Thursday, December 13, 2012

Starbucks BOGO free holiday drinks today through Sunday 2-5 pm

Starbucks BOGO holiday drinks offer is back! Perfect for while you are out finishing up those last minute gifts! December 13-16, 2-5 ONLY! ENJOY :)

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Amazon toy lightning deals -Toy Dyson at noon!

I am totally stalking this-I hope it is SUPER cheap because  well, I AM SUPER CHEAP, and I know my boy would love this. He is crazy about our vacuum and this looks just like it! ADORABLE!! It goes on sale at 12:00 and then we can see how cheap it is:)

Toy Dyson Vaccum goes on sale at NOON SO CUTE!!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Toy Clearance at JcPenney!

Jcpenney's has some great deals online for toys! Ship to store is free:)

Some of my favorite deals are:

This adorable play Gas Pump for just $17-Regularly $50

Rock n Ride Pony $25 regularly $40

Lots more too! Also for today only get an extra 20% off and free shipping over $50 if you use the code 20FORYOU   :)

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Check out these great deals on Leapfrog toys !! Leapfrog Deals on Amazon

Some of the highlights include:

LeapsterGS Explorer    Regularly $69.99 for $39.99

Or the Leapster Explorer          Regularly $69.99 for $39.99

Alot of the software and cases are on sale too!! Check it out!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

American Girl Doll Cecile or Marie-Grace $50 + shipping!!!!

OKAY GO NOW-to this link American Girl Doll website, put cecile doll or marie-grace or the canopy bed in your cart-go to checkout and enter JILLOFFER in the key code spot-get these dolls for just FIFTY DOLLARS each!!!! I just got them but they will be gone SOON You can even buy all three! This is 60% off and these NEVER go on sale!! The discount will show after you move to the final page of checkout but before you confirm your purchase:)

Retail $129 now $50!

Retail $129 Now $50!


Sunday, December 2, 2012

Walmart Online Has Black Friday prices on Crayola Markers and Crayons!

I missed the great crayon and marker deals on black friday deals and markers are one of the 3 things on Maya's list. Luckily, is running the same price right now with free shipping to your local store! These 70 piece sets are only $8.88 and they have way more wow factor than the boring old box!These are selling on Amazon for $23 each!   I ordered her both! Some gifts are great for any age and this is one of them!!

Twistable Colored Pencils and Crayon Set

Washable Marker Set

Free 5x7 Santa Photo 10-2 today at walmart!

This is a great freebie if your location is participating-check here to see! For you locals I check Flint, burton, Adrian, and Wauseon (for my hometown friends) and they were all on the list! There are TONS of participating ones! If you want to search the long list, just hit hit ctrl and F at the same time and type in your town and it will search the document:)  Enjoy!!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

FREE kindle ebook of "The Night Before Christmas" HURRY!

Amazon has a free ebook copy of  "The Night Before Christmas"  right now!

Follow this link, confirm the price is zero, and download to your kindle or ipad kindle app:)

BOGO Starbucks Holiday Drinks starting tomorrow!

just saw this on  one of my favorite websites, refundcents!!

Go to Starbucks 11/15- 11/18 for B1G1F Holiday Beverages. Choose Caramel Brulee Latte, Peppermint Mocha, Gingerbread Latte. Good in-store from 2-5pm.The Buy One, Share One Event

YUMMY! I don't let myself splurge there often but maybe now is the time!!!

HOT Kroger Deals This Week!!

I really scored at Kroger last night! I am super lucky, as my Kroger store doubles coupons up to $1.00 :)  But in their new buy 4 items get $4 off promotion I got the following:

3 packages pampers wipes  SUPER DEAL (price after discount .99 cents-$1.00 coupon=free)
1 bottle of aussie style spray
2 bottles of dawn dish soap-power soaking
1 covergirl eyeshadow-for maya to play with LOL
1 febreeze air freshenerer spray
1 febreeze set and refresh air freshener
2 huge oil of olay body washes
1 scope mouthwash
1 gillette shave gel

and all for the low, low price of ...drumroll please....

$4.06!!!!!  I love couponing!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

HOT DEAL ALERT!! Melissa and Doug Toys 60% off!

I am a fanatic for Melissa and Doug toys, it is my all time favorite brand and I recently made an awesome discovery. They are carried at Michael's Craft stores!! They have 50 and 60% off coupons almost every week and they also take Joann's coupons! I scored this great cardboard block set for $12 with a 50% off coupon and it is on sale for $23 on Amazon!!

I will be going back once I round up some more coupons! This week their ad has a 60% off one and you can sign up for mobile coupons too! I saw lots of other items including these:

I think the regular price for most of the sets was a little higher than some places-$22, but at 60% off it's a great deal!! There were lots more also!!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Worry....Why Do I Let Myself Worry???

So, unless you are in my inner circle (you know who you are) you may not know this, but I am a closet worrier.  I work very hard at hiding this fact from others. As a a matter of fact, I not only hide my own worry, I protect OTHER people in my life so they won't worry either. I tend to sugar coat, downplay, and appear downright cold and fearless in the face of life's struggles. But since this blog is all about letting people into my brain, I am going to be honest with you, my brain has been chock full of anxiety and questions for the last 48 hours.

As most of you know, I am sixteen weeks pregnant with my third child. I pretty much lived in a CONSTANT state of worry for my other two pregnancies, but this time I decided to be different. So once I heard that tiny heartbeat, I decided to do my best to trust God and enjoy the ride.  You see, worry steals our joy. It eats away at us. When things are going well, it makes us hold our breathe waiting for something to go wrong. When things are going wrong it eats into our faith and makes us feel like we are tossed into a storm of random tragedy. Worry makes us forget that our God is in control.

I had been doing pretty well at this (for me) until my son got sick. Now, fifth's disease is not a big deal for a child so I was really quite glad that my son's strange illness was so harmless.  He should be back to new in no time.  But then I was blind-sided by the fact that it is dangerous for babies in utero, fatally dangerous at times. My doctor immediately sent me for blood work to see if I had indeed been exposed to or contracted the disease.  Now, I wait....Clocks tick, the furnace kicks in, I hear my husband sleeping away, but I wait...  My brain can not let go of the possibilities.

Now I could dwell on the positives here, as there are many. I may be immune already, 50% of adults are.   I may not have caught it even if I'm not. Even if I DO have it, not all mommas pass it to their babies, and out of those babies, many are completely fine, 9 out of 10 actually.

I want so desperately to think about those things, and to believe them.  This is the information I use to reassure everyone else, but it is lost on me.  Maybe because I already KNOW this baby. Maybe because it is already tickling my stomach and sharing my blood.  But my mind can not see this baby as a 9 in 10 chance, or even a 9 in a 1000 chance. This baby is mine.

