Saturday, April 30, 2011

Preston's 2nd Birthday Party!

Today was all about Preston's birthday party!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Another performance!

Today was the last performance of the school year. It is a theater and dance production. Ethan is going to be one of the Cowboy Princes. When the teacher first cast the performance she had Ethan as one of the the Teddy Tornadoes but she was so impressed with how well he did during practices that she changed his part. It was funny during the teacher conference we had a few weeks ago, her comment was she was surprised that Ethan was going to be one of her stars. That is when we explained that one of the biggest reasons we choose this preschool was because of the theater classes. Ethan LOVES performing and being the center of attention. We do have him in sports right now but Josh and I have a feeling that he is going to be a theater boy.

After the performance we headed over to Toys R Us to go birthday shopping for Preston. From their ads it looked like they were having a really great sale. When we got there I realized I didn't grab all of my toy coupons but I did grab a store coupon. They had a couple of there dress up clothes on sale for 7.49 then they had some others that were buy one and get one free. They only had one of the buy one free outfits so I picked up two of the 7.49 costumes. They also had a puppet stage marked half off so it only cost $15. The clearance clothes are on sale buy one get on free. Those were the only really good buys that I saw.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Thursday!

The boys cleaned their plates tonight without a fight. We took them to the mall playground. While we were at the mall I was able to upgrade my phone!! I'm so excited.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Oops, how could I forget????!!

I don't know what is going on but I have been a serious space cadet lately. Yesterday I completely forgot to call my grandmother to tell her Happy Birthday. Then today I forgot Preston had soccer!! What is going on with me?

I finally remembered that Preston had soccer five minutes before it was suppose to start and it is over twenty minutes away (depending on the lights). Preston had so much fun during class today. The coach was impressed with how much better Preston did this week over last.

On the way home from soccer I stopped and signed the boys up for another class. I know they just sit around the house and watch TV all day. Okay not really, the boys have been so busy lately I don't think they know which way is up anymore. For the next month the library isn't having story time on Friday. I found a  a Lego Duplo class that is all about animals and where they live that will replace story time.

I also signed us up to go camping. I'm very excited about the boys first family camping trip. I had found on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website they have a program called Texas Outdoor Family where you camp with a Park Ranger and they supply all of the camping equipment they teach you all about how to camp and other outside activities. All the programs were at least an hour away and I'm not sure how well the boys are going to do camping. I then found that the city of Frisco's park and recreation does the same thing but this includes food, it is only for one night, and it is cheaper. If the camping trip turns out to be a fiasco it is okay we can be home in just a matter of minutes.

While I was trying to sign up for the different activities, Preston was being his normal wiggly self then I put him down and he was trying to run all over the place. I ended up putting him in the fun club just so I could gill out the paper work. When I picked him up he was crying like he did the last time I had left him.

The evening was all about swimming. I got in the pool with Preston. He is doing great in the water.

Another soccer day!

The morning Preston and I spent doing errands while Ethan was at school.

The evening was all about Ethan's soccer game. I got him a soccer outfit so hopefully he wouldn't get as over heated as he did last week. On the way to the game Ethan wanted he soccer costume taken off but once we got there and saw all the big kids in soccer outfits he was okay and couldn't wait to play. This week he did do a lot better but there is still room for a lot of improvement. Also this week six kids showed up for his team so he didn't have to play the entire time.

Monday, April 25, 2011

A very busy day.

Ethan started off the morning with soccer. Then we had lunch with Josh. The boys napped in the van while I drove to Bedford. I had a box of donation stuff that I dropped off with a former coworker. Then I ended up staying hi to several people. It was a surreal feeling. I know that I'm where I need to be doing what I need to be doing. My boys are a lot happier and seem a lot more secure then what they were before.

I bribed the boys if they behaved while we were at CBC the I would take them back to Legoland. The bribe worked so we headed to Legoland. Everything was great for about the first 45 minutes then Ethan need to use the bathroom but didn't let me know in time. Anytime Ethan has an accident in public we leave. I loaded the boys back up in the van and we headed home.

After dinner, we headed to the athletic center to go swimming. I messed up and it turned out the pool was closed for swimming lessons. The boys were so upset. I felt terrible that I didn't check the pool schedule before I got the boys all excited about swimming.

Easter Sunday!

This morning started off with an Easter Egg hunt and baskets. Church. Then we headed over to my parent's house for another egg hunt and more baskets.

Overall we had a great day with family.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Legoland Discovery Center!

I got woken up by Ethan coming into the bedroom letting me know it was time to wake up. He crawled in bed with me and I asked him if he knew what we are doing today. He said no. I told him that we are going to Legoland. He jumped out of bed and started running around the house chanting Legoland, Legoland. Preston quickly joined in.

