Sunday, May 30, 2010

How we love you, Indy

We live in an area where there are a few major cities within driving distance.

We have recently grown to love going to Indianapolis for daycations. {Yes I did make that word up.} We can get there in a little over an hour, so to go for the day is very doable.

Indy is such a beautiful, clean city, and they have so much to do there! Trader Joe's *grin*, great places to eat or shop, and lots of things for the kids, including a wonderful zoo (with lots more to things to do than just gazing at animals!)

A couple of weeks ago, we took a day trip to the zoo and had so much fun. Our day in pictures:

Lolee girl, who hung with me and soaked both of us with drool almost completely 
by the time it was all said and done for most of the morning in her sling

We saw the dolphin show just last month when we this time, we decided to watch from below
in the underwater viewing area! Colin had the idea to lay down--and the other two quickly followed suit!

Guess where we were in this picture?
The desert exhibit, seeing the snakes.
NOT the highlight of my trip--too many bad snake experiences.
{Oh, and if you're newer to the blog, and have not read this--the first 'snake story'....'s a doozy, let me tell 'ya.}

Getting ready to ride the roller coaster!
Poor E Ry was too little....and Colin ended up chickening out at the last minute.... Daddy and Cam rode together!

{I felt a bit sorry for Cam--you can see the terror in his eyes, hidden behind the smile on his face! He did loooove the ride, however, and wanted to go again when it was over!}

Then, because of this little man, and his intense love of all things trains....

....we took a family ride on the park 'choo-choo'.

Lolee girl loved it....

....and so did her brothers!

Having some fun with Daddy on the bouncy bridge

Later, we checked out the new cheetah exhibit.
Don't they just look like they are getting ready to munch E and Col for dinner!?

It was another great day in Indy...and I'm certain there will be lots more of these to come!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

I just may have to start calling them that....

Me: "What 'cha doing, Cameron?"

Cameron: "Well...."

".....I'm watering the pastas."


Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Something Many things for nothing -- Part Three

(If you haven't read them yet, you can catch up here on Part One and Part Two!)

Now begs the question:

"Why on earth would you buy something you won't use? That seems like a complete waste of money to me."

It really does--on the surface. It did to me, too, until I began to change the way I think about how I shop. But here is what I have learned: in many cases, by matching store sales with coupons and 'bucks back' programs, I am saving more money by buying more items. The glucose meter was a money maker for me, so it made sense to take advantage of that deal.


I am a strong component of Ethical Couponing, so I would not try to do this particular deal more than that. Most other deals I would consider doing only two or at most three times. Doing deals over and over (and subsequently clearing out the store shelves of certain products) means you are keeping other people from getting in on the savings, and I think that is unfair and unfortunate for others! In one area of the country, a person bought over 800 bottles of detergent with copied** coupons-- this is abuse, no question about it!!

(**Not to mention illegal! Coupons state right on the front--VOID if copied.)

But, occasionally buying things I may not/do not need to earn 'bucks' to buy stuff I do use only makes good sense--and it has given me the ability to do something I have rarely done for others:


The items in the above picture are all items I took to church last Sunday morning and donated to our Missionary Apartment and Missions closet. I have gotten each item above for completely free--and some of them have been money makers!

  • The Bayer? On sale for $1. I had a $1 off Bayer coupon. FREE.
  • Always? Carefree? Same as above. FREE.
  • Colgate? On sale for $3 with a $3 bucks back. I paid with bucks I had already earned, then got the exact same amount back. FREE.
  • The Dial body wash and the Reach floss? Same as above. Bucks back equal to what I paid for them. FREE.
And we already know about that Bayer Meter. A $5 money maker. More than FREE. (And, incidentally, that meter never even made it to the Missions closet. A lady standing near me at church overheard that I was donating it. She said that she uses those meters and was in need of a new one....and I promptly handed it over! She was thrilled. Now that was fun.)

As silly as it may sound, this couponing thing is a gift from God to our family. After only a few weeks, my shelves are no longer 'barely stocked' with generic products--they are filled to the brim with the good stuff. It has cost me very little. And, I am able to share, donate, and help others.

All around, it is simply awesome.

My intention with these last couple of posts has been to inform others (who may not otherwise be aware) of this great new thing that I have found. I know the coupon thing is not for everyone (it wasn't for me, for a long time....) so you probably won't see too much more of it here on my blog. {Unless you want to--and in that case, please make sure to let me know that, and I'd love to share a picture of my weekly CVS runs! :)}

I don't want to bore those who don't care to hear about this kind of thing; rather, to share with you about this great new money-saving venture I have embarked on, and a bit of how I am doing it. I hope I've accomplished what I set out to do, but in closing, I want to ask:

Is there anything else you would like to know about this idea of couponing? I'll open it up in the comments section for questions, and, if need be, I'll do one more short post answering them.

