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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Money Saving, Coupon Crazed Moms Club

I have to admit, when I first heard about all this couponing and people saving 50% or more on their bills, I was quite skeptical.  I grew up in a house that never did the couponing thing, until my stepdad came along.  He was cheap  err I mean frugal and kept  a coupon box and clipped religiously on Sundays. If we didn't have a coupon we pretty much didn't buy it etc.  I am sure we saved money, but being military we did 90% of our shopping at the commissary where they do take coupons but unheard of for doubling, stacking or taking competitor coupons.  So you see I did not know of this elite club of couponers who were stacking coupons, using coupons that double, trading online etc until the last year. Even then I was to chicken to look into it, I mean really could I save 50% on my bill?

I wasn't to optimistic about any of this until the last few months, when moms in my group started posting all these deals they were getting, free things (not samples) and how much t hey had saved on groceries. I became intrigued, a member does a couponing 101 class and I was able to get some one on one time with her.  She taught me about SouthernSavers. I had looked at this website before but did not understand the lingo and was thoroughly confused. I was a newbie and did not know what RP or SS meant along with the other mile long list of acronyms. I listened and ingested what she said and decided to give it a try.

The first couple of weeks, I collected Sunday papers with coupons, read on SouthernSavers, tried to make a list etc.  I was still very overwhelmed, so I started off small, looking only at the Bogo sales at Publix and using coupons for those items. I began to save money but still not enough that I felt like I got it. I did not have enough coupons or the best deal, I was only getting 1 paper on Sunday and that just isn't enough. Now I buy at minimum 2 papers on Sunday, recently purchased a copy of All You magazine (has TONS of coupons) and am watching for good internet printables.

So all in all I have learned it takes some time to get to the point where you feel you know what you are doing and start seeing the actual savings.  My last trip to Publix I spent $300 but I saved $100 in sales & coupons, so I saved 25% on my bill. Not great, but it's a start.  I also went to CVS (that's another way to save) and bought 3 packs of diapers, 2 bottles of body-wash, and a tube of toothpaste for $27.52.  I saved $31, so a savings of over 50%! Plus I have some ECB's to use towards my next purchase.

So yes I admit it, I am a member of the Money Saving, Coupon Crazed Moms Club and proud of it.  Are you?

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Progress Update

This week & weekend has been prep work time for Bebe G.  We've done quite a bit and still have more to do but I feel we're moving in the right direction. Guess that nesting instinct is starting to kick in lol.

Accomplished 
*Bedroom rearranged
*Car Seat purchased
*Stroller purchased
*Swing purchased
*Basinet found/washed

To Do 
*Put crib together
*Put changing table together
*Buy dresser
*Buy baby essentials (diapers, wipes etc)
*Buy new bedding set
*Pre-register at hospital
*Pack bag
*Decision on Vbac or RCS
*Finalize name list and/or pick one

There is more to add to the lists but I can't locate my "to do list" sheet right now hehe!

We went shopping this weekend at BRU since I had a coupon for $20 off a car seat and $20 off a stroller, and we did end up buying there, since the coupons expired yesterday. We choose a neutral color stroller (light tan) but it's girly with some pink and flowers without being over the top! I looked at the crib sets they had, soo many to choose from and soo many cute ones! I think I've pretty much decided to go with a pink/brown theme, and thankfully there is a lot of those to choose from too.  The downside, stomaching the prices! Holy cow they are expensive. I do have a 20% off one item coupon, so I may still buy from there. I've been looking on Amazon and Ebay too.

The girls are getting more excited about it getting closer to time for Bebe G's arrival, and so am I. I am trying to really enjoy this part of the pregnancy, though  I am having a hard time with aches and pains.  However I tell myself this is likely the last time I'll ever be pregnant so even tough it's been rough,  I need to stop and smell the roses. I really enjoying feeling her move around quite a bit these days, she's quite active in the mornings when it is time to get up and at bedtime.  This has to be my favorite part of the pregnancy!

On to week 33!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

32 Weeks Down...8 To Go

Time is trucking along, or so it seems when I think I only have 8 weeks or less to go.  Then when I think of all the millions of things I need to do before Bebe G's arrival, well then it seems like we are speed walking to the end. 

I went in for my 32 week check up, all is well.  Blood pressure was in the "normal" range and her heartbeat was good.  Though she was moving quite a bit, every time the dr found it, she'd move again lol. I asked her about my swelling left ankle and feeling of it 'falling asleep' but not really. It just has been getting numb off and on and only that leg. She said it could be the baby just sitting on a nerve just right and to keep an eye on it and my salt intake and let her know if it continues.  Glad to know it didn't sound like I should be overly concerned as of yet. 

She asked if I still wanted to try for a VBAC...which at the moment my mind is on yes. However there are doubts in my head about it.  I labored with J for about 16 hours but had her vaginally, but I never got past 4 cm on my own, they had to induce. H was an emergency induction, labored hard for close to 20 hours and ended up with an emergency c-section since I didn't progress past about 4 cm.  So now I have to choose which route to go.  I've been reading up on VBAC's vs a repeat c-section...and am so torn.  I know some ladies who have had VBAC's and it's gone great and I know others who have tried (and had previous c/s) and ended up with a c-section anyways. I just don't want to go thru another long and tiresome labor to only end up with a c-section, which could very well happen.

