Lilypie Kids Birthday tickers

Lilypie Kids Birthday tickers

Monday, December 15, 2008

The Grocery Game

For those of you who haven't checked it out, you really SHOULD see what Grocery Game is all about. It's a way to slash 50-60% off your grocery bill. I've managed to get mine down to around $55-65 a week! In a nutshell, it's a program that takes sales papers from the stores you shop at, and combines the sale prices/items with coupons found in the Sunday paper. It puts all the items in a nice, organized list that will show you original price, sale price, and which coupon to use, and then shows you the end price, with the percentage saved. For example:

This week at Bi-Lo, Betty Crocker potatos are on sale. These are the boxed potatos that make Au Gratin, Scalloped, etc potatos. The original price is $1.75/box. They are on sale 10/$10, so $1 a box. Then, I add a coupon for $0.35 off a box, which is then doubled by the store. So, $1 minus my doubled coupon ($0.70) is $0.30 a box!! I had four of these coupons, so I bought four boxes of potatos for $1.20, which would normally cost me $7.00!

Check out the website, www.thegrocerygame.com to see if it will work for you. If you sign up, you get a four week trial for $1. The lists are put up every Sunday afternoon for the week. So you'll get four lists for just trying it out, for one dollar! Then, if you decide you like it, it's $10 for two months for one store. If you shop at two stores, the second store is only an additional $5 for two months. I have two store lists, so I pay $15 for two months, at $7.50 a month. And this week alone I had $43 in savings at the grocery store, so it more than paid for my subscription! And please, if you do sign up, list me as a reference, and I'll get credit!

Let me know if it works out for you!!

The Ever Elusive Christmas Card Picture



We've been trying for weeks to get a good picture of Andrew that is worthy of a Christmas card. For those of you who have kids, you know that getting a two-year old, clean, happy, and standing still, all the while looking at the camera and smiling is pretty much a shot in the dark. So here are two pictures I got that I think might just make it to the Christmas card.




Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Rice O'Mania

First lesson learned: just because he knows the rules, doesn't mean he will follow them.

We have a rice tub that we use as an 'inside sand table' during the cold weather. It's basically a rubbermaid storage container, about 6" deep, that we fill with rice. He has some little shovels, cups, funnels, etc. that he can use to play with. It's actually a great thing, and was cheap. A ten pound bag was around seven bucks, and we had the container lying around, along with cups and stuff. It helps with motor skills, imaginative play, and also teaches them about space (full vs. empty). Love it! Execpt for today. We've tried to teach him that the rice stays IN the bucket....

I put the tub of rice with him in the living room and turned on his TV show, thinking, I'll just vaccum the bedrooms while he does this...HOW MUCH TROUBLE COULD HE GET INTO IN 15 MINUTES.

When I returned, I could not believe what had happened. Almost every since ounce of a TEN POUND bag of rice was on the floor. And honey, I mean it was everywhere. We have hardwood floors, so you can imagine how far that rice went. I said "ANDREW!!!" He looked up at me, in his sweet, innocent face, and said "Uh-oh!" like the rice had jumped out of the bucket on its own free will! I got out the vaccum, and learned my second lesson.

Second lesson learned: You cannot use a vaccum on hardwood floors to pick up rice.

The vaccum only slung a zillion tiny grains of rice to the faraway ends of the earth. I'm still sweeping.

Oh Christmas Tree

We've already decorated the house for Christmas! It's tradition in our family to wait until after Thanksgiving, just out of respect for the turkey, I suppose. However, we don't wait long...usually we wake up the morning after and begin! This year, however, begins a new era of decorating. Last year Andrew wasn't walking or crawling, so we didn't have any issues with the tree. Maybe a few presents got unwrapped pre-Dec. 25th, but no big deal. We decided to try a new idea...


We put a tree in his room, just for him. It's a little 5-footer, a scrawny little thing. He put his ornaments on it, mostly stars and bells. He's allowed to play with those ornaments, take them off, put them on, etc. But the big tree is off limits. So far, it's working. However, that little tree in his room has been 'felled' about three times! We have to figure out how to anchor it to the wall or floor so it won't keep falling!! I'd rather that little tree fall on him than the big one though, so we're going to count blessings on this one!


Here is a RARE picture of mommy with her boy....we've got buckets of pictures with daddy, but a handful with me. You mothers know exactly what I'm talking about! Like men don't know how to use a camera...



The Birthday Boy



LOOK WHO IS TWO!

I know this is oh, about 3 weeks late, but y'all can understand with the holiday craziness! November is a wacky, busy month for us! It actually starts on Halloween (which is a big deal for us, we like to decorate the house!) After Halloween, it's two weeks until Andrew's birthday, and then two weeks after Andrew's birthday is Thanksgiving, and then one month later is Christmas! So you can see how things start to accelerate back in October!