I didn't realize that Grapevine was so close. It only took a little over twenty minutes to get to Grapevine Mills Mall. The boys were about to bounce of their car seats when we pulled up and they saw the Legoland sign. After we got our tickets, it was time to go into the Lego factory. I was a little disappointed with the Lego factory it was a lot smaller then what I was expecting but the boys loved it. It dumped us into the line for the Kingdom Quest. The boys weren't really interested in doing the rides so we bailed out of the line as soon as we could. Our first stop was the Duplo Village where a pit of the jumbo Lego blocks and a pit of the Duplo blocks are located and there was also a slide. Ethan played for a little bit then moved on, Preston on the other hand loved the area. Ethan then discovered the Lego City Play Zone (Parents are not allowed). The boys quit playing in the areas they loved at the same time. We then decided to check out Miniland. It was really neat they were able to really capture all of the tourist spots in Dallas and Fort Worth in Legos. My personal favorite was the Ballpark in Arlington, Ethan loved the airport, Preston just wanted to try to climb on everything, and Josh loved the boats (he guesses). The boys at this point wanted food. I was a little disappointed in the food options. They had great options for adults, sandwiches, salads, fresh fruit. For the kids they nachos and hot dogs. I thought the prices were over inflated too. The boys wondered a little bit but then returned to the areas they were playing in before. Josh kept trying to get Ethan to watch a movie but he couldn't get Ethan out of the Play Zone when it was time to go into the theater. About 1:00 Preston was just done and wanted to go. The center was also starting to get crowed so we decided it was time to head home.

Overall, I was was expecting Legoland to be bigger than what it is but they really did an amazing job maximizing the amount of space they have. The areas that seemed to be the least crowded was the Princes Parlor and the Duplo Village. There were times Preston was the only child in the pit that he was playing in.

Side note: I had Ethan in an orange shirt to make it a little easier to spot him. Turns out every parent that went to Legoland today had the same thought. I felt like I was at a Rockwall High School football game or something. 

The standard admission price (the price you pay at the door) at the LEGOLAND Discovery Center is
  • $19.00 for adults  (age 13+)
  • $15.00 for children  (age 3-12)
  • Children aged 2 and under go free
Of course I have to talk coupons. In the passport book there is a coupon for 20% off a one day pass. If you buy online you save 15%.  Also available online only is the midweek afternoon ticket, it is 12.50 per person but it is only valid Monday - Friday after 5:00. Just keep in mind the last admission is at 6:00 during the week.

Josh and I decided to go for the season passes. With the season pass you get discounts at the cafe and the store. Today alone we saved over $10.00. We already promised Ethan that we would be back next week. I'm not sure how well it I'll do trying to take both boys by myself but I'm defiantly going to try.




The rest of Saturday 4/23

We got home the boys all took naps. Preston and Josh woke up first. Preston wanted to do dance party. After Ethan woke up they moved onto playing with Legos. All was good until Ethan wanted to play with the new Legos that he had just gotten, then Preston wanted to play with them too. Needless to say they got put up rather quickly. Then it was on to dominoes. Then Nana and Papa came over for dinner and to dye Easter Eggs.

Preston was funny he kept calling them bunny eggs. The boys weren't very patient so the eggs were not in the dye for very long.

While Josh and my mom were cleaning up the kitchen, Dad and I took the boys outside and we played soccer.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Good Friday!

Today Ethan had school, it was a bad weather make up day. Preston and I ran a few errands then headed to story time. I was excited to just have Preston at story time. I decided to leave the stroller in the van thinking that would be easier. *sigh* I felt like Preston made me do a hour of cardio. Preston also didn't participate like he normally does he was clingier than normal too. Ethan's friend from soccer asked me where Ethan was.



It just amazes me how much our plans can change on a moments notice. We were going to dye Easter eggs tonight. Instead we had dinner with Josh's Uncle and his family, Will, and Bobby.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Coupon Groups!

While I was working I formed a coupon group. You only have to pay on paper but you can get multiple coupons for things you want from the other people in the group.

The group I was a part of there were five of us. That turned out to be to many people because you only had one night to go threw the other coupons add yours and move it to the next person. If I was to form a new group I would only have two or three people so you have a couple of days with the envelope.

How we did the group was everyone clipped the coupons and put their initials on the coupons they added. To make sure there was an ample amount of coupons in the envelope you had to replace any coupons you removed with a new coupon. When you got the envelope back you would removed any of the coupons nobody took that have your initials on them. You also removed any coupons that were expired. Make sure the group has a varitey of people with different needs. For example, you aren't going to want a group of people who all have babies and are all looking for the same diaper coupons.

Another thing that was included in the envelope was a list of coupons you are looking for and coupons that you don't want. My husband doesn't follow the don't be brand specific rule of couponing, there is only one brand of body wash and deodorant that he will use. I had those listed of wants. We don't have any pets so We didn't need any pet coupons. Other people in the group had pets so the listed the pet products they needed.

A Restful Day?

Today was the least running around I've done in a while. That just means that I only spent three hours in the van instead of five.

Preston and I had a great time being at home and playing games while Ethan was at school.  The boys did great in the afternoon. Josh had told the boys if they listened they could have pizza tonight.

I wasn't feeling that great so I headed to bed and Josh was amazing and got the boys bathed and in bed by himself.

Soccer day 3!

