Monday, February 21, 2011

My tale of coupons....

I know I've neglected the blog and I can't promise this is an end to it because I'm a busy lady BUT I might try to do better. Now that all of that is out of the way...

I've been couponing. Yes me. I never thought I would for many reasons. First of which was TIME. I didn't have TIME to clip and organize. Then there was money. I didn't want to spend MONEY on buying a Sunday paper just to save a few bucks. I never thought I would actually USE the coupons in the paper. I would flip through the coupons and think "I'll never use that". Then a lady by the name of Coupon Mama held a 'so much more than couponing' class in my area. She had a great testimony and had wonderful tips on how to use coupons so I went. I enjoyed the class, learned a good bit, and had a good time. I went, I left, I conquered...NOT. I did learn a TON of information and I left with the know how and the want to but my want to fizzled out. So I continued to spend money for essential items at full price and on occasion I would see a deal posted by Coupon Mama that I would go and grab. Then I realized that I was wasting money. I was spending at least $100 a week in groceries and probably $75 a week on things like toilet paper, paper towels, laundry detergent, soap, tooth paste ect. So I got serious. My husband works hard for our family. Why wasn't I working as hard to SAVE that money that he works for. Or at least save as much of it as possible. We've always joked that his job was to bring the money in and mine was to spend it. That really hasn't changed BUT we added TWO words. .. His job is to bring the money in and mine is to spend IT WISELY!

In January 2011 I started buying a Sunday paper. I have since began to PAY for...a few papers a week because there are some GREAT deals to be had. Some weeks are fantastic and some are not but its all worth it. There is a new show on TLC called extreme couponing and if you've seen the show then you know that YES they do a great job at saving money BUT they also have too much stuff and don't really do coupons in a good way. They selfishly clear shelves leaving nothing for the next person then they take things home to their basement where things waste away and don't get used. I have NO WHERE NEAR that expertise in couponing BUT I do have a few extras and once I get a nice 'stockpile' for my own family I share things with others who may need them. One may ask...who needs that much of one certain item but my dears...when its free or nearly free why wouldn't you pick it up for a rainy day? No one is guaranteed to have a job tomorrow...and my hubby is no exception. Who would feed the 5 mouths in my house if he lost his job? Prices are high and they are only getting higher so coupons and stockpiles it is for my family.

Here are a few pictures of my trips from this weekend. Harris Teeter doubles coupons up to .99 on a daily basis BUT sometimes they have SUPER doubles which is what is going on now. They will double any coupon (unless it says do not double) up to 1.98 making a $1 coupon $2 and $1.50 coupon $3 and so on. So through a few different websites that show deals I make a list of things that I need that are ON SALE AND THAT I HAVE A COUPON FOR. Too much? Don't worry. Coupon Mama makes a weekly list of deals from different stores. Still don't get it? You can always sign up for The Grocery Game and get 4 weeks free, use those 4 weeks to get yourself started then cancel OR don't cancel will still save more than the money you spend on it. Once you get the hang of it stop paying for the service. After buying papers and paying for grocery game I spend about $5 a week. This weekend alone I SAVED around $180. My total before coupon/VIC savings on 4 different trips was around $250 and I spent a mere $70. Now on a normal week I usually spend around $20 for a $80 - $90 order. Ok so you STILL don't think you eat that stuff. Do you brush your teeth? I get free toothpaste, toothbrushes, and dental floss. Do you wear deodorant? I get that free. Do you wipe your tail after using the bathroom? I get that cheap. I may not have bought some of things I get now BEFORE coupons BUT now I can substitute things. Normally I would have gone to Aldi for snacks for the kids and spent $1 but now I can get different snacks for .50 or I may not have bought a Wanchia Ferry dinner BUT I can use that for dinner instead of something else I would have bought. Don't be brand MONEY conscience!

Those are from this past weekend. Here are a few from past trips.

