Archive for April, 2008

Haven’t been around much lately . . .

but then again, I haven’t been spending much money lately either so that is a GOOD thing!  We recently got new bikes (paid for by part of our tax refund!) and we have been trying to spend more time doing things together as a family!  We found an awesome deal on a bike trailer at Walmart.  I searched online and the cheapest thing I could find was still almost $80.  We went to Walmart though and they had one for $35!  That was a steal!  And it was just as nice as the ones online!  Madalyn loves it (and even fell asleep in it this afternoon!).  It is very sturdy and attaches easily to the bike and then it folds down flat for storage. 

We have been out riding several times.  We are planning on getting an attachment to go on Aaron’s bike for Annagrace.  It has one wheel, pedals and handlebars and attaches to the back of an adult bike.  It’s pretty neat and I think it will help her learn how to ride her own bike better.  We have to go pretty slow when she is with us!

I haven’t had any deals to post about lately except I did get some really good Martin’s checkout coupons the other day–two $5 off of one purchase coupons.  I plan to use those for my grocery shopping trip next week.  I shopped at Food Lion on Friday night for this week’s groceries.  I didn’t need a whole lot–just meat, milk and bread and then a few things here and there.  I was in a hurry, really didn’t have a good plan of what I needed to get and had very few coupons and I spent $90!  That is insane!  I have been doing all our grocery shopping for the week for less than $75.  I was pretty bummed about that .  It really does save time although it is time consuming.  That is a small price to pay to save money!

Don’t miss this!   I just found this out on TheCentsibleSawyer blog.  You can get some $3 off of $15 coupons from CVS!  They are unlimited–print to your heart’s content.  For the details visit her blog HERE.   I have already printed off several.  I have ECBs to spend this week so I need those!

And last but not least, this week is the big surgery–Annagrace’s tonsillectomy is Thursday.  Wow.  Time is just zipping right by.  She will be missing a whole week of school (including a field trip) which she is actually a little upset about.  But my mom and dad are coming up on Wednesday and she is ecstatic about that!  I’ll be sure to take some photos to document the surgery and will post them here next week.  Wish us luck!  She asked me the other night, ‘Mom, what if something goes wrong?” and I have been thinking that same thing ever since.  Please pray for Dr. N who is doing the surgery and for all of us and especially for Annagrace afterwards.  We’ll be loading up on ice cream this week!

So that’s it for today.  Hope to be around some more soon!  Gotta get out there and find some more deals!  

Kill Your T.V.


Annagrace’s school is really pushing National TV Turn-Off Week.  It’s a pretty neat idea.  They are encouraging kids to turn off the t.v. and do other things.  Here are some interesting facts about t.v.

  • The number of hours the average American kid watches t.v. per year:  1500!
  • American children and adolescents spend 22 to 28 hours per week viewing television, more than any other activity except sleeping. By the age of 70 they will have spent 7 to 10 years of their lives watching TV. (The Kaiser Family Foundation)
  • Children who spend more than 4 hours per day watching t.v. are more likely to be overweight.
  • 66% of American households watch TV while eating dinner.

For more about Turn off Your TV Week, go HERE.  There are some really good thought provoking articles to be read there! 

So Annagrace was given a list of suggestions of things to do instead of watching t.v.  I told her to check off all the things she would like to do and even if we can’t do them ALL this week, we can try to do them all over the summer.  Here is her list:

  1. Put together a puzzle.
  2. Visit the library.  Borrow a book.  (We do this every other week already!)
  3. Go roller skating.
  4. Paint a picture.
  5. Visit the park.
  6. Read a book aloud to your little sister.
  7. Plan a picnic.
  8. Play with your pet.
  9. Write a letter to a friend or relative.
  10. Learn to cook.
  11. Plant a flower or garden.
  12. Read magazines of newspapers.
  13. Plan a slumber party.
  14. Start a neighborhood basketball, soccer or kickball game.
  15. Go camping. (I really want to do this one too!)
  16. Start a journal.
  17. Go to a museum.
  18. Take a nature hike.  Collect seeds and leaves.
  19. Play cards.
  20. Go for a walk of bike ride.  (More about that one later!)
  21. Get out old family photos.
  22. Make crafts to give as gifts.
  23. Make up a story and write it down.
  24. Learn to say a few simple phrases in different languages.
  25. Ask and older family member to tell you a story about his or her childhood.  Write about it.
  26. Bake 2 batches of cookies; one for your family and one for a neighbor.
  27. Learn some new riddles or jokes.
  28. Go bowling.
  29. Go fishing.  (Papa–are you reading this?!)
  30. Watch the night sky.  (One of my favorite things to do).
  31. Begin a family project.
  32. Fly a kite at the park.
  33. Play a board game together.

