Monday, October 31, 2011

How I Spent My Halloween

I was actually able to make it home early from work today! So we headed to Sonic and used some of our slush fund to buy the 0.50 corn dogs that were on special, we even took drinks for the kids. Amanda decided she would like to join us tonight; so Matt stayed home to answer the door. We ventured out to 2 Trunk or Treat and Paw Paws & Granny's of course. The first Trunk or Treat was at a church and it was AWESOME! The second at the local Fire Station.  We actually spent about 2 hours out, we hit the neighbors on both sides when we returned  home.  I actually can say it was fun! 
Here are the kids....

More Pictures to follow on Wednesday hopefully!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Random thought

I seem to have alot of these today so I thought I would share . . . . . . .
  • I have set a new "weight loss/fitness" goal. In order to earn my full day of PTO at work I have to exercise 3 times a week and lose 20lbs. So I am going to focus on exercise 3 times a week to start. I did use the Wii tonight and it was encouraging in some way but I don't even want to read or think about the other numbers. I am currently at the same weight as when I was 9 month pregnant with Zach..not pretty I told you!
  • I found a new book that I am reading called When God Winks at You  it is basically based on the idea that there is no such thing as  a coincidence. I have said this for year so it is nice to read that i am right. I need the encouragement right now.
  • Last Friday morning, a dime fell out of Zach's sleeper when I was dressing him prior to my surgery. That was my "God wink"
  • Lily has a dermatology appointment in the morning, then Haley,Lily and Kendall have Flu shots tomorrow afternoon.
  • I am planning on ordering most of our Christmas presents this weekend.
  • I only have 2 more weeks of working at the Nursing home.
  • The girls have a chance to dress up 3 times this year for Halloween, once tonight for church, a fall festival on Saturday and the actual event on Monday. Hopefully we will get lots of pictures and I will post.
  • Lily got her first school pictures today and I forgot how unflattering they can be!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Back to Shopping-CVS secrets

So after the adventure of having my teeth removed, I returned to shopping on Sunday. Matt was nice enough to drive me around on Sunday due to my medicated state.  We hit CVS, Food Lion and Walmart. I was really pleased with Food Lion, where we re-stocked on breakfast foods.  I noticed as we left CVS that I need to purchase one more bag of skittles to earn $1 ECB.  So I mentioned that I would able to run by one morning this week to pick those up. Today, I picked up 4 bags of candy and a small bag of Skittles. I used 4 $1 off coupons for the candy, as well as 5 ECBs from the beauty club. I paid $1.87 on my gift card and earned an additional 4 ECBs. In reality I was paid to take candy today. I am going to try and list all the secrets of CVS below.Remember to get the most bang for your buck, combine as many of these as you can in each trip.

 Currently, in addition to earning ECB if you spend $30 (before coupons) on certain items you earn a $10 gift card. This week the items included paper towels and toilet paper. I am using my gift card now to shop completely free! 

Another secret to CVS is the diaper deal, basically after you purchase 5 bags of diapers of either Huggies or Pampers they give you a sixth bag. This also can be combined with any ECB, coupons and sales on diapers.Currently this total is at the bottom of your receipt as well. The part I don't like is that pull ups and easy ups do not count in this total. 

Green Bag tags are another way to earn money. These tags are placed on your bags, each 4th scan of this tag generates 1 ECB.  There is only one rule that applies to this tag  you can only scan the tag one time per day regardless of the number of transactions and/or stores you visit. I use the same tag on both Amanda's and my CVS card so the tags are not card specific. In the past year, I have been able to get at least 5 of these tags for free. They usually cost $1 but each of the ones I have purchased generated 1ECB. But in reality, even if purchasing a green bag tag, it will pay for itself on your 4th trip. Some cashiers will ring the tags without a bag others will not. But I keep one in my coupon binder and have been known to use my purse if they refused to scan the tag without a bag. You can easily keep up with the number of times you have used your tag at the bottom of the receipt.

The final offer that I am aware of at CVS is called the "Beauty club". The way this one works is for every $50 you spend before coupons on beauty products including body wash and all hair items you earn 5 ECBs. This total is also at the bottom of your receipt. It runs usually one transaction day behind, For example, I spent over my next 50 mark on Sunday but the ECBs didn't print until today.

By combining all the things above I was paid to shop today and boy is my family enjoying it!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

The End of September Hits

At least that is my prayer at this point. On Wednesday, we got confirmation that Zach is a healthy but petite guy with no heart problems. After that appointment, we headed over to Costco to put new tires on the car. In addition to this our new to us dryer is still working great and the van seems to be running well with it's new tire as well.

