November 26, 2011

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

I am so absolutely, ridiculously, over the top excited about Christmas this year. It has ALWAYS been my favorite time of year, but this year is even better, because Jameson is finally old enough to totally get it.

Don't get me wrong, Delaney will also be SO much fun this year, since she will be able to "help" open her presents, she loves staring at Christmas lights, and she will get, at least a little, excited about her presents. But this is the first year Jameson understands enough to look forward to things!

We already have him super excited about our Happy Birthday Jesus party (He was super excited about Christmas before we told him that it involves a birthday party- not he is ridiculous about it). I know Delaney will also love this event since it includes cake. She loves cake.

He is also SO excited about Santa. Today we told him that Santa would bring him presents on Christmas Eve when he is sleeping. Do you know what the sneaky little kid did next??? He promptly ran to his room and laid down on his bed. When I went in to see what he was doing he was laying on his bed CLEARLY faking sleep. I asked him what he was doing and he told me that he needed to sleep so Santa would come. It was 1 o'clock in the afternoon! On November 26th! I guess it is going to be a long month...

He was also in awe about the decorations. He helped us with everything he possibly could. He was ecstatic about decorating the tree. He helped me place the star on the top of the tree, and then dutifully helped with every ornament we gave him (which were, ahem, relocated by daddy so that one section of the tree didn't have ALL the ornaments). He loves to come into the living room and just look at the tree.

He also is already asking about Christmas cookies, candy, presents, etc. He is definitely at a hard age to be making sure he completely understands what the real meaning of Christmas is (any ideas would be wonderful!), but we are so excited that he is finally at an age to get excited about it!

 Freshly decorated tree
 Delaney just looks so big in this picture!
My babies!

November 12, 2011

Little Britches Consignment Sale

My haul this year! (Sorry for the bad picture- it was super hard to fit it all in one frame!)

When Jameson was a baby I decided to check out this thing I had heard of called the Little Britches Consignment Sale. I really didn't know much about it, but I was out garage sailing so I thought it would check it out. That first sale, I think I spent about $30 and I was so happy! I can't tell you exactly what I bought that first sale, but I remember specifically that I had to track down a bag because my arm was getting tired from carrying everything. And the quality was amazing! I got items that looked next to new for dollars! Yes, the prices were higher than the garage sales, but the quality and sorted sizes made it worth it! I was instantly addicted.

Since then, I have volunteered at every sale and have sold at the last two (including this one). I have it down to an art now from how much I am willing to pay for clothing items the rest of the year (could I beat this price at the next Little Britches Sale?) to my very specific lists of what my kids have and what they need to which order I need to track my items down in once I am at the sale (based on how badly we need them and how fast that item tends to go at the sale).

Being a volunteer and a consignor, I have quite the deal. As a volunteer, there are only a handful of people who get to shop before me, so I (along with a herd of other volunteers) get pretty much the pick of the sale. Then, as a consignor, I get a 30 minute head start on the 1/2 price sale. I love that, between these two "advantages" I am able to get almost everything both my kiddos need for their wardrobes for considerably less than I could even imagine paying at retail. It just takes committing just 4 hours of time to volunteering (which I actually really enjoy as I always work with some really fun ladies) and taking the time to tag my clothes for sale (okay, I don't even want to talk about how long this takes, but between the 1/2 price sale perk and the check I will get in a few weeks that will (hopefully) pay for a huge chunk of our Christmas presents this year, it is absolutely worth it). If I didn't volunteer and consign I would still be able to find amazing stuff, but I love having first pick, and I feel like there is a little less elbow throwing and rudeness from fellow shoppers when you all understand the work that goes into the sale.

This year I set myself a budget of $100. I have had this money set back for weeks (the sale got bumped back a month this year due to construction so that money has just been waiting in my savings account!) and I was really hoping that I could stick to it! I am so pleased to say that I actually came in under budget! I got a super nice coat for each kid (Delaney's is a down Gap one that looks brand new!), some sweaters (including a super cute Gymboree one I got for $1 at the half price sale- I really don't know how I scored this deal!), two dresses for Delaney, some PJs for each, jeans, shirts, shoes for Delaney, 4 books (there are only two pictured because Jameson had already put two "away") a play purse for my little girl and an astronaut dress up costume for the boy(complete with a talking helmet!) for just over $80!!! And a lot of it is name brand (which I love because these will generally last longer and sell better at the next sale) including Gap and Gymboree. Almost $20 under budget!!