So there it is. My reason for couponing. I can shop. I can save. I can share. (Coupon Mama) Couponing can open up many ways to start a conversation and who knows where that conversation may lead! A complete stranger may ask you a question and about coupons and you can turn it into a witnessing tool! I can feed my kids and tend to our household needs without breaking the bank AND I can use the money I WOULD have spent on more important things! Not to mention being able to share goodies with people in need! BEEF...ITS WHATS FOR DINNER (and coupons paid for it)!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Who likes to save money?!?!

A dear friend of mine has been telling me for weeks to try to lower some of our 'non-necessity' bills. Like our Satellite provider and Internet provider. I kept telling her I didn't think it would work because we were right in the middle of a two year contract with our satellite provider. Well yesterday I caved. I called them and guess what?!?! I SAVED MONEY! It was so simple and I posted it on my facebook page. I shared how I did it with a few people and guess what?!?! THEY SAVED TOO!

So here I am...I'm not going to guarantee this will work for you but its worth a shot. Between the two bills I saved my family $55 a month. What do you do? Call your provider and when the recording that asks you why you are calling comes on just say "cancel service". That should take you to a really nice person asking what they can do to help you. Tell them that you are looking at a few ways to save on your monthly bills and that this bill (whatever it may be) is one you can do without if you need to. At this point they will probably review your account and tell you what they can do for you. If they don't then you can always tell them you want to look over your choices and you will let them know what you want to do. Most likely they will offer you some sort of savings but if they don't then you should decide if you can afford to keep the service. I know there are cancellation fees but most of the time it will cost you more in the long run to keep the service. There is alot of competition out there folks...don't settle for the most expensive service. Now I'm not telling you to lie to these people. Don't do that. Just be honest with them and they will be more willing to help you out...lying never gets you anywhere and if by chance it does then it will bite you in the rear in the end.

Bottom Line....companies don't want to lose customers because we pay their bills. Most of the time they will do whatever it takes to keep you as a customer.

Now here is the catch....ok not really a catch but still...I would love to know if you do this and what happens. Just out of curiosity. If you've done it in the past let me know that too. Its almost Christmas, and our house needs every penny we can get! HAPPY BILL REDUCING!

Friday, October 8, 2010

There's a first time for everything!

WHOO HOO! My very first blog award! Many thanks to Julie over at The Reason For My Insanity! Check her out on her journey of raising 3 little gentlemen in training!

So here are the directions of the award...

All you have to do for the Cherry on Top award is:

1. Answer the question "If I had the chance to go back and change one thing in my life, would I, and what would it be?
2. Pick up to 6 people and give them this award.
3. Thank the person who gave the award.

If I had the chance to go back and change one thing in my life I would definitely do it. I mean, yeah, I get that 'where we have been makes us who we are' but I think there are things we can do better that would make us better people. In highschool I did what almost every teenager does and pulled away from family. I didn't like being at home and so I went eveywhere I could. I worked more than any teen should in highschool and when I wasn't at work I found other places to be. Now don't get me wrong...I wasn't BAD. I can count on one hand the number of 'teenage' mistakes I made, but I really wish I would have spent more time with my parents. After highschool I stayed away from home as much as I could and my relationship with my mom suffered. Our relationship didn't really begin to heal until after I had children of my own. So there it is...thats just one of the things I wish I had done differently but thankfully it has all worked itself out.

Now on to the important part...


