Thursday, February 24, 2011

Project 365- Day 55

We are heading up to the mountains soon so I thought I would do today's post a little earlier. There is some way to post from my phone but I am not that tech savvy so I probably won't blog until Sunday.
I just wanted to let you all know about this incredible Johnson's baby products sale going on this week. If you have young ones it is too good to pass up.
The total of everything in the picture plus tax(minus the little person) was $25.93, before coupons. After coupons the total was $14.05. But with +UP rewards from our last shopping trip it was $5.55. We used a $5 rebate check I got for buying batteries in December and the total out of pocket cost was only 55 cents which makes our savings 98%!
And I have another $10 in +UP rewards for next week.
Now, are you still not using coupons?
Here is the great Johnson's baby products deal going on until Saturday!!
Rite Aid has all Johnson's baby products (shampoo, body wash, lotion, Qtips, and Desitin)on sale for $2.99. Each product will produce a $2 +UP reward which is just like cash for any purchases, and you usually have around 3 weeks to use them.
There were coupons for $1 off any Johnson's baby products in the Smart Source coupon insert in the January 9th newspaper. There is also a $1 off of Desitin in the same insert.
If you are super new to couponing then you can still get in on the deal. Johnson's has printable coupons on their website here.
You should be able to print two copies of each coupon per printer. Just hit the back button and the coupon will print again.
With 7 products that makes 14 printable coupons (per printer) and if you have paper coupons you can get enough baby wash and lotion to last you for a year!
So with the $2 +UP reward and the $1 off coupon, these are essentially free, as long as you use the +UP the next time you shop there!
Because this is such a great deal I am sure many Rite Aids are running low on stock.
I know I sent my husband to the store with 8 more coupons but they were all out of everything Johnson's. Luckily they have rainchecks, which are almost better than +UP rewards.
Make sure to ask for a rain check for as many items as you wanted to buy (Currently there is no limit on how many you can buy, although this might vary by store.) and then return next week to buy the products when they have been restocked.
Once the sale ends on Saturday the +UP rewards will not print on your receipt. The cashier will adjust the price to reflect the +UP reward you should have received, and with the added $1 coupon, you get them all for free!
I use the baby wash and shampoo for the kids because they hate having their hair washed for fear of shampoo in the eyes.
Baby products also make good baby gifts for an expecting friend and great as a donation to your local shelters!
Happy shopping and have a lovely weekend!
Now I am off to enjoy some snow!!

So when we arrived at my in laws home in the mountains the snow looked like this:

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Project 365- Day 54

I spent most of today packing for a weekend trip to the mountains.
Since we are supposed to have snow all weekend with high temperatures in the 20s and 30s, I made sure the kids got lots of time outside.
Despite the wee one waking up at 10pm last night and not going back to sleep until almost 1am, and still not sleeping in, she had boundless energy.
They both did. They both do. Always.
I don't understand how but even when the smaller one doesn't sleep well, and despite the fact that the bigger, slightly less wild one eats mainly cereal for most meals, they never seem to run out of energy.
And they don't even drink coffee!
How do they do it?
Some days they are indoors all day but then they are racing from one end of the house to the other, figuring out ways to slide down the hall on cardboard or in doll strollers.
No matter where they are they never seem to stop moving.
It makes me tired just thinking about it.
Are your kids like this?

Project 365- Day 53

This week we are all enjoying feeling a lot healthier, an end to antibiotics, and a week off of school. Our Tuesday was mostly laid back with a dental cleaning for the little man in the city and then lunch in the park with the big guy.
When we got home it was still light out and it wasn't too cold so the kids spent time playing in the creek. We found animal tracks that I am pretty sure were made by a raccoon, we inspected a downed tree for acorns left in the small holes by acorn woodpeckers, and we walked the property line just enjoying the afternoon.
Then we discovered the perfect spot for the playhouse we plan to build sometime in the near future.
This rock outcropping (as I recently learned it is called) is near the front of our property above our creek.
The other side of the big rock to the left has a flat side around 5-6 feet high that looks like a wall and could easily double for one side in our structure.
We even discussed attempting to build a small foot bridge or even a low to the ground zip line across the creek so they could easily get back to the house.
The little man loved the idea.
Ah, to be six again.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Project 365- Day 52

