The Blessed Life

The Blessed Life

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Extreme Money Saving

I read an article yesterday on Yahoo about extreme money saving ideas.  Things that were beyond anything I would ever do to save money.  For example, one woman who loved to make arts and crafts using fake flowers would dumpster dive at the local cemetery after funerals for craft supplies.  Ummmmm....that is super weird.  Another person said that they saved condiment packages (and even had close family members save them also) and filled up their ketchup, mustard and mayo bottles at home with the packages.  I see two problems with this plan.  One, they must be going out to eat in order to get these condiment packages which is not inexpensive.  And two, who really spends that much on ketchup, mustard and mayo?  I think I buy those like once every six months or so.

While none of the ideas were things I would ever do, it did get me thinking about extreme ideas for saving money.  I can't honestly say I have ever done anything extreme.  I have washed out Ziploc bags before to reuse, but not necessarily because I wanted to save money, more because I didn't see throwing it away when it was still good.  We eat leftovers instead of throwing them out, we make our own pizzas most of the time instead of ordering out (I like ours better anyway because I can put fresher ingredients on mine), and we don't go out to eat very often, but none of that is extreme. 

So, I would like to know, have you done anything that could be considered extreme when it comes to saving money?  Anything that you might be slightly embarrassed to tell someone?  I want to know. 

As for mine, the most extreme thing I can think of is the fact that Jason and I buy plants that are almost dead to save money.  At Lowe's or Home Depot or even nurseries around town, you can usually find plants that have stopped blooming and are almost all the way dead for a MAJOR discount.  We buy those plants, bring them home and rehab them and then plant them in our yard and they look great.  We got a great tree one time for $25 and it is now doing great in our front yard.  Our azaleas were $1 each and look great.  We also get cuttings of plants from friends and family to grow in our yard.  Yes, we still spend money on landscaping, but not as much as we would if we bought everything new and healthy!!!

Let's hear your extreme ideas!

Monday, October 25, 2010

First Camping Trip

This past weekend, Jason and I took the girls camping.  We went with my sister and her family.  Since it was our first trip with the girls and since the Williams' had a football game to attend on Saturday, we stayed pretty close to home.  We went an hour away to Birch Lake and had a pretty good time. 

Picture of our tent that we stayed in during our trip.  It was nice and roomy and had enough space for the pack-n-play, a queen airbed, a twin airbed, and all of our bags!  Interestingly enough, we bought the twin airbed for Isabelle and instead one night Jason slept on it and one night I slept on it.  Isabelle was not down for sleeping by herself!

Isabelle spent a lot of time playing in the dirt and getting dirty and wet!  I went into the trip telling myself that I was not going to get upset about her getting dirty or her clothes being dirty or the tent being dirty.  It was a good thing I practiced that before we left.

Just one of the times she was covered in mud and dirt.  Here is another one.

Molly was a dream.  In retrospect I wish we would have gotten Isabelle started camping a little sooner.  Molly is overall an easy baby and camping was no different.  I think she had a great time!

During our trip we spent time playing on the playground, going for nature walks, and sitting around the campfire relaxing.  We took a TON of pictures and while I wish I could post them all, I can't!  Here are a few more that I think are pretty great.

Jason and Molly.  Like I mentioned before, Molly was a very happy camper!

We are so thankful for Caity Bug.  Her and Isabelle have quite the amazing relationship.  Cait helped us out the entire weekend with Isabelle and I am not sure we would have been able to camp without her!

Isabelle on the teeter totter!

Molly got to go down the small slide with Lauren, ride the teeter totter and swing on the swing set with Aunt Buh-Buh.

The Williams. 

Our funny farewell picture.  We took one at our last camping trip at Birch Lake two years ago and decided we must make it a tradition.  Poor Isabelle was crying and was wearing the only clean clothes she had left!  She was asleep in the car less than five minutes after this picture was taken!

