Saturday, January 31, 2009
Here you will find how Ellie and Luke are dealing with the coming arrival of their baby brother, Andrew. They are hilarious, as usual.
But, for now, I blog.
Yesterday was a record day at CVS. It was pure craziness, ya'll. I started the day with 20.00 in ECBs (extra care bucks), so that put me ahead from the very beginning. I rarely have that many accumulated at one time. On top of those 20 ECBs, I had a coupon for 5 off of 25, so there was obvious potential for some serious money saved.
Here is what I did
3 cases of diet pepsi--10.00
2 bags of Stacey's pita chips--6.00
2 bags of Lay's potato chips--4.00
3 bottles of maalox--@ 5.79 each
1 Benefiber chewables--6.89
-2x 1.00 off Maalox (when I am pregnant, maalox is my lifesaver, so I am stocking up, just in case I need it again in the future.)
-1x 2.00 off Maalox
-CVS coupon 5.00 off 2 maalox
-2.00 off Benefiber
-CVS coupon 3.00 off of Benefiber (no idea what Benefiber is or does, but it was a potential money maker for me, so I bought it)
-2 x 1.50 off of Pita Chips
-5.00 CVS coupon
total before coupons and ECBs=55.30
total after coupons and ECBs=8.57
ECBs generated from this transaction=20.00 (10 from the Pepsi products, 10 from the Maalox/benefiber products)
Again, I started with 20.00 and a 5/25.00 CVS coupon
1 Schick Intuition Razor=8.99
1 Gillette Shampoo=4.99
1 Gillette Shampoo=4.99
1 Gillette Fusion Gamer Razor=7.99
1 Almay Powder=12.79
1 CVS wipes=3.29 (we just needed these)
-1.00 off Almay
-2.00 off Gillette Shampoo
-4.99 off Gillette Shampoo (coupon for free shampoo with purchase of razor)
-2.00 off Intuition Razor
-4.00 off Gillette Fusion Razor
-5.00 CVS coupon
Total before coupons and ECBs=49.30
Total after coupons and ECBs=4.31
Total ECBs generated=19.00, plus a 5/25.00 coupon (3.00 from each of the Gillette Shampoo, 4.00 from each of the razors, 5.00 from the Almay makeup)
So, bottom line, I got 100.00 worth of merchandise for about 12.00. Ya'll, this couponing stuff, it's a high. I am telling you. Sad, I know, but so very true.
The best part is, I still have 19.00 in ECBs. Because I am attempting to not grocery shop and eat out of our stockpile, I think I am going to use the 19.00 to buy any necessities we might have for the week. It is more expensive to buy groceries at CVS, but since it will be no money out of pocket, it is really better for our bank account. If I really can make it without grocery shopping this week, my total on groceries for the week will be 12.00!!! A personal record. I think it can be done, thanks to couponing and the CVS game.
Here you will see how others did at CVS this week.
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Anyway, if you like magazines, and you like free magazines even more, Go here for a free subscription to Martha Stewart Living.
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
And, I still think those things. Really, I do. But this week, as I was tutoring at midnight and longing to be in bed fast asleep, I had flash backs to papers that were written at 4 am, after spending all day locked in a study room in the library with a lap top and books too confusing for me to understand. I remember driving down college street at midnight to pick up a coffee from Taylor's wondering if I would ever live life on a normal schedule again. Ahhh yes. That part of college all came flooding back.
Just between us, though, I even miss that part. The crazy rush that comes from staying up all night long and sliding that paper under my professor's door at the last second, then going home to spend the rest of the day in bed, catching up on the sleep I lost all week.
Monday, January 26, 2009
Sunday, January 25, 2009
Yes, you read that correctly, midnight. I slept for two hours this afternoon in preparation. The online hours have been few and far between since the new semester began. I have a sneaking suspicion that it has a bit to do with the economy. I have been missing online hours for the past two weeks, so in an effort to be "gazelle intense," this week I just took what I could get, even if that meant midnight.
I plan to work my tail off until summer comes, and hopefully at that point our budget should be looking at some breathing room, and I will be ready to relax all summer since the kids will all be out of school. At least that is what I keep telling myself when I don't really feel like tutoring at, say, midnight on Sunday night. Yuck!
Anyway...back to the matter at hand. This weekend's grocery trip and the meal plan for the week. I shopped at Kroger and Publix, and I had some okay numbers. The savings were good, but I spent more than planned.
At Kroger I spent 47.00 (5 towards some highschoolers who were bagging groceries to raise money for their school), and I saved 62.53.
At Publix trip #1, I spent 18.40, and I saved 32.58. That was the trip that involved Ada standing up in the buggy, me playing tug of war with her for my grocery list and coupons, and the "car buggy" getting stuck on every single aisle. It was sort of a nightmare, so we cut the trip short.
At Publix trip #2, I spent 36.52, and I saved 54.86. Scott came with me this time, and he drove Ada in the car buggy in circles around the store while I shopped. On this trip, however, the cashier accused me of copying my Rite Aid coupon, wish really did a number on my pride.
So, that is 251.89 worth of groceries for 101.92. Not bad, right?
However, I wanted to stay under 50.00. I have a stocked freezer and pantry, though, so I am going to see how long I can go without going to the grocery store. It's to the point that I am running out of room to put things. It's hard for me to ignore the deals that are going on each week, but the whole point of stockpiling is to save money, so I am going to spend the next month relying heavily on the stockpile, and then I will begin to build it back up. I imagine there will be a few necessities that I need to buy each week, but I want to keep the grocery spending to a bare minimum. There are usually freebies each week, so I will take advantage of those. We'll call it the stockpile experiment. How long can I go without buying groceries?
