Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Who Knew?

Oh yes, this is my girl!  I love this kid to bits and all of her silly quirks...like this one...this is her "I'm smiling for the camera" pose.  Riiiiiigggghhhhhtt...My girl marches to the beat of her own drum.  Yeah, she has one, she wears it around her neck and marches around the house.  To her own beat. 
This beating drum she beats all on her own can make me nuts!  This child has the capability to stare into your eyes, repeat what you have asked her to do, and in the split second that she takes her eyes away from yours and turns to walk away, it's gone.  Completely vanished as if you have never said the words!  Sometimes the drum beat is cute - as in dance class...class goes left, my girl goes right.  Adorable!  Other times, like the days where there is homework that involves focus (as in Monday through Thursday!), that drum beat is really not so cute.  We've been playing around a bit with letting my girl choose her own clothes.  Woah Nellie!  That drum beats wild!
We got the book order from school today that we put in over a month ago!   I forgot we ordered books!  There was a book we chose to read tonight, and it's really the whole reason I felt the need to introduce you to my girl.  This book just yells to me "THIS IS YOUR GIRL !  EMBRACE HER!"

Tonight we read Woolbur by Leslie Kelakoski
Woolbur is NOT a follower by any stretch of the imagination.  This little guy does things his way.  And, I won't spoil the end, I'll just say I hope my girl can adopt some of Woolbur's thinking!  (I know, rules are meant to be followed, I do. Read the book.  You'll see what I mean!)

That drum also beats with some seriously mushy compassion too.  That's my favorite beat.  My girls heartbeat matches her drum beat.  She lives in the now.  There is no past, no grudge to hold, there is no future to worry about.  There is only now.  Now to make you smile, now to make you nuts, now to have fun!  I love you, my girl!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Boating Season has RETURNED!

It's that time of year again, where the sun beats down and we wait until the wind is right to take him out.  I know, usually a boat is a her, right?  Not this one.  This boat is special.  This boat has a boy's name on it, so how could it be a girl?

That's a special name...that's is my brother's name, and we are his crew.  We are a crew trying desperately to figure out how to go on in this life without him.  This is not the post for those details, we'll save that for a much more serious kind of day.  For now, I would love to see if I can show how we are doing our best to honor this boat's namesake with joy.

We do things like this....

Oh, and then there is this...wonder where those two little people are?

And the captain makes sure we are all joyfully safe!

And Grandma's hang out in a floatie chatting with Granddaughters (who NEEDED a swim break in her Papa's Kayak!)...

Time for some shade..and maybe a movie!

There are so many things that we LOVE about boat season...especially the new addition...

Isn't she cute?  We're calling her "Beer Run", and she can be a girl!

This is one fun girl!  Captain Papa gets this sparkle in his eye when he gets her out in the open...and opens her up!  Just remember to HANG ON!  He shows no mercy!

There is much joy to be found between this big boy boat and small girl boat.  I, however, will always feel that lump in my throat the first time I hit the dock each time.  Jon, you should be with us, not just the namesake.  We will play, and laugh, and do a bit more remembering this boating season!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

It's Been a While...

So, this is just another thing that I started and didn't keep up with.  Well, I have decided that this is not acceptable to me.  I may not be a great writer, but I NEED to write. There are way too many things going on inside my head, and I need to get them out.  If no one reads it, that's ok, and least I am getting it all out there!  If you are reading this, and continue to stick around, I thank you!
I started this blog with the intention of documenting thrifty and frugal shopping trips, and figuring out how to post deals and put up all kinds of links everywhere.  I really do hope to achieve that goal over time.  I think it's fun, and I know that it is helpful to me when I read other blogs that center around that.  I also have come to the realization that this particular blog will most likely contain some serious goings on in my life, and hopefully some of our happy, silly, laugh out loud moments!
That said, if you are still with me, thanks!  Welcome!  I will try to make this ride meaningful and enjoyable!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Stop & Shop Trip 3/19/10

I haven't been posting much about my spectacular shopping trips.  Yes, there is a reason.  There have been no spectacular trips.  Oh, I've been shopping, and I have been couponing, I just can't seem to get the deals that I see on all the other awesome blogs that I read!  (And I am working on getting better links to them all!)  I took a bit of a step back in regards to the drug stores.  I even let a $5.00 register reward from Walgreens expire!  Gasp!

