Thursday, July 31, 2008

Putting Things Into Perspective

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.
Philippians 4:6 (NLT)

Thank y'all for the prayers and well wishes! I won't know the results of the CT scan until I meet with the otolaryngologist (whew! that's a mouthful LOL! the ear, nose and throat guy) next week. But the scan itself only took a couple of minutes. Literally, 2 minutes. And completely painless of course.

Yesterday, I received some news about one of my dear, sweet friends on my Mommy board. She just learned she has breast cancer. She has two young boys, her oldest Clayton's age and her youngest probably around Reedy's age. And now she's facing one of the toughest battles any woman could face. Hearing that ugly word no one ever wants to hear.

Hearing this devastating news made me realize just how much I worry and fret over absolutely small things. The amount of emotional energy it expends, the stress it creates. What a waste that I would worry myself over what I know to be a painless, simple procedure, when this Momma is now living with the reality of cancer. Looking at the beautiful faces of her boys while dealing with such uncertainty and fear. I have many things to be thankful for. Why spend time worrying when I could be spending time giving thanks?

My thoughts and prayers go out to you Suzy. You can beat this!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

It's My Turn

As a Mom, trips to the doctor are commonplace. If I'm not making appointments with the pediatrician for the kids, I'm scheduling appointments for my own Mom or reminding Dave to go in for his. It's not very often I look after my own care. In fact, I usually only go to the doctor if I'm pregnant or in need of antibiotics for a sinus infection.

But after years of dealing with ongoing sinus headaches and infections, I decided to see a specialist. In reality, it was probably overdue. I've used about every OTC and prescription medicine there is for sinus problems. But after my latest sinus infection a few weeks ago, I finally got sick of being sick and tired. As I told Dave, it's gone from being a medical issue to a quality of life issue. I hate being stuck in bed all day and missing out on time with the kids. With working full-time, I consider our family time precious. I can't lose that because of a sinus headache!

So, I'm going in tomorrow for a CT scan of my sinuses. For some reason, I find myself quite nervous about the whole thing. Luckily Dave will be able to go with me to lend support. I keep reminding myself that I've had three babies and epidurals with all three. If I can sit still long enough to have someone push a needle into a microscopic space in my spine while I'm having contractions, then I can deal with being still during a painless procedure. But of course, there's the "what if". What if they find something else wrong in the process of scanning my sinuses. I really shouldn't let my mind go there. But I have a tendency to do that. Dave always gets on me about worrying over things BEFORE I even have something to worry about.

Wish me luck!

Our First Harvest!

Remember our little baby 'mater growing in our container garden? Well, he grew up into a delicious little sweet red delight! I'm not much on raw tomatoes unless they're in salad, on tacos or in salsa. And with the recent salmonella scare, I haven't bought a fresh tomato from the grocery store in months. But this...was just soooo good! So sweet and flavorful! If tomatoes out of the grocery store tasted as good as our little one did, I would probably like tomatoes LOL! Even the kids loved it. I think it really does make a difference when they are involved in the growing and care of their food.

Now that our first tomato has been picked, there's another small patio tomato coming in. It's almost as if the plant can only focus on growing one tomato at a time LOL! We also have two roma tomatoes coming in as well! The peppers...still not looking good :( Oh well, maybe next year on the peppers. I've been talking with Dave and next year, we're thinking about using part of the space near the house to plant veggies instead of flowers or bushes. Then I'll reuse my containers for growing herbs. Because one small pot of sweet basil is just not enough!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Menu Plan Monday - July 28th

Good morning y'all! I feel like I'm going slow this morning still trying to get back into the groove of things. Still recovering a bit from all the triple coupon fun at Harris Teeter last week. I saved $97 and got lots of freebies!

Here's this week's menu. You'll see some repeats from last week as the sales were only so-so. We did try quinoa for the first time last night! It's suppose to be a really good source of protein. It was good! I can't wait to try it in more dishes. Ashleigh & Clayton weren't too fond of it, but Reedy loved it! He's such a good eater. Makes a Momma smile to see her baby eating spinach and other healthy foods. Here's hoping it lasts into toddlerhood LOL!

For more meal plan ideas, visit Laura at I'm an Organizing Junkie!