No I can only continue to dwell on the 1 in 10.  The baby that never comes home.

Probably it will all be okay. Probably I am immune. Probably when I get my labs it will all be fine and you will all forget about this, writing it off as a mom who worried too much about the future. But I can assure you,

I won't.

 I will never forget this fear, like my own heart might stop beating. May it make me forever humble and overwhelmed by the grace of my God, one who has given me two healthy children, and just may see fit to give me this one too.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Thoughts on Number Three

So, My husband and I are expecting our third child in April. We are thrilled and excited. I always feel like being pregnant is such a beautiful gift and waiting to meet the new family member is much like the anticipation of Christmas as a child.

While I admit that my family is growing rapidly, I will have a three year old and a nearly two year old when number three gets here, I have been shocked, appalled, and down-right hurt by the some of the comments I have gotten regarding this pregnancy.

Of course my family and friends have been supportive and wonderful but some of my acquaintances have been completely ridiculous.

Some exact quotes from people that I shared the news with include:

"Wow, maybe you should learn to keep your legs closed"

"are you trying to break some kind of record"

" you know what causes this, right?"

"like you aren't having enough problems with the kids you already have?"

And maybe the most hurtful of all, a simple eye roll just to let me know how stupid I am.

Since I am kind of a wimp when it comes to confrontation, here is my response to them.

This baby was not an accident, no baby is. This baby is a beautiful hoped for, dreamed about, answer to prayer. I am not breaking any records, as a matter of fact three children is not really a ridiculous amount,I would welcome more. My mom had seven children and I was the last, so I am glad she was not as selfish or shallow as you people all seem to be or I wouldn't even be here.

Yes I have problems with my kids. Everyone does. Maybe the difference is that I am willing to share them and my failures with other people.

And lastly, to the eye rollers, although I don't need to explain myself to you, I will.

There are many reasons we should not have another baby. Your eye rolls were probably thinking about them. Maybe you were reminding me of the fact that we are outgrowing our house, or that we don't make a lot of money, or maybe it's the fact that we will not be able to have "our own" lives.

Maybe you were alluding to the fact that our kids will not get new cars for their 16th birthdays, or that they will need loans for college, maybe you were looking at us and thinking that the last thing we need is more to do, less sleep, and more responsibility.

Maybe all of these things are true, maybe. But to me, they just don't matter.

No all of these reasons, excuses, are wasted on me. You see no number of cons could ever add up to enough to erase the one pro on my list.

Two tiny hands with fingernails like tiny polka dots, eyes staring into mine trusting, loving, and waiting for life to begin. The smallest cry in the middle of the night for our late night feeding, the first smile, the first word....

One tiny reason and it blows all yours away, one tiny heart beating away and already capturing my own.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Cake Batter Rice Crispie Treat Cookies---DELISH!!

When I stumbled upon these on Pinterest, I was intrigued. I had a hard time believing that anyone could really IMPROVE a rice crispy treat because they are so awesome as-is. I went to Gimme Some Oven  for the recipe and let me tell you, it has been done! These treats were just as easy as the original and even MORE delish!

The recipe is basically just normal rice crispy treat cookies plus 1/3 cup yellow cake mix and sprinkles half stirred in and half on the top! How easy is that??  The full recipe and instructions are available at her blog that I linked above!

The cake mix cuts out some of the straight sugar flavor and gives it an extra punch that is just out of this world! I can't wait to try it with other flavors and mix-ins!  I know I am going to enjoy personalizing this one-and eating it too!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Beating the Funk

I seem to have found myself in a funk. Funks can be tricky. They don't come in as obviously as you would think. There is no definite starting point or a moment you can pinpoint or blame. No, funks are sneaky.

One day you realize you are frowning more than you are smiling. Or perhaps, you notice that you can't remember the last time you laughed. The glass starts looking half empty, and it seems there is more to complain about than to be grateful for.

That has been me lately. The funny thing about funks is that they self- perpetuate. Once you become negative, your funk becomes everyone's problem. You are overly sensitive and that comment your husband makes that would usually makes you laugh makes you mad instead.

Still angry from that, you yell angrily at the toddler who has spilled her drink on the floor. She is crushed but she won't say that,she will just look for another way to get you back. Probably, she will fill your sink with toothpaste.

Frustrated, both from the mess and the fact that you blew up at her, you will check on your son who you can smell from across the room. You will angrily pick him up and carry him to change him. He will sense your hostility ( from pooping his diaper? Like he has a choice) and begin to cry.

Now everyone is unhappy. And do you know how that makes you feel? Yep. Even less happy than before. So the cycle continues... That is until you stop it.

Today, I decided to stop the funk. I am done letting the little things bog me down. I do not want to live full of worry and regret, I want my joy back! I am trying to smile more, to dance in the kitchen more, to tickle more, to forgive quicker and anger slower. And you know what ? I think it's working!!

Choose joy. Life is short and the ones you love deserve your best.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Great Gift Idea #1-Sears 4 Qt Slow Cooker for $10 and free shipping shipped to store!

I am going to be posting some deals on my blog as well as my normal musings:) If you know me , you know I love to save money.  I frequent tons of savings and deal blogs every day and want to pass on these deals to my readers!  On the Sears website they have a 4 Qt crockpot for $10. This is a great price and would be a great gift for someone starting out or even a college kid in an apartment:) Select ship-to-store and you also pay no shipping, just pick it up at your nearest Sears when it comes in!

                                           Click here to go to the Sears website for the $10 Crockpot

There are some great ways to personalize this gift too! Include a book of your favorite recipes or this great book, available on Amazon from a penny + shipping if you don't mind used books!

Or you could include a grocery chain gift card inside, kitchen utensils, or dish towels!

Watch my blog for more creative gift ideas on the cheap:)

Friday, October 12, 2012

Reaching in the Dark

So after some advice from a friend yesterday, I came to the conclusion that not everything in life is a battle. I have always struggled with the concept of whether what a child needs or wants today is not always what is the best for them in the long run. I think that having this farsighted vision makes me feel like a better mom. But maybe sometimes, today is simply a day we are given to love our babies like crazy. Maybe sometimes, we need to be less practical, less "by the books" and more just "mommy".

So last night, after making Maya go to bed in her own bed. I went to bed with a plan. Not a plan to fix her, to train her, or to "beat her" at this bedtime war. No, I went to bed with a plan simply to love her, however she wanted me to, however she needed me to.

Sure enough at 1 AM I heard her little voice calling out to me. "Mommy?" " Mooooommmmy???" Already things were different. The pressure and frustration I usually feel when she calls my name were gone. Instead of viewing this as a battle I was losing or a task I was failing, I saw it for what it was a beautiful baby girl who wanted to be held.  How could I have been so blind? I went to her room and saw her there, beautiful blond hair messy from sleep, eyes big and happy to see me. "I was trying to sleep mommy but I woked up", she said with a smile.

