Friday, September 18, 2009

Target Deal

For those that love Kashi (or those of you that love any kind of cereal/granola bar so long as it's cheap!), there's a great deal going on right now at Target. But you have to hurry because I think the deal ends tomorrow. All of their Kashi cereals and granola bars are marked down to $2.88. If you buy 5 Kashi products, you get a $5.00 Target gift card in return. Soooo...

Go HERE and HERE and HERE to get your Kashi printable coupons. Remember, you can print only 2 of each (and you only need 5 if you are going to buy 5 items.)

Go to Target and pick out your 5 items (make sure they correlate with your coupons, i.e. if your coupon says "Honey Sunshine Cereal" you can't get the Apple Cinnamon Granola cereal.)

5 Kashi Products @ $2.88 each = $14.40 before tax
5 Kashi coupons makes your total = $6.90
You'll get your $5.00 gift card in return, making the net payment $1.90
(That's about $.38 for a box of cereal, people!)

*You can't use your gift card on that same purchase. I also needed milk and eggs, so I bought milk at $3.50 and eggs at $.99 and did 2 separate transactions. The cashier let me use the $5 gift card on the next purchase, so the milk and eggs were FREE! Booyah.

Now hurry and get your Kashi fix!

Clare Beaton

I love that Mary Ella loves to read... it's fun to see her pick out a book and bring it to me while I'm sitting in my chair. I attribute so much of her vocabulary to some of the books we've read. Books are such a good way to stimulate your child visually and mentally, and although it can seem like they are uninterested and bored during the first few months, you are doing them a HUGE favor by reading to them and showing them pictures and words and letters. Our favorite children's author right now is Clare Beaton. Mary Ella's favorite book (and I would recommend this to all parents!) is Baby's First Book. It is a collection of pictures, words, letters, shapes and numbers, and each page has its own title or category. For instance, there's a page called "Animals with Tails" that contains a squirrel, pig, elephant, monkey, raccoon... there's a page called "Animal Noises" with pictures of all sorts of animals and the noise they make spelled out above the animal... there's a bath time page with bath items, a playtime page with all sorts of easy-to-identify toys, a vegetable page, a fruit page, a weather page, even a summer and winter clothes page! This is such a great book for teaching words and it has been amazing to see Mary Ella try to say these words when she sees the item in real life! For instance, there's a page that contains a clock, and when I read to her, I call it the "tick-tock." The other day we were visiting Chad's grandparents and Mary Ella's eyes looked up and she said "tih-tock" and pointed to the clock on the mantle! So go get Clare's book! And by the way, she has MANY books! I'm hoping I can get some good deals at Amazon around Christmas time because I'd love to buy her entire library!

And if you don't like ordering online, I purchased my copy at Pottery Barn Kids.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The pantry is full

I often find myself complaining because we have "nothing to eat." However, my pantry is full. See?

(It does not normally look organized and neat like this. This picture was taken after I made myself clean it out earlier today.)
After going through the coupons and checking all my coupon websites on Sunday, I went through our pantry to make our menu plan for the week, and I thought, "Gosh, there is a TON of food in here." It was the truth! Cans, boxed rice, pasta, cereal, soups... you name it, we probably had it. So I decided that I would not buy groceries this week and that we would eat on whatever we had in the pantry (and fridge, which looks VERY different from the pantry - almost empty, besides some cheese, milk, sandwich meat and various condiments!) We've had taco soup, lemon pepper chicken with brown rice, shrimp stir fry, turkey sandwiches and tonight is French Onion soup with some french bread and muenster cheese - yum! (Not South Beach diet friendly, but YUM.) I can't BELIEVE I sometimes waste a week's worth of grocery money when we already have enough food to feed a small tribe right here in our own house. I go to the grocery out of habit mostly, but I need to do this more often. It gave me some perspective - not only into how blessed we are, but at how much money I could be saving each week!