Breakfast & Lunch - Items already on hand


Sunday - Crockpot Chicken & Quinoa (from The Nourishing Gourmet)

Tuesday - Taco Style Lentils & Rice served in warmed, hard taco shells with sour cream, lettuce, shredded cheese & salsa

Wednesday - BBQ Turkey Meatballs with brown rice & steamed veggies

Thursday - Caribbean Jerk Chicken Breasts with Pineapple salsa (subbing chicken breast for pork chops and using salsa recipe)

Friday - Breakfast for Dinner!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Super Savings Saturday - HT Triples!

Items purchased during the first shop!

This Thursday thru Saturday, our Harris Teeter ran their triple coupon promotion!!! This is an exciting event for us couponers. We have great doubles here, but with triple coupons it rocks! During triples, Harris Teeter will triple the value of any coupon .99 or less. For example, a .75 off coupon during regular doubles is worth $1.50 off. But for triples, it's worth $2.25 off! And when you combine that with a sale, it means FREE!

Here's my scores from triples:

3 Honey Nut Chex cereals -- .74 ea after Q

3 Chocolate Chex cereals -- .74 ea

3 Windex -- FREE!

2-5lb bag White Lily flour -- 1.44

3 Smart Balance popcorns -- FREE!

3 Wishbone Bountiful salad dressings -- .74 ea (will get $2 off meat for these!)

1 Domino light brown sugar -- FREE!

4 Clif Kids Organic snack bars -- FREE!

3 Kotex pantiliners 20ct -- FREE!

8 Daisy sour creams 8oz -- FREE!

6 Mott's Plus applesauce 4pks -- 1.93 for 2-4pks

2 cans Dole Mandarin oranges 11oz -- .93 ea

3 Lipton tea bags 16ct -- FREE!

3 Right Guard deos -- .25 ea

3 Suave body washes -- .49 ea

1 Chex Chocolate cereal -- FREE! (on sale at other HT location)

3 Fleischmann's yeast strips 3ct -- .64ea

1 French's Worcestershire sauce -- .74

3 Powerade 32oz -- FREE!

3 Beech Nut yogurt juice blends -- FREE!

Other HT deals:

1-5lb bag of potatoes (sale 3.50)

2-16 oz fresh strawberries (sale BOGO)

2 Kraft cheese singles (sale 2.00 - 1/2 Q)

2 Philadelphia cream cheese (sale 2.50 - 1/2 Q)

3 gallons Organic Valley milk (5.99 -1/1 Q)

Total oop: $42.71

Total savings: $97.09!!!

Frugal Friday - Right On Target!

I just love Target! I get the warm fuzzies just being there LOL! We have about 5 Targets in reasonable driving distance from us. Of every shape and size - Super Target, Target Greatlands, Targets with Starbucks, Targets without. One of my favorite things to do at Target, is to scout out their clearances looking for super cheap gems!

The baby & toddler clothing department is my absolute favorite clearance spot. There's always a 30%-50% off rack. But if you stay on the lookout, you'll find those $1 or less items. The toddler boys Circo camo shorts pictured above were just .98 each! I also scored a pair of cargo shorts for Clayton and two pairs of solid colored shorts for Ashleigh (one for this summer and the size up for next summer) for .98 as well!

Another fav are the holiday clearance items. When it comes to the after holiday stuff, I'm usually on the lookout for clothes and toys. Would you believe the "cutie pie" shirt above is a 4th of July shirt? Because it was apart of the Target 4th of July items, I was able to pick it up for 90% off -- just .40! When it comes to the holiday clothing, I look for items that aren't too holiday-ish, so they can be worn at anytime. I found some similarly discounted shirts for Ash after Valentine's Day. The shirts do have hearts on them, but little girls and hearts go together anytime of the year not just Valentine's Day.

Of course everyone knows about the after Christmas toy clearance. But did you know that's not the only time to pick up good deals on toys? During the after Easter clearance sale, I picked up a Transformer Mr. Potato Head for $2.49 for Clayton and a Disney Princess cloth Easter basket for Ashleigh for the same price. The Princess Easter basket will be repurposed as a gift basket for Christmas. And I'm sure Ashleigh will find it filled with Disney Princess dolls and accessories this year under the Christmas tree ;) Earlier this month with the summer clearance items, I found a cute baseball mitt and ball set for Clay. It's not an honest to goodness baseball glove, but for a 3yo with a budding interest in baseball, I think he'll be happy to find it under the Christmas tree. And don't forget Halloween! Last year after Halloween, I scored a bunch of Cars die cast for Clayton and a couple of My Little Ponies for Ashleigh. And clearance costumes make great dress up outfits!

