Lilypie Kids Birthday tickers

Lilypie Kids Birthday tickers

Sunday, December 27, 2009

A Few Christmas Eve Pictures



Here are a few pictures we took after church on Christmas Eve. Andrew looked so cute in his sweater vest that I wanted some pictures. My silly little husband practically ran from the car to the closet to put his pajamas on, so there are no pictures of him, just Andrew and me!

I'd just like to say, that yes, I know, I'm huge. I've been telling y'all, but no one believes me. And I still have at least 5 weeks to go...Poor little Andrew, you can hardly see him back there.

Friday, December 4, 2009

O Christmas Tree

We've put up our Christmas decorations! I just love the way it makes my house feel and look. I feel so cozy and warm when there are lots of twinkling lights throughout the house. I just want to snuggle on the couch with a blanket and two cute boys (and a tiny baby girl, but she's snuggling with me in a different way right now!)
Our Christmas tree is in the living room/den this year, since the old family room has been remodeled and converted into Andrew's bedroom. Putting up the actual tree took about oh, 3 minutes! We bought this 7 foot, pre-lit artificial tree three years ago at an after-Christmas sale for $25! It's in two pieces, and you just plug it in, and fluff up the branches. Done.
Andrew was really into putting the ornaments on this year. In fact, he felt that every. single. ornament needed to be on the same branch. So, ever so discreetly, Brian or I would go behind him and move a few to other areas.



In keeping with my family tradition, Brian hoisted Andrew up to put the Angel on the top. Here's a little background on the Angel. My grandmother made that Angel when I was (Mom, help me out...) two or three? And it became a tradition that every year my daddy would pick me up to put the Angel on top. And so, in a box somewhere, we have at minimum 23 pictures of daddy picking me up with the same Angel. When Andrew was born, we passed the tradition on to him. The first Christmas he was only 6 weeks old, so he lucked out on the labor part, but Brian still held him up there for the photo op. The Angel isn't the most beautiful tree topper, but it was made with love and is being honored year after year on the family tree!

A Couple of Random Photos

I wasn't sure where to throw these pictures in, so I'll just put them all together here.
The first is of my little Thanksgiving Indian. In his skivvies. Since we're 99.9% potty trained (can I get an Amen?) when we're home, his typical outfit is a pair of underwear and a Hanes t-shirt. He looks so much like a little boy wearing this, it always makes me grin. I can't say what a blessing it is that he goes potty now. He doesn't even want help! If I make a move toward the bathroom when he's in there I get a "Nooo!" and a big fat 'talk-to-the-hand.' Which, really, is fine with me.

The next picture is Andrew and Brian reading bedtime stories together in Andrew's big boy bed. He's been in this bed for about six weeks now. And talk about an easy transition. It's so nice for all three of us to be able to lay together and read in the evenings. I liked this picture because of the way Andrew has his hands behind his head...chillin'.


This last photo is Andrew wearing his Elmo hat & gloves set. He wears this in the house, all day, sometimes without any other stitch of clothing on. He even wore his Elmo gloves to church one day. Whatever, you choose your battles, right?!






Happy Birthday, Andrew!

I'm a bit behind in posting. I've been so tired lately that when I feel like a have a few minutes, all I want to do is sit down and close my little eyes. I suppose it's the 3rd trimester sleepies sneaking up on me.
November 13 was Andrew's THIRD birthday! How that happened is beyond me. Last time I checked he was a little baby bouncing in his exersaucer. But, lo, now he's three, and there ain't a thang I can do about it.
Brian has been working horrendous hours at work for the past six weeks, which includes him working weekends (but having Tuesday and Wednesday off), so having a birthday party for Andrew was sort of out of the question. I didn't feel like I could do all the cooking, baking, and hosting by myself at 26 weeks pregnant, so we opted to just celebrate with the three of us. And besides that, Andrew didn't even notice we didn't have a party, he was quite happy to have his daddy home with him!
I made a cake that evening, and let Andrew put the sprinkles on. I thought he would take a handful and throw them down on the cake, but instead he took individual little sprinkles and placed them strategically around the whole top of the cake. After several minutes of this, Brian stepped in to help speed up the process.