I will admit that I was nervous about the sale because it was put off a month. Boy, was I wrong! I thought that the quality and prices were both outstanding this year, and I spent very little time in line (though I was waiting to go into the sale for 45 minutes, but that was by choice and the little boy of the girl in front of me was super entertaining so I didn't mind at all!) If you are in the Manhattan area and have never gone you are MISSING OUT!!!! I highly recommend it!

The stuff for the little monkey to complete his closet

Our little punky needed almost a complete fall/winter wardrobe!

November 4, 2011

Another brick in the road to being a stay at home mom!

As many of you know (especially since I said it on my first entry) we are working diligently toward the goal of making me a stay at home mom. It has been a long road, and we are ecstatic to say that we are most definitely going to reach that goal soon! When Shaun got his promotion in April that made it a possibility for me to become a stay at home mom, we knew that one thing we wanted first was to be completely out of consumer debt. We didn't have an immense amount of credit card debt, but we definitely wanted to eliminate what we had. We are now almost to that goal and it feels so good! We have really been working hard toward this goal and it is so nice to see and end in sight!

In order to pay this off, my entire paycheck, plus a little of Shaun's has been going solely to these bills (with the exception of the daycare bill which is coming out of my paycheck). Because of this, we have already been living for several months without my paycheck, so we have already grown accustomed to what our situation will be. After I quit, we will have enough for our monthly expenses (including bills, groceries, gas, etc), plus a little extra so we can be putting money in savings. We are definitely going to have times that we will have to make sacrifices, but we are 100% okay with that!

Even though we have gotten used to this one income living, we are hoping to have a little bit of extra income to put in savings towards Christmas, vacations, fun money, etc. So, I decided to become a Scentsy Consultant! This is a very big step for me, and definitely out of my comfort zone, as I am not exactly a huge salesman (probably the opposite...), but I love Scentsy, so I decided to give it a shot! I am going into it hoping for the best, and realizing that it will not be my ticket to a full time work at home income. My goal is just to earn a few extra bucks to tuck away for the fun things in a low pressure, low risk situation! Shaun and I have been discussing and praying about this decision for a few months, and we really feel like this is a direction that we should go!

All I am asking for is many prayers and support in this endeavor! (But if you wanted to buy something from me it wouldn't hurt my feelings... (:  )

September 17, 2011

My Mega event score!

I have been waiting for a good shopping trip to post, and I was pretty proud of my Dillon's trip this morning, so I thought I would share!

Dillons was having a Mega Event sale which means that they give $5 for ever 10 selected items you buy. My total before my plus card and coupons was $109.72. After my plus card and coupons my total was $49.24- a 58% savings. Here is the breakdown!

Oscar Meyer select turkey hot dogs- Had a free item coupon from a Facebook promo

Balance Bar- $1.39- $.55 coupon double to $1.00= $.39 (Not a super awesome deal, but I was needing a         snack to finish my shopping trip!)

Mail envelope- $.71- had to ship a book from a purchase

Wheat bread- marked down to $.39 a loaf (I stock up on clearance bread and put it in the freezer)

Kroger broccoli (2 bags) $1 each (not an awesome deal, but we were needing some veggies)

Carefree panty liners (6 packs)- Regular price at $1, had 6 $.55 coupons that doubled to $1= $.09 a pack

Kroger shredded 2% cheese- Regular price at $1.88- I haven't really started buying ahead on these yet- buying ahead on cheese and meat is my next mission!

Steak- $2.99/lb- pack was $3.08

Farmland sausage links- $1 a piece, coupon for $1 off any Farmland product= free! 

Gerber graduates lil'meals (2 cups)- Regular priced at $.99 each, used two $.55 off Gerber graduates products coupons= free!

