Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Forever Home

Do you live in your 'forever' home? By forever, I mean, dream home, staying there until..... whenever, grand kids will visit you there one day. You absolutely love it!

I can't say we are there yet. Don't get me wrong, we are very comfortable in our home, we like it here (for now), and we are grateful to have a nice home, in a nice neighborhood, and we love our yard.

This is actually a terrible picture. Our house was still under construction at this point.

I'm longing for our forever home. I'm ready to have the settled feeling. I want to be able to paint and do more permanent things to our home. I want to see the plants and flowers we plant, mature through the years.

Who knows where we'll be in a year?

Elmo Party

Mason and I had such a good time at our friend Jack's 3rd birthday party. Elmo was all over the place, along with cookie monster. We had Elmo cupcakes to match the invitation, goodie bags, and plates. So cute! Melinda did a great job and very creative too!

Mason was determined to sit next to Jack at the party. The party wasn't until noon, so all morning Mason kept asking if we were going to Jack's house. It's Jack's birthday, Mommy! He was so excited. He LOVES to see friends and especially likes Jack. As we were in the car driving, Mason kept asking over and over if we were going to Jack's house. He was so concerned. HA!

Melinda was such an awesome hostess. She fed all of the kids (and Mommies) lunch with all kinds of great food.
We had chicken nuggets, macaroni and cheese, fresh fruit (it was so good), chips, spinach dip (yummy), all kinds of cookies and of course, cupcakes.

After lunch, we played a couple of games. A cookie monster game where you had to feed cookie monster the (pretend) cookies. The kids went back and forth with a cookie on a spatula and then put it in cookie monster's mouth. Mason was hilarious. He took the pan of cookies over to the oven and said they needed to cook. We all fell on the floor laughing. I missed getting a picture. Gosh! It was so funny. Most of the kids said, forget the spatula and picked up the cookies. We all had such a good laugh watching them play. :)

After the games we all decided to go outside and walk around. They have 20 acres of land and we all had a good time walking around to check it out. So pretty. We also played with the parachute. Another kid favorite.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Tuesday's Tip

Since Mason and I have joined our Moms and Toddlers group, I have started using coupons more. They have inspired me and given me several ideas. Kudos to you all!
No, I'm not an extreme coupon-er, no, I don't carry a binder, and no, I don't clear the shelves. There are so many tips that I can give in regards to coupons, but I'll just give a few today.

#1: Know your store's coupon policy. The policies can change every once and a while, so make sure you check the website or ask a customer service rep. Just recently, I learned, Target accepts 1 store coupon and 1 manufacturer coupon. Target actually has a coupon section on their website. You just select and print. My last trip to Target, I saved $26 and spent $47. Also, recently, I learned, BJ's Wholesale will do the same. 1 store coupon and 1 manufacturer coupon; however, BJ's has taken it a step further. You can actually use 1 manufacturer coupon for every item in the package. For example, we bought a 3 pack of Dove body wash. We used 1 store coupon and 3 manufacturer coupons.

#2: Product Rewards. I use to enter all of my codes from Coke products. There are so many rewards you can receive, from a free case of coke to coupons to trips. Pampers is another one that uses a reward system. I have not used this one. Research your favorite product (s). You may find a reward system that will fit your needs.

#3: Sign up for emails and/or Facebook. Most of the stores will send you email alerts of sales coming up. You can also 'like' a product or store on Facebook to get extra updates and coupons. I know, it can be somewhat overwhelming with all of the emails. Just pick a couple of your favorite stores and start from there.

And my final tip (for today), is:

#4: Stay organized. When you are using coupons, the amount of papers to keep up with may become overwhelming. Find a system that works best for you. I, personally, don't use the binders, but it may work for you. I just have my coupons in an organizer per category. Normally before a shopping trip, I have my list ready and I pull all of my coupons out before going into the store. I don't always have a coupon for every item, but most of the time, I do. :) I also, make sure that I have looked at the sales for that week. You can print them out, if it helps. The savings come in when you combine your coupons with sale items.