The freedom I felt from being able to follow my instincts without guilt was amazing. I scooped her up and kissed her and carried into my bed. I tucked her in, told her I loved her and she looked with me with her sleepy little eyes and said "Thank you mommy, I  just want you close".

It took all I had to hide my tears from her. All these nights that I thought I was winning, all these struggles of doing what was right. They left  me fighting my heart, my motherly instincts, and they left her reaching in the dark for a mommy that was busy being right.

She went right back to sleep last night, she's actually still sleeping up there now, a tiny girl in a big fluffy bed. Through the night she would wake up, eyes still closed,  and I would feel a tiny little hand grasping in the air until it touched my face. I would hear a tiny almost imperceptible sigh of relief as she drifted back to sleep. A sigh I will carry in my heart forever, that for her, the most beautiful three year old in the world, I was enough.

Judge me if you must.  I may be failing by your standards  Honestly, up until yesterday, this would be failing by my own. But maybe I just don't care. Will it be harder for her later because of this? Maybe. Am I hindering her ability to sleep alone? Perhaps. But I guess we will cross those bridges when we come to them.   For now, my little girl believes that I care more about her than my rules and that is what matters to me.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Problems in the Bedroom ???

Since my children were old enough to sleep through the night, I have had a pretty fantastic experience. Maya has just always been the type of kid who asked to go to nap if we forgot to put her down. She never cries at bedtime, and has always rolled over and went back to sleep if she woke up in the night. Aidan is the same way. We plop into bed, he smiles, waves and closes his eyes. We don't hear from him again until around 8 AM the next morning.  Now, I have always kind of taken pride in the fact that my kids were great sleepers. I know that it is not necessarily a reflection on me, but I always seem to use my children's successes as a benchmark for my success. Now that I think about it, that's pretty narcissistic but hey-I'm being honest here. But if I am going to take credit for the last three years of great sleeping habits, then I guess it's only fair that the last month has left me feeling like an epic fail in that area.

Maya won't sleep.

My little girl, who has never had ONE issue with sleeping is now a complete mess when it comes to bedtime. She will go to bed, but gets frantic as soon as I tuck her in. Begging me not to leave her, clinging to my neck, crying until she is out of breath and a complete disaster. I sit with her, pat her, talk to her, she is perfectly happy, calm, nearly asleep...but the moment I get up to leave her room it starts again. It is exhausting and emotionally horrific to go through. Last night we did this 12 times before she finally stayed in her bed.

I have gone through every school of thought on how to handle this. I have tried ignoring her, but honestly I can't. I have struggled with sleeping most of my life and I remember how desperately I needed to so my mother on those scary nights. I have tried comforting her with as much patience as a mom can muster at 3 in the morning when she has been in her daughter's bedroom 12 times in a row. I bought her a new night light, added some white noise, prayed for hours on no avail. Each time she wakes up in the night, it starts over. It destroys me.

I am not getting sleep. She is not getting sleep. We are walking disasters. But even more than that I think it bothers me that I feel so lost on what to do for her. I have reached the moment I feared most of becoming a parent. The moment when there doesn't seem to be a right answer. No quick fix on google, no product that solves it, no book that can explain it away. I feel like I have been exposed as the completely clueless adolescent that I am on the inside. I am not a super mom, I am not even a grown up. No, honestly, I want to lie in my bed and cry just like she does on these nights. She has found the chink in my armor. She now sees that not all things are in my control.

For the first time I can not calm her fears or solve her problem. I am failing her, and it hurts like crazy.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Making life Simpler DAY ONE-Freezer Breakfasts

So in a quest to make life more like playing with my kids and less like working with my kids, I have decided to make some changes that will save me time and money. The first change is going to be making freezer breakfasts. I hate the drudgery of cooking breakfast every morning so I am quitting:) I am going to make a bunch of big batches for the fridge and freezer and have healthy microwavable breakfasts for my kiddos:)

On the list for today are breakfast burritos, freezer waffles, and pancakes. I am also going to do a big batch of just the breakfast burrito filling for Aidan. Although today is going to result in a messy kitchen and alot of work-think of the time I will save every day!

I figure I spend atleast 15 minutes making breakfasts each day and then 5-10 minutes doing the dishes and cleaning the kitchen. So let's say I use 25 minutes x7=175  minutes or almost THREE HOURS of my life back:)

Three hours is alot of cuddling, book reading, and spending time doing what I love-producing giggles:)

Monday, September 10, 2012

It Is an Honor to be Nominated

Lately, it has become really easy to complain. I haven't been feeling well. My husband had to go back to work. It seems like we never see him with school, and football practice, and game nights.

We are adjusting back to life on our own. The kids miss him and are grumpier than ever. Aidan is nothing short of King Kong. He hits and kicks and climbs CONSTANTLY. He is the world's cutest wrecking ball. Maya is an emotional disaster. She misses him. She misses the one on one time we have when there are two parents in the house. She is hurting.  She doesn't say this. You see when a two year old hurts she breaks something, or covers something in marker.  This is her language.

Everyday is beginning to feel like an epic fail. Never accomplishing as much as I should. Never being as good as I could. Never quite cutting it.

At night I lie down and pout. I complain about how tired I am, how much work it all is, how unfair life is...

Who is this person? This is not me. I am a positive person, a fighter, a worker, a striver.  So after a good long cry and a prayer for help and forgiveness for this little brat act I have been been pulling, it is time for a new perspective.

I don't feel good. Yeah, so??? I am a healthy, functioning mother of two. My body is able, and I am blessed beyond measure to have it.

My kids are crazy...well yes. But how many people would do anything to have a child, not to mention my amazing kids!! They are my everything. They are amazing. They are the energy that runs this house.

As far as feeling like an epic fail, I think I have to stop making this a competition. I am not a perfect mom. I never will be. But I am not even sure I want to be. I want to be a fun mom. A mom that makes mistakes and admits it, a mom that says she's sorry. A mom with more kisses than spankings and more smiles than tears.

As far as life being unfair. Well, I think I had that part right. Who am I to deserve this? A God who loves me, two beautiful children to love and raise, a beautiful (albeit messy) home to live in, and a husband that works feverishly to support our family.  God has given me so much more than what is fair, so much more than i deserve. I am just. so. blessed.

In this great oscars ceremony of mommyhood I am done focusing on winning best picture, I think for now it is an honor to be nominated.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Go Rogue

Sometimes, I am just blown away by the sweet little daughter that God has given me. This morning at 3:15, I heard Maya's tiny little feet running across her room. This was quickly followed by her shouting "Hello?", "Hellllllooo????" I am very sensitive to her need to see me in the middle of the night. I was never a good sleeper. I spent many nights snuggled in with my mom sitting on the edge of my bed-all the way into middle school, so I could fall back to sleep after a bad dream.