1) Nobel Nuggets

2) Two Shnauzers and Some Hope

3) Living The Dream

4) Teagan Tales

5) Taylor Tales

6) My Marriage Expieriment


Friday, September 24, 2010

A letter to my daughter on her 3rd birthday

Dear Sweet Alana,

You are three. Three years ago you came CRASHING into our world. Things didn't go as planned. My body wanted you out long before you were ready but dear girl when it was time you sure didn't wait on anybody. After weeks of on again off again labor you decided to make a grand entrance and didn't leave mommy any time for pain medicine and you barely let me get to the hospital. You absolutely refused to wait on a dr. and didn't even need me to push you out. Sweet girl that has been you for the last three years. You are so independent. You are the sweetest, smartest, most independent little girl I have ever met. We tried hard for you and one day when you're old enough I'll tell you of all the heartache we had trying to get you. When you were born I was in awe. You are three years old but sometimes when I look at you I see my sweet newborn little baby girl. I know you better than I know myself somedays. I know what your tears mean and I know what you're saying even when no one else does. Daddy often jokes that you and I speak 'alana' and I have to translate sometimes. He's funny. I know how tiny your little fingers and toes still are and I know how you like to have your back rubbed. I know how your eyes sparkle when you laugh and when I hear that laugh I can see the sparkle even when I'm not in the same room with you. It makes me want to run to you just so I can soak up every minute of your childhood. I know how your hair lays just so on your head and how your long eyelashes flutter when you're falling asleep.

There have been so many things that you have done that I want to remember. One in particular that stands WAY above anything else is our bedtime routine. Baby girl, one day you will be a teenager and I pray that we are close and that you never shut me out but I also know that it will probably happen and I want us both to look back and remember what is now a nightly routine for us. Something that only we share. Something so simple and something that you probably won't understand until you have children of your own. Bedtime. Once daddy finishes saying prayers with you and your brothers you go climb into your bed where daddy tucks you in and gives you a kiss. After he leaves the room I give you kiss and fix your blankets. Sometimes I crawl into bed with you and you just giggle but no matter how long I stay there just holding you, you never drift off to sleep. You're waiting. Waiting for our routine. You see, every night since you were born I have done a double take before leaving your room. I longed for you so much that I couldn't, and still can't, believe you are mine. I guess somewhere along the way you began to notice that after your bedtime kiss, I would walk to the door and turn back just to look at you. Somewhere along the way you started sitting up and puckering up those tiny little lips for just one more kiss. Somewhere along the way {before you were born} you had me wrapped around your finger so I've never been able to walk away from a kiss. So EVERY.SINGLE.NIGHT this is what we do. No matter what is going on. You can be dead asleep coming home from somewhere and I can carry you into your room, change your clothes without you waking up, and put you to bed with a kiss and turn to walk out but when I look back at what I thought was a sleeping beauty, you are, with your eyes still closed, sitting up with those little lips ready for one more kiss. You never ask for more and you only do it at night. It is something that we have shared for over a year now and it something I never want to let go. I know it something so small but I promise you, it will break my heart the night that you don't need or want that 'one more kiss' anymore.

Three years have passed baby girl and I love you and your brothers more than you can imagine. You are our little princess. You have a fascination with all things miniature. It is so precious. You love to play with little tiny things. I guess because you are so little yourself. You only weigh about 27lbs and you still wear size 2T clothes. I have never had your hair cut and don't have any plans to do so anytime soon. Its only hair...and it would grow back, but those little curls at the end of your hair is still baby hair and I just can't cut them off. You are full of drama. You do everything your brother does and even things he won' eat salad. Yes. You would rather have salad than pizza and you choose broccoli over fries. You give the tightest hugs ever and you treat your little brother so sweet MOST of the time. Things you say can crack mommy and daddy up sometimes and we love to hear you talk. I'm sure I'll eat those words one day. You are super dainty and love to be girly. Mommy isn't so great at all the girly stuff but I'll get better. I promise. For now we'll lean on our friend Lana Bosworth to teach us both.

Sweet sweet child, you deserve so much that I can't give you. But one thing that I promise that I'll do for you is teach you the love of Jesus and dear girl that is the most important thing you'll ever need to know. My desire is for you to one day be a woman who serves the Lord in all you do. You are only 3 but Alana I pray for your future. I pray for the man you will one day marry and the life that you will share with him. I pray you will never lose your way but sweet girl if you ever do I pray that you know that I will be here ready and willing to listen. Sweet girl your kisses brighten every inch of me and sometimes I want to hold you and keep you from all the wrong in the world but I know I can't, if I did then you would also miss out on many joys.

I feel so much joy and love when you wrap your tiny little arms around my neck and the surprise kisses you sometimes give me make me smile even on the worst days. Sweet baby girl you have taught me so much and I love you so much more.

Please don't grow up too fast.
I love you sweet girl.