Anyhow, we had a great time at his Go, Diego, Go! party! It was mostly a family affair but some of his little buddies came to see him. As our camera is currently MIA, we don't have any pictures at hand, but I've salvaged a few from emails from family. By far his favorite new toy is his choo-choo...the train table! His Nana and Grandpa spoiled him good, didn't they?


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Things I Am Thankful For

In light of Thanksgiving Day, I decided to make a list of things that I am thankful for. We often spend so much time harping on things that are going wrong or complaining about things we don't have. I'm hoping that I'll post this list, and when I start to get caught up in the Christmas mayhem (and we all know I will) I can come back to this and remind myself to be grateful and humbled. A little scripture to set the mood:

I Thessalonians 5:16-18
"Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."


Things I Am Thankful For:
*Christ's love for me.
*My family, who loves me unconditionally.
*A house that we can still make payments on (in light of the whole mortgage crisis).
*A house that is warm - by our standards, warm, though it's hard to heat an un-insulated house. However, there are people (such as our neighbors) who can't afford the heat.
*A healthy, happy little boy, who, in spite of his streak on independance, loves me and needs me (though he needs me a little less every day).
*My husbands job; a constant paycheck is a luxury many don't have; and the ability for me to stay at home during Andrew's early years.
*Food on the table...good, hot, nutritious food. (And a side thanks to the Grocery Game, y'all, seriously, I've cut 50 bucks off my weekly grocery bill!)
*The support of an extended family and friends.


And the list can go on and on, but I felt these were the biggest, most important things I'm thankful for. Sure, we could use more money or more clothes or a nicer car, but in truth, we have all we need in Christ alone, and He sees to it that we have what we need.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! What are YOU thankful for?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

My Little Cassanova

Andrew has been quite the little Cassanova at his Mother's Morning Out class lately. Apparently he's been juggling two "girlfriends", Savannah and Ava Claire. I went to pick him up today, and Andrew and Ava Claire were standing together in the corner of the room. His teacher, Miss Katie, reported that Ava Claire had planted a good one on him earlier, and they've been attached at the hip ever since! We knew he was a looker...but seriously, it's church!

Tonight we were doing our usual nightly rough-housing before bed (to burn up all that leftover energy) and ended with a question/answer session, that went something like this:

Me: Do you love Mommy?
A: Nooo

Me: Do you love Daddy?
A: Noooo

Me: Duke?
A: Noooo

Me: How about Diego (go, diego go!)?
A: Noooo

Me: Lightning McQueen (cars)?
A: Noooo

Me: Do you love Ava Claire?
A: OOOhhh weeee ooo!



And so it begins....Won't those teenage years be quite the show?!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Recipe for a Cold Night (A Cheap One, too!)

Now that it's nice and cold outside, it's time to bust out the soup and stew recipes. Here's a good one that I adapted from a recipe of my Mom's and one online. It's for a creamy Potato Soup:

Ingredients:
One 32oz carton of chicken broth (or three cans)
About 6-9 peeled potatos, cut into small chunks
One can of corn
About 1/2 diced onion
About 1/4-1/2 cup whipping cream
Cheddar cheese, shredded

Put the chicken broth and all cut potatos in a large pot, cook on medium until the potatos are soft enough to mash (typically about 20-30 min). I use a potato masher to make the soup pretty creamy, but if you like chunky soup, then don't mash the potatos too much. As long as they are soft, it'll taste fine!
After potatos are cooked through, add the whipping cream and shredded cheddar cheese. This helps thicken the soup up, and give it some more flavor. Add cheese as much or as little as you want. Also, salt and pepper to taste! One batch is more than enough for my husband and I, generally there is enough leftover for him to take to lunch the next day.
It's very filling, and is full of veggies! And, fairly inexpensive to make. For example, this week our grocery store had a bag of potatos, 10 pounds for 3.99! And ten pounds of potatos would make probably 3 or 4 batches of soup. Canned corn typically goes for .79-.99 each, and the onions can also be bough in bulk for a low price. I would guess that one batch of soup only costs us about 4 dollars to make, give or take for sale prices!

A Good Day at CVS!

