Thursday, October 29, 2009

Grocery Trip 10/28 ... 74% Savings!!

I really couldn't believe it when this was all said and done. I knew I was potentially going to spend "a lot", but that I would also save "a lot." I just hadn't realize how much the "save a lot" part was going to be!!! Kroger has a 10-item Mega Event Sale going on this week where for every 10 participating items you buy (you can mix and match) you get $5 off your total (or $.50 off each of the 10 items). When combined with their double coupon policy (up to $.50 in my region), some pretty amazing things can happen! I don't think I could have come away with this much stuff for so little if it wasn't for two things: My mother-in-law getting coupon inserts from her friends and neighbors for me, and The Grocery Game. I tell you, if you haven't checked out TGG yet, you really should. I've yet to come across any blog that covers the sales in as much detail as TGG. I know there are other free services that are similar to TGG, but I don't care for them as well. The best thing about TGG is that what used to be the $1 four week trial is now FREE!! If you've been couponing, have a good stash of coupons on hand, and a Kroger nearby enough that it's worth it, you should really check it out this week! My favorite thing about TGG is that they list UN-advertised sales - the ones you don't see in the sale paper and wouldn't know about unless you walked up and down every aisle looking at the shelf tags. To me it is all worth the $1.25/week (after the trial period it's $10 for 8 weeks) to know this "inside information" without spending hours of my time trying to do the same thing. Anyway, enough rambling... (but if you do sign up for The Grocery Game, please let me know either in a comment or via the "Contact Me" button so I can give you my email address and get the referral, because referrals = free weeks for me :P )

Here's the loot:(7) Yukon Gold Instant Potatoes - $.37 ea. (these are for New Year's Day)
(9) 32oz. Gatorade - $.49 ea.
(2) 64oz. Welch's 100% Juice - $1.49 ea.
(1) Cornstarch - $.79
12 double rolls Quilted Northern TP - $4.49
(2) Cat Treats - FREE
(12) Carnation Evaporate Milk - FREE (I can use this in cooking or baking or whatever)
(20) Del Monte Stewed Tomatoes - $.29 ea.
(12) Campbell's Cream Soup (Chic. & Mushroom) - $.68 ea.
(1) Reynold's Parchment Paper - $1.74
(4) 32 load Snuggle Liquid Fabric Softener - FREE
(2) 18 ct. Eggs - $1.49 ea.
(4) BirdsEye Steamfresh Corn - $.49 ea.
(1) Pillsbury Simply Cookie Dough - $.74
(1) Lettuce - $1.45
(1) 5lb. Bread Flour - $2.49
(4) Chex Mix Special Dark - FREE (gave one to my MIL)
(4) Pepperidge Farms Garlic Bread - $.69 ea.
(3) 8oz. Land'O'Lakes Spreadable Butter - $.19 ea.
(5) Hall's Cough Drops - FREE
(2) 8oz. Cheese - $1.50 ea.
Sirloin Tip Roast - $4.31 ($2.49/lb)
1.45 lb. Ground Beef - $3.56
(3) Dental Floss - FREE
(1) Nestle's Mini's - $.99

Shelf Price - $223.33
OOP - $58.62
Saved - $164.71 or 74%!!!!!!!!

And here's my receipt to prove it :D This is the longest receipt I've gotten YET, and the biggest "real food" savings I've EVER had! Ok, with the exception of the TP, cough drops, cat treats and parchment paper... but STILL!
Both Daniel and I were both pretty excited about all of this! He was wonderful and helped me put everything away. My cupboard that was crammed full of summer sale things like BBQ Sauce, Salad Dressings and Condiments is now crammed full of winter sale things like canned stuff :) There's still plenty of condiments and salad dressings to last a while yet, but we've put a decent hurting on it since summer!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

22 Weeks

Today I am 22 weeks! Wow, it's hard to imagine!

Here I am Sunday night at 21 weeks and 4 days. And here is Baby as he or she appeared on Monday. Finally a head shot :) 2 Friday's ago (roughly 1 1/2 weeks ago) Baby George measured to weigh 11 ounces. BabyCenter says that at 22 weeks the baby is about 11 inches from head to toe, and weighs almost a pound. His lips, eyelids and eyebrows are becoming more distinct, and tooth buds are developing underneath the gums :) The eyes are formed, but the irises (the colored part) still lack pigment. His skin is very wrinkly and the pancreas is steadily developing.

I'm feeling overall very well, I think. I've been sleeping pretty well the past several nights, and my hips haven't been bothering me as much as they did a couple weeks ago. I've also upped my chiropractor visits to once a week. My hips still get out of whack some and that really helps them feel better and be back where they are supposed to be.