On another note, here is how I like to eat French Onion Soup:
1 can Campbell's (or your preferred brand) of French Onion Soup
1 piece of thick, preferably day old or stale French bread
1 slice muenster cheese

Heat the soup in the microwave to warm. Meanwhile turn your oven to broil. Pour your soup into an oven safe bowl. (You can put your bowl on a cookie sheet to make it easy to get in and out of the oven.) Top with the piece of French bread and then the cheese. Broil for 3-4 minutes on HIGH until the cheese is melted and the soup is bubbly. This is divine! (For those from Florence, it tastes like Dale's!)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Haley: 1, Rite Aid: 0

I finally beat the system in my couponing adventures! And for all you moms out there, this is a GREAT deal... but you need to hurry and get to RiteAid because I had to go to 3 stores before I found one that had all the items I needed.

Today I bought 10 Johnson & Johnson baby items:

Guess how much it cost?

Yep. I said it. Free.
And you can get your 10 items for free too! Here's how:

Right now, all Johnson & Johnson baby shampoo, powder, lotions, baby wash, etc, are on sale for $2.99. They are running a special that goes something like this:
  • Buy 3 J&J products, get a $5 rebate
  • Buy 5 J&J products, get a $10 rebate
  • Buy 10 J&J products, get a $15 rebate!

So here is what you do:
1. Go here to print 10 $1 off/1 J&J product coupons. Print off any 10 that you'd like. (This website will usually only allow you to print the coupon twice; just hit your back button after it has printed once, and it will send it to your printer again.)
2. Then go HERE to print the RiteAid coupon for $5 off a $25 purchase.
3. Go RiteAid and find the 10 products that you want. Take them to the checkout counter. First, after they ring up your products, hand them the $5 off a $25 purchase coupon. Then hand them the rest of your coupons.

Here's the math:
10 J&J products at roughly $3.00 each = $30.00
$5 off your $25 purchase makes it = $25.00
Your 10 J&J coupons make your purchase = $15.00
And you will get the RiteAid J&J REBATE of $15.00, making your NET payment ZERO. Nada. NOTHING.

(You have to come home and go online to fill out your rebate info, but they say within 2 weeks this money is automatically transferred back onto your debit card. It's WORTH IT!)

YAY FOR FREE STUFF! Happy shopping!

Monday, September 14, 2009

projects for playtime

Mary Ella is a growing baby. Now that she is walking, she is also starting to "play" a bit more and I've realized that her nursery is probably not very play-friendly. We keep most of her toys in either the family room (which means 2-3 decorative baskets OVERFLOWING with toys, books and puzzles) *which means clutter. which means headache.* or in the playroom downstairs. But recently I decided that since she is getting to the age where she does like to sit and read, play with blocks, babies, puzzles, etc, her room needs to be a place where she can do that... instead of just being the place where she gets dressed, changed and put to sleep every night. SOoooOO...A few weeks ago at a Vestavia yard sale I purchased this...
It is a child-size wooden table with 2 chairs. I thought it'd be perfect for her room. And at $15 for the set, I couldn't resist. I decided to paint them the color of her bathroom. We have 2 bedrooms on the left side of our house that are joined by a jack and jill bathroom - perfect for kids! Mary Ella's room is bright pink; the other room is bright blue. The bathroom is kiwi lime green. And now, so is her table.

I moved the glider from her room to the other bedroom; we had already planned on moving it whenever we had another baby, so this was in the plan anyway. Plus, Mary Ella LOVED crawling behind it when it was in the corner of her room, and she was notorious for getting "stuck" and not being able to find her way out! This has solved that problem. So now, her "corner" is a play corner and she can play to her heart's content. She seems to love the new set-up and I've had so much fun watching her with her dolls. She'll read to them, put them in their cradle, feed them bottles, and she rarely wants to leave her room.

Friday, September 11, 2009

speaking of bargaining...

