March 28, 2011

Sibling Rivalry

Oh, dear lord.  I knew this stage was coming...I just didn't know how exactly I should prepare.  I suppose no one truly knows how to prepare.  The depth and intensity of sibling rivalry around the house these days is truly awe-inspiring.  Andrew and Hannah both should give lessons.

First, there's Hannah, who is super-sneaky.  She waits until Andrew is distracted by video games before she stealthily sneaks over to his toys (mostly a gigantic pile of action figures that completely fill up a huge armchair in the corner of our den).  She'll play happily and quietly with all his things until BAM!  Something she does will catch his eye and then it is ON.  Andrew throws down the controller (huge no-no around here) and immediately starts screaming "she's got my fights! she's got my fights!*)  Hannah looks around innocently and starts shaking her head.  She'll grab one of the action figures and hold it tight to her chest and run away, denying she has anything that belongs to Andrew.  He'll be chasing her, hitting the wall, the floor, anything *but* her (because he knows he's not supposed to hit his sister), but when he finally loses it and does hit her, she cries as if he's ripped her arm off.  It's a beautiful thing.
*He calls his action figures "fights."  Not real sure why, but its always been that way, so whatever.

Then there's Andrew.  Andrew is sneaky, but in a different way.  He loves to make Hannah laugh, and getting her in trouble is so much fun for him.  One of his most favorite things to do lately is to say things like "poopoo head" over and over until Hannah repeats him.  Then, when Hannah starts to say it, he will run and tattle on her because he just loves it when we tell her its not nice to call people poopoo heads.  (I mean, yes, we happen to think it sounds hilarious coming out of her mouth, but really...we can't let her just walk around saying stuff like that.  What would people at church think?!?!  Heehee.)  So anyway, that's currently his favorite way to get to her: tattling.  Every.little.thing. she does gets reported to us.  Its rather exhausting.  It kinda makes sense, though, that this would be his way of getting to her...He talks all.the.time, so you know, telling us everything she's doing is just a substitution for telling us everything he's doing.  So, whatever.

So, am I alone here?  Anyone else got any awesome stories about sibling rivalry?  Tips on how to deal with the whining?  The tattling?  The crying?  Should I give up and just buy some wine for Chris and myself? (Kidding!  I think...)

March 26, 2011

Bloggy Business

So I've been thinking a lot about this blog.

I rarely ever get any comments, so I kinda wonder if anyone ever reads it...I certainly enjoy being creative with it and recording the cute stuff my kids say and do.  Writing certainly helps me process certain things I'm going through at different times, and I also feel very certain that, even though I may not know it, there may in fact be someone out there reading this who is going through the same things and maybe feels a little less alone knowing I'm out here going through it with them.  Does that make any sense?

Hmm.  Anyway.  So, yeah.  I've been thinking about the blog and stuff.  I'd like to continue to share my mothering experiences, but I want to share my couponing experiences as well (for those who are interested).  I want it to be effective, though. 

I was thinking that I could add a page to the blog that gives helpful couponing hints, but it wouldn't be the same as posting here on the "front page."  I could add updates with weekly savings and give details, or I could continue to do like I do now and just take a picture of what I buy, share the details about how many transactions I had, etc. in a separate blog post.  The thing about having a separate page for the couponing info is that those who are not interested don't have to read about it, but those who are won't always know if something has been added to the coupon page unless they check it.

Another idea that was presented recently was to possibly start a whole separate blog about couponing!  I'm not really sure what to do, so I thought I would ask my friends and family...the people who might actually care...what they might think.  I mean, I don't even know if I have that many readers, and if they care about the coupon thing, or if they just want to read about the kids and life in general.

I know I can't force anyone to comment or anything...but if you're reading this, please feel free to leave me a comment and let me know what you think!  You don't have to sign in or register or anything.  You can just check "anonymous" and add your name when you leave your comment!  And you don't even have to do that!  It would just be so nice to see that someone out there is actually reading this stuff. :)  If you're out there and reading this, THANK YOU.  I truly appreciate it from the bottom of my heart.

