Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Our Transition to Frugality

Twins aren't cheap. 

Not. At. All.

It's all good though. I was made JUST for this situation.

I'm a frugal shopper. I don't mind diving and digging into TJ Maxx racks, I don't hesitate to hit sales early for a good deal. Time is money, and some people don't like to spend time saving money, but to me it's worth the investment.

Plus, I'm good at it.

We had to make a lot of changes since we've added the girls into our family and it was a long time coming so we've been more than ready to make the proper accommodations. Many people told us our world would soon change with kids, no more sporting events, steak dinners, and frivolous shopping...like we seriously thought it wouldn't change? Of course we did and we have done well so far.

Of course there are some things you just can't or should skimp on like vehicle maintenance, doctor's appointments and healthier eating options (still working on that) but there are somethings we've done to make the transition easier and cost effective. Here are a few things that have saved us some cash.

1) Generic or "Off-Brands"

I've always been okay with generic, even when the labels were white with black letters. Joey, on the other hand, was new to generic grocery items until we got married. There are somethings he wouldn't budge on and to this day there are several name brand items we insist on. Regarding generic, my personal favorites are Malt-O-Meal cereals, anything Hill County Fare or HEB brand products, and an absolute FAVORITE Target's Up & Up Formula. I just LOVE the Up & Up products and get as many of their household items available at a discount.

2) Coupons & Rewards

I've been keeping up with coupons and store reward programs like no other. I haven't gotten too serious with the coupons but I definitely use the ones that offer big savings, although I see myself becoming a bit more hardcore about it in the future. Almost every major store offers a discount card or rewards programs so it's convenient and doesn't take much time or money to invest in. 

Just this weekend I bought 200 diapers for $8.64 from Walgreen's! A friend of mine posted about their buy one get one free sale on Facebook and on top of that provided a coupon code that would give an additional dollar off per pack. I was hesitant to use off brand diapers but so far so good. I'm not going to lie, they're softer than the (non Snugglers) Huggies. 

*when Googling the quality of Walgreen's diapers I quickly discovered they have a large fan base with mommy bloggers. I regret not buying out all of the size 2's-5's! 

This weekend I also cashed in my Level 4 Reward from ULTA for spending over $200 there during the last quarter which entitled me to list of different products from the store. I opted on a foundation that I've been LOVING as a concealer.

3) FREE Downloads

I LOVE music and downloading something on a whim just isn't very smart anymore as it can be quite the addiction to me and costly. I've relied on free (legal) downloads as of late and have come across some great bands and artists this way. My favorite sites are the Urban Outfitters LSTN downloads on their blog here and most recently HELLOX6 which I came across from an old college friend who puts out a set list every Friday. Yes. FREE music, every Friday. Sweet.

*like how I added a pic of a cassette when we're clearing speaking pure digital downloads? Oh well. I liked it.

4) Netflix and Crafting

No more feature films at the theater every week, mainly because of childcare, not so much money. Nevertheless Netflix to the rescue. Can you believe we never dabbled with Netflix until we had the girls? Craziness. Right now I'm watching the first season of the Cosby Show and loving it. Plus, Netflix is how I developed my love for Dexter.

As for crafting, it's not cheap at first, but once you accumulate some items the possibilities are endless. Currently I'm working on some uber cheap but cute memo boards which I shall post soon.

5) Alternative Shopping

Enter Craigslist and Ross. 

Like I said earlier, I don't mind digging into racks and skimming shelves. I've bought quite a few things from Craigslist and I won't lie, at first it was out of necessity. I knew I needed a Boppy if I had to feed two babies at the same time, so I bought a brand new one with two new slip covers for $25 on Craigslist. From that point on it wasn't so much out of necessity as it was incredible deals.

I've also frequented Ross, Marshall's, and TJ Maxx for decorative items for the nursery. Ross even has a decent amount of scrap booking materials for crafting. Just recently I bought an iron birdcage from Ross for a little project I'm working on (post soon). Every place I looked offered the type I wanted for $50+ but scored one from Ross for a mere $9.99.

*not the cage I purchased but I didn't feel like taking a photo and uploading, ha. Mine is hanging, not standing.
So there ya go. A glimpse into my methods of saving. Please share any gems of advice on how you save!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Wedding/V-Day Weekend

What an eventful weekend! We went out to eat THREE, count 'em THREE times! That's more than we've EVER gone out to eat since we've had our angels and they did wonderfully (and we ate well). This weekend also gave us the opportunity to hang out with another couple which was nice too. It just so happens this other couple was my sister and her new (at the time, soon-to-be) husband and my new brother in law Brandon.

Joey and I about to indulge in the wonderfulness that is a ribeye steak from Saltgrass
Just a couple of days away from their "I do's"
 Before we knew it our weekend was over and it was wedding day! The girls and I drove back to our hometown for the festivities Sunday and daddy met us there just in time for the wedding Monday. Yes, Valentines :)

Even with daddy away, I had the cutest little Valentines.

