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Friday, December 31, 2010

Keep the Laundry Basket Full

Sometimes I feel like all I do is wash clothes, fold clothes, sort clothes, put away clothes, empty the dishwasher, load the dishwasher.  And repeat. Times a million and repeat again.  Really, it's kind of unreasonable that 3 people and a dog should have this much laundry and need to run the dishwasher all the time, but we do.  Between sheets, towels and the fact that eating out isn't regular around here the sink and the laundry basket are always in need of attention.

I made the comment recently on Facebook that sometimes I feel like all I do is the laundry and dishes.  Then someone who has grown children made the comment that in a few years I won't have all those things anymore but that will also mean that the hugs and kisses will be gone too.  

So it made me realize that as we go into a new year, I need to savor the moments more.  I need to focus on not letting the details get in the way.  No dust on my furniture (or fans) or dirt on the floor needs to take precedent over my family.  I need to savor my moments with my son and my husband.  One day the floor will be spotless and my boy will be gone.  I'd rather have dirty floors and laundry piled to the ceiling so I don't forget a moment or a day with my son.  So keep my laundry basket full, I've got a little boy to mother and love.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Best Part of the Day

Today Austin and I woke up and on a whim took off to Disney.  We bought Annual Passes last spring, so we can go whenever we'd like.  I have a backpack cooler so we take our own lunch and go for the day on occasion.  We can get there in about an hour from our home.  

We chose to go to the Magic Kingdom.  To say it was packed is an understatement at the least.  There were rides that had wait times of up to 180 minutes.  Yikes.  Anyway, we didn't ride nearly what we could have on a day when the crowds aren't as large.  We did get to his favorites; Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and The Haunted Mansion.  Neither scare him and he gets a thrill from both.  We made our first ever trek over to Tom Sawyer's Island.  I hadn't been over there since I was a kid and I had forgotten about the caves and the Fort.  Austin was able to shoot pretend guns in the fort and you would have thought he'd died and gone to heaven.  I thought I'd never get him off the Island and when I finally did he wasn't happy about it.  We rode the People Mover and we had Mickey Popsicles while sitting on the ground.  In one part of the park, they were having a dance party.  It was a lot of fun, and lots of folks were making pure fools of themselves and having a great time doing it.  Austin decided he wanted to join in.  I got it on video

video

Here he is after eating his Popsicle:

And this picture says enough:

On the longest tram ride back to the car in the history of the world, I took our picture, and this is what I got:



As we were driving home, I asked him what his favorite part of the day was.  He said "spending time with you Momma".  I nearly cried.  I may have if I weren't driving.  I told him that it was one of the sweetest things he'd ever told me.  What a sweet boy I've been blessed with. 

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

My Take on TLC's Extreme Couponing

This show aired and profiled four people who coupon.  The first woman coupons so much that it's overtaken her home and her husband has had to give up his own space for her.  She admitted it is an obsession and that she often sacrifices time with her husband and family to go shopping.  The second woman actually dives in recycling dumpsters just to get coupons.  The third woman collects coupons and helps others.  The final couponer was a man who has to pull a trailer behind his car just to bring his purchases home.

The thing that bothered me the most about this show is that it showed people who literally do nothing but coupon.  Their habits have resulted in a stockpile that has taken over their homes.  They spend tons of money on coupon clipping services and could probably be diagnosed as OCD.  But there are people who have lost their jobs and are not sure how they are going to eat their next meal.  There are people that are so overstretched because of the economy that buying groceries is nearly impossible.  These people need to know that they can truly coupon without getting to the point of needing to visit the mental ward of the nearest hospital.

So to debunk a few myths; couponing does not have to consume your life.  When you first get started, it does take some time to learn a system that works for you. You do not have to create such a stockpile that takes over your home.

The truth is that couponing can change your life.  You can free up room in your budget to help you get out of debt, save for the future or just have some wiggle room.  You can have a small stockpile that will allow your family to weather a crisis.  You can feed hungry children without having to worry about having enough on hand for them when they want to snack.

Don't let this show stop you from couponing if you haven't started. There are plenty of sane individuals like myself who help their families by couponing.  It can change your life for the positive if you just give it a try!

Out of our Abundance

I worry. I know, the Bible says not to worry. But in this case, I worry about my son.  You see, we are blessed.  My son doesn't have any idea what real hunger is.  He has no idea what it is to want for a meal or to be without clothes or toys.  He's never had to worry about having a roof over his head, and has been provided for well.

But there are kids in his own school who know all too well about those kinds of worries.  There are people all around us everywhere we go that struggle in some way or another.  I don't want my son to think that this is just how everyone has it.  I want him to understand that he needs to be grateful and realize that he's blessed.

So how do you teach a five year old that he'd better be thankful there's something to eat, a roof over his head and he doesn't have to worry about his needs?

One of the things we do to help our son realize this is at Christmas Time.  We intentionally set aside a certain amount of money based on what we feel we can sacrifice to go out and shop for presents for needy children.  We usually choose a child or two to sponsor from an angel tree or from a list of needy children somewhere.  We explain to Austin that these kids wouldn't have Christmas Presents if they weren't donated to them.  Austin is involved in the shopping, wrapping and delivery of the presents.

A second thing I do is donate out of my stockpile.  I could easily do this without Austin knowing.  But he watches me and I tell him that we are giving this to people in need.  We frequently remind him that not everyone has cabinets and shelves full of food like we do.

As my son gets older we will involve him more in helping others.  But it's so important to teach him that he needs to be thankful for all that we have been blessed with.  We may not have the fanciest house, or the nicest cars or go on lavish vacations, but we have a roof over our heads, a stockpile of groceries, he has more toys than I can physically count, he never misses a meal and he goes to the doctor when he needs to go.  God has been good to us and it is our goal to help our son realize and appreciate that goodness.

Extreme Couponing?

Tonight on TLC at 8PM, they are going to air a show called Extreme Couponing.  Some of these folks allow couponing to literally rule their lives.  But really, it's amazing to see some of the savings they are pulling off!

Monday, December 27, 2010

The Truth (part two)

You can read the first part of this story here.

  So after a laparoscopy, I began to feel like a human being again.  The doctor did find some scar tissue and some endometriosis, and he removed it all.  After a few days, I began to feel alive again.  I began to feel like I could be a mom and play with my son without being in pain.  I felt like a participant in my marriage and like I could live and not just get through the day.
  I didn't tell Austin's birth story to the whole world so that I could garner support.  But the truth is that just because I call Jesus my Lord does not mean that life comes without trials.  I wanted nothing more than to have a few kids and be a mom.  But my body isn't so fond of the whole giving birth thing.  Does it mean that I'm not a good enough Christian or that I'm not thankful enough to the Lord.  I heard several comments from other Christians when I was enduring my difficult pregnancy "Oh, I loved being pregnant, I was so thankful to the Lord for my baby that all those little symptoms didn't bother me."  Okay, honestly folks... who in the world would want to revel in the fact that puking was a regular part of your day?  Really, do you think that I wanted to be that miserable?  Well, no, I didn't.  It was no fun.  I still have heartburn issues due to my little fella.  But you know what?  I am thankful that God allowed me to have my son.  I can't imagine my life without him.  What I went through was terrible, but I love my son and I am thankful for him.  No level of thankfulness to the Lord will help you avoid trials and tribulations.  God has a plan in it all, even if it's bad.
    Call it Christianese.  My husband and I often refer to them as Used Car Salesmen.  You can call it whatever you want.  But there are some REALLY fake people that grace the doors of churches every Sunday.  Why these folks never have any problems.  Why?  Well that's because they call the good Lord just that, Lord.  Why since they were saved they've never had problems.  The bills have always been paid with ease, nothing in the house has broken when they don't have the funds to fix it, everyone is healthy, and their job is sunshine and roses.  At least that's what they want you to think.
  But the truth?  Life is ugly.  People sin.  They act in ways they don't want to and they make stupid mistakes.  People are judgmental and rude.  Things don't work out the way we want them to.  You can make the grandest of plans, but God has another plan and it just might not fit in your little box.
  I recently read Choosing to SEE: A Journey of Struggle and Hope by Mary Beth Chapman, and it is an amazing book.  This book goes into detail about Mary Beth's own journey through life's struggles.  She talks about how those smaller struggles led up to the biggest struggle of her life; the death of her five year old daughter.  She is very clear in the book that God has a plan in the mess.  It might be a huge mess, but God has a plan in that huge mess.
   I think it's high time that Christians start being real.  Real about the truth of life. God sent His Son Jesus to die for us.  Because of that, we can have everlasting life when we accept Him as our Savior.  And God has a plan for each of us and orders our step according to His purpose.  But the truth?  Those steps aren't always wonderful, they aren't always rainbows and sunshine.  However, there are times that you see God's purpose in a trial and you come through a situation where you can see where God had you headed.  Bottom line, in the end God's plan is perfect, even if the details are messy and terrible.  And that's the truth.

