Thursday, March 31, 2011

Saving a bit of $$

Do you follow Money Saving Mom ?  If not, you should!

Who isn't trying to save a dollar these days?  Especially with the climbing gas prices.

My favorite are her Target coupon match-ups.  Target puts out their own coupons, both online and in the Sunday paper coupon packs.  You can match up the Target coupons with one manufacturer coupon for the same item.  Often this makes items free or almost free.  She also notes which coupons can be used for travel-sized items (not common, but out there sometimes).

Crystal also posts various online deals (like cheap diapers or products on Amazon) that are very useful.  She pulls from other online saving sites and shares the best deals (always crediting the source).

Her site also has tons of advice, stories and inspiration for paying off debt and living debt-free.  One series is called "We Paid Cash" and is stories of readers (and Crystal's family) paying cash for small to large items.  Crystal and her husband Jesse paid cash for a HOUSE!

I find this site very inspirational in our quest to pay off debt and not incur anymore and live like no one else.

I saved $16 at Target tonight matching up coupons.  I only buy items that we would normally buy or use.

Here's a sample of what I paid for various items after coupons:

Pack of gum: .24 cents

Secret Clinical Strength Trial size: $1.49

Venus Razor: $2.24

Colgate toothpaste: .50 cents

Flinstone Vitamins: $2.84

Suave Detangler 2-pack: $2.50

Reece's PB Cups: .69 for two

I'm still figuring out how to shop efficiently with coupons.  I don't have a great organization system yet.  But on my trip tonight, I got some ideas.

By following Crystal on Twitter, I got a heads up on a gym membership giveaway and I won a 3-month membership.  Which I didn't hardly use, but I was excited at the time!

I also "liked" her page on Facebook and see various deals in my newsfeed.

You can subscribe to her newsletter too for a summary of posts.  There are often several to dozens of new posts daily on her blog and this is a great way to see them all at one time.

So, go check it out.  Save some money!!

**this post is totally my own opinion and I'm sharing about Money Saving Mom because I love her blog so much**

Friday, March 25, 2011

Thursday, March 24, 2011

running through my head

I haven't rambled here much lately; I think it's overdue!

My best friend from college had her first baby today! I am so excited for her.  She's still one of my best friends.  And she's like a sister in a lot of ways too.   I am living vicariously through her a bit, even though she lives 90 miles away.

It still makes me a little sad when people ask me if I'm having any more kids and I say no.  I had the nicest conversation with the Target check-out lady today.  My children were about to lose their lives before we left the store (at my hands of course) so I sent them to sit on a bench against the wall across from the checkout stand.  The lady started chatting me up about my three kids and how she and her husband have been married four years but aren't ready to start a family.  Yet she sees women like me with three children already and thinks that I have already attained the life she wants.  It was an interesting conversation and I enjoyed it.

Lucky for my children, they stayed on the bench and were able to walk out of Target alive.  They had both jumped on the "down" escalator without me, and then when I freaked out just a bit, they started trying to walk/run/lumber/stumble back up to me.  My heart about jumped out of my chest.  Because when you are (almost) 4 and 7, you don't have good control of your limbs or any idea how machinery could effect you.

I need to start preparing for my trip.  I leave on April 6.  Yikes!  I really want to leave little gifts for my girls to open each day--but I can't figure out what items to leave them because I don't really want to spend $1/day on them.  But what is less than $1?  Or what can you get multiple of for $1?  I can think of a few items, but not 10, which is how many I'll need.

Gracie's birthday is fast approaching.  Her birthday part is next Saturday and she is so excited.  It's a Fairy Party, because it sounded fun, and it's different than Princesses and she likes that kind of thing.  I want to have the girls make fairy wands at the party.  I need to find a simple idea online for it.  I know there has to be some out there.  But I'm blogging instead of researching.

Do you have a favorite box mix of brownies?  Ours is Duncan Hines.  We like moist, fudge-y brownies and theirs are the best!!  Actually, I really like Ghiradelli too, but they are too chocolate-y for Bean.  You know we've eaten a lot of brownies to know we like Duncan Hines above Betty Crocker and other brands.

However, this homemade recipe is pretty easy-if you have the ingredients on hand--and AUH-MAZ-ING! I don't usually make the caramel topping.  But I have, and it's divine as well.  There is quite a technique involved in getting it just right.  So maybe stick with just the brownies.  You'll thank me.  I've been considering opening a shop that only served Pioneer Woman recipes.  I think it'd be quite popular.

