00 and $1.00 coupon, making it $0.09. I didn't need any detergent, but I think I'll make an exception for 9 cents!

Hot Pockets:
Regular price $2.71. This week's sale - 5/$10. Each one was $2.00 and I had a $0.75 coupon which doubled. I bought two of these for $0.50 each.

Birds Eye Steamfresh vegetables:
Regular price $2.00. This week's sale - 5/$5, making each one $1.00. I had five $0.50 coupons which would double, meaning I got 5 packages for free.

Total spent:
Paid $4.64 for groceries which should have cost me $27.81. Nice! But don't forget, I'll also be getting a $2.39 rebate in the mail, so technically I'll have paid about $2.25 out of pocket.

Now go get 'em!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

P.S.

I forgot to say - lately Brianna has started sleeping with her butt sticking straight up in the air. It is TOTALLY cute and worth a picture, but oh my LORD do not wake up that sleeping child!! The wrath of God be on ye who wake her!

I want to take a picture sooooooo bad!! Resist! Resist!

Six months - say what!?!?

I can't believe it, but today was Brianna's six-month appointment at the doctor. Technically she is four days shy of being six months, so she couldn't receive her flu shot and Hep B shot like she was supposed to. That means in two weeks we have to go back to the doctor for those shots. Yay. Everything else is great though. She is a whopping 13 lbs, 8 oz and 24 1/2 inches. She is still in the 5-10 percentile on a baby growth chart! What a wittle baby! Not too surprising if you look at her parents!

Dr. Sherrington diagnosed her with "lap colic". She screamed at him when he started poking around her ears, but as soon as I picked her up it was like someone hit the mute button. I told him she screams with practically anyone but me. He said it's likely because I'm staying at home with her, but it's the type of bond that he likes to see mothers and children have. He said for me not to change a thing. I don't plan on it! I know that she plays on her own enough throughout the day. Next week we will start solids! I will probably do it once or twice a day along with a round of nursing. How exciting!


Got this free in the mail today. You should still be able to get one if anyone wants one at the Juicy Juice website.


In just a couple of days we are leaving for our first trip to Georgia with Brianna! We are very excited to make this journey with her, although getting ready is a struggle. Packing for yourself is very easy, but for a baby - not as easy. For example, I know how many clothes to pack for myself because I'm at the stage in life where I rarely poop or spit up on myself. But with Brianna, every day holds new possibilities! Obviously Leila will allow us to do laundry - even our cloth diapers!!! - but I still would like to make sure we can make this trip as easy as possible for them, so they won't refuse to host us again come Christmas. I am just one of those people that always forgets something and I'd rather forget something of mine than hers. Then I think - well, what does she really need? Food - I've got that part covered. Diapers - can be bought. Clothes - can be bought. Uhhh... that's it! Oh yeah, and TOYS! But I'm sure there are plenty of things and people to play with in Georgia.

Hopefully our trip will be FUN and maybe everyone will get lots of sleep! They are very brave to let us stay there!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Video

This is kind of what I was talking about in the last post, about blowing raspberries. Yes, I am laughing at her while she's crying. Yes, she tries to eat the camera a couple of times. And the reason she's crying? I laid her down and walked away. Poor ignored, neglected child.


