Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Reflecting on 2008

This list of questions is courtesy of Simple Mom, a blog I faithfully read.

I like these questions because they force me to look back at the year and really consider what I would like to do differently in 2009, instead of just pulling a few resolutions out of the air. I already have a few "new year's resolutions" in mind, but I think it will be beneficial to look back at the year before announcing those resolutions to the world. So, here we go...

1. What is the single best thing that has happened in 2008?

oh man, so many good things happened, there is no way I can name just one.

In February we moved into our first house, and soon after we found our church, which we love. In April, we celebrated two years of marriage, and in August we celebrated one year of Ada's life, and one year of motherhood. We started our total money makeover, and I have learned so much about budgeting and distinguishing between need and want. I learned how to coupon and play the CVS game. And just when the budget got too tight to bear, I started tutoring in the evenings after Scott arrived home from work. How can I name one thing? Our cup runneth over.

2. What was the most challenging thing?

In many ways, the challenging parts of the year have been a result of the good things. It has been challenging to manage our budget and still feed and clothe the family in a way that suits our tastes. It has been challenging to be a stay at home mom day in and day out. It has been challenging to tutor every night when I want to relax with Scott. All of these things have been very good things, but they have certainly been a challenge. But what is life without challenges?

Simple mom provides 20 questions to reflect on, but I, of course, will not answer all of those questions in this post. I do plan to think through all 20, though. I will post answers to a few more.

3. What was the most enjoyable area of managing your home?

I have grown to really enjoy budgeting, couponing, and meal planning. I feel like I am good at it, and therefore I enjoy it. It has been a process, and I certainly have not arrived, but it has become a fun "hobby" of sorts.

4. What has been the least enjoyable aspect of home management?

Cleanliness and organization--by far the most challenging aspect!! I am NOT. A. GOOD. HOUSEKEEPER. I can't do it ya'll. It's the perfectionist in me. I am an all or nothing kind of girl, so if the kitchen is a mess, and I know that there is no way for me to clean the entire kitchen in the 15 minutes or so of free time that I have, I don't even bother to do one small thing, such as unload the dishwasher. I have to find more balance in my housekeeping methods, or we might all go insane, or at least drown underneath the piles of clean laundry and dirty dishes.

5. What was your single biggest time waster this year?

Yikes. I have to say the computer. Oh man. I have done so good with my television watching because we said good-bye to cable, but this computer is sucking up my time in vast quantities. Ouch. Didn't want to have to think about that. This question might work its way into my new year's resolutions. We'll see.

6. What was the biggest thing you learned this year?

Well, that is going to take some more reflecting. But for now, I will say this, His grace is sufficient. He shows up every single day, and he cares about the ins and outs of motherhood on a budget. And that's all I need to know.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Late Christmas Present

Scott is done with work for the week. Finished until Monday. Woo-hoo.

We were just discussing a sleeping plan. Tomorrow, since it's his first day off, he can sleep in, then me, and so on. To sum up, I am looking at three mornings of sleeping in between now and Monday. Again, woo-hoo.

Plus, because all of the students are still Christmas Breaking, I have zero tutoring hours, which is bad for the bank account, great for quality time with the hubby. We have big plans to get Ada in bed, then settle in for several episodes of Lost. We are re-watching last season in preparation for this season.

Time with my husband, during the day, after sleeping in--my favorite Christmas gift of the season.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Monday Surprise

It is a blissful moment at my house.

Scott surprised me, arriving home 30 minutes early, and whisked Ada away for a little daddy-daughter outing, leaving me with a quiet house. This has happened maybe twice since Ada was born. Hallelujah is what I thought when he walked through that door. I love Ada more than life itself, but that little munchkin wears me slap out, and today I needed a break. And Scott delivered.

Then, with big plans to catch up on missed episodes of Grey's Anatomy, I settled myself into the couch. However, no matter what I do, ABC doesn't seem to want to allow me to watch Grey's, and I am getting a message loud and clear from up above, I have absolutely no business watching that trash. I don't think the verse that says, "whatever is true, whatever is holy, think on these things," is talking about Grey's Anatomy. I'm just guessing.

So...I am blogging instead. And basking in the silence. I even turned the fire place on for good measure. It's a good day, ya'll.

As for dinner--all I have to do is stick a pork tenderloin in the oven, and a bag of simply steam veggies in the microwave, and I am done. This is my kind of Monday, and I am soaking it up.

Back to Menu Planning

Life is back to normal, folks, with meal planning and clipping coupons and the general daily stuff. And it sort of feels good to be back.

This week we are in detox mode because for two weeks straight I have basically had an IV stuck to my arm pumping straight sugar into my veins, so we are voluntarily cutting the carbs and upping the protein this week. You might notice a lack of variety in the week's menu, but I think we will feel better as a result. I will start the menu with Sunday...

Sunday: Ham and bean soup (recipe to come). We will eat this for lunch, and I think I will make chicken salad for dinner.

Monday: Pork tenderloin (from the freezer), veggies (from the freezer) I did not have to buy one thing for this meal, thanks to stockpiling

Tuesday: 15 bean soup

Wednesday: Black bean soup

Thursday: grilled pork chops (manager's special at Kroger), veggies

I know, I know, the soup is getting a bit repetitive, but I tried to vary the flavor of soups:) I love soup--all kinds. And it's so easy to throw everything into the crock pot and let it simmer. Dinner hour is our fussiest hour, so anything I can do to simplify, well I am willing to do it.

As for breakfast--Ada and I will be eating eggs, and Scott will too if I wake up in time to fix them for him (it's doubtful).

Lunch--leftovers mainly, chicken salad and triscuits (Scott is off work Wed-Fri. for New Year's, so we may do omelets for brunch those days and forgo lunch all together)

Ada may be eating whole grain mac and cheese, or PB & J, since she has no need for a low-carb diet:)

By Friday we will most likely be souped out, and I will return to normal meals. We just need to lighten things up this week after the heaviness of Holiday Food. Can we say prime rib, mashed potatoes, and candy cane cake? Not to mention the pounds of homemade candy and apple pie I ate. Oh my, if you cut me I would bleed carbs.

Anyone have a great low-carb recipe? If so, please post it in the comment section. It would be greatly appreciated:) And remember, go to Organizing Junkie every Monday for more menu ideas.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Christmas Aftermath

So this is what we are doing at our house since Christmas has come and gone. This is all we're doing. Ada is eating, sleeping, breathing her play room. Well, it's what I wanted--to end the boredom induced fussiness. Maybe it will last at least a few weeks, and I can actually clean my house while she occupies herself. We'll see. Thanks to all of the grandparents who have provided the fun for Ada. It is much appreciated by both Ada and her mother. We are getting along better these days as a result.

I have also purchased a few Christmas goodies for myself. Ann drew my name for the family gift exchange, and she gave me a Pier 1 gift card. Because of the after Christmas clearance, I was able to stretch that card quite far. And next year my house will be that much more festive during the Christmas season. Thanks, Ann!!

so the coffee mug isn't technically Christmas decor, but it was on clearance, and I thought it would look just perfect in my breakfast room. Besides, right now it is hanging and full of Christmas cards, so that makes it Christmasy, right?