Gallon of whole milk- $2.99, had a $1 off any milk coupon= $1.99

Can of spaghetti sauce- $.89

Mega event items (I noted the prices with the $.50 off the item you for buying 10)

Gilette shave cream- Had a free item coupon from writing to the company

Simply juice lemonade- $.99, had a $1.00 off Simply juice lemonade coupon= $.01 overage

Frosted Cheerios- $1.99, had a $1.00 off any Cheerios coupon= $.99

Cheerios (2 boxes)- $1.99 each, had two $.55 original Cheerios coupons that double to $1- $.99 each

Kraft 2% cheese (5 packs)- $1.99 each, no coupon, but we like to stick with the 2% cheese and these are typically over $4 a pack!

Kingsford Matchlight Charcoal- $4.49, had a $1 off coupon= $3.49

Fiber One bars and brownies (total of 3 boxes)- $2.49 each, had three $.40 coupons that doubled to $.80= $1.69 each

Yoplait 32 oz Yogurts (6 tubs)- $1.49 each, had 6 $.55 coupons that doubled to $1= $.49 each

I also had an Aldi trip this morning where I got the rest of my milk and produce, and a few other things. These groceries will last us 2 weeks with a small trip next weekend to get more milk and produce. Thanks for letting me share my awesomeness!!! :)

September 5, 2011

The weaning game

Let me start with this- I love breastfeeding. I feel such a bond with my children knowing that I am giving them an amazing gift that my body was created to do. I have never once, for a second, regretted my choice to breastfeed. Through three bouts of mastitis, having to fuss about food and drink choices, and spending the first 6+ months of my children's lives being tied down by the availability of a breast pump or hungry baby, I have loved all of it (okay, I wouldn't have missed the mastitis, but it was still worth it).

Okay, now that we have cleared that up...

I am ready for Delaney to be done. I feel like such a bad mom for even saying that, but it's the truth! Delaney is 13 months today, and we are in a process of weaning her. It is awful! I actually never had to do this with Jameson. He was nursing until about 14 months, but it was only once at night and it was a "sit down with mommy, have our nursing time, and go on to bed" routine, so I didn't mind it at all. Then, suddenly, he just stopped. It wasn't traumatic (well, not for him, I was actually kind of sad about it). Delaney, on the other hand, seems to mistake "mommy" for "drinking fountain". If she was actually nursing every time, I wouldn't mind at all. But, instead, she will latch on for about a minute, pull off, and want to get back down to play. This was happening constantly throughout the day. And please, don't try to just tell me to "not let her"- you obviously haven't met Delaney if you think this is possible. She is an all or nothing kind of girl. We have pretty much discovered that if we are going to put a stop to this, it is going to have to be a "we're done" kinda thing.

Where the problem comes in is that, although I am firm and resolute about how I feel about starting breastfeeding, I am totally stumped when it comes to understanding how I feel about ending it. I am so torn! I have done so much research and soul searching and I am not sure how I feel about weaning. I do know that I have no interest in nursing my children until they are toddlers and they decide to stop nursing. I know that some moms are fine with that, and that is good for them, it is just not something I think is right for me. But, on the other hand, I am really not interested in putting my baby through a stressful weaning experience when I really don't see any harm in letting her nurse for a (little) while longer. Plus, as ready as I am to be done, I think I am really going to miss it when she is done!

Do you see why I am getting nowhere with this? Ugh! I guess Jameson has me spoiled! I suppose at this point I am just playing it by ear and hoping that I get lucky and she will do it all on her own so it can be a positive experience for both of us!

Yeah, I think she will find herself plenty to eat without nursing...

August 15, 2011

Why is running a bad thing????

We are lucky enough that our local zoo offers classes for kiddos Jameson's age a couple Saturdays a month. Jameson loves them. Most of their class consists of walking around the zoo looking at different animals and learning around a certain theme of the week. This week in class, Jameson was wanting to run a lot. Personally, I didn't mind. He was in a wide open space, he wasn't running that fast, and he was OUTSIDE. I had absolutely no problem with him running. But, one of the teachers told him to stop. That was totally fine. I figured she probably had good reason. (He might get the other kids wound up or get ahead of the group, etc). No biggie. A little while later, Jameson (being Jameson) started running again. As we were telling him to stop, he fell down. I ran over to him, picked him up, and dusted off his knees. I don't think he was even on his feet yet before he had stopped crying. Right before he fell, one of the little girls in the group started running. While I am helping him up, I hear the teacher say "See, Jameson fell. That is why we don't run". Do I care that she told Jameson to stop running? Absolutely not. There are many good reasons for why this was not a particularly appropriate place to run (even if I didn't think it was a big deal). But when I heard her say that we don't run because we might fall, it got me thinking... (watch out- getting deep)

