5.31.2008

A Morning of Shopping

Have I ever mentioned that www.craigslist.com is one of my favorite websites? We've gotten all sorts of cool things from the site - chairs, clothes, toys, a job! :) And lately I have been using it to track garage sales. Yesterday I just happened to notice that the base was having a community yard sale, so I made a mental note to stop by today.

Judah decided to get up at 7:30 this morning, so we had a fairly early start to the yard sales - we were there a little after 8 (Which is when they started) and didn't get home till just after 1! It was tiring, but we got some nice things for great deals and Judah was as sweet as could be, despite the 90F weather!

It seems like a lot to say we spent $51 at yard sales ... that is a lot of $1s and $5s and quarters :)
But we really did get great things!! And I had been saving my May blow money for something special, and was able to get that "something special" today.

I didn't take pictures of any of my things, but for myself I got:
6 pairs of maternity pants/jeans for $1 each!!
3 maternity shirts
2 Banana Republic dresses, brand new with tags reading $160 and $140! I paid $15 for both (this was my "special" blow money purchase :)

The other $26 was spent on Judah ... perhaps it was a bit much to spend on him for yard sale stuff, but he's going to look super cute, and I can turn around and sell almost everything I bought for a profit if I actually end up feeling guilty about what I spent :)

He modeled my favorite pieces.

A leather bomber jacket. Isn't it just so cool?! I love it!!
Mr. Muscles showing off his wooden toy - I am such a fan of classic, wooden toys. I hate ugly plastic toys. This has activities on each side, and then the cool thing on the top. Love it!
Looking studly in his new dress clothes and shoes. Um, ok, these are the first real dress clothes he's owned :) Including the shoes the whole set was $3!

Some clothes for him to grow into:
8 long sleeve shirts
4 pairs of pants/jeans

16 t-shirts that all meet my picky standards :)
3 shirts
3 pajama pants
5 summer pajama sets
14 pairs of socks
Judah got a few books and I got a couple different looking games for our collection too :) It was a fun, fun morning!!

CVS - .42 cents


I realized something today that I should have known ages ago ... the Commissary is a great place to get coupons! There are always tons of carts strewn with coupons or coupon books. I have never really paid that much attention to them before - and I don't know why not!!
As I was walking in there today a lady asked me if I'd like a coupon book. I took it and glanced through it - all Proctor and Gamble coupons that are suppose to be in tomorrows paper. (Yes, it's sad ... I know what tomorrows coupons are suppose to be ...) These coupons, lined up with deals going on at CVS this week would make for some sweet shopping.
I wasn't about to take any more than the one coupon book given to me (despite how badly I wanted to!), however when I went out to the parking lot there were several carts within a few feet of my car holding these precious coupons :) So figuring they were someone elses garbage, and not wanting them to go to waste I picked up four more coupon books. And I am so glad I did :)

When Paul got home from work (and from getting our new freezer!!! yay!) I made a quick run to CVS - I have a bunch of deals worked out to do but the monthly deals don't start until tomorrow, which means I have to take Judah with me since Paul works all day :) But I did have one deal that just involved the weekly sales, which at my store start after 6pm.
Here's what I got:

Razor - $10 (I bought the bonus pack, which works for the ECB!)
Dawn Dish Soap - $1 x 4
Johnson's Buddies Soap - $1

With tax my total was somewhere around $16.
After coupons and paying with $4 ECB my total was .42 cents :)
And I then received $6 ECB back.

35 weeks


This is what the baby inside me right now potentially looks like :) Judah was born five weeks early, and on Monday I will be five weeks from my due date! Crazy thought.
I have a routine appointment on the 10th and then go back on the 17th and the Doctor will remove the stitch (that's holding my cervix closed.)
He said to come in to the hospital prepared for the baby to be born then ... or anytime in the following weeks.
It's like peeking in a pile of shopping bags and knowing that one of the gifts in there is intended just for you, but not knowing when you'll get it - suspense.