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas in Pictures

Ada last year. Can you believe it? I was packing up our apartment as we prepared to move, and Ada was going through her awkward, hair falling out stage. She spent a lot of time in that bumbo seat while I packed because she couldn't sit on her own yet!! Crazy to think about how much changes in a year. We kept saying over Christmas, this time next year Andrew (Ann's baby, due February) will be 10 months!! This time last year I didn't know any of our McDonough friends. The Lord has been so very good to us. I wait eagerly to see all that he will do in the coming year--sure to be hard and rich all at the same time. Okay, on to this Christmas, and all of it's child-like excitement. It was quite fun to view Christmas through the eyes of a 3 1/2 year old. Ellie could hardly bear the excitement of it all.Headed to "Cuz Christmas," a Christmas tradition for Scott and his high school friends. Grams' living room, decorated for Christmas, is in the background.Fast forward to Christmas Eve (I took no pictures in between the last picture and this one). The kiddos have been bribed with candy canes to sit with Sarah and pose for a picture. This was as good as it was going to get. Our stomachs were stuffed to the brim with prime rib and mashed potatoes. Not to mention this yummy peppermint cake--a Paula Dean recipe made by Ann. Little did Ada know that Santa would be bringing her her very own fire truck the very next morning. We were at "Near's" house (when Ellie first began to speak, grandmother somehow came out "Near," and the name stuck. From here on out, I suppose we will refer to my mom as Near), and Ada had no pajamas. She had to borrow some of Luke's size 2T airplane pjs.Ada was feeding off of Ellie's energy, though Ada has no idea what the excitement was about. It doesn't take much to get this little girl hyped up, and hyped up, she was. I, on the other hand, was not so hyped up. I was quite tired by that point, as you can tell by my face.

Santa has been here!! It was fun to be on the other side of Christmas, and play Santa. Ada had a very small pile compared to Ellie and Luke's, but she really didn't know the difference. We will save big Christmases for later, when it matters. She was quite happy with the fire truck and microwave waiting for her under the tree. Ellie's gifts are wrapped in princess paper, and Luke's gifts are wrapped in Cars paper. Ellie loves wrapping and opening gifts so much, that I just gave her wrapping paper and tape as a Christmas present. She loved it.

Christmas Bread is a long lived tradition in my family. It's my grandmother's recipe (I think--did Ella bake it, mom?), and as long as I can remember my mom makes it for breakfast every Christmas morning. I have big plans to learn the secret to baking Christmas bread that I might carry on the family tradition.

Playing outside on after the gifts have been opened. Ellie and Luke received bicycles, so this was how the gift opening had to end. Ada is entertained simply by walking up and down the Barbers' steep driveway. After opening more gifts at mom's house, we loaded the car until it was packed floor to ceiling, and we headed home.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Quick Update--still from Alabama

I am still in Alabama, but now Scott is with us--hallelujah. On Friday when he finally got here, Ada hugged him for a solid five or ten minutes. It was so cute. (And a nice break for me). Scott is a very hands on dad, so when he is around it really breaks the load in half. Little Ada is napping right now, which is why I am on the computer.

I finally got my Christmas cards in the mail today. It has been the year of the disastrous Christmas Card. First we had to postpone pictures for forever, so I was waiting on those to come back. Once they did, I immediately ordered the card, and I had them sent to my mom's house, since I knew I would be in Scottsboro. They finally, finally came in this past Saturday when Scott and I were in Crossville. So...I delivered them to the Post Office this morning. My addresses got accidentally returned to McDonough (they were in my car so that I would have them here to address the cards, but you know how those things go), so not everyone will be receiving one, but the cards are in the mail, and some may even arrive before Christmas day. Next year I plan to be way more on the ball with the family Christmas card. We live and learn, right?

Other Christmas news--Scott and I went on a Christmas date last night, which was such a treat. We left Ada with mom, and we went to Toys R Us to finish up shopping for Ada. Both my aunt Mary Ann and my Grandmother Rhodes sent money for us to pick out gifts for Ada, so we picked up a couple of last things we wanted for her--a toy toaster (she gets excited when her waffle pops up out of the toaster) and a purse full of little toy things (she loves to go through my purse and wallet). Ada will be having a very kitchen themed Christmas. Her "big" gift from Scott and me is a play kitchen, and my mom is giving her some pots and pans, a grocery cart, play groceries, and a tea set. In addition to the toaster, we also got her a toy microwave, so the majority of her gifts have to do with cooking. I am considering putting the toy kitchen in our real kitchen in hopes that it will make dinner preparation easier for me. We'll see. I'll try to take lots of pictures of all of the Christmas morning hoopla, which will take place at Ann's house.

The Moore family Christmas went well. Ada received a precious little doll buggy and doll from Scott's parents, in addition to a blow up ball pit/slide. I know that the ball pit will be lots of fun for her, but she hasn't seen it yet. It is waiting for her in McDonough. We are saving the kitchen and ball pit for when we return. We plan to have our own little family Christmas the Saturday after we return.

As I mentioned above, Scott and I had our own Christmas date last night. After Toys R Us, we had a very yummy dinner at Outback, and we went to the Monaco Theater at Bridge Street to see Four Christmases, which was okay. We laughed a few times. We loved Vince Vaughn in The Break Up, so our expectations may have been a bit much. It was great to have some alone time to enjoy dinner and talk without little Ada constantly demanding our attention. We joked about how we would "see each other again next year."

I realize that you may not even be interested in all these tiny Christmas details, but more than anything, this blog is used to record the comings and goings of our life, and this is Christmas 2008 for us. If you are still reading:), I hope you are having good times with family and friends, and that you are experiencing the peace that only comes from knowing Jesus.

"And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth," John 14:1.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Anxiously waiting for dad to get here

Scott is coming today to take Ada and me to Crossville for Christmas with the Moores, and Ada and I are dying for him to get here. I am emotionally and mentally drained, and I need my "other half" to help me with this parenting thing. And Ada just plain misses her dad.

I have such huge respect and awe and sympathy for single moms out there. How in the world they do it, is beyond me. The emotional drain alone is too much for me to think about. I need someone who cares just as much as I do about all of the tiny minute details, and I need someone to take over when my mental capacity shuts down for the day.

Hurry, hurry, hurry, Scott, we are ready to see you.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

still here in Alabama

we are still alive here in Alabama. I am used to being so connected to the blogging world, but right now my reader has over 200 posts unread!! There just isn't time while I am at home.

Things have been a bit tougher than I expected. Ada has been somewhat difficult. I suppose she is missing home and her dad. I know that I am. But we really are enjoying time with the family, and tomorrow Scott will be here and we will be headed back to Crossville, so maybe a change of scenery and seeing dad will improve her mood. Who knows.

Today I was able to spend the day in Huntsville with Ann and Sarah, and all of the children stayed with mom. It was very nice to have adult conversation, and we even met Ashley and Amanda for lunch at O'Charley's, which was quite the treat.

There isn't a ton to report. I did make a quick run to Publix while in Huntsville, where I bought two boxes of Bisquick, two bottles of Bertolli pasta sauce, two boxes of Keebler snack crackers, and one box of Betty Crocker brownie mix for around 9.00. I was pleased with that total, especially since I saved 14.00 in the process. Got to love those BOGO. Sorry for the super boring blog post, but I felt like I needed to post something. I am missing my blog. I am actually looking forward to January and life settling back into a routine. Scott and I plan to use January to really "perfect" the budget. I am trying to get things down to a fine science, but I think it requires us staying at home for a bit to make it happen.

Merry, merry Christmas, everyone.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Merry Christmas from Alabama

The next two weeks will be a bit of a whirlwind for our little family, shuffling ourselves between Georgia and Alabama. To reduce the affect that all of that travel might have on Ada, Ada and I have made Scottsboro our "stationary" place for the next two weeks. We spent this past weekend in Crossville with Scott's parents, who graciously agreed to watch Ada, while Scott and I attended "Cuz Christmas"--an annual Christmas party for all of his high school crew. Then on Sunday, Scott dropped Ada and me off in Scottsboro, while he travelled back to Georgia. He will back either late Thursday or early Friday to pick us up, and we will travel back to Crossville to celebrate Christmas with the Moore's. It should be a fun time because the number of babies have multiplied--four in all!! Two toddlers and two newborns!! I will be sure to take lots of pictures. Then, Scott will drop Ada and I off here again, and he will travel back to Georgia to return to work (he only has Christmas day off). He will then travel late Christmas Eve day, we will quickly celebrate with my family, and then all of us will return to Georgia on Christmas day. Crazy, I know, but it's fun to be with family this time of year. I just couldn't stomach sitting at our house on Christmas day, feeling like it was any other day of the year. Plus, it's such a treat for me to have company during the day, hanging out with all of my sisters, my niece and nephew, and my mom. I am soaking up the family time because Scott and I plan to stay put for all of January and most of February to make up for money spent during December. Since Andrew will be arriving late February, I do plan to travel then, of course!!