One thing I've noticed that is a bit "strange" to me is that sometimes my belly feels tight, or I feel like if I could "just unbutton my pants" I'd feel better... but of course that's not an option, or the reason behind the discomfort, since I have on stretchy-waisted clothes! I guess it's just a combination of the baby and my uterus growing in a way that is completely new to my skin and body.

So far I haven't had any heart-burn or reflux! Hopefully I'm not jinxing myself, haha. I know people who were experiencing it already at this point, and other people who never had any trouble the whole pregnancy. I'm hoping for the latter, of course :)

I think the water-induced throwing up may be behind me. I haven't had any issues for several weeks. Of course I'm also being careful to not just chug down a glass of water if I haven't eaten anything, too. I'm a bit anxious about the next appointment when they'll do the sugar test and I'll have to drink "the stuff." Dr. D did tell me (and I haven't mentioned the water thing to her) that I could eat something like an egg for breakfast, but to not have bready or sugary things before I go in. I plan to at least eat an egg, so hopefully that will calm down the stomach acid enough to not react to liquid.

I'm really happy with my Dr. She has great bed-side manners, is willing to explain things or answer any questions, but she also doesn't lolly-gag around and gets straight to the point. I think my favorite "Dr" moment so far was the first time we listened to the baby's heartbeat. The look on her face and expression in her voice was amazement and awe - which really meant a lot to me coming from someone who delivers babies every day!


I've made great headway in the kitchen since this morning, but I'm not finished yet. This afternoon I went to the Dr. for another ultrasound. I got in there, hopped up on the table, got the goop squirted all over me, and Baby was still staring hard at my back. The tech. told me to go walk around for 10 minutes and come back. I went outside and called Daniel, telling him that we have a stubborn child on our hands :)

When she was done with her other patient, we tried again. He had rolled over! It was a quick ultrasound, not too much "looking for pleasure", so I wasn't able to watch our baby a whole lot, but what I did see looked mighty cute :) He/She still wasn't in a good position for the tech to see all 4 chambers of the heart, no matter how hard she tried, so they are going to call me tomorrow with an appointment for the ultrasound machine "upstairs" (wherever that is in the building - upstairs somewhere, I guess!) that has better powers. She (Diane the Tech) said she's not concerned, but it is a view they need to get before the baby gets much older because the older they get the harder it is to see. So, I'll be going back again for more!

I know I promised pictures, but my batteries died while I was taking pictures of the ultrasound pictures, so I can't upload them until the batteries recharge. Maybe in the morning.

Monday, October 26, 2009

High Gear

Since I'm all about "keepin' it real" on here, I'll just go ahead and say it.

My name is Miriam and... I have a

There are my Sunday shoes... on the counter. Because they were in my full hands when I walked in the door yesterday afternoon and that's where it was easy to put them down. They are on a stack of coupon inserts. And a gallon of flax seed that one of Daniel's customers gave him because they weren't using it. What am I going to do with it?? And the empty Dr. Pepper can that fell off the counter and onto the floor when I was putting piling something else up there last night.Oh my. This section is a nightmare. You can't see it, but the sinks are full. (The dishwasher is clean!) My blender is still sitting there in all it's glory from when I made rice milk Thursday night. I have things piled on top of my canisters. Like a box of plastic wrap that belongs in the drawer over on the left side of the room. And there's flour underneath everything from when I made 7 pies Thursday evening. The box on the floor is clothes and baby stuff that I need to look through and put where it belongs.More flour. More stuff. Not a square inch to be found, unless I shove and scoot things out of the way - which is what I did this morning when I made Daniel's breakfast and lunch. The bar stool is great for holding even more stuff. Y'know, like the big, dirty bowls that won't fit on the counters because they are full. Just stack 'em on the stool is what I say! And this mountain of STUFF. There are bags of maternity clothes that someone gave me. Groceries from last Wednesday that I haven't had time to put away yet. (CLEAN!) Pans and what-not from Friday when I fed 40 people. Hard to tell what all I'll find in there when I get it cleaned up.

This morning I've had my "Breakfast of Champions." An egg, a piece of toast and a glass of Orange Juice to wash down my prenatal vitamin. Now I am ready to FACE THE DAY!
Later this afternoon I have another ultrasound to hopefully get a good look at Baby George's head/face. Last Friday (2 Friday's ago, really) when we had the main one, he (she?) wasn't cooperating too well, had her nose buried in my back and was being camera shy. So all the pictures we brought home are of the spine and hands and feet. Cute as they are, we still need to see your face, Baby! (And the ultrasound tech needs to look at some of Baby's "inside" things - like the top of the spine, etc. that she couldn't see last time.) Last night I finally got another "baby bump" picture taken, so I will post it this evening when I will hopefully have a good picture of Baby George :)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Good Things / Bad Things

Maybe I'll start off with the bad and get it out of the way.

