Saturday, November 21, 2009

Christmas Giveaway

5 Minutes for Mom is having their Christmas Giveaway 2009. They have lots of prizes for some lucky winners who visit their site (read contest rules) and are giving away prizes for families in need, too!

Clipping Coupons: A New Way of Life

I've never been much of a coupon clipper, but in the spirit of trying to save money I came across a website that sells coupons. I thought to myself " Who would buy coupons"? Then I read her blog. If this doesn't inspire you to use coupons, nothing will. The website:

So, last Sunday before my husband went into town I told him to buy me a Sunday paper with the coupon section. In the meantime I stumbled across another wonderful website Money Saving Mom. I have spent this week clipping coupons, reading through sales papers, and shopping!

I have to share with you a few of my accomplishments for the week. Armed with the knowledge from these wesites, Sunday coupons, and online printable coupons I found some pretty good deals.

Rite Aid

2 Renuzit $3.18/
4 VO5 Shampoo/Conditioner $3.96
1 Kotex $3.99
1 Crest Toothpaste $2.69
1 Robitussion To Go $8.49

Coupons Used:
$2.00 off Robitussin
$1.00/1 Kotex
$3/$15 Rite Aid Coupon

Rite Aid Single Check Rebates
Kotex $2.00
Crest Toothpaste $2.69
Robitussin $4.00
Renuzit $1.00

Total Retail $22.31
Total spent after sales/coupons/rebates $2.51 (includes tax!)

Target had a deal on Del Monte canned vegetables (.45 each) with a $1/8 coupon.

I went to Martins and took advantage of bonus savings with coupons and saved $34.20 off a regular price of $76.19.

I know if I can get organized and put aside some time to plan ahead I can do even better. With a family of five I am sure I can save a great deal of money every month. I would love to have your comments about how much money you think you save each month using coupons (for inspiration!)

Thumbs Up for PayPal

I want to give credit to a system that worked. Someone attempted to charge my payPal account and hundreds of dollars was actually withdrawn from my bank. PayPal caught the fraudulent activity, probably because the withdraws were made several times in one day.

After sending them proof of my identity PayPal promptly unfroze my account and I now have access to the money. Way to go PayPal!

Sign up for PayPal and start accepting credit card payments instantly.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Bear Likes A Blankie

One of the most exciting days of the summer was the day the bear showed up after dinner with the in-laws. He has been here before, but this visit was very entertaining. There was the initial shock of discovering the bear in the yard just as I stopped the little one from opening the door to run outside(again). As she had just learned how to unlock the front door, she had made a little game of running outside so I could chase her. I grabbed her up, locked the door and was walking back into the dining room when I noticed the bear out the window on the sidewalk. Yes, a little scary, huh? The entire family moved from window to window to watch him as he walked around to the back of the house. He checked out the kids' toys, the wheelbarrow I had been using earlier to work outside, and moved towards the woods like he was going to mosey on.

As it happens, Coach had been inspired to put up an impromtu clothes line when I told him we could save a little money hanging towels on the line to dry. As the bear walked by the clothes line he stopped, turned around, and to our surprise arched his back just like a cat and walked underneath my favorite blanket. For the next 10 minutes we watched him smell it, cuddle with it, and rub his face into the blanket. My brother-in-law was actually the one who snapped the photo from out on the deck.

I figured the bear enjoyed the Lavendar Vanilla scent of my laundry detergent as much as I do. I had never written to any company before, but I figured the company would appreciate the compliment and maybe even a great advertising moment. As it turns out, I got the standard We appreciate your interest in our company letter and a coupon for free laundry detergent!

At least he didn't put any holes in my favorite blanket, and he will just need to find his own!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Football Practice on Thanksgiving!

I have family coming to town from Florida. I have family coming in from Texas. Dinner will be at my house. The football team is ranked 1 in the state, playoffs are the weekend of Thanksgiving, and they must have practice Thanksgiving Day. Wow!

I shouldn't be surprised, really. Before setting a date for the c-section with my third child, my husband gave me an order for the doctor. He said not to plan it too early in the morning, that 8:00AM or so would be perfect, so he could have an early basketball practice.

Yes, I am married to the Die Hard Coach. His main sport being basketball, he makes sure his players are playing all year round. He has held 6:30AM open gyms up to 4 days a week for at least 10 years now. He has 2 State Championship Rings to show for his hard work and talented, dedicated players.