I don't HAVE to use coupons. I choose to do so because I like to see the savings. I will warn you, when you start using coupons, you will never want to buy an item with out one. HA! You may also get dirty looks from the shoppers that are in line behind you. I'm not sure why they look at me this way. Maybe because it takes the cashier extra time to check me out or maybe they think it is a total waste of time.

My advice to you is, just try it for one month. Save your receipts and at the end of the month add up your savings. You can decide if it is worth your time or not.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Do you need to use the potty?

Since Christmas, we have been introducing Mason to the potty. We read books, talk about it, wear pull ups, etc. At first, Mason seemed interested, but we soon figured out he was just playing with the potty seat. Santa brought a really cool potty chair that sings, has a real handle you can flush, and a bar for the toilet paper. Well, it was more of a toy than a place where we 'do our business'.

So now, we have a Cars seat that we use on our big potty.
I have seen a difference in Mason since we started using this different seat. It's a reality now when we ask, "Mason, do you need to go potty?" He, of course, is not as excited. Sometimes he says yes and will sit there for 5 minutes or so and other times, he immediately say's, "NO, I not go potty". I, at first, was second guessing our choice to change seats, but, I think this is the right way for now.

We are trying to reward Mason every time he uses the potty. Right now, we are using stickers. We'll see how long this lasts. Whether he actually does anything or not (he hasn't yet). I have read several articles that says you should reward them no matter what. As long as he is making an effort. I also have read you should not force your child and take it slow. Mason has such a strong head, you can't force him anyway. I know, if we do, he will never want to use the potty. I'm a bit nervous though. He has to be completely potty trained by September or he will not be able to start preschool. I know, it's 6 months away! At the rate we're going, it's going to take that long! HA!!

Look at this face. He looks excited, doesn't he? HA!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

I did it, again!

Yes! I got some great deals again! During the past week, I have shopped at Harris Teeter, Food Lion, and Target. Sorry, no pictures this time, but I'll share my savings. The best deals are the ones you get for FREE. By free, I mean, no purchase necessary. I received 3 Catalinas from Food Lion. Catalinas are the coupons that print out at the register when you check out. Most of the stores are doing this now. Make sure you look at them, don't throw them away.

3 Pack of papertowels: Free via Catalina
1 head of lettuce: Free via Catalina
1 dozen eggs: Free via Catalina
UP2U Gum (single pack): Free
Comstock cherry pie filling: $0.49
2 bunches fresh broccoli: $1.68 ($0.85 each) No coupon b1g1 free
UP2U Gum (mulit pack): $1.00
Heluva Good dip: $1.09
Dole fruit snacks: $1.19
Archway cookies: $1.40
Pepperidge Farm Crackers: $1.49
WhoNU Cookies: $1.49
Post Raisin Bran cereal: $1.85
2 Kraft Dressings: $2.38 ($1.19 each)
Bayer Aspirin: $2.00

These are just a few items from this week. I saved $51.46 just this week. So basically, I'm saving around 50% to 60% of our grocery bill each week. Not bad, huh?!

One other tidbit I would like to point out. There are a few stores out there that will give a refund ($0.05) for using your own bags. Target and Lowes Foods are the ones I know of for sure. If you are not using your own bags, I may be able to change your mind. Here we go... Using the scenario of 5 bags shopping each week.

5 bags @ $0.05 per bag is $0.25
$0.25 per week times 52 weeks per year is $13.00

Yes, it's only $13, but it's savings and I'll take it!

Have fun saving!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Attention Followers

As of March 1st, Google is discontinuing the Google friend connect for non-blogger blogs. This may not affect you or your blog, but you may want to make note of any blogs you are currently following. I will post another option to follow as soon as I figure out which one will work best. You can read more about this change here. To those of you who follow our family (private or public), thank you!


I have added a new tab on the right side bar titled 'Follow Our Family By Email'. Just enter your email and you will get an email every time we update the blog. Pretty neat, huh?!

Tuesday's Tip

~Dinner Menu~

Plan your weekly meals before you shop. I know, sounds like common sense, but I recently started. I keep our menu posted in our kitchen and it has been so easy to know what we are having each day. Now, I don't get stressed out wondering, what are we having for dinner tonight? Each day is planned out in advance.