All of that to say that my blogging will be a bit sporadic for the rest of December, but I will be back full force in January, menu planning and couponing and all. May you all have a Merry Christmas wherever you might find yourself celebrating this year.

p.s. My Christmas cards still haven't even arrived to me yet, so you will be receiving them a bit late this year. But they are coming. I promise, they are coming.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Thoughs on Public school from a teacher turned tutor/mom

As you know if you are a regular reader, I am a mom by day and a tutor by night. The majority of my students attend various private schools around the county, and it has been interesting to compare the curriculum that they study versus the curriculum used at the school where I taught in my pre-motherhood days.

I taught American and British Literature while at Pebblebrook, and the American Literature semester always started with the Puritans. Well, more specifically, we started with Native Americans, but we flew through that in about two days because the students hated it. For the Puritan unit, however, we read The Crucible, though it was actually written decades later. The students loved reading the Crucible for obvious reasons--scandal, witchcraft--I don't know, maybe they could relate. (Totally kidding. Sort of.) Anyway...being a first year teacher, I received a lot of advice from the other American Lit. teachers, and for the most part I did what they had always done, and they had always read the Crucible because to them it was a great representation of the Puritans. is where I differ in belief. Again, being a first year teacher, I was grateful for any notes, tests, projects ideas, etc. that might be passed to me, and I was given a power point presentation to use at the beginning of the Puritan Unit. One of the vocabulary words included in that power point presentation was fanatic. As in, religious fanatic. As in, the Puritans were nothing but religious fanatics, and there is not much good we can say about them. And Jonathan Edwards. Oh dear, the things I was supposed to teach about Jonathan Edwards. Did you hear? He was nothing but fire and brimstone that only served to increase that fanaticism among the Puritans. Crazy man. Interesting, I thought, since I had always heard that he was a great theologian of the Great Awakening. Hmmmm...

So, fast forward to tonight, and I am helping my history student prepare for finals. It's one of those impossible situations where she has to study 13 chapters worth of information by Thursday of next week, so we were scrambling to make note cards out of old tests borrowed from a student who actually thought to save her tests. (The girl I tutor, her mom thinks she probably threw them away. I have to agree with her mom. She always tells us that the teacher never gave it back. Funny, since the teacher says he does give them back. You be the judge--who's telling the truth?) Anyway, I digress. So there we sat, quickly making note cards, and I was making a note card about Jonathan Edwards, and sure enough, this test for this history class at a Private Christian School defined Jonathan Edwards as a well known theologian from the Great Awakening. Nothing about fanaticism. Nothing about crazy.

You tell me if certain world views don't creep into the curriculum. One curriculum accepts as fact that Jonathan Edwards and the puritans were crazy fanatics, and another claims he was a great theologian. It gives this mom a lot to consider when it comes to the education of her children.

Feeling quite proud of myself

We had a doozie of a night last night. Ada was up from about 2-5 am, which was fabulous for Scott since his alarm was set for about 5 am, I think. I don't know if he was able to sleep through much of her crying. I tried not to bother him because I thought that surely Ada would sleep in after being up in the middle of the night. She slept in a bit. We woke up at 8 am, but I am feeling the lack of sleep. Surely to goodness I can blame this on her teeth, right? I stuck my hand in her mouth to see if I could feel anything trying to pop through, but I couldn't really tell. Ada, for some reason, thought it was hilarious that I was sticking my hand in her mouth, and she wanted to continue "the game." So...add it up, no sleep + a very fussy, clingy toddler= a mom desperate for diet coke. Here is why you need to be proud of me.

It is noon, on the day after that awful night, and I have yet to pop open a diet coke!! I am so proud of myself, and it gives me hope that this addict can quit. I plan to make one diet coke a day one of my new year's resolutions, but I am trying to get a head start. I truly am aware of how bad it is for me, and I want to quit. It's just so stinkin' hard. I am going to quit keeping it in the fridge, so that I have to actually leave the house and spend money if I want one. I am trying to keep a pitcher of crystal light in the fridge along with very cold bottles of water. It's helping. Some. My addiction started because diet coke was my treat in the afternoons while I was dieting in college. And I need it to return to its status of treat. A diet coke multiple times a day does not equal a treat. A wonderfully refreshing fountain diet coke once in the afternoon does equal treat. I need to straighten that out.

Anyway...that's our day. A bit harrowing, but there is reason to be hopeful.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Sometimes I just need to leave the cooking to Arby's

What is working for me on this Wednesday night? Arby's coupons, that's what.

It's been a fussy, whiny week here at the Moore house. I am blaming one year molars that have yet to appear in Ada's 16 month old mouth. She has been clingy, clingy not wanting me out of her sight, even to cook dinner. In fact, tonight I had her on one hip while I cooked the hamburger meat needed for the smothered enchiladas we ate (not originally on this week's menu, but I was in the mood for them).

Anyway...back to the coupons.

Because of the week we have had, Arby's coupons have been quite the lifesaver.

Yesterday I had big plans to make spaghetti and home made foccacia bread. I had all of the ingredients needed except for yeast, so at about ten yesterday morning, Ada and I were dressed and ready to go when I realized that the car seat was in Scott's car, 30 miles away at Fresh Express. Ada and I desperately needed to get out of the house yesterday morning, so I called Scott and begged him to have mercy on us and bring the car seat to us on his lunch break. So, bless him, he did, and when Ada woke up from her afternoon nap, off we went to the store to pick up the yeast. Again, a slight change of plans happened when I realized that Scott also had my debit card, so we couldn't buy the yeast. Back to my house we go, and because I am now tired and frustrated, and the dinner hour is fast approaching, I decided spaghetti was too much of an effort, and I pulled a box of hamburger helper out of the pantry. I got the hamburger meat out of the fridge to begin throwing dinner together, and I realized that the meat was still frozen. At this point, with my eyes filling up with tears, I decided that Arby's could cook dinner for us, and I stuck the hamburger meat back in the fridge to be used for tonight's dinner.

And after the day we had yesterday, someone cooking dinner for me was just what I needed. That roast beef sandwich and curly fries hit the spot.

Let me just say though, that this cutie patootie sure does make it all worth it. Every single bit of it.

Monday, December 8, 2008

the week's menu and a weekend recap

I have been out of town all weekend living the college life for a few nights. It was quite fun (and tiring). I was sleeping on my sister, Sarah's, couch, and Friday night I arrived in Auburn around 9 pm AL time. Sarah, Kate, and her roommates were all hanging out, and I ended up staying up as late as they did, which I think was 2 am. (3 am GA time). I then woke up at 8:30 am because my body does not know how to sleep in. 8:30 is sleeping in for me. I then spent the day with all of my college friends, celebrating the coming birth of Shannon Farrar Vinson's baby. It was so much fun talking and laughing and catching up. We laughed so hard. And reminisced. And caught up. The shower started at 2 pm, and a few of us extended the party into dinner at one of our favorite AU restaurants, Amsterdam Cafe. We finally said good-bye around 10 pm on Saturday night. We just didn't want it to end because the visits are few and far between these days. It was incredibly refreshing and encouraging to be around these girls who know me so very well.