I used the word salivating today, because I couldn't think of "drooling."  How odd is that?

Well, I think I've rambled enough.

Enjoy your weekend!

Monday, March 21, 2011

put a fork in us and other things running through my head

Put a fork in us, we are done!

This morning, I left the house at 7:30am, as usual, with three kiddos in the car.  But we headed to the dentist for Gracie & Miss Rose to have check-ups.  Thanks to rain, there was traffic and it took me twice as long as normal to get there, but thankfully we were only 5 minutes late.

We were there about an hour...cleanings & check-ups.  Down-time too of course, waiting for this and that, keeping the kids off the dentist chair, keeping them from pushing buttons and grabbing dental tools.  Keeping Lily from banging on the chair while the big girls were in it.  Holding hands and calming nerves, all while keeping a two-year old out of trouble.

Thankfully, the girls had hardly any plaque.  A recently injured tooth of Miss Rose's (her mouth is a magnet for injury) checked out fine.  There does seem to be some damage to her permanent tooth that's coming in after an injured and abscessed tooth was pulled at age 2.  But nothing we can do about it so far.

Drive Miss Rose to school, unload everyone of course to sign her in, head home to meet the babysitter and finally make it to work around 10:30am.

Exhausted doesn't even begin to describe it!  Especially since solid sleep is rarely a part of our nights--thanks to teething, colds, daylight savings time and who knows what else!

To top off the day, Miss Rose had clearly developed a sinus infection that wasn't getting better and Gracie wasn't too far off.  So let's knock it all out in one day!  I came home from work, loaded kids in the van and head them ready the minute Bean got home so he could take them to the doctor.  Affirmative for the sinus infections.

Oh, did I mention we've been passing pink eye around?  Just lovely.  Thankfully the one prescription we got for the first case is lasting through everyone.  And we're catching it early, so only the first case was bad.  Eye drops for young children are just delightful.

Home for dinner...then Bean went out to get their antibiotics.  Which give them diarrhea, so he then went to Costco for Gogurts, which are supposed to help.  Oh, and might as well pick up milk because we go through about a gallon every two days.  And only two of the kids are avid milk drinkers!

Thankfully, Bean and I are a great team lately.  Keeping good attitudes, being patient with the kids, tag-teaming the nightly routines.  That makes all the difference.  Even on the craziest days, the kids are in bed before 8pm, which helps us too.  Now, if only they will sleep through the night!

Put a fork in us, we are done.  (and now I also sound like my dad.  but it fits.)

I've been extra tired lately.  Dragging through the day.  I'm sure it's a combination of things.

Have I mentioned that in 16 days, I'm leaving my family for 10 days?  I'm excited for the opportunity to do missions again, but right now I'm feeling very sad to be leaving them.  Since having children, at least one of them has always accompanied me on mission trips.

I actually started and almost completed a crafty project, and it's turning out cute!  The only reason it's not complete is because I ran out of supplies.  Hopefully I'll get more tomorrow and finish it and share here.  It's like crafting for dummies though.  Which is exactly the kind of crafting I need.

More gifts...

51*pages in my book marked by 4 year old marks, complete with coloring in some o's

52*California poppies starting to bloom along the highways

53*once barren rose bushes starting to bloom

54*superclean house, a glimpse of life beyond oodles of toys

55*Lucky jeans & a cute jacket at the thrift store

56*running 15 miles in one week

57*Dove chocolate

58*toddler who always wants to wear "slippers"

59*being encouraged and determining to be more purposefully encouraging

60*clean sheets

61*the heaviness of heartstrings

62*Lily joining in on my DVD workouts

Thursday, March 17, 2011

to make them feel my love

How beautiful are these lyrics, 
when read with our children in mind?  
Oh, how I pray that my children feel my love, 
so deeply, their entire lives.

If you haven't heard this song before, 
click on the video below.
And grab your Kleenex box.