It doesn't matter if you keep your menu posted on a chalkboard or posted on your fridge. Make your life easier. Plan ahead.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Valentine's Party

I'm a terrible Mom! I walked right out of the house on Monday and forgot my camera. We were on the way to Mason's first little Valentine's party and I got a phone call which totally lost my groove! Oh Well! Mason was more interested in playing at his 'friends' house than actually participating in the party. At least I didn't forget his friend's Valentine's. Mason gave a little bag with gummy hearts and a Dr. Seuss card.

The moms enjoyed talking (& eating) of course, and the kids played, decorated cupcakes, and decorated bags for their Valentine's. Mason made his Valentine box at home. I knew he would not be interested in sitting at a table and decorating a bag. He's just not into crafts right now, maybe later. And as far as decorating cupcakes, well, he would rather stand at the table and eat the candies that go on the cupcake, rather than decorate with them! HA! As long as he is happy, right?!

He got 12 Valentine's from his friends. So cute! I saved the 'opening of the box' until Daddy came home and until after dinner (since there was candy). He was so excited to show Daddy his Valentines (aka. Balentine) He got cards, suckers, nerds, chocolate, gummies, and a free ice cream cone to D-Donalds. WOW! Guess what he went for first......

Yep! Chocolate! It took no time at all and he had already eaten 3 pieces. Ok, that's enough, let's save some for later. :)

His party was on Monday. So, Tuesday, we took a trip to Wal-Mart, ate lunch at D-Donald's and made cookies. Mason picked out some Valentine Mickey Mouse sugar cookies in Wal-Mart. He put them on the pan himself and then we put them in the oven. In the 9 minutes they took to cook, he asked me about 100 times if they were ready yet. Geez! So excited.

Daddy and I exchanged our cards and I got a card from Mason too. We ate dinner and watched the Cars movie AGAIN! That was it for our Valentine's Day! I know, very romantic. We are hoping to go to dinner and a movie this weekend. We'll see.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day

Tuesday's Tip

~Wire Shelves~

UGH! These shelves can be such a pain, especially when they are in your pantry. Cereal boxes tip over, cans sit uneven, things don't slide easily....etc.

I would love nothing more than to have my closets and pantry with the wooden shelves, but unfortunately, our house didn't come with those! :( Neither did our first house, but we found a solution.

Self-adhesive vinyl floor tiles. No particular brand, just whatever is the cheapest. I, personally, like the self-adhesive, but they don't have to stick. This box was only $12 at Family Dollar and we were able to do our entire pantry, and 2 shelves in our laundry room. So easy. Just peel and stick. You may have to do a little measuring or cutting, but it's worth it.

The end result. Everything sits evenly on the shelf. No tipping over and so much more easy to organize.

And, by the way, HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

I {heart} my friends

Mason had fun this weekend (and Mommy & Daddy too). Nina and Papa came for a visit. Papa and Mason played and played. I know Papa was worn out by the time they left. We enjoyed the company, had a great lunch of BBQ sandwiches and vegetable beef soup and then we went out for Mexican food.

I had a craft for Mason while Nina was visiting. We were making his mailbox for his Valentine Party on Monday. Well, as it turns out, Mason was more interested in sticking the stickers everywhere but the mailbox and he wanted to pull them off of everything else.

So, Nina ended up decorating his box and later, I made all of his cards and treats for his friends. Mason would say, "Are these for my friends"? "I like my friends, Mommy"! He must have asked me 100 times while I was making the cards.

His party is on Monday and I hope his little box is filled up with little Valentines. How cute is this? His first little Valentine! :)

Thursday, February 09, 2012

What a Big Boy!

Look at Mason. Gosh! He is such a big boy now. Standing on his 'stairs' aka. step stool, brushing his teeth before bed.

Notice the Dora The Explorer Soap. We were in Target the other day and he just had to have it. Wow! I said I would never buy those novelty items. Oh Well! If this convinces him to wash his hands, I guess I'll give in.... for now. The next thing you know, he'll want and iPod. HA!

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Today's Deals

I got all of this for $27.....