A little less than three years ago I found out I was pregnant with a girl.
I did not have a vision of her in a pretty pink dress with ruffles and lace, wearing shiny shoes and her hair up in bows.
I was a rough and tumble child.
I knocked my own front teeth out by flinging myself from a sofa at the age of three in an attempt to fly.
I caught frogs in creeks and chased my sisters with them.
I played in mud.
I always sort of imagined my daughter would be similar to how I was.
But I never in my wildest visions imagined this.
This was my beautiful princess this morning.
I was making brownie cupcakes and she insisted that she lick the bowl.
When the cupcakes were finally done I called her to the kitchen to get one.
In she came, covered literally from head to toe in batter.
How or why I can not tell you and she was not talking either.
So, I promptly stuck her in the shower to be hosed down, after a few quick photos of course.
Now you see why she is the gray in my hair.
I finished the brownie cupcakes, and made a delicious peanut butter cream cheese frosting to top them off.
Even though the older one refused to eat the frosting (he hates cream cheese) he loved the cupcakes.
At least one of them stayed semi-clean today.
I can only imagine what tomorrow has in store for us.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Project 365- Day 51

Today was a day for shut ins.
The baby girl and I are still recovering from this wretched cold, so we sent the boys off and the two of us spent the day at home.
When the weather is cold like it is now I always get a desire to bake.
I bought some dried strawberries a while back for practically nothing and I have been looking for a way to use them other than in cereal.
I found a recipe for raisin bread in my bread machine cookbook, so I just modified it a little for the dried strawberries. I added 2 teaspoons of sugar and omitted the cinnamon and hoped for the best.
It was delicious, crispy crust with a doughy center that was the perfect texture. The strawberries got kind of gooey during baking and the extra sugar did not make the bread too sweet at all. It would be the perfect addition to breakfast or just with some coffee in the evening.
The pickiest kid in the world even ate two pieces so that has to say something for the bread, right?
I made this bread with dried strawberries but I am guessing you could use fresh as well.

Strawberry Bread (for your bread machine)
1 & 1/3 cups water
4 & 1/4 cups bread flour
4 & 3/4 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp dry milk (I use whole milk, not dry without any issues)
1 & 1/2 tsp salt (I prefer sea salt but table salt is fine too)
2 & 1/2 Tbsp butter (I use unsalted butter for all my baking)
2 tsp active dry yeast (or 2 & 1/2 tsp rapid rise yeast)
1 & 1/4 cups strawberries cut in raisin sized pieces (separate before adding)

My bread machine says to add in the water first, then the dry ingredients, then the yeast, and start the machine. During the first knead I add the strawberries.


Project 365- Day 50

Today my husband offered to organize the playroom and clean out the laundry room closet.
Today while my husband was cleaning I was folding 5 loads of laundry.
Today while we were cleaning up the house the little guy went to his cousin's to play.
Today while we were not looking she got a hold of a marker and did this.
Today I really wanted to be angry and annoyed.
Today she said, "I think this one is jeh-wee fiss mommy."
Today I forgave her.
But tomorrow...

Project 365- Day 49

The little guy had his class Valentine's Day party on Friday.
The baby and I joined him when it was almost over since she was having a meltdown kind of a day. She had to join the big kids on the rug for story time. She loves being a part of the action and is never shy about walking away from me to play with others.
Almost every day she asks when she is going to school. Earlier in the day she saw a school bus and wanted to know when she would be riding one.
I am just not ready for her to be so independent but I know the day is fast approaching.
Hopefully, I will adjust to it all as easily as I imagine she will.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Project 365- Day 48

I am sure everyone is sick of hearing about my husband but I have to give credit where credit is due. He is not a perfect person by any stretch of the imagination but he tries.
Today he not only took the baby to her swimming lesson so I could work on our bills and budget, but he also endured couponing for me at Rite Aid, while I talked him through the process on the phone.
True love.
I had two coupons I really wanted to use to maximize our savings, a $4 off $20 purchase, and a $5 rewards from shopping in December. I am still pretty new to this all and I thought I had read somewhere that you can only use two of those coupons together if they have different letters in their code and these were the same.
But then I realized, I could have him do two separate transactions. What a patient man, and with a very fussy toddler in his arms too.
The first transaction was $12.84 after coupons, and the second transaction was 97 cents after coupons. The total out of pocket was $13.81 but we also made $12 in UP+ rewards to use next time we shop.
So the total cost of all those items if you include the UP+ rewards was $1.81!!
I love coupons and I honestly don't know how people can shop without them!
That's a savings of around 95 percent!
Why did I ever pay full price?