I went to the hallway and saw her standing there-already prepared for her trip-pink blanket hanging over her shoulder, cup in hand, and the sweetest, sleepiest grin on her face. "Mommy, I was thinking I could come lay with you now??" Her eyes watched me expectantly, waiting for my usual answer. Normally at this time I walk her back to her bed and climb in with her. I tell her a story and tickle her toes and say goodnight again...but not this time. Sometimes it is not worth it to follow the rules. Sometimes, the rules are made to be broken.

Seeing this tiny person with so much hope and expectancy in her eyes, left me no choice. I swept her up in my arms and brought her into my bed. I laid her on my pillow and whispered to her that she couldn't talk-it was late and we needed to sleep. I closed my eyes and I felt two tiny hands softly touch my face. A tiny pair of lips kissed me. And in a whisper barely audible although we were only inches apart I heard her say " I love you Momma."

I am a structured mom. I believe in rules and consequences, responsibilities, bed times and routines. But sometimes, it is worth it to go rogue.  You might just find yourself making a memory...

Monday, June 11, 2012

I wish....

Sometimes I wish that I was as cold and detached as I pretend to be. I am not. I have feelings and they get hurt. Often.

Sometimes I wish that I was as brave as people think. I am not fearless. I have a hard time putting myself out there. I am terrified of birds, being laughed at, and failing.

Sometimes I wish I was better. Better at listening, more patient, more forgiving. I wish I cared more about being nice than I did about being right. I wish I yelled less. I hate how much anger I carry just beneath my skin.

I wish I did more for others. I love to give, but time seems so tight that I never seem to have any left to share.

Sometimes I wish I had more money. I don't need to be rich, but I would love
to be able to forget about the bills that are rolling in. I wish we could travel more and take our kids on fabulous vacations.

I wish I was graceful. I have always been awkward and downright clumsy. I am constantly tripping, falling, and tromping about. I wish I floated into rooms like Audrey Hepburn did.

I wish there was some way to lose this weight once and for all. I am so tired
Of losing and regaining this same 30 pounds. It is hard to even try again. I have lost faith in myself. I don't believe
I will ever be thin.

Sometimes I wish I could be someone else. Someone smarter, prettier, taller. I wish I lived somewhere exotic and picked fresh mango for lunch, right off the tree. I wish that I only had to be myself and that that would be enough. I wish I could sleep until noon on a beach of soft sand and that the waves would rock me to sleep.

Sometimes I wish I was 8 again, climbing cherry trees. Life was so simple then.

But then I realize that all these things that I wish I could change, are what have made me me. They have brought me here. They have worked together to build me this life and make me who I am today. With two tiny arms wrapped around my thigh and a baby on my hip, how could I ever want it any other way?

A cold mother wouldn't be a kind one. I need that warmth when there are broken legs or broken hearts to heal.

Maybe I am braver than I think. I brought two children into this world without blinking or even once doubting my decision.

I may not do a lot for others, but I give of myself to my own family everyday, asking nothing in return.

Money is tight, but we have a place to live and food to eat. Our vacations are not elaborate, but don't kids like camping in the backyard? I know I did.

Although my body is not graceful in the conventional sense, I can carry two kids and my purse and open a car door, that's something right?

Thinner, yes I still want that, but I do not want my daughter to believe her body is her most important asset. I can show her that her health is more important than her weight. I will show her how to live an active lifestyle, I will teach her to love herself, no matter what.

Dream are important, but I hope they never get in the way of me seeing how beautiful of a reality I am already living.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

940 are you spending yours?

My mom recently informed me that there are 940 Saturdays between the day your child is born and the day he/she turns 18.   It makes me sad to think of how many of Maya's Saturdays have already been wasted. How many Saturdays have been spent telling her we were too busy to play, working on projects, doing laundry...?

Saturdays are often our work day around here.  It is when we catch up from the busy week, get the house back to a livable state, and unbury ourselves from the toys and dirty clothes that have been ignored for the last few days.  It is also yard work day, shopping day, garage saling day, grocery day...The list goes on and on. Often times, I use Saturdays to list my ebay items and sort clothes for my facebook selling page, it is our project day, our work day, but should it be more?

With only only 940 Saturdays to spend with our children, shouldn't we be valuing them more highly? Maybe, Saturdays should be fun day, adventure day, picnic day, and snuggle day? Maybe Saturdays should be reserved for giggles, and stories, and the tickle monster?  Maybe, Saturdays should be special sacred days when we don't even mention work?  When the answer is always yes, we are never too busy, and nothing is more important than making memories.  In the grand scheme, when my children are grown with children of their own, I highly doubt I will wish they had lived in a cleaner house. I doubt the stories they tell their own children will be about the day they watched a movie so I could deep clean the kitchen.  No, I can only hope that the memories I give my children will match the ones my own mother gave me. 

Saturdays full of trips to the zoo, walks in the woods, and catching butterflies. Saturdays full of reading books and snuggling , imagining to live in the lighthouse painting above our couch. Saturdays full of baking cookies, singing songs in the car, and watching for Christmas lights out the window.  She was never too busy to count how many somersaults I could do in the pool. My record was 11.  

Today is Saturday. Make it count.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Introducing Thrifty Thursdays:)

With my page still in its infancy, I am trying to develop some structure for this whirlwind of a blog. So, from now on, Thursdays will be Thrifty Thursdays. I will aim on these days to share some of the things I do to help keep my families costs down, save money, earn money, and to become debt free. So for starters, let me tell you that one of my number one secrets for saving money is to avoid buying new clothes at all costs.

The secret is out-not that it was really a secret, I hardly EVER buy new clothes. I shop Goodwill, Salvation Army, and garage sales for my own clothing as well as my children's clothes. I am not embarrassed by this. Why should I be? It is the ultimate in recycling. As I type I am wearing a J Crew shirt that cost me $2 at a garage sale, a pair of American Eagle jeans that cost me $2 at a garage sale, and a pair of Sperry Topsiders I got for $10 at a Salvation Army- let me tell you $10 was A LOT for me to spend on shoes-but I have wanted some for ages ! That makes my entire outfit $14 ( FYI my unmentionables were purchased new at an outlet on clearance). Retail for these pieces? Lets look it up.

A similar top at Jcrew-$69.50

Same jeans at American Eagle-on Clearance for $29.99

My "splurge" Sperry Topsiders $75 

So cost for this outfit retail would be $174.49!!!!!!!That was even with the jeans on clearance! That makes my total savings 92%!!!
This is a perfect illustration of why I LOVE garage saling.  