video

More Federal Holidays Needed

Seriously, could we get some more federal holidays around here? Having Stephen at home yesterday was incredible!! When Brianna woke up at 9:10 I didn't even hear her. He had already been tossing and turning and just went on upstairs to get her. I was able to sleep soundly until 9:30 when I woke up on my own. Ahhh, bliss! After feeding her, I took her in the bathroom with me to play while I took a shower. When I walked out after getting ready, I walked into the kitchen and Stephen was standing over the oven making pancakes for breakfast. Yum!! My plan was, after feeding Bri at 11:00, to go do my drugstore run for the week. Unfortunately (or fortunately) she passed out in the middle of eating at 11:30. It was one of those naps where she was asleep in my arms and I didn't dare budge. So while I sat on the couch watching a movie and holding my beautiful sleeping baby, Stephen cleaned the bathrooms. Nice! (Keep in mind Stephen's OCD kicks in when he cleans the bathroom and it's more like a bacterial scrub-down.) After an hour he had finished and Bri was still sleeping soundly. When she woke up I gave him a break by taking her to the store with me, since I knew it would take a couple of hours and felt like he deserved some alone time or gaming time, whichever he wanted. When I got home it was only a couple of hours until I had to leave for Ladies Group at church, so Stephen was going to be babysitting again. Of course that was nice, to get out of the house, and the lesson was really good, so I'm glad I was able to go. Got home and Bri was squeaky clean and ready for her bedtime feeding. She did wake up once around 2:30 this morning. But the upstairs seemed cool and she was kicking around her blanket, so that may have had something to do with it. We turned the gas logs on yesterday for the first time, so it's good to know those are available whenever there's a chill in the house now!

Today we are going to mom and dad's for lunch and I think when I get home from that I'll start getting ready for church. We always eat there on Wednesdays and going today is really going to throw me off! But tomorrow is Brianna's shots at her 6-month (what!?!?!?) doctor's appointment, so we moved lunch to today just in case she's a crankypants. Also, Joy is coming over tonight, so that will help me feel more Tuesday-ish than Wednesday-ish!!

We brought down some of Brianna's toys yesterday that we stored in the attic because they were too old for her. One of them is this ball that has lights and talks (her favorite kind of toy of course) but the other cool feature is it rolls around and says things like, "Follow me!" and "Over here!" I love it! Especially now that she is creepawling (creeping/crawling) and she will follow the ball. She'll do whatever possible to get to where I am or Stephen is if she spots one of us. Also, this is really funny. If she's laying down on her playmat playing, and I walk by and she spots me, she will start wailing! You would think someone just stabbed this child! After about 30 seconds she sees something to play with and forgets about me. But it is SO funny!!

She has been spitting (blowing raspberries) for a long time, but last night her and I got in a spitting war. I was cracking up! I would do it, placing my tongue between my lips and blowing, but she can't quite do that yet. So she'd stare at me, place her tongue between her lips and then scrounge up all this energy and blow between her lips. All this spit and drool comes out when she does it! I'm much cleaner and more controlled. Anyway, then I would start laughing loudly which would scare her and she'd do one whine and turn it into a spit at the end. Then I'd spit at her again and we'd start all over again. Now that I'm typing it it's confusing and not that funny. Trust me, it was hilarious.

Uh oh, she's just spotted me and she's trying to come from the safe haven of the rug to the hardwood to reach me. I'll go grab her.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Good Times

We have had just a really great weekend!! Saturday morning was our yard sale at Jenn and Matt's, so of course the closer we got the more worried I got about what time Brianna was actually going to wake me up. I advertised for 8:30am because I figured I'd need more sleep - she usually gets up for a feeding around 5 or so.

Then, Friday night after her bath, I was getting ready to feed her and noticed this awful rash on her neck. We started looking at her and these bumps were all over her neck, ears, chin, and upper part of her chest and back. I mean, it was grotesque! I almost took a picture of it - I should have. The first thing we did was think back to if she could be having an allergic reaction - but no change in clothes or detergent, and of course she's not eating yet so that wasn't it. Next we thought maybe bug bites? But the rash/bumps had come on so quickly we ruled that out after checking her pajamas and changing table thoroughly. We both Googled things like "red blotches baby" and other random phrases and in the end concluded she had either heat rash, a teething rash, or a combination. We gave her a half dose of Tylenol, slathered her in Cortisone for the itching, and laid her naked under a fan for a few minutes. Within about 15 minutes the rash and bumps had completely disappeared. So I guess we were right about one or the other! Of course when I put her down at 9:30, I told Stephen, "Well, if she itches, she'll be up all night. I'm not going to get any sleep!!" Imagine my surprise when my alarm went off at 7:00 the next morning and that little booger was still asleep! I was able to take a shower and get ready for the yard sale while she was still in bed! Then, bless her heart, I had to wake her up and run to Jenn's without even feeding her first. I naively thought I would get to Jenn's early enough to feed her before the rush started. Key word: naively.

