Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Wednesday's Word: Psalm 119:89-96

From my daily reading in The Mcarthur Daily Bible:

Forever, O LORD, your word
is firmly fixed in the heavens.
Your faithfulness endures to all generations;
you have established the earth, and it stands fast.
By your appointment they stand this day,
for all things are your servants.
If your law had not been my delight,
I would have perished in my affliction.
I will never forget your precepts,
for by them you have given me life.
I am yours; save me,
for I have sought your precepts.
The wicked lie in wait to destroy me,
but I consider your testimonies.
I have seen a limit to all perfection,
but your commandment is exceedingly broad.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Tuesday's Tip: $150 Grocery Challenge/ Schedules

My new challenge weekly for grocery and out to eat is $150. This does not include diapers.

This week spent $99.97 on out to eat
$102.80 on groceries
Total of $202.77

What went well?
  • One morning we got up early and took two cars to Walmart. Charlie went with me to Walmart because the kids were fussy and we need a lot of stuff. He kept track of how much we were buying and our goal was $70 for groceries (this included $24 formula). We did not have a calculator and ended up spending $71.67. Charlie is very accurate...I was impressed.
  • We never went to a restaurant where we had to pay a waitress fee.
  • Knowing I would be writing a blog post about how I am doing kept me motivated not to overspend too much.
Went went wrong?
  • I bought $15 worth of candy.
  • We went to way to many fast food places (even though they were all $10 for dinners and $5 for lunches).
  • Took out money for the fair and have no idea where exactly that money went.
Do you have any tips on how I can actually meet my goal of $150 for groceries and out to eat for this week?

Revising The Cleaning Schedule

I have found making a cleaning schedule some things have worked and other things have not worked. So I have revised is based on what is realistic for us.

Week A Weeks have specific chores every day and Week B has different chores on that same day. You really do not need to vacuum every week in my opinion.

Mondays: Our laundry all day
Tuesdays: Kids Laundry all day
Wednesdays: Week A: Clean All hardwood floors clean bathrooms. Week B Clean tubs/organize bathrooms. Wednesday is clean the bathrooms day
Thursdays: Week A: Clean kitchen Week B: Dust kitchen and living room. Thursday is mainly clean the kitchen day
Friday: Week A: Vacuum the entire house (takes 30 minutes) Week B: Dust the kids room and our room clean rooms. Friday is clean up all the rooms day.
Saturday: Week A: Organize and clean the inside of the house (closets especially) Figure out what need to be given away. Week B: Clean out cars, clean outside Or just catch up on whatever I have not gotten done during the week.

I only do laundry two days a week so I do not feel like my entire weeks are spent washing clothes. I also have figured out that on the days I do laundry it is impossible to find time to clean so this is why this schedule is working for us. What about you? How do you keep your house clean?

Also you can click here to see different weekly schedules for a friend of mine who went to my youth group. She has four little ones under the age of five (I think), and I am pretty sure she still homeschools all of them . She is very inspirational!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Today was the day Abigail took her First Steps!!!!

Just want to write a quick blog post on this special day.

She took a half step this morning. Tonight, poor thing she felt terrible and really wanted Jackson's pirate outfit (specifically the eye patch). Her first two real steps she took while fussing/crying, and I do not think she really realized she was walking. The only thing that was on her mind was getting that eye patch. Later on, when she tried to walk, she was too afraid to do it.

I thought she would take her first steps at 10 months old since she crawled a little early as well. She has congestion on the outside of her nose and her seventh tooth broke through this week. She was drooling like crazy and then came the clear running nose. I am worried that it might be settling now into some sort of infection now...sad.

Today was a big day for my baby girl! Time is flying with her...

Movie Monday: Abigail Walking with a Walker

She took a half step by herself today but she is not really ready to do it on her on just yet. This was Mimi's walker that she gave to us when Jackson was a baby. This week she has been saying bye bye and waving, it has been so cute. My baby is growing up so fast!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Thursday's Tip: Weekly Teaching Your Toddler/Preschooler Bible Stories

This week we have been focusing on Zaccheus and I have read to Jackson about Zaccheus every day to him before his naps.