I'm not sure if I'm liking the new schedule yet or not. I do love that I don't have to move in during soccer practice. I do love that during Preston's class that I can focus just on Preston. Today I arrived at soccer and nobody was there. A couple minutes till class time the person who owns the practice place and and opened the doors. The start of class Preston and I were the only ones there. The owner gave us a couple of soccer balls to kick around. I finally called Soccer Tots and asked if we were having class. The manager said yes just the new coach got lost on the way she will be there soon. Finally another mom arrived with her daughter. We just had the kids kick goals till finally the coach showed up. I really liked her she just didn't know where things were but she did a great job. The owner asked me what I thought of her, I said she was a lot better then the Monday coach. He said thanks for the feed back and he would pass it on. Oops. I hope my little comment doesn't get the Monday coach in trouble, she is new to coaching and I think in time she might improve. I might be a little paranoid because I have just asked a question and gotten someone fired before. Granted that person was on her way out anyways my question about the person's behavior was the straw that broke the camel's back.


Josh's brother and sister-in-law came over last night. The boys had such a great time showing them their toys. Josh's dad and Bobby met up with us for dinner. Of course we took them to Casa Rita's. The was really slow but the food was good.

Once we got back home Ethan and Cherie did a little tap dance show for us.
It was really great getting to visit. It has been way to long since we had seen them. Hopefully we can get together more often.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Ethan's first soccer game!!

Thank goodness Ethan's soccer games are inside because just before the game a storm blew threw. We got to the game right at the start time but thank goodness the game before Ethan's was running late because of the storms.

I'm not a big fan of the leagues that don't keep score. I do understand why they don't keep it at this age. Ethan got upset when any of the other kids would kick the ball when he had it. At one point Ethan decided he was tired and decided to take a nap in the middle of the field. I thought the other kids were going to trample him. *sigh* He said that he had a good time and wants to go back so I guess that is all that matters. Reviewing the videos that we took, there was some good moves that Ethan did make, like when he would start kick the ball into the game he would angle and try to go around the other kids. He also
 would go and stand in the goal and actually act like he knew how to play goalie.

Monday, April 18, 2011

A new schedule!

Man I was just starting to get used to the old schedule and now it is changing. This week is the beginning of a new session of Soccer Tots. When I was signing the boys up I thought it would be easier for Preston to take his class while Ethan is in school. We also signed Ethan up to play in the soccer league. At the time it sounded like a great idea, however when I was filling in our family calender I realized that means we have soccer three days in a row.

The boys also have a new coach for this session. Apparently they are going to have different coaches this time too. Today was Ethan's soccer class. Everyone from the last session have returned and it looks like there is a new boy in the class. The place they practice is an indoor soccer field and they didn't turn on the air yet. The kids were getting really hot an irritable. Not to mention the new coach did things very different from the last one. They are used to using the entire field and this coach was having them only use half the field. At one point she told them to shot a soccer goal and all the kids started running all they way down the field. As soon as they started taking of the coach had them stop. This coach had them keep trying to form lines and the kids didn't really get the concept of after they took their turn to stand at the end of the line. I think the coach was getting really frustrated because towards the end of the class everyone was really hot and starting to push and shove. At one point I pulled Ethan out of the class and made him have a time out just so he could cool off a little bit.



My Josh's brother and sister-in-law are in town. They contacted us while the boys were napping about having dinner tonight. They are craving some Texas flare so we decided on having some barbeque. My sister-in-law laughed when I mentioned that I had a coupon for the restaurant that I suggested. Hey there was seven of us and I had three buy one get one free coupons and they let me use them all that is thirty dollars that stayed in my pocket.

After dinner we headed over for some ice cream. It was really great to see them and Bobby.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Sale + Coupons does not = Great Deal!!

*Sigh* I am so mad at myself! I messed up with my couponing!! Today I was looking at the ads, in the Toys R Us ad the color wonder and color explosions were on sale buy one get one free!! Crap I could have gotten four of them for the price I paid for three the day before.

The hardest part about starting couponing is figuring out if the sale and coupon are the best deal you can get. This is something that I am still struggling with. It does get easier the more you are looking at the ads and shopping the sales. For big purchases I tend to watch the prices for a long time. Right now I'm currently sitting on a couple of 10 off coupons for the LeapFrog Leapster Explorer. That is why I've been watching the Toys R Us ads so closely. Granted one leapster isn't that big of a purchase but we are going to be buying two. I've also been watching the price of the wooden swing sets. Sitting and waiting does have it advantages but it also has it disadvantages. There were times I got greedy and thought the prices would get cheaper instead the just went back up. It took another year before the prices were as low as they had been when I first started watching the item but it never did dip as low as it did the first time.

Another things about prices is know when the new models come out. For example, the automotive industries fiscal year ends in September. Dealerships are really ready to wheel and deal to help boost their numbers for the year. The slowest time of the year for vehicles and houses between October and mid-January.

Sunday!

This morning started off by shopping at Walgreens. Yes I did shop there just before I went to sleep and it was the first place I stopped this morning. My total was originally 28.63 I thought was high. Then I didn't get any register rewards??? What? I know that one of the things that I got was suppose to give me a 3.00 reward. The manager got called over she didn't know why I didn't get my reward. That item got returned and I was refunded 4.32. Which got it down to 24.31. My total savings was 25.94 Sweet I actually saved more than I spent!!

Our next stop Sprouts. I've never been to Sprouts before but they were having some serious sale on fruit and vegetables. I had to check it out. We got Gummi Worms as a treat for the boys for behaving so well while we were in the store. We also picked up cucumbers, green beans, squash, oranges, apples, onions, bananas, and zucchini. All for 6.30!! Who says you can't eat healthy cheaply?

