Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Patently Unfair

When Kora was nearly one year old, we bought our first washing machine. Before that we were relegated to laundromats and the freebies in our townhome. We are now on our second machine. So in less than 10 years, we've bought two washing machines. Oh, and our "new" one has already needed two repairs.

My mom is getting a new washing machine tomorrow. The one she is replacing? 23 years old!!! If we are getting so much better at technology, why aren't the new machines lasting as long as this?!?

I think my mom will have to take a hammer to the old dryer to get it replaced. Not sure it would ever die on its own. ;-)

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

We're Honest, Swear!

Kelly and I drove by a structure under construction here in town the other day. The sign out front read:

Future home of:

Falcon International Bank

Inititals: FIB

Hmmmm. So does anyone really want to put their money there? :-)

Wonder if they really thought that one through...

Monday, January 28, 2008

Quick recipe that is pretty frugal too!

This is one of our family's favorite recipes - Kora even requested it for her birthday meal back in December. It's pretty budget friendly too! Serve with salad or roasted squash and rolls. YUM!

Chicken Mushroom Fettuccine

1 pkg (12-16 oz) fettuccine
1 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced (NO CANNED)
4 garlic cloves (or 5 or 6)
1/4 C butter (better with about 6 T)
1-2 C cooked chicken, cut into bite sized pieces
1/2 C milk
1 1/3 C shredded Parmesan cheese

Cook fettuccine according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a skillet, saute mushrooms and garlic in butter for 2-3 minutes. Add chicken and milk; cook for 5-7 minutes or until heated through. Drain fettuccine; add to skillet. Sprinkle with cheese and toss to coat.

This barely feeds our family - we have just one lunch serving left. Of course that could be due to several children getting multiple helpings. :-) If you have a bigger family than mine, double it.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Six things you would never care to know about me

Jennifer tagged me for a meme that my friend Cathi started, so here goes:

The rules:
(1) Link to the person that tagged you. (2) Post the rules on your blog. (3) Share six non-important things/habits/quirks about yourself. (4) Tag six random people at the end of your post by linking to their blogs. (5) Let each random person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their website.

Six non-important things/habits/quirks about me:

1. I love the smell of coffee, but can't stand the taste. Wish I did, as I'd fit in with people around here better, but I just can't seem to develop it. But if someone would make it every morning just for the smell - mmmmmm.

2. I eat Reese's Peanut Butter Cups around the circumference first, then the peanut butter center last.

3. I wore a size 9 shoe from the time I was 10 until my fourth baby came along. Now I'm a 9.5.

4. When we got married I had around 50 pairs of shoes, maybe more. No kidding. And no, I don't still have that many shoes.

5. I chew on my lower lip when I am reading.

6. I like to rinse potatoes off before peeling them. Not sure why, I don't scrub them, so they aren't clean. I just like the feel of them better that way.

I know I'm breaking a rule here, but nearly everyone I know who blogs has already been tagged, so I am not going to pass this on. Sorry guys, but you know I'm just a rebel at heart. :-)

Deals from the last few days

HEB - whole chicken $0.62 per pound

Sam's Club (410) - gas $2.77 per gallon w/ membership (part of me still can't believe I'm calling that price a deal.)

Co-op - laundry basket full of produce - can't beat it!

Library - 27 books, including 2 audio books - free!

My personal best CVS week thus far:
10 bar pack of Irish Spring bath soap
1 box Zantac 150
8 Soy Joy granola bars
1 toothbrush
2 medium bags of peanut M&M's
1 tube chapstick

The candy was B1G1 free. So after that deal, a $4 of $20 purchase coupon, 2 soy joy $1 coupons, a $5 coupon off Zantac, and $13 in ECB's my total out of pocket was $0.98 and got back $15.99 worth of ECB's! Actually I only bought the chapstick because I had a negative balance and needed to throw in something else to bring the total up to a positive number.

Also found out that Turbo Tax offers an online version of their basic software for free. It also appears to have free eFile with it. My MIL has used it already and it had everything that she needed - including itemization. Of course, if it doesn't have everything you need, you can always upgrade for a fee, but we have used the basic version for years with great success. But this year we will be saving about $20! If you are interested click here and then click on "Free Edition."

