Sunday, November 30, 2008

Back to our regular posting

We have been visiting my parents in Tennessee/Kentucky since last Monday. We had a great time and I got some much needed rest. Caroline loved spending time with her Nana and PePaw. Our family celebrated Thanksgiving at my aunt and uncle's house. Caroline loved playing with their neighbor's cats. She was so excited that she couldn't hardly eat her turkey! It's amazing how different things were this year compared to last year. It's been a year of ups and downs and I am so thankful that we are finally a family in the United States. We celebrated a first with Caroline...her first turkey and dressing! She loved it!

During the week, we spent some quality time with each of my parents. My stepfather and I took Caroline shoe shopping. We went to two different stores before we finally found some shoes that fit her. She was so cute in the boutique. There was this really cute (way overpriced) comfy chair that she claimed as her own. She would sit down in it and let me put her shoes on. When we asked her to stand up and walk around, she would stand up, grin and immediately sit back in the chair. It was really cute! Pepaw treated Caroline not only to one pair of shoes, but TWO! What a lucky little girl! We then went and bought her main present from my parents. I spotted a "custom" kitchen and knew that she would love it. So, we went and picked that up and of course, a new baby doll.

Caroline has a new dolls. My mom gave her a little stroller and a baby bed for her Thanksgiving present. It's perfect! I am looking forward to seeing her discover all her new "favorites". Christmas is going to be PERFECT!!!!

Stay tuned for pictures.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Pumpkin Roll Recipe

Our friend Virginia makes the BEST pumpkin rolls this time for her friends. It's one of our favorite times because we actually CRAVE this dessert. Remember, we don't like pumpkin pie, so why do we like this??? BECAUSE IT IS AWESOME! I decided to finally google a recipe to try to make one for us this year. I'm going to try it out at my mom's house next week. For now, you will have to deal with just the recipe. I'm not sure if this is hers, but I'm going to try it out anyway...

Friday, November 21, 2008

Amazing Savings

I went to Publix, Kroger, and Wal-Mart this afternoon to do next week's grocery shopping since I will be out of town. I couldn't let these great deals pass me up, so out we went.

At Publix, I saved over $102 and only spent $28.23. Most of what I bought I am donating to a local food pantry. I managed to not put anything in my cart today unless I had a coupon for it! I got the Betty Crocker potatoes for 9 cents each, the Chex Mix for 27 cents each, the Glass Plus for 24 cents each, the Domino brown sugar for 19 cents each, the canned veggies for 4 cents and 9 cent each, and so on...AMAZING!

We then headed to Kroger to get some diapers. The jumbo pack (30 diapers) was on sale for $9.99. I bought two and used my ShortCuts coupons for $1.50 and $1.00 and then used two paper coupons for $1.00 each. I paid $15.50 for 60 diapers. Not bad! But the best deal was my purchase of two Oil of Olay ribbon body washes. They are $4.29 each. I used a ShortCuts coupon for BOG1 free and then used 2 $2.00 off paper coupons. I paid 29 cents for both of them!! AMAZING!

After Kroger, we went to Wal-Mart to get FREE vegetables. Green Giant Valley Fresh Steamers were on sale for $1.00. I had 12 $1.00 off coupons, so we stocked up on more FREE veggies! AMAZING!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Marathon Race Is Over For Woody

Caroline was constantly trying to catch Woody!

Peek a boo! I see you!

What are you looking at? I was praying not napping!!

Woody, our praying cat, was praying for Caroline to get home back in December!

It's been a pretty sad week around our house. Caroline has been pretty sick and to top it off, we had to put our beloved cat, Woody, to sleep. When I got home from Guatemala, I noticed that he was really unhealthy looking (super skinny) and his fur was not well groomed. I thought it was perhaps worms. However, Tim took him to the vet for me and he was diagnosed with an enlarged heart. His heart was double the size of a normal heart and was basically in cardiac arrest at all times. The vet described it as the same as a marathon runner dropping dead of a heart attack. Some days were better than others. The vet prescribed him medicine to help ease his pain, drain fluid away from his heart and something else. Well, the fight ended on Monday afternoon. Tim came home early and we found Woody was paralyzed on the floor and gasping for air. He took him to the vet where he was diagnosed with having a blood clot, which was causing him to not be able to breathe and walk. It was so sad. Woody had been in our family for 9 years and was our "little lion". It still seems like we will hear him knock at the door to come in in the middle of the night. (He went out at night because we think he had a few girls on the side!!) Caroline loved Woody and amazingly, he loved her.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Sick and Tired of Being SICK!!!