He enjoyed his presents from his Mommy & Daddy, too! A new Mr Potato Head, and new book, and some blocks were just what he wanted!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Simon and Ruby


I thought I'd take a minute to share with y'all my friend Lindsay's jewelry shop called Simon and Ruby. Lindsay makes all the jewelry herself and sells it in an Etsy store. All the pieces are quite beautiful, and very reasonably priced! And an added bonus, 5% of each purchase goes to World Vision, a Christian humanitarian organization.
Lindsay and I went to Berry College together, and I'd love to help her out! So ladies (and gents), check out the jewelry if you need some gift ideas for the women in your life! If you don't see anything you like, but like Lindsay's style, you can always have her make something custom for you!
Here are a couple of my favorite pieces:



*All photos by Lindsay Black Farrar

Friday, November 20, 2009

Chicken Pot Pie!

I wanted to pass on this recipe for Deep Dish Chicken Pot Pie that my lovely friend Kim Hendrix gave to me. We eat this about once a week, it's so easy to make, and very budget-friendly. And an added bonus- it's got all your food groups, and two servings of vegetables!

Here's the list of ingredients:

1 pound of boneless chicken, cubed into small pieces (about 1")
1/4 c. zesty Italian dressing
4 oz. cream cheese
2 tsp flour
1/2 c. chicken broth
1 package frozen mixed vegetables-thawed
1 refrigerated pie crust

And the directions:

Heat oven to 350. Cook the chicken in the Italian dressing in a skillet until mostly cooked all the way through. Add the cream cheese, let it melt and mix it in. Add in the flour, one teaspoon at a time. If one teaspoon is enough, you don't have to add the other. You don't want it pasty or cakey, but you also don't want it runny. Add the chicken broth. (Add more flour if it's too runny after adding broth.) Add the mixed vegetables. Stir it all up, and let it heat through for a minute or two.
Put into a deep dish pie plate (mine is 10") and cover with the pie crust. Cut slits in the crust to vent.
Heat for 30 minutes at 350 or until crust is nice and golden.


A few notes:
This is a really cheap recipe, and once you buy the ingredients to make it once, you have enough to make a second one later. One can of chicken broth makes two, one 8 oz box of cream cheese makes two, and pie crusts come in packages of two! I use the Tyson individually frozen chicken tenderloins (if you use these, I use about 5 or 6 pieces), and one package lasts for several different meals. The frozen vegetables I buy when on sale, and I typically get them free (with a coupon.) So this is a meal that I typically can throw together if I have nothing else planned. And one bottle of the zesty Italian lasts forever, and you can use it for salads. Typically with the chicken broth I put the other 1/2 c. in a freezer container and freeze it for the second batch, so it won't go bad.

I hope you all enjoy!

*A bonus little note: Andrew is potty training right now, and he just came running naked around the corner with the biggest smile on his face, "Mommy! I tee tee in the potty!" And y'all he did it all by himself, he even pulled his pants down! And, an added bonus, it was #1 and #2. He's there, folks, just days away from being completely potty trained!!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Andrew's Christmas for $16!

Last night Brian and I did all of Andrew's Christmas shopping. From the couch, in our PJ's, with Andrew in the room with us. And it only cost us $16. How? Amazon.com and Swagbucks!

Here's a look at what the little man is getting under the tree this year:

Buzz Lightyear!

Woody!


Read Aloud Bible Stories

Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Storybook DVD


Max & Ruby Book w/Flashcards


PlayDoh Burger Builder

And a previously purchased Toy Story book with sounds.
And, we got it all (minus the Toy Story book) for $16! Tell me that ain't the deal! Here's how it worked out. We're avid users of the internet. Between being informed consumers, parents of a toddler, and pregnant, we use the internet to research every little thing. Instead of using Google, we use Swagbucks. It works...exactly...the...same. The Swagbucks search engine is even POWERED by Google! Except, Swagbucks rewards you for searching, and Google does not. The more you search, the more chances you have to win a 'buck'. After accumulating enough bucks, you can trade them in for Amazon.com gift cards! We had accumulated enough bucks from searching to cash in for $65 of Amazon gift cards! It's so simple, y'all, it's silly not to do it. Especially if you use the internet to search anyways, why not get rewarded?
Interested now? Good! Click on this link to sign up, all you need is your name and address, and email. You don't give out any other info.




And here's a bonus: for every referral you make, for example, if you got one of your friends to sign up under you (like I'm trying to do here...) you get matching Swagbucks until they reach 100! So if my friend Betty signs up using my referral link, I'll get 100 Swagbucks (over time). Which, to me, translates to $10 in Amazon money ($5 Amazon card is 45 Swagbucks).

