Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Life happens in between diaper changes!

I have made two of my best shopping trips to date this week! I didn't need a lot, but I needed these deals! Kmart is doing double coupons this week. Our Kmart, unfortunately, doesn't have a lot in the way of food, but I took advantage of a few things. I had a bill of 23.79 and got Gatorade, peanut butter, Welch's jelly, 4 boxes of Rice Krispies, Cheese-its, Skintimate shave gel. My ending bill after coupons was 10.79!!!! THEN because I bought the 4 boxes of Rice Krispies, (which cost .25 each) I get a $5 gift card to Kmart !!!! Woo-Hoo!!!! Go me! Today, I went to Target and got 2 things of Dove Ultimate deodorant, 1 lb apples, 1 lb bananas and some Skippy Natural peanut butter and with some stacking of some Dove coupons and the apple/banana coupons from target, my bill was 3.40!! I also went to Publix and got a FREE Starbucks pint from a coupon I got and 2 free lbs of bacon from some coupons I found. We are going to be going on vacation soon and I am totally psyched at how much money I have save for this vacation!

I am still working on the balancing writing in my life thing, but I have, at the very least, managed to work it in at least 3 days a week. We have been unbelievably busy recently. Mike is building the hydroponic system in our garden. It needs to be done and fully functional by next week. I have picked up several things at our church from editing the script for our monthly family service, to actually being in the monthly family service, I danced in last month's dance service and also in the Art for a Cause last week. Arts for a cause was for the Buses and Backpacks program which provides food for families through the elementary schools in our area. Crazy times!

In kid news, Mackenzie is growing way too fast. She is sitting like a champ and trying so hard to crawl! Madison is getting ready to start kindergarten September 1. I cannot, in any form or fashion, believe I am the mother of a kindergartner! It is like living life in fast forward sometimes.

There are so many moments to choose from because I am so aware of them. It is really hard to choose, but a few of my favorites are:

- One of the best movie nights with the new Hannah Montana movie, Mike got his Starbucks java chip ice cream (free) and Madi got her popcorn. It was perfect.
- a few perfect evening in the pool with the symphony of crickets to top it off! (I love the sound of crickets!)
- Seeing the seeds we planted for our garden start spouting.
- In a recent trip to blockbuster, Madison said, "We better get these movies back." I said, "Why?" She said, in complete seriousness, "So we don't get busted! You know...Block-BUSTER?" with the stress being on the buster!!!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Made a trip Tuesday to Target with my good friend Summer. Four kids in tow! Good thing the place was near empty because we ran into Christy, our home school partner in crime and she had two kids in tow, who are friends with Madison! It was like a three ring circus in the produce department, but fun for us, none the less.

The reason for the trip was $1 off of a lb of apples at $1.29/lb, bananas $.50 off 1 1b at $.78/lb. Print them here. You can print as many as you like, but I separated the individual pounds into different orders. I got 2 lbs of each. We eat lots of apples and bananas so this was perfect!

I also went to Walgreens and got 2 Reach toothbrushes and a Cool Mint Listerine plus I needed Tylenol infant drops. On all that I spent $6 and got $6 in register rewards to use!
Here are some ideas I got from money saving mom.

Buy 2 Reach toothbrushes and 1 Listerine at $1.09 each (these are general prices)
Use 1 $3/3 coupon here (or $3/3 from the 8/2 newspaper inserts)
Spend $0.27 plus tax out of pocket, Get $6 back in Register Rewards
(I also bought Tylenol so my amount was higher)

I am going to check CVS today to see if they are still doing $2.79 milk with $1 CVS back. All in all, it has been a great shopping week!

We also got to go to Steak and Shake for free shakes with Daddy! It was a riot. We laughed so hard and had left over shakes to bring home. Definitely a night to put down in a memory book.

Today is a day for working on my novel. Pleased to report, the pieces are slowly coming back together on that unraveling I felt last week. I keep a sectioned notebook and there are sections for shopping trips, things to do, blessings, prayers, and ideas. This week, that notebook was put to better use than ever. I highly advise one!

We are counting down the days to our trip to Boston. Madi has full control of the calendar, other than my input on the things we must do. 14 days and counting!!!