How did I choose to focus on Zaccheus this week?

Jackson's wonderful Sunday School teachers give him a sheet to take home for the week for children his age. This curriculum is made by Lifeway which is an excellent Sunday School curriculum. The story was about Zachheus so on Sunday I decided that we would focus on this story every day this week (I always want my 4th grade girls to do what I send home with them because it is an excellent resource for them, but these sheets have been way over Jackson's head, so I have been ignoring them for a while...). We have looked at the sheet that was sent home with him on Sunday every day this week, and he has loved it!

We also have read the first story from Read-Aloud Bible Stories Vol. 1 (Puckett) which is all about Zaccheus. I love this book and would highly recommend it. At the end of this first story, the author writes simply and beautifully, "Jesus knew Zaccheus was in that tree. He even knew Zaccheus's name. Jesus knows where you are---all the time. He knows your name too."

Jackson would love for me to read to him for hours every day and I am really enjoying this time with him. Not to long ago, he could not sit still for even a minute!

I do want to get him a real Bible soon. I want it so we can actually find where stories are from (this story is found in Luke). What would you recommend for his first real Bible? Is there any other books you recommend to help teach the Bible to my babies?

Today was animal day for school time. We played with all the animals we have (I got tons at the Tot Trade) and we had a zoo and then a farm. We learned that certain animals are at the farm, and certain ones are at the zoo. I strapped Abigail down in a seat and she learned as well.

We also read Brown Bear three times, and he can read the entire book to me! God has answered so many of our prayers for Jackson.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Wednesday's Word: 1 Thessalonians 5

What is the will of God:

"Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you,"

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Tuesday's Tip: Update on our Budget, Great CVS Deals This Week

Well this week my goal was to only spend $125 on both grocery food and out to eat food. We spent $90 on groceries which was good (I went online and successfully got coupons for almost everything we bought), but we spent $77.18 on out to eat food for a total of $167... I am not too disappointed because we have been spending even more than that! Did we got to a restaurant a pay a waitress fee? Nope. We did not stick to eating at home on Monday, Thursday, and Saturday night. We went to the mall and ate at the food court on Friday night, and Saturday night we got Groucho's to go. We also got Sonic Sunday night which we normally do not do, and Charlie went to the fair yesterday with staff (although he has been taking his lunch to eat every day). I am still going to try for $125 again this week, but it just might not be a realistic goal for us.

I braved CVS today with both babies and I forgot my double stroller. Plus, they were doing construction inside the store. Somehow we made it and they both stayed in the buggy. We paid $15 for tons of candy and got $5 back. I also bought the coke deal they had this week, because I had a coupon for $5 off when you spend $25 at CVS for filling out an online survey. Click here to get yours!

Spend $20 on select Candy, Get $5 ECBs (Limit 1)

*****Deal Idea #1*****

Buy 3 Nestle Fun Size Bags at $2.50 each
Buy 4 Hershey's Fun Size Bags at $2.50 each
Buy 3 Trident Gum at $0.99 each

Use 3 Nestle $1/1 printables here
Use 1 B3G1 Hershey's coupon from the 10/18 SmartSource insert
Use 1 $1/3 Hershey's coupon from the 9/27 SmartSource insert
Use 3 $0.75/1 Trident printables here
$0.67 per item after coupons and ECBs (Thanks, Jenny!)

*****Deal Idea #2*****

Buy 4 Nestle Fun Size Bags at $2.50 each
Buy 4 Hershey's Fun Size Bags at $2.50 each

Use 4 Nestle $1/1 printables here
Use 1 B3G1 Hershey's coupon from the 10/18 SmartSource insert
Use 1 $1/3 Hershey's coupon from the 9/27 SmartSource insert
$0.94 per bag after coupons and ECBs

*****Deal Idea #3*****

Buy 8 Hershey's Fun Size Bags at $2.50 each
Use 2 B3G1 Free coupons from the 10/18 SmartSource insert
Use 2 $1/3 coupons from the 9/27 SmartSource insert
$1 per bag after coupons and ECBs

Deals came straight from moneysaving mom's blog

I did do the first deal and printed it out so I would not be confused with both babies. However, I used the new printable coupon for one bag of candy. You can get a new printable $2 off 1 bag of nestle candy here.