Check it out, get rewarded for doing something you probably already do!

Monday, November 9, 2009

The Golden Egg


Last week we were surprised to find that one of our chickens laid her first egg! The 'biddies' as I call them, are five months old now, and it was high time they started laying. I found the egg one morning while Andrew was at Mother's Morning Out, but decided to leave it for him to find when he got home.
It's hard to tell who was more excited, Andrew or me! I ran around cooing at the hens telling them what pretty girls they were and that they'd get some extra scratch the next morning. Since last week, we've gone from getting one egg a day to three! Pretty soon all five will be laying, and we'll have a steady supply of fresh, not-organic-but-pretty-close brown eggs. My goal is to be able to have a dozen for our family for a week, and give the rest to the food pantry down the street.
Hope you enjoy these picutres of Andrew and his prized egg. After he grabbed it he said, "Thank you, chickens!" He was reluctant to take it into the house, he wanted to leave it in the chicken coop, until I explained that we could eat it! What a neat experience for a little boy! We're hoping once he gets older and understands more about the care of chickens, he'll be able to take over the feeding and watering. He does a great job 'helping' us, so we're off to a good start!








Monday, October 19, 2009

Saturday Afternoon Snooze

Andrew and Brian taking a nice little nap together. And of course, (Curious) George was in on it, too!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Redecorating Time!

We've finally decided on how we're going to decorate the kids' rooms now. *And let me just say, it is very, very strange to say "kids' rooms." I'm so used to only having one, that I wonder if there will be a period of adjustment when the baby comes. Will I forget that I have two??!
So, back to the topic. We have a three bedroom house. It didn't use to be three bedrooms, we just finished renovating the third room into a bedroom a few months ago. It is a very very large room (bigger than the master) and has its own half-bath. We're thinking that we'll move Andrew into that room. He's being moved to a full-size bed as soon as we buy a mattress. He also has a train table, a big toy chest, gads and gads of toys and books. We figure he'll need to most room to spread out. Plus, once he is potty trained (Lord, hear our prayer) he will have his own bathroom to go potty in. If that's not an incentive, I don't know what is! The walls in that room are the same color as they were when we bought the house, and that is an orange color. It's hard to describe. It's not peach, not tangerine, but it's not Auburn orange, either. It's a nice color, but not so girly.
The baby will then go into the room Andrew is in now. It's the smaller of the two rooms. *Another side note, when I say small, the bedrooms are still at minimum 12X12, which is large by newly-built house standards. The walls are a nice farmhouse green color. The crib, and changing table are already in there. Plus, the room has a Jack n' Jill 1/2 bath, which means that our bedroom shares a 1/2 bath with the baby's room, so there is quick, easy acess to that room.
So, now that you have the run-down of the room swap, let me show you what we've picked out. Andrew's room will be done in "Prehistoric." Dinosaurs! We actually had a hard time picking this out. The first issue was the full-size that we needed. Most kids' bedding is twin sized. Then, we wanted something that wasn't too toddlerish, but wasn't too grown up. Something that might last until 2nd grade or so, when he gets swept up in some cartoony fad. And the last, and biggest issue, was that it had to go with the orange color on the walls. Here's what it looks like:


I apologize that it is so small. I had issues saving the picture from JCPenney's web site. I think if you click on the picture, it might enlarge it. Anyhow, the other plus, is that it's reversible. I like the colors, its not too baby, but not too big-kid. Perfect!

Now, for baby's room. This was equally difficult for two main reasons. One, I didn't want pink. Do you KNOW how much pink stuff is out there??! And two, 75% of what is out there is also $200 plus for a three-peice set! Sheesh! I almost threw in the towel and decided to learn to sew! Hah, got ya there, didn't I? I wanted something girly, but not cutesy, and something that would go with the green walls. Lavendar! After searching and searching, I found the perfect thing!! It's a quilt-style set, that looks hand-embroidered, with little wreaths and lavendar flowers. Love it, and it goes with our 115 year old house very well. And, it was the right price!! Here's a photo:







I just love it! And I can even throw in a very pale yellow for an accent color. I think it's feminine enough! And the good think about it, too, is that it's available at a bunch of websites, which brings me to the second part of my post: How I'm going to buy this without spending money!!