March 25, 2011

Dear Target, I *heart* you!

I have always enjoyed shopping at Target.  When I moved out to Texas for my seminary years, however, I discovered the wonder that is the Super Target and that, my friends, is when my love for the superstore truly deepened.  Its always been a bit more expensive than Walmart, but being that I always have a much nicer experience there, I prefer to shop there and pay a tiny bit more than save a couple of bucks and have to endure the trauma of a trip to Wally World.

Now that I have begun couponing, I kinda thought my Target days were going to be few and far between.  Boy, was I wrong!!  Target publishes so many store coupons (you can print them from their website and/or get on their mailing list and get them in the mail every so often)...and you might not know, but you can "stack" coupons there!  What that means is that you can use a store coupon (a Target coupon) WITH a manufacturer's coupon for the same item and save even more!  Oh, and if you have a Target RedCard (their store credit card), you immediately save 5% every single time you shop there.  I did this very thing tonight and saved a ton of money!

Here's what I came home with tonight:
Above, you will see I bought Neutrogena Naturals Lip Balm, Neutrogena Lip Gloss, Nivea Body Wash, Up & Up Facial Scrub, Up & Up Detangler (for Hannah's crazy hair), Dove deodorant for men, Excedrin Migraine (50 ct) & Excedrin Extra Strength (20 ct).

If I had paid full price for these things tonight at Target, I would have paid $31.37 plus tax.  When I used Target coupons and matched them with manufacturer coupons, however, I paid only $10.37!  Pretty cool, huh?

Want more specific details on how I did it?  Let me know!

And I thought I could only save money at CVS...

March 22, 2011

I'm a Loser, Baby...

...but in a good way!!

This morning, I got on the scale for the first time in more than two weeks and guess what?!  I'm down five more pounds for a total loss of TEN pounds!  Woot!!!

The reason I am so excited about this is because I am the girl who can *never* lose weight.  I never really gain weight easily, but I don't lose weight easily, either.  It's always a struggle.  For me to lose ten pounds in two months is just awesome.  I am seriously excited.  

I feel like I should make some kind of "thank you speech" like they do at the Academy Awards.  I'd like to thank Jillian for being so evil and kicking my butt through the TV every morning...I'd like to thank Juanita for being so awesome and encouraging and making Zumba so much FUN!!  I'd like to thank my hubby for taking care of the kiddos so I can take the time to get out of the house and take care of myself in this way.  :)

Heehee...If this is what it feels like to be a loser, count me in!!

March 20, 2011

CVS Sunday!

Yep, its Sunday!  That means its time for me to share yet another awesome day of great deals at CVS!  Here's a picture of what I picked up today:

I had a total of 4 transactions and spent a total of $20.06 for everything, not considering the $5 Extra Care Bucks (ECB) I got back, which I'm saving for my next visit!  Woohoo!

Here's how I did it:

Transaction #1:
4 bottles of Suave body wash ($2 each w/CVS Extra Care card)
4 tubes of Suave deodorant ($1 each w/card)
1 3-pack of Ivory Soap ($0.97 w/card)
Total before coupons/ECB:  $12.97
Coupon (B2G1 free Suave body wash, so $2.00 off)
Coupon ($0.50 off Suave deodorant)
ECB: $10.00 (from last Sunday)
Final cost: $0.68
I also received back $3 ECB for buying $12 worth of Suave products.

Transaction #2:
Allegra allergy tablets 5 ct ($6.99)
Coupon ($2.00 off Allegra 5 count)
ECB used: $3.00 from Suave purchase (transaction #1)
Final cost: $2.48
I also received $6.99 ECB for buying the Allegra.

Transaction #3
SOS Pads ($2 w/card)
2 canisters of Clorox Wipes (2/$4 w/card)
2 bottles of Tilex Mold & Mildew Remover (2/$4 w/card)
4 packs of Cottonelle Wipes (3/$4 w/card, so $5.34 for 4 packs)
Total before coupons/ECB: $15.34
Coupon ($1.00 off Clorox Wipes)
Coupon ($1.00 off Tilex product)
Coupon ($1.00 off 2 packs of Cottonelle wipes)
Coupon ($1.00 off 2 packs of Cottonelle wipes)
ECB: $6.99 from Allegra purchase (transaction #2)
Total Cost: $5.42
I also received $5 ECB for purchasing $15 worth of cleaning products.