Here's my problem.  I now have an enormous stock of razors, deodorant, and bodywash.  My husband will be clean and shaven for the next year.  I have cereal, plenty of cereal.  And I am still cutting every single coupon.  Cutting, but not using.  I'm sharing the ones I won't use.  I was starting to buy things that we don't need or won't use.  So, I have started over.  I am not making any big promises about posting the circular deals and pictures of what I get, all the amazing things I read every day on other blogs, but i am going to give it a try!

That said, I did a Stop & Shop run on Friday.  I knew this was going to be a big trip because I needed to get some staples, there were some good sales for stuff we use, and I am hosting a little egg hunt next week for some cousins on Rob's side, so I picked up some stuff for that ahead of time too!

I ended up spending $102.74, but I saved $94.01!  Almost half!  Hooray!  A friend of mine hosted a House Party for DiGiorno, so she gave me some awesome $4.00 couons for the new DiGiorno Pizza with Breadsticks.  I picked up 3 of them to use for our egg hunt lunch next weekend!  We were going to order pizza, but I think those will work just as well, and with the coupons, all three cost less than ordering one pizza!  I also picked up some Celeste frozen pizza's that were on sale for $.88.  Those are a staple in this house.  I was able to snag 4 of the $.75/1 coupons for the Smart Taste Pasta, so i got 4 boxes for $.29!  WooHoo!  That pasta is less points for me than regular pasta, and my family doesn't even know it's healthy for them!  I had some coupons I got in the mail from Gerber, and one was for a free Graduates item.  Kayla is not a baby per say anymore, but she still loves those snacks!  So, we scored some Fruit Snacks for free!  Eggs were also B1G1F this week!  I am going to go back and get some more towards the end of the week since we will be dying quite a few next weekend!  I also had a $5.00 off that I got last week as a Catalina, and I got a series of $5.00 off coupons in the mail for the next five weeks.  They let me use both coupons this week, so that was another $10.00 off!

  That's just a few of the deals I got!  I am going to try and be better about pictures and deal posting!  I just might make a CVS run tomorrow!

My New Best Friend???

We've had Trader Joe's around here for quite some time...in fact, longer than I knew it existed.  I love Trader Joe's...it's healthy, sometimes organic, and things I don't normally buy.  Well, I'm sorry to say, you wil have to move over Trader joe's...Whole Foods has moved on in!!!! 

Now, I have only been once, and I had my toddler in tow, however, I am thinking I may make a special little trip there in the morning while my little cherubs are eating their Frosted Flakes!  Fruga wise, probably not the best place for me to go.  BUT, they do have and take coupons, so I can still save!  Plus, after all the saving I have been doing, I can stand a spurge or two! 

This place is huge, for me, and although I did manage to make the rounds of the entire store twice, I did not really get to LOOK at everything.  Once I get to do that, I can post more details.  Can I just say they have an entire cheese section - as in the same way they have a bakery and a butcher counter!  This is gonna kill me as far as counting my points goes!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