There are some GREAT deals coming up this next week at various grocery/drug stores! And if you are into couponing, stock up on your Sunday paper - it's overflowing with inserts! (2 Smart Source, 2 Red Plums, and 1 General Mills).
I have been going through my grocery mailers and writing down what is on sale so that I can get some good deals. More later!

slacking and bargaining

I have been a slacker lately, on all fronts; the blogging, the weight loss, the returning phone calls/texts... a slacker. Boo. I think my main problem over the past week has been lack of sleep. It started on Friday night when we made our midnight run to Children's. No sleep that night... I went to bed Saturday morning around 3 am and woke up around 9:30 or so. Then Sunday morning Mary Ella woke up around 6 am, and due to Alabama football we had not gone to bed at a very decent hour the night before, which didn't help things. Sunday afternoon we decided we'd go to Florence since both my parents were off for Labor Day. We intended to stay one night and I ended up getting home yesterday! After 9pm! And when we are out of town, Mary Ella sleeps with me in the bed... making for a night of tossing turning, pulling hair, replacing paci's, etc. So needless to say it's been a busy few days. I had no phone charger and no car and not even a pair of decent pajama pants. So I didn't sleep well out of town either. Which makes for slackeritis. Oh well. I'm back now. I worked today and tomorrow I am finally taking Mary Ella for a follow-up appointment. My pediatrician is out of town so I'm not too thrilled about seeing someone new but I definitely don't want another weekend ER trip. So to Greenvale we will go.
We did spend Tuesday night in Huntsville with my aunt Vicki, cousin Ashley and her sweet Addie Jane. Ashley had gotten the 4 of us tickets to Elmo Live at the VBCC and it was a super cute and entertaining show. It kept the girls' attention the entire time and Mary Ella's eyes were wide open for the whole show. I don't think she even blinked. Loved every minute. We spent the night at Vicki's and the next day went to Addie's gymnastics class (it was Bring-A-Friend week at the Little Gym) and Mary Ella loved crawling around on the mats and swinging and playing with the balls and the bubbles. We ate at Another Broken Egg (brunch) and then took the girls to Toys-R-Us where Vicki spent her allowance on a HUGE inflatable moonwalk with a slide. On our way out of the store we spotted a couple of Graco Pack-n-Play's that were sitting at the front; one was out of the box and put together, on display; the other was in the box. They were marked with a big red sticker that said "Clearance; Final Price: $159.99". The original price was $199.99. We turned around and asked our cashier if they were for sale because they were in such an odd place in the store; she said that the manager was trying to get rid of some of the Graco line from last year and that these were the only 2 left; after some sweet talking, BOTH of us ended up walking out with a $200 pack-n-play for $60 each! I was beyond thrilled; I don't know how I have survived thus far without this handy dandy take-it-anywhere crib, but now I won't have to worry about tossing and turning all night because Mary Ella will have her OWN bed, wherever we go! And this thing is high tech - a vibrating option, a sound machine, a mobile, a changing table attachment, an open-and-close canopy! It is a chocolate brown color with turquoise and light brown polkadots, so it's pretty gender neutral too. I am super pumped because I am way cheap when it comes to things like this, and I had been planning on getting one of these at one of the fall consignments and just clorox-ing and germ x-ing the mess out of it. But now I don't have to because it's alllll mine. I love great finds. And I was really lucky to find this. And maybe you could find one too, if you need one! I would definitely recommend peeking around at your local BabiesRUs and ToysRUS stores because you never know what they've got on clearance.

*Oh, and don't be afraid to bargain... just because the clearance price is marked "FINAL" does not mean it is really final. They need to get stuff off their hands sometimes, and usually they will negotiate. Did I mention that when we went to buy our elliptical machine at Dick's, we actually bargained there too? Well we did. We just flat out asked the sales associate if he could pull any kind of deal for us. He looked at us like 'Are you serious?' but then just asked us to wait while he checked on it. He came back and quoted us a price for $150 less than the price listed at the store. Who knew? And then we got him to throw in a 3-year warranty too. BAM! So no matter what store you are in, I think it is always worth asking if you can get a really great deal.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

my lovebug at 14 months old...