....and here's how. I shopped at Lowe's Foods during the Super Double Coupon event. I had a coupon for each item purchased, so every coupon up to $1.98 was doubled. Some coupons were from inserts, some online, and some I got from a coupon swap with my Mom's group. Let me break it down so you can see the price per item.

Deerpark Sparkling Water x 2: FREE
Cooked Perfect Meatballs: $0.50
Duncan Hines Cake Mix: $0.95
Scope x 3: $0.99 (per bottle)
Rhodes Rolls: $0.99
Blue Diamond Almonds: $0.99
Wholly Guacamole: $0.99
Trident Gum, 3 single packs: $1.00
Febreze Set and Fresh: $1.09
Ken's Marinade: $1.09
Heinz 57: $1.49
Kleenex Hand Towels x 2: $1.99 (per package)
Cheerios: $1.99
Starbucks Whole Bean Coffee: $5.99 (Harris Teeter is cheaper, but too far for me)

I saved $41.54 using coupons and my Lowe's rewards card. I'm sure I will make another trip before the week is out, but you can only 20 coupons per visit per day.

Keep in mind, please know your stores coupon policy before shopping. If you aren't sure, ask. Most stores now except competitor coupons too. Also, make sure to pay attention when the coupons are being scanned. Sometimes you will run across a coupon that will not double (for some reason).

I would love to hear your coupon experiences. Leave a comment.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Tuesday's Tip

Here we go. My first tip.

~Shower curtain liners~

I know, not very exciting, but let me share with you my findings on this subject.

Vinyl vs. Fabric Which is your choice?

My choice is Fabric, by a mile. Not only is this choice the most cost effective, but also environmentally friendly. You can read more here about 'how eco-friendly is your shower curtain'.

Let me do the math for you. So, the fabric liner (shown at the top) is at Target for $9.99 plus tax ($10.66). Of course, if you have a Target debit card, you can get 5% off.

Then we have the vinyl liner, also found at Target. This particular one is selling for $2.34 plus tax ($2.50). Now, here is where the savings come in. If you are using the vinyl liner, you will need to replace this every month due to soap scum, mold, etc., so now we have to multiply $2.50 x 12 = $30.00 (x 2 again if you have 2 bathrooms)

Bottom line, a fabric shower curtain liner will cost you $10.66 per year and the vinyl will cost $30.00. Your savings using a fabric liner is $19.34. Not and extreme amount of money, but I'll take the savings.

Keep in mind, these liners can be found just about any where. I only used Target for an example. And also, the fabric liners will need to be washed about every couple of weeks (depending on how often shower is used). The instructions say to only use non-chlorine bleach, but I use bleach (just a little) and they come out fine. I do, however, was them together with no other clothes or towels.

I hope this first tip didn't bore you too much. We'll see what I come up with next week. HA!

Monday, February 06, 2012


Yesterday was a great day for this...

Warm Apple Cider with orange slices and cinnamon sticks. Kevin and I sipped on it all day long. Not only did the house smell good, but it gave us a warm comforting feeling. AHHH!

Saturday, February 04, 2012

Making the best of it

Mason and I have been home bound all week. Actually, we did venture out one day. We took the trash to the 'convenience center', aka. the dump :), got gas at the new Sheetz gas station ($3.19/gallon) YAY!, and went to the drive-thru at 'D-Donalds' aka. McDonalds. Mason was thrilled, but just that little bit made us tired. HA! We are feeling much better. Mason took his medicine all week like a champ. No fussing at all. Such a good boy! By Friday, he had cabin fever, so this morning Daddy took him outside for a little walk before the rain. Looks like we'll be inside for the weekend too. Rain in the forecast. That's ok. We are making the best of our colds and rain.

Mason enjoyed taking a blue bath, and playing with is new numbers and letters that stick to the shower wall (cool). He has watched his Cars movie about 100 times :), colored with his new washable crayons (not to interested in that activity yet), and of course played with his matchbox cars.

Daddy and I have been busy today cleaning and trying to erase the germs in the house. I feel much better now. We're ready to get back in the 'groove' next week and I'll try not to over do it, as my Mom says.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Show the Love

Happy February! The month of 'Love'. We've added a little bit here and there to show our love. How about you?