Here's the plan for this week
Monday: 16 bean soup, cornbread
Tuesday: Chicken leg quarters, rice, and veggies in the crockpot
Wednesday: Chicken in vodka sauce over pasta
Thursday: leftovers or cereal--tutor/bible study night
Friday: frozen pizza
Saturday: pinto beans and sausage with rice
Sunday--most likely I am headed home for baby Andrew's birth!!!!!!!!! Woo-hoo...so exciting.
lunch--ham sandwiches, chips, fruit, leftovers
breakfast--fiber one bars, grits, waffles, fiber one pop-tarts
Our freezer is absolutely overflowing with chicken, so we are looking forward to when red meat of some kind goes on sale. We are becoming a bit chickened out, you could say.
Remember that you will find many more menus over at Organizing Junkie.
Friday, January 23, 2009
But...I had to write and say this...I just went to Wal-Mart with big plans to buy lots of great things for free or nearly free, and nothing that I heard was on sale was actually on sale. I was the most excited about .22 Cascadian Farms frozen veggies. Not only were these veggies not on sale, I don't think Wal-Mart even carries them. This continues to happen to me and not just in Wal-Mart. I make my list using The Grocery Game or Couponmom or the various blogs I read, and I get to the store only to find that the list isn't accurate. Can someone help me? Is there a list you use that is always accurate? I am going to try your list, Jennifer. It's worth a shot. Needless to say, the grocery gaming isn't going well so far this week, and I haven't even told you the story about Ada in Publix this morning. Oh dear.
Well, as they say, the best laid plans...
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Sarah, my younger sister, turns 22 (?) this weekend, and at the last minute I have decided to travel to Auburn for Saturday night--expenses paid by my wonderful mother who is doing the weekend for Sarah, but it feels a bit like it's my birthday as well. I always love escaping the life I am living to play "college student" with my younger sisters in Auburn. Granted, after one night I am dying to come back home to the hubby and hilarious little Ada. But...back to the topic at hand.
I am up late because I feel a need to organize and plan and list make so that I can do the grocery shopping before I leave for the weekend. I really, really, really want to stay under 50.00. I have enough groceries stocked up that I really shouldn't be spending more than that on any given week. And I have spotted some good deals this week, so it just might be possible. It is not possible, however, without a lot of planning and preparation. So...as Scott and I were getting ready for bed, I realized that I really needed to stay up and prepare for the grocery trip, so here I am. Gilmore Girls is on the television (I am starting over with Season One), a fire is going in the fire place, and my coupons are spread out all around me. Here we go. I'll let you know how it goes....
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
This weekend I have big plans to clean off the top of my dresser, and the master bathroom, and finish organizing Ada's room. We'll see how all of that goes. Though Ada's room looks awful, I am actually in process of organizing, so something is being accomplished, you just can't tell from the picture.
Did I mention that I did organize the toys in the play room, though? That's a step in the right direction.In the mean time, this is what Ada is up to while I am doing all of that organizing.
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Here you will find a prayer by Albert Mohler, that I find very helpful. I pray that the Lord would convict me to spend time in prayer for our country and our leadership. I tend to be quite self-centered, caught up in my own little world here inside the walls of my house. I pray that the Lord would burden me to spend much time on my knees for our country, the country in which my children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren and generations after that will grow up.
This year Scott and I have committed to memorizing scripture--something new every week. In light of what is happening in our country today, I think I will memorize this verse this week
First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. 1 Timothy 2:1-2
p.s. I found the above link at Biblical Womanhood, one of my absolute favorite blogs.
Monday, January 19, 2009
First, though, our menu for the week
Tonight--little smokies in barbecue sauce, mac and cheese, baked beans
Tuesday--baked chicken leg quarters (this is a first for me; I have only cooked boneless skinless chicken breast in the past), rice, veggies
Wednesday--Pinto beans and sausage with rice
Thursday--cereal night because of tutoring and bible study (there is no time for cooking)
Friday--having friends over, I am cooking santa fe soup, and they are bringing salad and bread
Breakfasts--fiber one pop tarts, fiber one bars, waffles, slim fast bars
Lunch--leftovers, sandwiches, chips, yogurt
Here is where you will find hundreds more menu ideas.
And for our Target trip. Okay, I am not supposed to be spending any money at all this week on groceries because I am already over budget. We have just switched from getting paid once a week to every other week, and I am having to adjust. Anyway...we started our day at CVS, which did not go well because they were out of the item that I needed to start my transaction. I ended up paying 10.00 more than planned to buy 4 cases of diet pepsi and four bags of chips. I did walk away with 10 ECBs, though. Okay, so at that point, I still needed to buy chili sauce and grape jelly to make sauce for tonight's dinner. I stopped at Super Target because it's on the way. I don't normally do my grocery shopping there, so I wasn't familiar with coupon policies. We get inside, and immediately Ada fusses about getting in the buggy. She locked her legs, and I couldn't get her in the seat, so I told her we would get a cookie. That did the trick. I had a 5.00 bill in my wallet, and I wanted to buy everything we needed and use only cash. I immediately realized that the 5.00 wouldn't cover it, so I decided to buy a bottle of barbecue sauce instead of the chili sauce and jelly. I also needed a loaf of bread, and Sara Lee was on sale. I remembered that I still had coupons for free Kotex pads, so I also threw those into the buggy, and I was fairly sure the 5.00 would cover the sauce and the bread.