One last note - food. If your Target carries food, be sure to check out the endcaps or displays at the end of the aisle. You'll find some great markdowns on food items. The other day, I spotted cans of baking soda marked down to .79 each! And with my Targets, I've been able to use coupons on clearanced food or HBA items for even more savings!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

One Down, One to Go!

Sitting in our driveway is now a paid for minivan! Dave & I decided to launch an early snowball last week to finally pay off the van. He checked this morning with the financing company, and everything cleared! It's now ours and we're back to having two paid for vehicles! To think before Dave Ramsey, we would have just keep mindlessly making car payments every month for another 3 years!?!

Now we're down to our last Baby Step 2 debt - our HELOC. With the money from the car payment added onto our snowball, we should be able to have the HELOC paid off by the end of the year. How great will it be to start the New Year debt free except for our house!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Some Days You Have It...

I love couponing (as if you didn't already know LOL)! Somedays I experience the exhilaration of victory. And some days defeat. Today was defeat! I'm not sure where my head was when I was planning our meals for the week. I'm missing two key ingredients for tonight's Brown Rice & Black Bean burritos - onions and corn. I have some frozen onions at home I can use, but still needed some corn. Plus, we're down to our last tab of Electrasol. So I had this great idea to run over to Target during lunch. I could get a can of corn and a box of Electrasol using my 2.25 off coupon.

Based on the chatter at the couponing boards, I was expecting (hoping) the Electrasol would still be on sale at Target for $2.79 - making it .54 after coupon. Not as great as the .41 a box from last year when the half off coupon came out, but decent especially since I needed it. Well, the sale was over and the Electrasol was back up to full price $3.69 a box. My "okay I'll settle for .54 a box" deal went to "oh no! I'm going to pay 1.44 a box" deal. Ugghhh! I know I should be thankful for half off, but last year I paid .41 a box! And I still have 8 more of those 2.25/1 Qs to use before August 10th. What if I can't find a better deal?!?

And to add insult to pocketbook injury, while cruising the endcaps of the food section (note: If your Target carries food, check the displays at the ends of the aisles - "endcaps". You can find some great clearance deals there!), I found tons of 7oz cans of Calumet baking powder for .74. The same cans I paid 1.29 for a few weeks ago thinking I stumbled upon a fantastic deal. Don't you just hate when that happens?

I did find another pair of 3T camo, cargo shorts for Clay for .98. So there was one bright spot from the trip :)

Monday, July 21, 2008

Stuck In The Middle

Between a beautiful little girl who dreams of butterflies, fairies and ponies. And a rough and tumble little firecracker who doesn't realize he's just a baby, is a sweet, gentle soul with big brown eyes - our middle child, Clayton. He loves everything with wheels - cars, trains, bikes and planes; and balls - football, basketball and baseball. Sometimes he's off saving the world and flying through the air when he's Super Man or Spider Man. Other times he's lightning fast like his favorite movie character Lightning McQueen. But he's always our Clay - cautious, sensitive and sweet!

Since Ashleigh started successfully pottying at 3yo, we thought maybe it was time to give it ago with Clayton, since he's 3.5yo. We hyped up the potty as best we could and Clay seemed very excited to give it a try. So we went out and bought a potty with him and his own big boy undies. As expected, on Day One there were some accidents and some tears. We tried to give him as much praise and encouragement as we could, even when he just sat down on the potty and did nothing.

By Day Three, all heck broke loose. I came home at lunch to drop Ashleigh off from school. Clayton was sitting on the potty crying and my Mom greeted me with saying she would rather be out working in the field picking cotton than dealing with Clayton and trying to get him to use the potty. I was more than a little upset and confused, especially since she was so excited we were finally getting him out of pull ups. And now she's telling me she would buy the pull ups herself if she had the money. And if we get him a potty book like some woman on TV then he can use the pull ups and the potty?!? Hello??? These are the same pull ups he's been going in for the past three years, what makes you think a book would get him to stop?!?