The Truth (part one)

     This post isn't for the weak at heart or for those who only want to read about wonderful things.  This won't be about butterflies and rainbows, in fact it will be about the void of such things.
      My husband and I recently had a conversation about the difficulties of life.  I'm not going to divulge everything in our personal lives out in the open for all of the internet to see, but suffice it to say that in the ten and a half years we've been married, life hasn't always been full of happiness and it hasn't always been easy.  We've certainly made wrong choices or bad decisions.  But there have been times when we've been faced with choices that aren't pleasant or comfortable.  There have been difficult times in our marriage as well as good ones.  Isn't not all sunshine, rainbows and butterflies over here.
      When we found out we were expecting our son, it was against a doctor's predicted odds.  Just a few weeks prior to my getting a positive pregnancy test, my doctor told me it may be impossible for me to have a baby on my own.  I was so thankful that I was given this gift of my own child.  A few weeks later, the sickness hit and it didn't stop until delivery.  In fact, I was sick so often that there were several instances that my doctor talked about putting me in the hospital on IVs.  My back hurt so bad while I was pregnant (which could have been fixed, more on that later) that I was miserable and often in a lot of pain.  My blood pressure was high. I retained so much water that none of my shoes fit and I couldn't wear my wedding rings or my watch.  I couldn't stand the sight or smell of any chicken.  I couldn't take out the trash or I'd puke.  I went into labor and over 24 hours later after an epidural and pitocin, I pushed for over 2 hours.  Austin was so big that he just wouldn't come down.  He still has a slight scar between his eyes from my bone during delivery.  After a grueling labor and attempt at delivery, I ended up having a c-section.  If you saw a picture of me after delivery, you wouldn't believe it was me.  After they took me to my room, my blood pressure began to skyrocket.  I was so thirsty and felt horrible.  They wouldn't even let me have ice chips and I was so exhausted.  A doctor may tell you I'm wrong, but I really think that if they would have let me have something to drink and had left me alone to rest I would have been okay.  But they came in and turned me on my left side.  I was no longer numb from the epidural and I had a fresh incision.  When they began turning me I begged them not to.  It hurt so bad.  As they turned me they told me that they had to so they could get my blood pressure to drop.  I began SCREAMING.  I didn't scream like that when my epidural wore off during delivery.  I was worn out, but I can tell you that I remember thinking that my incision was going to bust open right there in that room.  My husband held a box of kleenex while I balled my eyes out in pain.  They finally came in with some morphine and put it in my IV.  I guess they gave me enough to knock me out because I remember falling asleep.  I guess you can't have a woman screaming in the recovery section of labor and delivery.  The turning did it's job.  To this day I remember it as one of the most traumatic events of my life.  I wouldn't wish that pain on the worst of criminals.  They put those pressure cuffs on my legs all night that night and I remember calling the nurse over and over again and begging for something to drink.  I just wanted something to drink.  They wouldn't even let me wash my mouth out.  I was dirty and covered in sweat and it was miserable.  They did let Austin stay in our room that night and I remember that between begging for something to drink, I was trying to nurse him.  The next morning they tried to get me out of the bed.  I hadn't drank anything for going on 72 hours now so I was limp like a rag.  The angel, also known as the Nurses Aide, that was trying to help me kindly asked me if I had eaten or drank anything.  When I explained that even though I had begged, I had in fact had nothing to eat or drink, she came to my aide.  I will never forget the four 8 ounce portions of grape juice I drank in about 2 minutes.  It was fabulous and felt so good.  She let me rest a bit so I wouldn't be lightheaded anymore and then she came back and helped me up.  God bless those women.  They helped me go to the restroom, they bathed me in the shower.  They washed my hair and helped me get dressed into fresh clothes.  It couldn't have been pleasant for them, but they were a Godsend.  I can still remember what they looked like. They helped me throughout the rest of my stay and I am forever grateful.
   After I took Austin home, recovery was difficult.  It was painful and I never really got over that pinching feeling from the incision.  My back still hurt and I just wasn't myself.  I struggled with depression and even ended up on anti-depressants when he was about 15 months old.  I had doctors blow me off about my pain and tell me that there wasn't anything wrong with me.  Finally, I had a doctor declare that I must have scar tissue.  She admitted it couldn't be seen on any kind of scan.  I started Therapy for women with my kind of issues.  That woman helped me fix my back and tailbone pain and told me that I could have seen her during my pregnancy to help with that pain.  My skin from my abdomen was so full of adhesions, that it felt like you were ripping it apart when you pulled it.  Finally, I decided I couldn't take it anymore.  My son was nearing his second birthday and I felt like I just got out of labor and delivery.  I told my husband I no longer wanted to feel like I had just had a baby and I couldn't deal with it anymore.  I made another appointment and went in and scheduled a laparoscopy.

To be continued.... 

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

More Slow Cooker Recipes

Scroll down to my previous post to see more about my slow cooking ways...

Pre-made Frozen Meatballs
There are literally hundreds of meatball recipes out there. In fact, you may have one you love. When I buy that huge tube of lean ground beef at Sam's Club, I take a large portion of it and make meatballs. This is how I make mine:
Ground Beef
Salt and Pepper
Bread Crumbs
Egg(s)
Italian Seasoning
Garlic Powder
I mix it up and make meatballs. Then I put them on a plate so they aren't touching. I put them in my freezer and freeze them. Yes, I freeze them raw. Then after they are frozen I put them in freezer bags. Sometimes I have to do this a few times. It helps to put saran wrap on your plate before you put the meatballs down as it's easier to remove them.
You can put the meatballs in the crock pot and do whatever you'd like to them and let them cook on low all day. You can add spaghetti sauce, alfredo sauce, cream of mushroom soup, cream of cheese soup, etc. You can make sweet and sour meatballs, or any other meatball recipe you can google. You can serve them on hogie rolls or with pasta. Boiling pasta or rice when you get home makes the meal very simple. and the family will be pleased.