I was almost at Jenn's at 8:10 (remember, the yard sale was supposed to start at 8:30) when she called me to say that there had been people there since 7:45 and they were all just parked outside. EVEN THOUGH she went out there to tell them it wasn't starting until later. I had to park at the top of her road because these crazy yard-salers parked where I was planning on parking! I ended up having to put Bri in Jenn's Bjorn and carrying her while crazy yard-salers helped us move things from the garage to the driveway.* Bri ended up not even eating until mom came, which was sometime between 8:30 and 8:45 I think. Thank God she was SO good even though I'm sure she was starving! Praise God mom was able to feed her for me! Dad was even there to help us put things out as well.

We ended up having a really good crowd and we were much more successful than we thought we would be! Mom and dad's leftovers have already made their way to Goodwill, and mine and Jenn's can be found either there, Fifi's, the Coalition, or THE DUMP!

You could tell Jenn became desperate at the end when I told a lady she could fill a bag for 50 cents and Jenn practically screeched, "25 cents!!" Okay, that's an exaggeration, but she was like, "I am NOT bringing this stuff back into my house!!" It was so funny. It was fun but it was definitely a lot of work - and HARD with two babies under six months. Mom got Bri to take a nap and Claire is so laidback she's no trouble, but it definitely could have been disastrous.

Today we had a special surprise service at church for our pastor since this is Pastor Appreciation Month. (Psst, tell your pastor how much you appreciate the work he does!) I was asked to do a special song of mine that he particularly loves, and people were encouraged to stand up and testify or thank him. After my song I said I wasn't going to say much but of course once I got started I ended up talking for like 3 minutes - which really isn't that bad. But about 10 seconds in I started crying, which made him cry, and then pretty much everyone else got emotional after that. But it was good crying. If it weren't for our pastor I wouldn't have gotten saved, and neither would Stephen, and I can't imagine how different my life would be without Christ. I may have hidden it well (I may not have) but before I got saved I lived in a very dark place. Since that day just a couple of years ago my life, my marriage, my thoughts have all been very different, and I'm so grateful.

After church we came home and watched a little bit of a movie and when Brianna fell asleep we took the opportunity to conk out on the couches with her too! She (and we) ended up sleeping for an hour, which in our household is unheard of! She never ever takes naps like that. Not sure what we did differently today from every other day. She also slept about 10 hours again last night - again, not sure why. She usually wakes up after about 8 hours refreshed and I'm still groggy! Then we had a great night at church. So this weekend was just really awesome! Lots of fun and stuff. Stephen is off tomorrow so he'll get to see what a typical day is like for me and Miss Bri. It'll be cool to have him at home, as long as he doesn't drag us down. :)

*Note - when I got home and told Stephen about this with huge hand gestures and a gaping mouth, he just grinned at me and said, "Honey... that's YOU!" Let the record show I do NOT show up at yard sales 45 minutes before the starting time!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Pictures

Okay, this is my attempt to post pictures of Brianna. It's 10:30 and it's the only free time I have because both Bri and Stephen are asleep. I have 5,000 coupons to organize and 3,000 things to get together for our yard sale on Saturday (PLUG: being held at 3 Wilkes Ct in Pinehurst #6!!) but I did want to take the time to post some of these pictures. I think you will be amazed at the difference in this little cutie. I have some videos I'd like to post but I need the time to upload them as well. You'll see in these pictures Brianna is becoming more adventurous, sitting up on her own for several seconds, grabbing for everything, and even holding her own bottle for about 30 seconds!

Boo!


Mom! I'm over here!


A girl just can't get enough attention.


It's exhausting entertaining all the time.


Daddy!!


Now, what were we talking about?


Okay mommy, this is how you clip coupons... and eat them.


A whole new world...!


Mommy, either you've shrunk or I'm REALLY going through a growth spurt!


Leave me alone. Can't a girl eat in peace?


Hey, I'm almost sitting up by myself!


