Sunday, July 31, 2011

July in Review

Blogging: This is the 11th post for the month, much better than in previous month. I do have to say that the majority of this was due to our vacation but I can hope trend continues at least through August. The goal is 15.

Devotions: No change from last month except have probably been more on the miss side.I am going to make this a priority! Goal: 3 per week.

Couponing/Grocery Budgeting: We are actually under for the month at $630. Couponing continues to make this number go down. Meal Planning on Sunday has also been a big help in keeping us on track. In August our goal is to stay under 400. The one huge way we hope to do this is by eating out of the freezer for the majority of the month. Our extra freezer in the building is completely full. So we are hoping that we can begin to not only eat and save for this month. Our Grocery Budget is set at $800 per month, this includes diapers, cleaning supplies, food and toiletries.

: July was a different month for us as I expected. We took a vacation to the beach for 5 days. I also have bought some clothes and other school supplies that are needed. I would say that because we were able to met budget and go on vacation. Goal met for this month. It has now been a year of unemployment for Matt. We are going to really focus during the rest of the year on achieving our financially goals. As mentioned above I am planning on reducing our Grocery Budget and using this money to make some house repairs so that we can achieve the Emergency fund ASAP! Goals in this area: Emergency fund of $1000, car fund equal to a payment of $300 each month and by January- debt free except for mortgage.

- Have not even stepped on the scale. This will become a propriety in the next couple of months maybe?Or I may eliminate from the goal list all together!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Vacation Bible School

This is one of the most looked forward and exciting weeks around our house especially for Lily. This year it also marked the one year anniversary of Matt becoming unemployed...we have survived and are actually enjoying more time as a family and even being able to splurge a little. After a year of construction, our new church facility is almost complete, so much so that VBS was held at the building while last minute construction, painting and staining were occuring. Matt volunteered to help "where-ever needed." He ended up in charge of games, the best news is that was only 3 days. I had hoped to arrange my schedule to be able to spend a little time each day at VBS, but that was not to happen. I have worked around 38 hours this week. I was able to sneak away at lunch on Friday and watch the closing program. Lily was so excited that I made it.

The week of VBS is also one of the most busiest for us as a family. We spent last Sunday evening helping prepare crafts and doing some last minute moving of things to the new facility. Each morning I left for work at around 8:15am. VBS starts at 9:20 with all workers set to arrive at 9:00am. For us this means that EVERYONE must be feed and dressed with hair and teeth brushed. This served as an awesome reminder of how blessed we are not to have to attempt to get this accomplished every morning to take the kids to daycare. I honestly don't know how anyone with more than one small child makes it anywher before 9 any morning.

The week ended with a couple of bangs as well. We decided after the pool on Saturday (today) to head to Salisbury for Chinese and Shushi. We made several discoveries on this trip. First Zach is allergic to shrimp. At least that is what we are thinking. His face, arms and body broke out in a itchy rash after 6-8 shrimp. While waiting to pay, I looked over and noticed Lily's ear was black around her earring. So I have to remove, clean her ears and we bought her some sensitive earrings to wear. While at Walmart, getting Lily's earrings, Kendall decided she wanted her ears pierced. After several minutes we agreed and she is wearing the most adorable rainbow flowers I have seen. She changed her mind after I had already paid for the new earrings, and she even cried when they pierced both ears but now she is excited to look at them in the mirror. Wow what a week. Now back to our regular not quite so busy lives!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Wordless Wednesday Beach

This last picture says it all!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

A Different sort of Vacation

Today has been totally different from any other days I can remember on a vacation. Usually, we sort of get into a routine or at least have a plan for how each day will go. This time we didn't, on both Thursday and Friday we spent all day (6 plus hours) on the beach. The canopy makes is so easy to do snack, lunch and nap outside there is no need for coming back to the hotel. The kids on both these days have asked to go to the pool. We attempted the pool on Thursday night but the temperature was cool and the water was down right cold. I ended up staying up late last night because of my teenage daughters, so I want a nice easy day. Matt and I decided that this morning we would stay around the hotel room and then spend the day by the pool. Much to our surprise the pools remained chilly all day. This morning we ended up in one of the hot tubs and then came up around 11 for lunch. All the kids went down for naps really easy so we joined them. We headed back to the pool for another round but ended up sitting on the edge. We came up earlier to get dressed to go out for our really nice dinner today. It was nice not to have to rush and to spend time on hair and makeup for a change. We ended up taking pictures on the beach before and after the dinner so I hope we were able to get some decent ones for use in calenders and Christmas cards. Dinner was awesome!! We ended up watch a "Fire and Hula" show at the hotel tonight! The kids loved it. Matt is a very awesome husband today by going to Krispy Kreme to end the night! One interesting thing we have noted is that we are being charged 11%tax on food. This is extremly high in our eye but what can we do! Final note I am having issues publishing my post from yesterday so if it appears out of sequence you know why.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Couponing on Vacation?