Slow Cooker Lasagna
This is a huge hit in my home. I rarely have time to make a lasagna. This makes it simple. Serve with a salad and garlic bread and you have dinner. This recipe is from the Kraft Foods website.
1 lb ground beef, cooked
1 jar spaghetti sauce
1 cup water
15oz Ricotta Cheese
Mozzarella Cheese, grated (about 1 lb will do)
1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese
1 egg
Lasagna Noodles

Brown the meat. Stir in spaghetti sauce and water. Seperately combine the ricotta, mozarella (reserve some for the top), egg and parmesan. Layer as follows: sauce--noodles--cheese--noodles--cheese--sauce. Cook on low 4-6 hours. When you get home put the remaining mozzarella on top and turn the crock on high just until the cheese is melted. Serve.

Slow Cooker Italian Beef Sandwiches
Beef Broth
Salt, Pepper, Italian Seasoning, Garlic Powder
Chuck Roast
1 package Dry Italian Dressing mix
Cheese of your choice
Good Sandwich Rolls

Combine everything above except the cheese and rolls. Cook on low for 8 hours. Shred the beef when you get home. Put it on the rolls and then put your cheese on top of the meat. Melt under the broiler. Serve with veggies, salad, or chips. Yum.

Italian Sausage and Potatoes
5 or 6 Italian Sausage Links cut in chunks
Onion Soup Mix
1 can Beef Broth
2 small onions, quartered
3-4 potatoes cut in chunks
Water (about 1 can)
Dump everything in the crock pot. Cook on low for 8 hours. Serve.

There are several other resources you can use to find Crock Pot recipes that work for you. Here are a few:

I do have more ideas. More recipes coming soon!

The Tricks Up My Sleeves (Time Saving Recipes Inside)

I came to a stark realization this school year. I can't keep up with it all. A child in kindergarten, my own fifth grade class to teach, volunteering at church, a husband and marriage to tend to, a house to keep clean, grocery shopping, couponing, meal preparing and planning. It was all getting to me. I can't say that it still doesn't, but I decided I had to make some changes. I found myself coming home after work exhausted. Flat out body hurting tired. I didn't feel like standing at a stove or even thinking about dinner. Since a hungry five year old and husband come around every night around dinner time, I had to do something.

I wanted to do something that would please my family. You might find something that seems easy, but you have to prepare foods that actually work for you and your family. Every family has different tastes and preferences, and this is what is working for my family. I hope that sharing my ideas can help you. But remember that this is all null and void at the end of the day if your family doesn't like what you're making.

I thought about cooking for a month. This does work for some people. I've tried it before and some of the recipes were not a hit with my hubby. There are still some things that I sometimes make ahead and freeze (such as sauces), but the whole cooking for a month and freezing it thing just wasn't working for us.

Then I thought about my crock pot/slow cooker. I considered that many people frequently use their crock pots on a regular basis. The thought of coming home and dinner being done made my heart happy, so I began to do some research. There are some recipes that have not been a hit with my family, but I have found some that work for us. Some of my tips, tricks and recipes are as follows:

My Slowcooker
I have a slow cooker with a timer on it. After cooking for the time I told it to cook, it shuts off to warm and keeps my dinner warm until I get home. This is the model I have here. You don't have to go out and get a new slow cooker if you don't have one with a timer. Just cook everything on low if you are going to be gone all day. Then one day when your current slow cooker gives out, buy one with a timer.

Meat Purchasing and Stockpiling
Being the couponer that I am, stockpiling might as well be my middle name. Buying meat on sale is very important regardless of how you cook. Personally, I can't beat the prices at my local Sam's Club. Learning the best price to purchase meat at in your area will prevent over-spending and allow you to budget. I like to go to Sams Club about once a month and I usually only purchase meat at this trip. The meat I purchase is as follows:
-Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts ($1.99/lb at Sam's Club)
-Chuck Roast--these are huge and I usually get four roasts for our family out of it when I slice them in half ($2.88/lb at Sam's Club) This cut of roast turns out the most moist and is very versatile in the crock pot.
-90% Lean Ground Beef-this comes in a GIANT tube to get it at the lowest price, it usually lasts us 2 months after I slice it up and portion it out. ($2.39/lb at Sam's Club)
-Round Steak--because I am cooking in a crock pot, this cheaper cut of meat saves money and is tenderized by cooking slow all day ($2.98/lb at Sam's Club)
Sometimes I also purchase Italian Sausage or a large Pork Loin that I portion up. Lately the hubby is tired of pork, so we're taking a break from it.

Things to have on hand for Crock-Potting:
-Stock/broth: I often get cans or cartons of chicken, beef or vegetable broth/stock on sale. Usually one can is enough for whatever meal you're making, but the carton is nice to store in the fridge.
-Onion Soup Mix
-Beef Bullion Cubes
-Canned Tomatoes (also frequently on sale)
-Dry Beans of your choice
-Onions, garlic, carrots, potatoes, frozen veggies, etc.
-Crock Pot Liners (sold where the foil and saran wrap are) these are a lifesaver. Just remove, rinse your crock pot and you're done.

Before you read my recipes, please know that this is NOT an exact science. The glory of slow cooker cooking is that there is a lot of room for variation. I don't measure anything. I eyeball it all.

Recipes:

Traditional Pot Roast (AKA Sunday Dinner)
I frequently put this in the crock pot on Sunday Mornings
1 Chuck Roast big enough for your family
1-2 cans or a carton of beef stock/broth
Carrots cut into chunks or the baby carrots are fine
2 small/medium onions cut into fourths
1 beef bullion cube
1 packet of onion soup mix (optional)
water

Coat the roast with salt and pepper. If you have time, sear it in a pan with hot oil. If you don't have time, don't fret. I've done it both ways and it's good. Put your crock pot liner in the crock pot. Put the roast in. Add the carrots, onions, beef bullion cube, onion soup mix, and any other seasoning you think looks good. Then add the beef stock and some water so the top of the roast will be covered.
Put your slow cooker on low for 8 hours or on high for four. When I'm making this on Sunday I put it on high and it's ready when we get home. I like to make mashed potatoes with my roast. However, you can also add potatoes to this roast if you really want them in there.

Beef and Noodles
1 small chuck roast
2-3 cans of cream of mushroom soup
Beef Stock
salt, pepper to taste
Egg Noodles or any noodle of your choice.

Line your slow cooker. Put the roast in the crock pot and dump the cream of mushroom soup over the top. Cook on low for 8-10 hours. Shred the beef and then boil the noodles on your stovetop. Meanwhile, add beef stock to your shredded beef to thin it out a little. Drain the noodles when they are done and add to the beef. Stir together and then serve.

Totally Cheating Veggie Soup
1 bag of frozen veggies of your choice
1 can of diced tomatoes
1 can of chicken or veggie stock
a few handfuls of dry beans of your choice
1 can of tomato sauce (or cheat like me and take a can of those diced tomatoes and put them in your food chopper and you have sauce)
Salt, pepper, italian seasoning or what looks good to taste
Water (about a can full)
Pasta of your choice (optional)

Line the crock pot. Dump everything in. Stir. I know, this is so hard. Put the crock pot on low for 8 hours. If you want to add pasta then boil it when you get home and add it in. Serve with some warm rolls that you bought frozen and call it a day.

Beef Stew
1 small chuck roast cut into cubes
5 or 6 carrots chunked up or about 3 cups of small carrots
3-4 potatoes
2 small onions cut into fourths (or however you want)
2 garlic cloves, diced or minced
Beef Stock

Dump everything in the crock pot. Add enough beef stock to cover everything. Cook on low for 8 hours. Or high for 4. Yum.

Okay, that's a start for now. I will add more later. I would love to hear if this is helpful for you.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Mary, an unlikely miracle

This morning on the way to church, I was listening to our local Christian radio station. They play mostly Christmas music this time of year and Austin enjoyed listening to some of his favorites.