We are pretty much all ready for the little bundle to arrive ... I mean, really, other than needing a car seat there isn't a whole lot mandatory one needs for a baby ... and as we learnt with Judah, you can just run out and buy a car seat if the baby comes first :)

One thing I had hoped to do was make and freeze a bunch of meals ahead of time. But we soon discovered our little freezer-on-top-of-our-fridge wasn't really adequate for holding too much, and the few meals I did have prepared and frozen we've eaten on days I just felt lazy or tired :)
However, I think we may be getting a full size freezer!! I found one on Craigslist that sounded like a nice one, for a decent price. I told Paul about it and he called. He talked the person down 1/3 in price! :) Tonight he's going to drive out to check it out, and if it's as described, he'll be bringing it home!
Now I needed to get some disposable dishes and start planning dishes I can prepare now to eat later.


5.27.2008

My Life in the Public Bathroom

Consider the above picture your warning... this post is about pee. :)

I have had my prenatal appointments every two weeks for what seems like forever. The appointments are pretty dumb, especially since they stopped doing the ultra sounds three appointments back. But I faithfully go, because that's what every responsible person does. Show up for doctor appointments.
At my doctors office they collect a urine sample *every single visit.* Or at least they try to. I only give them a sample every other appointment (so every four weeks.) The other times I tell them I don't have to pee, and they sigh and tell me to try at the end of my appointment. I agree "to try" and then sneak out of there before they can harass me about it.
I am convinced they only collect the urine samples because they are doing drug tests. And since I don't do drugs I don't think they need my urine.
And that aside - have you ever tried giving a urine sample?? My dad installed a true fear of sitting on public toilets in me from when I was quite little (yes, my dad. Not my mum. I'm not sure how he was always the one to take us into public rest rooms when we were little... but on top of instilling the 'correct way to pee in a public restroom' in me, he also taught me that it's the fathers job to run little kids into bathrooms. Paul has years of fun ahead of him :)
So anyways, back to the fear of sitting on toilets. I just can.not.do.it - I don't think I've ever sat on a public toilet.
I squat.
Which on its own is a challenge. But add to it a 30lb balloon between yourself and where you're suppose to hold the cup and it's just plain not fun. Add a 16 month old to the mix and you'd totally understand why I lie to the nurses and tell them I just don't need to go!

But today I was both baby free and bladder full. I thought I would do the nurses a favor and leave them a urine sample. So I do the whole awkward squat/balancing thing (the belly really does throw off ones sense of balance) and fill up the cup. I FILLED it people. I wanted to make up for past annoyances I might have caused the nurses.

And do you want to know something? There was a crack in my urine collecting cup. Out of the hundreds of cups the nurse had to pick from she'd handed me one with a crack. And I had filled that cup up.

It was not pretty.

My pee-strike is back on. Never again will that happen to me.


So a lesson for you all: check the urine collecting cup before you fill it.

5.26.2008

Raised in the Grocery Store

Evidently there is an entire world of children that were raised on the advice given by perfect strangers at the grocery store. At least that is my conclusion, as there seems to be an entire world of strangers at the grocery store all too eager to hand out advice on child rearing. And if they are handing out advice with such sincerity and urgency, it can only be because they once appreciated a stranger's advice in the bread aisle.

My son is only 16 months old, so I am quite certain we still have years of politely smiling and nodding at total nonsense coming from strangers grocery store wisdom coming to us. Had I taken the advice from well meaning strangers Judah would be a totally different child.

He would have self esteem issues. Judah is both too fat and too thin. WITHIN THREE AISLES! How does a child go from getting comments like "Oh my, look at your size!! You are quite the fat baby. Your mother must feed you too much" in the dairy aisle, to "Oh dear, you look so hungry. Your mother must not feed you enough" in the meat section?
Never mind said mother is standing right there listening to this one sided conversation. Said baby is being told rather conflicting things. And it's not like he can blame it on his clothes or it just being a bad day since BOTH the fat and starving comments have been told to him within minutes.