Hope you enjoyed this short series....until next time: happy money-saving!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The art of negotiation

Cameron, to Colin, in the bathtub:

"Colin, can I please have that toy? Puh-lease?"


"Sure. For eight hundred thousand dollars."

Monday, May 24, 2010


At bedtime:

"Colin....Co-lin! I'm the toilet. No I AM!!


Sunday, May 23, 2010

Four months

My amazing, sweet, wonderful little gift from God turned four months today.

Is it just me, or are the days/weeks/months flying by at a faster-than-usual pace lately?


The sweet things I want to remember about my Lola at this stage:

~You can still fall asleep anywhere.
~You have turned into a drool bug lately! Definitely time for bibs.

~You look so stinkin' cute in everything you wear--but Daddy and
Mommy's favorite clothes are onesies with baby legs and skirts.

~Daddy dresses you most of the time. *grin*

~You had your first go-around in the jumperoo today
(per Auntie Jen's suggestion)...and you loved it!
On a side note: your brothers loved watching you play in it!
~You love to be up on your changing table. You smile and coo and are always completely calm and happy while laying up there!

~You are a very happy, smiley baby (except, apparently, at Monical's pizza).

~You love to play "I'm....gonna....get 'cha!" with Colin.

~You have a huge, wide open smile (just like Colin did!)
~You are still nursing exclusively and will not take a bottle.... and if your Daddy
or your Grandma Jane tries to convince you differently, you give them fits!

~You are 23 1/4 inches long and weigh 11 lbs. 8 oz.

~You go to sleep each night around 9 and wake up promptly at 7 to eat
(and your Momma appreciates that more than you will ever know!)

~You take four 1-1/2 hour naps each day.

~You still sleep spread eagle. *grin*
~You go to bed awake and happy, and you wake up that way as well.

~You have a sweet and happy spirit 99% of the time. You rarely cry.

~When you do cry, you cry real tears now! And you have a very
high-pitched, squealing cry--almost like a shriek.

~Mommy is head-over-heels in love with you and everything about you.

~So is your {very handsome} Daddy.
~So are your brothers!

~You laugh hysterically when we say "What? What? What?" over and over!

~You don't seem to be bothered in the least with an occasional cup of cappuccino.
Thank God, 'cause there's just some mornings that this Momma needs one.

~You are starting to really become aware of things like toys, and
you are trying to pull your legs up to kick at them.

~You rolled over for the first time last Friday night,
two days before you turned four months old!

~You love chocolate mint ice cream. Oh, wait....that's your Mommy.

~Your laugh is completely precious. As is your smile.

~You are getting stronger each day! You hold your head up well, can sit up
with some support, can pull your legs up to roll yourself over.

~When it is time for bed, Mommy always says, "Do you want to watch your butterflies?" and you look up at your mobile like you know exactly what I'm talking about!

~You're hair--what little you have--is starting to grow and you sometimes
have a fuzzy bed-head look if you sleep a certain way. Cutest. Ever.

~You seem to really love our cuddle time in the give me so many smiles! I love catnapping in the early morning with you next to me.

~You have this fuuny thing--when you are almost done nursing, you start kicking
your legs to let me know. It's like your little signal that you're full!

~You still love to be worn in the sling.

~And did I mention that Mommy loves you more than you will ever know?

Happy four months, my sweet baby girl!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Muddy Dirty FILTHY

Seems like this time of year, I am always talking about the rain amounts.

We get a ton of it every May--and that makes some great puddles.

Puddles make mud.

And mud, much to the dismay of this lady-in-charge-of-laundry, is a little boy's best friend.

We have a field behind our house, and yesterday, Shane released the boys to 'have at it' with the puddles.

And have at it they did.

Then, they went back for seconds.

They ran. They jumped.

They fell down.

They had a blast....

...but they were disgusting!

Then, they went back again.
(Ethan joined for round three.)

Boys love filth. Just a fact of nature, I guess.
I'm convinced--they would live this way, if it weren't for us.

Or, at least, I thought they would. After a few minutes, it occurred to Cameron that he didn't like being this dirty. Not one little bit.

So, it was strip-down time.

Some liked strip-down time....

...more than others.

All in all, they had a great time...and did their best to give Momma some good pictures and great memories!

Thursday, May 20, 2010


Hey everyone!

I've been contacted several times to do giveaways on my blog. I have always turned it down, but this time, I am thinking about actually doing one. My question for the day is:

What kind of items would you like to have a giveaway for?

Choices are:

1. Modern home accents
2. Nursery decor
3. Shoes
4. Kitchen accessories
5. Children's toys

Let me know what you think!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Talk to the hand tummy

Cameron, rubbing his belly and looking down at it (with a rather sympathetic expression on his face):

"Oh,'s okay's okay, tummy....I know you are hungry....I'm gonna feed you soon...."

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Something Many things for nothing -- Part Two

(Missed Part One? Catch it here!)