I have been slacking badly in the blog department.  Not good.  It leads to slacking everywhere.  It's still new, and I know there aren't any readers (yet?), but somehow, I am kept accountable here.  I don't have anything silly, or funny, or even financial to share today.  Just some of 'ME".  It's been a crazy month so far...I had a sick little girl who I was getting seriously worried about.  This child can talk the ear off an elephant even while she is hovered over a barf bucket, but not this time.  She refused to speak, eat, drink, nothing.  Poor baby slept for 3 days...in between the hovering, of course...and then, mean Mama that I am, I tried to send her to school on that Friday.  Really, she needed to go.  We were going to be away Monday and Tuesday of the next week, so she had to go!  And she did, without argument...but we got the call soon after she left.  Grandma went to her rescue and she slept the rest of the day.  Now I was really worried.  I was also selfishly worried that this would ruin the little get away we planned as a surprise for our babies!  But, alas, by Friday evening this child was chattering away again!  All she needed was some toast and Gatorade!  Phew!
And so, we were off!  We took our lovelies to The Great Wolf Lodge.  You need to go there!  We had such a blast!  I'm already going over the budget to figure out where I can make cuts so we can get there again real soon!  We went, just the plain ol' four of us, and we had so much fun!  There is PLENTY for our 2 1/2 year old to do, and more than plenty to keep our 6 year old thrill seeking child, who we swear is part fish, happy too!  Brief description...there is a "toddler" area that has 3 short slides, and two longer, but slower, windy slides.  There are fountains coming out of the floor all over the place!  There's a wave pool, and a regular pool.  Hot tubs...there are a bunch of slides for the bigger kids, and the even bigger "kids", a lazy river, and another pool that has lily pads and logs to hop across!  My description does nothing to give this place justice.  That's just the water area...there's an arcade, a cute show and story time for the kids...I want to go back NOW!  (No, GWL is in no way compensating me for this post, they have no idea I even like them this much!)
Some things I will do differently next time...We will stay for 2 nights.  We were able to stay and enjoy the entire facility all day our second day, but since check out is at 11 am, that was hard.  We have two still little ones.  After a couple of hours, they needed a break.  There are locker rooms, but if you have little ones, you know that trying to corral and change them in a locker room, and then trying to find something for them to do without breaking the bank, is hard when you don't have the room to go back to!  I will also pack a full cooler of food.  The rooms have a fridge and microwave!   (Yeah, I knew it, but I couldn't believe that food would be quite as costly as it was!)  I did bring some food and snacks, but next time, we will bring meals as well.  Don't worry about the day you check out either...use the ice machine and fill your cooler, then you can stick sandwiches in there!  Yay!
Can you tell how excited I am about the vacation we just had?  And that was only two days!  The rest of the time was spent just hanging around at home.  Without a budget.  No budget and me are not a good combo.  We should have saved a ton of money because we were home...we ate out a ton, and shopped aimlessly.  Well, that won't happen again!  Next vacation will be done with the envelope system!  And the envelope has been started! 
On that financial note, I am still couponing, and still shopping for the lowest prices.  Right now, I am over the fevered rush.  I've slowed down a bit, and I am trying to take my time, only get the things we will use, and focus on the things we need the most.  We seem to go through paper towels and TP at an alarming rate!  Unfortunately for me, those things aren't the cheapest because I'm kinda picky about my TP!  Of course, I am TRYING to get over it.  So hard!  And I have started sharing the coupons that I know I won't use.  I am not in the place yet where I can give you lists and prices, and right now, I can't even manage to clear off my table enough to show any pictures!  It will come!  Just like Spring!  I hope...I need Spring!  I feel that itch to get organized and clean out. 
Clearly this is the longest post I have ever written...so I think I should be stopping now...maybe I will be inspired to write again tomorrow!
Until then! 

Monday, February 8, 2010

Walgreens and CVS 2/8/10...

Ok kids!  Today was CVS and Walgreens day, and I had the pleasure of my hubby for company!  I know I am still not the best at this, and my totals may still seem high, but for us, considering what we used to spend, this is amazing!  Hubs was certainly impressed! Here we go!


This is what we got at CVS.  Keep in mind I went in with 7.49 in ECB's.  
First Transaction:

                                    5 Boxes of Nabisco Crackers        5/$10.00
                                                                                (1)/$1.00 off 1 coupon
                                                                               (2) $2.00 off 2 coupons
                                     1 Fusion Razor                            $8.99
                                                                              $4.00 off 1 coupon

                                    4 Nivea Lip Care                         $3.99 & $2.99
                                                                            (2) B1G1 coupons

                                     Total BEFORE Coupons and ECB's :  $32.95
                                                                             $7.49 ECB's
                                                                             $9.00 coupons
                                                                             $7.98 from Nivea B1G1 (both $3.99 free!)
                                     Total AFTER:                  $ 8.48 (Doesn't include tax)
                                      ECB's Received:             $12.00 (Yay!  Money Maker!)