I then headed back to Sarah's house, where I proceeded to stay up until 2 am again. There was some college girl drama, which I found myself in the middle of, mainly because I have been there, and being on this side of things, I tried to give a bit of perspective to the situation. As in, this too shall pass, and it will pass quickly. At 2 am I finally climbed into Sarah's bed and left her and the other girls up watching a movie. She said she would sleep on the couch if I needed to go to bed, and, indeed, I did need to go to bed. It was so much fun playing the college role again, going to Sonic at 1 am for diet coke and a snack, and coming back to find out who my celebrity husband is (Ryan Gosling--if you were dying to know). What a fun time college is--hanging out with your best friends until all hours of the night, the future ahead of you full of endless possibility, more freedom than you will ever have again. It's just fun. There is no better word to describe it.

Anyway...I am now back home and back to the reality that is my life, which is, you guessed, meal planning (or that is one aspect of the reality of my life).'s the plan for the week

Monday--frozen pizza because I forgot to take out the meat that needed to defrost. Never fear, a Tombstone pizza is in the freezer for just this occasion.

Tuesday--spaghetti, bread, broccoli (the ground beef is in the fridge, so that it will be good to go tomorrow)

Wednesday--chicken enchiladas (never made these last week)

Thursday--probably Arby's because we have a coupon for a free sandwich with the purchase of anything else. It expires soon, so we want to take advantage of it this week. And Thursday's are crazy days, so Arby's will be perfect.

It looks like it will be an easy cooking week for me, which is good because I am back to tutoring online after I get home from tutoring in students' homes. I am looking at some late nights this week, so I need easy cooking and cleaning to make up for the late nights.

For many more meal ideas, go to Organizing Junkie every Monday.

p.s. there will be some changes around here soon. As you know if you read this blog often, it isn't so much "All Things Ada" anymore, so I am planning a blog title change. I am in the process of creating the heading. Stay tuned...

Friday, December 5, 2008

Publix Wins, hands down

Here is my loot from today's trip to Publix. I paid 43.00 OOP. I saved 85.00 with sales and coupons combined!!!!!!!!! It really was a record day. My grocery cart was very full, and I did not have a calculator with me, so I was very nervous about the total. The total before coupons was 60-something, so I was already okay with that total (I only bought sale items), but then it dropped even lower after the cashier scanned my large stack of coupons. (I had a coupon for everything that you see above). The guy behind me was watching all of this take place, and he turned to his wife and said, "we need to start clipping coupons." I wanted to turn to him right then and there and give him a quick lesson on how to get started. I managed to refrain.

So, what you see above is this

4 cartons of chicken broth
2 cartons of beef broth
2 tombstone pizzas
2 Juicy Juices
2 bottles of Electrasol Dish Detergent
2 boxes of Kotex
6 bags of frozen veggies
4 boxes of cheerios
2 bags of chips
4 jars of Ragu
2 boxes of wheatable crackers
2 bottles of Lysol bathroom cleaner
6 boxes of whole grain Kraft mac and cheese

And, onto Kroger, which was sadly a bummer after the Publix trip.
Here's the list

2 boxes of brown sugar (.29 each)
2 boxes of confectioners sugar (.29 each)
1 pack of Pampers
1 pack of Luvs
1 gallon of milk
2 tubes of Pillsbury Biscuits
2 bags of dry beans
3 4-packs of Cottonelle (.49 each)
1 lb of ground beef
1 pack of chicken (BOGO)1 pack of Oscar Meyer deli chicken
1 pack of Keebler cookies (I have been craving cookies all week, so I threw them in the cart)

Okay, the total was a disappointing 47.42. I made several careless mistakes--I went overboard with the sale items, instead of purchasing what I needed for the week first (milk, ground beef, diapers, etc.), and then purchasing sale items based on how much was left in the budget. I also didn't pay close enough attention to the sales paper. I purchased the deli chicken, for example, because I thought it was on sale 2/4.00. Actually, that sale was only Thursday from noon-8pm. The deli chicken was actually over 4.00 for the pack. Compared to the prices I normally pay per item, that was quite expensive!! Anyway...I stayed under the 100.00 we budget per week, but my goal is to consistently stay near 50.00. I have stocked up enough that my grocery list mainly consists of sale items rather than need items, which allows the budget to stay low.

So, the numbers for Kroger just don't add up. The biggest savings seem to be at Publix. Here is the key to "playing the Publix game." My list consists 90% of BOGO items, and I always buy 4 copies of the Sunday paper. That way I am paying only one price for two items, but I am using two coupons to lower that one price. You follow me? Also, if I have four copies, when items I need go on sale, BOGO, I can stock up on four of that item at rock bottom prices. Stocking up is KEY to saving money. It has given me the freedom to only buy items when they are at rock bottom prices. Sales always run in cycles. So if you collect multiple copies of coupons, and stock up when items are at rock bottom, by the time you run out of the item, the sale cycles back around, and you can stock up again at rock bottom. I now plan meals solely based on what's in my pantry already and what is on sale that week.

For more money saving advice, check out Frugal Friday.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Leave the couponing to the women

My sweet husband presented me with a stack of printed off, cut up coupons when I arrived home from the Church's Ladies' night tonight. (Some husbands present flowers, jewelry even--what does it for me? A fresh stack of coupons).

He and Ada are both tucked into bed, and I am still up trying to make sure the grocery list is done and the coupons are matched. So I began to look through my stack of new coupons, and I realize that many of them have a very haphazard look about them. And I know what Scott did. He thought he would save time, and cut lots at once. But, ya'll, you know the part that has to be scanned. The part that saves me the money, well, half of the coupons barely even have that part anymore. Oh sweet Scott. I know his heart was in the right place. Truly, I know it. But, oh man...these precious coupons. Unusable. Lesson learned, here. Leave the couponing to me, babe.

I'm feeling disloyal

As you all know, Kroger won my heart a long time ago. By doubling coupons and offering such great deals with the Kroger plus card (not to mention .10 off gasoline), I thought Kroger and I would be together forever.

Here's the thing. Lately, Publix is catching my eye. They are wooing me with there BOGO deals. And this week was the clincher. As I was making my grocery lists today for tomorrow's shopping trip, I realized that the Publix list was longer than the Kroger list. It looks like I am crossing over. Don't get me wrong. I am by no means breaking it off with Kroger completely, but I do think we have to take it down a notch. I need to make room in my life for Publix, after all.

p.s. Juicy Juice is back on sale BOGO. I mean, who wouldn't be won over by that?

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

This one's for you, Scott, and a quick summary of Black Friday

So, this year I decided at the very last minute to participate in the madness that is Black Friday. Next year I will be much more prepared. Ann told me that she planned to go to pick up a few items for Ellie and Luke, and I decided to go along for the ride, "just in case" I found a good deal. We originally planned to leave Scottsboro at 4 am to be at Toys R' Us when the doors opened, but we decided that was crazy and there was no way everything would be gone by 7, surely. Clearly, we were rookies. Ann got the last one available of what she wanted--a medical kit for Ellie and Luke. We had joked that surely no one would be diving for the 5.00 medical kits, so we didn't need to be lined up outside the door. (They were 50% off)
We were wrong. People were diving for the medical kits. And anything else that they could get their hands on.
I wanted to pick up a 25.00 slide that is normally 40.00. To get the slide, I had to pick up a little slip and take it to the cashier. There I would pay for it and go around back to pick it up. After waiting in a very long, but fast moving line, Ann and I drove around back to pick up the slide. There were about 4 mothers ahead of me also wanting the slide, but after a while of waiting, the employee comes out to say that the slides are gone, and we will have to get our money back. There was absolutely no way I was getting back in that line, so I decided to wait until I got back to McDonough to "return" the slide (which I don't actually have). All of that to say that
1. I think Black Friday is worth the deals, but you really do have to be there when the doors open, and
2. Ada and I plan to go see Scott today because he works near the Toys R'Us, and I still need to get my money back. Plus, we have plans to purchase a toy kitchen for Ada, and Scott and I want to look at those while we are there. I have been telling Ada all morning that when she wakes up from her nap we are going to see dad, hence the pictures below.