Kroger and Walmart do not seem to carry Tapioca. At least the 2 stores I was in did not reveal any on their shelves. Or I was totally looking in the wrong place, but I really think it would be in the baking goods aisle... around where the Jell-O and stuff is. I NEED tapioca. I'm making 3 apple pies today. Like, TO-DAY today, and will be off on a search for some tapioca before I make them. If I have to go hunt down a tapioca tree and pull off the tapioca berries myself. Ok, I really have no idea where tapioca comes from; probably not from tapioca berries grown on trees...

I spent most of yesterday afternoon walking around Costco and Kroger (a Kroger I'd never been in, so I didn't know the layout and was back and forth all over the store getting what I needed). When I got home, I had just enough time to unload the groceries, put the cold stuff away, load up some other stuff to take to church, and head off to 2.5 hrs. of choir practice (normally one 1.5, but we had some extra stuff to practice for Missions Conference). On the way home I had to stop at WalMart to get "the rest of the stuff" - like frozen peas, because Costco does not carry frozen peas. What?!?! And tapioca.

By this time my brain powers were waning, and my hips and legs were really letting me know that they exist. All I wanted to do was find what I needed, check out, and go sit down in the car so I could drive home and crawl in bed. We parked at the one entrance of Walmart, and of course went in that entrance. After checking out, we walked down to that set of doors to find that when we walk up to them, they didn't open. Neither of us could figure out why. Daniel decided to manually open them. Out of no-where this big, barking voice starts command-style-not-quite-bellowing at us "THE DOOOOORS AAAARRRRRE CLOOOOOSSSSSED". Daniel points out to Mr. Appeared-out-of-nowhere Security Dude that there is no sign posted, nothing indicating that this set of doors closes at any point. Again, "THE DOOOORS AAARRRRRREEE CLOOOOOSSSSED SIR, YOU MAY NOT GO OUT HERE." Daniel says "You mean I gotta walk all the way down to the other end, and walk back up to this end to my car, just to get out?" "THE DOOOORS CLOOOOOSE AT TEN O'CLOCK, SIR, YOU MAY NOT GO OUT THESE DOOOOOORS." I'm ready to bite this guys head off and chew it up. Or sit down and bawl. More like both. I remembered that not 5 minutes earlier I explained to the cashier (who never acknowledged us other than noticing our large purchase of frozen peas) that I was doing some cooking for church and decided it would be kinda bad to be a church-lady one minute and a mad-hornet-cannibal the next, so I clamped my teeth shut and set off for the other entrance. Of course then the security dude tries to play dumb/nice and says "They're supposed to put up a sign. I just work here."

I managed to get out to the car (walking the length of WalMart twice just to do it) and was glad Daniel was driving in his work van. Neither of us was very happy with the security dude, his personality, or the seemingly ridiculous and not posted policy about the doors. I chalked my crazy emotions up to the whole day, not being able to find what I needed, and the mean security guy, and being pregnant on top of it all. And the tears started flowing. I wanted to sit down and bawl, so I did (glad that I didn't have to explain all the hormones/emotions to Daniel). And then I wished I'd pulled my wild card and given that guy a piece or two of my mind, something like "Sir, I'm 21 weeks pregnant, my hips and legs are killing me, your store did not have 1/2 of what I came in here to get, I'm tired, and you're going to make me walk x, y and z to get to my car?!!?" He really was being a smart-___, I was just a customer (a pregnant one!) wanting to get to my car.

Ok. On to the good.

Yesterday my package arrived!! Woohoo!!! I opened it up and tried on all the clothes. 2 black skirts (I ordered 3) fit!!! The white blouse fits!!! The dress.... fits, but we don't have a full-length mirror and Daniel said I looked better in a black skirt & white blouse than in the dress. He also (finally) said that for $40 I should send it back because it doesn't fit/look quite good enough to merit the $40. It feels kinda trash-baggy on me, so I wondered about that. I'm glad I was able to finally pull that out of him. LOL. The denim skirt was too hip-huggy (the 3rd black skirt was the same way), and the jeans! Oh, the darling, wonderful jeans!!! They fit like a charm!! I was so excited! Granted, they are about 3" too long, but a pair of scissors and a couple minutes on the sewing machine (if I can remember where it's packed) can fix that. Why don't they make non-maternity jeans as comfortable and so easy fitting? I don't know.

And the second good: I slept good again last night for the 2nd night in a row! It was a shorter night, and it took a while and some Tylenol (for the hips and legs) for me to be able to go to sleep, but once I was sleeping I slept really well.