One of the "hard" decision that I had to make last week was if I want to bring my coupons on vacation with us or not. I knew I would be bring my netbook but did not have plans to go shopping at all. I have gotten WAY behind on organizing my coupons. Several people at church have been taking part in our "coupon blessing", by bring coupons in to be used. Several weeks we have gotten full inserts as well as envelopes of already cut coupons and some inserts that have one or alot of coupons already cut but even more left in the insert. The whole insert are the easiest for me because I simply file them with the ones I purchase, the others I have been placing in a bag. One of the reason I was avoiding these was because I really dislike filing in my baseball card inserts, it seems too time consuming for me. I also have fallen about 2 months behind on going thur my insert and send some to my niece in Alaska and throwing out the rest. I knew that I would most likely have the time to work on the coupons but I was still debating on what to actually do with them, so by not bringing them I could continue to ignore the issues.
I finally came up with a solution so I brought ALL of the coupons with me. So far I have spend about 3 hours on them and Matt spent almost 2 helping me last night with the first stage of organization of them. Currently, I have completed stage 2 and now am ready to go back and catch up on the sorting out of expired coupons. So what is that solution? First any whole insert that I receive or buy will remain filed by date in my organizer. Next all partially cut insert, I am going to first cut out the coupons and then file by expiration date in a second organizer. The idea being that if I am looking for a coupon I will first find it in my whole inserts, check the expiration date and then locate any or all others by locating by expiration date. So currently, I have cut all coupon, sorted by month of expiration and then resorted first by like coupons together and then by expiration date in order. So I have coupons that expire on 7/29 before the ones that expire on 7/30. I also have these coupons sorted in separate tabs by month they expire. Coupons that expire in the month of July are also listed in red on southern savers so that gives me a additional place to start. I plan to spend at least an hour each of the remaining nights of vacation pulling out expired coupons. My goal is to have all the coupons in order prior to Monday so that I can start just maintaining the inserts and new coupons that come in each week. In reality this will mean an hour or so each Sunday to keep on top of these.
Now to the real reason I am so glad I brought my coupons with me. I realized today that we are using sunscreen about double my expectation, so I need to purchase additional sunscreen today. I decided to stop by CVS, use my ECBs and purchase some sunscreen. I was able to save 50% on sunscreen tonight at CVS!! I think this is awesome especially considering that prices at that CVS here were the same or less that that I purchased at home! I did use a 10 off $50 purchase and one $1 off sunscreen!

Couponing is FUN again!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

First Day of Vacation

Today, was the first full day of our family vacation it was peaceful, relaxing and awesome. I am sincerely glad that we chose this date. Today is also the anniversary of the saddest day in our family history. One year ago today, Amanda had a wreck and baby Remington left this earth. I am more convinced today than ever that God has a plan for us and his plan is ALWAYS better than our plans.

We started off today with an trip to Cracker Barrel. We came back to the hotel, changed and spent the next 6 hours on the beach. We have borrowed a canopy from a friend and it was awesome today. It was very easy to set up. We enjoyed lunch, snacks and naps under it. The ocean was calm and both the little girls LOVED jumping, slapping, and even karate chopping the waves. The temperate was lower today and at one point Lily complained of being cold in the ocean. We came in, eat and decided to go on a shopping trip. We purchased the little kids some new shirts, a new chair to replace the one that broke today. Our plan was to go to the pools this evening but the water were too cool for our likening so after less than half an hour, we came upstairs. The kids were in bed. How did Matt and I spend the next 2 hours of our vacation? working on coupons of course. I plan to explain this in detail in the next post!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Wordless Wednesday- Makeover Editiion

Matt made Zach a new bed. It matches the floor and looks really cool with new wall color.

No more pink and purple walls for him!
After finishing Zach's room I wanted to make some changes to the playroom. The shelves were previously in the building holding alot of work items for me. So with a coat of paint they look AWESOME. The baskets, I purchased several years ago to use in the playroom but had never really got them placed.

I am so pleased with the way both the rooms seem larger and more useful. Total cost including paint and the material for Zach's bed around $75. Otherwise we just used what we had!