Transaction #4
3 12-packs of Coke Zero (3/$13 w/CVS card)
3 bottles of Vitamin Water (3/$3 w/card)
Total before coupons/ECB: $16
No coupons
ECB: $5.00 from cleaning products purchase (transaction #3)
Total Cost: $11.48
I ended up with $5 ECB for buying the Coke products, which I am saving for the next time I go.

My house is actually beginning to look like a mini-CVS and we're running out of room for stuff...even giving things away to people who come Chris says I might need to take a break for a bit. :)  Its very addictive and so much fun to see how much I can save each week, but yeah...I am trying to avoid the whole hoarding thing, so I'm gonna chillax for a week or two. :)

March 19, 2011

March Madness

Yep, spring is here...and with it has come a bunch of chaos.

Around here, March Madness has nothing to do with basketball.  Of course, Chris being the sports addict he is, he is watching the tournaments and keeping up with his bracket, but in our family, March Madness has a whole different meaning.

As far as me personally, March Madness refers to the crazy time of year called "crunch time" by me and my fellow middle school teachers...meaning we have one month until our students take the dreaded state achievement test (CRCT here in GA) so it is ON like Donkey Kong.  The fact that my students continue to look at me as if they've never seen a division problem keeps me awake at night and just might send me to a mental institution before the year is out.

Another new experience which adds to the craziness around here is the fact that today Andrew went to his very first baseball practice.  We purposely kept him out of T-ball for his first two eligible years because (a) we just thought it was silly to pay for a 3 yr old to run around and kinda sorta play with a baseball, and (b) we wanted him to be at an age where he could really understand the rules and learn the skills he needs to play the game correctly.  So, today was interesting.  He was all excited, but when he got there and didn't know anyone (none of his preschool or church friends are playing in this league), he kinda freaked out and cried/whined/fussed through the whole hour.  It was awesome. 

Anyway, he was fine afterwards, once we talked about it and he realized that its ok to not know anyone.  He said he could make new friends and have a lot of fun, and when we got home we went out in the backyard and practiced batting, and he did a great job.  He is excited about the next practice (Monday night), so we'll see.  His T-ball team is the Mets, which Chris hates (since he's a Yankees fan), but oh well.  We will be avid Mets fan for Andrew's sake, despite our personal preferences. :)

March 13, 2011

CVS (and Rite-Aid) Sunday! Best yet!

So today I did my usual drugstore deals after church.  I do believe it was my best day yet!  I went to CVS first, where I bought these items: 16 rolls of Bounty Paper Towels, 9 rolls of Charmin toilet paper, 2 boxes of Charmin Freshwipes, 1 bottle of Gain dish detergent, 1 box of Purex 3-in-1 laundry detergent sheets, and 1 box of Raisin Bran cereal (for Chris).  Total cost?  $11.99!

Here's how it worked:  Transaction #1 was the paper towels, toilet tissue, and freshwipes.  I had a coupon for the paper towels and coupons for the TP and wipes, but those coupons were Target coupons and they wouldn't take them.  Oops.  I had $22 ECB to use, so after coupons and ECB, my grand total was $6.27!  I also got $10 ECB back from this purchase, so it's kinda like I got money back. :)  Pretty good!
Transaction #2 was the dish detergent, laundry detergent, and Raisin Bran.  I had a $2 off coupon for the Purex, a $1 CVS coupon AND a $1 off manufacturer's coupon for the cereal (making it $2 off), and the dish soap was 97 cents, so the grand total for that transaction was only $5.72.  Nice.