He would have identity issues. Tell me, what does it profit a little boy to say to him "You are far too beautiful to be a boy. You should be a girl." I kid you not. People say this to him. Almost every single time we're in the grocery store he gets that comment. I think I should buy a shirt that says "Take it up with my Creator" and train him to point at it anytime people say this. He's a boy. And he has blue eyes and curls. But he's a boy fellow shopper. Get over it.

He would have given up his bottle long ago. Because, you know, "he is entirely too old to be drinking from a bottle. When my child was that old he was using a cup." I couldn't help myself. I had to ask the crabby lady – "So how old was your child when you got him off the bottle?"
I don't know why mothers have a self righteous air about themselves, but in her most 'I'm-a-better-mom-than-you'll-ever-be" voice she said "18 months."
I smiled. "He's 14 months." I can't tell you how happy that moment made me feel.
Perhaps I do understand the self righteous air that mothers put on. But only because it's forced on me.

He would be consuming large amounts of sugar. Chocolate milk, strawberry milk, pop, cookies, ice cream … all these things make children happy and should not be denied to any child. "Come on mom, I saw him looking at the xyz longingly. Be a good mom and buy it for him!"
My thoughts (honest, they just remained in my head!) "Ok stranger … why don't you be a good stranger then and pay for the dental bills and stay up all night with my hyper child and do all the extra laundry that will result in him eating said product?"
I remained a bad mom to that stranger.

He would be too little to know how to obey. As all good strangers know, you can't expect a little one to obey their mothers. Good thing all good mothers don't know that.

He would have frozen his toes off. Forget that the person telling us this is wearing flip-flops, which is a civilized version of being barefooted. The fact that my son rarely wears shoes is a huge issue with people. "His toes will freeze off" … I was so tempted to ask if this happened to their own child and if that's why they are so concerned and taking the time to warn me. I haven't yet heard of a child's toes freezing off them for being barefooted in 80F weather, tho granted we were in the dairy aisle. You know how cold it is there!!
The toes freezing off comment doesn't happen often, but the "Oh my! Where are your shoes?"or "Did your mother forget to finish dressing you?" comments happen *all* the time. I think I'll start telling well intending strangers that his feet are too fat.

Or was it that they are too skinny?



5.25.2008

A Man in the Kitchen


Thursday night I was making a return at Target and Paul called me with a couple items he wanted me to pick up:
-Corn Syrup
-Microwavable Popcorn
-Pretzel Rods
He didn't need to tell me - I knew. His craving for gourmet popcorn had finally gotten to strong to resist.
Ever since our anniversary trip to Charleston where we discovered Harry & David's and tried their gourmet popcorn Paul has been talking about making his own. Not just making his own - but making it better than what we ate. He's good at that kind of thing, and I love it :)
He likes to recreate things that we try when we're out. It's not only cheaper, but it's also more fun, more readily available and usually tastes better too.
His popcorn turned out quite impressive. If he'll share the recipe I'll post it on the other blog a bit later :)

Rain + Popsicle + Boy =

5.19.2008

Money Matters


This weekend we managed to pay off the car we bought (used!) last year. YAY!! It was a rather exciting step for us :)

We have started being much more careful and aware of our finances - looking for ways to reduce or eliminate expenses and also ways to increase income.

