Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Working the Deals!!

I have a confession to make...being frugal is not really natural to me. Frankly it's a ton of work. Thanks to several websites www.moneysavingmom.com and www.couponmom.com and www.hotcouponworld.com I've been learning. Also, it has been fun to have many friends on this journey. You know who you are Cheap Chicks (+Brian)...thanks for being so great. (Spending less so we can give more!!!)

Today I want to celebrate the victories!! Saturday I went to my friendly, neighborhood Walgreens and bought $150 worth of merchandise. I paid $17 and got $10 in Register Rewards (you use them like cash on your next purchase) and will get $7 from rebate. So, doing the math I basically got $150 worth of stuff for free. This was my first MAJOR victory in the money saving deal.

Yesterday, I went to Kroger and walked through right after they had marked down meat and dairy. I bought:

Ground turkey for 1.09 a package
Ground beef for 1.48 a lb
Milk for 2.25 a gallon

Thes items cost 50% of the regular cost. It felt like I had hit the jackpot. My freezer is now well stocked with meat for the next six weeks. We start school in two weeks, so I'm working diligently now so that I will be able to pull together quick meals as we are running to and fro.

I would love some new recipes for quick, easy meals that can thrown together!!!

Saturday, July 26, 2008


There is a video that for some very, very weird unexplained reason has become a popular hit in our church youth group. At home if I simply sing the first line my girls drop everything and start dancing and joining in. It's hard to explain, so I think I'll just share it with you...pop culture at its finest...


At the end of the school year we went to pick strawberries to give as end the year teacher gifts. We picked twenty pounds of strawberries. It was a beautiful, cool day (surprising for the south) and we had so much fun picking berries.
I realize it's much easier harvesting fruit that you didn't toil for. But, I wonder if it is as rewarding.
Regardless, we enjoyed our day and this beautiful fruit created by God.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Free Starbucks

This morning I'm heading off to Starbucks to meet a friend and I'm SO EXCITED to try their new "healthy" beverage for free. It's called Vivanno and it's billed as a "nourishing blend". So, it's breakfast at Starbucks.

If you have a registered Starbucks card, you can receive a complimentary Vivanno July 25th or 26th. I registered my Starbucks card a few weeks ago and received a coupon for a free beverage of my choice.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Gas Costs lead to Changes!!

Rising gas costs have forced our family to consider ways to reduce our expenditures. We've made some pretty drastic changes.

Yes, I've cut out my weekly trip to Starbucks. (I did however sign up for their club by registering my Starbucks card and received a free beverage of my choice). And I'm going to Starbucks on the 25th to get a free beverage that they are marketing!!!

No, I have not started making homemade feminine products.

Yes, I did try making my own laundry detergent which involves grating bar soap with a cheese grater. No thank you!! Cheese graters are meant for cheese thus the name, well the exception is the new product PedEgg which grates away dead skin off your feet. Works great, but I digress!!

No, we have not stopped driving. Although I did suggest to my husband that he ride his bike to work. After all it's only a couple of miles.

Yes, I am clipping coupons.

No, I have not gone to recycle bin to get said coupons.

Yes, I have accepted coupons from our friend Brian who does dig through the trash to get coupons. He is a great example of a wise steward of his resources (Oh, and he is an excellent speaker to teens and parents of teens)!!! One day really soon I will take the plunge into the trash and let me tell you why:

  • Yesterday I went to Kroger and purchased $122 dollars worth of products for $40. Many of the items I purchased were completely free. I started trying to save $ on our groceries in March and it has been a learning process for me.
  • My neighbor found a brand new magazine in the recycle bin
  • It will make for great dialouge to discuss rummaging through the trash.
So, how have you reduced your expenditures? I'm always open to new ideas!!!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

We're Moving!!

We're moving without moving!!!

At the beginning of the summer we began "Operation Sibling Slumber Swap" which is a fancy way of saying all of our children changed rooms.

Of course when we began we thought it would be done in a jiffy, but it is a project that has dragged on through the summer.

In the middle of Operations SSS we received from my grandmother a beautiful buffet to match the dining room table that she had given us a few years ago. Receiving this one little piece of furniture has led to every single piece of furniture in our living room, hearth room and dining room being moved to a new location.

This week our neighbors gave us a chair and ottoman. Here's the deal....in order to put the chair in our bedroom, we are going to have to rearrange our bedroom. Are you sensing a theme?

The bottom line is that EVERYTHING in our house has been rearranged!!! I really do feel like we have moved and right now everything is still a bit disheveled. Our goal is to complete our "MOVE" by the time school starts.