Some things to keep in mind when garage saling for clothes are:

CONDITION-make sure you quadrupley check for holes, snags, missing buttons, stains, etc. This stuff isn't new and some people don't presort what they are selling like I do:)  I make it a personal rule to not sell anything stained, ripped, or broken at my own sale.

PRICE- I have a price point in my head that I think is reasonable for used clothes. It depends on brand, condition, and how much I love the item. In general I don't pay more than $3 or $4 for jeans, $2 for shirts, and $5 for jackets and coats. I do make exception-like the nearly new Columbia 3-in-1 coat I got for $12 last year.

HAGGLE- This took me years to get brave enough to do but ask if they will take less. I would say atleast 80% off people go down on the price if I ask. 

SAVE GAS BY SUB-SALING- In order to make the actual garage saling more affordable, I love to go to subdivision wide sales. These are a collection of people in a neighborhood who have sales all at the same time. One trip, lots of sales-this saves you lots of time and gas!

ONLY BUY WHAT YOU WILL WEAR- You aren't saving if you aren't buying what you will actually wear. Look for items that are the right size that you would be tempted to pay full price for. A closet full of cheap clothes that you hate is not really a bargain.

If you still think you are too good for garage saling, well I guess I am kind of glad:) That's just one less person to compete with! Happy shopping!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Stop planning and start living

I am at a place in my life where I am becoming immobilized by ambition. Isn't ambition supposed to be a good thing? Isn't it the drive that pushes the successful? The extra something that makes me a contender? Always striving, improving, growing...

All still sounds good right? And it is, to a point. But the problem is that the dreaming is so much simpler than the DOING.

If you have a pinterest you know what I'm talking about. Now I am not dogging pinterest,I love it and recommend it to people constantly,but is it doing its part to enable us dreamers to store our dreams and pin them like trapped butterflies instead of getting off our butts and actually carrying them out?

Would my kids rather I made a board of 100 great craft ideas to do with them later, or that I get on the floor with them and tickle their chunky little toes right now?

Why is it I would so much rather dream about doing things, plan them out with intricate details, and pin them than actually start taking REAL concrete steps toward these goals?

The answer is sad and simple. It's easy.

On pinterest, I can imagine my cake looks just like the picture. My souffle is perfectly fluffy. My photos will be just as perfect. My house a perfect hybrid of pottery barn and restoration hardware. It is an imaginary world where I choose all the pieces,money is no object,nor is time. I am perfect on pinterest and so is my life.

It is the ultimate tool for a modern consumerist, a catalog that lets you shop for your life. It makes me feel like finding someone else's good idea is just as valid as having my own. That recognizing beauty is as important as creating it. It is the ultimate spectator sport.

But I am tired of watching from the sidelines. I am ready to play. I am too strong to stay silent and too smart to stay still.

From now on, each Wednesday I will be wiping some of these ideas off my Boards. Some will be successes, some will be failures, but they will be real life experiences and that's what counts. But first things first, I think I have some toes to tickle:)

A Letter to My Tenth Grade Self...

With a niece going into the tenth grade next year, I recently took some time to reflect on that part of my life. People say they would love to be young again, but I wouldn't. Those years were full of insecurity, pain, and loneliness for me. That being said, if I could talk to that girl now, this is what I would tell her...

Dear Amy,

Stop worrying so much about what you wear, those kids that make fun of you will do it anyway. Trying on 5 outfits in the morning isn't helping anyone. You are beautiful just the way you are. Yes you have acne, yes you have bad hair. I know you cut your own bangs and that they are way too short, but it's all okay. You are a beautiful PERSON. As you get older, good people will notice. Forget the rest.

That guy you are in love with...well I know it's hard to hear this but he's not "the one". I am not gonna tell you who he is because you wouldn't believe it. Just trust me in saying that this guy isn't him and that there is going to be some heartache along the way.  Your heart will heal. I know it feels like you are broken and you will never be the same. I remember the pain. But hearts heal, you will love again. Choose boys who love you the way you are and encourage you to shine. Guard your heart closely, but not too closely. Let yourself love and be loved. But no matter what he says stick to your guns on the sex thing-you will be glad you did later.

Stop being so hard on yourself. No one is perfect. The popular girls you wish you were, they aren't happy either. they are just better at pretending than you. I am glad you aren't. You are real. Real is much rarer than popular. Why do you assume that because you don't fit in with them that they are better than you?  What you don't realize is that they don't fit in with you because YOU are better.

Choose your friends wisely. Pick ones that don't talk about other people. The ones that talk about others, might talk about you behind your back too.

Brush your teeth more, and FLOSS. This will save you lots of pain and money later.

You know how you think it's too late to be athletic? Join track. There is something for everyone and you won't have to sit the bench. You would enjoy running if you got started. Give yourself a chance.

Stop feeling like everyone is watching you.  This is high school. Everyone is self absorbed. They are watching their own reflections a lot more often than they are watching you.

Stop talking bad about yourself. You are important. People love you. You are enough. You are the one and only Amy Jo.  It is not okay to say you are stupid, ugly, or fat-out loud or in your head.

Speak boldly. You have great ideas. Raise your hand in class when you know the answer.  Smile more. If you want to try something new, don't ignore the urge, DO IT. Hold your head up high and make them wonder why you are so confident.

Be the friend you'd like to have. Give of your time. Volunteer your help. Listen to people's problems.

Stop trying to fit, you never will, but in a few years you will learn that you don't want to.

Someday, this will all seem silly. All the worries, all the tears, all the insecurity. I know you are rolling your eyes at me but it's true. I have been there. I have been you.  But, someday you will sit in your living room, rocking your second child, married to a wonderful man who loves you for who you are and you will know that those "plastics" aren't the lucky ones. YOU are.

Love-32 year old Amy Jo

Monday, June 4, 2012

It's GOAL DAY for June!!

From now on the first Monday of each month, I am going to post my monthly goals.  I think this accountability will be good for me as I will have to reflect back on the month at the beginning of the next one. Feel free to post your goals below as well! Okay so here goes, in the month of June I will...

1-Follow the  31 Days to Clean routine each day

2-Get dressed and take a shower EVERY DAY (may not sound like a big deal, but to me as a stay at home mom this is not the norm)

3-Lose 13 pounds-by far the hardest part of my monthly goals I think. My current weight is 182 (yep I put it here, and I SOOOO don't care who knows my weight) so that would put me in the 160's:).  My highest weight after I had Aidan was over 200 pounds, so I am happy to be starting here and moving forward. My final goal, as taken from the BMI chart, is a microscopic 136 pounds that is considered healthy for my height.

4-Work back up to being able to run 3 miles straight-I used to be able to do this. I quit. I hate myself for that, but I will do it again!

5-Do a special craft with Maya three times a week-she deserves fun activities even though I'm busy.

6-Take the kids on an outing twice a week-the park, the museum, the farmers market...