I have done a few posts about SwagBucks in the past, and a couple of you have signed up (thanks!) but I've got some new readers out there, and want to try to encourage them to sign up...ahem, MOM!

SwagBucks is a web site exactly like Google. It's a search engine. If you want to find something, type it in the search bar, and the same results pop up as would with Google. Except, for one huge thing. SwagBucks rewards people who use the site by giving them SwagBucks. The SwagBucks are randomly awarded, in various denominations. This morning, I searched for "baby monitors" and recieved a surprise 2 SwagBucks!

What can you do with a SwagBuck? Well, all SwagBucks you earn add up over time until you have enough to redeem them for prizes. I have redeemed $40 (yes fourty) in Amazon gift cards, and have enough points for another $55 in Amazon gift cards! So I have $95 available to spend on Amazon.com. And that's not counting the $25 or so I've already spent over the past year. And let me tell you, you can buy just about anything on Amazon. Including that darling baby bedding set you just saw.

Here is where you come in. If you sign up by clicking this link, you'll create an account on SwagBucks, and can start searching and earning points. But the BEST part is, if you sign up, using my link, I will get credit for EVERY SwagBuck you earn until you hit 100. So, by searching as you usually do, using SwagBucks instead of Google, you can help me earn more money to purchase this bedding set for baby! It's very easy to do, and legit, you don't give any sensitive information, just your name, address, and email. That's all! It's a nice, easy way to earn fun money doing something you likely already do. (It's also a nice way to help me out!) Here is the link:

http://swagbucks.com/refer/JennyManley

Friends that have already signed up...Amber, Shannon, Aunt Tracy, Dara...y'all love it, right? And it's really easy to do! And a big thank you, since you've helped me earn enough for Andrew's Christmas present, which is another topic for another post!! Love y'all!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Getaway


For a week in September, Brian and I were able to fly out to San Antonio, by ourselves! Brian was going out there for a business conference, so the company was paying for his flight, his hotel, and his rental car. I wanted to go with him for a little R&R, since I knew it was probably the last chance to travel anywhere until the little baby is several months old. My dad was nice enough to use some of his SkyMiles to get me a $5 plane ticket, so we didn't have to pay for anything! We did add one night to the hotel stay at our expense. You just can't beat one week in San Antonio for $125! We left Andrew in the very excited hands of Nana and PawPaw.
I had planned on just hanging out in the hotel room while Brian was at his meeting. A whole week, of a quiet, clean (well, it's a hotel; clean in this case means no toys scattered everywhere...) room, my own T.V., and a book. Well, I devoured the book in one day, but I found plenty of time to nap and watch TLC for extended periods of time! Our hotel was right on the Riverwalk, which is a neat little section of the San Antonio River that winds through downtown. Along the Riverwalk are restaurants, bars, shops, lots of little vendors. It's really quite romantic! We must've walked two miles every day, though, and little pregnant me only packed her flip flops, so Brian so sweetly rubbed my feet for me at night.
The last full day we were there, we hit some of the main sights in town. One, of course, the famous Alamo. The Alamo was one of five Catholic missions in San Antonio founded in the 1700's in wild Texas to convert native people to Catholicism. Surprisingly, they are all still standing and still serving. The Alamo is famous for the number of battles fought between American soldiers and the Mexican army. I couldn't figure out what the big deal was...I mean, usually, you fight for a specific region that has a valuable resource, like clean water, good soil, gold, etc. This place, in 1836, was the desert, 6 million miles away from nowhere. After taking the tour and reading up on the history, I realized it was more of a fight of principle, symbolic of taking a stand for something you believe in. All of the men died defending the Alamo, because they'd rather die than admit defeat.


The Alamo at night.


We did drive to all five missions, I thought it would be neat to see these living pieces of history. We started at Mission Espada, which is the one farthest away from town, the most remote of the missions. Since it was so far from town, it was (and is) the least elaborate, I imagine due to it being so far from supplies and laborers. It was beautiful in its simplicity. The church is still standing, but that's pretty much all that's left of the compound. All the missions housed hundreds of people, had numerous livestock, gardens, granaries; they were self-sufficient little cities. The "mission of the mission" was to convert the native peoples (Indians? Mexicans?) to Catholicism. What struck me as most poignant here at the mission (more so than at the others) was that it is an active parish. (*Side note: I'm not Catholic, so forgive me, my Catholic friends, if I use the wrong words...a parish is like the congregation, right? The area the church serves?) This means that there are still nuns and a priest that live there. You'll see from the pictures just how rustic and remote this place was. The nuns had a little garden full of beautiful flowers, and had many, many birdfeeders filled with birds.