Okay, so we finish our transactions, and the total is 4.86. So far, so good. After she scanned the coupons, the cashier tells me that they can't take the manufacturer's coupons on top of the Target coupons. I told her that they did it last week, but she said not all cashiers follow the rules, and she leaves to ask her manager. Meanwhile, the line is backing up, and Ada is trying to climb out of the buggy in order to play with the credit card machine. Side note--I would have told her not to worry about it, but she left to ask the manager before I had a chance. Okay, so she finally comes back, and tells me that she can't take the manufacturer's coupons, which means the pads will not be free. This changed my total to 7.00, and I had to use my debit card. I was so frustrated because I didn't even need the stinkin' pads, I just wanted them because they were free. At this point, Ada is standing up in the buggy, the line is backed up, and I am trying to get out of the way. I finally just pick Ada up because she is locking her knees so that I can't get her to sit down. I am holding Ada, pushing the buggy, and carrying bags. All while Ada is crying and clinging to me because she is so afraid that I will make her sit back down. I mean, it's such torture to sit in a grocery cart, you know? I needed to get a better grip on the bags before we walked out to the parking lot, so I put Ada down beside me. Amazingly, she immediately stopped crying, and was in awe of the fact that she was standing, completely free, in the middle of Target. I readjusted my bags, and picked her back up, ready to head to the car. At this point, she starts screaming because now she wants to walk around on her own. She is so angry with me, that she hits me in the face, and it appears as if I have the most unruly child on the planet. We are seriously causing a scene. All I wanted was to get out of there, so I walk out with a screaming child, who just hit me, and I try to somehow maintain my dignity. It was so very bad. We went straight home, and I put her to bed. And here we are. And that is a picture of motherhood. I say again, I'm just living the life, ya'll, living the life.
Sunday, January 18, 2009
2 Eggo Waffles at .45 each
2 Betty Crocker Blueberry Muffin Mix @ .50 each
2 Betty Crocker Lemon Poppyseed Muffin Mix @ .50 each
2 cans of French's French Fried onions (for a recipe) @ 2.24 each (not on sale)
4 bottles of Lysol All Purpose Cleaner @ .35 each
2 Mott's Apple Juice @ 1.48 each (no coupons)
.5 lb of Boar's Head Lemon Pepper Chicken deli meat 4.15 (no sale or coupons)
4 cans of Del Monte green beans @ .64 each (sale, but no coupons)
2 tubs of "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter" @ .45 each
2 bottles of Lawry's Marinade @ .42 each
5.5 lbs of chicken leg quarters @ .59 per lb (3.26 total, sale, no coupons)
Total before sale and coupons= 65.62
Total that I paid OOP (out of pocket)=23.62
It is incredible the amount of money that you can save if you just know how to work the system. It has transformed our budget. I love it!!!
Friday, January 16, 2009
Yesterday, Ada and I were facing an entire day with no car. Combine that fact with the crazy cold temperatures outside, and we were facing a day of staring at the walls of this house. When I decided that I couldn't stand to watch "Baby MacDonald" for the tenth time in a row, I remembered the play dough tucked away in the drawer for just a moment like this one. Thanks Ashley and Knox, for passing this out as a party favor. It really rescued us yesterday.
And when she tired of the play dough, out came the pen and paper. A little bit of drawing on the skin never hurt a child, right?
p.s. she was a bit confused with the play dough at first. She was wearing a bib and sitting at the table in her booster seat; who wouldn't have thought the play dough was for eating rather than playing?
Thursday, January 15, 2009
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
To aid in this quest, I have taken on after school tutoring jobs. This serves many purposes. One, I get out of the house, and I get to use my degrees. This does quite a bit for my morale. It can do a number on a mom to do nothing but change diapers and sing Itsy Bitsy Spider all day long. We have also started chanting and dancing to bible verses, but I will save that story for another post:) Anyway, I think that even if we did not need the extra money, I would enjoy tutoring for a few hours every week. However, we do need the extra money, and, in fact, Dave Ramsey tells us that we need to be gazelle intense until all of that debt is paid off (not including the mortgage). So...I am taking on two more students in addition to the ones I was already tutoring. Plus...I tutor online through Tutor.com. I get paid twice as much to tutor in homes, but I want to hang on to the online tutoring job for seasons of my life (pregnancy, newborn, etc. etc.) when getting out of the house every afternoon may not be as feasible. All of that to say, the schedule is getting a bit hectic, and I am feeling somewhat overwhelmed.
Here is what I am looking at
4:30-5:00, drive across town
6:30-7:00, drive home
7:00-9:00, tutor online
9:00-11:00, down time before bed
and this schedule pretty much repeats itself until Friday night, when I get a break.
To top it all off, in order for Scott to be home in time for me to go tutor, he has to get to work at the crack of dawn, meaning he has to go to bed super early. So, like I said, things are getting a bit insane around our house.