Happy Birthday Sweet Alana and never forget...I'll always do a double take and hope you'll always want just one more kiss from mommy.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Just call me a slacker....

Ok Ok OK. I had the best intentions with the 30 day challenge. I have failed miserably. I WILL do it. I just need to get through the next week or so. Things are SOOOO busy at my house right now. We have 3 birthdays and one anniversary all within 7 days of each other...ok one of those birthdays isn't IN my house but still someone very close to us. Add that to my son's baseball schedule and my sisters {who is 12 years younger than me} marching band schedule, along with church activities and I promise you that at the end of the day there just isn't very much time left for things that I want to do. So...I really want to 'blog' to my daughter who turned 3 yesterday and to my husband in honor of our anniversary. Once I get those accomplished I really do plan to do my 30 day challenge. Until then...just call me a slacker. :-)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

My new 30 day Challenge! maybe I'm a little late. Nonetheless I'm going to try it. I saw a post by a fellow blogger about this so I'm GOING TO DO IT! I challenge any of you who are reading this and have your own blog to do it as well. How about leaving me a comment here and letting me know that your going to give it whirl so that I can be sure to follow it. For the next 30 days [gulp] I will TRY to keep up with this challenge!

So here is the challenge for the next 30 days:
Day 1 — A favorite song
Day 2 — A favorite movie
Day 3 — A favorite book
Day 4 — A favorite television program
Day 5 — A favorite quote
Day 6 — A moment you wish you could relive
Day 7 — 5 things you could not possibly live without
Day 8 — A thank you letter to someone who's changed your life
Day 9 — A photo you took
Day 10 — A photo of you taken over ten years ago
Day 11 — A photo of you taken recently
Day 12 — A song that you want played at your wedding (or was played)
Day 13 — A guilty pleasure
Day 14 — A vacation you would like to take
Day 15 — A person you admire
Day 16 — A song that makes you cry
Day 17 — An art piece
Day 18 — A time when you felt passionate and alive
Day 19 — A talent of yours
Day 20 — A hobby of yours
Day 21 — Something you know you do differently than most people
Day 22 — A website
Day 23 — A way in which you want to be remembered
Day 24 — A movie no one would expect you to love
Day 25 — A recipe
Day 26 — A childhood memory
Day 27 — A physical feature you love
Day 28 — A scar you have, and its story or if no scars- a tattoo & story
Day 29 — Hopes, dreams and plans for the next 365 days
Day 30 — A motto or philosophy

There you have it! Do you have what it takes to take on this challenge? Yeah me either, but I'm going to at least try! Maybe it will get me out of my blogging rut!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

As a mother looking back...

Today marks 9 years since that dreadful day. I was 17. Just a teenager. I remember all too well how I felt when I found what was going on. I was scared, angry, confused, shocked, sad...the wide range of emotions I felt was overwhelming. I was driving from my highschool that morning to my second period teacher cadet class at a nearby elementary school. I heard the news on the radio. To be honest I thought it was something from the past. No way would anyone dare to attack the US. No way was this going on right now. I soon realized that it was indeed happening right at that moment. The rest of the day was spent clinging to friends and watching the TV coverage in awe.

As I look back on that day now as a mother I feel even more emotion. There were babies in that building. There were mothers in that building. There were children who went to bed that night without parents and parents who went to bed without their children. As a mother looking back it hurts me to the core to imagine that. There were parents who escaped the initial attack but who felt a duty to help in the rescue efforts and gave their life that day. Their kids went to bed that night without a mommy or daddy and I'm sure in that moment it didn't matter that the rest of the country was calling their mom or dad a hero. As a mother looking back I can't imagine being one of those mothers who dropped my precious baby off at daycare and walked across the street to my job only to look out of the window an hour later to the horror of the building collapsing with my child still inside. As a mother looking back I can't imagine being a mother that day.

May we never forget. May we never forget that for a time we were all united. May we never forget that for a time there was no Jew, Muslim, Christian, black, white, mexican. May we never forget that for a time everyone pulled together. May we always remember that for a time we all supported each other and hurt for each other.

Never Forget, Always Remember