As I rounded the corner to the road our church is on, the song by Amy Grant that we've all heard a million times came on; "Mary Did You Know". I've heard this song more times than I can imagine. In fact, when I was in high school and this song was all the rage, one of my really good friends sang it for a staff reunion at the summer camp I attended in those days.

But today was different. I was subbing in Austin's class and I was going to teach the traditional Christmas story. I was thinking that I wanted to get across to the five year olds that this coming Saturday isn't about all those presents under the tree, and is truly about our Savior being born.

As I listened to that song, I began to think about what it must have been like for Mary. I guess I've never thought deeply about this before, but today I did. I remember carrying my son. I remember holding my belly and feeling him kick and squirm and talking to the boy I hadn't yet met. I remember telling him then how much I loved him. I remember that in spite of the incessant heart burn, never-ending back aches, unending all-day sickness and swollen feet, I was desperately in love with this baby inside of me. But for Mary, it was different. I am sure that she too loved the baby she carried with a love only a mother can have. But rather than being in love with just a baby, she was carrying the Savior of the world. I can't imagine knowing that the baby I carried was prophesied for thousands of years before and that the same prophecies that were being fulfilled also carried the message that this baby would be crucified by the very ones he came to save. I can't call up Mary and find out what she was thinking, but I can imagine that she was beyond overwhelmed at the honor of bringing our Savior into the world.

This season I celebrate our Lord and Savior. It's not about all the gifts, lights, parties and cookies. It's about celebrating the fact that Jesus came to be born in a barn, was laid in a trough, was crucified by the very ones he came to save and rose again three days later. Praise God for His immeasurable gift, His Son.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Free Christmas Cards from Shutterfly!

Shut Up!? Free?? Shutterfly is giving away 50 free Christmas Picture Cards to bloggers who write a post about their wonderful services.

We have used Shutterfly in the past to order pictures, and I've also gotten a photo book or two from them. They always have high quality and are a good deal! How easy it is to sit on my couch and take my time to order high quality photos from Shutterfly. I haven't used them for cards before, and I am so excited to get my cards and send them out.

Here are some of my favorite Christmas products:


There are so many more that I love. Head on over here to see all of their wonderful Christmas cards!
Did you know that you can also get photo mugs , wall calendars, birthday cards, holiday invitations, and stationery from Shutterfly?

Now I am going to have the daunting task of narrowing down my choices and choosing pictures to go in my cards. How exciting for many folks who don't get to see our son to see how much he's grown and changed!

I've never sent out photo Christmas cards before and this excites me! If you have a blog, you can go here to get your free cards! You just have to write a blog post about their wonderful promotion!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

I am NOT Super Mom

You might be reading the title to this post and think "really, so what, who cares", or you might think "what, but I thought you were", or "if you're not then you better start fixing things".

When I did a quick Google search on "Super Mom", I found some interesting things. First of all, I found this blog where a mom confesses her desire to NOT be super mom. Then I found the how-to blog on which the Super Mom is idolized and there are directions on how to do all things super. But really, what is the proverbial "Super Mom"? It appears that the Super Mom is never behind on laundry, the dishes are always done, gourmet meals are served nightly, the house is spotless, she holds down a job of some kind, the kids are dressed in the best clothes, her husband is never neglected, she volunteers, she coupons with the best of 'em, she is the Team Mom, and always prepared for every possibility.

None of those things that describes "Super Mom" are bad in any way. In fact, if someone actually accomplishes all of that above then that's not a bad thing at all. But you know what? None of that is important. My son won't look back one day and say "hey, that time I really needed to talk to my mom and she decided to do the dishes instead, that was so okay with me because my kitchen was always clean". I am not advocating that you should live like a slob. But in the end what matters the most is that I've truly been present for my son, all the while loving his daddy like I should. Because the best gifts I can give my son besides being involved with him is to lead him to love Jesus and for me to love his daddy like I should.

So here's my confession: I have a basket of clean laundry piled up in the laundry room waiting for me to fold it. Guess what? I'm not folding it tonight. And you know what else? There are dishes in my sink right now. Guess what? I'm not putting them in the dishwasher tonight. But you know what else? After Austin got out of the tub tonight (I am not filthy, I do bathe my child) we played word games. And we laughed and we enjoyed time together. Guess what? That's a million times better than the laundry being folded and put away. And something else even better? My husband and I had a moment tonight when the song that was sung at our wedding came on a radio show he was listening to. Those things, those moments, you never get them back. But dishes, and laundry, and mopped floors... those can all be done a little later.

So I don't want to be Super Mom. And if you thought I was before you read this, please change your view of me. I am not that woman who always has it all together, and I never will be. But I'm happy as I can be that I got to be called Mom at all and I sure do love my husband.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

I am Mommy

I am the one who you wake up when you are sick or scared.
I am the one who changes your sheets in the middle of the night.
I am the one who comforts you when you have a bad dream.
I am the one who nurses your "boo-boos" back to health.
I am the one who has sat rocking you night after night when you had terrible ear infections.

I am Mommy.

I am the one who makes sure you have clean clothes ready to wear.
I am the one who gives you a bath every night even though you sometimes say you would rather be dirty all the time.
I am the one who brushes your teeth even if you hate it.
I am the one who fixes your hair so it looks like it's "sharked" every morning.
I am the one who wakes up much earlier than I'd like to pack your lunch.
I am the one who most likely packs too much food in your lunch, just in case.

I am Mommy.

I am the one who went through labor for 24 hours and had a rough delivery ending in a c-section.
I am the one who had to have surgery when you were 18 months old due to complications from that c-section.
I am the one they held you next to right after you were born and heard the words "Mrs. Zimmerman, this is your son."
I am the one that told the anesthesiologist I was crying because I was so happy when the tears were flowing just after I laid my eyes on you for the first time.
I am the one who laid in that hospital bed holding you in the middle of the night and through my pain and discomfort was in awe that YOU were my son.

I am Mommy.

I am the one who took you to your Kindergarten class this year one the first day of school, and managed to hold it together while I watched you embark on this new adventure in your childhood.
I am the one who remembered you were just that baby with me in the hospital the other day, or at least it seemed so.
I am the one who now walks you to the cafeteria every morning where you usually find a friend to eat breakfast with and say "Goodbye Mom!"
I am the one who walks away proud that you are doing all these things on your own.

I am Mommy.

I am the one you want when you're sick or sad.
I am the one you ask many questions, some I can't even answer.
I am the one you want to tell when you are excited or happy.
I am the one who gets to hear "I love you Mommy" several times a day.
I am the one who feels a little afraid that these days are going by just a little too fast.

I am Mommy.

I will be the one to help you when you have your first major project.
I will be the one to give you advice when the girls are no longer "yucky".
I will be the one to bid you goodbye when you drive off to take a girl on your first date.
I will be the one in the passenger seat when you learn to drive.
I will be the one cheering you on from the lobby of the DMV while you take your driving test.
I will be the one crying at High School Graduation.
I will be the one in the dorm parking lot with Kleenex and a box of goodies so you can remember home.
I will be the one crying at your wedding because I'll be so proud of the man you've become.
I will be the one in the waiting room at the hospital when you finally get to say I am Daddy.

I am Mommy.

And I wouldn't have it any other way.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

GDA: Knorr Sides!!

In my Publix, I found the Get A Smart Start savings booklet on a display. There were products such as Ragu and Lipton on the display. The booklet has a coupon in it for .55 off 2 Knorr Sides. They are BOGO this week for $1.49. Use this coupon on 2 sides and you can get each one for .47 each. I stocked up. I hope you do too!