So even though Isabelle didn't sleep that great and even though it was cloudy and windy most of the weekend, we still had a good time.  I didn't get to sleep in or take a nap or just relax and read like I have done before, but I did get to watch Isabelle play football and go down a HUGE slide and throw rocks in the lake.  It wasn't the same camping experience I have grown to love, but it was still pretty nice!  And yes, I would do it again.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Our lives

It is easy to let the days pass by without really stopping to take notice of all that is going on when you are a stay at home mom.  One day easily blends in with the next and before you know it weeks and months have passed by without any MAJOR changes.  When the kids are not sick, when we don't have any big plans, when no major milestones occur, it is easy to say that we don't have anything going on.  But the truth is, that everyday with Isabelle and Molly is a day with something new, something they haven't done before, and I hope I can remember these seemingly little things as well as I remember the monumental first things like crawling and walking and vacations and teeth and all those other BIG moments.

So while nothing really huge happened this past week, my girls are doing new things, growing way to fast and keeping me busy.  Isabelle is currently all about puzzles.  But in true Isabelle fashion, the easy ones are of no interest and the ones that are much too hard are the ones she wants to spend all day on.  We are practicing her letters and numbers everyday and she has a puzzle with the alphabet that we are still trying to master.

Cait and Josh came over this week and Isabelle was so happy to have someone to play with other than her sister Molly.  They had a little dance party in my room while I was cleaning and if anyone stopped dancing, Isabelle was not happy.  Let me tell you, cleaning a bathroom while dancing is not the easiest thing!

Molly is not crawling, though at this point I don't know that she will.  She is a very fast scooter.  Just as fast as if she was crawling, so I am not sure she sees any need to crawl.  I see the early signs of her wanting to pull up on things, so that can't be far behind.  She is eating more and more solid foods and right now she seems to like anything I put in front of her.  I can't help but be sad because I know this is just the beginning of the end of her being my baby.  Jason suggested we have another, but I am confident he was kidding!

Jason's work is pretty much the same...BUSY.  No one at our house is complaining!  I am so thankful that he works for a company like Alaback.  My business is good.  Overall, we are amazingly blessed.

And while right now things are pretty uneventful for us, the holidays are just around the corner and that brings a LOT of activity for our family.  So I will try to take advantage of the slow times, the times where I feel there is nothing happening.  And,  I will try to remember to enjoy all of it, the slow and the jam packed schedule.  The small moments and the huge moments.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Questions that need answering

1.  Is it okay for a two year old to only eat yogurt, applesauce, oatmeal, and cheerios for a week straight?

2.  If the answer to #1 is no, how do you get them to eat vegetables, meat, or other healthy items?

3.  Where do you go to find the answer to the question, "Is my child truly gifted, or am I just biased?"

4.  How cold is too cold when you are getting ready to go camping with an infant and a toddler?  After all, the Indians lived in tents, right?

5.  When should a child switch from a sippy cup to a regular cup?

6.  Will Molly always be this easy?

7.  Will Isabelle always have this much energy?

8.  Will I always feel like a rookie when it comes to Isabelle and a total know it all when it comes to Molly?

9.  How can a parent be sure to take as many pictures and videos of their second child as they did of their first?

10.  Why does Isabelle love to eat ice?  Is this a kid thing or an iron thing?

11.  Will anyone answer my questions???

Hope everyone had a great weekend!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Favorite Things Part 1

I was inspired by another blog post to do a list of some of my favorite things.  I think this idea of my favorite things is slightly self centered since it assumes someone cares what my favorite things are, but I am still going with it, because, well, these things are awesome and you simply must get/try them all.

I am calling this post Part 1 since I have WAY more favorite things and since I am certain I will want to share more of them with you at a later time.  I will switch back and forth on Wednesdays doing money saving tips and favorite things.

First up, a baby item.  A really gross, but super awesome baby item.  If you have toddlers who have never been exposed to this, don't start now.  It is NOT Isabelle's favorite item.  But Molly is different.

The nosefrida.
It is a magical snot sucking device that has provided hours of continuous sleep for Molly.  One end goes up to the nostril, one end goes in your mouth.  You suck the snot out.  And while you are never in any danger of getting snot in your mouth, it still seems icky.  Jason said something along the lines of, "up your nose with a rubber hose," which is pretty accurate.  I love the nosefrida and think all moms should own one.  Way better than the bulb aspirator.