Project 365- Day 47

A little rain does not mean the end of fun for a two year old who loves the outdoors.
It only means we have to stretch our imaginations a little more to find new things to do inside.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Project 365- Day 46

Our hill.
I am hoping that it is covered in snow by Thursday.
I want to sled down our hill like we do every year.
Since we moved here four years ago we have had anywhere from one to four days of snow a year.
This winter we had one day where it snowed for fifteen minutes.
I want snow.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Project 365- Day 45

Today was going to begin great because my husband was letting me sleep in for Valentine's Day.
Sadly we awoke at 5:00am to the baby girl coughing and coughing and coughing.
We spent a good 30 minutes trying to settle her cough with asthma meds.
But at least I was able to catch the sunrise.
It was gorgeous!
Then I went back to sleep.
When I woke up there was coffee waiting for me and a great surprise from my husband and the kids.
About a month or so ago the baby girl, or wild thing #2, climbed up on top of my sewing table and grabbed a small ceramic fish off of the top of my dresser.
She dropped the fish.
The fish was one of the few things my husband and I bought on our honeymoon in Cabo, nine years ago.
I was very sad about my fish.
My sneaky husband took the many pieces and with the kids help used them to make a stepping stone for our garden.
It was one of the most thoughtful gifts he has ever given me and he has given me a lot of thoughtful gifts.
I am a very blessed girl.

Project 365- Day 44

Sunday was great. My husband watched the kids so I could organize coupons and figure out what I needed to buy for the week. I grabbed the little guy and he and I headed into the city to do some grocery shopping.
I had some Extra Care Bucks that needed to be used soon so we made a quick stop at CVS.

I didn't buy a lot there but I got some good deals. I spent a total of $11.93 including tax for the above items. I had $9 in ECBs so I only paid $2.93 out of pocket for the items.
But I also got back $8.58 in ECBs.
We also did a small shopping trip at Winco. I saved about 29% on my bill using coupons which is pretty good. Winco is really low priced to begin with and any extra savings is pretty amazing.
A lot of what Winco has every day at regular price is a sale price only at every other store.
I make fun of the store sometimes because it really attracts some characters but it is great to have them in our area. We save so much money by shopping there for staples.
While I love their prices I really hate their coupon policy.
The checker was having a tough time getting all the coupons to scan and she said the ones that would not scan she could not enter manually. Most stores will enter the bar code manually if the coupon will not scan. She kept trying and was able to get almost all of them to go through.
You should have seen the faces of the people in line behind me. I used to feel bad but I thought, if any of these people want to give me the $28 I just saved I will gladly go without using the coupons. Until then, they will just have to wait.
If I get in line and someone who has only a couple of things goes behind me I will let them go ahead. But I have never seen anyone at Winco not leave with a full cart.
And if I save $2000-3000 a year by using coupons then I can handle the stares and glares.
I have semi-wild children.
I am used to it.

Project 365- Day 43

You forget how small baby clothes are when your kids are no longer babies.
In case you have forgotten also, I will tell you.
They are itty bitty, especially in the first few months.
You also forget how much money you spent on things for your firstborn that were completely unnecessary.
I came across these water shoes when I was sorting through old baby clothes on Saturday. I bought these for the little guy before he was born.
We lived on the coast and I guess I figured he would be spending time in the water, but did he really need water shoes?
I mean, aren't water shoes for people to be able to walk in the water without losing their footing?
He didn't even crawl until he was almost ten months.
I don't even know if these shoes fit him much past the first month.
I remember when I bought them too, feeling like they were really necessary to match the lime green and blue swim trunks my sister had given me for him.
They are cute though aren't they?