7-Get the basement ready for paint and water sealing-I am excited and overwhelmed for this project!

8-Post on the blog atleast 4 times a week-I am trying I really am, sometimes life just gets SOOO crazy!

9-Come up with a name for my photography site...harder than it sounds...

10-Stick to our budget-via Dave Ramsey-again not easy but doable

I am overwhelmed just looking at this list, but hey GOALS are important and they aren't supposed to be easy!

What are your goals for this month?  How can I help you achieve them?

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

31 Days to Clean?? Challenge Accepted :)

Do you feel like you can't get on top of your housework lately? Well, unless you are perfect I am guessing you are sighing in agreement with me:) I am excited to be starting a new project called 31 Days to Clean with one of my favorite bloggers 31 Days To Clean Challenge  It starts next week.  She will  lead us through daily challenges and get us back into martha-stewart-style-housekeepers in just 31 days! Check it out and we can suffer through this together!

$1.50 off Birdseye Viola Printable Coupon :)

Follow this link for a $1.50 off a Birdseye Voila! This is a great coupon, get it while it's available!
COUPON Just click and print!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Taking the leap...

There is something you should know about me. You know how I seem fearless, confident and unaffected? Well those things are SOOOOO not me.  I spend much of life terrified, disappointed, and altogether insecure. I maintain a pretty good facade but truth be told-I am a bit of a mess.

I have so many dreams. To run a marathon, be a healthy weight, write a book, make this blog a success, go back to school...My head swirls with ambition but I seem to be a toe dipper at this stage in life.You know what I mean. When I should be diving into the pool, head first, ready to commit , I dabble. I dip a toe and see how it feels, maybe even a foot, and then I retreat.  I wrap up in a familiar towel and retire to my comfort zone. 

So it goes for my newest venture. I love photography. I greatly enjoy photographing my children and secretly feel pretty good about my talents in this area. I have long been considering starting a small photography business. I don't want a studio or anything, I would simply like to take pictures of families and their children in nice outdoor settings.  I love the process. The snapping, the editing, turning ordinary pictures into art...

But the voices start...what if you aren't any good? What if people aren't happy? What if someone realizes you are not a "trained" photographer? Worst of all, what if you are a joke? What if everyone sees you fail? What if you disappoint "them"? Oh the unnamed them, always meddling in my business...

I hate these voices. They have followed me my whole life. They have done a great job of keeping me from failing...but at what cost? They have also kept me from trying...

I am tired of dipping my toes, it is time to leap...but where to jump...and how???

Have you followed a dream, big or small? How did you take that first step? How did it turn out for you? Please share below!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

No more excuses...

I am one of those people who is constantly dieting.  I do so with pretty good success, but the weight always creeps back on as life takes over. I become too busy to work out, too busy to eat healthy, I start to slide. I am a master of excuses for this. It is too hard with all the junk around for the kids, too hard with all the events, parties, and family is just too hard.

But the other day I had an epiphany. I was at Planet Fitness and I saw her. She was an older lady accompanied by her husband struggling to get int the door. She had a visible limp, it appeared as if one of her legs was completely paralyzed as she drug it behind her. I pretended to be reading a brochure at the desk so I could hear her conversation with the attendant. It was actually her husband who spoke. " Hi, my wife wants so desperately to get in shape. I have told her I am not sure if she can even do it, but she would love to try the treadmill. If she can use it, we will buy memberships but we need to make sure she is...capable.., " he stuttered trying to find the least offensive way to describe their delicate situation.  I listened for the attendants answer, hoping he would oblige. He did, and showed the man and his wife over to the nearest treadmill.

The man had to life half of her body onto the deck and she used her arms to pull herself up the rest of the way. She was breathing heavily already, just from the struggle of getting across the room and onto the treadmill. I looked at her face and she was glowing in anticipation. She was thrilled to be here, to be taking the first step to being healthy.  Her husband started the deck cautiously rolling, on the lowest setting. He smiled at her with pride as she began to move her working leg and slide the other across the deck of the machine.

 Soon her smile faded as it became evident she could not keep this up. Even on the lowest setting her leg was becoming fatigued and they were in danger of becoming tangled. Her face dropped and tears welled up in her eyes. She went to speak but she didn't have to...her husband turned off the machine. Their eyes met. Her eyes disappointed and his reassuring.  He  helped her off the treadmill and onto the floor, she nearly fell multiple times. Her face was full of sadness and embarrassment. She was heavily winded and he slid a chair for her to sit in and gave her a bottle of water.

He went to the desk, presumably to tell the attendant that sadly they would not be needing the membership, but instead I heard him say they wouldn't need the memberships yet.  "Thank you so much. We will work harder. We will be back."

After going through all of that, they would be back. She would do it all again, as many times at it took.

Ouch. I was instantly humbled. How dare I complain. With my working arms and legs I still found so many excuses.  This lady, barely able to walk, was willing. I climbed on the treadmill with a new appreciation for my body. Yes it is overweight and not the one I would choose, but it is functional and strong. It has housed two children, seen me through my 32 years, and it would see me through this journey to fitness too.

Stop making excuses. There will always be reasons not to do it if you look for them. Find the reason TO DO IT and go!

Friday, May 25, 2012

RUN don't walk to Rite Aid!! Large Wipe Refills for $2.12 !!!

So I saw this online and had to try it for myself! Rite Aid is clearancing out baby wipes!! For those of us with kids in diapers these words sound more beautiful than the hallelujah chorus! In many cases these are unmarked so you have to have your friendly cashier price check them for you! The large soft packs of Huggies Sensitive wipes rang up at 75% off at ALL the stores I tried making them only... drum roll please....$2.12!! These packs refill your wipes box THREE times so that's about .70 a box! Also if you can find enough to spend $30. you get a $10 UP reward! I did-after hitting about 8 stores- which brought my total to right around $20 plus tax for 15 refill packs (equal to 45 refills)! If you have the .50 Huggies wipes coupon from the paper this deal can be EVEN sweeter!!

I also found that the pampers large soft packs Sensitive Thick Care Wipes were on clearance at some, but not all, of my stores for 75% off ($2.24)so it is worth checking those too! Remember these were UNMARKED so you have to have them scanned and your luck may vary:)

Other baby items I found on clearance were the Huggies night time pullups-princess style Reg-$12.49 on clearance for $6.24-$2 coupon=$4.24 a pack and Pampers Sensitive Diapers-Reg-$12.49 on clearance for $6.24 or half off :) Happy shopping!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Things not to say to THIS stay-at-home-mom

Sometimes I get frustrated when people talk to me about being a stay at home mom.  I am sure the things they say aren't meant to offend but still, it happens. I normally gracefully ignore them and continue the conversation, but just in case you ever hit me on a bad day. here are some things you should never say to me.

Do you work?