So now here we are several days removed from the incident with my Mom. I'm still a bit upset and saddened by her attitude. But if she's not willing to help then we'll just work on potty learning during the evenings and weekends when we're home. And then there's the issue of pottying itself. Clayton cries continuously if we put him on the potty. Physically, we think he's ready. But emotionally, there's some stumbling block there that we're having a difficult time overcoming. Which has bought us to the conclusion that maybe Clayton isn't ready just yet.

I imagine it has to be a struggle for Clayton as well. Part of him wants to use the potty and be a big boy. He does ask to use the potty. But then there's a greater part of him that's very fearful of the change. Because of his sensitive nature, we have to be careful about how much we push him into new things. Change can be overwhelming for him. And learning this new skill is the biggest challenge he's faced in his life.

Of course part of me worries that he's going to be behind and might even go off to kindergarten in diapers...{sigh}

Menu Plan Monday - July 21st

I can't believe the weekend went by so fast. Just as I was getting relaxed, it's Monday again! And how lucky is my husband - he's on vacation this week!

Here's our menu for the week. For more meal plan ideas, please visit Laura at I'm An Organizing Junkie.

Breakfast & Lunch: For breakfast, it's usually something simple and quick like cereal or oatmeal with a touch of brown sugar. I add soy milk to the water when I cook my oats so they come out nice and creamy.

Lunch is usually items already on hand or leftovers. Ashleigh has requested grilled cheese sandwiches for her lunch box. And I found FREE after coupon organic snack bars to add in her lunch box as well!


Sunday - Marinated London Broil with steamed organic carrot sticks & brown rice

Thursday - Shrimp Etouffee & brown rice

Friday - Breakfast for Dinner!

Grocery Totals:

Total Spent $ 78.69

Total Savings $ 74.10

For a breakdown of my good deals this week, visit Super Savings Saturday!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Super Savings Saturday

Good news! The coupons I feared were lost in the mail, finally arrived on Wednesday! And what a good thing that was because I got to use my Motts for Tots coupons before they expired yesterday.

Not much shopping this week. I've got to start getting prepared for the rumored triple coupon promotion coming up at Harris Teeter next week!

Grocery Totals:

Total spent: $78.69
Total savings: $74.10


2 Huggies Pull Ups (sale 8.99 - 1.50/1 Q)

Total oop: $16.19
Total savings: $11.00


5 Bounty Basic paper towels (sale 1.00 - .50 eSaver - .25/1 Q doubled)
3 Hunt's ketchups 24oz (sale 1.00 - .20/1 Q doubled)
3 Hunt's canned diced tomatoes
10 Horizon Organic single size milks (sale 1.00 - 1/2 Q)
1 KR frozen green beans (sale 1.00)
organic bananas

Total oop: $14.66
Total savings: $16.51

Harris Teeter:

3 gallons Organic Valley milk (5.99 - 1/1 Q)
5 Mott's for Tots apple juice (sale 2.69 - .75/1 Q doubled)
5lb bag white potatoes (sale 3.49)
1 HT canned black beans (sale .60)
3 Beech Nut DHA yogurt juice blends (FREE! 1.39 - .75/1 Q doubled)
1 Clif Kids Organic chocolate chip bar (FREE! .99 - .50/1 Q doubled)
2 Kraft shredded cheeses (sale 2.50 - 1/2 Q)
1 HT tortillas (sale 1.50)

Total oop: $31.33
Total savings: $21.72

Lowes Foods:

3 Curves Fruit & Nut cereals (sale 2.00 - .75/1 Q doubled)
4-1lb Low Sodium Smithfield bacon (sale 2.50 - .75/1 Q doubled)
2 Barilla Whole Grain penne (sale 1.00 - .50/2 Q doubled)
4 Barilla Whole Grain spaghetti (sale 1.00 - .50/2 Q doubled)
1 lb fresh strawberries (sale 1.89)
LF cream cheese 8oz
LF kitchen drawstring trash bags 20ct (sale 3.99)

Total oop: $16.51
Total savings: $24.87

Friday, July 18, 2008

A Little Lunch Hour Fun!