Project 365- Day 42

After many weeks of hearing complaints about tangles while brushing and worrying about the upkeep of the long hair, the little guy got his hair cut. He says he likes it and that it looks just like dad's hair.
I think the short hair makes him look young again which is perfectly fine with me!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Project 365- Day 41

Forget wordless Wednesday.
This is tired Thursday so forgive my short post.
The big guy took the kids to see the doctor this morning so I could get some rest.
They chose to go incognito.
I will leave you with a fabulous quote that is on my Do It All Mom calendar for the month.
It was quoted from Mildred B. Vermont. I have not a clue who she is but I like the way she looks at things.
"Being a full-time mother is one of the highest salaried jobs in my field, since the payment is pure love."

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Project 365- Day 40

The kids have been sick all week.
Coughing, gagging, achy, runny noses, fevers, chills, we have seen it all.
Today I kept the little guy home because he slept only a few hours last night.
I tried to keep them calm and resting so they can recover but by 2 o'clock we were all tired of being cooped up inside.
It was warm and sunny so I let them play in the creek.
I love our creek. Right now it is shallow and we have newts that lay their eggs in the water under the big rocks.
When they hatch they hang out at our creek for weeks and the kids love to catch them and have newt races.

I know I am supposed to post just one picture a day but I had to add this photo.
The little man said they are giving each other rides.
What do you think?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Project 365- Day 39

The kids have found another neighborhood dog that likes to drop by for visits.
This one they are calling Boxer.
I am not entirely sure why, but I find it funny that neither dog that visits has a tag although both have collars.
Our dog also has a collar with no name tag and I can guarantee that none of these dogs are being walked on leashes since they have the run of the hill all day long.
Why the collars?
Boxer began coming by for a visit about a week ago, and he was back again today.
He is really sweet and quiet and best of all, calm.
He's a good balance for my hyper kids.
My husband wants to adopt him.
I think the kids already did.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Project 365- Day 38

I had to go into the city today for the little guy's swim lesson. He is doing awesome by the way, working on his back stroke now. And the baby girl was so good during his lesson, almost like a normal child.
She kept bringing me books to read and was talking up a storm.
She must get it from her dad.
Anyway, I made a quick stop by CVS because I had extra care bucks that will expire in a few weeks and I wanted to make sure I used them all.
Not many deals going on this week there but I got what I could.
I got three boxes of my current favorite cereal Chex(which in case you did not know is gluten free),two boxes of Quaker Instant Oatmeal, two bottles of Wisk Ultra laundry detergent, two Skintimate Shave Gels, Zantac 150, and a box of Huggies baby wipes.
Total cost before coupons was around $40 not including tax. After coupons and extra care bucks, and with tax my out of pocket total was $1.27. And I received nine more extra care bucks. The receipt says I saved $62.82 which I assume is with nothing on sale. That would bring my savings to 98% for this transaction.
I'll take it!
Now it is time for me to go and visit with Jim Bob, Michelle, and the kids, and enjoy how quiet my house is at the moment.
Have a good evening!

Project 365- Day 37

Superbowl Sunday.
Today I learned that bronchitis does not always go away with antibiotics, it is always sunny and warm when you are stuck inside sick, The Black Eyed Peas have great choreography but can't sing live worth a damn (sorry Fergie fans), Slash is still as nasty looking as he was in the 90s, and children can get croup more than once.
I also learned that living far from the city does not mean we are without conveniences.
Take the newspaper for example.
Not only can it be delivered to your home way out here, it can also be purchased at remote locations.
This is where I got my Sunday paper, in the middle of nowhere right between Maxon and Watts Valley.
Ever heard of them?