And this is a deal we will be taking advantage of in the next few days - Norton AntiVirus 2008 for up to 3 computers for $2.99 after rebates (one of these rebates is for previous Norton owners to upgrade so be sure to read the conditions to that one as it may or may not apply to you). Click here to see this offer. Our antivirus was about to expire anyway, and it was Norton, so this will be a great deal for us!

Friday, January 25, 2008


I usually don't think of myself as a prideful person, but I have realized in the last week or two that I am. I never before realized how much I prided in my health and in my usual high level of energy. I've never had any real health issues; the closest would be the asthma that I have nearly outgrown as an adult. But even as a kid that didn't keep me from doing very much as I wasn't all that athletic.

While I am thankful that I have nothing really wrong with me - I have had several family members and friends have serious problems over the last few years who have been forced to change their lives at least temporarily, and I am in no way comparing this to their situations - I have had to face the fact that I am not superwoman. Either because of the number of pregnancies I have had or because I'm (oh, and I really hate to even put this one into words) older than I was my first couple of pregnancies, my body is just not quite the same as it was. I can't push myself to the level of activity that I can sustain when I am not pregnant, or even that I could do when I was 24 and pregnant.

This may not seem like a big deal. So you're pregnant and you need to rest more, isn't that a given? Well, it probably should be, but you see, I hate weakness in myself. I like being the strong one. I hate being wrong (just ask my husband). I like my life ordered and in control, my control. And I've been in a mindset that I have to show everyone that I can keep up with my busy routines, with all my duties both real and self-imposed, and spit out babies as if it was no big deal. And I pretty much could in my 20's. But in the last few weeks, if I keep pushing myself like I normally do I end up paying for it. I crash into a tiredness so severe, you would think I had been drugged. It is almost impossible for me to move, and I'll be falling asleep as I'm talking to one of the girls. I have trouble getting the right words out when I talk. And when I get like this, I am pretty much useless for the rest of the day. The last time this happened I had had roughly 9 hours of sleep the night before, so it is not a lack of sleep issue.

These days have been occurring more often lately, a clear sign that I am finally heeding that I need to slow down some, and rest more until the baby is born. But this has been harder for me than I thought it would be, and it's all about pride. And it's humbling, both to realize that I am not as strong as I thought and that I was prideful about it and didn't even realize it. So I am trying to look at this as a good thing, as a reminder of where my strength really comes from, and Who holds my very life and the life of this baby in His hands.

On a practical level, my plan is to make myself sit down with my feet up during the girls' nap/reading time either reading or watching a movie, something relaxing. That's usually my time to hit the to-do list, to get many things done that I can't get done during the school morning. However, I am hoping that this interval will be enough to allow me to rest enough each day to keep from getting quite so tired. This means that I am probably going to have to postpone some things on my self-imposed to-do list. So I am trying to sort through priorities, and ask myself "what really has to be done?" I'm not saying this will be easy, but maybe by publicizing it, I'll be more likely to stick to it. Hopefully.

'Cause we all know I won't be getting much rest or sleep after the baby comes. :-)

Thursday, January 24, 2008

This Little Piggy Wants Roast Beef

Excerpt from reading lesson this morning with 5 year old Hailey:

(The sentence she is reading is "The big pig has jam in his den.")

Hailey: The. Buh, biiiiig. Big. Puh, pig. Haaas, has. Juh, jaam. Jam. (She looks at me quizzically.) Can pigs really have jam?

Me (Right now I'm thrilled that she is comprehending enough to know what she just read): Yes, pigs can eat just about anything.

H: Even chips?

Me: Yes, if you put it in their feeding trough, they'll eat it.

H: What if you take a bite off a chip and then put it in the trough, will they still eat it?

Me: Yes, honey, they'll eat just about anything.

H: And they won't get sick?

Me: No.

H: Pigs are cool!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Now That's a Zoo I'd Like to Visit

Lauryn informed me of something very interesting this morning:

"Mama, chocolate candy is my favorite animal."