Who said a lunch hour is just for eating? Today, I used my lunch hour for a little couponing fun. Not far from work, nestled next to a fancy, fancy country club (the Porsche club sponsors roadside cleanup for this place LOL!) and some luxury apartments is a quiet, little Lowes Foods. I know you're saying, "Who wants to spend their lunch hour at the grocery store?" But I really enjoy coupon shopping (and shopping in general)! It's such a rush to pay half price or less for things you used to pay full price for. And to walk out of the store marveling at the savings total on your receipt instead of fretting about the amount you spent. Plus, I get to shop alone (read: kid-free) and during a time of day when the store isn't busy.

I just needed a few things from Lowes this week, mostly stockpile buys. Here's my little haul:

3 Curves Fruit & Nut cereals (sale 2.00 - .75/1 Q doubled = .50ea)
4-1lb Low Sodium Smithfield bacon (sale 2.50 - .75/1 Q doubled = 1.00ea)
2 Barilla Whole Grain penne (sale 1.00 - .50/2 Q doubled = .50ea)
4 Barilla Whole Grain spaghetti (sale 1.00 - .50/2 Q doubled = .50ea)
1 lb fresh strawberries (sale 1.89)
LF cream cheese 8oz
LF kitchen drawstring trash bags 20ct

Total oop: $16.51
Total savings: $24.87

And I earned more green points to use for deals later!

I did get a few chuckles when I put 4lbs of bacon in the office fridge. But once they found out I only paid $1 each, they were quite amazed!

Thursday, July 17, 2008


How is this even possible!?! Jimmie Johnson gets the Espy for Best Driver? Over Kyle Busch? I'm scratching my head in disbelief. That's okay Kyle. 2008 Sprint Cup Champion has a nicer ring to it :D

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

What's Stealing My Peace?

Now it came to pass, as they went, that He entered into a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha received Him into her house.

And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus' feet and heard His Word.

But Martha was encumbered with much serving, and came to Him and said, "Lord, dost Thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? Bid her therefore that she help me."

And Jesus answered and said unto her, "Martha, Martha, thou art anxious and troubled about many things.

But one thing is needful, and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her."

Luke 10:38-42

Despite my name, Martha and I are really kindred spirits. Encumbered with much serving, anxious and troubled about many things, yep that's me! Mostly of my own doing (and probably the same for Martha too) from trying to over extend myself or live up to an unrealistic expectation I've created.

Lately I've been thinking about the things which steal my peace and cause me to be anxious and worried. Surprisingly, it's not big things. There's nothing really major going on in my life on a constant basis. Every day is pretty much the same, drama free and relatively stable. It's the small things. The coupons I really needed getting lost in the mail. Having to change my well crafted grocery list mid-shop because the store is out of the milk I want to buy with my coupon. A fussy baby, a phone ringing as I'm completely involved in my evening routine, going through the drive thru then having to park and go inside because they forgot to put buffalo sauce in my bag (really what good are the Arby's popcorn chicken shakers without the buffalo sauce?!?). The TV starting to die. Seeing someone in the office sporting a great outfit and awesome new haircut when I look like I dressed myself in the dark!

All these things, though small and insignificant on their own, seem to accumulate. Their compound effect seems to literally weigh on my shoulders and physically manifest themselves in tightened muscles and constant headaches. How can I have peace if I'm constantly piling on one thing after another?

The answer is simple, yet difficult for me to practice - to cast my cares upon the Lord. All my worries great and small. To simply lay them down at His feet. And to rest in Him. Seeking the greater part and finding a peace which surpasses all understanding. Are you with me Martha?

My Biggest Fan

Last month as I began taking steps to renew my spirit and bring more order to our home, God placed on my heart that one of the first steps was honoring and serving my husband. I asked Dave what things were important to him or areas in which I could improve. He told me he would think about it and get back to me. Of course we both got busy and never had a chance to talk more in depth about my question. And I figured he had just forgotten anyway.

A couple of days ago, I found this note in the bedroom:


You asked me some weeks ago to come up with some ways you could improve yourself with respect to your relationship to me. I have given your request immense thought and have come to the conclusion that I can't think of anything I would like to change about you. I love you just the way you are.

Your loving husband & Biggest Fan.

Awwww..... :)

Monday, July 14, 2008

Menu Plan Monday - July 14th

Getting off to slow start this week. Having trouble with my sinuses again {blah!} Dave helped me to get dinner ready last night - Pioneer Woman's Penne a la Betsy. We don't cook together often, but it was kind of fun LOL! And the result was absolutely delicious! We even used fresh basil from our own little container garden.