Project 365- Day 36

I honestly did nothing exciting this weekend. While I laid in bed feeling sorry for myself, the big guy and the baby went into town to buy food for Super Bowl Sunday, and then stopped by to pick the little guy up from a sleep over at his cousin's house.
While lying in bed, I heard the weirdest bird calls. I am used to hearing a lot of different birds and even more so recently. We have had about 3 trees fall over and come to rest across the creek in one section and it has made the perfect home for a few different birds, mainly woodpeckers and quail.
But I had never heard this sound so I went to the window to see what was making so much noise. About ten feet from my window I saw these weird birds:

Guineafowl!! I love these birds. I think I must be a total nerd because once I saw them I knew instantly what they were. They are called the watchdogs of the farmyard and I wanted to get some after some of our goats and chickens went "missing" from our property over the last few years. Guineafowl or guineahens as they are also known, will make a horrible racket if they see or hear something that alarms them, so they are great for alerting you to predators. I think these belong to our neighbors as they currently have chickens that need watching over. They must have wandered to our property after hearing about all the great bugs and acorns here.

They really have a distinct sound and I was able to record one. I know, really exciting. But it was a highlight for me after being in bed all day.

Project 365- Day 35

My husband was finally done with his work week and took over everything so I could rest.
Thank you love!
The little guy went back to school with his asthma medications and did fine all day without any problems. I slept a good chunk of the day away but I was still feeling miserable.
We decided homemade ice cream would make me feel better.

We made ours peanut butter chocolate chip and if you have never eaten homemade ice cream, then you are seriously missing out. This Cuisinart ice cream maker that Santa brought us all this year is the best! You put the bowl in the freezer and leave it there until you need it. Then you whip sugar, milk, and heavy cream together, put it in the fridge for an hour or two, attach the bowl, pour in the mixture and that's it. The machine makes delicious soft serve in 15 minutes. If you want it to be firmer like regular ice cream, just freeze it for an hour.
You can add in anything you want, candy, nuts, etc, during the last few minutes and it is just like a Blizzard from Dairy Queen, only a lot tastier!

Project 365- Day 34

So I got a little behind posting again this week, but I made sure to take photos every day.
Bronchitis is not fun to deal with and if anyone has a home remedy for the pain I feel in the back of my head every time I cough, I would love to hear it. I am taking a few medicines including antibiotics and cough syrup with codeine and this cough is just hanging on as long as it can.
We are all sick here except for the big guy but the kids cannot sit still for long, so I bundled them up and out they went to explore.
The air was chilly but they were really happy to get outside and enjoy the sunshine!
Hopefully it sticks around for a while.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Project 365- Day 33

Yesterday was an off day. I felt miserable, the little guy was sick, the baby girl was cranky, and because of doctor's appointments we had to miss going to the zoo with friends. Then the kid and I got put on several different medications and I found out they cost a lot more than they used to cost. I saw the big guy for about 15 minutes the entire day and that was at the pharmacy.
All in all it was a less than happy day.
But my day got better when we arrived home because I was greeted by this:
My beautiful brand new Zojurishi Home Bakery Supreme Bread Machine was in a box on my kitchen table waiting for me!
I am always prepared for baking so I made my first loaf, a chocolate bread with chocolate chips. Mmm. It took a total of three hours and forty five minutes since the yeast was not the rapid rise stuff, but it did all the mixing, kneading, and baking with ease. I just added in all the ingredients and let it work its magic. The loaf came out looking beautiful and it tasted fabulous.
And can I tell you, my house smelled heavenly!! Nothing like the scent of fresh baked bread to remind you of home. Well, not my home. My mom never baked or cooked except for really sticky spaghetti. But if she had been a baker that is exactly how our house would have smelled!
As a bonus, there was almost zero clean up which is always a good thing.
And it also makes jam, doughs, and meatloaf. Who knew?
I used to wonder, do people really win all those giveaways on blogs?
Yes. Yes they do.
Now go and win something for yourself!
I won mine at Money Saving Mom! She does giveaways pretty often and there isn't all those write this comment on here and like me on Facebook and Twitter and comment there requirements that annoy me on so many blogs.
You just click on the green box that has "Click here to enter the giveaway" written on it, fill out your information, and that's it!
Now just sit back and wait for your name to be posted as the winner!
Plus, her website is filled with about one million ideas for saving money, a coupon database, deals for every store by region, and many more things that will help you save money. Go check it out!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Project 365- Day 32