Why is "you might fall" a good reason to not run? Aren't these just the kind of situations we are supposed to encourage our children to get in to, not warn them against? Situations where they are going to have to take a little risk to have the experience? Don't get me wrong- I hate hate HATE to see my kids get hurt. Even a skinned knee and my heart breaks. In fact, I have to make a conscious effort at times to not be overprotective. But should I never let my kids run because they might fall? Sure, I could carry my kids everywhere, never taking the "risk" to run like a little kid should. They may never get an owie on their knee that requires a racecar bandaid. But is that really what I want to teach my child? That we shouldn't take on a new experience because there is a chance it might not go well? No! I want my kids to come upon a situation and take on a little risk for a big reward, even if it is scary. Yes, I want my children to learn that not every risk is worth it (for example, I want my children to be able to distinguish the difference between the worthwhile risk of running at the zoo and the dangerous risk of running into the road). But I also want them to know that they can run, even if it means they might fall. Especially when mom is going to be there to dust them off and help them start running again :)

August 11, 2011

A God thing

What is a "God thing?" Typically, these are situations where it would be really easy to think "Why the heck did God let this happen?" But, instead, I try to see where God WAS in that situation. Basically what could have made it a whole lot worse but was somehow prevented. God things were actually one of the main things that made me want to blog. Normally, when these happen, I will tell my mom about them and maybe a few other people, but I don't really get to share them the way I would like to. So, for my first real post, it is only natural that I start with one of these. But, because I can't anticipate when I will have a God thing come up, I will just share one of my favorite recent ones!

Days that I close at work, I don't have to be there until around 11:30 am. On this particular day that I was closing, I had decided to take the kiddos to the sitter's and come home to clean for an hour or so. On my way back from dropping them off, I decided to stop by the post office to pick up the mail from our PO box. I left my car running because I live in a very small town, so I park right in front of the building and I can see the car from my PO Box. I ran in, excited that I had a whole hour to clean. I went back to the car, grabbed the handle AND...

Yes, that's right it is locked. A quick check of all the doors tells me that, yup, I just locked myself out of my car while the engine is running. Awesome. Trying to stay positive, I run inside to use the post office phone to call a locksmith (I didn't have my phone because I had forgotten it at home). Yes, we do have a spare key, but I was pretty certain that it was IN the car (very helpful). And, since the locksmith is covered on my insurance, I decided I wasn't going to mess with it. Like I mentioned, I live in a small town, so the nearest locksmith that I knew of was about 30 minutes away. I figured I would probably have to pay extra to get them to come down, but what else was I going to do? So, I call the first one... they don't service our area. Well, that stinks. On to the next one... nope, we don't go that far. Really?

Both the post office worker and I only knew of the two locksmiths in the town near us, so I decided I would just have to get online at home to find another one to try (our house is about a 3 minute walk from the post office). I get home and start looking online. After I try several more, I discover that I am apparently the first person in the history of my town to call a locksmith. They all think I am nuts for asking if they will come that far, even when I make it clear that I understand I will have to pay more. So, at this point, panic starts. What am I going to do? I can't get my one spare key, nobody will help me out here, and I was pretty sure the hanger trick wouldn't work on my car. I even try the police department- by the way, they don't provide that service, but they can provide me the number of several locksmiths who do... in the town 30 minutes away from us. By this point, I am pretty much bawling (yes, I know, overreaction- give me a break!) I call Shaun searching for any idea that he might have and he is in the same boat. I am searching the house top to bottom just in case I am wrong about it being in the car.

I had given up. About 40 minutes had passed at this point, and it finally occurred to me the one thing I hadn't tried- prayer. What I really needed was to CALM DOWN. There had to be a reasonable solution, even if it wasn't an ideal solution. I prayed that God would help me to calm down and see my options. I said Amen and... nothing. But at least I had calmed down. The only idea I had was to walk back to the post office and tell the lady that my car would be sitting out there for awhile until I could find out which window would be cheapest to replace after I broke it out (yep, that is where I was at). I decided to make a potty break first, which took me by the closet... holding my winter coat... the ONE place I hadn't looked. I reach inside, just in case... yeah, there it is. That darn key was in my winter coat pocket the whole time. I has walked by it at least 20 times trying to find my key. I booked it down to the post office and brought my car back to my house. I had lost all my cleaning time and now had barely enough time to just get ready for work. What a waste!