Mission Espada


The inside of Espada's church.
I was tempted, for about 3 minutes, to convert to Catholicism and be a nun, so I could live in the little stone rectory (again, Catholic friends, is this right?) and feed the birds and tend my garden, walking with the Lord daily. It was all so romantic to me! Then I realized I'd have to live without Super Pretzels and sweet tea. Poof, the dream is gone.
The next mission we visited was Mission San Juan, which was much the same as Espada. I was running low on memory in my camera, so I didn't take any pictures, but it was very similar to Espada. And, like Espada, it was still active, in fact, they had just performed a wedding there a few weeks before. It was a little less glorious in my mind, because the nuns didn't have a pretty little garden....
The third, and by far largest and most restored mission was Mission San Jose. It literally took my breath away. Again, the desire to be Catholic struck, but visions of french fries danced in my head. (There was a McDonalds across the street...this one was not so remote.) It was huge, and beautiful.

The church at Mission San Jose



The dormitory at San Jose, for priests.


Another view of San Jose

And, the fourth one we drove to was Mission Conception, which was actually under restoration, so we couldn't go into the church (or is it a cathedral?) It's also very very close to downtown, so less remote, less desolate, but still extremely beautiful and a nice glimpse into the past.



Our last night in San Antonio we walked a few blocks to our hotel to San Fernando Cathedral, which is the oldest cathedral in America! It was beautiful, and very much still in operation. In fact the Pope was there just a few years ago. I took some shots of it at night, and the lighting almost makes it seem like the light of God shining from the cathedral. I had goosebumps when I saw the picture!


Anyways, this was the longest blog post in history, but the pictures were too pretty not to share. And it was nice to share how moved I was in seeing these missions. I could only hope that I would be filled with such convictions to go to so desolate a place, in a dangerous territory filled with warring peoples, to spread the word of God.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Sugar, Spice, and Everything Nice!

Most of you all have heard the news, but for those of you who haven't, we've been blessed with having a little girl!
We had our 20 week ultrasound on Friday, and we were thrilled to see that it's a lil' lady in there! The lady doing the ultrasound (ultrasonographer? is that a real word?) said from the get-go that she knew it was a girl from the way the baby was acting. Little girl was quite stubborn about showing off her goods, which made me secretly glad, because I'm hoping that means she'll be a modest little thing! I remember when we had Andrew's ultrasound, he had his legs spread wide to the world, showing it allll off. Which, I suppose, is typical of the male gender in general :)
Here are a few shots, the ones in which you can actually see something and know what it is...we have lots of shots of arm bones and leg bones and the skull, but nobody (except me) gets excited about that! I've uploaded them on the "large" setting so that it may be a little easier to see.


Little Feet
These next two photos are my very very favorites...the first one is of the little Rockette. Yes, folks, that is her LEG touching her forehead! It makes me laugh every time I see it. I've been telling Brian these last 6 weeks that this baby was m-o-v-i-n-g like crazy. Now he can see what I mean!


This one is another favorite. It's my little girl with her 'dukes' up. She's got both her fists up in front of her face, ready to take on the world! Maybe that means she will be a tomboy. After all, her mommy was on the boxing team for a year in college!


Andrew went with us to the ultrasound; we thought he might enjoy it. He did actually sit very nicely eating his grapes. At one point he did recognize that it was a baby, but about 20 minutes into it he said, "Yucky!" Then we went to the waiting room to wait to see the doctor, and Brian showed Andrew the picture of the baby and asked, "What is that, Andrew?"

To which Andrew replied, "Monkey!"

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Measure of a Mother

Do any of you moms out there ever feel like you're just running uphill during a mudslide? That's what I'm feeling these days. Last night I even asked my husband if we were good parents. How do you measure or judge that? Andrew is alive (a plus, I assume), clean, healthy, has a house, good food, and too many toys. Does that make us good parents? He's not potty trained, uses a pacifier, and is still in his crib at almost 3 years old. Does that negate all the good things?