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Quick Update

I haven't posted about Kelly in a while, and that's because he's doing much better. The first part of the week he was exhausted by the time he came home from work, but that got better as the week wore on. He says he's already breathing way better than he had before the surgery - and he still has stints in his sinus cavities! They will come out this Friday. The hardest thing for him right now is that he is not allowed to blow his nose. Can you imagine? No matter how hard the urge, the doctor said it would probably be months before he can blow his nose. And right now is the worst of the allergy season here in South Texas!

But we are grateful it is behind us and that it seems to be so successful. Now hopefully he will sleep better - just in time for a newborn to come along and keep us awake for months. :-)

Friday, January 18, 2008

Here I Stand

This week we are in our second week of our history study of the Reformation, one of my favorite time periods to study. Last week we read about men like Erasmus who set the stage so to speak. This week we read about Martin Luther and beginning of the Protestant breakaway from Rome. Fortunately there are many books on the subject, so that even Brynna (6 yo) had a picture biography of Luther to read.

So tonight, the girls have curled up in their jammies with a bunch of popcorn to watch the 2003 movie Luther. They've seen it before, but I am hoping with all the reading and discussing this week, they will get more out of it than they ever have before.

Next week we move on to Henry VIII of England, and the week after, John Calvin and the Swiss/Dutch Reformation. Can it get any better than this? :-)

Thursday, January 17, 2008

I think an anatomy lesson is in order...

If you are easily offended by potty humor, please skip this post. :-)

A couple of days ago, Lauryn (3 yo) told me she needed to go potty. So I took her, but as I was waiting to help her with wiping and washing, nothing was happening.

Me: I thought you needed to go potty, Lauryn?

L: Mama, the tinkle just not coming out. It's stuck up in my second stomach, and it's not coming out!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


I know this might draw the ire of friends like Cathi, but is anyone else already tired of the election stuff - and it's only January. The thought that we have to listen to this stuff for almost ten more months is quite depressing. And this is from someone who minored in political science in college. But I was less cynical then. MUCH less.

Speaking of tired, I can tell I have officially entered into the third trimester. Seriously I don't remember being this tired this early with the other ones. Much as I hate to admit it, I guess it's just that "o" word - yep, I'm older than I was the other times. Some days I feel fine. Some days I feel great, but that should be a warning to me, as the pattern has been that I feel great and get tons done on those days, and the next day I crash. I get so weary I could cry. Actually I get so weary I do cry, and my family has no clue what's wrong with me. :-) Of course, the fact that the baby is getting big enough to press on my diaphragm and making breathing more of a challenge is probably not helping. :-)

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


I had a lady ask me not too long ago about our laundry routine, so I thought that would be good post. All housewives, I am convinced, have areas they have to constantly work at, and some that come relatively easily and naturally. Menu planning and making myself cook when I don't want to is something that I have to work at. Laundry, while it is a big bugaboo for many a large(r) family, has not been something I struggle with.

When I just had one to two children, I adopted the old-fashioned Monday laundry schedule. (Actually before we had kids and Kelly and I were both full-time college students and worked part time jobs, laundry got done when we (a.) had time to do it, (b.) had enough quarters to go downstairs to the laundromat, and (c.) were in danger of running out of clean clothes. But I try not to remember those times. ;-) ) And I have to say, that even at the point when Kora was two I already had her helping with the laundry on Mondays. She followed me around copying me anyway, so I started teaching her to sort lights from darks and to fold wash rags.

Once I had baby number three, I moved to doing laundry on Tuesdays and Thursdays: Tuesday were for clothes and Thursdays were for sheets and towels. Again as soon as the kids were old enough, they helped carry, sort, and fold.