The boys were so adorable in the store. They would point to the different fruits and vegetables and excitedly say what they were and then ask if we could get some. It makes me feel great they love healthy food. Seriously Ethan would rather have a salad over a hamburger anytime.

We got to my parents home at the same time my parents got home from church. We didn't have enough time to prepare anything for lunch. While the boys took their naps my mom and I went out shopping. We didn't see any good deals. Once we got home everyone was awake and we started on dinner. I'm was so proud of my mom she cooked fish for the first time that wasn't fried!! We had baked tilapia that was coated in corn flake crumbs, red pepper, and some salt free Italian seasoning. The batter was 1% milk and a couple of drops of Tabasco sauce. Then we had fresh green beans that were steamed. The fish had a serious kick but I thought it was yummy.

After dinner we headed out the playground. Everyone had a great time!

Egg hunt and shopping.

This morning we went to a Aquatic Easter Egg Hunt. What is an Aquatic Easter Egg Hunt? Turns out a it is a bunch of plastic eggs filled with toys. Ethan started off having a hard time with the bag but once he figured it out he did great. Preston was to young to participate in the egg hunt. Since we are now members of the FAC we used the fun club for him. When Ethan was getting out of the pool Josh noticed a lady with a sign that had my name on it. The lady told me that Preston was not happy and needed to be picked up. Once we got in there I remembered the biggest reason why I became a stay at home mom. Preston was crying so hard the he was having a hard time breathing and that was how he was every day when I would pick him up from daycare. When he did finally gasp for air he would say momma. My dad had gone into the fun club with me and was shocked to see Preston so upset. We were able to finally get him calmed down to where he was breathing normal after about 15 to 20 minutes.

We decided to head to lunch at my favorite Tex-Mex place Casa Rita's. Once again the food was great!

After the boys naps we put up the bounce house for the kids and were outside all afternoon.

I also had a friend and former coworker stop by with her adorable son and husband. They are going to do some work around our house because Josh and I don't have a clue about plants or landscaping. All of our boys played in the bounce house for a while. I think my friends son was overwhelmed by all of the toys. At one point Josh thought Ethan was being aggressive to the other child and had our boys eat dinner. While I chatted with Katie. Her son didn't want to leave because lets face it other kids toys are so much more fun then your own.

Today I went SHOPPING!!!! I know shocking right? My first stop was at Toys R Us. A couple of weeks ago Crayola had some coupons out for their bubbles, color wonder, and color explosion lines. This week Toys R us had their bubbles on sale buy one get one and the color wonder and explosion buy two get one. So I was able to use my two dollar off the bubbles, one dollar off color wonder, and two dollar off color explosion. While I was looking for the Crayola bubbles I found a bubble machine that I have been looking for. We had it but last year it broke and the boys keep asking for it. The machine wasn't on sale and I didn't have any coupons so *sigh* I paid full price all 24.99. I also picked up a Super Heros version of Chutes and Ladders (It is being stored away for Ethan's birthday) it was on sale for 6.99 and I had a coupon for two dollars off. Then I picked up some little swimmers that were on sale for 1.50 off. Overall, I spent 62.72 and saved 23.48.

Then I headed to Walgreens. Can I say I am really annoyed with the EXTREME Couponers? Seriously do you have to clear the shelves of Easter candy??? Yes I'm all for stock piling but you don't need a twenty years supply of candy that is going to expire in a year!! There are several extreme couponers in my area and I've been running into the problem of the shelves being cleared of one or two of the items that I was looking for but this trip nearly everything that I wanted was gone. Seriously who really needs several cases of gum? The candy annoyed me the most because I used to work at a drug store and the candy that I was looking for normally doesn't sale out or if it does it is the day before the holiday. I ended up spending 13.11 (three of it was for the Sunday newspaper) and saved 10.47.

Couponing tips -- Sockpile and meal planners!

I've gotten organized, shopped, now what? I've got 10 tubes of toothpaste and three bottles of conditioner but how am I suppose to feed my family?

Welcome to the stockpile! Now you need to be realistic about your stockpile. There are a couple of things you need to think about when you start your stockpile. First coupons and sales normally follow a three month pattern. For example, pasta might be on sale during this cycle. That could mean that you won't see a decent pasta sale again for three months. If it is a pasta cycle you should buy a three month supply. The second thing you need to think about is how much space do you have for a stockpile? I've lived in places that didn't have a lot of storage so I couldn't have a three month supply on hand. I was lucky to have a week supply of food. If space it tight I would suggest trying to be a little creative about making more storage for your food. We have had to use a collapsible bakers rack that seemed to always be in the way. Third think you need to think about is will I ever really use this product? Once again just because something is a great price or even free if it gets thrown away that was space that could have been used for something better, not to mention the money. When I first started couponing I would get a decent stockpile started but then I would get busy and not take the time to go to the store for several weeks before I knew it I was back to not having any food in the house again.