When the rain 
Is blowing in your face
And the whole world 
Is on your case
I would offer you 
A warm embrace
To make you feel my love

When the evening shadows 
And the stars appear
And there is no one there 
To dry your tears
I could hold you 
For a million years
To make you feel my love

I know you 
Haven't made 
Your mind up yet
But I would never 
Do you wrong
I've known it 
From the moment 
That we met
No doubt in my mind 
Where you belong

I'd go hungry
I'd go black and blue
I'd go crawling 
Down the avenue
There ain't nothing 
That I wouldn't do
To make you feel my love

The storms are raging 
On a rolling sea
And on the highway of regret
Though winds of change 
Are blowing wild and free
But you ain't seen nothing 
Like me yet

I could make you happy
Make our dreams come true
Nothing that I wouldn't do
Go to the ends 
Of the earth for you
To make you feel my love

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

the stuff

I saw reference to this song today on Twitter and wanted to check it out.

A little bit corny...but definitely true of this mom's life!

I lost my keys in the great unknown
And call me please 'Cuz I can't find my phone

This is the stuff that drives me crazy
This is the stuff that's getting to me lately
In the middle of my little mess
I forget how big I'm blessed
This is the stuff that gets under my skin
But I gotta trust You know exactly what You're doing
It might not be what I would choose
But this is the stuff You use

45 in a 35
Sirens and fines while I'm running behind

This is the stuff that drives me crazy
This is the stuff that's getting to me lately
In the middle of my little mess
I forget how big I'm blessed
This is the stuff that gets under my skin
But I gotta trust You know exactly what You're doing
It might not be what I would choose
But this is the stuff You use

So break me of impatience
Conquer my frustrations
I've got a new appreciation
It's not the end of the world
Oh Oh Oh

This is the stuff that drives me crazy
This is the stuff
Someone save me
In the middle of my little mess
I forget how big I'm blessed
This is the stuff that gets under my skin
And I've gotta trust You know exactly what You're doing
It might not be what I would choose
But this is the stuff You use

Friday, March 11, 2011

kitchen shuffle

She follows me around the kitchen, a 10x5 rectangle.

Fridge to counter, two steps to the sink and then three more to the stove.
Nestling her head between the backs of my legs, her soft hair hitting just above my knees
We do the kitchen shuffle.

In between the washing, the putting away, preparations for the next meal,
I reach down and gently press her head closer to my leg and say "I love you baby girl."

"Hold you, hold you" she asks over and over again.
"Just a minute baby, let me finish the dishes."

When drainers are empty, hands are dry, and I can do a few tasks one-handed
I lift her to my left hip.  The curve of my waist, hugged by little legs, as it has been for the past seven years.
A chubby hand pats my arm and squeezes gently.

Her head nestles underneath my jaw, laying on the shoulder that has burped three babies and handled more spit-up, drool, sometimes vomit and baby boogers than is calculate-able.

My one-handed tasks complete, I lower her to the ground once again, amidst protests.
I kneel to the ground to pick up stray crumbs.  Her desire to be close, compels her to get on all four's as well, head touching mine.  Ever near.

We return to the kitchen shuffle, more tasks to complete.

This mother-child dance.
I cherish each moment.  Savor them.  Taste them.

The days, the months are short.
The older sisters, their worlds don't revolve so closely around me anymore.
I've done this before.  My heart knows, she's not far behind.

Yet still, when she wakes in the morning, I'm the first one she wants to see.
Heavy toddler feet clod in my direction, pink sleepy flushed cheeks, Wubbie always in hand.
"Hold you."

With each move in our kitchen shuffle, my heart breaks a bit.  For I am aware of the coming transition.
Before an empty nest, comes an empty hip.

The day approaches all too quickly
When I must redefine my motherhood.
No longer, a baby's mama.

A sense of freedom coming, yes.  Potential for new life patterns.

But for now, it's still a pending emptiness.
I love this job, this life as a baby's mama.  Although I know I will love these next stages too.

Three babies.  I was their mama.
Always my babies.  Always their mama.

My arms may tire, completion of tasks may slow.
But I welcome these moments, these kitchen shuffles, the ever near.
Being my baby's mama.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

an empty calendar?

I looked at our wall calendar a few hours ago and saw absolutely nothing written down for the next five days.

This is monumental.

Miss Rose was supposed to have a softball game tomorrow night, but the other team had to forfeit.  I'm not complaining.

I was just out of town for three days at a ministry conference, so I'm really thankful to be home and have nothing major going on.

Maybe I can blog a bit!  I still want to share some stuff from the marriage group we are participating in, and also from the conference I went to.

My best friend from college is expecting a baby any day.  I'm hoping she arrives this week because it's a good week for me to travel the 90 miles for the baby fix.  I need a baby fix!

I'm completely tapped right now.  I can think of nothing creative or funny to share!

Ta-ta for now!