Looking out the window for dad

Bringing me the keys because she's ready to goShe's moved on from dad to playing with her toys (aka, her old baby bath tub. Hey, whatever works). She's pointing out the sheep's eye.
Because she was looking up at me, and I wanted her to smile, I said, "Ada, do you want to go see, dad?" And below is how she reacted to that question...

she couldn't get out of that tub fast enough. "Let's go," she says.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Because she's much too busy to worry about pants

Back to the daily grind

All of the following was written yesterday morning before I posted about CVS.

I have so much I want to post about Thanksgiving--all the fun had with family, the incredible excitement over CVS deals, and the mad house that Toys R Us was on Black Friday, but before all of that, I must, must, must figure out the meal plan for the week. Combining money spent on the trip home and Christmas shopping on Friday, it is crucial that I stick to the grocery budget this week. Scott and I travelled home late last night, while Ada slept soundly in the back seat. We finally stumbled into bed at 2 am this morning, and slept until the late hour of 8:30 am. He quickly got ready and took Ada to church, leaving me here in my pajamas recovering from that late night (and an icky stomach due to medication being accidentally left in McDonough).
So, I am in my favorite gray lounge pants and orange Auburn hoodie (War Eagle, anyway, I say. I believe in Auburn, and I love it despite the nightmare of last night's game), surrounded by coupons and sale papers, and I am about to recipe search. So here I am to menu plan for all the world to read.

Sunday night--crossing my fingers that we will have family photos this afternoon, but it is not looking good as it is currently cold and drizzly. I might scream. If we are out in the cold taking photos, I plan to have warm, cozy bean soup cooking in my BRAND NEW crockpot when we come home. And hopefully, once Ada is tucked into bed at 7:30, Scott and I will transform this living room into a winter wonderland AKA as yet one more thing for Ada to get in trouble for

yet again, the pictures did not happen due to rain. It's becoming quite ridiculous. We are now scheduled for Friday at 4. I am not counting on anything, though.

so, tonight--Bean soup, cornbread
Monday--pork tenderloin (from the freezer), rice, veggies (all things I already have on hand)

Tuesday--chicken spaghetti, salad, bread (I will be using shredded cheese instead of velveeta. Also, I already have chicken breasts, spaghetti, and the cream soups)

Wednesday--chicken enchiladas, spanish rice (thanks Lindsay!!)

Thursday--corn chowder, corn bread or biscuits

Lunches--leftovers, pb&j and chips, stouffer's pizza (BOGO at Publix), slow cooked beans

Breakfast--peanut butter toast, Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies (BOGO at Publix), eggs (.99 from 12-8 on 12/4 at Kroger)

snacks--popcorn (BOGO at Publix), pears

I spent a total of 64.00 on groceries, and I shopped at Kroger, Publix, and Walgreens. I also spent 21.00 at CVS earlier in the week, so that came from this week's budget. So, 85.00 dollars, which I am fine with because we budget 100.00.

I won't go into the nitty gritty of what I bought, but I will share a few numbers. I spent 26.80 at Publix, and I saved 38.86. Not bad!! I spent 36.76 at Kroger, and I saved 23.13. And at Walgreens--well, I don't have the receipt--but I bought two bottles of All detergent for 1.79 each, minus coupons on each. I think my total was around 3.00, and normally one bottle of detergent costs about 3.00 (the bottles were small), so a 50% savings. I was pleased with the day's savings.

As always, check out Organizing Junkie for more meal ideas.

And I will leave you with a picture of this little stinker from Thanksgiving day, when miracle of all miracles she kept her bow in for an extended period of time.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

So much I want to blog about, but I will start with CVS

Well, Thanksgiving has come and gone.
Black Friday has come and gone.
Vacation has come and gone.
And we are staring at the start of another normal week, except the Christmas Season has officially begun. And I love the Christmas season!! Because I was out of town, I was too late to sign up for any online tutoring hours, so I am looking at some free evening hours this week, which will be spent cleaning and decorating and transforming this home into a little Winter Wonderland. Or, I will at least be decorating a tree. But before all of that talk, there is much more that I want to share, starting with the fact that I am once again able to take and post pictures, so my blog will be slightly less boring from here on out. Thanks to my friend, Ashley, who has kindly let us borrow a camera until we find the means to purchase one. You will be seeing a lot more of this from now on...

But to be honest, this is what I really want to show you.

I am joining the likes of those who post pictures of their bargains. I just can't help myself. Ann and I felt like it was Christmas morning as we entered CVS on Thursday. We were so excited over the deals just waiting to happen, and happen they did.

Scott and I arrived in Scottsboro late Wednesday night, and after sleeping in a bit and turning the kiddos over to the dads, Ann and I headed over to CVS on Thursday morning. I spent some time before we went figuring out our transactions, but because we were nervous that we would miss out on the Crockpot deal, we decided to wing it a bit, rather than spend any more time figuring transactions out. We knew what we wanted to buy, so we loaded our carts, and then we "set up camp" in an out of the way place near the cash register. Here is how it "went down." I had planned our first transaction, so Ann went first, then I went, and as I paid for my goods, Ann figured out the next transaction. And this is how we continued until everything was paid for. At one point, a customer thought Ann worked at CVS. Not so much, though we might move in if we could. And here is what we bought. For a visual, refer to the picture above.

1st transaction

1 Bic Soleil Razor 5.99
1 Schick Quatro Men's Razor 7.99
1 Colgate Total 2.99
1 Colgate Total 2.99

-3.00 Soleil coupon
-2.00 Quatro coupon
-1.00 Colgate coupon
-1.00 Colgate coupon

=14.76 OOP
received total of 17.97 in ECBs

2nd Transaction
1 Crockpot 19.99
1 Aussie Hair spray 2.99
1 Aussie gel 2.99

-2 1.00 Aussie coupons
-5.99 ECBs
-7.99 ECBs
-9.00 ECBs

=1.26 OOP
received 15.98 ECBs

3rd Transaction

1 Maybelline Mineral liquid makeup 8.99
1 Covergirl liquid makeup 7.99
1 Covergirl powder 5.99

-2.00 Maybelline coupon
-1.00 CG coupon
-1.00 CG coupon
-5.98 ECBs
-5.99 ECBs
-6.00 ECBs

=1.45 OOP
received 22.97 ECBs

4th transaction

3 dial bar soaps 5.97
2 Loreal lip glosses 13.98

-3 .30 dial coupons
-1.00 Loreal coupon
-10.00 ECB
-5.98 ECB

=2.43 OOP
received 16.98 ECBs

5th transaction

1 Hershey's Cookies n' cream 1.00
1 Playtex tampons 3.99
1 Johnson and Johnson lotion 5.69
1 Sally Hansen nail polish 3.79
1 Vaselline lotion 3.50

- 1.00 playtex coupon
- 1.00 Johnson's Lotion coupon
- 13.98 ECBs

=2.35 OOP

received 13.48 ECBs

To sum up, I bought everything in the photograph above for about 22.00 (give or take a few cents), and after rolling ECBs to keep the prices low, I still have 14.78 in ECBs.

To put things in perspective, the crockpot alone cost 20.00 OOP, but I paid 22.00 total OOP, not counting the 14.78 I still have to spend in ECBs. Incredible, I tell you.