While this question is innocent it poses some problems for me. You see I do work, ALOT. I am a nanny, a house keeper, a cook, a bather, a driver, and a tear wiper. I am a teacher, an entertainer, a kisser of boo boo's and a lover. I get no breaks, not even for lunch. I can not call in sick. I can not leave work early. I can not quit my job. I am on call every minute of every day. My pay comes in the form of respect and druelly kisses. It is the best and most rewarding job in the world. But instead of answering in this way I say "no". This is not what you want to know. You want to know if I have a "real job"-a job with a paycheck and an office. 

I hate this question because I feel instantly like  need to defend my choice to stay home with my kids. I usually say something like...I have a degree in teaching (true) but I couldn't find a teaching job (true). BUT this is not the truth of the situation. I could get another job. I could work outside the home. I CHOOSE not to. I CHOOSE to do this. Not because I am lazy, not because it is easy, not because we don't need the money, but because it is important to me. Period.

This generally leads to another comment that kind of drives me crazy. 

I wish I could afford to do that.

Okay this is a touchy one so let me do a disclaimer first. I understand times are hard. I understand that it is TRULY impossible for some families to get by on one income. However, I think that many people would be surprised to see how little extra money they are making when they figure in the cost of having another vehicle with insurance, child care, work clothes, work education, work expenses, etc... 

Secondly, I don't like that this comment makes it sound like we are just rich and it's easy for us to do this. It's not. We give up a lot for me to stay home with the kids, but it was just that important to us. It was a choice and we made it KNOWING that we would not be able to live like 2 income families do. We don't. Here are some examples of things we have cut in the past or plan to cut in the future in order to make this work.

We don't buy new vehicles, we don't buy new clothes, we don't buy new much of anything honestly (we do buy new underwear, socks, and some obvious exceptions). We don't eat out a lot, we don't ever go shopping just for fun, I NEVER go to the mall. I get only a few haircuts a year, I don't get manicures, I gave up my massages. We don't travel often, we don't hire babysitters ( I am blessed here as my mom and sister are close buy and help with the kids A LOT). We don't go the movies often and we never buy popcorn, and we are getting ready to get rid of cable.

I also do a lot of little jobs to help with spending money. I sell on ebay, I sell our kids clothes online. I take surveys, belong to focus groups, etc.  I make A LOT of our food from scratch because it's cheaper. We eat based on what's on sale. We use coupons-lots of coupons. We can tomatoes, tomato sauce, pizza sauce, apples, applesauce and anything else we can get our hands on free or cheap!  We only buy bread at the bread outlet. There are lots more and we are always looking for new ways to cut. Any more ideas?? Please comment below!

That must be so nice.

Okay this one seems innocent enough, but sometimes it makes me laugh. Some days it really is-most days really. I love knowing I am the first face my kids see each day and that we are learning and playing together. But let me just say when you have the flu and the kids wake up at 5 AM, and the house is a mess and there is no end in sight, and you are feeding breakfast while prepping dinner, and someone spills grape juice on the carpet, and then while you are cleaning it up, a dog poops on the floor and a toddler is crawling towards it, and another kid is screaming help because she has climbed onto the counter and spilled a whole bowl of mashed strawberries on the is not it is entirely "unnice" LOL

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Thank God this house is too small!

I was complaining to myself last night, while trying to put away the endless loads of laundry, about how small this house is. You should know that it is not a particularly small house, but lately I have been dreaming of something bigger.

We could really use a bigger bathroom-or even better a MASTER bath.  There are hardly any closets. On top of that, the beautiful arches that I fell in love with when we bought this house are a design nightmare. It is nearly impossible to rearrange furniture in our living room.  But maybe more than anything, I was annoyed at the fact that we don't have a guest room. I hate asking our guests to camp-out in the living room on an air mattress.
For a split second I thought to myself, "what kind of idiot would have bought a house without a guest room?"

 Then I stopped dead in my tracks.  I had to smile. It had not been an oversight. This house had a guest room when we bought it.

As a matter of fact it had had TWO extra bedrooms. We made one a guest room and one a den.  Where were they? Where had our space disappeared? More smiles.

In there place stand a puppy-dog room for a precious little girl and a nursery for my baby boy. No more cold empty guest room. No more perfect retreat for our house guests. No instead we have children-laughter and stains, bumps and bruises, and bedtime prayers. Thank you Lord that we don't have a guest room. I can only hope that someday this house will get even more crowded.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Did you know you can make your own freezer waffles?

Yep-on my quest to find things that make my life easier, cheaper, and more interesting, I stumbled upon a post about making freezer waffles. I bought a waffle iron for $9.99 at kohls the day after thanksgiving and I have used it a total of ONE time. It just seems so ominous to make the batter, prep the machine, clean the machine...So this was perfect!

I simply mixed up a whole box of waffle batter(okay-yes you could make them from scratch cheaper, maybe next time) made the waffles one by one on the waffle machine and PRESTO-freezer waffles. I froze them in quarters so they would fit nicely in my toaster and now breakfast is served:)

I LOVE waffles-my favorite toppings are yogurt, peanut butter, or strawberries! Best of all-Maya my 2 year old, loves them too! These quarters are the perfect size for her little toddler hands!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Free Toddler Toy Idea from The Children's Museum

I recently bought an annual membership for The Flint Children's Museum and have really been enjoying taking my kiddos there. They have many neat play areas, especially for Maya's age group, and she loves the freedom she has there to do as she likes. With a room full of "yes" she can play for hours without having to hear me so "no" which I think is her favorite part.

I was amazed though, that with all the cool things to do her FAVORITE part was the grocery shopping section.  Actually it seemed to be everyone's favorite part. The best part of this was that we could do it at home for FREE! She already had a cart all we needed was the food.

I have recently been saving all of our dry goods containers for her kitchen. Within a week she already has a great selection-a cookie box, a pancake box, an OJ carton, a milk carton, and egg container...I feel like such an idiot for ever paying for play food! She likes this stuff a lot more because it's "real". The best part is if it gets beat up, ripped, chewed on by a rogue puppy (this happens a lot at our house) you toss it and you are out nothing, zip, nada, zilch!

When I explained to her that these boxes were empty she wasn't even disappointed. "That's okay, I  imagine Mommy". Music to a momma's ears:)

Monday, February 27, 2012

How my printer exposed my whiny inner consumerist

So for the last 6 months my printer hasn't been working correctly. It started with a few paper jams, and evolved to a full-blown printer rebellion. I would patiently manually feed each sheet into the printer, one at a time. This would work about 50% of the time at the beginning..then 25%, more recently it hasn't been working much at all. If I could count the number of minutes, even HOURS that I have spent manually feeding this printer, coaxing it, begging it , hitting it, turning it on and off...