For reducing and eliminating we've come up with a few things that we've implemented.
  1. Asking. We don't buy coffee any more. Paul discovered that the local Starbucks grinds their coffee beans fresh every morning. Whatever they don't sell that day gets thrown out at closing. So he asked if he could take it off their hands and they said yes :) Free - good! - coffee.
  2. CVS! I don't think we will *ever* need to buy toothpaste, toothbrushes, deodorant or body washes again :) And we've managed to get Coke, diapers and paper products for free or nearly free too.
  3. Coupons. I just started this a couple of months ago using both online printable coupons and Sunday paper coupons and also writing to companies and asking for coupons. Some of our local grocery stores double coupons with a face value of up to .50 cents - if you line the coupons up with a great store sale you can get items for free or nearly free.
  4. Overage. This is with coupons too - and it depends on your local store if they'll allow this or not. But if you buy something valued at less than the value of your coupon then that creates overage - which if you are buying other items means it will cover part of the cost of the other items. If you aren't buying other items than the store could end up paying you to take the items out of the store. A great way to get overage is buying travel size items - just make sure the coupon doesn't say "travel size items not included" or "x oz or larger only."
  5. Cash. We have started working with cash a lot more than we have in the past. I get our monthly grocery money in cash at the beginning of each month - I find it SO much easier to work with an entire months budget rather than a weekly budget. If I find something super cheap I can stock up and buy lots of it. If nothing is a good price that I stick to the list. We also have our date money and our personal blow money pulled out in cash at the beginning of the month too. It's a lot harder (ok, impossible!) to spend more money than you have with you :)
  6. Planning. This goes hand in hand with the cash thing. Grocery lists are written out to the T - the only way I will deter from the list is if something is an amazing deal, and I do carry $20 extra on me "just in case." Likewise our dates are planned out, meals are planned out, CVS shopping trips are planned out. And at the beginning of each month we sit down to look over the previous months expenses and to plan the next months expenses.
I have started reading several blogs that focus on frugality. I've gotten some great ideas from them :) Three of my favorites are:

Money Saving Mom
The 'Cent'sible Sawyer
Tammy's Recipes

5.17.2008

A Sunny Saturday

Paul had the day off today and we decided to take advantage of it :)
We had a full day - Judah was dropped off at friends while we went to see Prince Caspian. Great movie and good times.
Then we picked Judah up and headed over to a festival - Judah was exhausted but a great sport. He loved all the people to look at, the noises, learning about guns and his introduction to Cotton Candy!











5.15.2008

Giggles

video

Judah has the most contagious and wonderful laugh :)
We love that he loves to laugh, and his belly laugh is
often heard throughout the day. I *love* the sound
of it!! The picture quality is dark and poor, but just
turn up your speakers and listen to his sweet laughter.

5.12.2008

Quick Trip

Judah was getting clingy (think following me around the house hugging my leg as I attempted to get things cleaned up.) It wasn't yet nap time, and yet nothing could distract him, so I decided to run out to my two current favorite stores and try to make some deals work :)
CVS sales aren't that great this week, but I did have some toothpaste coupons that created overage, diapers were B2G1 free and I had a $5 off $25 purchase.
At FoodLion I had coupons for $1 or $2 off different baby products, and a coupon for 12 free cookies from their bakery.
So in the process of entertaining Judah, freeing my leg from clingy fingers and keeping myself from going insane I got all of the above for $1.20 cents.

I got
3 packages of diapers reg $8.99 each
5 Colgate Toothpaste reg $2.99 each
1 12 count Bakery Cookies reg $3.29
1 Gerber Jar food reg .77 cents
1 Pacifier reg $2.09
1 Toss-able Utensils reg $2.30
4 2-count Baby food reg $1.00 - $1.09 each
2 Baby Nail clippers reg $1.45

Judah was happy through the trip, exhausted himself, and is now down for a nap :) Yay!

5.09.2008

Dear Mum

Dear mum,

This apology comes late, but it is only in the past year that I have realized an apology such as this is due.

I am sorry for those nights that I didn't sleep all the way through. Or the times that I just *would not* go to sleep in the first place. Or the times I thought it was cool to start the day before the sun had risen. I have realized the error of my way, but for some reason I'm still not sleeping through every night, I sometimes cannot go to sleep, and while I don't find it cool to start my day before the sun rises, I sometimes have no choice.

I'm sorry for the times you told a stranger that I could say a certain word or do a certain thing and then I proceeded to sit mute and still like I was the stupidest baby in the world. Making you look like the stupidest mother in the world.