Ann and I left CVS feeling like we needed to teach the entire world about the CVS game. It has changed our lives, or at least our grocery budgets. Seriously. Seriously.

There is so much more I want to share about Thanksgiving, and about my awesome grocery store trip today, but that will have to wait I suppose. Instead I will leave you with the sight that greets me everyday after nap time.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

CVS has outdone themselves

This is my first Black Friday of playing the CVS game, and I am overwhelmed by the deals. Have you checked out the ECB deals for Thursday-Sunday? It's blowing my mind.

Here is what is on my list of free items after ECBs.

Aussie Shampoo and Conditioner (limit of 2)--2.99
Bic Soleil Razor (limit of 3)--5.99
Johnson's Soft Lotion (limit of 1)--5.69
Covergirl Liquid Makeup (limit of 1)--7.99
CG Powder Makeup (limit of 1)--5.99
Maybelline Mineral Foundation (limit of 1)--8.99
Loreal Lip Gloss (limit of 1)--6.99
Gatorade (limit of 3)--1.49
Colgate toothpaste (limit of 2)--2.99

All of the above generates the same amount in ECBs that you pay. Which means, that combined with coupons, CVS is paying you to shop. I love it. I haven't figured out the combination of transactions that I plan to do yet, but I am excited about the prospects. What deals are you looking forward to on Black Friday?

p.s. We are searching for the Fisher Price laugh and learn house and any ride on toy for Ada's Christmas. Let me know if anyone is having a particularly good deal on these the day after Thanksgiving. Thanks!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Juicy Juice Harvest Surprise

Clearly, I am losing my mind.

This morning I thought that I saw somewhere that Juicy Juice Harvest Surprise was on sale, B1G1, at Publix. I was so convinced of this, that I had Scott print off a couple of 1.00 off coupons for me, and I drove all the way to Fresh Express (a good 20-30 minutes away from my house) to pick up the coupons. (we have no printer. Crazy, I know, we just haven't ever gotten around to buying one since we got married) Because of Ada's constipation issue, the juice is flowing in our house these days. So, Ada goes down for her nap, I start going over the Grocery Game list, seeing if there is anything else I can pick for mere pennies, and I come to the end of the list and realize Juice is nowhere on the list. Have I lost my mind? Can anyone help me out? Is this sale happening anywhere? And did I just come up with it out of thin air? I truly feel crazy. Am I couponing so much, that I am dreaming about sales. Really. Help.

p.s. I am heading to Publix anyway, just to make sure. I know that I saw this somewhere, though it really, in truly, could have been in a dream. I think I can get Bird's Eye vegetables for super cheap, though, so I will pick up some of those. That Juicy Juice would have been fabulous.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Picture Preview

so there is a whole story behind Friday's photo session that I won't go into now. Let's just say that despite all of our best efforts, about 10 minutes into the session, it was unanimous--it was way too cold, and we had to reschedule. So, for the fourth time, we have rescheduled the photo session for the Sunday after Thanksgiving. However, the photographer was able to snap a few photos before we made this decision, and here is what she just sent me. I could not be more pleased. I am so excited!!

Christmast Wish List

I am 100% copying this idea from The Motherload. But I loved her list so much, that it made me want to sit down and list all of the things that I am wishing for this Christmas.

1. all bills current, baby (as in mini, not planning for a baby) emergency fund in place, and debt snowball rolling. We are working our little (or not so little) tails off to make all of the above happen. Thank you, Dave.

2. mini-vacation with my husband in April, paid for with money he wins in the Biggest Loser at work. 15 lbs down!! I am so proud of him, and crossing my fingers. No, Dave would not agree that we should take this getaway, but condo prices are oh so low in April, and our marriage needs this as much as our marriage needs to be out of debt. We are working so hard, and we need a vacation to reconnect (away from little Ada) and reevaluate our get out of debt plan.

3. new digital camera. Ours is broken, and we are watching the months pass by with no pictures of Ada.

4. Any season of the Office on dvd.

5. Gift cards to Target, Any Restaurants, Carter's, Gymboree

6. my living room painted. I don't think I can stand one more minute of staring at paint splotches on the walls. We need to make this happen before the new year.

7. My carpet shampooed. It is so bad. So, so bad. From the many cups of milk, apple juice, diet coke, crystal light, and tea poured onto the floor. Not to mention the cheerios smushed into the carpet.

I think that's all. That was fun.

Really and truly I do want the first two things on my list, but other than that, I think this will be a Christmas not so much focused on gifts, and I am 100% okay with that. I am looking forward to decorating my tree, driving around looking at lights, picking out a few things for Ada (the craigslist gifts fell through, sad), and hanging out with the fam back in Alabama. What's on your wish list? I would love to hear.

Most of all, of course, I want to focus on the hope of Christmas.

O' Holy night, the stars are brightly shining
It is the night of our dear Savior's birth
Long lay the world In sin and error pining '
Til He appeared and the soul felt His worth
The thrill of hope, The weary world rejoices
For yonder brings a new and glorious morn
Fall on your knees
Oh, hear the angel's voices
O' night divine
O' night when Christ was born
O' night divine
O' night, O' night divine

Friday, November 21, 2008

Something worth reading, and the usual Friday frugality

As I have mentioned before, I love the blog Of First Importance (fellow English people--or whoever else might know, are blog titles italicized? They are the title of a long work, right? That is something I did not learn in school). Daily this blog provides a gospel centered quote, which always gets the day off to a good start, even if things take a turn for the worse only five minutes later. In light of the week we have had, today's post was quite encouraging. I really think that it is worth reading if you have a second.

And now on to today's story of saving money.

We have a professional photo session scheduled today, our first one since Ada was born. I really wanted newborn photos made, but I never found anyone I liked that I could even slightly afford. Cindy Stansbury, today's photographer, is new to the photography world, but I love her work. Because she is new, she is incredibly affordable, and it is such a blessing because otherwise today's session would not be happening. As affordable as she may be, however, the session is still not included in our weekly budget, so this is a very tight week. On top of the photography session, Ada is in desperate need of winter clothes. As in, I can't continue to take her to Target in her footie pajamas. That may have worked at 3 months, not so much at 15 months. This cold really snuck up on me, and poor Ada has nothing to wear. All of that to say, we are really, really cutting the grocery budget down to the barest of bones. Milk, eggs, bread, peanut butter--that's the grocery list this week.

However, we will not be suffering thanks to the Grocery Game and stockpiling. We have plenty of good meals planned, and I am only buying absolute necessities at the store. Stockpiling truly is the way to go. I used to be skeptical because to me it meant more money spent, but once you get the hang of it, it saves hundreds of dollars. Truly, it does. I really think stockpiling is the key to successful couponing. This week, I will be taking a break from stockpiling (except for BOGO chicken breasts at Kroger), so that I can stay within budget even with the extra money spent on clothing.

Speaking of, here is my second money saved story. This morning, Ada and I were at Carter's when the doors opened to finally buy the poor girl some winter clothes. I planned to spend 50.00, not a penny more, and luckily, Carter's is having a HUGE sale--everything 50-60% off. Because of that sale, I was able to pick out 4 outfits and still stay under 50.00. Well, I was standing in line behind another mom and her newborn son, and she turned to me to ask if I needed a coupon. Obviously, I eagerly said yes, and this complete stranger handed me a coupon for 20% off my entire purchase. I had to spend at least 50.00 to use the coupon, so I picked out an extra outfit, and I ended up paying less for 5 outfits than I would have paid for four without the coupon. Seriously, the Lord keeps on providing, ya'll. Ada really needed those five outfits.

p.s. Target is really slacking in the clothing department these days. I did some research before deciding what to buy, and I was able to buy more at Carter's than I would have at Target. Come on Target, step it up, please. Question for frugal moms out there, where is your favorite place to shop for affordable children's clothing?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Alternative to the Grocery Game

okay, so, I obviously need to get off the computer and stop blogging. I think this is my fourth post in 2 days. A little excessive, I think.