Stockpiles take time to grow generally you need to have nine months to really have a fully stocked stockpile (because of the three month cycles). Once you have a full stockpile that is when the fun really begins because that is when you can really pick and choose the sales and that is when you can achieve the crazy savings that you have seen on TV. Is your family suppose to starve while you are building your stockpile, No. Meal Planning will make it a lot easier for you to build your stockpile and have food for your family to eat. Like I mentioned before some grocery stores have free meal planning, or you can search meal planning there are several sites that are free and some that you pay for. I personally used a site called E-MEALZ.com the meals are very simple and easy to prepare for the most part. There were several meals that were really weren't sure about but tasted pretty good. There were some that were just alright. I can only think of one meal that we ended up throwing out but that was because I miss read the directions and we never tried it again. If you select a meal for a specific store it generally tries to coordinate the weekly sales with the meals. The biggest down fall of e-mealz is that it is only for dinner and sometimes there wasn't enough leftovers for lunch the next day and doesn't account for breakfast. What I did was set my weekly budget for 75 a week. I know that is  a lot of money but I would use about 50 for the weekly meals then 25 to build my stockpile. After a couple of months I was able to drop it to about half and use more of the money towards the stockpile. Now that I'm only feeding my stockpile I've dropped my weekly bill to about 20 a week. I still use meal planning because it saves time.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Couponing 102

Tips to maximize your savings:
1) Don't be brand loyal!  What I mean is be flexible about the brands you are using for example Colgate vs. Crest they are both name brand toothpaste that both work well.
2)Find out when the store does their "manager specials" for meat and dairy. For all the information about freezing food the USDA's website.
3)Only buy things that you will use. If you end up just throwing it away it doesn't matter how much you saved that is still money in the trash.

Now that you have all the coupons clipped from the newspaper and printed off the internet you now how two options to maximize your savings.

Option 1: You can go to the store walk up and down every isle and check every nook and cranky to see what is on sale and taking notes. (From what I've seen online, talking to people in the store, and from TLC's show experienced couponers take about four hours doing this)
Then you return home and check your coupons matching the sales with the coupons (another four hour process). Return to the store and shop.

Option 2: Use the internet! My personal favorite website is http://www.thegrocerygame.com/. You can sign up for a free month where you have access to all the stores. This website does all the leg work for you. It matches the advertised and unadvertised deals with the coupons. It tells you where the coupons are so you only clip and print the coupons that you are going to use for that trip. At first it took me about an hour to look at the list and organize my coupons. Now it takes me about thirty minutes. You can then print you list as Teri's sort. What that means the list is organized by location in the store. For me it makes it so easy and I'm not having to hunt the entire store for a single item. It has actually gotten my grocery shopping down to less than thirty minutes. Teri also has a wonderful book that covers everything that you need to know about couponing and how to save on just about everything else. It also has a ton of recipes.

There are website that do this but for me this has just been the easiest and most complete database to use. Also there are forums that will let you know about the deals as well. My favorite forum is http://www.weusecoupons.com/. He also has a YouTube channel.

It is Friday!!!

The boys woke up hyper. They were bouncing around the house. I was getting worried about how they were going to act during story time. At one point I seriously thought about not even going. Just getting the shoes on the boys was nearly impossible. Ethan ended up with two different shoes. When I realized that they were different I tried to get him to change one of them but he liked having the different shoes. *sigh* I let it go.

We got to the library, the boys were very excited! Ethan picked out several books then wanted to play on the computers. I told him that we needed to get some books for Preston. Ethan saw a Curious George book and gave it to Preston. Which was really sweet but the book is written in Spanish. Ethan was like Preston has a book so let me play on the computer. Okay maybe it wasn't as sweet as I initially thought. After we got a couple more books for Preston, Ethan got to play on the computers. Ethan ran into a friend from school. Then it was time to go in for story time. Ethan then ran into a friend from soccer.

The boys did great during story time. They listen and participated and just had a great time.

We meet up with Josh and a couple of his coworkers for lunch. The boys behaved great.

Dinner was Little Caesar (I had a coupon for some free crazy bread and they have 5.00 pizzas). After dinner we headed over to the Frisco Athletic Center to let the Ethan play in the pool that he is going to be doing the Easter Egg hunt in tomorrow. Yesterday when we were walking through the place Ethan freaked out when we went to the pool area. When we first walked into the pool area he started freaking out again but he calmed down quickly. I don't know what had him so scared. The boys had so much fun playing in the splash pool. Preston got yelled at by the life guard because he was trying to climb up one of the slides.

The wind was crazy today. It broke the top off the sand table, blew the picnic table off the patio. Knocked the boys patio furniture over. So we brought everything inside.
This is some wind damage in the neighborhood
Another view.
I'm a Star!
Having dinner picnic style.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Couponing 101

I've been getting questions about where to start with couponing, Thanks to the Extreme Couponing show on TLC.