Well, with even more kids came more laundry, so I finally broke down and switched to a full week schedule. This allows me to do 2 or occasionally three loads a day, so we never feel swamped, but there is also never a back load of laundry in the laundry room. While I tweak this ever once in a while as needs change or as I have kids get old enough to take over more responsibilities, this has been our basic formula for the past few years:

Monday: upstairs towels (2 loads)
Tuesday: Cotton Sturdy* from whole house (2 loads, one white/lights, one darks)
Wednesday: Permanent Press* for Kora, Lauryn, Kelly and me (2 loads, one lights, one darks)
Thursday: Permanent Press* for Aubrey, Brynna and Hailey (2 loads)
Friday: Master bathroom towels and cleaning towels (2 loads)
Saturday: sheets

[*Update: These are what we call them just to have a name for different loads. I prefer to wash underwear and socks in hot, so we call that cotton sturdy lights. The CS darks are things like jeans and sweats that are washed in warm water. We lump everything else under the title "permanent press" - really because I thought it would be less confusing teaching kids since that was on the machines - and wash them in cold. I really try not to get too complicated with the laundry, but I have a thing with washing underclothing in HOT.]

The sheets I wash on the weekends usually sit in the dryer until Monday when Kora and Aubrey fold them at the same time they fold the towels. For me, the beauty of this schedule is that the girls know it. I even post it in their room until they know it by heart. So every morning except Fridays, they bring the appropriate laundry from their hampers or their bathrooms when they come downstairs for breakfast. In fact, they don't get breakfast until they come down with the laundry. It wouldn't seem like a Monday to them if they didn't bring down the towels. But the same effect could be seen by gathering it all up the night before.

On days when communal laundry is done, I take charge of making sure the loads get changed out - I may delegate, but I keep track of it. On permanent press day, my older three girls are in charge of their own laundry. Plus Kora and Aubrey have laundry buddies (Kora= Lauryn, Aubrey= Hailey). So Kora does her laundry as well as Lauryn's and also puts it away. Hailey (age 5) brings down her laundry and puts away anything that is folded, but Aubrey is in charge of washing and drying her stuff and hanging up her clothes. The folding of clothes usually happens in the afternoon after rest time. They will spread hanging clothes out on my big king sized bed as soon as they come out of the dryer, and then hang them up when they are done with school or after rest time.

These are such integrated parts of every day that my girls don't even think about it, anymore than they would have to be reminded to eat. I like having just 2-3 loads a day as I don't feel like I am spending my whole day on laundry. And frankly, I don't fold a thing. The girls fold everything. The only thing I do is hang up Kelly's and my hanging clothes, and put the folded items in our drawers. Lauryn can even fold wash rags and cloth napkins, so with 5 folders, the jobs go fast.

We do occasionally have unexpected loads, like when the girls get spaghetti sauce on their shirts. We also only use cloth napkins, so I throw those in whatever load I am washing, so they are never a load of their own. I've started teaching the girls to actually load the washer and dryer and to take charge of their own laundry starting at age 6, but they are not left alone to do it. Either I or an older sister supervises for a long time. While I'll have to tweak our schedule just a bit after the baby comes, we will keep some sort of schedule like this in place as it just makes life around here much smoother.

Well, I think that about covers the absolutely scintillating subject of laundry. Does your family have any great tricks/tools/routines/etc. that make laundry easier for you?

Monday, January 14, 2008

It's My Husband's Fault - You Can All Blame Him

It's not Jessica Simpson, it's Kelly Smith.

That's right.

Saturday, Kelly was 0-2 in football games. Although he likes green Bay and Favre, and normally would have been pulling for them, he thought Dallas would have a better chance against Seattle than Green Bay. I told him then that Dallas had to get past the giants first and the way they had been playing at the end of the season, I didn't think that was going to happen. He routed for Seattle anyway. He can't stand the Patriots, so he routed for the Jaguars.


He likes the Colts and Payton Manning, so he was routing for the Colts in what turned out to be the only stunner of the weekend for me. Who would have believed that Payton would be out and Eli in? Right as the Colts game ended, I looked at Kelly, and said, "Do me a favor, and rout for New York." He just laughed.


So like I said. It's all his fault. ;-)

Saturday, January 12, 2008

I just love being a girl..

Brynna received her last Christmas gift today. She's been wanting her ears pierced for a while, so I bought her a pack of earrings for Christmas. I wrapped these up with a note that we would go get the holes that go with them after Daddy's surgery.