But, several people have been asking me about the Grocery Game and where to find the best deals, and I realized that I had forgotten about a WONDERFUL resource, The Coupon Mom.

The Coupon Mom was on the Today Show this morning, so I decided I needed to go to her website because I had not been there in a while. Way back when I first started couponing, I downloaded and printed her E-book, How to Cut Your Grocery Bill in Half. If you are brand new to couponing, that is an incredibly helpful explanation of how to do this whole thing.

But best of all, she has lists that match sales to coupons for all stores (including Target, which is not on Grocery Game), and you can access them for free. For whatever reason, I completely forgot about her website, but there is a huge possibility that I will start using her site instead of the Grocery Game, if I find that it is just as helpful. Best of all--it's free, and you can access as many lists as you want.

Check it out. Seriously. Ya'll, since I started matching coupons to sales (thanks to the Grocery Game and hopefully now the Coupon Mom), my grocery budget has gone from 100 a week to 50 a week. That is 200.00 saved a month!!!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Reflecting on the Day

It's nearing midnight, and I should be sound asleep, but my mind is full of the day's events as recorded below. Of course I am thinking of how the day could have gone differently and how tomorrow should look. And of course the house is quiet as Ada is tucked away in bed. As usual I went into Ada's room to cover her because the nights have become so cold here. When I went in there, she woke up, so I indulged myself and picked her up for a minute. Her body immediately melted into mine, all curled up as if she was three weeks old instead of 15 months. And I buried my nose in her hair, drinking in the smell of baby shampoo and the feel of her in my arms. She is my precious girl. My joy and my delight. And yet, she requires so much of me. So, so much of me. And most often it feels impossible. I love that she is so full of personality; I just wish that very personality didn't create a child who is determined to always do the exact opposite of what I want her to do. Oh Lord, help us. Please, help us. And again, I visited Biblical Womanhood, knowing I would find encouragement there. A place where moms have experienced the very thing I have experienced. I find such comfort in knowing I am not alone. I already compared notes with Ann today, and she encouraged me, saying that she has been right where I am. That helps so much. I hate feeling alone. I hate feeling crazy. And when I hear another mom share her story, her experience, it makes me feel okay. And that is why I blog the reality of our day to day. Because that is all I can relate to--reality. Over at Biblical Womanhood, in light of the reality of our messy, sinful lives, I found this quote to be incredibly encouraging and just what I need to think about as I fall asleep tonight. Perhaps it will encourage you as well,

"It is faith that enlivens our work with perpetual cheerfulness. It commits every part of it to God, in the hope, that even mistakes shall be overruled for his glory; and thus relieves us from an oppressive anxiety, often attendant upon a deep sense of our responsibility. The shortest way to peace will be found in casting ourselves upon God for daily pardon of deficiencies and supplies of grace, without looking too eagerly for present fruit." (Charles Bridges from The Christian Ministry, 178).


First of all, please read this post over at Girl Talk: Biblical Womanhood in light of what I posted below. It was just the encouragement that I needed today. Thank you, Lord!!!

And, thank you, Lord--Ada is well into the second hour of her nap, working on the third hour. Just what we both needed I think.

This Grace--all that it asks, it provides.

The week we've had

Mark it down as one of the worst weeks Ada and I have shared. Neither of us has been doing a good job of living in "light of the gospel." ;)

My 15 month (soon to be 16 month) little girl is proving to be quite the challenging child. No means nothing to her. Nothing. Spankings mean nothing to her. Time-outs mean nothing to her. And oddly enough, at 15 months, calm conversations don't seem to do the trick either. Ahhhhhhhhhhh. (this is me groaning in frustration) That is what I have felt like doing nearly every second of the past three days. This child is trying my patience like never before.

Here is how our day goes. Ada wakes up in a good mood. We happily snuggle as she drinks her apple juice. We make vows that today is going to be a good day, and we smile at each other, and she giggles as I tickle her and so on. Ten minutes later, she hops down and heads straight for the kitchen chairs, climbs up in them, as I follow behind saying in my sternest voice, "No, Ada." She glances back at me, smiling, and continues on her desired path, not in the least bit deterred. Okay, after a few spankings, talks, etc., she moves on for the time being, to the oven. Yes, that's correct. My child has learned how to grab the handle of the oven door and climb up. Slightly dangerous, I think. And the craziest part of all is that one night while I was gone and Scott was watching her, she did this, and the door opened and she fell back, and it scared her to death. And we thought that would take care of the problem. Oh no, fear will not stop her. She also fell out of a chair in the dining room, hit her head on the wall, and ended up with a huge knot. After I comforted her for a very long time and reminded her that the chair was a "no-no," I discovered her trying to climb back into the chair. And we do this ALL DAY LONG. By about noon, I am worn out and stressed out and frustrated and discouraged and the list goes on and on. Then Ada goes down for her nap, I collapse onto the couch, and everything starts all over two hours later. All of a sudden, the instructions, "pray without ceasing," are really coming true for me. Because I am all out of ideas. All out. But this is what I hear from other mothers who have gone before me--be consistent and remember that my goal is to show her the gospel not to produce 100% obedience all of the time (thanks for that reminder, Tutti). So I am asking her to forgive me a lot this week because my frustration is getting the best of me. And we just keep starting over. And we just keep applying the gospel.

And somehow at night, when I go into her room to cover her up before I go to bed, I can't remember the craziness of the day. I just look at her and think about how sweet she is. I think God blesses moms with amnesia every night so that we will have the strength to wake up the next morning and do it all over again.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Doing what I do...saving money and planning menus

Thursday night has become coupon central here at the Moore house. It gets me out of cleaning the kitchen, at least, because I have to coupon match, so Scott has to clean the kitchen;)


Here's the menu

Friday night--frozen pizza, maybe?
Saturday night--split pea soup
Sunday night--dinner at Tutti's, perhaps, or Stouffer's chicken lasagna
Monday night--Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili
Tuesday night--Sausage and Potatoes Italiano
Wednesday night--Pork Tenderloin
Thursday night--pasta with tomatoes and mozzarella

For lunch we will be eating leftovers from dinner. I normally don't plan as many dinners as I did this week, but I hypothesize that we will actually save money if I plan more dinners and don't buy something specifically for lunch. We'll see how that goes.

Breakfast--South Beach Bars, Granola Bars, Yogurt, whole grain waffles, maybe eggs?

Snacks--stove popped popcorn, leftover Halloween candy, apples, pears, whatever else we might find in the pantry

And the grocery list is short. I repeat, again, I love the grocery game!! The goal of the game is for your necessities list to get shorter and shorter leaving more room in the budget for the stock up list, which in turn keeps making the necessity list shorter. It's all a cycle that feeds off of itself.

Duncan Hines Carrot Cake--free!!
2 Duncan Hines cream cheese frosting--.63 each
1 Hefty Freezer Bags--.45
Tylenol Rapid Release--1.00
1 pack of Dial bar soap--.40
2 cans of Carnation Evaporated Milk--free!!
1 Quaker Chewy Granola Bars--.50
1 Land of Lakes Butter--1.45
1 Dannon Activia Yogurt--.50
2 packs of Tyson Boneless, Skinless Chicken breast--1.99
pears--1.00 lb
apples--1.00 lb
baby carrots--1.00

that's the "stock up" list (all the above items are from the Grocery Game list), and here is the necessity list (meaning these items were not on the Grocery Game list, but I have to buy them for meals)

4-5 cans of chicken broth
bag of split peas
South Beach bars (this will be my most expensive item. I really need to learn to eat something else for breakfast)
1 lb of bulk Italian Sausage

I will be back to report the difference between shelf price and money paid OOP.

p.s. as mentioned in Friday's post, I bought all of the above for 37.00!!