Here's our menu plan for the week. For more meal plan ideas, visit Laura at I'm an Organizing Junkie.

Breakfast & Lunch: Items already on hand. Still working on wowing Ashleigh with her lunches. Maybe grilled cheese will do the trick this week.


Saturday - BBQ Turkey Meatballs w/boiled potatoes and organic salad mix with herbs

Monday - Sloppy Joes on whole wheat buns (subbing diced green peppers for celery)

Tuesday - Smoked Sausage w/peppers & onions over brown rice

Wednesday - Stew Beef & onions w/gravy over brown rice

Thursday - Spinach Enchiladas

Friday - Taco Style Lentils & Rice in warmed, hard taco shells with the fixings - lettuce, shredded cheese, salsa & sour cream.

Grocery Total: Total spent this week: $80.05

To see my grocery deals for the week, check out Super Savings Saturday!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Super Savings Saturday

I had to do a bit of tweaking to my grocery list this week. I was planning on using some coupons I ordered to score more cheap Motts for Tots. But alas, I think the coupons got lost in the mail
:( Oh well, it's not the end of the world. Although it kind of feels like it {pout}.

Here's my grocery deals for the week. Very excited about the 2 lb frozen shrimp from Harris Teeter. Regularly priced $17.98 - on sale for $5.98!!!! Also loved the Chocolate Chex cereal only .50 at Lowes Foods after .75/1 coupon doubled!

Total spent: $80.05
Total savings: $59.06


5lb bag Organic carrots (sale 3.00)
1 KR salsa (sale 1.00)
2-1.3lb Shadybrook 93/7 ground turkey (sale 2.49)
2 Smart Balance shredded cheese (Manager's special 1.29)
1 Organic Italian mix salad with herbs (Manager's special 1.99)
1 Eggland's Best (2.59 - .35/1 Q doubled)
1 Huggies Pull Ups (10.49 - $2 shortcut - 2/1 Q)

Total oop: $23.85
Total savings: $10.28

Lowes Foods:

2 LF apple juice (sale 1.79)
1 LF cola 3LT (sale 1.00)
3 Chex Chocolate & Honey Nut cereals (sale 2.00 - .75/1 Q doubled)
3 Colgate Whitening toothpaste (FREE - sale 1.00 - .75/1 Q doubled)
1 Full Circle Organic Basmatic brown rice (sale 2.99)
1 Mission flour tortillas (sale 2.50 - 1/1 Q)
Jumbo vidalia onions (sale .99/lb)
fresh parsley bunch

Total oop: $13.21
Total savings: $20.25

Harris Teeter:

1 gallon Organic Valley milk (5.99 - 1/1 Q)
2 gallons HT Organic milk
2 Kraft American singles (sale 2.79 - 1/2 Q)
2lb frozen white shrimp (sale 5.98)
2 Friskies dry cat food 3.15 lb bags (sale 7 - 1.50/2)
1 Organic Valley heavy cream 8oz (1.99 - 1/1 Q)
8 jars Beech Nut baby food (sale .40 - 1.50/8 Q)
1 Nature's Own whole wheat buns (sale 1.99)
4 Hunt's tomato sauce (sale .50)
3 green bell peppers (sale 1.00)

Total oop: $42.99
Total savings: $28.53

Friday, July 11, 2008

Getting Back Into The Routine

What a week we've had! Last Sunday, I was so filled with butterflies over Ashleigh beginning the Early Start program at her elementary school. I knew Ashleigh would do well, I just didn't know if I could rise to the challenge of getting up early, packing lunches, doing homework. I kind of fell off the FlyLady wagon several months ago, so all my morning and before bed routines fell to the wayside. I became a snooze button junkie - trying to lay in bed as long as possible. My mornings became a hectic rush of me trying to get ready for work and get things going at home. And there was never enough time to do both.

So this past weekend to help quiet my nerves, I took out my once trusty Control Journal and turned to my morning, after work and before bed routines. I made some updates to include all our new school related activities. The FlyLady advises to just write your routines out by hand. But I created a spreadsheet with all three routines on one page, then printed out several copies. I needed this physical checklist to help keep me on track. Otherwise I would wander around doing a little bit here and there.

