Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Disney's Give A Day, Get A Disney Day

This is particularly fabulous for us because we are less than an hour away from Disney World, but a terrific idea in general.

I keep saying I want to volunteer, and it's sad that this will be extra incentive to just finally do it, but it actually will light a fire under my butt. I don't know what the limitations are on it yet, but I certainly hope there are tons of people who get to take advantage of it.

Sign up now :)


Tuesday, September 29, 2009

They are going to BAN me!

So last week was a bad week. For everyone I know. It started off with me forgetting my wallet at home, and not realizing until I was in the grocery checkout with my cranky kid. It ended with me bringing our car in for repairs and spending the day at a nearby mall changing the Doodle's outfit 3 times (don't ask) and walking around with a soaked shirt and bra and a kid who learned how to climb (don't ask). Uggh. Only to find out they couldn't fix the car and I have to bring it in again this week. There was a WHOLE lot of little things in between too. Yeesh, bad. So that week is over, and this one is new. And it is a fabulous week already!

If you have checked my blog out at all previously, you have probably picked up on the fact that I am a wee bit frugal. Not where it really matters, I am very particular about the brand toilet paper we buy, and I do have weaknesses, like my nice make-up. However, most of the time I am looking for a way to maintain our lifestyle on as little money as I can. Sometimes I do a bang up job, and sometimes I make a mistake and inadvertently fall off the wagon.

This has been a good week so far. I picked up 2 grocery carts of food from Publix for $150, including diapers and diaper cream. I saved $100 at the grocery store using coupons and shopping sales! My freezer is full, my pantry is full, I have fresh vegetables, and plenty of meals. I was a super happy lady walking out of that store. It's embarrassing to admit, but I actually called my husband at work to tell him. Yep, embarrassing.

So then today I got this from The Picture People,

I am gonna make you read a little longer before I tell you how much I paid for it. It is a 12 by 24 double matted picture frame with the prints included. The middle is an 8 by 10, flanked by two 5 by 7's. I am not crazy about the white frame, but they were out of black. They said I can exchange it for black when they get more in, which I probably will. That's why the packaging is still on.

If you're still reading this, I paid exactly $0 for it. Not a single penny. Nada. SERIOUSLY. I will post a photo of the receipt if you don't believe. Dare me, I am almost itching to do it! I looooooove this place because of the promotions they run and the fact that they take nice photos of squirmy kids. What I don't love is how expensive they are. All prints are $18 each. Ouch. And that darling frame with matte and photos will run you about $100 if you buy it there. Ouch, ouch, ouch! There is no way in the ever foreseeable future that we could afford that. I mean, that's almost 2 grocery carts of food! And I likee my food, so do the boys.

So how did you get that thing free? I told you about their Free Photo Package earlier this month, and they did it a few months ago too. I took advantage of it and then they did something called a Passport to Savings. Basically, you get a sticker for each session you have there. Once you get 2 stickers, you can cash them in for a free Trilogy frame. Crazy! So I worked the system and grabbed my Passport and a sticker for the free photos I just had taken. Only one more session to go until Free Frame with Photos! Then they sent me a coupon for Buy 1 Sheet, Get 2 Free. I figured it was worth it for the frame, and I was able to get some special birthday photos on his actual birthday. I bought my one, I got 2 free, and then ended up with that beautiful frame. Yippee :)

So for $18 total I received:
One 10 by 13
Two 8 by 10's
Six 5 by 7's
Six 4 by 6's
Eight wallets
A Trilogy Frame, matted with and 8 by 10 and Two 5 by 7's

Not too shabby. I just hope they don't BAN me!!! I loooooooove them :)

The World's Easiest No Sew Toddler Blankie, Seriously!

The World's Easiest No Sew Toddler Blankie (seriously!)

Here's my Doodle cuddling with his new blankie during his afternoon Sesame Street fix.

We were in Joanne's today to pick up some burlap (yep, I'm hopping on that bandwagon) for a project, and we passed the fleece aisle. The Doodlebug is obsessed with ducks, so much in fact, that he said "duck" and "quack" before "mama," it breaks your heart doesn't it? Anywho, we passed a fleece bolt with ducks on it, and he starts freaking out, shouting "duck, duck, duck! quack, quack, quack"! I figured at $4.99 a yard, it was worth it to buy some to see what I could do with it.

Then a miracle happened. Well, maybe not so much as a miracle, as my laziness serving a purpose. As she was cutting me half a yard (I am cheap, cheap, cheap, folks) I realized that's all that needed to be done to it. I handed it to my Doodle and lo and behold, for $2.50 he had a duck blankie! Yep, it is that easy to please a toddler. And apparently a tired mom that doesn't sew. Now I know, it's crooked. Had I realized this was all I was gonna do with it, I would have had her cut straighter, but honestly does it matter when it is being dragged along the floor in a cute toddler fist? Nope!