at 14 months, mary ella...
  • is WALKING around EVERYWHERE! She's still a bit unsteady, and usually sits down after about 10-15 steps, but definitely walking most of the time!
  • still loves to eat; favorite foods include mac & cheese, apples, goldfish, crackers, bananas, scrambled eggs and COOKIES!
  • still LOVES books and seems to enjoy our trips to the library
  • talks and talks...and talks; her everyday words include bahhh (ball), nana (banana), Hi, Bye-Bye, Dada, Poppa, Mama, Baby, Cuhhh (cup), Nah-nah-nah while holding her finger up in the air, which means "No, No, No" (which is something she is used to hearing about 90 times a day!), Booohhh (book), cacka (cracker), Bah-bah (bottle, or her word for milk), shoosh (juice), bye-bye, and Buuhhhh (Bug), Mimi, and has recently started saying "Mana" for her aunt Amanda and "Behbeee" for Aunt Betsy!
  • can MOO like a cow, BARK like a dog, RRRoooaaRRR like a lion, smack her lips like a fish, and cackle like a monkey
  • loves to sing! She loves The B-I-B-L-E and sings it everywhere we go. She also loves "This Little Light of Mine" and will do all of the hand motions. Other favorites are "Wheels on the Bus," "Itsy Bitsy Spider," and of course, "HoeDown Throwdown."

Saturday, September 5, 2009

ER Trip #2

Mary Ella woke up with a little congestion on Wednesday morning. Nothing out of the ordinary; just a runny nose. I have learned over the past year not to freak out over the sniffles so I wasn't worried. We did the usual - humidifier, saline drops, suction, elevated the head of her bed - and she seemed to feel fine. She wasn't irritable, was sleeping fine and eating like her usual self. Friday I worked so Mary Ella stayed with Chad's mom. When I picked her up that afternoon I noticed she was coughing a little more than she had been, and it sounded like some of the congestion had moved to her chest. I knew I wouldn't make it to the pediatrician's office with the Labor Day beach traffic so we went on home. I thought I'd watch her and try to wait it out until Tuesday. I tried listening to her with my stethoscope but she wouldn't let me; she kept grabbing it and would whine or wimper every time I tried to listen to her. So finally I put her to bed around 10:00 or so and when she was good and asleep I listened to her lungs; her breaths sounds were definitely decreased on the left side, she was VERY course sounding and even had a teeny bit of a wheeze on the left side too. So I knew that I couldn't let her sleep with that going on, because all the fluid would just sit there (she doesn't cough when she is sleeping sound, so I knew it'd be sitting on her lungs all night.) So I told Chad we were going to the Emergency Room, and we loaded up and got there around 12:30 am. Nothing like a midnight road trip. They took us straight back despite the full waiting room (thank you God!) and the doctor listened to her lungs and confirmed what I had been hearing at home. They decided to try a breathing treatment since she had never wheezed before and it seemed to help. So they sent her home with a prescription for Albuterol treatments every 6 hours for a couple days. We will see our pediatrician Tuesday for a follow up appointment. Pray for my sweet girl!

Just so you're not on pins and needles...

Because I just know that all of you are sitting at your computer daily waiting for my updates... ha! No, seriously, I wanted to let everyone know not to expect any good news from me on Monday regarding weight loss. Would you like to guess why?

Take this little quiz...

Why has Haley not lost any weight this week?

a) She ate a piece of bread on Tuesday and decided since she'd cheated and eaten a carb that she'd just quit altogether.
b) She had a semi-unexpected visitor who stayed the entire week and brought with her cramps, bloating, and mood swings... so she was too occupied tending to her "visitor" to worry about weight loss.
c) She was busy tending to her 14 month old who had to go to the ER at midnight Friday night because her lungs were so congested.
d) She made up excuses for answers a, b and c and is actually just lazy.

Please check all that apply. Comment with your guesses. Winner(s) will receive a noteworthy shout-out.
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