So, in order to motivate myself, I'm going to celebrate our victories and blessings. It is neat to see how God has provided for us and we are VERY thankful!!!

  • Moved all kids belonging to new rooms
  • Picked paint colors to match Clara's bedding (we received bedding and curtains free from neighbors)
  • Bought a rug for the boy's room from neighbors (cheap!!) with the planets on it.....The boy's room will be a space theme.
  • Chose headboards for the boys room (pictured). (1/3 of the cost of other beds we priced...we are more concerned with functionality than quality...after all THEY ARE BOYS!!)
  • Picked out and installed fans in the two of the kid's rooms.
  • Rearranged dining room (LOVE IT WITH BUFFET)!!! (FREE)
  • Cleaned out Hutch and are sending it off to live with another family.
  • Purchased and put together two new bookcases...combined with a bookcase and shelves we already to create wall unit look. (1/4 of the cost of most bookcases priced)
  • Put a rug in our living room changing it's look (FREE)
  • Found the floor in our bedroom :-) (FREE)
  • Added a chair to our bedroom...this is something I've really been wanting. Sometimes as "Mommy" I need to retreat. (FREE)
  • Painted the front door (I will say that we picked out what we thought was a chocolate brown and it turns out it looks purple). I will live with the Grape Door for a while though!!

I must give kuddos to my husband because let's be honest...most of this stuff he has done. Anything that says installed, put together, painted, rearranged is all him. He's worked hard this summer!!

Now, I must quick avoiding the inevitable and get to work!!!!

We'll post pics when we are all done!!!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Words of Wisdom from Little E

This morning our youngest came to find me and with all seriousness said. "You must be careful of that black cat. It has SHARP NAILS!!!." He wants to know when we are going to give that black cat back.

Midnight is starting to get more comfortable and is enjoying playing with the kids. She slept with Hannah last night. She really is in kitty cat heaven. Four of us are fighting to snuggle with her.

And, we are anxious to see how "our" puppy Marley (who is not really our puppy, but we claim him) and Midnight get along. We have a plan for peaceful coexistence in case they despise each other. Midnight gets the upstairs and Marley gets the downstairs.

Saturday, July 19, 2008


We've come to an important family decision...Carrie is now "Midnight". She is sweet and snuggly. And, she has a pretty strong air of independence...which will come in handy in our household. She likes me the best!!!

Let's just hope she doesn't become "Midnight Madness". It's tough to name a cat.

Addition to the Fam

We got a kitten!!!

I'm not sure what I was thinking. Like we don't have enough drama in our household already. Our new cat's name is "Carrie" and she is black. Is it ironic that today when my husband and older children were adopting said cat, I turned on the TV and guess what was on TV...."Carrie"?

Foreshadowing? I hope not. I suggested we change her name but the kids would not even talk about it.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Just Plain Funny

Tonight my six year old son said, "I have a lot of stuff memorized." To which I asked, "What do you have memorized?

His response was classic..."Uh, I can't remember what I have memorized."

Friday, July 11, 2008

The Knight

We recently vacationed with some dear friends and I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this pic my friend Kelly sent me today. It just makes me smile.

Elijah is the defender of the three, beautiful princesses. Don't they look happy, carefree, and secure.

Doesn't he look tough? He's holding his weapon of choice lightly in his hands ready to ward off evil. I wouldn't mess with him!!!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

I love Summer!!!

We are in the throes of summer and I'm having a blast!!! There are many things I'm enjoying, but my favorite is the time that I have gleaned in the mornings. My children are still asleep!! I've been up for hours and admit I enjoy starting my day quietly. So, I will enjoy this for a few more weeks. Things I also enjoy about summer
  • no make-up
  • the pool
  • playing games with my kids
  • putting together puzzles with my 3 yr old
  • drinking coffee leisurely
  • picking peaches
  • nights in the cove with friends
  • cook-outs
  • staying up late
  • july flies
  • the beach
  • sprinklers
  • family together time
  • air conditioning (which we just had fixed..there goes our emergency fund)
  • kids going to camp and the excitement when they come home
  • fresh tomatoes, YUM

What do you enjoy about summer?

The Reader and Ponderer

After some grumblings from grandmommy who didn't appreciate the satire of the previous post, here's a couple of beach pics that we are willing to share. Hannah is our reader...rarely will you see her without a book. Here she is reading a school book even though it is summer. Yesterday she read a pretty long book for school in less than two hours...this is why we chose a literature-based curriculum for her.
Actually the more I've thought about the pic of Hannah's eye the more I love it. It's neat artisically. And, it says something about her. She is an observer and has been since she was itty bitty. We have a pic of her when she is five days old and her eyes are wide open. It looks as if she is sizing you up and capturing everything in her brain.
She is very ASTUTE (which by the way is one of my favorite words to say...it's a compliment, but it sounds like cussing.) But I digress...We are proud of the young woman emerging in our home before our very eyes.