To make things even better, I got it home and realized that I could cut the "blankie" in two, and have a back-up. Brilliant! Yay! Now we have one for the house, and one for outings where it will inevitably be left behind or destroyed beyond all recognition. That means each "blankie" is only $1.25.

As you can see in the second photo, it is still a pretty decent size. Quite frankly, even if each one only lasted a week each, it would be worth the $2.50. This is only one half, the other half is being cuddled upstairs for naptime.

And I know the corner of our dining room vomitted up a ton of toys, but I am looking for a storage bench or toy box on the cheap. Once I do, I will corral that mess. Don't judge (too much). Oh, and while you aren't judging, most of those toys (85%) are from very generous grandparents, family, and friends. He is a much loved kid!

I am linking this up to Kimba's DIY Day, and it is probably the single laziest craft on that site today. And you know what, I am not gonna feel the least bit guilty about being proud of it. I have a happy kid, I paid $2.50, and I didn't even have to break a sweat :)

Go show Kimba some love, and get inspired by some of the amazing things these women (and some men), can do!


Friday, September 25, 2009

A Down Day

These are the mommy days that I hate. Sometimes I feel very, very lonely because I don't know anyone who is going through exactly what I am. Obviously it is wishful thinking (and would be kind of creepy) to have someone in the exact same circumstances to commiserate with.

Everything is fine, we're all healthy and ok, but sometimes I think maybe I am not cut out for being a mom like I thought I was. The feelings of self-doubt just seap through, and I feel very much "less than". I adore my son, and am thankful for him every day, but this toddler transition is not going as easily for me as I thought it would.

I look at other moms and their kids seem calmer. I vocalize this and then feel like a bad mom when the other moms say "I don't think he's as bad as you're making him out to be." This breaks my heart. I would never say my son is bad. He is an amazing kid. Smart, cute, sweet, has a wicked sense of humor already. But he is also a little mischievous already, and he courts danger like the stereotypical little boy. It doesn't mean I think he's bad, it's just I wasn't ready for this much toddler this soon.

Maybe it's only because I have a low patience level (which is true), or maybe I had a misconception of how fast they become little wild animals. All I know is between his climbing, emptying the trash, trying to run out the front and back doors as soon as they're open, trying to get into the toilet, taking off electric socket plates, getting stuck behind the loveseat, pulling up the cable from under the rug, hiding in cabinets, playing peekaboo with the curtains, opening up childproof caps, and calling 911, I hug him and kiss him as much as possible because I love him so terribly much and because I feel so darn alone that Kids A and B aren't trying to eat the rug pad while mine is blissfully chomping away.

Sorry to be a downer, but does anybody else feel this way ever or is it just me?

Monday, September 21, 2009

I heart the Dollar Store

Over the weekend I found a few goodies for Halloween at the Dollar Store. I like some of them so much, I think a 2nd trip is in order.

Like for these glittertastic skulls. For only a buck each I feel like I NEED more than 2. The Mr. would disagree about my NEED, but then I would explain to him again about how my compulsions work. Bless his heart for putting up with me ;) The crazy thing is that Michael's is selling a Martha Stewart glitter skull kit for a lot more than it costs to buy them pre-made at the Dollar Store.

Delightful. My other favorite is this cute sign, they had a few different designs but I liked this one the most. Aside from the slightly cheesy 3 pumpkins at the bottom, this is adorable! For only a dollar! I think I might snap up the other 2 designs just to round out the collection.My favorite thing about this sign is that I can flip it around and paint it with chalkboard paint so I can use it all year. Dual purpose for a dollar, fabulous!
My final find is a cute ceramic pumpkin. I initially bought it with the intention of spray painting it white, but I am not sure now. The plain pumpkin-ness of it is kinda growing on me. What do you think?

The last thing I grabbed at the Dollar Store isn't for Halloween, but I wanted to share it because I loooooove it! They are these awesome little mesh bags that you keep in the car (or wherever is handy).They are pretty neat! They come in a pack of 4, so they break down to 25 cents each. They do expand, they have a drawstring, and to give you an idea of their capacity here is a shot of my kiddo's bananas hanging out in the bag.
I am currently using them to wrangle Little People and miscellaneous toys that end up in the car from Boo's latest obsession of carrying something in each hand at all times. We frequently leave the house with him holding 2 items, and then he drops them for 2 new items, leaving the previous 2 abandoned and inevitably rolling around the floor of the minivan. I can see using these for garbage in the car (dry of course), crayons, produce from the grocery store, wet bathing suits, dirty shoes, the possibilities are endless. All for a quarter each so if they get ripped, dirty, or ruined in general you won't lament their passing.