Printing off coupons through online sites has probably saved us $20 this week!

What is your money saving tip for this week?

Sunday, October 18, 2009

My Beautiful Babies after Church

Finally, a great picture of both of them (even if they were eating Zaby's). This picture makes mommy very happy. We are very thankful for the beautiful church dress Grand and Gigi got for Abigail with matching bow. We are so blessed in so many ways.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Jackson Scored A Goal in his 5th Game Playing! Ah!

Jackson did so great in his soccer game this morning! I told him the night before that we would be going to play soccer in the morning, and he was so excited, and was up bright and early this morning ready to go.

He kicked the ball very well today, and he really wanted the ball bad and did whatever it took to get the ball.

He has never even come close to kicking the ball in the goal, so I did not did not have the video camera out (not to mention it was very cold this morning!).

So, we were cheering on our team and having a good time, and it was Jackson's turn to kick off the ball mid-field. He ran out to kick it mid field, and kept kicking it, and kept kicking it, running over some people (which he has never done) and scored! We were shocked and so excited for him. He is the 4th player to score on his team, and the only one to score who does not have an older brother or sister. Not to mention, he is the youngest player in the entire league! With all we have been through with Jackson, it was just so exciting to see him excel.

I really wish I had video, but it is definitely a moment Charlie and I will never forget!

Ps-Jackson is eating so well recently, and I weighed him yesterday and he was 32.3 pounds. Yay! Thanks for everyone's advice! At the hospital he was only 29 pounds.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Fun Friday: Few of My Favorites

The above shoes are Angels Shoes. They are very popular baby girl shoes that I had no idea about, and are $20. I got them at a children's shop out at Harbison called Enchanted Closet. I really loved the people that work there, and they had really cute clothes, especially for when me and Gigi get to go shopping. They are great church shoes. However, Abigail is in between sizes and so the size 2 is a still a little too big.
This backpack is from kidstravelzone. com. Mimi got this backpack for Jackson's 3rd birthday. It is perfect for him because he can actually keep it on his back (unlike the Stephen Joseph bag which he could not keep on his back). This is the smallest bag, and I think Abigail will be getting this for her birthday as well. I will not be getting her a Stephen Joseph bag for church because I know she will probably not keep it on her back! My parents also got the matching luggage for him for his birthday and it is just what we wanted!
I got these shoes for Abigail, after I figured out that the Angels shoes where not staying on her foot yet. They are pediped baby shoes. They are like your baby is not wearing any shoes at all, and good for when they are trying to walk (they also have cute baby boy shoes as well). These shoes actually stay on her feet when she crawls, but they were $30. I got them at Stride Right (Goody 2 Shoes). The one thing I am not frugal with is shoes for my family. I have feet problems and so does Jackson. I usually only buy two pairs of really nice shoes from Goody 2 shoes. They are very experienced and trained with knowing if the shoe is fitting my babies correctly. Jackson has extremely flat feet and my pronation problem.
What are some of your favorite items for your babies (even not if they are not frugal items)? What would some great items for your babies that you are very thankful for?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Free chapter of Breaking the Worry Habit Forever by Elizabeth George

Go here to download a free chapter from Elizabeth George's new book, Breaking the Worry Habit... Forever. You can also download a free chapter from her book, Windows Into the Word of God.

Thanks, Saving Money Plan!

By MoneySaving Mom

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

10 Free Pregnancy Tests or Ovulation Test

Sign up here to receive any combination of up to ten total pregnancy or ovulation tests from Sacred Heart Mission.

Thanks moneysaving mom! I did sign up for this and it was very easy and quick. What a great resource for years down the road for us...

We did go today and to the Health Department for the kids to get their flu shots. Jackson gets so sick when he does get sick, so it is important for us to all get our flu shot. When he was 13 months old, he got the flu in October and was the first confirmed case at our doctor's office. We knew no one who had the flu. Jackson was so sick and his fever got so high that he looked like he was going in and out of consciousness on the way to the doctor.