-Madison, Mackenzie, Mike, me...all laying in bed early one morning. Safe and secure. Mackenzie reached over and was holding Madison's hand. Perhaps my greatest moment of late!
-my grocery bill.
-Riding in the car to church with Madi, "jammin' out" to Hannah Montana!!! Love it!!
An evening poolside with one of my greatest friends, a nice glass of wine, kids playing, crickets chirping. Can it get any better?

Who are we without our moments?

Monday, August 10, 2009

Insight? Anyone?

Recent events have revolved around keeping myself on track. I have come to the conclusion that I expect myself to do everything and do it well. Prioritizing and setting small goals will give me better success. In my blogs, my purpose has been to define what I am doing, show progress, growth, and accomplish goals successfully.

1. Save money. This is becoming more and more successful.
2. Write. This goes up and down. How do I fix this? My dear friend Maia gave me the advice that I will choose. She said it is better to write a paragraph than not write at all. Although I have been writing my blog, which is great practice and therapy, and also helps me organize who I am, I have not been working as I should on my novel. So, a paragraph at a time it is! Thanks Maia!
3. Read. I read to be a better writer. It is research in a way. I began re-reading the Half Blood Prince, recently, since I just saw the movie. I am not reading as much as I would like, but at least I can read a few pages here and there. So I count this one as a success in progress. I also read my bible which is what grounds me and convicts me to be the person I was meant to be.
4. Balance. I will achieve this as I get to work more on my writing. Why is it that the one thing that I feel could be my life's work, is the one thing I find hardest to accomplish? It should be where I focus and where most of my effort goes? In my reflection, I feel when it is time, it will happen. The rest will fall into place. Hence the balance!

Madi and I are taking a small summer home school break right now. We worked all summer. She is reading well and has a keen interest in science, which I happen to love teaching her. But we needed a summer too! We are going on vacation in 2 weeks to Boston. We will be flying! We have a calendar up and Madison is in charge of keeping our family's schedule on track! She is very good at it!

Last week, as I reported, I spent $52.00 on groceries. I found that with my creative food planning I do not need very much this week. I decided to make my trip today to the store. You must check out Walmart! I got Pringles for $1, peaches were on sale for .78/lb, yogurt .38...lots of stuff on BIG time sale. Walked out with all I need for the week for $24. I also have some coupons from target for $1 off apples that are $1/lb, .50 off bananas at .57/lb and .50 off Starkist at .69/can. That should make for a pretty good trip. Look here for some good ideas. If you are interested in home schooling or even supplementing at home, there is a free year subscription to a home school site that aids in curriculum, materials, and planning here.

Some of you have asked me to give you an idea of what I plan for food for the week. Here is what this week looks like:

Breakfast: home made blueberry pancakes
snack: nutri-grain bar
lunch: left over hamburgers/chicken/baked beans for Mike at work, grilled cheese and apple
snack: cottage cheese/blueberries
dinner: Mike at work remaining left overs, me left over chicken cutlets and green beans for me

Breakfast: bacon/eggs/toast
snack: peaches/cottage cheese
Lunch: Lentil soup
snack: yogurt/fruit
Dinner: Pot roast/salad

Breakfast: Cereal/fruit
snack: fruit/cereal bar
lunch: pot roast
snack: peanut butter/crackers
dinner: Pork chops/salad

Breakfast: Pancakes (home made is cheaper...I calculated it=) fruit
snack: chips and cheese
Lunch: Left over lentil soup
snack: apples/peanut butter
Dinner: Mix of pot roast/pork chops all left over salad

Breakfast: Waffles (Kashi whole grain) fruit
snack: cheese blueberries
Lunch: Tuna Fish/ tomatoes
Snack: hard boiled egg
Dinner: ribs/ veggies

Hope this gives you an idea of how I work my meals. I try very hard to utilize all of the food I make. We can change up and not have the same meal everyday, however, it is really helpful to not cook every night and I can get Mike's lunch ready after I clean up dinner, right into containers and ready for the morning.

Here are some moments...the ones that truly make up our lives...

-Mackenzie sitting up with a huge smile. So proud of herself.
-A wonderful afternoon in the pool, just me and Madi
-"Girlie time" with Madison. She packed a little bag of things for us to do.
-Sitting at the dinner table, praying before dinner, Madi chose Nana to pray for and a moment later, Nana showed up at the door for a visit!