After leaving CVS, I headed across the street to Rite-Aid.  I got Purex Crystals fabric softener, Halls cough drops, Reach dental floss, and Gain dish detergent.  My grand total there?  $1.35!  I had a $2 off coupon for the fabric softener, a 50 cents off Rite-Aid coupon AND a 50 cents off manufacturer's coupon for the cough drops (making it free), a $1 off coupon for the floss (making it free), and a $1 off coupon for the dish detergent (making it free as well).  All I paid for, basically, was the fabric softener and the tax on the other items.  I tried to use a $1 +UP reward, but since my subtotal was under $1, they wouldn't take it.  I received another $1 +UP reward for buying the fabric softener, so now I have $2 for my next trip.

I just might be getting addicted to this drugstore couponing thing.

March 8, 2011

Letter to Jillian

Dear Jillian, 

You're gonna be so mad at me, but I must confess...I failed.  The 30 Day Challenge should have ended a couple of weeks back, but I didn't realize it until today. I'm sorry!  Please don't hurt me! 

Honestly, I have a couple of excuses...One of them *might* even be believable.  First, I haven't really been a regular exerciser until just very recently.  (Still not, obviously...)  I'm trying - really, I am - but dang, girl!  You are TOUGH.  Yes, I saw a difference.  Yes, I felt a difference.  Despite how much I wanted to hate you, my body was changing in awesome ways.  I lost 7 lbs and 2 inches from around my waist!  I had more energy, I felt better, I slept better at night...but then.  Then.  We went on vacation. 
Myrtle Beach was fantastic, but you never came out of the suitcase.  Unfortunately, playing with the kids, going to the zoo/shopping/aquarium/whatever (or just taking a nap) took precedence over my exercise routine.  I meant to get back into the swing of things when I got home...honest, I did...but the kids got sick, it was IEP week (aka Hell Week), then Chris got sick...I know, I excuse.  I should have made the time.
You're right, you're right, I know you're right.  We *need* our quality time, you and me.  Zumba is great, but I've only been making it to class once a week!  You know that's not enough.  Here's the plan:  I'm setting my alarm clock early from now on.  I feel like I know your videos well enough to not need to hear every word you're saying (not that there's anything wrong with your voice, sweetie...its just the kids are trying to sleep, and...well...I need to keep the TV volume low).  I can get up earlier and we can have our quality time before any distractions or demands take over and keep us apart.  Deal?
Sure, I might be apologizing again in a few weeks, but for now, here's to a fresh start!  And again, I ask...please don't punish me too badly!

March 7, 2011

When my hubby is sick...

So I'm home today with the kids today since Chris is sick. He's my childcare, so when he's sick, my childcare is out. I'm not feeling too hot myself, but whatever...
I know many of you have seen this video before, but I simply could NOT resist. This is my house...except I have two kiddos running around making way too much noise & way too much mess! Enjoy!

March 1, 2011

Reasons I love my husband

1.)  Rock Paper Scissors.
I love that we settle most of our disagreements with rock paper scissors.  I especially love that my hubby *never* wins.  Whether we're playing over who has to get their butts out of bed to let the dog out at the end of the night or who gets to change a stinky diaper, Rock Paper Scissors is always the go-to method for deciding who wins and who loses.  And I always win.

2.)  Crazy Nicknames.
Whether he's calling me Mean-Rude (long story), Baby Anna, or just Mama, I love that he has these sweet, funny nicknames for me.  Our relationship is still one of a deep friendship first and foremost, and he's not *just* "Daddy" to me.  He's my best friend and my Baby Chris.

3.)  Daddy Day Care.
I *love* that he is a stay-at-home dad...that he is even remotely willing to be a SAHD overwhelms me.  I have stayed home with the kids and its just not for me.  Its not for him, either, but his love and dedication to his kids has led us to this place.  It is so important to him to have one of us home with the boogers, and the fact that he is willing to be the one to be here at home with them...its just incredible.  He is so loving and caring with the kids, and seeing the way they love him *completely* melts my heart.  I respect and love him so very much, and I feel so deeply blessed that I married such a man.

There are so many more reasons I love this man, but I must say these are the top three.  I am one lucky lady.

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