The Lexington Health Department was a good experience and the kids got their shots free there, but you have to have an appointment. Adults are $25, which is the same price that Walgreen's has. I got my flu shot last week at Walgreen's (I did have an appointment). Believe it or not, Abigail was more dramatic than Jackson with the shot and poor baby has to get another one in 4 weeks since this is her first time getting the flu shot obviously.

Tuesday Tip: $125 Weekly Challenge

This week I have challenged myself to try and only spend $125 on all grocery food and out to eat food. I have bumped it up to $125 because Abigail's formula is $24 every 6 days (we will start switching her to generic formula of the brand she uses from Target the day she turns 11 months old).

I will make a grocery stop on Thursday and I know the key will be bringing my huge T1-82 calculator with me. I will type everything I get into the calculator and when I hit $75 I am done. The other day I was at Walmart and was sure I only spent $70 and it ended up being $110! I am going to try and only spend $50-75 on grocery and the rest for out to eat food.

Another new thing we are going to try is not buying paper towels or paper plates. I know moneysaving mom does not use paper towels. I am really trying to evaluate what we really need. We get so many napkins when we go places out to eat, and we do have a supply of fast food napkins. I am not going to ask for more napkins when we go places, but I am not going to throw away the ones I get anymore.

Overall, I know I need to plan out each meal (breakfast, lunch and dinner) in detail for this to be successful. Right now we have spent $21 (one trip to Walmart one trip to Chick Fil A to redeem our free Chick Fil A sandwich). Please pray that we learn how to live with only what we really need.

Do you have any more tips to help us stay within my $125 budget?

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Mimi's 60th Birthday Party!

Abigail pulling Zach's ears....sad... I think this was intentional.

Zach and Abigail, first cousins. They are almost exactly two months apart in age!

Zach is excited to be with Abigail.

Top 60, we mean Six, Reasons Why We Love Our Mimi

  1. Her creativity (helping us do our babies rooms)
  2. She is our “doctor” Mimi
  3. She is a GREAT problem solver
  4. Wonderful teacher to us and our babies
  5. She is patient and helpful with our babies
  6. And last but not least her ability to be very calm in stressful situations (and helping us get through those stressful situations)! She teaches us how to trust the Lord through everything.

Updated Pictures: Fun Facts about Abigail 10 months old

They love each other so much!
Sunday after church (outfit from cousins Christopher and Becky...we are very thankful!)
I get this cute Polo outfit at the Tot Trade. The Tot Trade is wonderful!
Standing at Mimi's and Pop Pop's . She is so close to taking her first step.
Doing her favorite activity watching the Wiggle with Jackson. I got this very old Wiggle dvd from the Tot trade and they love it!
She has gotten a lot more hair recently!
Feeding Millie Boo

Abigail at Chick Fil A
Sick Abigail chewing on her saline spray.
Fun Facts About Abigail: 10 months old

Teeth: She now has six teeth that have broken through (four at the top, two on the bottom). Two more might be on the way. The pain of teething has not seemed as bad as it was with Jackson. She is not quite as dramatic as Jackson yet. She seems to roll with illnesses and pain a lot better than Jackson did at this age.

Favorite Show: Wiggles, Cedarmont Kids dvd, Yo Gabba Gabba

Words she can say: "mama, daddy, hey, she can say Pop Pop, and she is starting to say the beginning sounds of a word. I will say, "can you say cup, "ku ku" and she will repeat the ku ku ku part. It is really a blessing I have had all this speech therapy training! She sings along with songs by humming. I do think she has meaning when she says "mama" because she usually wants me when she does it. I know it would be great for her to have 10 to 15 words she can at least say by 1 years old, but development can come at any point. From 18 months to 2 years old is the huge jump in words usually.

Favorite Toy: Stuffed balls, her baby doll (she does really like all Jackson's toys...)