Wait, I AM sitting up by myself!!


This is so cool, I'm just totally amaz... hey, what's this?


Grandpa and a chew toy - two of my favorite things!

Groceries

I can't believe the amount of people that have recently asked or suggested to me about starting a couponing blog. So let me just announce to everyone that reads this - unless someone offers me any type of salary for doing that, I won't. There are hundreds of thousands of blogs out there about coupons, thriftiness, and saving money. Mine would totally get lost in the crowd. But, it does seem like enough people are interested that I will continue to blog about triple coupons and the like.

Tuesday I was fortunate enough to do a "coupon seminar" at Jenn's house. I think "seminar" is a bit too formal of a word to use, but oh well. It was actually a lot of fun, and nice to get out of the house for the night, although I do get out once a month for Ladies Group at church as well. It was nice to be around some different girls and just hang out for a few hours. The big question (besides, "How do you save money??") was about meal planning and such. Now, I don't meal plan like I should. When we have others in the household eating solids with us I will want to start doing that, but for now I meal plan only for the meals I'm going to make for mom and dad on Wednesdays, and then I have about 12-15 other meals I make throughout the month. Then every so often I will try a new recipe for dinner, maybe once a week or so. Anyway, this is getting way off topic. My point is that at the beginning of the month I have a grocery list for the whole month's meals with mom and dad. I asterisk the ones that I need right away, but unless the other items are on sale I don't buy them. For example, this is my list for October:


Last week the two things I needed for last week I bought - but nothing else, because nothing else was on sale. Okay, so now for this week.

Lowe's Food
I only go to Lowe's Food on weeks that something is great on sale and I'm at mom and dad's house because otherwise it's not worth the drive.

Pillsbury crescent rolls:
Regular price $2.09. This week's sale - 3 for $4.98. I had a coupon for two, so I purchased two instead of three. That means I paid $3.32 for two, then my $0.40 coupon was doubled, which meant I paid $2.52 for two. I paid $1.26 per crescent roll pack, essentially.

Starkist tuna pouches:
Regular price $1.79. This week's sale - 4 for $5.00. That makes each individual pouch $1.25 and I had a $0.75 coupon which doubled to $1.50. I had two coupons so I bought two pouches and paid nothing for either one.

Total spent:
Paid $1.93 for groceries which should have cost me $7.87.

Note:
My crescent rolls coupon doubled (they're supposed to automatically) but my Starkist one did not. When I asked the girl why it didn't double, she just shrugged. She acted like it didn't really matter, so I told her that the Lowe's coupon policy is to double all manufacturer's coupons up to $0.99 - so mine should have as well. She called a manager over (not because she wanted to, I'm sure) and he overrode the system to double both coupons. Needless to say this saved me almost $2. The lesson here is - don't be afraid to speak up!! Your cashier may not care if your coupons go through correctly but every dollar counts! If you're wrong, oh well, they won't remember you the next time anyway.

Okay, so I bought stuff that was not on my list, but we eat crescent rolls ALL THE TIME and the tuna was free. I love tuna, plus it's a great stock item for food drives. If it's free, why not get it?
--------------------------------------------------------
Food Lion
When I looked at the Food Lion circular online I saw only one thing I needed: cream cheese. If you look at my list, cream cheese is something I need for one of my recipes this month. Philadelphia was having their cream cheese on sale 4/$5. That makes one box $1.25. Good price!

Since there was just one thing I needed, when I walked in I didn't even get a basket. I walked straight to the cream cheese, but when I got there - yes! Food Lion was having a sale on their brand of cream cheese - 5/$5! This was not advertised online, maybe it was in the actual circular. After getting one box, I walked straight to the cashier. No looking around!

Food Lion cream cheese:
Regular price $1.59. Sale price - $1.00.

Total spent:
$1.02 for groceries which should have cost me $1.61.
---------------------------------------------------------------------
Harris Teeter
Great deals at Harris Teeter this week! I don't normally like HT but since they have started doubling coupons every day they're growing on me.