EDITED: Caroline has the beginning of an ear infection in her right ear (on amoxicillin), fever, RSV bronchiolitis (on breathing treatments 4 times a day), and on Claritin once a day, and will be using a saline nasal spray to help with her congested nose. YUCK! Apparently, since she was so sick in Guatemala with RSV, she is more likely to get it again. So...we can look forward to having a rough winter! I think we are going to sell our house and live in a bubble!!! :)

Caroline is sick AGAIN! We just got over being sick. Poor baby! On Saturday night, she would wake herself up by coughing and then would whimper. This has been going on each night for a few days. By Sunday afternoon, she had a 103 fever with a deep cough. We immediately started alternating the motrin and tylenol. Tim had her for a few hours while I was hosting a baby shower and he reports that she threw up (curdled milk) and had two massive diarrheas. On Monday, her fever stayed around 102/103 with around the clock medicine. She didn't want to eat and didn't want to drink. I had to watch her carefully for a wet diaper. She had a little one, so I knew she was taking in some fluids. This morning, she is now sleeping in our bed upright because she can't breathe. I put in a call to the doctor who is working us in for a 1:45 appointment. She is worried about RSV (since she has had a bad history of it in Guatemala, hence part of the running away to get her healthy). I'll keep you updated...

Elf on the Shelf

Last week, we went to a special book signing by the author of the "Elf on the Shelf" at the local boutique Phancy Pheasant. We ate cookies and sipped on hot apple cider. I dressed Caroline up in one of her new Christmas dresses for the event. I, however, was not dressed up because I had been running ragged all day (doing carpools, errands, and homework). Caroline wouldn't let Ms. Bell hold her, so we all got in the picture.

The Elf on the Shelf book is so cute! It talks about a little elf watching you all day and reporting back to Santa at night. The book comes with an activity book and their very own elf. I can't wait for Caroline's elf to come alive at night and find a new hiding place in the morning. She's already pointing to the elf in the book! It will be a cute tradition every year.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Sunday Afternoon

Have I said how much I love this little girl? It's truly amazing how much I LOVE this little girl every day! I was telling another mom just the other day, it's weird that she couldn't be more like me if I had birthed her myself! I am so amazed at how God gave us the most perfect child for us. One day, I WILL tell the story of how she came home. But, for those of you who know...I still struggle with nightmares and I still see the "evil one" at least once a week. This past week, in church, I looked up and broke out in a cold sweat. If I was a betting person, I would have given all of my money on him. I swear I saw him. I think that I even stopped breathing. I had to pray to God to help me wake up from my church. It's crazy that he still has such a hold on me. One day...I will be free. I was just talking with Tim as I was reading to him what I was writing and he was experiencing some of the same things. He even knew who I was talking about in our church. We had never talked about our feelings. I guess we had just buried some of our trauma and excused some of it. As it turns out, we are experiencing some of the same nightmares. Please pray for us as we are dealing with our emotions. It has taken us several months before we even recognized our symptoms. We knew we were lucky to get home, but luck really has nothing to do with was ALL GOD!!!!!

Mt. Carmel Park...Part 2

It's funny how I just realized that both days at the park, Caroline was wearing the same clothes! I guess I would be the only one to notice! Anyway, we had to stop by our church the other day, so I thought that I would take Caroline to the park for a little bit. I always think of myself as an outgoing person, but this day I felt like an outsider. There was a Mom's group meeting at the park and of course, I didn't know anyone. However, I knew who some of them were talking about! OOPS! It taught me two things... one to make sure that I am always welcoming to newbies and two...make sure that I don't talk about never know who is listening! Granted, I am always aware of number two, but not always aware of number one.