Favorite Thing to do that she is not suppose to do: EAT PAPER! She really loves to eat paper. She will crawl into a bathroom so quick and start eating the toilet paper before I can even blink. It is so crazy. Jackson never would actually eat things, but then again he has never been a big eater.

One of the best things About Abigail: She is really easy to take places and does so great in the church nursery. She does not fuss when I leave her, and every where we go (even at soccer games and practices) we always get the comments on what an easy great baby she is.

Jackson did not cry when I would drop him off in nursery situations either until he started walking and I took his formula away and gave him nothing but milk which caused him to be constipated and very unhappy in general. I will not make that mistake again. I will not be giving Abigail whole milk in a bottle, I will still give her bottles with formula in them and just try to get rid of the middle of the day bottle for one week, then the lunch bottle the next week and the last two bottles I will get rid of will be the morning bottle and the night bottle. I will give her milk in a cup, but will not be giving her 27 ozs of whole milk a day through a bottle like a did with Jackson which really turned out to cause him some major gastric problems.

*Added later: Another trick to getting rid of the bottle is to always offer food before the bottle. I can do this all day with Abigail accept first thing in the morning. Do you have any more suggestions on how to get rid of the bottle?

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Baking Day

Here is a great post from MoneySaving Mom on her baking day. She is really incredible. I want to try her Chicken Tetrazinni Recipe.

I am really going to try to only spend $100 on out to eat food as well as grocery food next week. My challenge is going to start Monday and end the following Monday. Our hardest day is Sunday because we have a bad habit of getting Zaby's after lunch and spending $15 for lunch which is way too much. For a Zaby's meal they make you buy I drink now. Do you have any suggestions on how not spend a lot of money for lunch when we are exhausted after church?

I have thought about putting something in the crock pot, but I already get up at 6:40 am on Sunday and I am not interested in having anything else to do Sunday morning. We are starving after Sunday lunch and really need lunch to be ready fast.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Children's Place 20% Off Coupon

Go here to print a coupon for 20% off your purchase at Children's Place. Valid now through November 1st.

Use code J69E2QN4399 if you are shopping online to receive the 20% discount.

Thanks $30 Weekly Grocery Challenge!

Jackson needs some 3t jeans and comfortable pants, and Abigail needs some 12 months pants as well. Do you know anywhere else that has cheap pants?

We do have a Children's Place credit card. The reason I have this card is because the second after you put items on the credit card, you can pay it off right then and there at the store. I can combine my 10 percent off when using my credit card with this coupon, and nowadays I usually always get 30 percent off my purchase when buying items at Children's Place (you can also get a coupon when you fill out a survery within 30 days of buying clothes at Children's is printed at the end of your receipt). I heart Children's Place and Gymboree but right now I have to stick tight to our budget.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Wednesday's Word: Philippians 2

Philippians 2: 13-15:

"for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.

Do all things without complaining and disputing that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the word, holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain."

From my reading today in my MacArthur Daily Bible.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Tuesday's Tip: New Cleaning Schedule

For saving money:
  • The best advice I got when I first started couponing was: always know what the items you buy week after week cost. For instance, we usually eat Pillsbury cinnamon roles twice a week for breakfast, and I know that they should cost about $2 each. At Piggly Wiggly, they cost $2.30, which is too much. So, I will not buy them at Piggly Wiggly even using a coupon. Additionally, many times I will use a coupon for Tylenol, and then realize that if I had just bought the generic Tylenol I would have saved a lot more money.

For being a homemaker:

I have a new Cleaning Schedule (I actually have some motivation to clean after the stomach flu)

Mondays: Our laundry, clean bathrooms
Tuesdays: Kids laundry, clean kitchen
Wednesday: Make up day for whatever did not get clean on Monday and Tuesday
Thursday: Dust the entire house
Friday: Vacuum, straighten up all the rooms
Saturday: Make up for whatever did not get cleaned the days before, organize
Sunday: OFF

For laundry, a new trick I have found is that I get a load completely ready to go, everything shouted out, and then first thing Monday or Tuesday morning start the load (this is so less stressful...otherwise getting a load in might not happen till they go down for a nap at 2 pm)

Advice Wanted:
  • Do you have any suggestions on how to really clean bathtubs well? Or bathrooms in general? Is there any cleaning tool that works well for you? I feel like I never really get our bathtubs clean.
  • Do you have a cleaning schedule? How do you get motivated to clean? It is so hard, when I know it will just get dirty again very quickly.