To be an effective couponer you need to be very familiar with the coupon policies for the stores that you will be shopping at. Also keep in mind that all policies are subject to change without notice. Kroger has recently changed its coupon policies in the Houston, TX area where they are no longer doubling coupons. I have a feeling with more people trying to be extreme with their coupon usage that more policies will be changing. Make sure you read the small print on the coupon because some coupons are not letting you use identical coupons in the same transaction. The links below go to that stores coupon policy. You can always go the the customer service desk or ask a manager if you don't see the stores you normally shop at for their coupon policy.
Walmart
Target
Tom Thumb
Market Street


Another major part of being a good couponer is make sure the store has your email and mailing address in their database. Note: I have a second email address that I use for this. The stores will send you store coupons that you can normally stack with manufacturer coupons. The other day Kroger sent me coupons for free salad mix and a box of breakfast bars my boys love. They also have sent me coupons for vegetables. Another coupon is the digital coupon! Kroger has several offers on their website and Tom Thumb uses cellfire. The store does not double or triple the digital coupon and you can't stack it with another manufacture coupon.

Today I was asked where do you find store coupons. Coupons.com is a great place to find manufacture coupons and store coupons. Just about every store has coupons you can print from its website. Some of the stores you might have to go to its sitemap to find the coupons but they are there.

Of course the Sunday paper is normally full of coupons.

When I say stores I mean more than just grocery stores, toys stores, restaurants, and home improvement stores basically anywhere you spend money.

While you are signing up at website make sure you go to the manufacuter's websites too.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Where are the shopping deals???

This morning after I dropped Josh off at work and Ethan at school, I headed back to Costco. I saved over 30 with their coupons.

Last night Josh and I saw there is a piano store having a court ordered liquidation sale. The location is across the street from Costco. I figured I would check out to see how good the deals are. I don't know anything about pianos so I have no idea if the prices were a good deal or not. Next I headed over to Rob & Stucky since they are also having a bankruptcy liquidation sale too. The signs all over the store say 70% off but the prices were still very high and they aren't willing to negotiate. It doesn't look like they are going to have a public auction either. I was very disappointed. Then I realized that it was time to pick up Josh and take him to swimming. I had to rush home to get his swim bag and put some stuff in the freezer. Poor little Preston was so upset that we did stay at home.

 It was nice we didn't have to rush anywhere tonight. We told the boys that after dinner we would go to the park. We were going to walk but it was extremely windy and we weren't sure when the storm was suppose to come threw so we decided to drive. While we were driving to the park we decided to check out the Frisco Athletic center and sign up for a membership. Ethan got his own card and we was so excited.

Then we eventually got to the park.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Shopping and Swimming.

My mom came over today and we hit the stores. Shocking I know! Preston did great all morning long. I found four dresses at Macy's. Shocking my mom had a coupon for 20%. I got one dress as cheap as $27. We had to stop and pick up Ethan from school.

Orig $99.00  paid 27.72
Orig 79.00 paid 63.20
Orig 54.00 Paid 32.40
Orig 99.00 Paid 79.20
Not on sale but we had a 20% coupon


Once we got back to the mall we had the boys take their Easter Bunny picture. After the picture Ethan kept trying to "find" the eggs in the display for the bunny. Preston was less then impressed with the bunny and he wasn't happy that I took his blankie away for the picture.
Ethan loves dressing handsome so we spent the afternoon looking for handsome clothes.

My mom had dinner plans and had to leave. On the way home the boys fell asleep. I knew that if I tried to move them from the car to their beds they would wake up and I could kiss nap time away. I would have to just load them back into the car in about an hour to pick Josh up. I ended up just driving around Frisco till it was time to pick Josh up.

Off to swimming class. I still haven't put my camera back into my purse so I don't have any videos of the boys swimming today. Ethan did great! He is doing his roll over breath on his own. Josh said that Preston is doing well in his class too.

Of course the boys were bouncing off the walls after class. Josh and I decided to let the boys run around the backyard till bedtime. I figured it was a great time to finish planting the cheap flowers I had gotten from Lowes last week. The boys kept trying to help me in the flower bed. Josh was able to get them distracted so I was actually able to get some yard work done.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Tuesday!

While Ethan was at school, Preston and I headed to Costco armed with my coupons and my list. I filled up with gas because they have the best price around. Then I went inside and started my shopping trip. I pulled out the coupons to make sure I was picking up the correct items and realized that the coupons don't start for TWO days. *Fail* I ended up picking up items that didn't have coupons. The saddest part of my trip was that I spent as much on gas as I did at the store.

The rest of the day  was pretty boring. During dinner Josh was asking about if we had any plans for Friday night. It hit me that we were suppose to be at my parent's home because some of my cousins from Indiana were in town. We threw the kids in the van and headed out. In the rush I forgot to pick up my video camera so I don't have any images. It was great seeing them but all of us were exhausted by the time we got back home.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Last day of soccer!

Today was the last session of Soccer Tots for the boys. Which meant today was the last time they were going to have Coach Brie. Everyone was a little sad because she has been such a great coach, but she is getting married and moving away. It looks like several of the kids in Preston class are switching up their schedules, Preston is included with that. In Ethan's class everyone is keeping the same schedule. I'm excited to hopefully have the boys on different days.

I here is a minute of my life after dinner.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Sunday at the parents!

Once again we headed to my parent's home today. For lunch we cooked stuffed peppers with vegetables, ground turkey, and brown rice.

We forgot to bring out steamer so after lunch and while the boys were napping Josh and I took off and went to buy my parents their own steamer. Our first stop was at Bed, Bath, and Beyond. The couponer in me had a 20% off coupon. We couldn't find a steamer but did find patio furniture. After going to a couple other places and not finding anything we gave up.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Eh it Saturday.