There is only one thing I hate more than wasting money and that's wasting time so I finally caved. It was time for a new printer. I only use laser printers because I print A LOT of coupons:) and the ink is much more affordable, and it's so much faster. The search began. For months I have been scouring the internet for a good deal, reading reviews, and planning for my new printer.

The "saver" in me wouldn't spend more than $50 and that was a pretty unreasonable price point. So I waited. Finally, today, after countless fights with my printer and fruitless searches for an affordable replacement. I decided to jump. I would buy one TODAY. After all, I was worth it. I began looking at refurbished ones on ebay and decided I would have to spend $70 to get what I wanted. Oh well. I NEEDED it. Too bad if it didn't fit in the budget. I HAD to have it. Right?

Suddenly I heard my whiny inner voice saying these things. I was struck with the hilarity of it. Did I really NEED a wireless laser printer? Or could I use a cheap inkjet one stored in my basement? Did I really have to have a great one? Did I really HAVE to have one at all? I suddenly realized that I was once again caught in the trap of consumerism.

The entire world of media is programmed to make us believe we need more, we want more, we DESERVE more. I try to avoid it, but sometimes it catches me. Did I NEED this $70 printer or did I WANT one?

I knew the answer. I reluctantly closed my ebay search window, and did something that for some reason I had never thought to do. I googled how to fix my old printer. Wouldn't you know it, tons of people had had the same problem. I read through tons of potential fixes involving taking apart all the parts and sanding pieces, replacing rubber heads, bending brackets...I tried the ones I could figure out and skipped the rest. Nope still not working. Finally, frustrated both at my lack of "handywoman" ness and my still broken printer, I stumbled across one more. "I just washed the little rubber foot, and it worked great."

I couldn't decide if i was hopeful that this would work or angry that it could be so simple. Sure enough, one drop of dawn and one paper towel later, my printer is working like a dream. If only instead of focusing on the problem and how frustrated it made me, wasting the hours struggling through it, cursing it until I was blue in the face, I had spent that time on finding a solution. Yep-there's a life lesson here methinks.

Free Freezer Cooking E-Book Download :)

One of my favorite bloggers, the money saving mom, has a free download of her ebook on freezer cooking today! Snag it here , it is towards the bottom of the page, and enjoy!!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

DIY- Toddler play refrigerator from a DVD cabinet

I have been wanting a fridge for Maya, sicne the kitchen I purchased doesn't have one included. I wasn't too worried about that fact until I realized that that was normally where the parents stashed all the food after the kidlets were done playing.

I set out to St. Vincent DePauls and found a beat up DVD cabinet that looked perfect. it was short enough, had two doors that functioned well, and was $9.99.

I didn't take a before picture but it looked similar to this one, but more beat up of course:)

I tried to paint it white-as I had some white spray paint in my garage but it did not cover well, and three coats later it was still blotchy. Hmmm. Next I scoured my basement for other options. I stumbled upon this-
I had originally bought this to try to makeover my dishwasher a few years back. I gave it a shot and it worked PERFECTLY! It gave good coverage and even gave it a bit of texture like a real fridge. Of course it was black and not white but HEY it was free! We have a black fridge in our own kitchen so I think she will love it!

I took off the original handles, spray painted them silver, and reattached them. Next I sprayed the shelves and inside of the cabinet with the white spray paint and screwed in the shelves so they wouldn't fall off their brackets. I also bought some braces to attach it to the wall so that I could be certain that it wouldn't tip on either of my littles:)

TADA!!! How cute is this and I spent a total of $16.00! It offers tons of storage and is OH So cute! I think next I need to paint the inside white and I may try to put a light in it !!

Friday, February 10, 2012


Recently, while wasting time on Pinterest when I should have been cleaning (hey, I'm not perfect) I came upon a quote. I read it and it hit me like a baseball pitch to the stomach. It was a simple idea, but one I had never really verbalized or written.  There it was in black and white, simple type-face, staring into my soul.

 "Just because someone doesn't love you the way you want them to doesn't mean they don't love you with all that they have."

I was instantly convicted.

I am a control freak. I spend much of my life trying to "fix" things, people, and my life. I am constantly trying to match it all up to an ideal in my head. I envision my life as being some cross between an Audrey Hepburn movie, Woodstock, and The Boxcar Children books.  I spend countless hours carefully pruning myself and those around me to make them fit into these scenarios. This ends in frustration because I did not marry a character from a movie-I married a MAN. Coincidentally, I am a living breathing woman-not an airbrushed, perfectly lit cover model. To top it all off, my kids are not child actors-they are REAL they have emotions, and meltdowns, and bumps and bruises.

As I examine myself, I realize that it doesn't end there. I adore my mom because she fits that ideal. She was sweet and loving, always supportive, and never judgmental. She is as close as one could get to having a perfect 1950's sitcom mother.The house always smelled of cookies, the floors were always clean, and the kisses were always abundant-even when we fought them.  My mother-IS Donna Reed. I put a lot of pressure on myself because she is such a tough act to follow. Sadly, I resign to the fact that I will never be as good of a mother to my children as my own mother was to me. Yes, my mother loved me exactly the way I needed and she still does today. But then there was my Dad.

Did my Dad love me? I am sure he did. But we spoke different languages back then.  So much was lost in translation between us. To him, loving was supporting. He worked hard at thankless jobs, hour after hour so I could live the life I wanted. I was spoiled rotten at Christmas,  had the name brand jeans that I "needed" in the 7th grade, and there was always money for our family vacation. He sacrificed his time, his energy, even his hearing,which he eventually lost much of from the loud factory machinery, in order to give me every "thing" I ever wanted. Sadly, to me, this was not love. Love was hugs, and kisses, and daddy-daughter dances-all things that were missing from our relationship. I have spent so much of my life wondering what I could have done to make him love me MORE, but this quote made me see the truth. He did.

 Maybe- "Just because someone doesn't love you the way you want them to doesn't mean they don't love you with all that they have."

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

$10 free credit to Vitacost Drug Store

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14 Reuses for a Phonebook

I just got two phone books in the mail that I know we won't use. Why bother when we can google?? I found this article and thought I'd share! (be sure to check for coupons before repurposing-sometimes there are some good ones in there!

14 Reuses for a Phonebook

FREE Better Homes & Gardens Magazine Subscription

       FREE Better Homes & Gardens Magazine Subscription
Thanks to Coupon pro for this deal!! -

Yay! Hurry over to score a FREE 1 year subscription to Better Homes and Gardens magazine, courtesy of FreeBizMag! Prepare to give some info on your profession or under industry choose “Other’ then select ‘Homemaker” if your a stay at home mom. You can have the magazine mailed to your home. Make sure to say “No Thanks” to all the offers. If you receive a renewal notice, ignore it, it is not a bill.
(thanks @Adam)