True progress shows evidence of lessons learned.
-Mike and I getting to swim alone for a few minutes Sunday afternoon.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009


This blog begins part two of my previous blog as I had too much to say in one. I am getting a little off task lately. I am starting to lose my feelings of organization. There is a need of some reflection to get back on track. My weekly Wednesday deadline with my accountability partner Maia has fallen after one week. We're talking seriously off track here! I am setting some goals and getting back to the root of my desires.

I have begun writing some articles for a website. Please check it out. It is a lot of fun and is getting some thoughts flowing. I have written a few already, but since I love writing, it is just an outlet! Check them out!!

How to Videos & Articles:

In other life news, today, I went grocery shopping knowing I needed to get some meats and restock up on some things. Mackenzie, packed up in her carry backpack, and I made our way to 3 different stores and managed to get everything we needed, including the meat, for $52.47. I know my budget was $50, but I suppose I can cut myself some slack. Needless to say, Mackenzie and I came home, loaded our pantry, fridge and freezer and had home made peaches and oatmeal!

Last week, my 3 brothers and I took my dad to a baseball game. Now I must preface this with...I am a Red Sox fan. My brothers, however, are not. So we saw a Rays game. But the important thing is, we have never done anything like this and I cannot remember the last time it was just my brothers and I! We really had a good time. I did have a tag along. Mackenzie came too! She was cheering along with the best of them.

Here are my moments...
-Mackenzie raising her arms in the air when everyone cheered at the game.
-Seeing all 3 of my brothers together for a fun night
-Madison, being Madison, asking when we were going to live in the snow.
-Mike, looking at me like he was seeing me for the first time...

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Catch up

It has been a little while since my last blog. I have been so busy that by the time I sit down, I don't want to think about what to write. I have so much to say, I am going to have to blog in two parts. That being said, I am not sure where I left off, so I will go forward with the following...

I made a new official grocery budget. I started with $100/wk, dropped that to $80, and have now dropped it to $50. Last week was the first week I tried it. This is what I did. I planned my meals out ( I need to do better at sticking to my plan), I made a list (after checking my pantry to make sure I didn't get doubles), and I kept my calculator out to add as I went (including tax). Then I subtracted coupons. My total (after 2 stores) was 46.11. I am going to get better at planning and sticking to the plan so I know I will not waste a single penny of my $50. I spent last month utilizing my stockpile of goodies so I have no more stockpile. Saved a lot of money last month. This month, I will have to find the best of the best of the best deals in order to rebuild the stockpile and keep to my $50. I am not sure I can stick to this budget but I am going to try really hard. I am no Money Saving Mom, that's for sure!!

Mike and I were allowed a night out last week. Since he was working at Universal, I drove him to work and took the girls to Celebration again. My friend Summer met us there with Paige and Caden. We had a fantastic afternoon once again, playing in the fountains and having a picnic. We went back home so I could get ready. My mom came out to stay for the night and watch the girls. Madi helped me get all dressed up. We have not been out without kids (except for Harry Potter night) since before Mackenzie was born. The greatest part (we thought) was we had as long as we wanted. I was even thinking, "My mom is still going to be there in the morning in case we want to sleep a little later!" I will elaborate on that in a minute.

We had planned on a fun night at Howl at the Moon. Howl at the Moon, for those that don't know, is a dueling piano bar. Lots of fun. However, we were wanting to go out to a nice dinner and spend some quiet time together, so we changed our plan. Mike resourcefully discovered a Mexican restaurant nearby and in the same plaza was a place called The Dessert Lady. It was absolutely perfect. The best part was that he picked it all out himself. He planned it so well, he took me to a Mexican restaurant full well knowing I hate Mexican food and knew this place had a specific item that I would love. He couldn't have been more spot on. And the Margaritas!!! I had been really wanting one! The Dessert Lady was like we were on a first date! It was so quaint and quiet. We had these enormous dessert and some sparkling wine. It was rejuvenating for us. I want to do it again, soon! However, the morning thing...not so much. Mackenzie woke up at 3 to eat and the at 6:30 for the day...Booooooo!!!! Night out officially over!

I will leave you with these moments as I have rambled on a while...

-Mackenzie sitting up for the first time
-Madison watching me get ready to go out with daddy and picking things for me to wear
-Mike holding my hand
-my clean kitchen
-Mike coming home from work with a sigh of relief
-my children, safe and asleep in their beds. Thankful doesn't cover it...

Moments...small, irreplaceable moments.