Caroline had a GREAT time again! She loved the big kid area and of course, turned her nose down at the "baby" area! We are meeting some of my dear friends tomorrow for a playdate. Stay tuned for pictures! I can't wait to see Melissa, Sam, and Harrison. It seems like forever since I have seen them!!!

Incredible Deal of the Day...Part 2

I don't have a picture to post of my other incredible deal, but I will explain how it worked.

Publix is running a special on Martha White Muffin Mixes for 5/$4. In the Publix flyer that was in the paper on Sunday (you can also pick these up in front of the store) there was a coupon for buy 10 and get $5 off. I also had five coupons (55 cents off of 2) to combine with these other specials.

My total for 10 Muffin Mixes...25 cents! INCREDIBLE! Less than 2.5 cents each!

Even without the 55 cents coupons, this was an incredible deal. We make these all the time for Caroline. She loves them! I may even go back next week and get another ten for my stockpiling.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Incredible Deal of the Day...Part 1

I had to go to Target today to pick up Caroline's pictures that we had taken on Halloween. While I was there, I needed to get some coffee. They were having a buy 3 and get a $5 gift card. I had a coupon for $2/1. I was browsing down the candy aisle and lo and behold....STARBUCK'S CANDY BARS! A few weeks ago, I read about another person's deal where she got them for free! We ran back to the car and got our coupons.

Here's the INCREDIBLE DEAL....

3 bags of Dunkin Donut Coffee-$5.99 each= $17.97
16 Starbuck's Candy Bars--on sale for 64 cents= $10.24


I paid...$10.98 with tax and got a $5 gift card for later!!
I had 16 coupons for $1/1 any Starbuck's Candy. They gave me the candy bars and the overage money went towards my coffee bags! I kept checking my back to see if they were coming after me! Talk about a GREAT DEAL!!!

Funny part...I HATE chocolate!!

Monday, November 10, 2008

It still fits!

Last year for Christmas, Tim bought me some Tiffany earrings, but while he had to wait for an appointment, he found a new store! Janie and Jack!! He bought Caroline the cutest little pants! This was a milestone for Tim since he usually leaves the shopping up to me. It was SUPER sweet of him because he was trying to console me since we weren't going to have her home for Christmas, not going to Guatemala to be with her and I was having surgery the day after on my ankle. Anyway, we went back to the store a few weeks after he bought her pants and picked up the matching shirt and socks. The shirt is so adorable because it looks like our dog, Peaches. The weather has been so crazy around here and one day it was cool enough to put her "new" outfit on! She wore it to school and her teachers just raved about it! Way to go Daddy for picking out a spectacular outfit!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Coupon Tip

You don't necessarily have to print all your coupons out as soon as they come out! I just realized that when you print them, it seems to have an expiration date one month from when you print. However, I don't know how it works when it gets closer to the end of the month. Anyone know?

Also, Kroger in the Atlanta area is still having their mega ten sale. If you missed out last week, print out your coupons and go shopping! I am going to take advantage of some more goodies this week. My personal goal is to not spend more than $30 for the entire week. We shall see if it happens!

Publix is having a sale on the Pillsbury Flavors (think appetizers) buy one get one free. I have found many $1 off coupons on the websites. I'm going to try some out. They sound yummy!

The Green Giant vegetable steamers that I picked up at WalMart last week were YUMMY! Caroline devoured her broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots! Only one gram of fat! Try some, but don't forget your coupons! With your coupons, they were only 27 cents!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Kroger Deals this Week

On the same day that I went to Publix, I also hit Kroger at the end of the street for some more deals. I knew that this trip would take longer, be more expensive, and more excrutiating for Caroline. Kroger was having a mega 10 deal where if you bought ten items, you would get $5 back on your card. However, they limited it to 30 items. I, of course, had more than 30 mega deal items. The cashier was trying to rush me because I had to figure out what my mega items were and then hand him coupons. Talk about frustrating! The ladies behind me were really patient and very interested in what I was doing. He refused to let me use one of my coupons and even took it from me and threw it away! Okay, so I let him get away with that one, but I had to dig a little deeper in the next few minutes. I handed him my coupons for the cinnamon rolls and he again refused to take them. I finally had a little staring contest with him and told him that if he didn't take them, he would have to physically dig in my bags to remove them, so he should just call his manager. He called his manager and of course, the coupons were good!