There are pros and cons to both...but I feel so lost and torn.  

More decisions to be made....

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Sleepovers, Painting, Couponing & Swelling, Oh My!

Whew what a busy and exhausting week & weekend I have had. I think the title gives it away, that's been my life since Thursday afternoon.  J has been begging and I mean BEGGING for a sleepover with her Girl Scout friends for months now.  It seems every time we tried to plan it, something came up or someone was sick.  So finally during Spring break she got her wish. I had 4, 9-10 yr olds and a 5 yr old that partied non stop for just about the next 24 hours.  Half of them were up til about 2 am and the other half til about 4 am..which means little sleep for mom and dad lol. They all seemed to have a great time though, dinner, movie, popcorn, nail painting, talking and game playing.  Glad it's done and they have all gone back home though :) 

Friday night was my much needed girls night out with 5 other friends.  We had signed up for an art class at a place called Spirited Art. It was a lot of fun, yes I was trying to be a perfectionist on this painting lol but I did manage to put the brush down and walked away.  The great thing about it is, it's not supposed to be "perfect", everyone in class is painting the same thing and yet they all looked different.  My picture is growing on me as the days go by lol but still not sure where and if I will hang it up for others to see. I'll post a picture tomorrow, I haven't had time to take one yet. 

Somehow I thought it would be a good idea to sign up for an "extreme couponing 101" class the next morning.  Umm what was I thinking? I was exhausted from no sleep on Thurs. night, then stayed up late for the painting night and still got up early for Sat morning??? Yes it's quite obvious I wasn't thinking.  ;) However I am glad I went to the class, it was great.  I learned much more than I already knew and feel more confident about couponing and soon will start CVS'ing. If you are interested in learning more, the class I took was held by Jenny, who is the owner & coupon guru of Southern Savers.  In my opinion it was worth the $10 for the class, especially  if you are new to couponing or just want to learn more ways to save money on groceries. 

So this brings me to my final topic, swelling.  First however let me tell you, sitting in a plastic chair for 3 plus hours on Friday night plus another 3 plus hours on Sat morning is NOT good for a 32 week pregnant person. OUCH, I am still sore and it hurts to sit down. So take my advice, don't do it. EVER. Seriously. Listen to me.      So the last day or so I've had some swelling in my left ankle and my leg/foot feels kinda of numb.  It's been that way for several hours this evening and it's driving me nuts. I plan to ask my dr about it tomorrow when I go in for my appointment.  I've also had some contractions, getting a little stronger here and there but not really painful nor radiating from my back...so I am hoping it's nothing as well.  I'll update tomorrow after my appointment. 

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Time To Get Crafty

I pulled out the old (well new and basically never used, bought 2 yrs ago on clearance) dusty sewing machine out yesterday.  I am on a quest to become more crafty. I once was a crafty girl, learned to sew in school and did pretty well, but that was about 17 years ago. So to say I am rusty, well I am right up there with Mater from Cars and might need a little Rust-eze to go with it., is my friends an understatement. ;) So I dusted it off, literally, and tried to thread the machine yet again and make sure the bobbin was working.  Guess what? It worked, apparently the last few times I tried to use it, I did NOT have it threaded right.  Sigh.  Guess it helps to re-read the directions when all else fails. 

So on my quest, I have been looking at Craftster because I LOVE that site and decided I want to make some pillowcase dresses for the girls. Once I master that I plan to move to a rag quilt, which is much easier (so it seems) to make than a regular quilt. I found some really cute fabric at wally world today for both the dresses and the quilt...but stuck with just the dress stuff today. I have some other fabric that I plan to test out a dress for H and see how it goes before I start cutting on my new fabric for both girls. We'll see how it goes, if it turns out, I will post a picture.  I make no promises though. 

Wish me luck!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

30 Week Bebe' G Update

I went to my 30 week check up this past Monday and am still having a hard time believing that I am this far along already.  Shouldn't it be like week 15 or something? I can't wrap my head around the fact I only have 10 weeks to go, or less! I would be OK with a little less lol like 7 or 8 but we'll see. I want bebe g to be fully cooked and ready.

So on to the update, weight wise, I am still doing good. I gained 3.5 lbs in 2 weeks.  Hmmm, all those late night cereal snacks are catching up to me. I am still under my beginning weight now by 1.5 lbs, if you've been keeping up. I've gained back 15.5 of the 17 I lost, if that helps. My blood pressure was slightly up, 144/77, however the nurse nor the NP said anything.  I was kinda of surprised, since last time it was up the dr thought I may need to up my dosage of BP pills. I have been waiting on the phone call lol but so far nothing. It was a quick appointment, I think it took me longer to drive there than it did for the appointment. Not that I am complaining, since I really haven't been having any issues, I expect short and sweet for the most part. 