Today my #1 goal is to load up the dishwasher and get it going, then start up the clothes-washer. After that, my have-to's for the day are to hunt down some tapioca, make 3 apple pies, 3 cherry pies and 3 batches of rolls (72). I also hope to squeeze in a trip to the chiropractor and hopefully get everything straightened back out again.

So, I'm gonna put on some happy music, and get started!! Toodle-ooo! :)

(Oh - another good thing! I bought new batteries for our cordless phones, so hopefully if you call me I'll actually be able to answer instead of the phone dying in my hand when I push the answer button.)

Monday, October 19, 2009

Buying A Meat Grinder

I am such a weirdo. I mean, how many of you have considered buying a meat grinder? Or maybe you're a weirdo just like me and you've already taken the plunge. I've thought about getting one off and on ever since I turned (even more) frugal a year or so after we got married.

Plain and simple, ground beef is ex.pen.sive. And the "good stuff" is not often marked down, and when it is it's still an arm and a leg per pound (instead of both arms and both legs). I don't mind buying the full-fat ground beef, but my prefrence is the leaner, the better I don't always want to brown and then drain the hamburger before I use it, and I think the leaner stuff makes better whatever.

I'm in the "thinking about it" mode these past couple weeks. Beef roasts seem to be the "loss leader" sale item lately, and I'm just WISHING that I had a meat grinder so I could buy some of these really nice roasts that are on sale for $1.77/lb and make some really nice lean ground beef!

I brought it up to Daniel last week when I saw Food Lion's new salepaper, and we talked about it a little, but I don't know how serious to go with this idea. I checked online and it looks like the best reviews are going to the Waring Pro MG800... and it comes with a price-tag of about 200 smackaroos. So then I have to wonder if it's worth shelling out the $$ to have good quality ground beef for less?

Here's some random figures:

if we eat 100lbs. ground chuck (full fat)/year @ $1.99/lb (on markdown) = $199.00/yr.

If we bought the meat grinder @ $189.00
+ 100lbs. lean roasts @ $1.77/lb
= $3.66/lb the first year
= $2.71/lb the second year
= $2.40/lb the third year
= $2.24/lb the fourth year
= $2.14/lb the fifth year
= $2.08/lb the sixth year
and so on and so forth

Even by the second year (and maybe even the first, I haven't looked at full price) it would be cheaper per pound than full price lean ground beef. Now, I really have no idea how much ground beef we do or would eat per year, but with our expanding family, in another year or two, it's going to start increasing.

You might wonder why I wouldn't go with a manual grinder. Well, my quick answers to that are, first off, it has to be mounted and I'm not really interested in having one of those gizmos bolted to my counter top or kitchen table. And second off, it would take some serious arm gumption to grind through multiple pounds of roast since I would buy several roasts at once to grind through... and to get a nice grind you have to do it more than once, so if I bought 10 lbs. of roast, I would end up grinding 20 lbs. Yes, we could hook a drill up to the grinder (it works great for
Squeezo's!) but then we still have the mounting issue. Even if we would mount it to a block of wood, then we need to have a surface to clamp the whole apparatus to, and neither my counter top or kitchen table would work for that. I could always do it outside on a saw-horse & plywood table, I guess...

And ground beef would only be the beginning! Think of pork roasts that go on sale for under $1.00/lb? Ground pork... homemade sausage of whatever flavor we wanted... Shucks if we wanted to get super healthy we could buy turkeys when they are on sale for $.39/lb and make turkey-burger!

Call me silly, weird, extreme-country-chick, whatever, but I'm really liking the idea of having this machine on my pantry shelf. And yes, I just measured to be sure, and it will just fit on my main appliance shelf :)

Next week I might want to buy a milk cow and butter churn.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

And the nightmare continues...

Anyone else on here 5'2", short-waisted and legged, and well-endowed in every area? If so, please tell me where and how you go clothes shopping!!

So we probably didn't hit up the best places to find maternity clothes (it was a last minute planned trip), the 2 places we did go (Kohl's and Target) yielded 2 pieces after trying on a million. In another couple weeks I'm going to not fit in my one skirt that I can still get around my expanding girth, and I'm not going to church naked. The only skirts I saw at either place were ones that my hiney would stick out the bottom. And the pants... I don't know who has such teeny, tiny, short butts!! Honestly! I put on a pair of jeans and the top of the jeans material in the back barely rides above mid-cheek! And if I bend over, the belly band ends up covering my tush while the actual jeans material goes lower and lower. I have to hike everything back up so it's not completely off my butt. Maybe my rear-end is just tall compared to the rest of me. I dunno.

One of my reasons for shopping is that I have 2 weddings to attend in the next month. And I literally have nothing suitable to wear. Unless I can still squeeze into the jeans skirt, but that's not very formal attire.