I look around and I've got friends who have 2 years old children who are using the potty, sleep in a twin bed, and have never used a pacifier. How can I not compare Andrew to those kids? Did we drop the ball somewhere? Or are we just doing what we feel Andrew can handle?

He's peed and pooped in the potty several times. But the number of times he has peed in the floor is exponential. In fact, he thinks its hilarious when he pees on the floor. Especially when he stomps in the puddle, then runs through the house, leaving pee pee footprints everywhere. Monday morning we were working hard with the potty until he apparently decided he'd had enough, and actually threw the potty at me. So, after that incident, paired with the eight sets of pee-soaked underwear, and the availability of ZERO clean towels in the house, I (we, Brian has a say too!) decided it wasn't worth getting angry at Andrew and putting pressure on him. Nevermind that I'm now 20 weeks pregnant, and losing the ability to get up and down off the floor (easily and painlessly) to wipe up pee. So, we're taking a break.

How do you judge whether or not you're doing a good job with your kids? Do you compare them to other kids? Or do you just wait until they're older and see if they put themselves in jail? Or do you really ever know? I suppose that's where prayer and faith come into play. You do the best with what you have, rely on God to mold their hearts, and pray for the best. After that, it's up to them to decide the kind of people they want to be, right?

In the meantime, it's 12:09 pm on Tuesday, we're both in our pajamas still, and haven't had lunch yet, and Andrew is watching TV. See what I'm saying? Other kids have already been to playgroup, the library, and had lunch and are sleeping peacefully in their twin size beds with no pacifier!!!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

So Long, Old Friend

I know that many of you, mostly family and those friends on Facebook, have already heard of the passing of the family cat, May. But I felt it fitting so at least give her a little space on the blog, her fifteen minutes of fame, for she'd been in my life since she was 6 weeks old, and has been my faithful, constant companion for the past 4 years.


Two weeks ago Brian was getting ready for work when he heard dogs barking and yelping outside in the driveway. He ran outside, fearing they were chasing May. Indeed, they were, and (to save the gory details) were trying to kill her. Brian immediately ran the dogs off, then ran inside to wake me up.
We found May hiding under the car, in shock, and wounded. I called our local vet to check the recorded message to see if there was an emergency number. There was one, but there was no guarantee anybody would answer. Lo and behold, someone did pick up, and told me that Dr. Wagner happened to be at the vet's office early that morning, and that I should take May to the back door.

I drove about 65 mph down a 35 mph street...don't worry, it was deserted at 6:45 a.m! She took May right in and told me to call in a few hours. May had several wounds, the most severe being her back leg. The doctor informed us that we had two options: one, to amputate her leg, or two, have her go to sleep eternally. I knew that it would be expensive to do the surgery, but I also knew that I could not make the decision to have her put down.

So, after many tears and discussion, Brian and I decided that since May had come so far, had fought so hard to stay alive, that she deserved a chance. We told the vet to go ahead with the procedure, and that we'd work out the bill later.
Andrew and I went up the vet the afternoon before the procedure to visit with May. I felt she could use some cheering up and would love to hear my voice. She talked to me the whole time, but was so sedated she couldn't even open her eyes.
The following morning I called the vet to check on her, and received the news that May had died early that morning. She had gone through the surgery well, but had lost so much blood, and had been through so much trauma. I felt terrible. I felt that I had put her through the pain of surgery just to have her die in the end, anyway. But I was comforted by the fact that one, I gave her a chance, two, I had a chance to see her one last time, and three, she was not in any more pain.

May hanging out in Andrew's bassinet.


We brought her home and buried her in the yard, under a big shade tree that is filled with bird feeders. She's close to the house, and in a nice spot where she can hear the birds.


We're so thankful for the kindness of the entire staff at the vet's office. Everyone was so disappointed to hear that she lost the fight in the end. Today, I had to take Duke, the dog, in for his annual checkup. Dr Wagner made many comments about how sorry she was about May, and that she had a bill ready for us at the front desk.


When I got home, I opened the bill, dreading the amount. Two days of intensive care, medications, surgery, and blood transfusions...what would it cost? The grand total was a few dollars over $1,000. Then, at the bottom, it said "Amount Due: $256.00." Dr Wagner had discounted over $700 from the bill, stating that she hated to even charge us anything, but had to cover the cost of the medication.


May lounging in Andrew's Elmo chair.