All that leaves is my surgery, to say I was not very very very nervous about it would be an understatement. I also had to go on a high dose of antibiotics for the first 2 weeks of October due to the infection in my mouth. I also was taking ibuprofen every day for pain. So I knew it was necessary but still very scary for me.  But I must say that the surgery itself was a breeze. I took the medicine as instructed an hour before arriving at the office. The one problem was with the billing. This office insist that even with insurance 1/3 of the estimated bill must be paid up front, in addition I had to pay the consultation fee up front as well. But after some discussion and a call to my insurance company the total OOP was less than $200. I do expect to re-coup at least half of this from my insurance as well. Matt will tell you I was "falling asleep"waiting in the office. I was taken back to a room, given "laughing gas" I remember the IV being started after I warned them that my veins roll. After that I honest, remember the doctor moving around, then a nurse saying you did great, lets go to your car.  I do remember thinking "Am I in a movie?" when the nurse added that my husband had brought the car around to the back alley.  I have been painful since the surgery, almost 36 hours at this point but I am doing ok and even managed half a day without pain medicine this morning. I am praying by Monday I will be back to normal with no pay at work!

So the hits of September have now passed!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Stress Relief Day

This day actually turned out to be much better than I had hoped or prayed for. Zach had an appointment with a Cardiologist this morning. One of the things that has been mentioned several times in the last two years is the possibility that he is so small maybe be contributed to a heart condition. When the doctor at his two year old check up "thought" he might hear a murmur, it was decided to get it checked out. Today after waiting a total of almost 2 hours we received the best news possible. Zach's heart is perfect, in fact it never needs to be checked again unless something major happens! YAY! Matt and I have both agreed that as of today, we are no longer worried about the why Zach is small. He is small because God made him that way! As Matt put it "he is small until he is not small anymore." It feels like a huge burden has been lifted off of me. We have decided that Zach is healthy and we claim it in our Lord Jesus!

In other news we were able to get a new set of tires on the car. Matt also has cashed his first income as a web designer!  He is going to slowly over the next 4 year try to build up and maintain a business that will allow him to be a stay at home dad as well as keep his foot in a door!


Sunday, October 16, 2011

Sticking to the Plan while Life happens!-Menu Planning

One of our biggest money reducing/saving efforts this month is eating out of the freezer/pantry to reduce at least by half our food budget. So far this month we have spent $294. Honestly, this is the point where I usually have the biggest problem. We are running low on bread and milk, so someone is going to have to go in a grocery store to purchase these in the next several days. The trend is that because I have to buy 2 things, I go ahead and make a list of our wants. The goal is to change this habit. We are starting to run low on snack foods as well as quick/easy items for lunches. But again, I don't want to purchase because that will definitely sink the budget.

Now is where planning and a little next thought takes place. First I am going to share ways we have been trying to waste not, then I am sharing our plan for this hectic week. Yesterday, for lunch, I made tuna salad. We are short on loaf bread so I cut the hot dog buns from earlier in the week in half and made "subs" for the kids. Lily loved it so much she asked if she could have a sub in her lunch as well. Matt and I ate our tuna salad on hamburger buns. Today, I made a Shepard's pie for dinner, adding left over carrots and fruit cocktail to make it a meal to feed 6. The reason I chose the Shepard's pie is that we had a huge bowl of leftover mashed potatoes.

Next is the planning. This week is so hectic with Zach's cardiac appointment on Wednesday and my oral surgery scheduled for Friday in addition to all the regular weekly activities. Another budget buster for us is grabbing food on the run when things get busy. So I went ahead and planned a couple of meals that are quick and easy. First is spaghetti, no preparation just heat and eat. We have some lettuce that needs to be eaten so it will probably be added in on Monday to make this a healthy meal. Wednesday, we have no idea how long we will be at Amos Cottage but previous experiences have said that we need to plan on a long long day. So I have all ready gotten some chicken drumsticks out of the freezer. On Wednesday morning, we can throw in the crock pot with some BBQ sauce, add the rest of the left over mashed potatoes, frozen green beans from the summer and crescent rolls if time and we have an awesome meal. Finally Friday, Matt was concerned about me not being able to eat and needing to buy something. I checked the freezer we have several varieties of soup and also several cans of soup. I also found a couple of boxes of Jello as well as applesauce so nothing else is needed. Tuesday and Thursday, Matt will have to grab something out to grill or a frozen meal but that is not a big deal! Best news of all will be less than $10 at the store for bread and milk.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Waste Not.....Want Not..

Sounds simple and straight forward, a good principle to live by. I have always thought I was pretty good at living by this principle as well. But today, I am beginning to realize that maybe I am wrong.
One of the things we attempting to do in the month of October is live out of our freezor/pantry with as little shopping as possible. Matt and I have been doing really well getting together a menu on Sunday so that we don't need to rush out and eat somewhere. In reality it is actually working. We have begun to empty out the meat from the freezers in the house and even need to bring up some items from the big freezer in the next week. We are also beginning to see a difference in our pantry as well. Let me be clear, in no way, shape or fashion are we running out of food. Instead we are beginning to run out of our favorite snacks and foods. For example, currently we have one Poptart and only have 7 boxes of cereal. The strange thing is that I noticed this afternoon that my first instinct was to start a grocery list and plan a trip. Then I remembered wait this is a good thing. Next Matt mentioned that we will soon need more cereal. Finally, Haley is looking for something to snack on and say Mom you need to buy more Poptarts. So now I am thinking, maybe it is not always simple to waste not want not.