We ran out of time so we couldn't keep shopping, but we did get a nice pair of loooong black slacks, and I'll lop the ends off and hem them up if that's what I end up wearing. We found a nice top that went with them, and it fit really well... until I went to take it off and realized that if I put my arms out in front of me at all it was too small across the shoulders/armpits. So we tried the next size up, and it was just baggier with the same problem. I did get one top, but not really suitable for wearing with black slacks to a wedding. My problem with the tops is that they are all soooo long, or a cut that just didn't flatter my short bod at all. And I realize that as my belly grows, it'll take more material to cover, but seriously, alot of these things I could tie on a belt and call it a mini-dress.

Soooo.... I just placed an order online for several pieces of clothes. 1 dress, 3 skirts, 1 pair of jeans (that I think and really, really hope ARE the same brand and cut as the capris I have and LOOOOVE and fit really nicely) and a white blouse. And of course the dress is a sleeveless number so if it does indeed fit (crossing my fingers here!) I'll need to go sweater shopping, but that shouldn't be too hard. I don't expect every piece to fit, which is why I ordered several of the skirts. Hopefully one of them will and I'll have something to wear while I slowly get around to other places to try and add to my selection.

And I thought shopping for non-maternity clothes was hard. Now you know why you see me in the same thing time and time again. Because a) it's hard to find stuff that fits me and the budget, and b) what fun is it to shop when nothing fits?

Please don't take this as a whiny, boo-hoo, nothing fits, post. I might feel like that tomorrow morning, or in the next 15 minutes, but not at the current moment of writing this. Just exasperation that every woman on "Petite Top Model" was 5'7" or taller and a toothpick. Yeah right. Guess that makes me a midget or dwarf or something.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Bigger Isn't Always Better

In my latest quest to coordinate meals for 40 people, I am making every effort to save money wherever I can and still get high-quality food. I've written out several meal plans so I know about what I'm looking for, especially the meats. Since I know what meats I want to serve, I can keep my orbs peeled for sales on them. Or, if a really fantastic sale comes up on a meat I don't have planned, I will try and swap it out if I can.

Next week (if it's a go, I still need to make sure I'm doing it - I've learned to never assume!) I have chicken breasts planned. Normally, that is not the cheapest part of the chicken to buy, but I was fairly certain that between the time I planned the meal and the day I would need to prepare it, somebody somewhere was very likely to run a decent sale on it. Sure enough, I opened the sale-papers Sunday to find them on sale for $1.78/lb.

Now, most all people that I've mass-cooked with (aside from my sisters) are all about convenience when it comes to purchasing food. If they can buy it in bulk the day before, then that is the way they will automatically go. I wonder if they ever consider that they could pay 50+% less if they pre-shopped a bit and hit the sales? I dunno. I also understand that it could depend on if you're feeding 50 or 500 - I doubt Food Lion will want to sell you a whole shipment of Chicken Breasts! But they might, who knows :)

Just to be sure, both last week when I was getting 40 lbs. of chuck roasts, and this week when I hope to buy 65 chicken breasts, I've called around to all the "big box stores" to make sure I'm getting the most bang for my buck.

This week, here are the price comparisons for Fresh, Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts:
Costco - $2.99/lb (yoweee!!!)
BJ's - $2.79/lb (Yikes!!)
Sam's Club - $1.97/lb (that's more like it)
Farmer's Foods - $1.78/lb (normally $3.79) - now THAT's what I'm talkin' 'bout!!

I also check with the local store to make sure there isn't a limit on how much I can buy. If I do end up buying from the local store, I will check with them again to make sure they have the amount I want available.

I will most likely end up buying some things from the big box stores, but if I see what I need for a good deal, I'm going to get as much as I can on sale. For instance, I also need Cream of Onion soup for next week. Guess what's on sale at Kroger this week with coupons? Campbell's Cream Soups! For a very good price. A low enough sale price that I won't run to each big box store to compare the per-can price, especially since I won't use a whole case.

I guess the punch-line to all this is that yes, the big box stores ARE cheaper than the non-sale price at the local stores. BUT, so far they can't beat the sales!!

Monday, October 12, 2009

What Should I Write?

I feel like the only blog content I've been posting lately has been my weekly grocery buys. Blech. That gets old after a while. I mean, I love to read the blogs that have new posts every day or two!!! I have done that in the past, I guess I'm just going through a really long bloggy-blah or something.

