Thursday, September 23, 2010

Confession Number 60: It's Been A Good Day

This morning Dustin mentioned that it had been awhile since I had been bargin shopping at Homeland.  Yes.  It has.  Mostly because they have only had one or two deals I needed each week and I didn't think it was worth my time to drive 15 minutes to Homeland one way.  I've been using coupons here and there at Wal-Mart, but Homeland is my stocking up store, so our pantry shelves were getting a little bare. 

After surfing my blogs a bit this morning, I realized that there were some pretty good deals this week, so I worked on my list, printed off my coupons and headed to Jay.  Here was what I brought back...

Here is what I bought and the price after coupons:

Tidy Cats kitty litter.....49 cents
Friskies kitty treats.....FREE!
Tony's Crispy Crust Pizzas (2 of them)...FREE!
Armour Lunchmakers (2 of them) ...$1 coupon
Oreos.....89 cents
Starkist Tuna....39 cents
Rhoads Warm and Serve Sticky Buns...69 cents
Carnation Evaporated Milk....79 cents each
85/15 Ground Beef....$2.81
1 lb. Baby Carrots....$ coupon
Butterflied Pork Chops...$2.03

This came to $11.88 plus tax.  Not too shabby! 

Some of you might be saying, "Charla, why are you buying kitty stuff?  You don't have a cat."  Well, actually we do.  We have two of them and they have been adopted by Dustin's parents since we left Piedmont.  We have felt a little guilty about their rent free living, so I've had my eye out for good cat deals lately to help out. 

I want to send a BIG shout out to Amanda at Simply Saving Savvy.  She compliles the Homeland deals in OKC, and while my store runs off of a different sales circular, many of the OKC deals are "unadvertised" at my store, so I can double dip.  I wrote about why I love SSS here

By the way, the majority of my coupons were printables, so if you are interested in your own Homeland trip, visit SSS for all of the coupon links. 

Happy Saving!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Confession Number 59: Favorites, Money Savings Blogs

A few months ago I became intrigued by the amount of money my friend Nicci over at Nix9to5 was saving by couponing.  I used to clip coupons and use them when I could, but I often found that the store brand was still cheaper than the name brand with the coupon. 

I figured out that the secret to couponing was to match your coupons with the store sales and to stock up when things were at a good price.  With the help of some useful blogs I find sale/coupon match ups at stores like CVS, Walgreens and Homeland.  These blogs also have pointed me to other money saving sites that I'll share with you on another day.  I try to visit them at least once a day, usually during Kennedy's nap or while she is busy with something else. 

Yes, this takes up a bit of time, and I'm not sure how into it I would be if I were still counseling, but for now, with me staying at home, it works for me and is saving us some money in the process.  I am not wild and crazy into it, but I am saving us some money, especially with personal care and toiletry items.  I have seen a decrease in the amount of my weekly Wal-Mart trip, and I think most of that is because I rarely buy a non food item there any more.  Most of my savings is due to the ladies who write these blogs because they do all the searching and match ups for me.  I just have to read, find or print my coupons, make my list and go to the store.  There is no telling how much money these women have saved families across the country with all of their hard work.

Simple Saving Savvy-  Amanda is the brain behind SSS and it is her goal to save money so her family can give more to others.  Sounds good to me!  She is located in Oklahoma City and many of her match ups are for stores in the metro area.  SSS was the first saving blog I started reading, thanks to Nix9to5.  I love her match ups for Walgreens, CVS and Homeland.  I have to be careful on the Homeland match ups because my store doesn't always run the same ads as the stores in OKC.  She also posts other deals as they come up.  Her site is easy to read and follow and is great for beginners.  I also won a contest on her site a couple months back, so she is a favorite in my book!

Passion for Savings-  I found Passion for Savings by searching for blogs that did match ups for Harps, a local grocery store in our area.  Heather writes Passion for Savings and I absolutely love her site!  She does tons of match ups for the NW Arkansas area including Harps, Wal-Mart and the drug stores.  Unfortunately, her Wal-Mart sales are rarely the same as my Wal-Mart, only an hour away.  She loves to save where she can so she can spend where she wants to (for Heather, it is often her designer jeans!).  This is the old tell your money where you want it to go philosophy.  She also has great links to printable coupons and other saving strategies and sites.  I love her links for Swagbucks, Groupons available nationwide and tons of shopping sites!  I'll talk all about those another day.

Wild for Wags-  I love Christie!  She is absolutely the craziest Walgreens shopper I have ever seen!  Her entire site is devoted to finding great deals at Walgreens, which, let's face it, is normally sky high.  Since there is a Walgreens less than 5 minutes from my house, I love the match ups and scenarios she offers each week.  For example, today, I got PAID 11 cents for taking a bottle of dish soap out of the store.  Crazy!  Want to know how I did it?  Check out Wild for Wags and start saving!  She also throws in other money saving tips as she runs across them. 

I know there are about a bazillion other money saving blogs out there, but these are the three that help me out the most.  I hope they can help you too!  I've almost found this couponing thing to be a game.  How many things can I bring home for the least amount of money?  It's fun!  I'd love to hear if you have some favorite sites to visit to save you money.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Confession Number 59: I Play Favorites, Intro

Since staying at home with Kennedy, my eyes have been opened to a whole new world I never really knew existed.  There was this whole part of the internet I had never paid attention to before.  I wasn't an internet novice.  I probably spent 80% of my work day on the computer, but it was the blogosphere and the wide range of topics on the blogosphere that was so shocking. 

Over the months I have found many sites that I visit every single day.  Some of them are blogs, some are just sites in general.  Most of them a friend has suggested to me.  A few I found by doing some searching.  I have had so many friends ask for my fav sites, especially on the subjects of couponing and saving, that I decided to do a series on my favorite spots to spend time on the web. 