Whew!  That’ll keep us busy for awhile!  Tonight was our first t.v. free night.  It hasn’t been on all evening and it is very eerily quiet.  We wanted to take our new bikes–see my next post for more on that–out for a spin but the rain kept us from it.  So we stayed inside and played with floam (which I found on the 90% off table at CVS!) and then played Last Word.  (I took photos but my camera is acting goofy at the moment.  I’ll have to try to get those up tomorrow.)   I’m going to try to document what we do each night this week.  Hopefully this is something we will keep up.  (I have to confess though, I will not, I repeat WILL NOT miss American Idol this week!)

And since I think that we should be watching less tv and we all could stand to be more active I have made my own list of things that I want to do this Spring/Summer.  I have made a new page for it up top–see the Our Family’s Activities tab?–and will update it as we complete them!    

Budget Busters!

I’ve been tagged!  Thanks Kendra from Handprints on the Wall!  Here are my top five budget busters:

1)  Gas!  I have to agree with Kendra on that one!  Since I work in Home Health I do a lot of driving.  Luckily we are reimbursed for mileage–almost 50 cents to the mile.  So that helps out big time.  Also that money is not taxed.  But is still hurts when I have to pay $60 to fill up the tank! 

2)  Car Payment.  Yikes.  It’s $350 a month!  It really stretches me to pay that every month but I have to have a reliable car for work and since we have gotten used to all the room we have in our minivan I can’t imagine downsizing it! 

3)  Aaron’s Medicine.  He pays over $100 a month for his meds.  They are meds he will be on the rest of his life.  There is no getting off of them (he had a kidney transplant) so there is no way that we can decrease that bill. 

4)  School loan payments.  These are Aaron’s bills to pay.  The end is in sight however! 

5)  Medical bills.  Thank goodness for health insurance.  But even still, this one has killed us this Winter and Spring.  First was my colonoscopy.  Then Aaron’s kidney CT.  Madalyn has had 3 ear infections–that’s $30 per infection for doctor’s visits (one to diagnose the problem and then a recheck a week later).  Plus 3 different antibiotics.  Annagrace has had tonsillitis already once this year.  That required 2 trips to the doctor, an antibiotic, one trip to the ENT doctor, and now surgery to remove her tonsils on May 1!  I also am still paying on my hospital bill from having Madalyn 2 1/2 years ago.  I’m on a payment plan with the hospital and since I work there, they take it out of my paycheck.  I just roll over all the new charges onto that account and pay $50 a month on it.  I’ll be so glad when all that is paid for though!  I have it down to less than $300 now but Annagrace’s surgery will jack it back up! 

I don’t know who to tag next so if you see this and want to play along . . . just do it!  And leave me a comment with a link if you do!

Food Lion Deals & My Shopping Spree

I posted this afternoon with a link to some FL coupons.  Well, I went out tonight to pick up a few things and can I just say it was a pain in the butt using those coupons?  It was totally worth it but they had printed so small that the cashier had to enter them all in by hand–all 10 of them!  I kept apologizing to him!  In the end, my grand total was around $91.  After coupons (I redeemed over $20 of them) and MVP savings, I only spent $65.  I was pretty happy with that.  No photo tonight–just too late and I was too tired!  Some of the better deals included:

–a free teething ring with that Gerber coupon

–free baby wipes (I was wrong about the price earlier–the travel size are $1.49 not 99 cents.  But still free nonetheless).

–a free bag of dinner rolls (again with one of those printable coupons)

–a free 2 liter of 7-Up with a printable coupon (I can’t find the link!)

–Huggies Clean Team shampoo for $1 each (had a $3 coupon)

–Huggies wipes, 2 boxes for $3 (used a manufacturer coupon combined with a Food Lion coupon)

–2 boxes cereal (Lucky Charms and Cinnamon Toast Crunch) for $1.12 each (again, stacked a manufacturer coupon with a FL coupon)

–Purex laundry detergent, 3 bottles for $5.50 (these are on sale 2/$5 and there were coupons in I think last week’s paper for $1 off–I had 2 coupons)

So anyway . . . we are all set for the week for groceries.  I must confess though.  I went on a little–well, okay a medium size–shopping spree today. 

Madalyn needed some new clothes and I needed some unmentionables (isn’t that such a funny word.   Because you are mentioning it even if you say unmentionable).  We hit up Kohl’s to use my $5 coupon.  I found a shirt for me that was 50% off and got Madalyn a few clearanced shirts and some pants for $2 each.  I spent around $24.

Then it was onto Target.  I found some really cool things on clearance there.  Also found Mad some clearanced shoes.  My favorite deal there was a flip down CD thingy that goes on my visor.  I am so tired of having to flip through my CD case to find CDs!  It was only $1.24.  I also splurged there on some new flip flops and a t-shirt for me. 