Monday, July 4, 2011

June in Review

Yes, I realize it is July 4th. But Kendall's birthday occurred on the first and I wanted her to have a day of post all alone!

Blogging: 7 post for the month. This seems to be closed to where I am staying for the year. I am okay with that but want to get more in the swing of things and at least post "Wordless Wednesdays" and Coupon Blessing on a regular basis. I should be ahead of the time this month with 4 post in 4 day, so thankful for the holiday. The goal is 15.

Devotions:This seems to be hit or miss. Our Pastor is currently preaching out of the book of Deuteronomy. He requested that we read the book along with him. I am trying to use that as at least one of my devotions. I am suppose to ready Chapter 5 today. I also need to get ready for next quiz year so that should encourage me as well. Goal: 3 per week.

Couponing/Grocery Budgeting: I did not stay "way under for the month of June" but instead ended up at $879 for the month. Harris Teeter has ran both a Super Doubles and a Triples event in the month so that at least explains the overage. I definitely do have a stockpile now. One thing that should make a nice impact on this year is the fact that Matt and I are making a menu plan for the week. This allows us to know and use the items we already have as well as helps Matt not have to rush around and "figure" out what to fix for dinner. The most exciting development in this area is that yesterday (Sunday) we were able to provide a couple at church with a "blessing" from our stockpile. I estimate the value to be about $100. I have also been able provide toiletries to my parents. It feels so awesome to give stuff away! Our Grocery Budget is set at $800 per month, this includes diapers, cleaning supplies, food and toiletries.

: We were able to pay off one small credit card this month however due to expected income not arriving I did not place any money in savings or the auto fund. July will be a different month as well since we are going to the beach for 5 days. Goals in this area: Emergency fund of $1000, car fund equal to a payment of $300 each month and by January- debt free except for mortgage.

- Have not even stepped on the scale. This will become a propriety in the next couple of months maybe?

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Coupon Blessing 7/3

These items are good deals (free or cheap) that can be used for personal use or donated. This week, the deals require two transactions in order to reduce out of pocket expenses.
CVS Pharmacy

Transaction 1-Oral B Advantage or Cross Action Toothbrush $3
Use $2 off coupon from Proctor & Gamble circular and purchase one. You will pay $1 plus tax out of pocket and earn $1 in ECB for this.

Transaction 2- (2) VO5 Shampoo or Conditioner for $0.82 each
Use the 1 ECB from the first transaction to pay less than $1 for two containers.

You will have spent less than $2.50 on all 3 items.

Another EXCELLENT deal this week is Coke Product for 0.69 each. There is a limit of 5 per transaction/day. These are not tracked on your card but you must present your card to get the price. I am planning on stocking up this week so I will be make a trip each day for 5 bottles!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Kendall's Party/Cake

Kendall's Birthday Celebration

Birthday are a big deal around here, thanks to Haley! Kendall is a little different, one of the reason is that there are really no little girls her age at church and so that makes it kinda difficulty to plan a real birthday party. So this year, I wanted to try something different. We actually did have a small party last night with family (pictures to follow). In order to make Kendall's birthday extra special, we planned a trip to the mall and toy story.

I had to work on Thursday morning but I arrived home around 11 and we headed to Pizza Hut for lunch. Next we went to Hanes Mall. The first stop was the carousel. Kendall actually asked for this the minute we got to the Mall. Next we stopped at the play area for about 20 minutes. Build a bear was the next stop of Kendall's celebration. Kendall picked out a bear and named her "strawberry." Zach ended up with a bear called "Chocolate chip" and Lily picked out a Rapezul outfit and shoes to match. Kendall LOVES this Bear and it has become a constant companion. The really cool thing about the bears is they actually are part of an ice cream promotion called "Blizzard Bears". Both bears hold cups of ice cream and they smell like the flavor! Pictures were scheduled at JCPenny's. Kendall is usually the most difficult one of the kids to get a good picture of but she did awesome for these. We ended up spending more than planned on pictures but these are the best ever pictures of Kendall so well worth it. After pictures it was off to ToysRus. When asked what she wanted for her birthday, the answer for the past month has been "a scooter." So of course we had to go and find one. After finding the scooter, we decided to eat at a Chinese Restaurant before heading home.

The fun continues on Friday morning(actual birthday). I was able to spend most of the morning outside with watching the little ones playing with the scooter. The weather was perfect! Friday evening our small party was our family, Amanda's current boyfriend, Pawpaw, Granny, Sandy and Lucy! Kendall received a crying baby, a barking dog, a hopping ball and all the attention a three year old needs!