Thursday, July 30, 2009

I'm Officially a "Coupon Queen"

I was inspired by my friends, Scot and Daphne, who inspired me to do things the Dave Ramsey way a few years ago. I realized when I am working, I don't have as much time to look for deals. Right now I am barely considered employed. My job has a busy season and a SLOW season. I basically work full-time during our busy season and lately it has felt like I'm on an extended vacation. Vacations are nice, but they always cost money. So, with time on my side and no income from my job, I decided to start couponing. Yes, couponing is a verb.

I initially cut my grocery bill down over $100/month. I thought I was doing a pretty good job before I cut it down, but I knew I could do better. I decided to sign up for e-coupons. You can print coupons from various websites as well as download them to your favorite store's card (save the trees!). Next, I signed up for a weekend newspaper. I did this via a website that offered discounted (up to 60% off) newspaper subscriptions. I then started following blogs that would list sales plus coupon savings. Wow! I never thought of that before. I was only shopping sales and I would use coupons whenever I would run into one.

Here is an example of what I did today. There was a 50% sale on selected Kellogg's products. I hate to admit it, but my family LOVES cereal. I clip all cereal coupons that come my way. I know, it's an overpriced way to eat breakfast... but hear me out...

If you donate $5 or more to Kellogg's Feeding America, you will receive $5 in Kellogg's coupons. With Kellogg's Fuel for School promotion, if you send 10 proofs of purchase (from select Kellogg's products) and an original receipt, you will receive a $10 rebate plus a $70 coupon code from Dell.

Kroger was having a one-day only 50% off select Kellogg's products sale today. I bought 28 products and some milk (of course!) and spent $27 (after rebate). Had I not dropped one of my Pop Tart's coupons, it would have been $26. If my e-Coupon hadn't glitched, it would have been $25. I did email that company hoping I will get that $1. My orginal cost without a sale or coupons would have been $100.92. I basically saved 75%.

I also got gas at Kroger. I got 10 cents/gallon off using my store card.

Below is a picture of all my finds minus milk and some cookies which I left at my mom's house.

Monday, May 11, 2009

"My Mother" by Maya

Maya did a fill in book for me on Mother's Day. Thanks to her teacher at church, Sis. Pitcher, for putting this together. Everything in italics is what Maya wrote. She kind of filled in some of her favorite things instead of mine, which was hilarious. I laughed so hard at the last line!

My mother likes to cook brownies.

My mother and I like to play at the park.

My mother likes it when I am nice to my sister.

My mother's favorite color is blue.

My mother's name is Melody.

I love it when my mother sings to me.

My mother's favorite food is spaghetti with meatballs.

My mother is great because she reads books to me.

My mother is good at drawing stuff for me.

My mother is 23 years old.

Friday, May 8, 2009

You know you're doing a good job when...

I always used to keep my car immaculate. I remember going clothes shopping with my friends, Tessa and Jane when I was pregnant with Maya. They already had at least one kid each at the time and knew better than I did about motherhood. We took my car on the trip and they giggled about how clean my car was. They swore to me that it wouldn't last, that my car would soon be covered in cheerios and juice. I swore to them that this could NEVER happen to me! Well, it didn't really until child #2 was born. Here's a snippet of a conversation with Maya recently.

Maya: "Mommy, you car smells so FRESH..."
Me (full of pride): "Really, Maya? Thank you!!"
Maya: " french fries!"

So, that wasn't the kinda fresh I wanted. I cleaned my car out from top to bottom a couple of weeks later. It was, well... scary. Not only did I find those infamous french fries, but also some hard-boiled eggs and a slice of summer sausage. Ok, so my husband is a Boy Scout leader and the boys left that one behind. The scary thing is, he hadn't been camping in about 3 weeks...

Family Vacation

We recently returned from a family trip to Valley Forge, PA. Jeff had a conference for work there and we tagged along. It saved us on many expenses. We visited the Valley Forge National Historical Park and also Jenkins Arboretum in King of Prussia.
We also got to visit our dear friends, the Lasters, who we knew from Birmingham. They live in Lebanon, PA, which was only 1.5 hours from where we were! Below are some of the pictures.

Friday, April 24, 2009

What Would a Child Psychologist Tell Me?

I try to encourage Maya's creativity. We bought her an easel, paints, and markers for Christmas. Tonight, Reili wanted to join Maya with her "art". I thought it was sweet that Maya was tolerating her little sister. Reili was not screaming or even crying out in pain, so I turned my back (yes, I know big mistake) and let them "play" together.

Maya came out with blood on her knee and a sad look on her face... except it wasn't quite sad enough. I didn't believe it. Yes, it was red (washable) paint. Her sister/partner in crime was slathered in red, too. Here are a few pictures.

Maya even posed for the pictures while Reili kept saying "cheese" while smiling for the camera. I'm wondering at what point to stop encouraging her creativity....

Thursday, April 23, 2009

So, I took a hiatus...

I want to get back into blogging. I guess between Facebook and Twitter, I don't have much left to say.... but I don't get any benefits from those sites. I can't publish it all and call it my journal. I can't pass it on to my children.

I just got back from a trip to my alma mater, The Alabama School of Math and Science, for my 15 year high school reunion. Yup, do the math. What? You can't believe I'm that old? Thanks. I love hearing that one.

So fifteen years have gone by. You would think we were older and wiser and maybe even a little more mature. Ha! I think the highlight of my trip was crashing the prom. It was on the USS Alabama for goodness sakes! Who could resist? We had a blast. I think it was the best prom ever.

We weren't a bunch of weird old geezers hanging around fancy-dressed high school students while longing for days of old. We just went to the prom and climbed around the ship threatening to spit loogies on each other. It was amazing. It was like time had never passed, at least for the moment. I realized that I was a married mom of two but still a kid inside.

Seeing my friends was wonderful. I saw my old roomate, Sarah. She was like a 40-something year old mom stuffed into a petite 17 yr old body back then. Now, she's 34 and pretty much the same. I missed her and didn't even realize it.

I spent a lot of time with my best friends, Ben and Sunita. Memories came flooding back... it was weird. I had forgotten so many things and then my mind opened up and all this stuff came back. I laughed and cried and then cried while laughing. We were such hilarious kids, or at least we thought. Although years have passed, I still feel they are kindred spirits to me. There is a bond there that was never broken and a closeness still exists today.

I had a BBS friend, Jason, that ended up going to ASMS also. He grew up about 15 minutes from my hometown in northeast Alabama. We became great friends. We shared six hour commutes to and from Mobile, and we also spent a school trip abroad in London together. I reminded him of how he and his roommate warned me about this guy I was dating. They told me he was really a not so nice guy and that I should break up with him. Jason didn't remember that, but I remember listening to him and breaking up with the guy.

Wow, what an amazing time. I think my favorite compliment was that I hadn't changed a bit. I think I have physically and maybe even a tad emotionally, but in the end, I was the same old Melody.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

That's What Elfes Do

Ever since Christmastime, Maya has been thinking she is an elf. Her ears might be slightly pointy, I suppose. We also watched the movie Elf quite a few times. More than one elf are not elves, but rather elfes, pronounced el-fez, according to Maya.

This morning, after eating some bacon, the following dialogue was presented:

"When I put oil in my nose, I can smell bacon all day...because I'm an elf, and that's what elfes do."