Mountain Dew (or other Pepsi 12-pack products):
Regular price $5.99. Sale price - $2.75. I bought 4 packs to feed Stephen's addiction.

Yakisoba prepared dinner:
Regular price $1.29. Sale price - $0.64. I had a $0.50 coupon which doubled, so I got this for free. I like to have these on hand for quick microwaveable dinners when Brianna is fussy!

Campbell's soups:
Regular price - $0.85 per soup. Sale price - $0.75 per soup. I used a coupon for $0.40 off two soups, which doubled. The price for two soups was $1.50, minus the $0.80 from the coupon, which came out to $0.35 per soup.

Jif peanut butter:
I had a raincheck for this, so the normal price is $2.65 but my raincheck made it $0.99.

McCormick almond extract:
Regular price $5.39. Sale price - $2.69. I had a $1.00 coupon which brought it down to $1.69.

Strawberries:
HT was running a sale, buy 1 get 2 free. I bought 3 lbs of strawberries for $3.99 ($1.33 each pound) and I plan on freezing two pounds. Can't wait to have fresh strawberries in December!

New York texas toast:
Regular price $4.19. Sale price $2.09. Minus a $0.50 coupon which doubled making the toast $1.09.

Tony's pizza:
Regular price $1.17. On sale 5/$5. I had a coupon for $1.00 off two, so I bought two at $1.00 per pizza, then minus the $1.00 coupon I got two pizzas for $1.00.

Harris Teeter eggs (1 dozen):
This is when it comes in handy to have a list. Eggs were on my list (above) last week but I didn't really need them. I waited, and luckily! Harris Teeter had eggs on sale this week for $0.39 if you are an e-VIC member. So, regular price $1.39, sale price $0.39.

Harris Teeter milk:
I buy 1/2 gallon of milk at a time because it takes us a while to go through it. So while it may be cheaper to buy a whole gallon of milk (based on unit price and such) it's silly to do that if you're going to throw out half the milk in clumps. (i.e. it's gone bad.) So, regular price $1.99. Sale price - $1.59.

Total spent:
I paid $23.56 for groceries which should have cost me $56.36.

The best part is, I've already crossed everything but two things off my list for the whole month!

Total for the whole week:
I won't go back to any stores this week, so for all my grocery shopping this week I spent $26.51.

You can do it too!!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Too Much

At night, as I drift off to sleep, I compose lengthy, world-changing blog posts in my head. I never remember them in the morning. This is why I never post anymore.

My excuse used to be that every day is the same around here, and people would absolutely not be interested in the mundane on-goings of my life. That's not actually the case anymore. Now the issue is finding time to sit down and write a blog post when I am thinking of all the other things I could be doing (playing with Bri, writing an article, washing dishes, etc.)

Brianna is changing so much every day. It's amazing that even though I see her 24/7 she is always doing something new and hilarious. She has just turned 5 months and is already a genius. Well, maybe not a genius, but she's so much fun to be around and that's more important anyway. She chews on absolutely everything, I think in an effort to soothe her gums as well as just discovering new things. I gave her a lick of a lollipop the other day and she liked it so much she grabbed the whole thing with her hand and then wiped her face with her hand. Sticky!! Last night at Golden Corral Stephen gave her a yeast roll to gnaw on. It was a disgusting blob of goo after she was done with it. Totally unappetizing. She enjoys the Johnny Jump-up even more now than ever, probably because her neck is more stable so she isn't face-planting quite as often. She can sit up on her own for about 20 seconds - Superwoman!! She did that for the first time on Sunday and it was so exciting for us to see! She tips over eventually which is also really funny. She is laughing so much more at the most random things. The other day when we were in Belk, we hit the men's store for Stephen so I was trying to find things to entertain her. I picked up a leg of a windbreaker outfit and she started cracking up!! I was able to do it for at least ten minutes before she got tired of it. Then one day at work, I was talking to her as I was holding her, putting out some pricing, and I said something about going to look at rugs and she cracked up about that! I just kept saying "rugs!" and she kept laughing. Not sure why that was so funny. Last night at Golden Corral Stephen was holding her and she would reach for his plate, knock it, and he'd say "Uh-oh!" and she would just laugh and laugh. She also laughs and squeals anytime you bounce her or pretend to drop her. And no matter how much you do it, she never throws up! Best part! Now, she might drool into your mouth if you're not careful, so watch for that. She is just getting more and more fun every day. I'm so blessed to have the opportunity ever day to stay home with her and see these changes and be a part of these changes!