Monday morning, I got up early and on time. I worked through my list, checking off each item as I went along. I made breakfast, packed Ashleigh's back pack and lunch box and got her up and dressed so Daddy could drop her off at school. I even had time to Swish and Swipe the bathroom! And when I got home Monday evening, I went right back to my list going through the after work and before bed items.

For the first time in a long while, I felt like I was back in control and not living in chaos! That carried over into work as well. I finally conquered the huge pile of half completed projects on my desk. I filed all my paperwork away and stayed on task with getting prepared for this month's meetings. And even though this is my busiest week at work, I'm not feeling overwhelmed at all. I feel like I'm on top of things again!

I'm not the only one settling into a routine. Ashleigh & Clayton are becoming acquainted with a new routine as well - early bed time. Yes, I know at 5yo and 3yo they probably should have been on an early bed time schedule like from birth, but let me explain :D Since Dave works late hours, we always kept the kids up to see Daddy when he came home usually 8:30-9pm. And since we coslept, it just made sense for them to go to bed when we did.

But with Ashleigh starting school, the late hours just wouldn't work. And of course, they need their rest. I thought we would be in for one of those struggles like you see on Super Nanny. Sitting outside of the door, constantly putting crying child back into bed over and over again. But it was relatively easy getting them to adjust. We brushed teeth, read a story, said our prayers then cut out the light. Since they are in the room together, I think it helped them not be as afraid as they would have been in their rooms alone. And they actually went off to sleep fairly quickly.

And I have to say, it was great having a quiet house. Time to talk to Dave, to read, to unwind. I'm definitely liking the early bed time!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Getting Closer!

Time for an update on our Total Money Makeover! As I've mentioned before, we are currently working on Baby Step 2 of Dave Ramsey's plan for financial freedom. June was another good month for our debt snowball. With the extra money saved from Ashleigh not being in preschool, we were able to make another sizable dent in our van loan. So much so, that if all goes according to plan, we will have the van paid off by the end of July! And if paying off the van wasn't exciting enough, July is an extra paycheck month for me. So not only could we finish up the van, but we would also be able to put a pretty good dent in our next and last debt - our HELOC.

Of course anytime you make progress, there's always something that pops up needing $$$ attention. We thought we were going to have a pretty pricey tire replacement bill for Dave's car. But luckily, a $20 patch was able to fix the leak in the rear tire. Then I had to make a visit to urgent care since I couldn't get an appointment with our doctor for a sinus infection. Since the urgent care didn't take insurance, I had to pay for the visit out of pocket. And when they called in my prescriptions, the doctor ordered name brand only. Thank goodness for our emergency fund. We were able to pay cash for everything and quickly refilled our emergency fund back up with that week's pay!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Menu Plan Monday - July 7th

Hope everyone had a wonderful July 4th weekend! As enjoyable as the long weekend was, it's time to get back to the routine. This week begins an exciting journey for us. Ashleigh takes her first steps into elementary school! Which means I'm going to have to step up my menu planning to include lunch box items.

To get started, I made a list of all the main meals and snacks that Ashleigh would most likely eat. And as my mother used to say about me, she eats like a bird! So needless to say there were alot more items under the snack category than under the main meal category. But it's a start!

Here's our meals for the week. For more meal ideas visit Laura at I'm an Organizing Junkie.

Breakfast & Lunches - Items already on hand


Saturday - Leftover BBQ sandwiches with cole slaw, beans and corn on the cob & Hot dogs

Sunday - Spinach Lasagna

Monday - Smoked sausage with onions & peppers over brown rice

Tuesday - Whole wheat pasta with marinara sauce & honey wheat bread

Wednesday - Seven Layer Taco Salad (didn't get to make it last week)

Thursday - Dirty Rice (using ground pork sausage)

Grocery Totals - Total spent: $85.60

For a breakdown of my grocery deals this week, check out my Super Savings Saturday post!

Have a great week!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Super Savings Saturday

Hope everyone had a wonderful 4th of July!

Below are our grocery totals for the week. Added some more FREE Lawry's marinades to the stockpile, as well as FREE Beech Nut yogurt juice blends. And got a great deal on apple juice this week. Harris Teeter has Mott's for Tots on sale for $2.69. Not great but when paired with the .75/1 coupons which double at Harris Teeter, that's $1.19 for a 64oz or .02 per oz!