Here is what the booklet looks like:

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Free Skinny Cow Ice Cream with Purchase!

I found a great deal!

Lean Cuisine Frozen Entrees are on sale 4 for $10.

You can use any of these coupons listed to save:

-$1/2 Lean Cuisine Entrees, any
-$1/5 Lean Cuisine 5/2/2010 SS Insert (exp 8/1/2010)
-$1/2 Lean Cuisine Market Creations Entree (IE) or Printable (FF)
-$1/2 Lean Cuisine Market Creations 6/20/2010 Parade Magazine (exp 8/31/2010)
-$1/2 Lean Cuisine Varieties (exp 9/6/2010)

Then in the Yellow Advantage Buy Flyer (found in the front of the store) there is the following coupon:
-FREE Skinny Cow Frozen Treats Multipack wyb 4 Lean Cuisine Frozen Entrees

If you buy 4 Lean Cuisines, use 2 $1 off 2 coupons and stack them with the coupon from the yellow Advantage Buy Flyer, you get all of the above for $8! Great Deal!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Wal-Mart Deals beginning 6/17

I visited www.couponmom.com and found this on their database for Walmart. You can visit there too for other savings. This is a great, free database to use. I use it specifically for Wal-Mart deals. If you buy multiple papers this is a great way to stock up on some free or very cheap items and build your stockpile. The date with the abbreviation (SS, RP) are the specific insert in which you'll find the coupon. 03/07 RP means the coupon will be found in the March 7th Red Plum. You can read up on coupon lingo here.

Here is the list organized by amount saved. Click here to get your list. Then after you shop, tell me how much you saved!


















Thursday, July 8, 2010

In the Blink of An Eye

My Dear Sweet Boy Austin,
Tomorrow you are going to come home. You've been in Jacksonville with Grandma and Grandpa for a few days and I've missed you so. I've missed your sweet hugs and kisses and even when you've tormented the dog just a little too much for the day. I miss parenting you (even when you don't make good choices), and spraying you down with the hose in the back yard on these hot days. When you get home tomorrow (thanks to Grams and Mr. Oscar) I can promise you that I will shower you with lots of hugs and kisses.
While you've been gone I cleaned out your room. You have far more toys than I could ever dreamed of having when I was a kid. Too many in fact. It's a lot easier to get rid of things when you aren't around. :) You'll understand one day when you have your own kids. When I told you that I was going to do this, you told me to give your trains away to the children who don't have toys. You told me that you are too old for Thomas, Percy, Diesel 10 and Annie and Clarabel. No longer were you going to fly Harold to the rescue or set up your track to run your trains on. Part of me was glad to get rid of some of the clutter, but the other part of me felt a little sad. Where did my little boy go? He has been replaced by the boy who pretends to be Indiana Jones with an imaginary whip chasing away all the bad guys, who is Bumblebee defeating the Decepticons, or who is Luke Skywalker defeating Darth Vader. My little boy is becoming a big boy. It really feels like yesterday that I was mashing up bananas in rice cereal for your breakfast and nursing you at 3AM. It feels like it was just a few minutes ago that I was up with you all night because you were teething. Wasn't it just recently I had to pack your diaper bag? Now we usually don't have to worry about taking a change of clothes when we're out and about. I feel like I blinked my eyes and all of a sudden before me stands a big boy.
You've started reading. How did that happen? How did I have such a smart child? People think that because your mommy is a teacher I must have taught you how to read. I disagree. You my son are one of the smartest little people I know. You only have to have a word read to you once or twice and you know it. Do you remember when you were about 18 months old and we were on the way to daycare and all of a sudden you were singing the ABC's... perfectly? I almost ran off the road. In your sweet words you told me that you learned it from your teacher at school. You really surprise me sometimes.
Now you are going to start Kindergarten in just about 5 weeks. I can't believe it. One huge perk to teaching is that I get to take you with me to school. Mommy worked really hard to get a teaching job at our neighborhood school and the Lord allowed it to happen. Not many working moms can look out their windows and see their child's classroom. There are some things you need to know about the first day of school. I will make sure you have everything you need; your backpack, your supplies, your clothes washed and neat, and your lunch packed. Then I will drop you off in your classroom. Mommy is going to cry. Not because I'm sad. I will be crying because I am proud. I am so proud that in your five years you have become the boy that you have. I will give you a kiss while you're still young enough to let me. Then I will go. We already have our special finger wave picked out in case we see each other in the hall. After school is over I will pick you up. Then you can tell me all about your day.
Oh my sweet boy... as your daddy and I parent you to become a responsible young man we are proud of the boy we see. But I can't help to wonder why it all must go by so fast. Just as quickly as we've gotten to kindergarten, we are going to get to Middle School and then High School. Before I know it, I'll be the mom in the dorm parking lot with a box of kleenex. But as time goes and I have to let you go little by little, know that I love you. You often ask me if I'll love you no matter what... and I will, always. No matter what. I am so thankful that God gave you to me to mother. I am so blessed to have a sweet, caring, adventurous, energetic, smart, and fun kid to call my own. I love you to the moon and back my sweet boy... even if you are becoming a man in the blink of my eye.
Love,
Mommy

Sunday, June 27, 2010

More on Stockpiling and Brand Loyalty

First, let's discuss Stockpiling. You may be asking yourself why on earth you would want to stockpile. There are several sides of the issue to consider.

Maybe you don't have too many people to buy for. Maybe you are single. Maybe you have 8 kids, a husband and 3 dogs. Maybe you are an empty-nester and it's just you and your husband. Due to the varying sizes of families, I wrote my first post about newspapers and stockpiling to get you to think about what it consumed in your home. If you are single, you do not need to stockpile 20 or more bottles of detergent. Furthermore if you have 8 kids and do 40 loads of laundry a week, you would want more than 2 bottles stockpiled. Make sense? You stockpile according to your family's needs. I've gotten a deal before where I bought thirty boxes of pasta before because I got it for about 10 cents a box. A coworker explained to me that there's no way she could stockpile like that because she and her husband could never consume that much. Well, that's fine. But why couldn't you buy 2 boxes of pasta for 10 cents a box? It's about purchasing the amount you need for your family.

Now that we've talked about HOW MUCH you should stockpile, let's talk about why. We are in a state of the economy that stinks. I keep hearing on the news that it is going to continue to stink for a while. Even if your employment isn't in trouble now, it might be later. No matter your source of income, it could be reduced for a number of reasons. If you practice stockpiling and become a well versed, seasoned couponer you will have a stockpile on hand that would allow you to cut out grocery shopping for a while. You may even be able to only buy the items you can get for free for some time until you are able to increase your income again. Another side of stockpiling involves financial crisis. Maybe your income wasn't reduced, but any of us could experience some kind of financial woe. Maybe something in your home needs a repair that can't wait and it's going to cost a great deal of money. It could be possible that a large unexpected medical expense comes into your family. Well, if you are stockpiled then you can stick to just the free items for a month or two, have the groceries on hand that you need and shop from your stockpile. Wouldn't it be helpful to have the stockpile on hand?

On a side note, you might be thinking about your storage space at this point. I am going to discuss that in another post.