Y'all, we love our vet. There's something to say about living in a small town, we all look out for each other and help one another out. That's the way it should be. Even the neighbors now are polishing up their guns in case the wild dogs come back...Who's to say the dogs wouldn't attack a small child? I shudder at the thought.


So, here's a last farewell to my May, the first 'official' member of the family, even before Brian. Love you, girl. See you in the great garden in the Sky!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Why I am loving Walgreens...

Our tiny little town got a brand spankin' new Walgreens a few weeks ago, and I've been slowly catching on to their 'system,' figuring out where the deals are and how to work them. So far, I've been rocking it!

Here's how it started:

I transferred a prescription from the CVS across the street (sorry, CVS, you've been great) and was rewarded with a $25 gift card to Walgreens! And not only did I get the $25 gift card, but with my receipt printed out a $3 off a $15 purchase. So, just for trasnferring a prescription (that I desperately needed, thanks to my ever-present nausea) I got $28 to use at Walgreens!

It turns out that MoneySavingMom had posted a deal that Walgreen's was running on Huggies wipes. So I figured, I have $28, let's see what I can get without paying anything out of pocket. I ended up only paying $0.09. Yes, that is nine pennies. And who doesn't have nine pennies weighing down their purse?!

Here is what I got, in list form (I so desperately wish I had taken a photo of my haul):


One 3-pack of paper towels
One deoderant
Two boxes of Band-Aids
FOUR tubs of Huggies Wipes (70 count each box)
One large refill pack of Huggies Wipes (216 count)

And I paid nine cents! Not only that, but I got $1 register reward for buying the deoderant, and $4 register reward for buying the Band-Aids. And I still had my $3 off a $15 purchase that I didn't use. I paid nine cents out of pocket, and walked away with $8 to use on my next purchase.


Which, in turn, I bought MORE wipes with. On my second trip, I bought two more tubs of wipes and one more large refill pack, and paid $3 out of pocket.

Today, I went back to Walgreens, and got...you guessed it. More wipes! I did buy other things, too, that generated rewards, so I have $6 to use next time I go, to buy...more...wipes...


Here is a picture of my haul of wipes (minus one box we've already opened):



Here's how I got them so cheap:


Huggies tubs are $2.79 each. Walgreens has a store coupon out for $2 each tub/pack of Huggies wipes, and you can use that coupon as many times as you want. So, the tubs went from $2.79 to $0.79. THEN, I had coupons for $0.75 off, which brought two of my tubs of wipes down to $0.04 each. Many thanks to Aunt Tracy for those two coupons!! I had four more coupons for $0.50 off, which brought four of the tubs down to $0.29 each. The large refill packs were on sale for $6.99, minus the $2 Walgreens coupons, were $4.99...a steal! I did also get two tubs of Pampers wipes for $1 each.
All in all, I paid anywhere from $0.04 to $4.99 for the wipes, a bargain, hands down!
I know some of you think I went overboard, but seriously, I'm going to be needing wipes for at least the next three years, so why not?? I did it legally, and didn't clean out the store, I bought them a little at a time, so that other people could benefit too. I've heard stories (true ones!) of women who have asked the manager to bring out all the wipes they had in the back, and bought them all. Which isn't fair to everyone else. And that's all I have to say about that!!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Recipes!

This morning I read my blogging friend Laura Beth's blog, and she stated that after doing a pantry inventory, she realized that she had nine boxes of cake mix! Now, don't laugh. Because I'm the same way. I have seven boxes of spaghetti noodles, at least five cans of Lawry's Seasoning Salt, and about eight tubs of peanut butter. You may think it's silly, but none of that stuff expires, and I probably will not have to buy more (or at least pay full price) for many, many months. So, I'm answering her call for recipes using cake mix!!

The first is for Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars. It's from a very dear lady named Becky Brass, who was my 'adoptive' mother during college. Our church allowed families to 'adopt' college students and cook dinner for them once a week, allow them to do laundry (for free!) at their house, etc. She was such a sweet woman, and a Godly woman at that! She used to make these for me at least twice a month because I loved them so much! They remind me of those cookie cakes that they sell in the mall, minus all the icing.

Preheat oven to 325.
Ingredients:

1 box yellow cake mix 1 egg

1 stick melted butter 2 tspn. vanilla

1 pound of choc. chips (1 bag)


Mix it all together, then press into a 13x9 pan, bake 15-20 minutes! Easy, huh? Then just cut it into squares and enjoy!