Transaction 2:

                                       Tide Stain Release 10 Packs            (6) for $3.99
                                            Used (3) B1G1 Coupons, and (3) $1.00/1 Coupons

                                       Pampers Easy Ups                           $8.99
                                                                                     Used $1.50/1 coupon

                                        Total Before Coupons:                  $32.93
                                        ECB's Used:                                 $12.00
                                        Coupons Used:                             $16.47

                                        Total out of pocket:                       $4.46 (Doesn't include tax)

Total Savings in CVS today was:  $69.89...WOW!!!!!!!


On to Walgreens...We started out with $6.00 Register Rewards (RR).
And because it is getting late and I am really tired, I am giving you the short version.  We spent $17.87 out of pocket and saved $54.79.

So, I now I didn't get things reallt for free, but right now we are still building a stockpile, and for us, those savings are amazing!  I am hoping to get better and really start to be selective about what is too good of a deal to pass up!

I did go grocery shopping too, but I felt kinda bad about it.  I spent $86.00 and only saved around $60.00.  Still ok, but the last two weeks I saved half or better, so I was a bit disappointed!  There were a few things I should have waited to get until I went to Wal Mart, but I just didn't feel like hitting ANOTHER store!

Tell me how you did this week!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Basement...

Well, I committed to doing the 28 day organization project, and I have been super good about putting in one hour a day working on the basement. 6 bags of garbage and 2 yard sale bins later and I still feel like I am getting nowhere! Why was I saving all this stuff??? So, here we go...these are some before pictures...

This is really the hubby's side...but I have managed to overtake it!

This is part of the play area...we even have a carpet on the floor somewhere!

"The Workout Room" - hahahahaha

And this would be my scrapbook area.  Or the black hole that houses all the junk I insist on keeping for no good solid reason.

Obviously I have my work cut out for me.  Oh, and obviously one hour a day won't be cutting it.  That's all I can manage during the week though.  I will have to give some thought to getting down there for a few more hours on the weekends!  It is a basement.  An OLD and unfinished dirty musty basement, and we rent.  Any suggestions on how to make it SEEM a little bit more "homey" would be GREATLY appreciated!

Monday, February 1, 2010

New Beginnings...

So, the Grammy's are over.  Taylor Swift got the biggest award!  Yay!  Then I crashed, and by crash, I wish I could have meant sleep.  No, I crashed so hard emotionally I don't know how I didn't wake up my hubby!  I was forced to my knees in such anguish I was not sure I would be able to rise again.  There has been too many things lately.  Things that should make me run to Him.  I know I need to fall into those protective arms of my God.  Yet still, I turn away.  I can fix it.  I can make it all better.  I can make family rules.  I can be the better person.  I promise not to yell at my kids.  I will forgive.  I will stand behind my husband without getting all crazy out of control.  I can do it myself.
Reality check:  NO, I can't.  It simply can't be done.  I am not meant to stand alone.  I am meant to lean on my God and let Him bear my burdens.  I am to give Him my hurts.  Give Him my worries.  Put ALL of my trust in Him.
And at 12;26 am on this February 1st, that is exactly what I did.  I turned back around and I said yes.  Yes, Father, I need you and i will trust in YOU.

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not unto your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths."  Proverbs 3:5-6

This has been my "life verse" since I was baptized in 6th grade.  I am finally ready to live it.  Welcome, Father, please come in and live in my heart.  I have made plenty of room for you...

A new task for February...

I was checking out what Jennifer had to say tonight (or this morning, since I am NOT sleeping at 1:06 AM) over at Saving and Giving, (please check out her blog, I love it!) and I came across a challenge.  A challenge that I need to document in order to be accountable and it is perfect for me!  I will have 28 days to organize a room.

So, which room did I pick?  Well, as luck would have it, the huge discussion here lately has been the dreaded basement.  It needs to be cleaned and organized once and for all.  I don't think it will ever be pretty and homey - we don't have that much time or money, and let's remember, we rent - but we NEED it to be functional!  So, for the next 28 days I will be organizing the craft/plat area of the basement.  IF I should be done with that half before the 28 days are up, I may even be ambitious enought to dig in to the other side!

I will post my before pictures tomorrow!!!

Oh and by the way...
Please forgive me is the buttons I have snagged, or links I have tried don't work!  I am still figuring all of this out!


Friday, January 29, 2010

Grocery Shopping is Fun!