Happy Birthday Clara!!

Okay so Clara's birthday was over two months ago, but here's pics taken on her bday. These are the two faces of Clara which we see quite often I might add. Actually there is a third face, but we will refrain from posting her mad face. Trust me, it is not pretty.
BTW--Marley is not our dog, but he is a part of our family because he is a regular guest at Hotel Smith.
Speaking of Hotel Smith...we are open for business. Our next guest is Amanda Lymburner, but we still have a few openings for this year. We've added French Press Coffee to our breakfast menu to go with the house specialty of chocolate gravy piping hot poured over buttered biscuits. Call for reservations!!!

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

PG-13 (In my day it would have been R-rated)

Okay so my intent was never to go down this road, but I simply cannot help it. I promise this will be the last of my posts that are rated...well I might post a G-rated post now and again.
Speaking of our youngest I have to share this. Yesterday he was walking around in the buff and entered the room where my husband and I were sitting. We are potty training naked boy so this is not uncommon. However my husband drew the line when he noticed that our son had his hands planted on his bottom area (buttocks sounds better really). So, he said firmly..."Get your hands off your bottom."
To which our youngest promptly and clearly stated...."But there is a hole back there". Seriously my and husband and I have not laughed that hard in a really long time. The logic of a three year old!!!
So, we are working on pull-up etiquette and the fact that we only take our pull-up off in the bathroom.
This will be my last of my rated postings. I will refrain from continuing along the downward spiral.

PG-13 Rated Post

We recently bought our oldest her first two-piece bathing suit. Of course we got a really cool swimshirt to go with it!!! By the way I REALLY wish the whole swimshirt thing had been in when I was younger. It would have saved me many sunburns.
Here's a pic of Hannah at the beach. :-)

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

PG Rated post!!

Our youngest has been the source of much joy in our lives. (Here's a couple of pics of him at six months and 3 1/2 years old). He is funny and active and keeps us on the move.
Recently I've run across an issue that we never had with the other three.
He really enjoys picking his nose and then sticking his finger in his mouth. We've of course corrected him repeatedly, but still the finger goes to the nose and then the mouth. I know, I know totally gross.
Yesterday we reached a new level of disgusting. He and I were laying down and I had just finished telling him a story. It was a sweet bonding time. He listently attentively to the whole story. He was thoroughly engaged. At the end of the story, again, finger to nose, nose to mouth. Again, Elijah "don't do that".
This time and for the first time ever. He invited me to pick his nose for him. As I was politely declining, he grabbed my finger and attempted to use my finger to pick his nose. AAAHHHH.
The joys of motherhood!! Well, of course I didn't pick his nose!!! It's a good thing he is so cute!!

Monday, July 07, 2008

Another funny...

The rest of the world has probably seen this, but I just got it and am still laughing...enjoy...

Our Young Man Completes Kindergarten

Our big man on Campus completed his first year of school. Here's some pics we thought our friends and family would enjoy. The first is his first day of school. The rest were taken in May and June as the school year winds to a close. The last one is taken on vacation and shows him in his favorite mode "relax to the max".
Here are this mama's thoughts on her little man:
  • He runs fast...he's about 20 seconds behind his older sister in the 1/2 mile.
  • He loves to read.
  • He LOVES someone to read to him.
  • He has a strong sense of fairness.
  • He likes to talk and I mean really talk alot.
  • He doesn't like to have his picture taken.
  • He has five girlfriends and won't tell us who they are.
  • He loves to play with his friends.
  • He is methodical.
  • He asks great questions.
  • He's destined for beach living!!!
  • He is tender-hearted.

Friday, July 04, 2008

The Ever Elusive Perfect Picture

My quest on special occasions is to capture a perfect shot of my four children. In my world this is a high priority because they are growing rapidly. I want to remember them as they are today when they ride out into the sunset. My children do not always buy into my plans for "the perfect picture"
Here are my latest attempts. While they are defintely NOT picture perfect...they are a great representation of the reality of my children. And, they make me smile!!!

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Perfect Day at the Beach!!

We recently went to the beach and had a blast!!! One day was absolutely gorgeous. We woke up and the water was calm and smooth. The ocean looked like a great big pool.
It amazed me how calmness brought clarity. I realized I could use a little calm in my life so I can see things more clearly!!

Thought Provoker

Speaks for itself...