This morning Josh let me sleep in because I'm still battling with my allergies. This morning we just messed around inside then wonder outside for a little bit.

We had a birthday party this afternoon. Josh and I were worried about how the boys were going to act because the party was right in the middle of their nap time. When we were buying the present for the birthday girl we got a couple of bribe gifts for the boys.  Nope I'm not above bribing my boys to behave in public. They did a great job. Ethan was the only boy to show up and the girls just loved having him there. It was funny at one point Ethan came and sat with us, and it only took about five seconds for one of the girls to realize Ethan wasn't in the group and she came and got him. Ethan did great keeping his hands to himself and listening. At one point one of the girls was annoying him, Ethan just growled at her. It did the job she left him alone and told her mom that Ethan wasn't being nice.


After the party the boys were exhausted. While Josh was putting them down for a nap, I headed outside to work on the flower beds. Josh came out and told me to go lay down since I sound awful. Before I came inside I explained to Josh what I was doing and why. Basically the flower beds in the front yard haven't really been cleaned out for a very long time, according to Terminix they think the ants are hiding in the flower beds and they can't really get to them because the plants are so over grown. After awhile I went to check on Josh figuring that he should have been done with the task he had actually been working on. Not only did Josh finish the flower bed that I had been working on he took care of the other one as well. He informed me that he really hates bugs. I guess now I know how to motivate him to do yard work. While we were outside I realized that the flowers I got on Friday are no longer going to work in the flower beds that I had originally got them for. They are shade flowers and since the trees are cut back the flower beds are no longer fully shaded. I guess I'm just going to have to plant them somewhere else. At least I started planting the flowers on the backside of the tree so if they do wilt or die it isn't going to be as noticeable. Now I have to get more flowers for the front.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Fail, Story time, flowers, and water!

I'm working on becoming a extreme couponer. I've been a couponer but always felt like I've left money on the table. Last night I saw that Dollar Tree has baseball card holders on sale for a a dollar for a ten pack. I've been trying to find a better way to organize my coupons and thought I just found the answer. This morning I headed to Dollar Tree on the way to story time. When we first walked into the store the boys were both wanting a toy. I figured they are only a dollar why not, they each got to pick out one item from the store. Preston ended up with a ball but he kept "dropping" it. He did it one to many time so he ended up not getting a toy. Ethan want through about 100 different things in the store but he ended up with a bag of m&ms. Sigh they were less than a dollar  but still cost more then if I had bought it at any other store. To add salt to my fail being an extreme couponer the Dollar Tree that I stopped at doesn't even carry baseball card holders. All I ended up getting was that bag of candy.

Then we headed to story time. We ended up going to a later story time then normal because one of Ethan's soccer friends goes to the later one. I let the boys each pick out two books. Ethan choose a Spider-man and a scooby-do book. Preston found to choo-choo train books.

Once we got home from story time the guy that was going to do the work was waiting for me. He wanted to make sure that I was still going to have the work done and would be around in the afternoon. He also asked if he could have my number.

After nap time, the boys and I moved all the flowers that haven't been planted to the backyard so they wouldn't get trampled when the trees in the front yard got trimmed later today. The moving of the flowers wore the boys out and they needed a quick snack time. The we switched to swim suits and fill up the plastic play pool and plugged in the sprinkler.



About an hour before the yard guy came we turned off the water and came in for a little while, so I could do dinner. Josh got a ride home from work. It was nice to have that extra time today.

After the yard guy left we put the boys back into the swimsuits and had them play in the water a little more. Josh was shocked that the water was so cool but the boys didn't mind at all.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Hello Extreme Couponing!!

Last night TLC premiered its extreme couponing show. I however did miss the show and messed up setting up my DVR. Anyways I did find out some important information. I found an amazing website that is completely devoted to couponing http://www.weusecoupons.com/index.php.

Yesterday I noticed in the Lowes weekly ad that they had several flowers on sale 4 for $10. Today once we got there I found some annuals they had six packs for .88. Granted they won't come back next year but they work in the shade and that is what I need for under my over grown trees.

We order dinner and needed to "waste" a couple of minutes till it was going to be ready. So Josh ran into Big Lots looking for baseball card holders. He didn't find any and told me that I might have to pay full price for them. I just gave him a look and said yea right. According to my new couponing website I can find them at the dollar tree for you guessed it a dollar for a ten pack. I think the biggest problem that I'm having from actually achieving extreme couponing levels of saving is that I'm just not organized enough.

 Random Thought: I was looking through Toys R Us ad this week and noticed the same bounce house that we paid 187.00 + tax is on sale for 249.99 + tax. I knew at the time that we got an amazing deal on it I just didn't realize how amazing it was. My next big deal is I'm trying to get a LeapFrog Explorer for next to nothing. I have a ten dollars off coupon thanks to cheerios. Okay I have two coupons but I have two kids. Now I'm just waiting for a great sale.

After we finished dinner, the boys went out back to play. I headed to the front yard to start cleaning out the flower beds and planting the flowers we just picked up from Lowes. While I was working a landscaper stopped by and gave me a quote for some  much needed work that needed to be done. Better yet he could do it tomorrow!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Swimming and allergies!