It is simple to buy food on sale or purchase in bulk, plant a garden and freeze thinking "I don't want to waste this so I will save it for later." We, as a family, are discovering that it is not as simple to use what we have on hand, things we have saved for another day instead of rushing out to get our favorite foods.

Since I want to end this on a positive note because I really thing this is a good thing for us and it will help us save at least 1/2 if not 3/4 of our grocery budget this month for other things. I am going to mention 3 meals this week that have used items that are on hand. First, I made a chicken casserole on Sunday from the cooked chicken we put away last week, rice that had been cooked for other meals and some cheese. Second on Wednesday, we had hot dogs and used left-over manwich meat with a dash of chili pepper to top. Finally, today we had Taco Rice and left-over chicken casserole for dinner.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Thoughts to Share

Yesterday was Amanda's 20th birthday! WOW..we made it..yes it was a joint effort. So in honor of that I thought I would share some things that I wished I had learned 20 years ago aka things I wish she as well as some of her friends would listen and learn.

DISCLAIMER.. I am going to be blunt and might offend so please click the close button if you think I am talking to you.

1. Sex is and sex are not relate unless you and he both want them to be.
2. Just because you have sex with him does not mean you have to love or marry him.
3. Only bring home guys to meet the family after dating for at least a month and only bring home the ones you want my honest opinion of as well.
4. You can't change a person or their bad habits..if they do it while you are dating then it will be 10 x worse if and when you get married
5. Don't waste time on dating someone that fits any of the following statements
a. does not own his own car or form of transportation
b. is in a different stage of life then you
c. does not have a "real" job that has a steady paycheck
d. has different or no religious beliefs.

Okay I am finished being a mom back to regularly scheduled updates

Sunday, October 9, 2011

IKEA makes me smile!

So as of this afternoon a momentous occasion has occurred at our house...we all have enough space to keep our clothes and the majority of our clothing is now in the room of the person it is being worn by. The exception to this is Kendall. Her hanging clothes are still in our closet and I don't see that changing until someone moves out.

On Thursday, after the girls eye appointment we headed to IKEA. I had a plan in mind. We received in the mail over a month ago a coupon for $25 at IKEA. My Mom was so nice to save me the same coupon she received because she will never convince Dad to drive for a furniture store. Thursday morning I was having my hair done and mentioned to the hairdresser that we were headed to IKEA later. She had also saved her coupon and gave it to me. So I had a total of $75 free money to spend. The one slight problem is after arriving there was a sign that stated "one coupon per customer." Matt and I both redeem our coupons, dropped the kids off in the play place, thank goodness that Kendall was tall enough and thank you nice IKEA lady for making sure 3 different ways without shoes or hair :). After loading the first purchases in the car I realized they had change employees at the front desk set up for validating coupons so I used the third one. We purchased 2 dressers for the girls room. One with 4 drawers and 1 with 3 the original plan was to purchase 2 with 4 drawers but of course they only had one in stock. I also picked up 4 teacher gifts. We also saw something I have been looking for. Wire drawers that stack. We ended with a 2 combination sets. Both are approximately 6 feet tall. Mine has 2 plastic 3 gallon containers and 6 wire drawers, Matt's has 3 plastic containers and 4 drawers. I had planned on pictures but that just did not happen. The plastic containers actually hold all our jeans in one without a bend. They are awesome!!!! I actually have 2 empty drawer currently. One is the top of the dresser we moved in Zach's room and the second is in the dresser that is in our bedroom. I have plans for both but we will see. For now I am happy just to have all the clothes with a home!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Staying Busy

I was so excited to exceed my blogging goal in September, that I honestly thought it would continue over in October. Well today is October the 8th and this is my first post. So I seriously have my doubts now.

The biggest item on the calender for this week has been a Bible Quiz meet. Matt and I spent about 2 hours last Sunday and another 2-3 hours on Tuesday working on questions. Haley and I attended the quiz today in Winston for half the day. The last remaining part will be an hour of tabulating score on Sunday. I always say I am not going to wait till the last minute to start working on this each month but I am going to definitely add it to my goals for next year. Finding a scheduled time each week to work on quizzing so it doesn't ended up consuming a week.

Lily is currently on a cheerleading squad that is starting to practice 2 nights a week. So with Kid's club this a a total of 3 nights a week she has something going on.

Kendall is going to a Tumble class on Tuesdays which is great for her as well as Zach who gets some "Daddy time." Both Kendall and Zach have a school readiness person who is coming out 2x a month to make sure they stay on track. Kendall completed her annual testing this past Friday and to our surprise she is scoring on the high end! YAY Kendall. Zach will be tested next week and I hope to post the results as well.

Haley is enjoying school and doing well. Amanda is currently splitting her time between school and work with as much social life as she can squeeze in.

To add to the schedule this week, both Kendall and Lily had eye appointment in Charlotte. Both have increased their vision. Kendall is only patching now 3 days a week for one hour. Lily will continue to patch for 4 hours a day for at least another 6 months. After their appointments we headed to Cracker Barrel and IKEA. I hope to post pictures tomorrow of the purchases.

So if you are keeping count then we are home as a family on Tuesday nights. No wonder I don't have time to blog much.