Let's talk about brand loyalty. Honestly, you will maximize your savings if you are not brand loyal. Generics are not always cheaper when it comes to couponing. So you may have to reprogram your thinking when it comes to brand loyalty. Now you may think, I love Tropicana Orange Juice. I don't care if another brand is free, I am going to buy Tropicana Orange Juice. Okay, fine. But are there other things that you can let go of brand loyalty with? Does it honestly matter what brand of shaving cream, or laundry detergent, or canned vegetables you purchase? You are going to be purchasing name brand items when you coupon anyway. If you are insistent about brand loyalty (my husband wants me to buy only Heinz Ketchup), you are going to have to become even more focused and wait for your brand of item to go on sale. It will, but you may miss out on other deals in the process. So it's time to re-program your thinking a little.

You might be thinking, I hate ____. I am not buying it because it's on sale. What's the point of keeping around food my family won't eat. This is not about just buying things because they are on sale. Your family might not eat junk food. Well, you don't have to buy a box of cookies because they are on sale. You look at the sales for the week and you only buy what your family will eat. This is not some kind of method to just buy things because they are cheap. I have tried some items because they were free. Sometimes my family enjoys them and other times we don't. However, I am not going out and purchasing diet Pepsi when my husband is a diet Coke drinker. I hope that clears up some doubts you may have in your mind about this process.

I wrote this post hoping that everyone would be able to clear their minds of some doubts you may have about the couponing process. Remember, you buy what you need for the size of your household, keep your mind open about brands, and purchase items that would actually be consumed in your household. Most importantly you stockpile to help your household's financial standing.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

BUT! I need dog food and it isn't on sale!! ARGH!

No need to be frustrated. There will be times that you need an item that is not on sale. This will happen more often while you are building a stockpile.

What you need to do is utilize the Coupon Database. Type in the item you need, for example Dog Food. You could even type in a brand name. For example, Alpo. If there are coupons available anywhere for that item, they will be listed in the forum. Then, at the VERY LEAST, you can purchase the item at full price and use a coupon on that item.

I am SUPER DUPER excited about this database. Sometimes there are things I forget to buy when I'm focusing on all these sales and I am happy to know that I have this database to help me out!

I should pay WHAT for that???!!??? Couponing Lesson #3

Did you know that there is a price you should try to stick to for several items? Did you know there are TEN things you should NEVA EVA pay for? Well, I didn't either until today.

Hop on over to Truecouponing.com to learn more.

Here is a link to their handy dandy price list right here.

Couponing Lesson Post #2:

Here are Kati's notes from today's Truecouponing.com workshop. This one discusses the basics of a deal:

Click here to download and print if you'd like.

Newspapers and Stockpiling

I attended a great workshop today given by three women who attend my church. Their website is www.truecouponing.com. I suggest that you visit their website and subscribe to it. You will have the weekly updates emailed out to you if you do.

I am a bit overwhelmed with a few things, so I am going to write several different posts on couponing instead of one long post.

The first thing I want to talk about is a sales cycle. I knew before today that they existed, but now I know how they work. Things usually go on sale every 12 weeks. Meaning ketchup is going to be on sale every 12 weeks. Laundry detergent is going to be on sale every 12 weeks. Insert the product and it will be on sale about every 12 weeks. Your job is to think about the size of your family. How much laundry detergent do you need for 12 weeks? Well, I do about 8 loads of laundry a week myself. If a bottle of detergent does 40 loads, then I will go through a bottle in about 5 weeks. I usually over-estimate my needs. Let's say I go through a bottle a month. Well, that would mean that for a 12 week period, I would need at least 3 bottles of detergent. Everything needs to be bought in multiples of two (more on that later), so when it's on sale and i have the coupons I would need to purchase 4 bottles of detergent. So think about how many of an item your family would need to get through 12 weeks. Do you have a large family? Then you might need 10 or more of an item.

Understanding how much you need allows you to determine how many newspapers you need to purchase each Sunday. At the very least, you need to get 2 because everything needs to be bought in multiples of 2 to increase your savings. Personally for my family of three plus one dog, I subscribe to my newspaper and as of today have 4 papers delivered every Sunday. It is cheaper to subscribe to the paper and get a deal on Sundays only than it is to buy them from the gas station every Sunday. UNLESS, you know a street hawker that will give you a deal if you buy multiple papers from them. If you live in the Tampa area, please email me and I can help you get a deal on your subscription. If you do not live in the Tampa area, call your newspaper's bulk delivery department and see what kind of deal they will give you.

You have to rethink the way that you shop. You are going to build a stockpile of items when they are at the rock bottom price. You are going to begin moving away from the idea of going shopping and buying everything you need for a week or two. Instead, you're going to learn to shop for free from your own pantry.

The first thing you need to do before you continue is begin thinking about how much your family needs. Then call your newspaper or make friends with a street hawker and order your papers. Please remember that you will save FAR MORE than you spend on newspapers if you do this correctly.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Sacrifice

If you are friends with me on Facebook, you know that I have been attending a Women's study at church. It's called One In A Million by Priscilla Shrier. It has been an amazing study so far.

Last night, she closed her teaching with a powerful parallel. I am going to attempt to re-tell it as she did. There wasn't a woman in our study that had a dry eye by the time she was done.

Priscilla told a story about a time she and her husband took her young sons, age 1 and 3 to Disney World. She said they were in the section where they have things for young children. There was a playground that her 3 year old son was particularly interested in. While her husband went to get something for the family to eat, she allowed her children to play on the playground. The 1 year old wasn't able to climb up to the slide on his own. So while watching the 3 year old navigate on his own, she climbed up the slide with her youngest in tow. She said that he was elated at the opportunity to slide. As she reached the bottom of the slide, she looked around for her oldest. She looked all through the play area. She began describing him to the other mothers, and they didn't know where he was. After she determined that he wasn't in that play area, she realized that her son was missing. After bursting out in tears, she informed a Disney Employee of the problem. It was then that she was surrounded by Disney Officials and was asked the questions no one ever wants to answer; What was he wearing? Do you have a picture? and so forth. Priscilla said that she was imagining the worst and the thought was horrifying. They looked for her son for an agonizing FIFTEEN minutes. Finally, Priscilla glanced up through her tears and a Disney Employee came walking with her son in hand. She ran to her little guy, scooped him up and just bawled. The young boy of course did not realize why his mother was crying. Finally she found out that he didn't see her up on the slide with his little brother so he chose to leave the play area to look for his mommy.

She said after it was all over she held both of her boys in her lap. As she cried and thanked the Lord for bringing back her oldest, the Holy Spirit spoke to her. He said "Priscilla, you couldn't live without your son for fifteen minutes. I gave my only Son to die for you. Imagine my sacrifice and how heart wrenching it was to allow my Son to DIE."

If I wasn't crying already at the thought of my own son becoming missing, it was now at the thought that my God gave HIS SON Jesus Christ to die for me. What a Sacrifice. All for me. And for you. And for everyone else.

Romans 10:9-10
That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord" and believe in your hear that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved."



Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Drawing the Line

I never really expected to write a blog post about this kind of thing. But I guess this issue is getting to my core lately.

I won't hide the fact that I am a Christian. Jesus Christ is my personal Savior. He died on the cross to save all of us from our sin. He is my everything, and without doubt guides my steps. I am so far from perfect, there aren't words. I have so much to learn, and so much work to do. However, because of my Savior, I know He forgives, and allows me to learn and grow through my mistakes. I have made plenty of mistakes, and Jesus is there to pick me up after I've fallen. And He's allowed me to get back on track time after time. God is good, that's for sure.