Some things that are going on around here lately that I've thought about posting but just haven't gotten around to it:

Adding on to the house. We haven't started, we don't have holes or stacks of lumber in our yard, but we do have some ideas on paper and are seriously moving in that direction. I'm eager to get things really rolling (blueprints, estimates, permits, and eventually the actual "doing") so hopefully alot of the initial and major banging and clanging can be done BEFORE Georgie-Porgy arrives and would be sleeping in the bedroom that will be very adjacent to the construction. My ideal goal is to have whatever we do completely finished and moved into by the end of 2010. I think that's reasonable, don't you?

In the budget/finance department, we're hoping to refinance very soon. Right now we are in a 5 year ARM that ends next fall, I think. That could be bad, depending on where rates are at the time. Right now we have a pretty decent rate, but hopefully we'll get something a percent or two lower, and have it locked in for the whole life. Daniel wants to figure up how much the addition is going to cost before we refinance so we know what kind of $$ we have or don't have to work with. We have a very nice nest egg hidden away for the addition which we are hoping will cover quite a bit of it, but probably not all of it, depending on prices and how frou-frou we do things (and we are not frou-frou people by any means!).

I have volunteered to be the coordinator for a ministry our church has. "We" (our pastor and youth pastor) are working with a local, inner-city, high-school football team that is just a couple blocks from church. They have a chapel service with them on Thursdays, and then on Friday before their games we provide them with a good, filling meal. I volunteered to coordinate the meal part :) If you know me at all, you know 2 things: I love making good food, and I love organizing and planning. Oh, and a 3rd thing would be that fixing and planning food for large crowds doesn't intimidate me one bit (it does alot of people, I'm learning!). The meals need to serve 40 people and I'm pretty excited :) This past Friday was the first time I'd helped with it at all (some other ladies had come up with the meal, I was just helping) and it was pretty amazing to see the guys' reaction to getting good food. They're the kind of people who probably don't get more than Twinkies and sodas for meals on a daily basis. In talking with our pastor, he's shared with me some of the impact that this ministry has had on these kids' lives, it's almost like they've done a 180. It is so amazing what sharing God's love can do!! I'm excited to be a part of the ministry these guys' hearts (and stomachs!).

This coming Friday morning we get to see our little baby again :) We're both so excited. It will be the 20-week ultrasound, and Baby George is going to be a lot bigger than the last time we saw him (or her)!! This would normally be the ultrasound where we would find out if it's a boy or girl, but we've decided that we're not going to purposely find out, but let it be a surprise. BUT we've also decided that if by chance we would find out (if it's glaringly obvious on the ultrasound, or somebody that knows what they're looking at lets it slip), it's not going to be the end of our world - we'd probably just look at each other, grin, and say "cool!!" Haha! My guess is that neither of us will know what to look for on the ultrasound, so we're probably pretty safe there :P
It's hard to imagine that I'm almost 1/2 way through this pregnancy! It seems like things are going so easy right now, and I'm so thankful! All the "how are you feeling" questions are starting to get redundant, but I guess I've probably asked people that very thing my fair share of times, too :P I am feeling very good!! Sleeping has become interesting - some nights I'm super comfortable, other nights I just cannot get comfortable or go to sleep, even though I'm tired as all get out. It seems to go in a 2 "bad" nights, 1 really good night cycle. I need to go to the chiropractor and get some kinks worked out, and see if he has any suggestions. One thing that wakes me up alot is my hips. I don't know if I need to put a pillow between my knees, if it's the weight gain (and I haven't gained that much, either), or just something to live with for another 4 1/2 months, but till the end of the night both of my hips are pretty sore from sleeping on my sides. Getting a new mattress has crossed my mind lately, too, wondering if that might make a difference. Ours is getting a couple lumps in it, and has definite sunken spots where we sleep the most, even though we rotated it the other week (we can't flip it because it's a pillow-top).

As you can see, if I really sit down to blog, content will come out of my finger-tips :) I think this is a good blog-start for the week, so I should get on to a good start in all the other areas of everyday life :) Dishes need done, laundry needs washed and hung out pretty soon if it's going to dry today (it's cool and cloudy), and I need to make bread.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

It's the Little Things ...

That Daniel does to make me smile :) And to make sure I feel loved :)

Monday is "Daniel's Jeans" day in the laundry department. Anybody who's man does any kind of manual labor is probably well familiar with the NEED to check every pocket in his shirts and pants before putting them into the washing machine. I find all kinds of things. And usually if I miss something it's the time there was an ink pen, but I digress.

Monday I cleaned out his pockets, and the treasures went on top of the dryer for the time being. One of the treasures was a blue, heavy duty, latex glove (I forget what he uses them for... some kind of cleaner or glue or something that you don't want to get on your skin).