We're slowing making progress on the to do list for bebe g's arrival. The room is almost set up to get the crib put in and the changing table as well.  We still need to put them together, but not doing so until we get the room set. I need to buy a car seat, asap in case bebe g does make an early arrival. My list keeps growing of things to do but I am just not going to stress myself, what gets done gets done. I just want the major stuff done so I can relax a bit. 

I return to the dr in 2 weeks and I need to hurry up and decide if I am going to do the 3d/4d ultrasound or not. Decisions, decisions.

Happy 5th Birthday H!

Happy 5th Birthday!
Birth 3/4/05
1 Yrs Old 
2 Yrs Old
3 Yrs Old
4 Yrs Old
5 Yrs Old

We celebrated H's 5th birthday this past weekend and I really do mean she had a birthday weekend! We let the birthday girl pick the place they want to eat, and she of course chose Applebees.  There was no doubt in my mind she would lol it's her favorite place. She liked it even more because they came and sang happy birthday to her and she got free dessert. Can't go wrong with that! 

On Friday we had some playgroup friends over to celebrate, they played, they ate, played and ate some more   lol and H had a great time.  She was sad to see her friends leave though, but soon perked up when she learned she would be going to CEC on Sunday. So bright and early Sunday morning we took the kids to CEC (which who knew they opened at 9 am on a Sunday??) and had the whole place to ourselves for about 45 minutes.  PERFECT.  We had pizza/breaksticks/drinks and tokens galore and stayed for about 2.5 hours, they loved it.  I've always hated that place on weekends, but now know that 9 am on Sunday is the best time to go. They will be begging to go back soon, we still have tokens left! 

She got a lot of fun toys for her birthday, I think the "winner" is the zhu zhu pet and house. Oh boy she was so excited opening that present lol now J is jealous and wants to go buy some herself lol. I was thinking maybe the Easter Bunny could bring some. We'll see. 

All in all she had a great birthday and see I stressed myself out trying to figure out what to do and in the end she didn't need a huge fancy party just friends and family!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Progress

H's 5th birthday is tomorrow, and while I have made progress on birthday preparations... I am still not ready. That shouldn't surprise many of the people that really know me, since I tend to procrastinate often.

H and I went and picked out cakes (yep plural) for her birthday celebrations on Monday, dh picked them up from the store today. So one thing marked off the list.  We decided on two cakes since she wanted to take cupcakes to school to celebrate since tomorrow is a school day (I paid she's  going!) and a cake for her party here at the house on Friday.  I did manage to plan a small friend party for her on Friday at the house. I wanted to plan it somewhere (Little Gym, etc) but it just wasn't in the budget.  We're going to have pizza, fruit, crackers and juice for lunch along with cake, play a couple games and just let the kids play.

Tomorrow evening we'll take her out to eat and let her choose the place. In the last few years it's been Applebees, it's her favorite.  So I am sure she'll pick that, but I could be wrong.  Not that I have ever been wrong about my children before.  Nope not me.  I think on Friday I plan to try to take them to go see the Princess & The Frog at dollar movies, if its still playing.  On Sunday morning, the plan is to take H to Chuck E Cheese (Chunky n Cheese as H calls it) and do the lunch coupon thing with tokens.  She's been begging to go there, and I hear Sunday morning usually isn't to busy.

That will conclude the 5th Birthday Celebration!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Bills and Randomness

I am so tired of bills lol as if everyone else in the world isn't either! We got our federal tax refund last week, so our plan was to pay off dh's car and my bionic ears.  Thankfully it was enough to do both and leave just a tad bit left over.  Not much though, as I forgot to get taxes taken out of my pay from my job, so that shorted us some. It's such a relief to have those checks written and know they are paid off, and it's freeing up some money each month, which obviously we need due to bebe' g coming soon.

Did I mention coming soon? Yep 11 weeks or less to go and we have nothing ready. Name not picked, crib nor the changing table put together.  I do have clothes sorted, just need to be washed and then find somewhere to put them... I feel like things are piling up fast and here I am overwhelming myself with to much stuff, so I am trying to slow down.

My to do list is growing by the second and not only with baby stuff but life stuff, group stuff and girl scout stuff.  Where does it end? We have 2 months until Relay for Life, which is good and bad.  We've got a lot still to do and money to raise, and I feel lost on all that this time. I don't have the time to dedicate to it, as I have in the past years.  Add in working on HMMT's Spring Fling and just trying to get things ready here at the house, it doesn't leave much time for extras.  That extra would be Girl Scouts. Thank goodness cookie sales is almost over, just another week and we'll be done! Then just a few more meetings to plan before they end for the summer and some fun activities to do during the summer, which I may not get to go to but the girls will enjoy them.

I am probably tempting fate trying to go to one last moms weekend away trip before bebe' g is born.  It's scheduled for a week before Relay and is in Nashville.  I need this, I want this, but am worried I may not get it.  H was born at about 38 weeks...so we'll see. Fingers crossed!

Enough of the whining, I still have tons to do this week in prep for H's 5th Birthday!