So today I took her to the store and and this what she looks like now:

We also went to the birth center again today for my check-up. The baby has turned head down - it had been side lying breech for several weeks - and my babies have never turned once they get head down. So hopefully this is a good sign. Everything looks good. I go back in 3 weeks when I am 30 weeks, and then it will be down to every 2 weeks.

Kelly continues to do better. He is sleeping much better which is the main thing. He also has his sense of humor back, which is always a good sign. :-) So we are back to normal on Monday - back to work!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Air and Sleep are Wonderful Things

Yesterday was a good day as far as Kelly was concerned. He'd been looking forward to it all week.

Of course, it didn't start off so well. He only got a couple hours sleep, and was up by 1 am. The stints in his nose had rubbed a raw spot on one side and of course he still couldn't breathe through his nose. And his prescription pain medicine had started giving him some unpleasant side effects - like making him very jittery. So he couldn't take that anymore. Needless to say he'd been only getting 2-3 hours of sleep a night for the past three nights.

So he couldn't wait to go see the ENT yesterday to get the stints out of his nose. His appointment wasn't until 4pm, and it was nearly 5 before we were called back to his room. We had dropped off the girls at some friends' house, because they had told me that he would probably need a driver. It turned out he did, just because he was so tired he could have been arrested for driving impaired.

The doctor finally comes in, and sprays some deadener into his nose. He then snips the stitch that had held the stints in place to the inside of his nose. Then the tweezers come out and began to pull the stints out.

Now I have to admit to being quite surprised. I thought the stints were like two very short tubes, like small straws, lying sideways in his nose to hold his nostrils open and the skin over the cartilage graft in place. Boy was I wrong. The doctor grabbed hold of something with the tweezers and began to pull. And I thought he would never stop! My only thought was that it looked like something out of a horror movie. Alien comes to mind. What was actually in his nose was hard plastic, flat, about 3/4 inch wide, and about 5 inches long, although it certainly looked longer as it emerged from his nostril. It was really more blade shaped than anything, I wish we had kept one, so I could have taken a picture. It was quite impressive. Then he proceeds to pull out another one the same size from the other nostril. I really do not know how they weren't bumping his eyes, or better yet, his brain stem. I could not believe anything that long could fit in anyone nose!

But the instant they were out, Kelly could tell a HUGE difference. He could breathe! Seems that some of the congestion he had was not all swelling as we thought, but was due at least in part to the stints. Not only were they not rubbing the inside of his nose anymore, but he could breathe!

And he can sleep now! He slept for over eight hours straight last night! He is like a new person this morning. Of course, he had more sleep last night than in the three proceeding nights combined. He still has to go back in about two weeks to get more stints removed.

What? Kelly and I neither one realized that the doctor had put stints in the sinus cavities as well. And those have to come out next. I asked the doctor, "Do I even want to know how you get those out?" He replied, "Oh, we have our ways." Sounds like a sequel to the horror movie to me. But at least these aren't blocking airways. So he should really feel open after that. But he was so glad to get the stints out yesterday, I think he would have done a happy dance if he hadn't been so beat. We headed to our friends house who had already fed our girls, and let us eat with them as well - thank you! - which was so nice, as it allowed us to go home and head to bed after the girls' baths.

So we have a new man in our house today! He still needs a few more good nights of sleep but things are definitely looking up after a rough week.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

My New Favorite Store

I wrote earlier in the week about my new efforts to save money. Well, there was an unusually high amount of coupons in the paper (and I bought two) and this week, CVS is running many great deals. So I went on Monday and bought:

2 Palmolive Dishwashing liquids
2 Fructis shampoos
2 Fructis conditioners
1 Aquafresh toothpaste
2 Colgate total toothpastes
2 Colgate wave toothbrushes
2 Johnson's Buddies Sops
and 1 Lubriderm lotion (I just needed a heavy duty lotion, this was the only item I didn't have a coupon for)

After several coupons combined with sales on every one of these items (except the Lubriderm lotion), and $7 in ECB's from previous purchases (when I picked up 4 bottles of vitamins and herbs), I paid $10.69 plus received $12 in ECB's for future purchases. ECB's are basically like dollars to be used at CVS stores.