I'm sorry for the times I begged for that beloved chocolate or cookie or candy or icecream that you were enjoying in a 'mum moment.' I'm sorry for thinking that mum's weren't people -That you lived to play the same games over and over and that you loved to read the same page of the same book eight times in a row because I liked the picture and wouldn't let you turn the page.
I'm sorry I made you sing the chorus to my favorite child's song for the amount of time it took us to drive somewhere. In fact I'm sorry I ever made you sing any children's songs. I now think most of them are ridiculously dumb and should never have been written in the first place. But it's a little late for that…

I'm sorry I wasn't born potty trained. I'm sorry I didn't politely give you a warning when diarrhea was about to strike so that I wasn't just wearing a lone diaper likely to leak. Everywhere.
I'm sorry I pooped at inconvenient times – like in the long grocery line or just after the sign that says "No More Exits For 30 Miles."

I'm sorry I ever had a thought in my head that was different than yours. I'm sorry for not realizing that mums know a whole lot more than one in diapers and that when you told me not to stand on the chair it's because you saw me falling off it. Or that when you told me not to close the door with my fingers in the door frame it's because you knew my fingers would be pinched. And I am *very, very* sorry for ever having had a temper tantrum or that I tried to run the other direction from you while we were in public. Shame on me for ever embarrassing you in public.


I'm sorry that I always wanted to share your shower, your bath, your bed, your seat, your fork, your drinking glass, your shoes and your telephone conversations. I'm also sorry I wanted to share my food with you – chewed and un-chewed, digested and undigested.

I hope you will accept this most humble – and newly realized – apology.

Love,

Jessica

5.08.2008

Our Day




This is what I called Judah's dancing chicken ... but I realized the other day it's actually a duck doing the chicken dance. *I don't get it.*

It's been a long day. Made longer by the fact that Judah was up from 4:30 - 6:30 am with a bad cough, and that Paul left for work 15 1/2 hours ago and *still* is not home.

Judah wouldn't go down for a morning nap and was just so miserable - poor guy was exhausted but couldn't stop coughing. So I dropped him off at his grandparents and ran to the store to get him some stuff. My "quick run" turned in to nearly two hours because the two stores I needed to get stuff from were packed and understaffed. It was insane.
When I picked him up he was even more exhausted but was sweetly cuddly. We cuddled a bit, I gave him some meds and rubbed vapor rub on his chest and put him down for his nap - he slept for four hours!!
And when he awoke he was delightfully sweet and fun and much more like his little self :)

Judah has a very limited vocabulary. His two favorite and most popular words are "daddy" (or "dada") and "Judah." He's said "momma" about a handful of times, but today said it twice.
And while at his grandparents he supposedly said "Grandpa" too. :)

5.06.2008

Sweetest Deal Yet

There is very little that beats getting things for pennies or free. But, my bloggy friends, I have found a new level of thrills with couponing and deal shopping. Getting paid to take the items! Granted, I was not paid much - but after ringing up my items the cashier said, in a surprisingly matter of fact way, "I owe you .15 cents." As if she always has to pay her customers money to take their items with them :)
I had coupons for everything in the picture, and the wipes were on sale (ended today) which made for some overage on the coupons, which covered the tax and my .15 cent profit.

All but the dishwasher soap coupons were found HERE. They are Food Lion coupons, so you need a Food Lion store near you to make it worthwhile :) I think they expire in July, so we've printed a ton of coupons and plan on stocking up on the baby items between now and then :)

Water Boy



Judah's adopted grandparents bought him this pool a couple months ago. It's been consistently hot enough that we finally decided to blow it up and fill it up for him :) It's a shallow, ankle deep, pool but it has water in it, which means he can splash, so he is delighted.

5.05.2008

Just Ask!