For more menus, go to Organizing Junkie.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Hurry to a Lifeway near you

I have previously mentioned the wonderful Literary Study Bible that Scott gave me for our anniversary. I love my bible, mainly because of the word at the beginning of the title--Literary. The notes in my bible approach bible reading from a literary point of view.

When I began researching the ESV bible back before I purchased mine, I started to hear talk of the ESV Study Bible (minus the literary), and I only heard rave reviews about it. For example, here is what John Piper has to say,

“The ESV is a dream come true for me. The rightful heir to a great line of historic translations, it provides the continuity and modern accuracy I longed for. Now the scope and theological faithfulness of the ESV Study Bible study notes is breathtaking. Oh how precious is the written Word of God.”

Well, folks, the Bible is now available for purchase. It has been for a few months, I think, and I was really hoping to get my hands on one, but, of course, there was no room in the budget. Until Friday that is, when I happened to stumble upon the deal of the year. For a few days, the ESV study Bible is on sale for 25.00!!!!!!!!!!!! at Lifeway Bookstores. You can get this price online as well. Today we purchased one for Scott "for Christmas." I really had to share this information because I would not have known it had I not happened to be browsing in a Lifeway on Friday. I never go in there. Ever. A God thing? I think so.

And Sara Groves fans, while you are in the store purchasing your 25.00 Bible, throw a 5.00 Sara Groves Christmas c.d. into the mix as well. You'll be glad you did. Over in our car, Ada and I are starting our Christmas celebrating a little early this year.

And to top it all off, I also found a Worship the King for Kids cd for 2.99. A c.d. of old hymns sung by children. For 2.99!!! I might be "browsing" through Lifeway more often after that trip.

To hear about more great deals head over to Money Saving Mom.

Friday, November 14, 2008

The tale of the lost Grocery List

Despite the fact that Ada was oh so fussy, and despite the fact that we have both been under the weather the past two days, I decided to take our normal afternoon trip to Kroger. Bad, bad decision.

Before we went to Kroger we had to drive to Fresh Express to give something to Scott. I had to fax my in-home tutoring hours in before Midnight today, and we certainly don't have a fax machine here. On our way there, we decided to run through the McDonald's drive through for a little Friday afternoon treat. Regular Hamburger for me, chicken nuggets for Ada, fries to share--good, right? Wrong. I handed Ada her first nugget, and she promptly tossed it as hard as she could over the side of her car seat. Okay, I thought, we'll try this again. I handed her another one, really talking up the chicken nugget, and again, over the side of the car seat it goes. And she is fussing and pointing, and I know what she wants, my hamburger. Ya'll, I don't like chicken mcnuggets. I never have. And I know she likes them because I have seen her eat them, and I wanted to bring myself down to her level and refuse to give her my hamburger. But, I didn't. My hamburger she got. And I ate a lunch of french fries.

So, off we go, in a car that smells like vomit despite all of my scrubbing, to Fresh Express. And she fusses the whole way, and the back seat is now full of chicken mcnuggets, but we get the hours to Scott. And, really, wisdom would say that I should drive us straight home at this point. But, I dug my heels in, already frustrated that I didn't get my hamburger, and I drove us to Kroger. And we get in the store, and she immediately wants my grocery list to play with. And ya'll, that list is sacred. I spend a lot of time figuring it out based on sales and coupons and what The Grocery Game tells me to do. I am lost without it. But, again, I am stupid, and I give her my list. And next thing I know, that list is no where to be found. No where. We hadn't gone far, just to the vegetable section, and we circled that section at least five times because I was desperate for my list. Lost without my list. And the frustration was getting the best of me at this point. I am saying things like, "why did you lose my list, Ada?" Really, she's 15 months old, and I am the adult that gave it to her. But it felt like it was her fault. But we did make it through the store, and I only forgot one thing that was on my list--pretty good, I think. And, drum roll please....

my total was 37.00!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Oh yes, you are reading that right. And I planned more meals than usual this week. So despite everything working against us, Ada and I still shared a frugal Friday moment. 37 stinking dollars. Moral of the story--Kroger and coupons and The Grocery Game came through even when everything else was working against us.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Photography Question

Okay all you photographer types out there that might be reading this, I have a question.

The Moore family is scheduled to have our first ever family photo session in the next few weeks, and I am wondering what to wear. Is there something that photographs better than others? In my head I am thinking a black wrap dress. It just seems like black is the best choice. Is this true? Or could I go with a more "creative" outfit?

And because of the beautiful fall colors, I think Ada will be wearing the dress from the last post for a more dressy photo, and a fall brown and green polka dotted jumper for the more casual family photos. The session is mainly about her, but we will be getting a few family shots as well.

Seriously, any wardrobe advice is much appreciated. There is a dress at Gap that I am contemplating buying. It is on sale and I have a coupon, and really, who couldn't use a black, wrap dress? This is the weird thing. It's on sale, B1G1, which is bizarre to me. Who buys two of the same dress? Even in different colors? So, if any readers want to join me in a trip to Gap, maybe we could work something out with that deal. However, we would then having matching dresses. This is a very strange deal, Gap, I have to say.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A Motherhood Rite of Passage and other tales from the past two days

Watching a train pass by at the old Train Station in downtown Evergreen, AL.

Sunday morning playing in the yard before church.

Above are two photographs from the weekend visit to Evergreen. My mother took so many pictures, and she will soon be posting them to her blog, so I only stole two to post on here.
Yesterday we travelled home, and we stopped in Auburn for lunch with my youngest sister Kate. The thought of Big Blue Bagel and College Street on a beautiful fall day was enough to keep me going through two hours of non-stop fuss coming from the back seat. I will post more about our lunch in Auburn later once Kate sends me the pictures that she took while we were there.
I will say this, the visit ended badly when I was pulled over for the very first time in my life!!!! I turned right at a light where there was a huge sign that said, "Do not turn right on red." I turned right, and pulled out in front of a cop. Stupid, stupid, stupid. And then had to turn in to the police station to pull over. He had mercy on me, though, and let me go without a ticket. He did give me several lectures about driving carefully for the safety of my daughter though. The dollar signs were flashing in my head as I waited on the verdict, so I was more than thankful when he let me go with just a warning.
My second rite of passage happened today in the parking lot of Target. I was deep in thought, not paying attention to the back seat, when I heard a strange liquid-like sound. Sorry for the details, but really, I need to record this. I turned around to find hot pink throw up coming out of Ada's mouth. And it just kept coming. I have never dealt with this, ya'll. Little baby spit up that is cleaned up with a burp cloth yes, great volumes of adult style throw up, no. The hot pink was due to the Crystal Light she drank this morning. We were out of juice, and so I made do with what we had. Oh did that Crystal Light come back to haunt me. It was a cold, gray day, and nevertheless I had to strip her down to her diaper right there in the parking lot, and use her clothes to soak up as much throw up as possible. I put her back in her car seat, still covered in throw up, and we drove home where we headed straight for the bath tub. She seems to feel okay now. But the throw up came after a three hour nap. And after three hours, I woke her up because I was slightly concerned. I am excited when she sleeps for an hour and a half, so I am guessing that she is suffering from some type of virus, and I am praying that it passes quickly and without affecting Scott and me. We'll see, I suppose. So far, so good.
And that is our day. There is always something new and exciting to experience in the land of motherhood.
p.s. Blogger is refusing to let me break this into paragraphs. It is driving me CRAZY, but apparently I just have to let it go. So excuse the run-on post. I hope it is still readable.