Two Sundays ago we went to Jenn and Matt's church to see Claire's baptism. I actually missed the entire sermon because I was nursing Brianna but I got to see the baptism which is why we went. Claire was a star, being so good during the vows and prayers, and giving this sweet little cry as the water was drizzled on her head. What a sweetie!

This weekend Grandpa and Buddy came into town to see the babies for the first time!! Both of them were very well behaved! After dinner last night at Golden Corral, we all went back to mom and dad's to chat for a while before heading home. I got to play with Claire for quite a while - although I didn't want to give her up when I had to - and she is really changing too! It's becoming easier to get a smile from her, probably thanks to her vision improving as she gets older and also maybe realizing she's indulging us when she does it. I got some major smiles out of her and it totally made my day.

October seems to be the beginning of the holiday rush. We have something every weekend in October. This weekend I'm having a yard sale at Jenn's (so thankful for her hosting me!!), next weekend we are taking Brianna to Georgia for the first time, the weekend after that I'm going to the beach with some ladies from church, and the next weekend is Halloween! Then it's only a short while until Thanksgiving and Christmas. The last time Stephen babysat Brianna while I was out, I came home and they were dancing around the dining room to Christmas carols. I can only assume that's going to get worse around the house. Stephen loves Christmas music.

I better go. I'm sitting here stuffing my face with muscadine grapes (thanks mom!) and my hands are getting really sticky from the juice. It's getting harder to type. I'll try to post some pictures soon.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Drugstore Deals

It's already that time again for weekly drugstore shopping trips! So get out your Rite Aid and Walgreens rollover money and see what you can get... (well, this is what I got anyway!)

Walgreens:

Campbell's soups:
  • Regular price - $1.39
  • Minus Walgreens coupon - 2/$1
  • Minus coupon - $0.40/2
  • Final price - $0.30 per soup
Gillette Fusion Razor:
  • Regular price - $10.99
  • Sale price - $8.99
  • Minus $4.00 coupon
  • Minus RR - $6.00
  • Final price - free
Trident gum:
  • Sale price - $2/2
  • Minus RR - $1.00
  • Final price - $0.50 per pack
  • Note - mine rang up at $0.37 per pack so maybe yours will too!!
Purell hand sanitizer:
  • Regular price - $3.99
  • Sale price - $2.99
  • Minus RR - $2.00
  • Final price - $0.99
I was able to use some of my Register Rewards from last week's trip to pay for most of this, but you always have to pay a little out of pocket at Walgreens. I spent $1.48 and saved $21.38. I also got back $9 in RR and have some leftover from last week.

Rite Aid:

Scalpicin:
  • Regular price - $5.99
  • Sale price - $4.49
  • Minus $4.49 rebate
  • Final price - free
VO5 shampoo:
  • Regular price - $0.99
  • Sale/final price - $0.69
Colgate toothpaste:
  • Sale price - $0.99
  • Minus $1.00 coupon
  • Final price - free
Poligrip:
  • Regular price - $4.49
  • Sale price - $2.99
  • Minus $2.99 rebate
  • Final price - free
Mach 3 disposable razors:
  • Regular price - $7.99
  • Minus $3.00 coupon
  • Minus $2.00 coupon
  • Final price - $2.99
Gillette shaving cream:
  • Regular price - $3.39
  • Final price - free with purchase of Mach 3 razors
No, I don't need Scalpicin (for itching around the scalp and ears??) or Poligrip. But they are free after the rebates and I can use that rebate money on my next trip to Rite Aid. So worth it!!

P.S. I realize I still haven't blogged about anything happening in our lives. Will get there.