Obviously, this is not an ideal situation, but we are very thankful that one, we are in a place where I am able to tutor this much, and two, that I have the tutoring jobs at all. We plan to dig our heels in, and go full force until summer, and then, of course, things will slow down. It's just a few months, and the rewards far outweigh the cost. I am typing all of this to remind myself of these things:)
I am feeling a bit overwhelmed today, so I thought it would be helpful to remind myself of the goals we have. One, most of all, I want to stay at home with Ada. This is making that possible. Two, I want to one day have more than one child (obviously), and our schedules will be crazier, and I won't have the freedom to do this. Now is the time to get out of debt. Three, my tutoring prevents Scott from getting a second job. Ada gets quality time with both of us. Scott and I both feel like that is important. And, we both have the weekends completely free, so we can soak up family time then. Finally, we are learning so much through this process, and if it were easier, I don't think the lessons would be as memorable.
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Creamy Pork Chops or Beef Tips
Boneless pork chops/beef stew meat (we are using pork chops bought on sale at Publix)
Lay meat in the bottom of crockpot (love crockpot meals that can be assembled while Ada is napping!!)
Pour one can of cream of mushroom into the pot (2 cans for more gravy) and then splash the inside of the can with water and add that to the pot (1/4 of the can)
add one envelope of dry onion soup mix
cook on high 3-4 hours
serve over rice or pasta (we are using rice that I already had in the pantry), and I am opening up a can of peas to add some green to the meal.
I will add that I used very thin pork chops, so I probably should have cooked it on low, so use your own judgement based on the thickness of your meat.
I have found that in this season of penny pinching, God provides in very small ways. He, of course, meets our needs in abundance. There is no question about that. But I feel like he also meets my wants, or, maybe I should say that he meets my emotional needs.
For example, as I have mentioned multiple times, we found a wonderful photographer to take Ada's picture back in December, and the result was beautiful pictures for a very low price. Until December, I did not have Ada's picture done because I didn't want to sacrifice quality. Cindy Stansberry allowed us to get quality photos for a price that fit our budget. As a mom, I am so thankful for those pictures. It just blessed my heart, not to sound cliche. I think that those photos will always remind me of this season of our life when God provided in such small ways.
Now, it's happening again. Hooray, a program much like snapfish or Kodak gallery, is giving away a free photo book, and you have from now until January 20th to take advantage of this offer. All you have to pay is 7.99 in shipping. The book normally costs 35.00 in addition to shipping. So on top of having that wonderful photo session with Cindy Stansberry, I am now uploading those photos into a photo book, for only 7.99. I know it's such a small thing, but I am so thankful for it. It's not something we have to have, but it's such a treat. A gift.
Monday, January 12, 2009
Let's start with successes--My sink was clean and my dishwasher loaded every single night. And, I made my bed every morning as soon as I woke up. Scott told me that it takes 28 days for something to become a habit (I think that's right), so I am determined to do those two things for 28 days without missing a day. Seven days down.
Not so successful, however, was my plan to wake up early. As you know, I did wake up early on Sunday (accidentally), and I absolutely loved being up before the rest of the house. It was so quiet and peaceful, and by the time Scott and Ada woke up I was in a great mood and ready to start the day. We'll see if I can continue to wake up at that early hour. It really depends on what time I am able to go to bed at night, so I am taking it one morning at a time.
Note: this morning both Scott and I woke up late because neither of us remembered to set the alarm. Oh well.
Other goal from this past week--one diet coke a day. Oh dear, how I wish I didn't have to report on this one. It was not good, ya'll. In my defense, which really there is none, there were two different nights when Ada woke up all night long and I needed something to get me through those days. So, we're keeping that goal. IT HAS TO HAPPEN.
Steps to making it happen this week--drink 4 bottles of water a day. I think that if I focus on drinking more water rather than less diet coke, it will be easier to make it happen. Like a positive rather than negative goal. We'll see. So, that is the goal for this week. Nothing to do with diet coke, just water. I can drink however much diet coke I want, but I have to drink four bottles of water. There is no way I can drink tons of both--it's just not possible. I'll let you know.
As far as the housekeeping goes. I need to continue the kitchen cleaning and bed making. I will continue to try to wake up early. I really think it would be beneficial for everyone. But, I do want to tweak the goal. If I don't wake up, my goal is then to do my bible study as soon as Ada goes down for her nap. Ideally, it will happen first thing in the morning, but because life happens, plan B is naptime.
The housekeeping/homemaking goal that I am adding this week is this--one load of laundry put away every day. The reason I just say put away is because I have no problem getting it washed and dried, it's the folding and putting a way that trips me up. We have piles of clean clothes covering our bedroom. So that I don't feel overwhelmed, I plan to put up one load a day.
And that is all I am adding. I want this to work, I really do, so I think the smaller the goals the better. Slowly but surely, I will get the house in order.
And if any of you readers have any advice for what has worked for you, please share.
1--Chicken Tortilla Casserole, mexican rice
2--Creamy Herb Pork Chops over noodles, salad
dressing (BOGO at Publix)
3--white chicken chili
great northern beans
4--Santa Fe Soup
5--chicken parmesan and penne
6--Creamy skillet chicken
7--one dish chicken and rice
8--little smokies in barbecue sauce, baked beans, macaroni and cheese
9--stir fried chicken and veggies with fried rice and lo mein noodles
10--pinto beans and sausage with rice
11--crock pot chicken and stuffing
12 & 13--BOGO pork tenderloin, veggies, rice
breakfast--slim fast bars, fiber one bars
lunch--sandwiches, chips, yogurt, and leftovers
cheese--cheddar and mozzarella
As always, check out Organizing Junkie every Monday for lots and lots of meal ideas.