Then we went to A Touch of the Earth in downtown H’Burg.  It’s a funky hippy store and it is my weakness!  They have such cool things.  Lots of Indian, Nepalese and African things.  Just my kind of store.  Anyway, I used to go all the time–like once a week–to buy beads and hemp to make jewelry.  Well, after having kids my life got much busier and the jewelry making kinda fell to the wayside so I haven’t gone there as much over the last few years.  So when I do go, I go a little crazy.  I had Madalyn with me which was pretty fun.  It’s a tiny store and the stroller just would fit inside.  They had their wool hats and mittens 50% off.  Madalyn picked up this rainbow colored wool hat and put it on and would not take it off!  When I tried to take it away, she said “That’s Madalyn’s hat!”.  So I bought it.  And one for me too.  I paid $7.50 each for them.  Madalyn wore hers the rest of the day.  (Her jean mini-skirt, pretty white smocked top and that crazy wool hat with the temperature 72 degrees outside!)  And I got her a little rubber snake that she was infatuated with and has since lost it’s head.  (Good thing he was only 25 cents!)  And I got a new really cool pocketbook for me.  (I shouldn’t have–it was $24!!!!)  And some incense.  I love incense.  I don’t burn it very often–again that changed when I had kids although I don’t really know why.  But I lit some up as soon as I got home.  I just love it.  So anyway, there goes my ‘fun’ money for the next 2 weeks! 

Our last stop was Walmart.  I found a few more things for Madalyn and picked up a new stroller.  And I am not very happy with it either.  I never ever ever write companies about their products, but I was disappointed enough that I sent the Cosco company an e-mail.  The stroller is nice, it was easy to put together and it’s a good height for me pushing it.  But when I put Madalyn in it, her head was above the canopy!  We can’t even put the canopy down with her in it!  It is way too small for a 2 year old and the box said up to 40 pounds.  There is no way a 40 pound kid could sit in this thing.  We are going to keep it because I can take the canopy off (and we figured that we just need something to last through this summer’s vacations because by next year this time she’ll be able to walk anywhere we go).  And for $20 I guess I can’t expect much better.  But I did send them an e-mail and told them that they need to reword the recommendation on the box.  Mad is nowhere near 40 pounds (good grief, Annagrace only weighs that much and she is 6 years old!). 

So that was my day today!  Aaron got up at 6 am–yes, 6 am on a Saturday–to mulch our front flowerbeds.  He has really gotten into this whole yardwork thing.  I woke up at close to 8 and he was almost done.  I didn’t even realize he had gotten up and left.  I slept right through his alarm clock!  The side flowerbed still needs some work and we are putting in a few new flowerbeds in the back and on the side of the house.  And I need a new tree to take the place of my dogwood that died.  Hopefully we can get to all that in the next few weeks before it starts getting too hot out! 


Anyone want more free magazines?

  Like I have said before, I love my magazines.  I hit the jackpot at the library the other day.  I picked up 7 new magazines that were all dated March 2008!  The library recycles magazines and someone must’ve just dropped those babies off.  I got a Real Simple, O, Good Housekeeping and several others!  Once I am finished with them, I have a huge stack to take back to the library!

Click HERE and you can get a free subscription to Elle Decor magazine from Rewards Gold.  You’ll have to complete a short survey about paint. 

Click HERE to get a one year subscription to Home magazine. 

Click HERE to get a one year script to Car and Driver magazine–for the man in your life.   Except not my man because I know more about cars than he does and that isn’t very much!

 I was a little leary of these free magazine subscriptions but they have started rolling in.   I got my first Parenting and Family Fun magazines the other day.  It’s true–they really are free subscriptions!  I’m sure I will get bombarded in a year with notices to renew but hopefully I can find some more new subscriptions online then! 

Food Lion Coupons–more free baby wipes!

Go HERE and you’ll find some really good FL coupons.  These are store coupons so you can combine them with manufacturer’s coupons.  Ex:  There is a $1 off Pampers coupon–combine that with a manufacturer’s coupon (I have several $1.50 Pampers coupons) and you can save up to $3 on Pampers.  There is also a coupon so that you can get some more free baby wipes!  The coupon is for $1.50 off any FL baby wipes and the travel size are only 99 cents.  There is also another Gerber $2 off coupon so you could get a cheap sippy cup or a free pacifier or other accessory. 

NKOTB Reunion Tour? Oh yeah.

I have been on cloud nine all dag on week.  I am so totally excited about the New Kids on the Block reunion!  It’s been 15 long long long years waiting for this!  I was the crazy kid who had posters covering every square inch of my bedroom walls.  I had the pillowcases.  The dolls.  The lunchbox.  About 20 buttons.  T-shirts.  Every episode of the cartoon–you didn’t know there was a NKOTB cartoon did you?–taped.  You name it, I had it.  In fact, I still have my NKOTB beach towel.  That thing has literally traveled around the world and back with me and I still use it!  I also still use my New Kids cup!  I don’t care if people think I’m crazy.  I will always be a New Kids fan.  Jordan Knight was my first celebrity crush.  Oh how I loved him!  I got to see them in concert twice and they are some of my best childhood memories!  So in honor of the upcoming New Kids reunion tour here are a few of my favorite New Kids moments: 

This’ll make your mama blush: 

 Can you tell I had a thing for Mr. Jordan Nathaniel Marcel Knight? I love this too:

And just one more–my favorite song by NKOTB–“My Favorite Girl”: 

Oh I can’t wait.  Just CAN’T WAIT!!!!!   

April 2008