Gooey Buttercake. This is a good one too, just don't dare think of calories and fat...Ronnie Higgingbottom made these one day. He is one of the zoo's maintenance guys, a great guy that I worked with often on construction projects within the zoo. I learned a lot working with him!


Preheat oven to 350.

Ingredients:

1 box yellow cake mix 1 8 oz package of cream cheese

1 stick butter 3 eggs (1 for cake, 2 for icing)

1 box powdered sugar


Blend cake mix, butter, 1 egg for 3 min, press into 13x9 pan.

Blend sugar, cream cheese, 2 eggs. Pour over cake mix.

Bake for 45 minutes. When done, sprinkle powdered sugar over the top.




Hope you all enjoy!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Name Game

What started out as a fun little comment on Facebook about baby names has led me to write this post. I had stated that picking a boy name was much harder (for us, at least) than choosing a girl name. We had pretty much even decided on a girl name before we had even gotten pregnant! In my opinion there are just more girl names out there. You gotta get creative with the boys, without being weird and out there.

I thought it'd be neat to see what y'all thought about some of these names. Keep in mind, this list seems very long, but we have a long time to decide, and I'm a very thorough person. I want to make sure the name is one I like, as well as one I think the little one will like at all stages of his/her life.

First, the criteria. And by criteria, I mean things that I'd like, not things that I have to have. I'd really prefer a family name. And I'd also like it to be Biblical. It can't be 'trendy' or have silly nicknames, and the initials cannot spell or insinuate anything that might cause teasing later in life. Easy, right? Psh.



So, on with it. Here is our not-so-short list of names, boy and girl. The ones we're leaning towards the most are at the top, and goes down in preference. The names are all eligible for first and middle names! (And I do realize that a few of the names meet none of the above criteria, but there needs to be a few in there to eliminate early on...)


BOY:

Benjamin

Greene

Noah

Zachary

Elliott

Oliver

Reed

Luke

Jonah

Timothy

Micah

Oliver

Owen

Lyle


Girl:

Emily

Celeste

Audrey

Jane/Jean

Mae

Grace

Ruth

Clara/Claire

Hannah

Alice

Megan/Meghan

Leah

Mabel

Margo

Abigail

Hazel
It's hard to choose, because I like so many of them. I suppose I'll just have to keep having babies so I can use all the names. Hah.
I'd love any input! It's sort-of fun thinking about this lately, it helps keep my mind of the nausea. Which, by the way, has gotten much, much better but is still lurking around. I'm hoping by the end of next week it'll be gone...that's when I hit the magical 12 week mark. I'll have to post a belly picture soon. I can't believe how quickly this little squirt popped out. I think I was this big with Andrew at four months, and I'm only 11 weeks!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Heeeere, Chicken Chicken!



They're here! The long-awaited chickens!

I had been wanting to get chickens for a while now, for a number of reasons. First, obviously, the fresh, organic eggs at my fingertips. Second, we can definately use the poo in the compost pile, which turns into nice, fresh (organic) fertilizer for the vegetables. And thirdly, I thought it would be a neat experience for Andrew. He can easily take care of the chickens, put feed in the feeder, and help me collect eggs. Never too young to be taught responsibility! He actually enjoys feeding the cat, which is/was his first chore!

Our neighbor, Von, is a single elderly man who has chickens, too. He had mentioned to me that he was ordering baby chicks to raise, and I thought it would be a good opportunity to get some, since we could raise them "from the egg" and they'd be more people-friendly. We first saw them when they were one day old! They're Barred Plymouth Rock, which are the black and white striped breed. We decided that five hens and one rooster would be plenty for us...not to mention we could build a smaller coop for a small flock!







My parents were nice enough to come visit for a weekend to help build the coop & yard. We couldn't have done it without them! Many of the materials we used for the coop were things we already had around, which helped keep the cost down. Many thanks to Jay & Kim for the tin roof!

We went over to Von's house yesterday to pick up the biddies, as they're now two months old and ready to be in a yard. Andrew was so excited! We had been visiting the chickens for weeks now, and he finally got to take them home! He kept saying "Hi, Chicken!" while we were catching them. When I say "we" I mean Von and Brian...




Here are a few photos of the coop, the chicken rodeo roundup, and the release!