Sunday, January 11, 2009
It's 5:45 am, and I have been up since 5. Ada woke up crying at 5 am, and after I comforted her and put her back down, I was having trouble falling back asleep. I have been wanting to get up early all week, and I have been unable to for one reason or another. As I was lying there, I thought, "here's your chance. You are awake anyway; why not get up and start the day on a quiet, peaceful note."
So here I sit, the fire going, tea by my side, and my bible open to Proverbs.
I am a worrier by nature. If I allow it, it can consume me. This weekend because of different circumstances, the worry has threatened to consume me. This happens from time to time. I think it's a result of a build up of junk in my heart that I have not dealt with. Then, when it gets to be too much to bear, I stop being able to sleep. And I find myself falling before the throne of God, desperate for him to wipe the slate clean, desperate for him to restore my relationship to Him. This morning I needed to crawl up beneath the shadow of his wing and find comfort there. I am a kind of tired that sleep cannot cure, only time with Him will bring me much needed rest.
As I began to pray this morning, I knew that I needed to be confronted with truth before I could even voice a prayer, so I began to look up verses on worry. I found the obvious ones, ones that I wrote down in order to commit to memory
Cast your burden upon the Lord and He will sustain you: He will never allow the righteous to be shaken. Psalm 55:22
Trust in him at all times, o people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge. Psalm 62:8
So, I began to be comforted by those words, but I think the Lord knew I needed something more concrete. When I begin to worry about a situation, I often feel the need to do something, and this morning I find myself asking the Lord, "but what can I do to fix this?" And, he lead me to these verses, which spoke right to my heart
Whoever is slothful will not roast his game but the diligent man will get precious wealth. Proverbs 12:27
Better to be lowly and have a servant than to play the great man and lack bread. Proverbs 12:9
The hand of the diligent will rule while the slothful will be put to forced labor. Proverbs 12:24
Whoever works his land with have plenty of bread but he who follows worthless pursuits lacks sense. Proverbs 12:11
After reading these verses, the word diligent kept standing out to me, so I looked up the word on dictionary.com to make sure I had the exact definition.
Diligent--1. A constant effort to accomplish something; attentive and persistent in doing anything
2. done or pursued with persevering attention; painstaking
3. marked by painstaking effort
so then I looked up painstaking
Painstaking--characterized by taking pains or trouble
Okay, so the above bible verses might not seem like the obvious choice of verses that might bring comfort. I mean, "whoever is slothful will not roast his game?" but they spoke to me. I often become overwhelmed by the task at hand--budgeting and couponing, cooking and cleaning, taking care of Ada and working to raise her in such a way that she will desire a relationship with the Lord above all else, and sometimes I just want to quit, find an easy way out. Or at least a shortcut. But think about, in biblical times, I imagine that roasting game took forever. You kill the animal, you roast it over a fire. I imagine that takes patience, and the slothful man is apparently not willing to do it. But the diligent man, he will get precious wealth. He gets the rich meat, the reward of his patience and hard work and diligence. This morning the Lord spoke plain as day to me--he is asking me to be diligent. He is telling me that in all things--keeping my home, staying on the budget, disciplining and loving and raising and discipling Ada, I must, must, must be diligent. Pay attention to detail. To the point of pain. I am so encouraged this morning because I wanted a concrete answer, and I feel like I received one. I don't think he is giving me some big revelation about a new thing that I must do. Instead, I am reminded that this job is a daily thing. I must daily make choices to persevere, pay attention to detail, and constantly make tiny effort after tiny effort to accomplish the goals we have set for our family.
Oh the peace that comes when I rest in Him and His word and His truth.
Saturday, January 10, 2009
I had this big plan to do my stock pile shopping, then meal plan, then go out to buy the few extras I needed on top of what was already in the pantry and fridge. Problem is, after the stockpiling and eating out and baby showering, there is zero cash left. So...I made a list of everything that is in my pantry and fridge, and I am going to see what I can do with what I already have. The good news is that I have quite a bit to work with, and it's sort of fun to do this. Like a challenge.
But before I go into all that, I must share a story that represents why I love CVS so much.