For those of you who don't have the CVS/Extra Care card, you need to get one! I have saved hundreds of dollars at CVS just this year alone! The extra care card is simply like the KrogerPlus card, or the Food Lion MVP card. It's a FREE program that gives you discounts and free money, all for shopping at their store. They give out rewards in the form of Extra Bucks, which is basically a gift-card to use in the store. Each week they designate a few items that you can earn the extra bucks on. Typically, it will say something like this, Buy One Herbal Essence Shampoo, get $2 Extra Bucks. So, if the shampoo was $3.99, it would almost be like getting it for $1.99. However, you can't use the extra buck on the current purchase. For example, if you got a $2 extra buck coupon at the end of your reciept, the NEXT time you purchase something at CVS, give them the coupon and you get $2 off your total purchase. It's free money!
Basically, what you do is read the weekly circulars to see what is on sale that week for ExtraCare customers. Then, to maximize your savings, you match the coupons you find in your Sunday paper to the sales. Here's an example:

This week, I didn't need to many items because of good sales the past few weeks. Here's what I got:

2 RightGuard deoderant sticks: regularly 4.49 ea, on sale for 2.99, and buy one/get $2 extra buck, PLUS a 55 cent off coupon on each container....what would have originally been 8.98 for both sticks, I got for 88 cents! I had to pay 4.88 out of pocket, but walked away with $4 in extra bucks, so I basically got them for 88 cents!

Batteries, one 8-pack of AA, two 4-packs of AAA, and one pack of 9-V: batteries were regularly 7.99 each pack, but were on sale for 5.99, plus if you spent $20 on batteries you get $15 extra bucks, PLUS I had a coupon for $5.00 any two packs of batteries. So, what would have originally been $31.96, I got for $3.96! I had to pay $18.96 out of pocket, but walked away with $15 in extra bucks!

So, the next time I go to CVS, I have $19 in extra bucks that I can use on my next purchase. So if my next purchase is $24, I use my extra bucks and only pay $5!

The trick is to read the sale paper, and add any coupons you have on TOP of the sale price. CVS doesn't double coupons, but most grocery stores do, so you can get even bigger savings. Occasionally I'll hit the jackpot and the store will essentially PAY me to take that item! I got a can off cresent rolls last week for free PLUS 4 cents. They paid me 4 cents to take the rolls!

It only takes about 30 minutes each Sunday to clip coupons and read the circulars. For me, 30 minutes is worth all the money I save!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Future Trashman

People always told me while I was pregnant, that when you have a child, anything you say or do can be used against you, and it's usually your child that will use it. And probably in a time or place where it is least appropriate. Fortunately, Andrew isn't talking, well...not clearly enough for anyone other than myself or Brian to understand him, at least. However, he has picked up on a few of our 'quirks'.
Here's a little background info: We have a dog named Duke. He's a perfect dog in respect to how he acts around Andrew. He's let Andrew throw things at him, poke him, punch him, sit on him, and he even lets Andrew take FOOD out of his MOUTH! Duke will have a special set of wings in heaven for the sacrifices he's made here.
However...The dog is a gluttonous beast! He steals food any time he has the chance, even if I walk out to the mailbox, he runs to the pantry to see what he can pull off the shelf. Nothing surprises us anymore when we come home from running errands. So, I wasn't at all fazed when I came home from church today to find that Duke had pulled the bag of cat food all the way into the living room and eaten the entire bag! He left the bag in the floor, apparently in a few pieces. After Andrew had his lunch and was in his crib sleeping, I went back into the living room to clean up the cat food bag. But it wasn't there!
I had noticed lately that Andrew had taken a great interest in throwing things in the trash. I consider myself a neat person, but in no way a 'fanatic' about neatness. Cleanliness, yes, neatness, not so much. I mean, I have a two-year old, toys will always be in the floor! I do like a pick-up generally uncluttered house, though. Apparently Andrew has watched me so often pick up trash and throw it away, that he took it upon himself to pick up the torn bag of cat food, carry it all the way to the trash can, and throw it away!
After a good laugh, I stood in wonder in amazement at what I had 'taught' my child, not through lectures or lessons, but through my actions. It was an eye-opening experience, because I suddenly realized that he's at the age where it's not what I tell him, but also what I show him, that makes the difference. It's more important now than ever before to show my son how to love the Lord, respect others, and learn how to be a Christian in a world that doesn't always support it!

Brand Spankin' New!

So I'm new at this blogging thing, but I thought I'd give it a try. It seems like a good way to keep friends and family informed on the many happenings in our household, especially for those who aren't so Facebook/MySpace savvy. I'm hoping to keep everyone up to date on what kind of crazy, silly, precious things Andrew says and does. Lord knows we could fill a book on the funny things he says!
I'd also like to use this as a tool to help friends and family get to know me, beyond what you read in emails, or see on Facebook. Facebook and MySpace are fun (and Lord knows slightly addictive!) but they only offer a glimpse of what life is really like!
So, while I get the hang of this blogging thing, please bear with me! Give me pointers and hints, tell me when I've said to much (or not enough!). It should be a fun and exciting thing!