Today was one of those days. The baby was up early after a night of waking up many times, the big kid was whiny getting ready for school and I was exhausted. I spent the day cleaning up after a wild little girl who is really good at ruining things. Much like these children.
I would be cleaning up one mess while she was making another. We jokingly say she is like the ocean, beautiful to look at but you never want to turn your back on her.
While I was taking one minute to myself in the bathroom she went into my bedroom, scaled my sewing basket that has yet to be used, reached up on my dresser and brought down a cheap little colorful ceramic fish that she had been eyeing.
I got that cheap little fish in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico on my honeymoon nine years ago.
I found her with it in the living room.
Just as I was about to tell her to hand it to me, it slipped out of her chubby toddler hands, into a dozen pieces on the floor.
I was really sad but I love her more than the fish so I let her live.
That's pretty much how my day continued.
So I was thankful to have these on hand.
I drank three before I read the calorie information.
Tomorrow has to be better.

Project 365- Day 31

Since the little guy and I were still coughing like crazy we took the night off from his swimming lesson and hung out at home after school.
After we baked cookies we decided a dip in the hot tub would be good for our coughs. It's probably not good for our coughs at all but it felt nice.
While in the hot tub we watched the sunset and talked about who created it. The baby said, "Good night sun." It was an amazing sunset, like the sky was on fire, and it was a relaxing end to our day.
While watching the sun set I was thinking how nice it is that we have this gorgeous view without a room, and how incredibly blessed we are. Yes, we could have a nicer home or more money for the day to day living. But we have so much more than a lot of people, especially in our county.

After we got out the little guy noticed that there was a package outside the front door. It was my shipment of Colgate Wisps that I had ordered from a couple of weeks ago. I got a ton of them for only fourteen cents each which is a lot cheaper than the store with a sale and coupons. In case you don't know about them, they are these little toothbrushes you use without water.
I figured my husband could use them at work since he often has to deal with the public, minutes after he has scarfed down some food.
But as I was looking at just how many we had received I got an idea. Every time we go into the city we see homeless people. And every time I see homeless people I have to give them a buck or two. I know I am probably gullible, but it breaks my heart and it's who I am. I remember learning in college that the majority of non-transitional homeless are veterans, families, and the mentally ill. That's sad. So I give them money.
But what if we gave them more than a few bucks? The little guy and I decided that we should come up with a bag of things that will make their living a little easier. The Wisps would be good since it isn't likely that homeless people have access to clean water often. We started brain storming ideas, things we would want if we were out in the valley heat or freezing cold. We came up with a lot of great things to include and this weekend we will begin working on that. I am excited to find something that my son and I are both passionate about, me since I worked at my first soup kitchen at the age of fifteen, and he when his dad took him to meet a homeless man he has had the opportunity to get to know.
And while shopping around on the internet for ideas I found the perfect bag to put everything in:
If you can't see the print it reads: One Earth, One Person, One Chance.
Perfect, right?

Project 365- Day 30

By some Sunday morning miracle both kids slept until 8am. My daughter has never slept until 8am, not even when she's been sick and not even when we have been on vacation where we let them stay up past 9pm.
It was such a good morning I decided to load up the kids and head into town for some shopping! We stopped and grabbed several newspapers since there were 4 inserts this week, and then headed to the little town (as opposed to the big city) to shop at CVS.
It was a good trip and even though I dragged them around the store for an hour my kids were so well behaved! I feel like that needs to be written again, my kids were well behaved! I couldn't believe it. Most shopping trips with the kids end up with me carrying a fussy 32 pound toddler around, sweat beading up on my forehead while the bigger kid begs for everything he sees. So not pleasant.
So this is what I got:
I spent $37 out of pocket, but I also got back $24 in Extra Care Bucks for my next trip and I think that's a pretty good deal. After this shopping trip and a couple more I had recently I am all stocked up on deodorant, shampoo, conditioner, and lotion for the next 9 months. I was most proud of my peanut butter purchases. We eat a lot of peanut butter here. They were on sale, 3 for $5, and if you spent $15 you got $5 in Extra Care Bucks back. So I bought 9 jars. But I also had 9 $1 off coupons from a recent coupon booklet at Vons, and that means I paid $6 out of pocket, with $5 back, so I ended up getting 9 jars for $1!
And did I mention my kids behaved?