I have a project I am working on with Huggies boxes that I am hoping to have finished by the end of the weekend to share. I am very, very excited about it, and I am keeping my fingers crossed that it turns out the way I want it to in my head.

Have a fantastic week!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Stair Climber

Exercise machine you may be thinking? Perhaps she found a great way to put in minimal effort on a machine and lose a tremendous amount of weight. I have not, sorry to disappoint. But I will continue looking!

Nope, my son. He has figured out how to open the safety gate to our stairs and has become a man-child on a mission. That little stinker is able to open the gate and get up 3 steps to the landing before I can even turn my head. I thought I had at least another 6 months before this started. Sigh. It is exhausting. Not the chasing after him part, that's a little wearing, but it's the emotional guarding that is tiring me out. I am actually having nightmares about him sneaking past me and falling down the stairs.

Also, he has become the Poop in the Car Bandit. Not sure if you've heard, but apparently, the car is the BEST place to poop. Evidenced by the fact that my son has done it 3 times this week. I think we're about to head right into the grocery aisle, but he has a present waiting for me. The kind that needs immediate attention. Thoughtful, kind, sweet, cute Poop in the Car Bandit.

I shouldn't complain too much though, he has started giving me kisses! Yep, full fledged "mmmmwa" kisses. And sometimes he gives them without me even having to ask!!!! I know they grow out of kisses super fast so I am going to enjoy this as long as I can :)

I found some fun stuff at the Dollar Store yesterday, so I am planning on posting my finds this weekend. I heart the Dollar Store. I would marry the Dollar Store if I could, but I am already hitched. I was particularly impressed with what the Dollar Store showed me yesterday.

Hope everyone is having a loverly weekend!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Freebies Coupon Alert!

Happy Wednesday!

I am finally feeling all better, and am on cloud nine! I love my husband, I love my son, I love my family, I love all the blessings in my life, and I love coupons.

Here are just a few worth sharing:

1. Free 60 day membership to BJ's Wholesale. Must be activated by December 31, 2009. I am gonna wait until the holidays to activate mine, because I think I might want to snap up some holiday sale items. The wholesale stores frequently have gift cards at a discount of their valued amounts. I have seen $50 Godiva gift cards for $20. Wouldn't that make a great gift? Happy shopping :),061.shtml?sc_cid=G468x60

2. Picture People Free Portrait Package. Receive one 8x10, two 5x7, and 8 wallet photos for free. You have until October 4, 2009 to cash this one in. The catch is you only get to choose 1 pose, and they do bring your photos out all framed and it makes you want more, but if you can just say "no thanks," this is a phenomenal freebie. In fact, someone may or may not have gone to two separate Picture People studios using her maiden name and a different email at one of them, just to get two of these free portrait packages. Just saying...

3. Free Aveda Products. I have two coupons for you :)
One expires at the end of this month for a free deluxe size sample of hand cream (perfect for your purse or traveling):

The other is for a trio sample of haircare products that doesn't expire until the end of the year! Again, perfect for travel! And most of their skin/haircare has that lovely lavendar scent. Mmmm.

That's it for freebie coupons today, but if I find more I'll post them right quick. As a side note, I get my hair done at the Aveda salon schools, and have recently started getting some spa treatments there too (hubby is a sweet man). They are FABULOUS! Yes, everything does take longer, and yes, you have an instructor that the student checks in with, but other than that you are getting a very, very nice Aveda quality service for a fraction of the price. I recommend them highly if you want the pampering and high quality, but you have to pinch some pennies :)


Monday, September 14, 2009

Newborn Baby Smell

So I have a tiny obsession with newborn baby smell. I lohhhve it. When I had my son I smelled him so often I swear I wore it out early. Really, I thought it was supposed to last longer than it did. In a flash it was gone. Since then I have accosted every poor mom with a newborn and requested to " get just a quick whiff of that newborn smell." Maybe it's because they were taken off guard, but these women actually let me do it! I can only imagine how creepy and "let me steal your baby" it probably sounds when I ask. But mmmm, I do love that smell. It's clean, and warm, and new, and fresh of promise and innocence.

The reason I bring it up is because I never thought I would find anything to rival that smell. I think the newborn baby smell still wins by a hair, but last night I had my first encounter with another smell I think only a mom could really be touched by... new toddler smell.

I take for granted so many of the changes my son has gone through, and it hit me like a ton of bricks yesterday when we were cuddling. My little man smells like a full fledged toddler. Not the just plain dirty and sweaty smell that little kids eventually grow into, (and who knows, maybe I'll love that smell too!) but the beginning of being a toddler smell.