This morning I went grocery shopping after dropping Ethan off at school. Normally I go on Tuesday but I was busy running Preston around getting his foot looked at. I'm a little upset with myself, I try to only spend 20 a week but this week I didn't eat before I went shopping. I over spent by 1.50 so I guess that isn't to terrible.

After I picked Ethan up from school all he could talk about was he was going to marry a girl in his class and she is going to move in with him. ?? I have no idea where he is getting this idea but he is going to be in a play at the end of the month and I guess there are two characters that are getting married in  the play. I really don't have any idea. He seems to really love his school lately so that is great. Ethan also got the golden egg in music class for being the best behaved student.

In the afternoon there was painting and coloring.

We also had swimming today. Ethan and Preston did great during their classes. The school is encouraging parents to sign up for the summer sessions. Right now they are able to create classes to fit people schedules. Right now they don't the two classes that the boys are going to be in this summer at the same time.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

This post is all over the place!

This morning Preston was very cranky and he wouldn't walk without holding on to something.

After Josh and Ethan got dropped off I called Preston's doctor and they wanted him to come in again. Once again the doctor didn't really think that anything was broken but he was concerned about him still limping and that the limp is getting worst. We then got sent to a diagnostic imaging center to get his foot x-ray. Preston did really great.
This one is cropped because Preston put his hand into it.

Today before we left for the doctor's office Preston let me know that he needed to potty. He did great on the toilet. Again after we got home he let me know. Basically I only had to change one diaper today and that was this morning. No accidents so it will be interesting to see how tomorrow goes. After each successful potty trip I gave Preston some chocolate. After Ethan got home from school he wanted to get chocolates for going potty too. *sigh*

Monday, April 4, 2011

Another Monday

Josh was going to let us sleep in this morning but the boys had other ideas. They were awake before 7:00. Today in Ethan's class it was teach the parents and couch said that Preston could actually participate too. I knew that with Preston's foot that he wouldn't be able to participate for two hours. We skipped Preston's class and just went to Ethan's. A couple of the mom's from Preston's class asked what was going on so I told them that Preston hurt his foot and couldn't do soccer this week. One of the mom's in Preston's class happens to be a pediatrician so she talked to me since he was still limping.

We had lunch with Josh and a couple of his co-workers at Boca de Beppo. Ethan was cracking everyone up, with his questions and just his conversations.

The evening was shoe shopping and locating the movie Tangled in a near by Red Box to use our free rental.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

A day in the kitchen.

It was interesting today. I realized that my mom doesn't really have that many spices but she sure does have the kitchen gadgets.

On the way to my parent's home today we stopped at Central Market. Ethan and I played in the playground area while Josh and Preston shopped. We had decided that Preston didn't need to be in the playground area because of his foot.

Lunch was a Rosemary Port Tenderloin and we had mixed vegs and breaded asparagus. My mom made a chocolate chip banana bread. All super yummy! Oh and of course we had salad.

Dinner was a whole grain pasta with a low sodium sauce. I was really proud of my dad after dinner he skipped the brownies and ate the healthier chocolate chip banana bread.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

A Toy Story day.

A little over a month ago I won tickets to Toy Story 3 on ice from Dallas Child, you can read about me winning here. This is the first time Josh and I have taken the boys to an event with this many people without other other adults to help out with the boys. Honestly if I was still working I'm not sure today would have gone as smoothly as it did. The boys were great. Preston loved with Mickey would come out on the ice. Ethan was enthralled with the production the entire time. To me the first act was okay but the second act was great.

The boys fell asleep on the way home from the show. Josh and I sat down to relax for a second. and Preston woke up after a few minutes. The after noon was all about playing. While I was getting dinner ready we put Toy Story on. The boys sat down with the gear we got from the show during the morning.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Teachers, Doctors, and some bouncing. Oh my.

Yea, it is finally Friday. This morning started off with us not really doing much. Except Preston pulled over a box that we got from Ikea last night onto his foot. He would calm down then try to take a couple of steps, start crying again. Nothing seemed to be broken but after an hour and he was starting to crawl everywhere, I started to get worry. I called the boys' doctor and got an appointment just for a piece of mind.

Today was also teachers conferences at Ethan's school. While I was waiting I felt like a kid waiting to be called into the principle's office. When I got there the parent that had the appointment before mine was still waiting. Once we were finally called it was intimidating walking in to where they were having the conferences. There were Ethan's four teachers all sitting around the table each with a stack of notes in front of them. I really didn't know what to expect, but it turns out they all seem to love Ethan and are impressed about how well he is doing for being at the school for such a short amount of time.

In the afternoon, we headed over to the doctor's office to have Preston's foot looked at. It doesn't look like there are any broken bones, he just has a very bruised foot. It just breaks my heart to see him limping around.

Once Josh got home we got the bounce house out. The boys had a great time but some how we managed to set it up where the slide ended up in a mud puddle. Needless to say the bounce house got a little muddy especially since the boys favorite game of the night was the throw all of the balls out of the bounce house then go down the slide to save the balls. Preston however wasn't able to walk around the bounce house so he would either roll or crawl it was really adorable.