Number two is much less disgusting.  Kind of. 

This workout is no joke.  What makes it one of my favorite things is that it is only about 30 min long.  You do need a set of hand weights to complete the workout, but other than that, you can do this at home, get results and don't need lots of equipment.  I can't really make it to the gym anymore, but I can workout.

Ray.  My love.  I don't need to say anything more.  Just buy his CDs.  All of them.  You won't be disappointed.

Lastly, a recipe.  My favorite recipe at the moment.  It makes a TON of food, isn't too hard to prepare, is healthy and Isabelle eats it up!

Delicious.  I would have never known this great meal if it weren't for my friend, Stephanie.  She made this for us when we came home from the hospital with Molly.  We have made it probably 5 times since then.  Just had it on Monday in fact!  You should really try it.

There you go!  Four of my favorite things.  Hope you enjoyed this completely self centered look into what I think is awesome.  Have a great day and see you on Friday!

Monday, October 11, 2010

This and That

So much has been happening around our house.  This past weekend I was able to get away for a night and attend the Girls Getaway with our church out at Dry Gulch.  I went with my sister, my niece and my friend Stephanie and we had a GREAT time.  We enjoyed great food, great teaching, and great weather.  I wish it had been two nights instead of one! 

While I was gone, Jason's mom came and stayed with Jason and the girls.  They took Isabelle and Molly to a pumpkin patch and got some great pictures.  Isabelle could have cared less about the pumpkins.  She was fascinated with the goats and sheep. 

I might have mentioned that Molly had her six month checkup last week.  She was in the 54th percentile for weight and 76th for height.  Pretty similar to Isabelle except I think Isabelle was a little chunkier at her six month checkup.  I am currently in the process of making a first year scrapbook for Molly and this is one of the pictures I took for the six month page.

Isabelle always wants a bow in her hair if Molly has one in hers.  Otherwise Isabelle will have nothing to do with hats, headbands or bows. 

The swing set is finally complete.  In Jason's defense, it was only lacking a swing to strap the girls into instead of a regular swing.  Isabelle still has a little difficulty figuring out big kid swings.  So on Saturday, Jason and his mom went to Toy's R Us and got a great pink swing!  Isabelle is in heaven.  She fell asleep in it on Sunday morning!  I wish I had a picture of that!!!

And lastly another cute picture of Isabelle!  She was so excited to see her favorite person, Caitlin, this weekend.  I think it has been three weeks since she has seen Cait on a Saturday night.  Isabelle is a BIG fan of her cousins, Caitlin and Buzz.

After a fun filled weekend, Molly and Isabelle are both under the weather.  Molly started feeling sick on Friday night, Isabelle on Sunday.  Hopefully both will feel better soon so we can get out and enjoy the cooler weather before it heats up again this weekend! 

Friday, October 8, 2010

The fair

I would like to start by saying I hate the fair.  I hate the midway and the smell and the rides and well, all of it.  I hate the fair.  Perhaps if I could stomach the rides or if I liked donut burgers or other such similar food, I could get on board with the fair, but currently none of those things are true and I still hate the fair. 

There is only one upside of being at the fair and that is people watching.  I love people watching regardless of where I am, but the fair is like hitting the jackpot of people watching.  I wish I would have taken a camera in order to do justice to the things I am about to describe, but I didn't.

First, a reggae banana.  Not just any reggae banana, but a HUGE reggae banana.  Like five feet long, stuffed, dreadlocked, reggae banana.  Have you ever seen a reggae banana?  Didn't think so. 

Second, (and hold on to your seats for this) a florescent green, pigtail, dreadlock, headband.  I am assuming that because it was a headband and because it was pigtails, this item was made for women, not men.  I don't think any human should wear it.  Real dreadlocks are bad enough.  Green, pigtail, headband ones are worse.

Next, a Mexican cowboy wearing what can only be described as a jeweled belt.  Not a belt with rhinestones, but a belt that was made completely of different colored square jewels.  Not only was it a jewel-belt, but it was a pastel colored jeweled belt.  My description is not doing this belt justice.  It was sweeeeet.