Tuesday morning I went to start the washing machine and this is what was waiting for me: He had taken the blue glove and shaped it into the "I Love You" sign where he knew I would find it :)

Yesterday (Wednesday) when I made his lunch I made sure to write something sweet on his sandwich baggie :) It's been a while since I've done that, and it's something I need to do more often. Not that I don't love him, or forget to let him know, but I need to make sure and slow down, to not let the hustle and bustle of getting him out the door keep me from doing the little things that make him feel especially loved :)

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Weekly Shopping Trip

I decided to give Walgreen's a try this week. They are "sortof" like CVS in that they give you Register Rewards (RR's) on certain items that are on sale for the week or month. RR's are just like CVS's ECB's, where they are just like money off your next purchase. The trick with RR's is that if I get an RR from, say, a Procter and Gamble product, I can't use it to buy another Procter and Gamble item. So in that way they are trickier than CVS. I've also heard that sometimes the RR machines don't work right and so on... Alot of people have great success with it, so I wanted to give it a shot and see if it works for me. It didn't all work out exactly like it was supposed to today, but I worked my way around it and I think I still came out on top. We'll see.

Walgreen's:I started out with no RR's, only coupons, so I had to spend some OOP to get started.

Trans. 1:
(2) Trident Gum - $1 ea.
1 Dentek flossers - $2.79
- (2) $.75 Trident q's
- $1 Dentek q

OOP - $2.48
Earned $1 RR for the Gum
and here's where it gets tricky - the Dentek was supposed to produce a $2 RR, and it didn't. So the manager came and manually put it on a Gift Card. I was going to get a 2nd one, and when I went to use the coupon he said that was the reason it didn't produce a RR... I'm 99.9% sure he's wrong, but I didn't want to cause a fuss, so I just didn't get the 2nd one... or my other $2 RR I was after! Oh well. And we continue...
Trans. 2
Gillette Fusion Power Razor System - $8.99 (to go with the cartridges I got a couple weeks ago at CVS)
(1) Fall Scarecrow doo-dad - $.69 (filler item since I was using 2 coupons)
- $4 Razor q
- $1 RR from Trans. 1
- $2.10 on GC from Trans. 1

OOP - $5.16
Earned $6 RR
Trans. 3
(3) Dove Shampoo - $3 ea.
(5) Dove Conditioner - $3 ea. (boo, I thought the red ones were shampoo)
(1) Fall Scarecrow doo-dad - $.69 (filler item since I was again using 1 more coupon than I had items)
- (3) $1.50 Conditioner q's
- (5) $1 Dove Hair Care q's
- $6 RR from Trans. 2

OOP - $10.42
Earned $10 RR (for buy 8 participating Dove products)
Whole Trip Shelf - $47.94
Whole Trip OOP - $18.06
(Left with $10 RR towards my next order, so really only $8.06)
Saved 62%

(6) Hunt's Diced Tomatoes - $.58 ea.
Chips - $1.88
Cooking Spray - $2.09
(8) Condensed Tomato Soup - $.40 ea. (Coupons didn't double, would've been $.30 ea.)
Cream of Onion Soup - $1.39
Skippy Natural Crunchy PB - $.64 (from Target)
Idahoan Instant Potatoes - FREE
Chuck Roast (2.65 lb.) - $5.29 ($1.99/lb)
2 lb. Rice - $1.49
3 lb. Onions - $1.50
Yams - $1.85 ($.99/lb)
Apples - $4.09 (2 different kinds)
Marked Down Bananas - $.69 (Banana Bread!!)
Oranges - $2.00
(3) 12 oz. Honey Ham - $.99 ea. (Markdown)

Shelf Price - $53.62
Total OOP - $34.16
Saved - $19.46 / 36%

Monday, October 5, 2009

Looking at the Positive

Instead of looking back over the day and thinking "I didn't get anything done", I'm choosing to look at what I did get done. Is there lots of visual improvement? Not so much. But I know what I did, and I'm glad I got that much done!

This afternoon when I got home from MOPS I spent some time outside trying (again) to coax "the other dog" close enough so I could read the tag on his collar. He showed up Thursday afternoon and is quite content to be here - at least he's not making any efforts to go home. Anyway, he belongs to somebody, and appears to be a hunting dog. He's also super skittish and wouldn't come any closer than about 2 feet away from me, and the second I would bat an eyelash or a thought would cross my mind he'd scoot off like a rabbit. I gave up on that after a while and searched through the phone book and white pages for people around here that we thought might have dogs. I tried different numbers, some had no dogs, some suggested people to call, and some had dogs but weren't missing any. I guess if we don't soon have luck with locating his owner I'll have to call the Animal Control so they can catch him and be able to reunite him with his owner, though I hate to take that route if I don't have to. LOL, early this morning Rascal barked for a bit and I heard "the other dog" howling some. When I got up to fix Daniel's breakfast I heard a terrible meowing coming from somewhere outside the kitchen windows. I went outside (it was barely light) and here the dog had treed one of the neighbors cats!! When I went outside the dog was sitting patiently at the bottom of the tree, I guess waiting to show his accomplishment, but immediately scooted off. The cat got down not too long after that.