As I said before, getting started couponing takes a bit of effort. You can't expect to start clipping coupons today, and cut your grocery bill in half by next week--it takes patience and some work. Anything that provides a wonderful outcome always does. But the hour or two I spend each week clipping coupons, organizing them, and reading blogs for my weekly trips is well, well worth the effort.

(By the way: here are two wonderful articles on how you can 'earn' $100 an hour by clipping coupons (*video included*) and why coupons should be a part of your shopping! Great, great reads!)

Here is a picture of what I came home with from CVS last Wednesday--
the "$119 worth of merchandise for $3.82 out of my pocket" trip:

  • 1 6-pk. of Bounty paper towels (not pictured)
  • 2 Reach floss (only one pictured)
  • 2 90-ct. women's multi-vitamins
  • 2 Right Guard deodorant for Shane
  • 2 Stayfree and
  • 2 Always pantiliners
  • 1 Box U by Kotex
  • 1 Crest toothpaste
  • 1 Crest mouthwash
  • 1 Hawaiian Tropic sunscreen
  • 1 CVS hair gel for the boys
  • 2 bottles of Bayer aspirin
  • 1 bottle of B-complex vitamins
  • 1 bottle of chewable C vitamins
  • a package of gum (I actually needed something to get my subtotal to be enough so that I could use a '$5 off a $25 purchase' coupon, so this was basically a 'filler' item)
  • And a Bayer Contour meter.

Oh, don't freak out. No one in my house has diabetes. But I picked up the Bayer meter because it was actually a money maker for me. Here's how:

  • They were on sale for $19.99.
  • I had a coupon for $10 off of one.
  • CVS was offering $15 in ECB* when you purchased one,
making this a $5 money maker.

*ECB = Extra Care Bucks: Free money at CVS

(By the way--it was that $5 that purchased my Bounty paper towels, which were on sale for $4.99 this week!)

I am not going to list each of the coupons I used, but I will say that I had at least one coupon for every item that I bought, and sometimes two. At CVS, you can use a manufacturer's coupon with a CVS coupon (found on their website) and get an even better deal. Pair that with Extra Care Bucks (ECB)--free money in their store, remember?--and you can get items for super cheap, free, or in some cases--even better than free!

Like the Bayer meter above, I also scored this deal:

CVS ad: "Purchase 1 U by Kotex for $4.99, get $4.99 in Extra Care Bucks."
I used:
  • $1 off of 1 U by Kotex product (manufacturer coupon) and
  • $1 off of 1 U by Kotex (CVS coupon, found on their site)
  • I paid $2.99 for the Kotex, and received $4.99 back in ECB, making this
a $2 money maker!

It may not seem like much, but those $2 and $3 dollars add up quickly.

I also got two "$5 off of a $25 dollar purchase" coupons from the 'magic' coupon machine at CVS, which saved me an extra $10. (After scanning your Extra Care Card, these machines will print you extra coupons--yay!) You must have one of these cards to get the advertised 'deals' at CVS, but they are free and very quick to sign up for.

The magic coupon machine also printed me a '$1 off any CVS brand hair product' coupon--which is what I used to get the hair gel for the boys. It was .99 cents--so absolutely free for me!

Two things I want to point out:

1. I had $20 in ECB before going into the store.

The past three trips I have made to CVS, I have purchased merchandise with minimal out of pocket expense (due to using coupons) and have come out of the store with more ECB than I went in with. Now, this won't happen every time, of course--there will be times when I need to buy items that do NOT have an extra bucks rewards attached, which will dwindle my supply of them.

But, each time I go in to the store, it is a goal of mine to come out with as many bucks as possible to be able to use next time. (Many couponing blogs will give newbies 'scenarios'--walking you through exactly what to buy and how to split your transactions to maximize your 'bucks' earned.)

Now that I've built up a decent supply of 'bucks', I am able to shop for free in many cases (again, using coupons to maximize savings) and still earn bucks to be used on my next shopping trip!!

Buy $20 worth of products (think Bayer meter).
Use coupons and get my total down to much less--in this case, $10.
Pay for that purchase with bucks I've already earned, so no 'real' money comes out of my pocket.
With my receipt, the register then prints my new bucks--in this case, $15--which I can then use toward my next purchase!

**Paid $10--came out with $15!!**

2. One of the keys to doing this is to split your purchases into more than one transaction.

I did four transactions for what you saw in the above photo, each time using ECB I earned from the last transaction I did. (That may seem difficult and time consuming--but it's really not. All four transactions, total, took me about three minutes.) It's called "rolling" your bucks. You earn the bucks, then use them right then and there to purchase more items, earning even more bucks.

Think vicious circle, but in a great way.

To be continued.....

(Part three coming soon, in which we will talk about coupon 'ethics' and why in the world would you ever buy things (again, think Bayer meter) you will never use {and what are you going to do with them?})