I can see where God not only kept things from being even worse, but actually made some GOOD things happen in all this mess. First, does it stink that I left my car running at the post office for 45 minutes when gas is $3.65 a gallon? Yes. But, remember the stop I made before this one? The one where I dropped my kids off at the sitters? Had this had happened at this stop, it would have meant that my kids would have been locked in my car, which is pretty much my greatest mom fear. And, since I don't leave my car running when I drop them off, they would have been locked in a hot car. (FYI- had this happened, I would have been able to tell you what it costs to replace my window).

Next, my phone. I never leave it at home. It is always in my purse in the car, or, if I don't have my purse, it is sitting in this little cubby on my dash. This would have been so much more of a nightmare if I would have had to run to the post office for every failed locksmith attempt. And those locksmiths? Although it makes me crazy that we can't get a locksmith to us, if I would have found someone who wanted to take advantage, they could have charged me a ridiculous amount that may or may not have been covered by my road side assistance.

Does it stink that I wasted that cleaning time? Yes. But, because I had been planning to clean, I was able to get to work on time.

Finally, it gave me a reminder that I am CONSTANTLY needing. If there is one thing I struggle with as a Christian, it is turning things to God when they are out of my control. I know that I can and should, I just always put my silly worries to the front of my mind and don't leave any room for God! It is not an embellishment for the story that I found the key right after I prayed- that is actually how it happened. Do I think God placed that key in that pocket? Of course not. That key had been sitting there since the last time I had misplaced my keys and had to grab that spare to get to work on time. But, if I hadn't been able to compose myself and allow myself to just THINK, I wouldn't have realized that it was an obvious place to look. God helped me do this. Through that prayer, God calmed my nerves and helped me to see what was (literally) right in from of me.

So, that is the first God thing I am sharing with you! I know this is lengthy, but I hope it was worth your time. I know I will have many more to share!

August 9, 2011

Oh my. So I am really going to put it all out there?

After admiring the blogging of others for years now, I have decided to try my hand at it. I love sharing my opinions (to those unfortunate enough to be listening) but am a little nervous about putting myself out there. After all, I think my thoughts and opinions are interesting, but I don't know if anyone else does... oh well! 

In general, I am a person who keeps my opinions to myself. However, give me a topic that I am truly passionate about, and you won't hear the end of it!

My favorite passions:
-First and foremost, I am a Christian. I make it my goal to glorify God in everything I do, but it is definitely something I struggle with on a daily basis.

-My family!!!!!! There is absolutely nothing more important to me on this planet than my family. Basically every decision I make is based around them. Which leads me to the next...

-Becoming a stay at home mom! I currently have a full time job and I am grateful to even have a job in this economy, but it is not where I truly want to be. In April, my husband was promoted to a new position that pays enough to support us. However, we are wanting to do this the "responsible" way (blah!), so we are paying off a few debts and building some savings before I quit my job. We don't really know yet how long this will be, we are just taking it one day at a time.

-Breastfeeding! I don't think there is anyone who has spoken to me in the past few years who doesn't know that both of my children have breastfed. I am a huge advocate for it and hope that some day I can find a way to make a job (even if it is just volunteer) out of helping women achieve their breastfeeding goals.

-My most recent passion is becoming more frugal! I have used coupons here and there for awhile, but never really saw huge savings. Then, after watching an a documentary about extreme couponing (yes, the documentary that lead to the series) I discovered how I was totally not using them to their full potential! I found a few blogs that really helped me understand what to do and I went on my first true couponing shopping trip- three sticks of free deodorant and I was HOOKED!!!! The more I read the blogs, the more I see all the ways that I could be saving so much money! I love to brag about my deals and share deal ideas with others!

So, how the heck am I supposed to make all of that mess in to a blog?? Well, I don't know yet... I guess we'll find out!