Now I have a five year old son. My husband and I are often talking about making good choices for him. Knowing where to draw the line for him when we allow him to watch or do things. Yes, he's only 5... but we know that if we set boundaries for him now that later on it will help him make good choices. I can't stifle him... I can't restrict him from everything, but I sure can filter our television and other things. Recently, my husband and I thought it might be a good idea to take Austin to see the movie Marma.duke. My husband did a little search on the Focus on the Family website and found out that the movie depicts the dogs drinking ditchwater and makes it out that they are drinking beer. There are a few other things that are negative in that movie. They show behavior we don't want our son to have. If you want to read the review, you can click here. Can I filter everything from him? No, but I can make the best choices I can.

I could list a lot of verses from the Bible that explain that Christians are to be set apart. When this issue really began to burn me up last night, I posted Romans 12:1-2 on my status update on facebook. It states "Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God--this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will." (NIV)

In light of this verse, I've seen several things recently that make me wonder why if one proclaims to be a Christian that you would openly participate in things that make that proclamation questionable. Now, you can't look at me and tell that I am saved by the grace of Jesus. So you could use the excuse that no one knows I'm a Christian when I'm out in public, so I can get away with some things. Okay, well... then, the next time I go to the grocery store and they question my use of a coupon I think I'll just curse at the cashier. No one knows I'm a Christian, right... so that makes it okay, right? Absolutely NOT. The Lord still knows what I've done. And even if no one else heard me, the Lord did. Let's take it a little further. Let's say I chose to go out to the beach one day. And with me, I take a cooler full of beer. I set up my lawn chair on the beach and while Austin digs in the sand, I booze it up... become slap out drunk. Now we can talk about child endangerment here, but that's not my point. The Bible says not to become drunken. Does anyone on the beach know that I am a Christian? No, but the Lord does. And I can tell you that living 1 mile from the school I teach at and about 5 miles from the closest beach, I am going to most likely run into one of my former students on the beach. Do you think that's a good testimony to them if they see their teacher boozing it up on the beach? I don't preach the gospel in my classroom, but my students know that I attend church and if they ask I do tell them I'm a Christian.

Recently, I have witnessed fellow believers posting pictures of themselves on facebook. These pictures show them consuming alcohol in various places. On the beach and even in bars. I won't name any names, because it's not appropriate here. But this gets under my skin. I suppose there really isn't anything wrong if you want to consume alcohol in your own home and not become drunk. But when you go out and flat out get drunk in public, what does that show with your testimony? What really set me off was an acquaintance I saw on Television. I won't get into specifics, but he was on a reality show and he stripped down to very tiny underpants. I don't want to put the name of the show or his name. I don't think it's appropriate. My point is that this disgusting act not only grossed me out, but made me wonder why someone who professes to be a Christian would do something like that. You can be funny without stripping down. Really, you can.

I went to a Chonda Pierce concert recently. She talked about some experiences she's had in the secular realm of entertainment. How no one could understand that you can do a comedy routine without cursing and being crass. However, she does it. She talked about lifestyle evangelism, and how people keep wondering how she can be so kind and loving to others, and how she can be in her line of work and not be crass and rude. Because of this, people are starting to ask her questions about her faith and why she's the way she is. She has been able to start witnessing to people just because of the example she sets.

So I'm calling on Christians to draw the line. We live in an evil world, full of behavior that constantly dances on that line. When we start to lower our guard, our standards decrease and we don't even realize it.

I might be called out on facebook because of this post, and you might be reading this and completely disagree with me. But these recent events have caused me to really examine myself and think about where my own boundaries are. Whether you disagree with me about the things that got me fired up or not, please know that my point is that you can't act like the world and then claim not to be of it. No double standards allowed.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Show Us Your Life- Your Typical Day

I decided to participate in Show Us Your Life over at KellysKorner.

So what's my day like? Busy!

I usually get up around 5:45. I shower and get dressed. Then I head into the kitchen to get lunches packed. I wake up Austin around 6:15 or so. He and I usually have an exchange that consists of him insisting he is unable to dress himself and me insisting that surely a nearly 5 year old boy can dress himself. Then, he gets cereal and some yogurt for breakfast while I eat Toast with honey. Paul fends for himself. After breakfast I blow dry my hair and put on some makeup. Then I pour myself a mug full of coffee and head out the door. My commute is 3 minutes as I teach at our neighborhood school. (Paul takes Austin to school) I get to school at 7:25 and I teach 5th grade. Then at 3:30 I leave school. On days I don't pick Austin up, I head home.

When I get home there is dinner to cook, laundry to do and a house to clean. Sometimes there's baseball practice or a game. There's a folder from school to go through and a four year old to bathe. We get Austin to bed between 8 and 8:30. I usually try to catch a few minutes of TV and get to bed around 10 or so. Then I wake up in the morning and do it again!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Making Economical Choices

It occourred to me that while I do save a lot of money on groceries, I could possibly save even more with the meals I choose to prepare.

My first thought went to the cost of meat. Meat can take up a significant portion of the grocery budget. Don't get me wrong. I already buy meat at sale prices and stock up when the deal is at a low. I even wait until roast goes on sale for less than $2.50 per pound and have it ground. It makes a very affordable lean ground beef. But I digress, I began to think about what kinds of meals I could prepare using more affordable cuts of meat. You know, the chicken leg quarters and chuck steaks and things like that. Well, chicken leg quarters went on sale at Publix this week for .59 cents per pound. Now that is cheap. Here's a picture of the package I purchased...


Yes, that's 4 and a half pounds of meat for $2.66. Wow. I only purchased one package because I just wasn't sure what I would do with it. Well, I also read Publix Penny Pincher and she posted this recipe. So I thought about my chicken. I am hard pressed for time... so this is how I plan to modify this to my needs.

I cut up an onion, a few cloves of garlic and some carrots. Here's everything ready to go...



In the morning, I am going to put my 4 chicken leg quarters, the cut up veggies and some seasonings in my crock pot. I'll cover everything with water. When I get home, I will strip the chicken off the bone and shred it. (I will probably have extra chicken to freeze). The liquid left behind in my crock pot will then be a wonderful broth. I will use the broth to cook my dumplings, which I will make with unbleached flour. This is a very affordable meal and based on my estimates will feed my family for less than $5. It's even better that I'm going to have some cooked chicken to freeze when I'm done. I'll let you know how it turns out.



Friday, February 26, 2010

Publix Dollar Deals 2/25-3/3/10

Click here to find more where these deals came from!

Bayer Aspirin On Sale $1.50
$1/1 HERE or 1/31 SS or 1/3 SS
Stack with $1/1 from Walgreens February Coupon Booklet (if your store accepts Walgreens as a competitor!)
FREE to $.50 each after coupon!

Betty Crocker Brownie Mix BOGO $2.69
$.75/2 or $1/2 from 2/7 SS
$.75/2 HERE
$.35 - $.97 depending on coupon

Colgate Toothpaste On Sale $1.50
$.75/1 from 2/21 SS, $1/1 Colgate Sensitive Toothpaste from 2/7 SS
$.50-$.75 each after coupon

Colgate Wisp Mini Brush On Sale $1.50
$.50/1 HERE or 2/7 SS
$.50 each after coupon

Dannon Activia Yogurt On Sale $2
$1/1 from 1/10 or 2/7 SS or HERE
$1 each after coupon

Del Monte Canned Tomatoes BOGO $1.39
$1/4 Del Monte HERE or 2/7 RP
$.44 each after coupon

Egg Beaters On Sale $1.66
$1/2 or $.35/1 from 1/10 SS; $.35/1 Blinkie
$.96 - $1.15 depending on coupon

General Mills Lucky Charms, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Kix, Cookie Crisp, Reese's Puffs, Golden Grahams BOGO $3.99
Use $1/1 Lucky Charms, Cinnamon Toast Crunch HERE
$.99 each after coupon

Green Giant Canned Vegetables BOGO $1.29
Look for $1/4 Tearpad
$.39 - $.64 depending on coupon!