I am quite the regular at my local CVS. I have three within five minutes of my house, but there is one that I go to the most regularly, and the workers have gotten to know Ada and me. There is one worker in particular,who I have become quite chummy with. She helps me figure out how to stretch my ECBs, and we compare notes on couponing and deal finding. Well, today I went in to CVS with a total of 20 dollars left in the budget, and I needed at least 5.00 left over after my shopping trip. So 15.00 to spend. I had a 3 off 15 coupon, but it expired yesterday. (I didn't realize that until I was in the car on the way to CVS). As soon as I entered the store, I spotted "my lady," and I asked her if I could still use it. She told me to find her when I was ready to check out and she would take care of it. So, I figured out my transactions, and headed to the front. Here are my transactions
4 bottles of baby tylenol=6.00 each
- 2 2.50 off of two coupons
Received 10 ECBs
CVS baby wipes 2.00
1 twin pack Ziploc freezer bags 5.99
1 twin pack Fiber One bars 6.99
- 2 .50 off Fiber One
- 1 3.00 off CVS coupon
Received 5 ECBs
So, at this point I had reached my cash limit, but Scott and I made a joint decision to go ahead with the next transaction and use the debit card. I was glad he was there because I would have been stressed out:)
4 Welchs White Grape juice @ 2.99 each
2 Johnsons Vanilla Oatmeal Baby wash @ 2.99 each
1 Atlanta Journal Constitution @ 2.00
-3 1.00 off Welch's (sadly, I couldn't find my fourth)
-2 2.00 off Johnson's
Okay, so a good deal, right? Well, I wasn't planning on buying the Johnson's products because they aren't a need. I use the wash as bubble bath for Ada, and it's something I rarely buy. I had 1.00 off Johnson's coupons, but I planned to use those to purchase free buddies soap. Well, my sweet cashier asked me if I had gotten the Johnson's 2.00 coupons off of the BJ's insert in this past week's paper. I responded that I didn't know I could use BJs coupons at CVS. And she told me that as long as the coupon says manufacturers coupon, it can be used anywhere. And then she turned around, pulled out her coupon stash, and she handed me two Johnson's coupons!! I then ran to the back and got the vanilla baby wash. And that, my friends, is why I love my CVS!! I purchased two bottles of Johnson's baby wash for .99 each because my kind cashier gave me her coupons!! Isn't that a great couponing story? Scott said that when I ran to the back to get the wash, he told the cashier that I should pay her for all of her help. And she responded, "no way, we are all one big family." That made me laugh. We are, aren't we? A big couponing, cvsing family. Ha:)
Back to the BJs coupons, though. I may be wrong, but I think this means that you can use the Publix 3.00 off Similac from this past week's paper at any store!! So that means a store where it may have a cheaper shelf price. It's worth a shot!! I usually discard the BJs coupons without even seeing what they are. No more my friends. (If you aren't familiar, BJs is a warehouse store similar to Costco)
I will be back later to discuss stockpile purchases and what I am cooking for the next two weeks, using that stockpile. If you aren't a CVSer already, please let the above story inspire you to become one.
And for more CVS scenarios, check out The Centsible Sawyer.
Friday, January 9, 2009
The first link will take you to the fabulous "mommy and me" deal that is happening at Atlanta's aquarium. 20.00 pays for parking and admission for a mom and up to four children under age five. For more details, go here. I, for one, really want to take advantage of this deal. Any other moms want to join me?
The second link is to a blog I love, which matches Publix deals with both printable and newspaper coupons. It's my favorite resource for putting together my weekly Publix shopping trip. Here is where you will find this great blog.
And, finally, this is the 5.00 dinner blog. The mom of this blog makes dinner for her family every single night for less than 5.00. She includes the ingredient list and price breakdown.
Happy bargain shopping and budget living everyone!
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
It had gotten to the point of humiliating, so Scott mentioned this machine that you can rent from Kroger--the rug doctor. I didn't have high hopes for this machine because, well, our carpet is just so bad. But for only 25.00 (compared to the price of a professional), I thought it was worth a shot. So, we rented it tonight, and Scott has "doctored" our family room and living room, and it looks like new, ya'll. Like new. Well, if you turn the overhead light on, you can still see shadows of the previous stains, but with the lamps on, which is how I keep it, it looks like new. I am more inspired than ever to keep my house clean, and to find sippy cups that truly are spill proof. Ada likes to to take those sippy cups to the limit. "Spill proof you say? I am going to turn this thing upside down and shake it as hard as I can onto the white couch, just to see how spill proof it is," (Ada speaking). She then likes to play in her puddle of sticky apple juice, just for added fun.
Anyway...next on the list of home improvement, paint these walls. I will post pictures after it's all said and done.
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
Last night, Ada decided to wake up every hour on the hour, and at one point when I stumbled into her room to put her back down, she was standing in her crib pantsless. She had tossed not only her pacie and her blanket "overboard," but her pants as well. And that is the night we had. Needless to say, I did not wake up at 6 am. The only solid sleep that Ada and I had all night long was from 5:45-9:15 this morning. It took one night for me to remember what those first weeks of motherhood were like. It wasn't pretty, folks.
So...the day is not going as planned. I am tired. Ada is tired. Which means, we are both rather cranky. I have had too much diet coke, and we have both eaten too many cookies, Ada's new favorite word, by the way. I have plans to buy some kashi whole grain cookies at the grocery store this coming week as a compromise. But for today, we are filled to the brim with junk, and a lack of sleep.
The good news--did I mention that Scott and I are going to the beach in May:) And...my sink is shiny, my bed is made with clean, fresh sheets, and I just did Tae Bo bootcamp. Things could be worse.
And there is always tomorrow.
Monday, January 5, 2009
Scott woke up super early to go the gym before his final weigh in for his Biggest Loser contest at work. I haven't mentioned the contest lately because Scott didn't want anyone at work to know how hard he was working, hoping it would discourage the competition. That being said, that contest has been the center of our world for the past few weeks. Anyway, he went to the gym this morning for one last work out, and I was so fast asleep I didn't even hear him leave. He told me that he reset the alarm for 6 am, but I did not hear it go off. It is entirely possible that I turned it off without even realizing it. At 6:30, Ada woke me up, and so the day began. Needless to say, the day didn't start out as planned, but that's okay, there is always tomorrow.
Back to the contest, though. All the hard work was oh so worth it because SCOTT WON. HE WON. We are going to the beach for our anniversary, and we could not be more excited. I have found this cute little studio condo right outside of Rosemary Beach that costs next to nothing, and with gasoline prices down, we are going to do this thing the right way--on a budget. We plan to not spend one dime other than the prize money. We were talking about it today, and all we could talk about was how much sleep we are going to get. And how relaxed we are going to be when we come back. We plan to go away for three nights, and I think that will be just enough to come back very refreshed. Again, we are so stinkin' excited.