My little LOVE bugs!

We started the day with a few errands and then lunch with the girls.

Mom and Keegan

Lola's awake!

Mila Mouse
That evening was the wedding and considering it was thrown together in a matter of a couple of weeks it went quite well. It was casual, but very intimate affair. It was exciting to see such a long awaited moment come to pass. I've wanted desperately for my sister to find the right guy for her and her daughter and although I was hesitant at first, I've grown excited about their future together. The coolest part is that not only did we welcome a new member into our family, we welcomed his daughter as well!


And of course you know my daughters were there to welcome them in high style looking sassy in pink.

Mom and dad also looked pretty fly. As you may remember, my parents suffered a house fire during Christmas where both of my parents were involved in an explosion which resulted in first and second degree burns on my dad's face and arms. It all seems to be healing well and dad is looking back to his handsome self.

I am fortunate to have two parents who still love each other enough to make it work. Marriage isn't easy, it has it's ups and downs. There are some days you might wonder how you'll make it, there are so many "what ifs." What I've come to learn is you just stick it out, keep swimming, keep trucking, fake it till you make it, because before you know it, you have fallen in love all over again. 

It reminds me of a song by Ingrid Michelson that became a favorite of mine not too long ago. It speaks about giving up, not on your relationship, but all of the other things that may cause you to walk away. It makes me proud of the choice I made to marry Joey, makes me look even further to those moments you dread in life, like waiting for your daughter to come home at a decent hour and growing old because I'll have him to share it with.

I have every confidence in the world that Brandon and Mia will learn these same lessons as well through years of a joy filled, healthy, Godly marriage with each other and their children. Congrats, you two, and we LOVE you!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

People Love Us!

Our God brother loves us!

So does God mother!

Our cousins ADORE us!

Cousin Abigail thinks we're pretty cool too!

Granddad thinks we're sweet

And G-Mom loves to feed us!

We give Aunt Brittany a fever...BABY fever :)

Tia Lor thinks we hung the moon

Popo thinks we're fun
Our Godparents love us too!

Friday, February 11, 2011

LOVE and Cupcakes

Yesterday we had a very successful home study, we are THAT much closer thanks be to God. Some of you may be thinking the same thing people ask me sometimes "I thought they were yours already?" My response? They are ours. They were ours before our Father was fearfully and wonderfully forming them, He had a plan even then. We are just working out way through the legal hoops :)

I'm constantly overwhelmed with adoration for them. I'm forever in awe that God has chosen us for this task. I'm completely in LOVE with my life.

Speaking of LOVE, we are expecting guests this weekend from my sister and her new fiancee! This has been a very quick engagement and the wedding is THIS Monday, yes Valentine's Day! We are very happy for them and our little cupcakes are excited to have a new uncle to welcome into our family.

Speaking of cupcakes...

These onesies are the product of my first hand sewing job since my sewing class in high school (that I was AWFUL at by the way). I've carefully considered practicing on mom's machine to see if I'll be asking for a new sewing machine next Christmas. We'll see if motherhood has domesticated me to that level. I'm not holding my breath.

Now let's end this back on a LOVE note.

One thing I absolutely LOVE is music, almost all kinds with a few exceptions (see: trance, house, ska, screamo...) There's always a song in my head and last night when I blissfully went to sleep (yes I'm THAT happy!) this song stayed in my mind. Enjoy and I hope you have a Friday you LOVE!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Snow Days Ice Days

Ah. So after four days of snow, ice and no school, a weekend, and just two more days of work we find ourselves again comfortably nested in the confines of our home today due to icy conditions. I'm totally okay with this, especially because it gives me time for my girls, a little laundry, some crafting projects, and...this! Here is a pictorial list of what our snow days consist(ed) of...

1) Enjoy The Snow Time

Daddy and Mila

Heavy snowfall for these parts, couldn't differentiate between the lawn, sidewalks, and street!

Lola's first snow angel
2) Cold Weather Eating Time

Cookwell and Company make a BOMB chili, just add your choice of ground beef or turkey and voila! You can find these for less than $8 at H-E-B, your choice of red or green.

3) Play Time

Family campout

Joey, Romo and the girls enjoying a day of lounging in the living room. We pulled out one of the guest room mattresses and "camped." We laid around, ate, watched movies, and played all day.

Blue Steel

Our little drooler

The girls loved pulling out the toys and listening to some fun children's praise and worship. I held on to all of the music I used as a Sunday school teacher and the girls had fun moving to the music. Lola may turn out to follow momma's family tradition and be a musician. I love music and my faith, integrating the two into my girls' lives now is an honor.

4) Chill Time

Lola enjoying extra time with mommy and daddy

The good life

5) Bundle Up By The Fire When The Heat Goes Out Time

Thank goodness for these!

6) Sleepy Time