Tonight I needed milk, and CVS is running it for cheaper than my HEB right now, with the card. So tonight I bought:

1 gallon 2% milk
1 gallon skim milk
2 Right Guard deodorants
1 pkg Keebler cookies
2 Robitussin cough syrups
1 Sambucol Immunity Defense

After sales, coupons, and $10 ECB's from that last purchase, I paid $8.46 plus got $10 ECB's. So I didn't grow my ECB's anymore, but I maintained the amount, plus $7 of that out of pocket was the milk. And I'll get a $12.99 rebate for buying the Sambucol in the mail from the manufacturer, so I will come out way ahead. And in all honesty, I forgot to use two of my coupons, so this total should have been $6.46. Oh well. I still have more coupons to use, so I'm sure I will be making another stop or two by the CVS which is on my way to nearly everywhere from my house to take advantage of the "dollar days."

I plan on trying to grow my ECB's a little every week, so that my out of pocket expense goes down every week, while I stock up on toiletries, vitamins, and over the counter medicines. If you are at all interested in how to go about doing it, go to this website.

Long week

I have had several people ask me about Kelly, and so I thought I'd give an update.

I wish I had better news, but it has been a tough week for him. He was actually doing better right after surgery in some ways. He has had an extremely hard time sleeping the last 3 days or so. The pain from the stints is a real irritant, he has so much swelling and congestion in his nose and head that he feels like he has a bad cold or sinus infection, and now the pain medicine has started making him jittery and having insomnia - and insomnia has never been one of his problems! Usually he is asleep as soon as he gets horizontal, but not these days.

But, since he figured out last night that the narcotics are part of his problem, he will be only taking Tylenol now, so hopefully that will allow him to sleep. He is getting the stints removed tomorrow afternoon, and we were told the swelling and congestion should last 7-10 days, so we are hoping that should start resolving pretty soon as well. Then hopefully he can catch up on some sleep over the weekend so he can go back to work - right now his brain is so sleep deprived he really can't think straight.

The rest of us are doing ok. I've been pretty tired, so I am trying to rest up some, although that is hard with 5 kids in the house, being pregnant, and having to take care of everything myself. But we have had a few people from church bring us meals (thank you!) and had lots of people checking on us, so hopefully things will return to normal next week. Hopefully.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Happy (Very Late) Birthday, Kora!

I am a very bad mom. Kora turned 11 while we were on our New Year's trip to Kelly's parents' house, and I never blogged about it.

Kora, our oldest and thus our guinea pig, loves horses. Thus many of her presents revolved around horses. She is so tall that she is often mistaken for being quite a bit older than she is. She also loves to read and play the piano. Her strengths in school are reading, history, and foreign languages.

She is also turning out to be a very thoughtful person. She'll ask questions about things that happened some time ago, and it's obvious she's been mulling things over before she asks. She's also very indispensable around the house. She is very responsible with her younger sisters and loves the babies at church! Kelly and I don't know what we would do with out our Kora!

Happy Birthday, Kora Brianne!

Sunday, January 6, 2008

New Years, Goals, and a New Project

I've had a post in mind for New Years for quite a while, but with being out of town on New Year's Eve and Day, and Kelly's surgery almost as soon as we got home, I haven't had time to do so.

I do not make New Year's Resolutions. They are meant to be broken, and I don't like things that are broken - it just goes against my neat-nick, OCD nature. However, I am very goal and project oriented, too much so at times. So I do have on going lists of long term goals, and short term projects to accomplish those. And there are natural times that I reevaluate them. Back in October and November, I realized I need to do something about our grocery budget, but with illnesses, funerals, holidays, and musicals, I knew that I could not start until after Christmas.

So my newest project in my ongoing goal of being a wise housewife - I have half-joked before that Kelly's job is to make the money and mine is to stretch it - is to address the grocery budget. With the cost of gas which has caused groceries to skyrocket, our grocery bill lately has seen an alarming jump. In fact, in spite of a yearly raise, it seems we actually have less disposable income because we are paying so much in gas and groceries. So I decided there must be more I could do about it.