I am very proud of Scott. He stuck to this thing through Thanksgiving and Christmas, and I rewarded him with a very yummy pasta meal tonight and brownies for dessert. He hasn't had a single carb all week, so he was very excited about the meal. My hubby is the same weight he was when we got married. He's looking good, if I do say so myself;) I don't think he has big plans to actually keep the weight off, but we'll see. With no money to motivate him, the old eating habits may come right back.
Anyway...that's our big news of the day. I did wake up to a shiny sink, and I made my bed as soon as I got out of it. Now, if the alarm would actually wake me up, I might be able to complete the week's baby steps.
Tomorrow I will be back with all of my grocery shopping plans for the week. I feel like a kid in a candy shop with all the deals that are out there. I am slightly blown away. It's going to be a record week, I think. I'll keep you posted.
Sunday, January 4, 2009
The good news is the sink is clean, the dishwasher is loaded, and there are plenty of bottles of water chilling in the fridge. I am ready to get going with 2009.
Quickly, though, I need to type out the week's menu to keep us on schedule. Most of this is made up from what we have in the pantry and fridge, so there are no real recipes. I will be back tomorrow to provide the recipes that I do have.
Monday--chicken in vodka sauce over angel hair pasta (all of the items in this meal were BOGO at some point. The chicken from Kroger this past week, the pasta from Publix today, and the Vodka sauce from Publix the week before Christmas)
Tuesday--Steak fajitas (steak was marked down at Kroger for quick sale. I love to buy the marked down meat because it's still good as long as I either cook or freeze it the day I buy it. Taco Bell dinner kits were BOGO at Publix)
Wednesday--creamy chicken, rice, and broccoli (all of this is made from what is already in my pantry. The chicken is a Kraftfoods recipe. I will post it tomorrow. I haven't ever made it, but it looks good, and I have all of the ingredients on hand)
Thursday--16 bean soup and cornbread (in the pantry already. I will link to this recipe later)
Friday everything starts over.
Lunches--leftovers, ham sandwiches and chips
Breakfast--slim fast bars (my favorite breakfast, and there are sales everywhere thanks to the weight loss resolutions flying about), oatmeal breakfast cookies, peanut butter and crackers
snacks--chex mix (BOGO + coupons=I got four bags for about a quarter each), popcorn, and whatever else we might find in the pantry.
For lots and lots of great menu ideas check out Organizing Junkie.
Because I am the world's worst housekeeper, I am going to use Flylady as my coach. Heard of her? She takes women just like me, who are drowning in the chaos of their homes, and she transforms them one baby step at a time. So...the baby step for this week is that I must shine my sink every night before I go to bed. The whole premise is that when you wake up to a shining sink, your day starts out better. I guess I'll buy that. It means no more going to sleep with dirty dishes in the sink, and I think that's a step in the right direction.
The other thing the Flylady encourages is getting dressed first thing every morning. Which, if you are not a stay-at-home mom, that might seem like an obvious statement, but there are days that I see noon before I take my pajamas off. And on a very bad day, Scott may come home to an unshowered wife. Not a good situation, folks. So...my new plan is to wake up at the stinkin' crack of dawn, take a shower, fix myself a nice cup of hot tea (not diet coke) and sit down with my bible all before Ada wakes up. It feels impossible to do this, but I know it would make my days go better.
** side note--I am a person who absolutely thrives on order and control, so when I don't have some sort of schedule going things just sort of fall apart around me. I think that I am into month 17 of being a stay at home mom, and I still haven't quite figured out how to make this my job. Everyday still sort of feels like a Saturday, so nothing gets done. I know this to be true because the first few months after Scott and I got married, I didn't have a job, and I had no children. I thought I would get so much done around the house, but I was going stir crazy. I finally found a tutoring job for the summer before I started teaching the next fall, and all of a sudden I could get things done again. Something about being inside my house ALL DAY LONG prevents me from getting anything done around the house. Combine that with a 17 month old trailing behind me all day, and well, our house is a bit of a disaster. Anyway...I am trying to turn that fact around starting this week.
And one last goal for the week, I have to make my bed first thing everyday. It's like the sink and the bed will be my control points. They will be the spring board from which everything else gets done. It's amazing how much it works. The other night it was nearly midnight, and I was not in bed and there were still dirty dishes in the sink. But I took the time to clean the kitchen anyway, and I was on top of the world. It made me feel a bit more in control of my home, so I am sticking to it. 2008 was the year I got our finances somewhat under control. 2009 is the year I get my housekeeping skills under control. I'll keep you posted.
p.s. the diet coke elimination starts this week as well. One a day. Oh, I hate to give it up, but I know that I have to once and for all. I am stocking my fridge with plenty of bottled water to grab when I want a diet coke. And hot tea in the morning. It's perfect timing to do this actually because Ada is just now old enough to want to drink a sip of my diet coke when I have it. I have a feeling that water won't have the same appeal.
Happy first full week of 2009, everyone. Let's make it a successful one.
Saturday, January 3, 2009
Here are the best deals I am seeing--
In one of the Red Plum inserts, there is a 1.00 off Johnson's coupon, including Johnson's buddies products. Wal-Mart and Target carry Johnson's buddies soap for a dollar when on sale, so stock up on these, and get lots of free soap for the kiddos. Other stores carry the soap, but they are usually a bit more than a dollar. You could still get some super cheap soap using the coupon, though.