I did get a load of laundry washed and hung out. I don't know that I'll get it in before I go to bed, it was hung out pretty late in the afternoon and I don't think it was enough time for jeans to dry.

I did make the bed! And supper - oven fried drumsticks and green beans! And mixed up 2 loaves of bread (1 batch of dough) in the bread machine and just put them in the oven! I did take a nap this afternoon, I needed it and felt much better afterwards.

This evening while supper was in the oven Daniel and I were outside talking and measuring. We're moving in the direction of adding on (we decided not to sell at this point) and are trying to get our ideas fleshed out and on the same page. After supper I printed off some graph paper and we spent the rest of the evening idea shooting. We have a basic footprint that we're interested in, and I measured stuff and made "furniture" (flat, not 3-D) out of construction paper to fit the scale of the space on the graph paper. I'm such a visual person I have to SEE things like that in order to know what I think/want. I'm glad we weren't moving real furniture around - we would be sore and stiff from all the "furniture moving" that we did! We finally came up with a furniture arrangement that we both like "the best", but now we don't know where a 1/2 bath fits in that floor layout.

This evening Daniel wondered if there was anything dessertish to nibble on... when the answer was no, he offered to "be the hero" (his words) and bake one of the packages of Nestle Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough I bought recently. And so he did :) He was putting them on a cookie sheet and he said "I guess it would probably be better if I used 2 cookie sheets instead of cramming 24 cookies on one, huh?" I love this man :) I know first hand how much he dislikes cooking and baking, so when he does take the notion to do something in the kitchen (other than eat :P ), ahh, I feel the luv :)

All in all, no, I didn't really get great gobs of things done. But we did make good progress on the addition planning, and I did get some things done today :) There is plenty waiting to be done another day, but the world won't fall apart before I get to it.

Monday Musings :)

Ahh, this day is proving to be an exciting one :)

I went to MOPS this morning and our guest speaker was a wonderful lady from our church (Daniel and I know her family) who is a part-time CEF (Child Evangelism Fellowship) missionary. She and her husband have 9 kids and she loves kids. She shared how we, as moms, can present the Gospel to our children, even if they are just a year or two old... to start sewing the seeds early. Hearing her talk about being a mom inspired me and got me thinking.

Last night I could not get comfortable and go to sleep well. I think part of it was the crazy array of foods I had to eat this weekend... Saturday I made the Simple Sesame Noodles with Shrimp for supper. They were good, but pretty oily (will cut that back next time). Yesterday it was a Reuben Sandwich with Ice Cream for dessert for lunch (we were invited out to eat after church). It was thee best Reuben Sandwich I think I've ever had. It was sooooo good. And the ice cream was "free, all you can eat". I only had 1/2 of my sandwich and the other half came home for leftovers sometime this week :) After church, and after we finished our Sunday night rituals (emptying bathroom trashcans and locking up) I was famished as usual. We went by Taco Bell and I had a Nachos Belle Grande. When we got home I still wanted a little something to nibble on so I had some Apple Crisp that I made Saturday. Soon after finishing that my stomach started to feel like I'd eaten a brick or a river-jack or something. Uggh. Anyways, all that to say, I didn't sleep well for most of the night. I got up around 4:30 and got a drink of water, after that I did sleep really good... until the alarm clock went of at 6:15. Grr. As soon as Daniel left I jumped back in bed hoping that there was still some "good sleep" left in the pillows. There was, and I woke up 10 minutes before I needed to leave for MOPS!

So far this afternoon I haven't gotten diddly-squat done other than starting a load of laundry. I need to make bread since Daniel had the last of it this morning, and I haven't begun to think about what we'll eat for supper. Maybe fruit and vegetables would be in order after the weekend diet :P I'm so tempted to take a nap this afternoon, I have a dull headache and just want some sleep, but I know if I do a) not as much will get done, b) I don't know if I'll sleep good or not and c) I want to sleep really good tonight! LOL!!

Oh the joys! I love being a housewife, I really do. I'm so glad I don't have to rush around and go work in some office or something. I'm glad I can stay home and bless my household and family through being happy and willing to fill the Chief Cook, Bottlewasher, Laundress, Cleaner, Accountant, Grocery-Shopper, So-on-and-so-forth role. Though my spirit is always willing, sometimes my body and mind aren't :/ I think today is one where my body is dragging. Maybe I will go ahead and see if a quick power nap won't recharge my batteries. Hopefully after that I will be able to blast full speed ahead instead of grinding along :)