I have been trying to get the hang of really doing this whole couponing thing effectively before I start posting about it!  Last Friday and this Friday I think I did pretty well!  My grocery bills were halved by the time I paid, but I am realizing I will never be the girl that can tell you where I actually got most of my coupons from!  It's just not fitting into my schedule to be quite that organized!

This is what today's trip to Stop & Shop got us:

(Yes, we know that's a wall behind the food, little ones are learning to read!)

      There are 2 packages of meat missing - chicken thighs (boneless, skinless and sweet italian sausage).  I am still slow at this so I needed to clean off the table first and I really wanted to get that meat in the freezer.  (Um, organizing is another goal I have - probably help me save some money if I didn't keep losing things in the house, too!)
      The important stuff is this:
                                               Total Before Savings Applied:  $153.76
                                               Stop & Shop Card Savings:     $39.40                                               
                                               Personal Thanks Savings:         $7.75
                                               Manufacturers Coupons:          $15.45
                                               Double Coupons:                     $8.45
                                               Cashier Flub:                           $8.00
                   (Cashier couldn't figure out 2 $4.00 coupons, so he put them in as if I had paid cash) 
                                                            TOTAL:                     $79.05

                                              Total AFTER all savings:          $76.19
This is the first time that I have EVER saved more than I have actually forked over!  I was so excited!  My husband, while ecstatic that we are saving money, thinks I am nuts!  He humors me though, and gets excited for me too! 

I know that no one reads this but my Mom right now (hi Mom!), but if by chance you are reading and I have browsed your blog, I would like to say Thanks!  Reading all of the posts out there and all the deals helps me figure this out much easier!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

My Wal Mart Trip ...

I went to wal Mart today to pick up a few things...but I took my toddler.  She is a lot of fun to shop with, but all the money I would have saved, she spent!  Anyhow, I thought I wouls share the deals I did find.  Nothing spectacular, but like I said, I am still new at this, so hopefully I will get better at it!  (And I promise to learn how to link to printable coupons and to remember to write down where I got coupons from!)

This is what I got today:

Peter Pan Peanut Butter  $2.08 per jar.
          Buy 2 get one free Coupon!
          3 jars for $4.16 or $1.39 per jar

Chef Boyardee Canned Pastas  $.98 per can
         Buy 3 get one free coupon
         4 cans for $2.94 or $.74 per can

Neosporin Lip Care  $4.00
         $3.00/1 coupon
          1 tube for $1.00

Sunbelt Fruit & Grain Cereal Bars  $2.00 per box
         Buy one get one FREE coupon
         2 boxes for $2.00 or $1.00 per box

Nabisco Wheat Thins/Triscuits 2/$4.00
         $2.00 off 2 coupon
         2 boxes for $2.00 or $1.00 per box!

So, if this was all that I had bought, I would have spent $22.16.  After coupons I actually spent $12.10.  So I saved $10.06!  Wow!

Of course that is all negated by the Yogo's, Band Aids, Sippy cup, and, um, all the other things she who is so cute just had to have!  I suppose if I hadn't saved the money with coupons I'd be really sad about what I spent!  Lesson learned:  Do NOT take toddler on a shopping trip alone!  (Yes, I know I could have said no to her, and I usually do, however, we were having a good time, and I just so happened to be in a very generous mood today!)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

A Whole New World...

Welcome!  This blog has been simmering in my brain for quite some time now.  lease bear with me.  While I know what it is I want to accomplish here, it may take me some time to actually be able to do it all well!  It has become a mission of mine to become debt free by next January.  Can we do it?  Yes.  Is it going to be easy? Not at all.  I am a shopper.  I love to shop, think I am getting a great deal, spend too much money, and then feel guilty about it later.  Soooo...I have decided that it is time for me to use my love of shopping to my advantage.  I now spend time every Friday and every Sunday poring over circulars and feverishly printing and cutting coupons.  So far, I haven't done quite as well as I think I will when I start out.  That is telling me I have a awful lot of learning to do!

I hope that I can help you out as I learn!  I will do my best to post any deals I can come up with and highlight the circulars where I can!  I will also be reaching out to see if I can't get some pointers!  Let me know if you have any for me!