Aren't these shirts adorable?! They were at The Children's Place on the clearance rack for a couple dollars each. Judah doesn't have many short sleeve shirts that actually fit him, so I've been on the look out for some and being cute and cheap I couldn't resist!
The brown one had a bit of dirt on it - it looked like it had been grabbed by grubby hands. It was the only one on the rack, so I decided to be brave and ask if I could get a discount for it being dirty (it wasn't damaged at all, just a little dirty.)
When I asked the cashier responded with
"Oh... yes. I guess so. I could give you 10% off. Or 15%."

Um... was she asking me to choose?! She didn't say anything further - just stood there holding the shirts. So I said "If you're giving me a choice I'll take the 15% off..."
"Ok, great!" She replied happily, and then gave me the discount off my order total, as opposed to just the one shirt!
Odd people make me smile. But that shouldn't surprise anyone :)

Chicken Dance

video

Judah and I went shopping today and I bought him this stuffed animal. I think soon I will be *very sick* of the chicken dance :)

Indirectly Direct

This morning I was watching two kids for a friend.

Out of the blue the ten year old says to me; "We aren't allowed to ask for food."

The eight year old says; "Ya ... even if we're starving. We were told not to ask. I'm starving."

Me; "Did you eat breakfast this morning?"

Eight year old; "Yes, but I'm still starving."

Me; "Oh, that's too bad." (I know, horrible of me to leave them hanging, but it was just too funny! I had to know where they would take this.)

A few minutes later...

Ten year old; "If you offer food to us we're allowed to eat it. We just can't ask."

:) I love the creativity in not actually disobeying in asking for food! Because, technically, they never did ask.

5.04.2008

5.02.2008

CVS Deals


Here are the deals I got from CVS today - all for a grand total of .26 cents out of pocket :)
I started out with $12 ECB (CVS money) and ended up with $9 ECB in the end, so I did 'loose' $2 ECB in the deals, but it's really not a big loss considering all I did get :)

I also could've saved a bunch of money if I'd used coupons! All these purchases were made without any coupons, but there are online coupons to be printed for the toothbrushes and the toothpaste. And then in the (I believe May) edition of ALL YOU (supposedly on page 85!) there is a coupon to get the Adidas deodorant FREE!

So I would suggest stopping by Wal-mart and picking up the magazine for $1.77 and then heading to CVS to get the deodorant for free AND it will generate $4.99 in ECB for you. How totally cool is that?! And then you can do it again and again - because there is a limit of 5 on them.
For some reason we go through deodorant insanely fast here, so this is perfect for us :)
EDITED TO ADD: I was wrong - there is only a limit of 3 Adidas deodorants. And the magazine costs $2.24, minus 20% at Walmart!

Coupon Book


Since I asked everyone for ideas on how to organize my coupons I thought I would post a picture of what I ended up doing :) I was inspired by a lot of the ideas, and ended up using a three ring binder and pencil cases from the dollar store. The pencil cases have a zipper across the top and a clear plastic window.
I have six of them, but I think I'll buy a few more to make organization even more efficient.
Right now the coupons are sorted as such;
Baby items
Household items
Beauty/Toiletry items
Specific Store coupons (Bath & Body Works, Military Store coupons, etc.)
Dairy/Produce/Frozen Food items
Shelf/Boxed items

Someone from church saves her Sunday coupons just for me :) So I have quite a nice stash of coupons.
I've also gotten some good ones online.
Like THIS ONE HERE for a $2.25 coupon towards Silk Soy Milk. If you hit the back button on your browser you can print two of these. I am *so bummed* because I printed these but our printer was on a weird setting and it only printed two black blocks... and then it said I had printed my limit and I can't print any more!! Very disappointing!

Then there's also a coupon RIGHT HERE for Live Active Cheese. It's for $2.00 off one package, and again, if you hit the back button on your browser you can print two of these. This one did work for me, but I'd rather drink milk than eat cheese =)

5.01.2008

Freebie!


I love yogurt, and lately have been getting some pretty sweet coupons for it either in the Sunday paper or in the mail. If you go HERE you can get a coupon for a free 4 pack of yo-mommy yogurt. I have never tried it before, but the yo-baby yogurt from them is *so* good!!
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