Green Giant Steamers BOGO $2.39
$.50/1 HERE or HERE
$.40/1 or $.50/2 from 1/3 GM; $.50/2 from 2/21 SS
Stack with $5/20 Italian Days Coupons or HERE
$.19 - $.69 depending on coupon

Hershey's Nuggets BOGO $3.69
$1/1 Hershey's Extra Dark Chocolate Bar or Bag from 1/10 SS
$.84 each after coupon

Hunt's Tomato Sauce 8 oz. On Sale $.33
$1/3 HERE
FREE after coupon!

I Can't Believe It's Not Butter Spread BOGO $2.49
$.60/2, $.75/2, $.50/1, $1/2 from 1/31 RP or $.75/1 Blinkie
Stack with $.75/2 Multiply Your Meals and Savings
FREE - $.94 depending on coupon

Keebler Club Crackers BOGO $3.99
$1/1 from 1/24 SS
$.99 each after coupon

Knorr Pasta Sides BOGO $1.49
$.75/3, $.50/2, $1/3, $.60/2
Stack with $.55/2 from Publix Multiply Your Meals and Savings Booklet
FREE to $.74 depending on coupon
Stock Up Price!!!

Kraft Chunk Cheese On Sale $1.66
$1/2 from 1/24 SS or Blinkie
Stack with $1/2 Publix Coupon from 1/3 SS OR Target coupon HERE
$.66 - $1.16 depending on coupon
Stock Up Price!!!

Lipton Family Size Tea Bags BOGO $2.65
$.50/1, $.60/1 or $1/2 from 1/31 RP
$.32 - $82 each depending on coupon
Stock Up Price!!!

Pam Cooking Spray BOGO $3.39
$.50/1 HERE no longer available
$.69 each after coupon
Stock Up Price!!!

Planters Peanuts BOGO $3.09
$1/2 or $2/2 from 1/24 SS
Stack with $1/2 Target Planters Coupon HERE
FREE - $.54 each after coupon!

Post Honey Bunches of Oats Assorted Varieties BOGO $3.99
Use FREE MILK coupon from Yellow Advantage Buy Flier
$8 for four boxes of cereal PLUS milk!

Progresso Soup On Sale $1.25
$1/4 or $.50/2 from 2/7 GM or 1/17 SS; $.50/2 from 1/3 GM; $.25/1 Progresso Light Soup from 2/7 SS
$1/1 from 2/21 SS (Not in Huntsville Smart Source)
$1.10/3 HERE, $1/3 HERE or HERE
Stack with $1/4 Italian Days Coupon Booklet HERE
FREE to $1 each depending on coupon


Ragu Pasta Sauce BOGO $2.29
$.30/1, $1/2, $.75/2, $1.25/3, $.65/2 from 1/31 RP
Stack with $1/2 from Publix Multiply Your Meals and Savings Booklet (26.3 oz. size only)
$.04 - $1.14 depending on coupon
$.04 is based on 2 $.30/1 doubled and $1/2 from Multiply Your Meals Booklet - Stock Up Price!!!

Right Guard Deodorant BOGO $2.49
$2/2 HERE or HERE
$.24 each after coupon
Stock Up Price!!!

Ronzoni Pasta BOGO $1.99
$1/1 or $1/2 Healthy Harvest, Smart Taste or Garden Delight from 1/10 SS (if included in sale)
$.75/1 or $1/2 from 12/6 SS or HERE (if included in sale)
FREE to $.99 depending on coupon!

Starkist Tuna 6.4 oz. package BOGO $3.19
$1/1 HERE
$.59 each after coupon

Uncle Ben's Ready Rice $1.33
$1/2 from 2/21 SS or $.75/1, $1/2 or $1/1 from 1/3 RP
$.75/2 HERE
$.33-$83 depending on coupon

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Cloth Pull-Ups Take One

Okay, before I begin there are a few things you need to know:
-I am not a seamstress. I do not have stellar sewing skills.
-My sewing machine is not a modern model. It was a generous gift from my Mother-In-Law and she's had it since Paul was a kid.
-My purpose in doing this is to save $$. I was not making this so it'd look cute. The fashion police are not going to show up at my house in the middle of the night to inspect the style of my son's pull-ups while he sleeps.
-If you're reading this and you are agasp at my sewing or even my idea of doing this, please move on. I am chronicling my attempts, not putting this online for you to pick apart and criticize me. If you have a better idea or a better method I could use, please share. But negative Nellys, please move on to the next blog.

Okay, without further adieu, here's what I did.

The reason I started this in the first place is because I have a boy who does things on his own time. He'll be able to wake up and go to the bathroom when he's ready. I could offer him the world, but he'll do things on his own time. I decided that I'm sick of buying disposable pull ups and I'd rather have a cloth option that is washable. I am also not into shelling out the big bucks for cloth diapers online when I can just make my own. I did some googling, and found things likethis online. After reading this, I began to think about what materials I had at home.

I took 2 pair of underwear and a generic version of a Sham Wow. Yes, a Sham Wow. Only it isn't called a Sham Wow because we got it at the flea market for $1.00. You don't know what a Sham Wow is? Oh, then let me remind you...

Click HERE
Anyway, I thought of the Sham Wow because it's super absorbent. The idea is not to soak the bed, right?

So here are the pictures of the materials:
















After that, I cut the underwear on the sides. So I could layer the Sham Wow between the two pairs of undies and sew them together with a seam. When I cut them apart and laid them out, they looked like this:


I only had a few pins, but I pinned down the undies, and used a sharpie to trace the undies onto the Sham Wow. Then I cutout the Sham Wow, and pieced it together between the two pair of undies. When it was all pinned together, it looked like this:



Then I sewed. I ended up using a large straight stitch. I tried a fancy zig zag, but I think the age of my sewing machine couldn't handle doing it through three layers of material. Here are some pictures of all the sewing:



This is what it looked like when I sewed the seams together on the sides:



So here's the verdict. The undies lost their stretchiness (is that a word?) when I layered them with the sham wow. Simply put, they were too small. I like the idea of using undies because it's a fool proof pattern. I ended up taking this apart at the seams on the side and putting them inside his undies to use as an absorbent pad to check the absorbency. It was good, but I think a plastic liner will help. I am going to purchase some bigger boys' undies (maybe on the cheap at the $1 store), another generic Sham Wow (they have them at Winn Dixie for $1) and also a cheap felt backed plastic table cloth. I am going to layer it all together and sew that way. Instead of sewing the seams shut on the side, I am going to make velcro closures of some kind. I am looking forward to making this work for us!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Not Me! Monday



It's been a long time since I have posted a Not Me! Monday, but here we go...

This is a blog carnival started by MckMama, click here to visit her site.

It wasn't me who had to get up before dawn on a Saturday morning to get out to the ballpark. And it most certainly wasn't our little league field that sent out three versions of a game schedule and we most assuredly did not think our son had a baseball game when he didn't. We did enjoy opening day activities though, so I guess it worked out.

It isn't me who needs to seriously organize our files. I have surely been most organized and everything is perfectly filed. Things haven't been out of whack since we moved into our new home in November.

It wasn't me who breathed a fresh sigh of relief this weekend when I realized I feel the most well I've felt in several months. No, I have been well and alive and kickin' all of 2010!

It isn't me who wonders who actually reads my blog and would really like someone to make some comments. I don't often wish I'd know how many people read my blog.

Would you like to join in? Hop on over to MckcMama's blog and learn how to get started.