Here is the thing, when I do a "series" here on Confessions, I have a hard time keeping up with it.  So, you all out there are my accountability partners.  You have to stay on top of me to keep this going.  You are free to email me, send me a facebook, hollar at me in public, send me harassing text messages, just about anything short of public tar and feathering to remind me to keep posting these awesome sites.  Check back often (as in later today) to see the latest in the "I Play Favorites" series.

Oh, and happy Friday!!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Confession Number 58: Kennedy's Confession

Kennedy has a confession for today.  She's been holding in a secret for a few weeks and she just can't keep it to herself any longer....

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Confession Number 57: I'm the Mother of a Three Year Old

Well.  It is offical.  My baby isn't much of a baby anymore.  She is a full blown, independent, demanding, bossy, incredibly cute preschooler.  She talks in paragraphs.  She learns new things every day.  She dances and twirls like no one is watching.  She lives for the glass slipper to fit.  Okay, yes, yes, she IS my daughter.  She was bound to like the whole Cinderella story, right?  The shoe fettish is genetic, so maybe I should take the credit for that.  She is unbearably cute and loveable one minute and makes us want to pull our hair out the next.  All in the day of a three year old.

I've never been one that gets overly emotional on her birthdays.  I cried on her first birthday, but it was more because I had to work and couldn't spend the day with her than it was that she was getting older.  It has always been my philosophy that if we are doing the job God intended for us, as parents, then our children should grow up, they should get older and become more independent.  We'll see if I feel the same way when she turns 16. 

This year Kennedy was old enough to pick her own birthday theme and in true fashion she choose princess.  We had a little gathering of friends and family to celebrate her big day.  Let's just say, she was in heaven! 

My very talented friend at Tasty Creations by Julie made her princess birthday cake to match her party invitations...
So, is a crooked crown kind of like a crooked halo?  I think so.

Her cake was adorable and sooo yummy!  I bought some special sparkler candles for her cake...
Little did I know when I bought them that they were also trick candles.  They kept relighting and KJ had a hard time getting them out for good.  I received many boos from the crowd that night.  I didn't know, I swear!

Like most three year olds, her favorite part was opening presents.  There were so many! 

We are truly blessed with amazing friends and family, but it really got me thinking about a more simplistic plan for next year.  I hate that in her mind a party means presents.  Maybe a book exchange or something fun for all of the kids next year.

Three is a lot of fun, but very challenging.  Dustin is learning what it is like to be in a house with two females.  One minute she is happy, the next she is falling on the floor crying because she didn't want you to get her a new cup.  Then you hand it to her and she's completely fine again.  And that is just me!  Kidding!  The emotions run high around here, but we wouldn't have it any other way!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Confession Number 56: I Am One of Them

Last year a new friend drug me to my first MOPS (Mother's of Preschoolers) meeting.  I have to say, I wasn't overly excited.  I was new to this whole Stay At Home Mom thing and sure didn't want to fit into any SAHM stereotype.  I wasn't into playing with play doh all day, creating exciting crafts for my daughter on a daily basis, or talking about nothing but kids with a bunch of other women.  I was different.  I was a professional who was "trying out" this whole full time mommy thing.  I wasn't like them. 

Boy, was I wrong.  I was like them.  All of us with little ones at home are like them.  "Them" are now some of my closest friends.  Most of us don't hang out at the park on a daily basis.  Most of us don't relish in a spic and span house.  Most of us are doing good to get dinner on the table at night...a special feat for those in the group who don't cook!  We don't sit around talking about when baby eats or how many diapers they go through in the day.  Actually, when we are together, we rarely talk about our kids in detail at all.  We talk about girl things, what to wear, how our husbands don't empty the dishwasher enough, the current issues.  We laugh together, we cry together, we pray together. 

Don't get me wrong.  This is a great group of women who are wonderful to bounce parenting tips off of, but when we are together most of our time is spent in investing in ourselves as women.  That, in turn, makes us better mothers, better wives, better friends. 

We come away refreshed.  Ready to tackle the world for another day.  Because, at the very least we got to eat a bite without sharing it with our three-year-old and we were able to sit and chat without kids running around our feet.  That is the joy of being in MOPS.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Confession Number 55: I Didn't Cry

I've been promising a post on Kennedy's first day of school for awhile.  I thought I would have all of this free time on my hands once she was at school two days a week.  Are you kidding me?  What was I thinking?  Yesterday was the first time I wasn't booked solid on a school day. 

School has been great for all of us.  It helps me to better appreciate the time I have with her when we are home and she loves the interaction and learning.  Now, if I could only remember to put a show and tell item in her backpack, we'd be all set.  Yesterday, she showed her lunchbox.  How sad is that?!? 

She was so excited on her first day.  We got all dressed up and she got her backpack and lunchbox....
She could barely get it off the hook.  Since then, she has mastered getting it down...and putting it on, "all by herself". 

Then we took the traditional First Day of School picture....

I can't help but wonder how long I'll get to do this before the eye rolling and refusal kicks in.  I'm thinking, um, 1st grade?  Her Weezie says she looks too little to go to school.  I think she looks like such a big girl. 

An exciting car ride, in which she wouldn't stop talking, later and we were finally there.  There she goes...
She absolutely loves it!  It totally and completely wears her out.  She is crashed by 8:00 on nights after she has been at school.  She's learned lots of new songs, how to speak in front of others, and apparently how to hold hands with Dakota.  More to come on that story, later. 

As for right now, Dustin and I can proudly say, we made the right decision.  She is loving it and two days a week is perfect for her.  Whew!  Another parenting obstacle overcome....and I didn't even shed a tear!