The General Mills insert has a .50 off Green Giant Valley Fresh Steamers. These often go on sale for 1.00 at Kroger, and with a doubled coupon, that equals free vegetables. Again this means collect multiple coupons and stock up on the freebies!! I will let you know as soon as I hear that Kroger is having the sale. And if I here of other stores where they are on sale for 1.00, I will let you know. Do they go on sale for 1.00 at Publix? Does anyone know?
Also...if you live near a CVS, check out the Christmas 75% off section. They have a lot of chocolate candy on sale for .75 a piece. Combined with a coupon that could be almost free. This is great for baking, and for snacking:)
I haven't gone through all of the coupons yet, but those are the ones catching my eye. It's a great way to start the year, lots and lots of money saved.
If you are new to couponing or to the CVS game go here and here to get started.
Friday, January 2, 2009
Similar to the 2008 reflection questions, I will answer a few here, though there are many more to think about than what I will post.
1. What skill do you most want to learn this year?
Oh how I want to pull that sewing machine out of the extra room upstairs and actually start using it. I have big plans to lug that thing home to either my mother's house or Scott's mother's house to have a little sewing lesson. So...resolution number one, sew at least one outfit that Ada can actually wear before January 1, 2010.
A few homemade drapes and pillows around the house wouldn't hurt either.
2. What is one skill you already have that you'd like to improve this year?
Hmmm...cooking maybe? I want to cook from scratch more. I have tons and tons of yeast that I purchased for free sitting in my cabinet, so maybe my first project will some type of bread. I have never made homemade bread before. I'll let you know how that goes.
3. Name three books you most definitely want to read in 2009.
Good question...I am not sure, and I am thinking this may have to be a completely separate post. Please, any readers out there, suggest some books worth reading. Fiction, parenting, money management, whatever, suggest away. What are your favorites?
I haven't read all of the Narnia books, so maybe I will mark those off of my list before 2010.
4. What are some specific ways you can encourage your spouse?
I am serious about the housekeeping, folks, I am terrible, so I would love to get a handle on that. I imagine it would be quite encouraging for Scott to come home to a clean rather than chaotic home.
I also want to be better about careless spending. Let's be honest, here, our biggest stress area is the budget, so the less I spend, the more encouraged he will be. I am bad about the occasional McDonald's hamburger or Sonic diet coke when it wasn't previously calculated in the week's budget. Those little expenses add up!
5. Think of one of your major life goals. What will you do this year to make you one step closer to reaching that goal?
We want to be debt free. And I do mean debt free. Everything, house included, paid off. We are so far from that right now, but we want to mark off small goals this year. Emergency fund in place, debt snowball rolling, and hopefully all cars paid off before 2010.
6. Name a few ways your physical health could be improved.
Well, let's state the obvious. I can eliminate the diet coke. I also really need to exercise more. This is good for my mental and physical health. I am setting a goal for exercising 3 times a week (at least).
7. In what way do you want to draw closer to God?
Since becoming a mom, I am terrible at letting my quiet times slide. In college I was so good at waking up early, going for a run, doing a bible study, and showering all before my 9 am class. Not so much anymore. Because I am a morning person, I want to start waking up before Ada, so that I can start the day with a quiet house and some time with the Lord. I think this would benefit everyone in our home. If I could be showered before she wakes up, that would be an even bigger bonus.
8. What is one thing you want to accomplish before your birthday?
My birthday is August 12th. I want my house to be painted, finally, before my birthday. I want everything downstairs to be painted. I have colors picked, I just have to get it done. I have big plans to paint my kitchen chairs red, my breakfast room walls gray, and the kitchen and family room "pale smoke." I plan to paint the guest room the same green as the dining room, and I am not 100% sure on the guest bath. Suggestions anyone? (Particularly you, Ann, since you helped me pick all of the other colors).
Even smaller goal. Before March 1st, I want wooden blinds on my front door. Our front door has a glass front, and the house came with blinds on every window and the breakfast room door, but not the front door. We just keep putting it off. We did put temporary blinds up one Saturday when I couldn't stand it anymore (you can find these at Home Depot), but the time has come to actually make the call and schedule a time for permanent blinds to be put up.
Okay, ya'll, I need accountability to actually make these things happen. From now on, every Sunday I will report on how the previous week went. I am hoping that if I have to actually tell someone that I didn't do one thing to make my house neater, well I will get off my tail and get it done. We'll see. What are your New Year's resolutions or goals?
Happy 2009, everyone!
Also, go here for a free sample of Nature Made Vitamins. The B Complex is great for providing much needed energy!! I already received mine, and it is quite the large portion for a free sample. Plus, you will receive a coupon along with the vitamins. These often go on sale BOGO at Kroger and CVS, so save those coupons!!
A long time ago, this blog became less about Ada and more about how her unexpected arrival has rearranged all aspects of our life. In a good way, of course.
One night at the weekly women's bible study that I attend, I shared that I often feel like I fell asleep in college, and I woke up in this life now--wife, stay at home mom, etc. Some days I can't really remember how I got here, but here I am. And that is where this life I've found comes from. Because most days it feels like I just woke up one day, and I found myself here. I am thankful to be here, but it is a daily challenge. I am in process of learning how to manage the house, budget our money, be mom to Ada, wife to Scott, and remain me in the midst of it all. This blog has become a place where I can reflect on how God is changing me, shaping me, and breaking me in the process.