Lastly, the ref.  I have no idea if he was a real referee or not.  His shirt did not specify if he was a real ref or not.  Just said Ref.  His pants that he was wearing with his ref shirt suggested that he was not really a ref, but my sister would not let me ask.  She said I could not ask without laughing.  Incorrect.  She could not quit laughing.  If you had seen him you would understand.  It was awesome. 

I should mention that we did meet lots of nice, modest, normal and even funny people as well.  However, I think that perhaps this year was the last year I will work at the fair.  Of course I said that last year. 

As a side note, if you like the fair, the Tulsa State Fair is over this weekend, so if you are wanting to go, you'd better get to it!  Stop by the dairy truck inside the Exchange Building for a free ice cream cone while you are at it.  It is probably the only thing at the fair that is free!  Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


As it turns out, coming up with a way to save lots of money every week is somewhat more challenging than I initially thought.  I love saving money, but I pretty much do the same things week in and week out rather than something new and exciting each week.  The savings on Directv was great, and my diaper savings continue on (and if you need diapers right now, if you buy two value boxes at Babies R Us you get a $15 gift card), but really I just work hard to do the same things over and over that I know save money.  So my money saving tips are going to continue, just not every Wednesday. 

Today, until I can think of another wonderful savings, you will get a great way to save money on coffee.  I LOVE coffee.  I would drink a whole pot if I wasn't nursing.  I never knew how much I depended on caffeine until having children.  Now I can barely function before my cup of coffee in the morning.  Lately, coffee is getting more and more expensive.  We buy Folgers in the 33.9 ounce can.  It is $8.59 pretty much everywhere (Walmart, Target, etc.),  EXCEPT  Dollar General. 

I have never been to Dollar General or any similar store.  But I do get the ads with my mail and I saw the ad yesterday and coffee (the same size and brand) is only $6.   I realize most people won't make a special trip for $2.59 in savings, but they also carry name brand laundry detergent, dishwasher soap and other cleaners for much less.  So, it may be worth your while to swing by and pick up your coffee and cleaners, or if you shop somewhere where they price match, just take the ad and voila, instant savings without making a trip to the dollar store!  Which is what I will do instead of making another trip just for coffee.

Next week on Wednesday I am giving myself a break.  Instead of a $ tip, I will bring you a list of my favorite things.  From favorite kid products to music to books to makeup and more.  Saw a blog like this the other day and as a result I am going to do one myself!  See you on Friday.

Monday, October 4, 2010

This is the life

Today was Molly's six month check up at the doctor.  Everything was great as expected.  Pretty boring appointment really, unless you take into consideration Isabelle.  She is a mess, but Molly is great.  Isabelle is not a fan of the doctor's office.  I think it is because she is able to recognize that it is a place we go to get shots!  Imagine how she would feel if she actually got all of the immunizations she was 'supposed' to.  So when we go to the doctor's, regardless of whose appointment it is, Isabelle is less than well behaved.  And because I am not a mom who just lets her children run crazy and scream and carry on, I always worry that our visit will end with DHS coming to get me because someone reported me for spanking. 

I wish you could all be here right now.  I just got off the phone with Directv, cancelling a pay per view movie Isabelle bought with the remote.  I thought turning on Gabba would buy me a few minutes to write...WRONG.  Isabelle is in the living room right this instant with her jeans off and her shirt around her waist.  That girl is constantly taking her clothes off.  Okay, now the shirt is off and she walked in here and declared, "Uh-Oh."  I am pretty sure taking off all her clothes was no accident. 

So with that short bit of information I will leave you all to be jealous of my rockin' awesome life.  Constantly putting clothes back on Isabelle, cleaning up messes and going to the doctor.  In fact, we will be back at the doctor's office next month for Isabelle's 2 year check up.  WHAT???  TWO???  How the heck did she get that old?    Guess I need to start thinking about a birthday party.

And now I am off to re-clothe my oldest daughter, get ready for sales meeting and prepare dinner.  See you all on Wednesday.