Not that I have been doing nothing about it. I have spent considerable time and energy in the last several years concentrating on my cooking skills, because the most frugal way to save money on food is to (a) cook it yourself and (b) cook it from scratch. So I have been learning to bake and cook using few to no convenience food, and that does help tremendously. However, after we got out of the military and I started shopping at Walmart and HEB - places that have store brands - rather than the commissary, I let couponing go. I figured I could save as much just buying the store brands. I have also bought staples in bulk, and utilized a great bread store here in San Antonio for any store bought bread and a fraction of grocery store costs.

Well, I have been convicted that I have gotten a little lazy in comparison shopping and coupon usage, so I am back on the bandwagon. One of the things that got me back on was a realization that a large part of our "grocery budget" was going to toiletries, over the counter medications, vitamins, and household items. And these are the very items that often have alot of coupons, and are often on sale as well. If I can save money just on those items, I can see a significant savings. But I am also hoping to save on food items as well by more carefully matching coupons with sales. That's the plan anyway.

So here's some of what I am doing:

  • I bought a couple of papers today to start my coupon stash back up. There were several inserts today, so I got quite a good start.
  • I have been reading a great website my friend Aubrey told me about, called Money Saving Mom. She has some great articles on there about how to best utilize the deals at CVS and Walgreens. These are places I am hoping will save me alot on many of these non-food grocery items, as well as a few grocery deals here and there. She also has links to many online coupon sites, as well as other articles on saving money on groceries, where you can print off coupons, something that was unavailable years ago when I was clipping coupons.
  • I am going to be price comparing more, so I am going to be resurrecting my price book. Click here if you have no idea what that is. Mainly I am hoping this will let me know if deals are better at Sam's or at the grocery store. The prices at Sam's have gone up as well, so there may be things that aren't the best deal from there, even though they used to be.
  • In order to price compare, I am going to be paying more attention, not only to the fliers that come in the mail, but to a couple of website. Target has their specials and web coupons online for their SuperTargets, so I will check that once a week. I have also found another website thanks to my friend Cathi, called My Grocery Deals. This site compares current sales from most of your local stores - for me it is Walmart, HEB, SuperTarget, Whole Foods, CVS, and Walgreens. I noticed some good deals on meat today at HEB when I was looking.
  • I am thinking about trying out The Grocery Game. A friend of mine recommended it to me, saying it saves her well over the cost. The trial is only $1, so I think I might at least give it a four week trial.
  • There are also a few meat markets in town that I intend to drop by and price their items as well, as I've read that many time they are cheaper than the grocery store. I'll enter that info into my price book, and we'll see. A few years ago we used to order sides of beef, and that was really nice, but it is a big expenditure at once. I'd love to look into that again, but not sure it is feasible.
So this weekend I started my project. Like I said, I bought two papers today, and got my new coupon box set up, those coupons clipped and sorted. Yesterday I did my first CVS shopping trip, with the sales, coupons, and ECB's in mind. I bought 4 bottles of vitamins - two of Vitamin C's for Kelly and two of my pregnancy herbs - a box of Zantac and deodorant for less than $10 (the vitamins normally retail for $8-9 a bottle) plus I got back $6 in EBC's for my next visit. I'm already making my lists for CVS and Walgreens this week as they have some great deals this week.

So, anybody have any more helpful hints? Has anyone else tried The Grocery Game? Is it worth the money?

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Kids Say the Funniest Things

At least my kids do.

Over the weekend, while we were at Kelly's parents' house, Lauryn (3 yo) asked me after a meal:

L: What do you have in your mouth, Mama?

Me: Nothing.

L: Just your teeth?

Me: Yes, my teeth.

L: And your tongue?

Me (smiling at her and at the grandparents' laughter): Yes, my tongue too.

L: And that spit thing?

The next day, my MIL took the older four girls to a nearby park. After walking around a while, with Brynna (6.5 yo) holding her hand the whole time, a puppy came up and really took up with Brynna. Eventually, its owner had to come take it away because it was intent on following Brynna even after they started walking away. Brynna then matter-of-factly informed my MIL, "I just have a way with animals." My MIL agreed and told her that the puppy sure did like her.