Update on Our Illnesses---Doctors Think it was just Bad Stomach Flu, not the Swine Flu

  • Charlie got the stomach flu really bat Saturday night starting at 11:30 am. It was not pretty.
  • Abigail continued to be really congested so yesterday I took her in to the doctor to see if she has ear infections, sinus infections, or the swine flu. The doctor said that she just had a virus, and she really does not believe that we had the swine flu.
  • If we all had the swine flu, we would have had fevers for days and very high fevers. Charlie did have a fever of 101.8 on Sunday, but it was within the 24 hours of getting the stomach flu. He never ran a fever again. She said that she has heard of no cases where children have had to go to the ER because of extreme dehydrated like Jackson did with having the swine flu. She just believes it was a nasty stomach flu.
  • The reason why hospitals are starting to refuse to test for the swine flu is because the test is only 70 percent accurate. I think lawsuits are already happening, especially against hospitals.
  • So we are still getting our flu shots next Tuesday and praying that Jackson does not catch everything like he did two years ago. He still has a mild cough, but he is full of energy and begging for me to take him to the zoo. The house is beyond a disaster, and I know soon I will have it somewhat under control, and we just might go to the zoo this week. The zoo is so great.
  • Thank you all so much for praying for us, it really means so much to us!

Friday, October 02, 2009

Flu...Pray for my babies... Jackson's First Trip to the ER

It has been a rough week.

Tuesday night I got very sick to my stomach and just thought that it was going to be a 24 hour stomach bug.

Thursday morning (very early) my babies got sick. Jackson woke up first, and I got his bed all cleaned and then Abigail woke up and we had to get her in the bath to clean her up and I had to get her bed cleaned as well.

Later on Thursday morning, Jackson did okay and drank some and ate a little. Abigail bounced right back and started to drink her bottle and eat like nothing ever happened.

Thursday afternoon Jackson stopped drinking and started fussing non-stop. I could not get him to drink anything. He woke up at 12 am with fever still and then again at 6 am sick. He slept till 10, but then had not urinated since Thursday night at 8 pm. He finally drank something around 11 am and used the restroom. However, his lips were so dry and his mouth was so dry that I could not understand what he was saying when he tried to talk.

I called the nurse, still debating on even if I should take him to the doctor at all, and she was very concerned that he went almost 12 hours without urinating. She got my doctor on the phone and told me that we need to go to the children's hospital and get him an IV. What? I did not even think we were going to be going to the doctor! Needless to say I was very emotional, but still could not get him to drink anything else so I knew that the doctor knew best. The doctor at the children's hospital ER said that many doctor's offices will give IV's early in the morning but not usually in the afternoon. Jackson's appointment was for 3:30.

Jackson and I got to the hospital and it was so wonderful to be at a children's-only ER. They knew exactly how to get the IV in, and it was really not as bad as I thought it was going to be. They were so kid-friendly. They took his blood to see exactly how dehydrated he was and his reading was a 17 and usually anything under 24 they have to treat. He needed two bags of IV's. They said it was the flu since he still had a fever.

Praise God that he felt so much better after the IV and received some anti-nausea medicine in his IV. He drank after that and ate a Popsicle and they released us. They said that there is a good chance that he could get dehydrated again. We have anti-nausea medicine, Tamiflu, and Motrin all in him and he is doing so much better.

Please pray that:
  • Jackson does not get dehydrated again and God heals him quickly for His glory.
  • Abigail does not get this flu. Her nose was running non-stop tonight. Who knows? She might have already had it.
Thank you so much for your prayers. The regular flu is so hard on Jackson! He has such a hard time fighting off illnesses once he gets something.

It was so sad before he went to bed tonight, he said, "I'm so sick, so sick, so sick."