It's a combination of toddler drool, toddler sweat, a smidge of dirt, some residual dog smell from rolling on the floor with his best friend, cow's milk, spilt apple juice, and leftover food he's storing away under his third chin. I know, I know, it sounds vile and disgusting. Believe me, I can't fathom how it actually smells good. Let me tell you though, I went into mommy nirvana for a few minutes last night while he sat on my lap and I snuggled up to his neck soaking in that new toddler smell. Mmmmm.

Happy Monday to all!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Elmo Cupcakes

My son's first birthday was a couple weeks ago, (yikes, I have a toddler now!) and I made these Elmo cupcakes for the kiddos. It was a small affair, so I didn't make too many, which is a good thing because the little kids weren't that into eating cupcakes. I will say though, they all knew it was Elmo, so goal achieved :)

I can't bake for anything, so they are just plain ole Betty Crocker cupcakes, but I did decorate them on my own. It took a little trial and error but here's how I did it:

1. Frost and dip in red sugar sand. Put in fridge immediately to set the sugar into the frosting.
2. Once sugar is set, (about 30 minutes) cut a circus peanut candy a little shorter and keep it curved at the bottom. I cut about a 1/2 inch off. And cut the front off about a 1/2 inch so it'll be a little flatter and it gets the peanut shell pattern off.
3. Cut a large groove in the marshmallow lengthwise. Then cut the back of that off about an 1/8 inch so it'll be flat and sticky.
4. Place the circus peanut in the groove between the marshmallow. Apply frosting to the back of both as if it is glue, and "stick" it to the top of the cupcake. Now you have Elmo's eyes and nose. Whoo hoo, he has half a face!
5. Cut an Oreo cookie in half and scrape the cream off. Eat the rest of the cookie. Yes, this is part of the instructions, so naturally, you have to do it :)
6. Apply frosting to the cookie and "stick" Elmo's mouth on.
7. Use decorator's icing in black for his pupils, and Voila!, you have an Elmo cupcake.
8. Make sure you put them in the fridge until you are ready to display them, it helps keep his face from getting droopy. :)

I also made my son a mini Elmo cake using the same technique, but if you do this, I highly recommend using red frosting for the rest of the cake. I used white and it didn't look as cute.

They probably don't taste too wonderful with Elmo's face on, but they are sooooo stinkin' cute!

***Edited to add: I have been hovering at Kimba's A Soft Spot to Land all summer, and I am finally linking up to her DIY Day on Thursday. Thanks Kimba, I love DIY DAY and I love your site! Check out all the DIY Fun for yourself:

Friday, September 11, 2009

My first blog, ever.

I am an ecstatically married woman, and blessed to be a stay at home mom with my amazing one year old boy. I am crazy about coupons, I get a high from getting stuff for free. Seriously, it's sick. I love finding new ways to stretch a buck, save time, make life easier, and enjoy my family as much as possible.

Life is good in our house. We have up days and down days, but most are up, and I think that is something to be proud of and to hold onto.

The past several days have been a mix. I recently went in for surgery on a kidney stone, and had a stent placed. I had a baby, and I never felt pain like what the stent did to me the first 12 hours. Things got better as I drank a ton of water, and took my medicine. A week later I had the stent removed and expected a little residual discomfort, but thought it was pretty much all over. Nay, nay my friend. I have been in constant pain from what I assumed was an infection, but the doctor believed to be bladder spasms (sorry for the TMI). They gave me more pain meds, and that helped for awhile until night came and I was doubling up on medicine to get some relief. Finally went back today and they gave me a shot of antibiotics and more to take at home. I felt better a few hours later, and was so excited, but nope, here I am again--square one. Living in the bathroom trying to relieve the pain, pressure, awfulness, and having another sleepless night.

The upshot to the whole situation though is I love my husband a thousand times more than I did last week. In addition to the pain I have a very weak stomach, so there has been a lot of "forceful, involuntary removal of stomach contents" which makes things double unpleasant here. He has been amazingly take charge with our Boo, and he hasn't hesitated to take time off work to be stay at home daddy while I have been sick. This is a very big deal for someone who loves to work himself to the bone. He has been tender, sweet, understanding, non-judgemental, and so super helpful. But the best part is--he hasn't complained about it once! I loved my husband before, but when you are at your worst, it is so comforting and wonderful to have someone who will put their needs aside completely to take care of you. I love you honey.

I am praying to wake up in the morning and have a complete turnaround because this is slowly driving me crazy. I am exhausted, in pain, and I miss playing with my son the way I want to. Let's not even get started on the housework and laundry I am behind on. Yeesh!

So welcome to my blog, the brainchild of sleepless nights and an attempt at distracting myself. And hopefully a distraction for others too, because I promise as I get better this blog will be brimming with helpful mommy ideas and crazy mommy stories.