But Now is what he has been waiting for. My son will play Varsity Basketball. My husband will be his Coach. Talking about it 7 years ago kinda made me want to say "Ahhh". Now, I just hold my breath. Besides my husband expecting him to play well, there is the whole "Coach's Kid" thing. My husband did coach him last year, too. With the little ones it is hard for me to make it to all the games. It is probably a blessing that I didn't make it to one particular game. The crowd was heckling my husband for playing my son. It's one thing to learn as a coach's wife to ignore the crowd's comments toward my husband, but when is directed at, or about, one of my children, well, that's a whole new ballgame.

The next few years will be interesting for sure. Though it may seem I am complaining, I love my chaotic life. Sometimes I wish it were a little easier, but it reminds me that I am so lucky to have the people in my life. My four day weekend for Thanksgiving will be full and busy, and I will be thankful for each day God gives me.

Things Kids Say

I have grown to love picking Princess up from preschool twice a week. It takes me 45 minutes to pick her up, run her to the babysitter's house, and back to work. It's precious time I get to spend with my daughter during the work day. I enjoy hearing about her day, hearing about what she learned, and seeing her artwork.

When I picked her up on Thursday we were crossing the street to get to the car. She was telling me how excited she was to show me what she had made that day. Just then, Emily saw a car coming. It wasn't very close, but she started rushing me to get across the street so it wouldn't hit us. I told her not to worry, and that I wouldn't let that car hit us. As we jumped up on the sidewalk she asked me how I had stopped the car(from hitting us). I told her "With my Super Mom powers". Then she said

"Mama, you don't have super powers. Just be yourself."

Sunday, November 1, 2009

A Typical Day

5:30AM I force my body out of bed to make that heart-thumping, mind-numbing, blaring noise STOP!

Then I head downstairs to start the coffee. I basically stand there and wait for the coffee to brew since I absolutely can't function without it. A few sips is all I need as I head back upstairs, coffee in hand, to grab a shower. On mornings when my husband has morning basketball, he and my son are out the door by 5:40AM and I have the sole responsibility of getting the girls to the sitter.

6:30AM By now I have makeup on, am dressed, have the kids' bag packed with diapers, juice, snacks, and an extra change of clothes, have figured out what the girls are going to wear, and head back upstairs to wake them up. If you noticed that I didn't say anything about my hair, well, these days I comb it out wet and go.

6:55AM Hopefully, I have loaded the bags and the girls in the car and we are on our way. Really, I need to leave my house by 6:45AM to make it to work on time. I'm just being honest...

7:45AM I have dropped off the kids at the sitter's house and fight downtown traffic to get to work.

8:05-1:00PM Working the JOB.

1:00-2:00PM Lunchbreak. On Tuesdays and Thursdays I pick my 3 year old up from preschool, drive her to the sitter's house, and go back to work. The other days I take about 30 minutes and run errands or just sit in my car.

2:00-5:00PM Working the JOB.

5:00-6:30PM If I leave work, fight the traffic, pick up the girls, and go straight home I can be home by 6:30PM.

6:30-8:30PM Immediately I start throwing dinner together, while simultaneously starting laundry, unloading/loading the dishwasher. The girls usually "help" Mommy in the kitchen and then go off to watch cartoons, color/paint a picture, take off all of their clothes, and spread toys and books all over the house. My husband and son arrive home by 7:15 and we all usually eat dinner between 7:30-8:00, depending on what time I actually get home. After dinner, my husband and I usually rotate the job of cleaning up the dinner dishes and giving the girls a bath.

8:00-10:00PM The girls are in bed by 9:00PM at the latest. If I have time I will briefly check email, check out friends on Facebook, maybe watch a favorite television show, like Fringe, 24, or Hells Kitchen. If I find the energy, I pick up toys, do more laundry, or maybe share a bowl of popcorn with my husband. My son comes out of his room occasionally to share a story or beg for cookies. Most nights I try and get to bed by 10:00PM.

Of course, this typical day doesn't highlight the evenings of basketball or baseball games. Just know the laundry does not get done, the toys don't get picked up, the girls get a quick shower in the morning, and concession stand hotdogs are dinner.

And when HECTIC LIFE and EVERYDAY STRESSES OF LIFE meet and threaten to overwhelm me, I take a time out. Whether it's a good cry or a long bubble bath where I threaten everyone for 30 minutes peace, I remind myself how lucky I am to have a great husband, three beautiful and healthy children, a supportive family network, a nice home, and a job.

While I was writing this post, I had to clean up "Number 2" off the bathroom floor thanks to my youngest, potty training angel.