They walk down a little further until Kora (11 yo) starts doing something Brynna didn't think she should be doing. Brynna calls out to Kora, "Kora, stop that!" Amazingly, Kora - who as the oldest does not usually like to be told what to do by any of the younger kids - actually stopped. Brynna then turns back to my MIL, and says,

"I also have a way with people."

My MIL said she couldn't say a word this time or else she would have been howling with laughter.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Doing Fairly Well

Just wanted to write a quick post letting everyone know that Kelly is doing pretty well. He is already stepping down his pain medication some. He still has a funny bandage under his nose - at least the girls think it is funny. We didn't get a whole lot of sleep last night, so Kelly and I are both tired. But we are taking it pretty easy today. Guess it is a good thing I got alot done yesterday, as I am sure not accomplishing much today!

Thanks to everyone who has checked on us and are praying for us.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Surgery Update

We are home, and Kelly is sleeping in the recliner. Surgically, the day went well. His nose is straight now, and his sinuses are all connected again. He had a little problem coming out from anesthesia, mainly from nausea, and the pain med was making him more nauseated. So they gave him two anti nausea medications, which of course knocked him out. So it took longer in recovery than the doctors expected, but that didn't surprise me. He is in some pain, but we have pain medications, so he should be ok.

Thank you all for praying for him. The next several days will be hard on him. Not only will he have the pain from a major surgery to deal with, but because of the several procedures the doctor performed, he still has stints and stuff in his nasal passages, so he will only be able to breathe through his mouth until next Thursday when he sees the doctor for his follow-up appointment. We have been praying that this surgery will help solve many of the problems that have been plaguing him for the last year and a half, but we know it's going to get worse before it gets better. So please continue praying for him this week.

And a big thank you to our friend CJ for staying with the girls for what ended up being a 12 hour day for her, as she had to stay here while I went to pick up Kelly's prescriptions from the pharmacy. What a blessing to not worry one whit about how the girls were doing with both Kelly and I gone all day long!

And in case you are wondering, yes I did get my long long list of things done. I organized some school materials, copied several weeks worth of copywork for Brynna, got my DayRunner all set up, complete with new calendar (I always write in all family birthdays and anniversaries in at the beginning of the year, so Kelly asked me - before surgery - if I had written my due date in pencil!), read for well over an hour in my Civil War book, copied several recipes from paper onto index cards, went through my recipe box and threw out several recipes we either didn't like or I'll never make, read through a few e-books I just bought, and even had time to go get lunch and play a couple hands of solitaire on the computer. Needless to say, I was up there a long time. But more than one nurse or doctor commented on how busy I was. Guess most people don't bring a whole bag's worth of work to do. But it sure made a very long day go much faster.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Home again, Home again

We are finally through gallivanting across the state of Texas. We got in yesterday afternoon. But with Kelly's nasal surgery set for early in the morning, there was no time to unwind after the trip. As soon as we unloaded the suburban, I set off for the grocery store(s).

Today, I am getting caught up on laundry, getting food ready for tomorrow, finishing the unpacking, trying to work on a couple of small organizing projects, and gathering the things I'll be working on while Kelly is getting his nose job. ;-) He promised me to look like Matt Damon by the end of it, but I told him that the doc is an ENT, not a plastic surgeon - or a miracle worker. If he can just breathe when all of this is over, I'll be happy.

As an aside, I am not dreading the wait during the surgery. Am I the only mom of many who sees several hours on my own, with no little hands or voices or mouths needing me as a pleasant way to spend a few hours? I've got a whole list of things I can work on while I am there - my only disappointment is that I doubt there will be a table for me to spread out on. I'm going to get my organizer (DayRunner) in shape, work on some copywork for Brynna, copy some recipes from paper onto index cards, go through my recipe box and get that in shape, I've got a fascinating Civil War book I may read for a while. Kelly is even going to take his laptop up there for me. If this place has wireless, I can get all sorts of things done!

I'll post an update as soon as we're home, but I doubt that will be until supper time or later. Please pray for him and his doctors and nurses tomorrow. He has really been suffering with this whole sinus and sleep apnea issue, and we are praying that this takes care of a good majority of his problems!