Total Spent: $250 before coupons and Kroger Plus card
Out of Pocket (oop): $90

I got 8 packages of chicken breasts, chicken wings, frozen veggies, canned veggies, more potatoes (ended up being 20 cents each), glade oil candles (ended being dirt cheap around 1 dollar each), muffin mixes, fresh fruit and veggies, some snacks for later (stock piling), evaporated milk (have no idea what I am going to do with it, but it was 25 cents and apparently people bake with it??), cleaning supplies and some of Tim's favorite ice cream.

Gotta love the new websites! However, I did learn to read the actual Kroger deals posted on the blogs so that I would know in advance what I was getting into. Also, I will now go grocery shopping while Caroline is at KidsPlay so I can have my frugal brain on and not my mommy brain!!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Publix Shopping Trip

Yesterday, we went to Publix to take advantage of some of the deals. I had LOTS of coupons and clipped them to the top of the flyer. I stuck to the list and only bought two things not on the list (in other words, things I didn't have coupons for). The total was $110 and then I handed the lady my stack of coupons. I smiled and said "I'm trying out this new coupon thing." She looked at me and just groaned! What the heck? Did I offend you by handing you things you should be prepared to handle? I should point out that the bagger boy was extremely nice and totally impressed with my savings. He even told me that he was going to tell his mom how much I saved! Sweet kid!
Anyway...GRAND TOTAL: $40.00 WOOOHOOO!

Notice the massive amounts of Idahoan potato bags (they were free with my coupons) and my Uncle Ben's Rice was 30 cents. The oats were one cent with the mystery coupon, which I ended up getting free because they scanned up wrong. The Scan Right Policy totally works if you pay attention! Also, the biscuits were on sale and then I had coupons which made them around $1.00. The ghost cookies ended up being free with a coupon and an unadvertised sale (I use these to feed my tutoring kids). Not too bad, eh?

Halloween High... or Low

We celebrated our first Halloween with Caroline this year. I wasn't super excited because she was really a year too young to grasp the concept of asking for candy! I also knew that I wasn't going to let her eat any of it, so I felt bad about taking candy from people. One man said "Mommy can eat your candy!". I about died because I used to think the same thing about when babies would go trick or treating. All in all, Caroline collected about ten pieces of candy that I now give to my tutoring students.

Halloween night started out cold so I was grateful that her poodle costume was warm. We went to my sister's house because she has a LARGE extended family which means more excitement. However, I quickly learned that Caroline was overwhelmed and didn't like the large crowd. Tim and I went trick or treating with her by ourselves and only went to a couple of houses. She enjoyed trying to pick out her candy out of the bowls. I really think next year will be more exciting for her. I am already thinking about next year's costume. I am going to have my mom make a stellar costume for our little "monster"!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

My newest obsession (besides my daughter)!

So, I have taken saving money to a new level. I am becoming obsessed with coupons! Not just coupons, but websites that help you get the most of your coupons! I am even dreaming of saving money and I now have set goals for my shopping trips during the week. My personal goal...this week I will save over 50% at Kroger and Wal-Mart. Eventually, maybe I will become like some of these other women where they walk out with hundreds of dollars in groceries and either pay less than ten dollars or walk out FREE! I am going to list some of the websites that I have found that help organize your coupon spending trips. Check these sites out for some true inspiration! Some of the sites are for downloading coupons directly onto your grocery cards, which you can then use a manufacture coupon to add more savings!!

Money Saving Mom
America Loves Coupons
The Coupon Mom
Printable Coupons
P&G ESaver Coupons
Short Cuts Coupons