Total Spent: $85.60
Total Savings: $64.65


1 Sparkle paper towels 8ct (sale 5.79)
2 Scott toilet paper 12ct (sale 6.99 - 2/2 Q)
2 Ball Park franks (sale .99)
6 ears yellow corn (sale 2.00)
3 Lawry's marinades (FREE! sale .99 - .50/1 Q doubled)
2 Smart Balance shredded cheese (manager's special 1.29)
2 Huggies Pull Ups (sale 9.49 - 1.50/1 Q)
2 Eggland's Best eggs (2.59 - .35/1 Q doubled)
stew beef (manager's special 2.09)

Total oop: $49.22
Total savings: $32.19

Harris Teeter:

3 gallons Organic Valley milk (5.99 - 1/1 Q)
3 Mott's for Tots juice (sale 2.69 - .75/1 Q doubled)
3 Beech Nut yogurt juice blends (FREE! sale 1.33 - .75/1 Q doubled)
1 Beech Nut cereal (sale 1.50 - 1/1 Q)
1 Hodgson Mill whole wheat lasagna noodles (sale 2.00)
1 lb bag HT lentils
2 HT hot dog buns (sale .99)
1 cole slaw mix (sale 1.50)
16 jars Beech Nut baby food (sale .40 - 1.50/8 Q)

Total oop: $29.00
Total savings: $21.78

Lowes Foods:

1 LF cola (sale .79)
2 LF frozen leaf spinach (sale .80)
1 LF apple cider vinegar (sale .79)
4 Carolina Pride smoked sausage (sale BOGO - 1.50/2 Q)

Total oop: $7.38
Total savings: $10.68

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Kindergarten Here We Come!

Last month, Ashleigh said goodbye to the preschool and teachers she'd come to know and love. It was a sad moment for me as well. Watching my baby "graduate" and taking those steps off into the big world. Now comes Kindergarten. With larger classes filled with unfamiliar faces and making friends all over again. Packing lunches, checking daily folders, filling supply lists, this is all new territory for me. And there won't be anyone there to grab Ashleigh up as she walks into the classroom and give her hugs and snuggles like at preschool. They won't know just how special she is.

To help ease the transition into big girl school, we enrolled Ash into an Early Start program at the elementary school. It's sort of like Kindergarten Lite. It's a half day program where they work on social and early literacy skills. She'll get to know the teachers and aides and become familiar with the new routine. It will also be good practice to help get our morning routine down before school starts in the Fall.

Monday we begin this new journey. Ashleigh is taking it all in stride. She has a great ability to adapt to new situations quickly. And I'm confident she'll be successful in the classroom and enjoy going to big girl school. She's much braver than Momma when it comes to taking on new challenges. As for Dave and I, we're still trying to wrap our minds around the carpool routine - pull up, drop kid off and then drive away?!?!? Of course she'll be there with the teachers aide and the other carpool students. And they will escort them to and from the classroom. But really, leave my baby at the curb?

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Watching Our Garden Grow

During the Memorial Day weekend, the kids and I started our very own container garden of tomatoes, green peppers and sweet basil. Well I'm happy to report that we have our first baby tomato! Isn't the little guy so cute?

I didn't even notice it until my Mom brought it to my attention. There are several more blossoms on the bush, so hopefully we'll get a few more baby maters!

Our other tomato plant has shot up which leads me to believe that it is not the patio variety the little tag said it was LOL. It has several blossoms as well and will most definitely need to have a support added. The basil seems to be growing okay. Although I do wonder when we can start "harvesting" the leaves.

The green pepper plants are not doing so hot. At first they seemed to be growing well right along with the others. But then I began to notice some leaves shedding. Then more leaves began to fall off. Up until now, we had just been watering the plants. I was about to go out and buy some pricey organic fertilizer for the struggling peppers when I came across this timely post at Keeper of the Home. It turns out I had to look no further than my own kitchen for safe and low cost fertilizer - coffee grounds and egg shells! The coffee grounds provide nitrogen and the crushed egg shells are a source of calcium carbonate - particularly good for tomatoes!

Since I've spread the coffee grounds and crushed shells around the pepper plants, I've noticed some new leaf growth. I also moved the pot so the plants aren't getting as much direct sunlight. So maybe there's hope for our struggling peppers - fingers crossed!