Friday, July 15, 2011

Summer Celebrations

Somehow I managed to not include pictures from their girls' first Fourth of July, probably because they weren't quite chipper enough for the first part of the day to even budge a grin more less a smile. From time to time the girls are getting fussy which I attribute to their teeth, but it's a small fraction of the time...

The Fourth of July is very important to me because I absolutely love my country. I am proud to be an American, and I am even prouder my grandfather Daniel was able to make the journey here, alone, as a teenager to build his life and grow his family. I'm even prouder to celebrate the life of another great American that dedicated his life to our country while serving in the Army and touring in Iraq. We will always love, remember, and cherish Marcus' memory and my girls will grow up hearing about his life, his servitude, and his sacrifice.

Mila wearing one of the buttons worn at Marcus' memorial service. I created the design as well as a few others .

Lola proudly wearing her Marcus dog tag.
The girls enjoyed their first fireworks show and stayed pretty attentive throughout the show. Luckily for us viewing the show from our front yard was a plus!

Speaking of holidays, we celebrated a family holiday last weekend as well. July 9th marked 6th years married, and our first with our babies! We spent the day at home, and packed the girls up to join us for our anniversary steaks.

We LOVE us some Saltgrass steaks. 

Afterwards we took the girls home and they stayed with the sitter while we VIP'd it at Cedric the Entertainer stand up show at the Verizon Center. We laughed until our tummies hurt. It wasn't your typical anniversary date (we are so NOT that couple!) but it was just perfect for us.

The family I prayed for since I was a little girl.

Here are the rest of the haps in our neck of the woods.

My babies LOVE to eat!

They are eating more and more baby food and oatmeal, and have began hand feeding themselves Gerber treats and their favorite, Baby Mum Mums. It's so weird to pick them up and give them kisses after they've eaten their Gerber's Lil Munchies because their breath smells like actual food and not formula. They are becoming more and more like little girls and less like babies.

For instance...

I can't go anywhere without being followed. Of course I LOVE it (I feel so loved, plus they're getting harder and harder to carry at the same time!). Lola has a full on crawl going (and she's SUPER fast), while Mila still trudges along with her army crawl (but she crawls regularly on the tile). They are also pulling themselves up on large toys, the crib, couches etc and standing. I have a feeling we may have some zombie walkers before their first birthday.

Look at those TEETH! Lola has two bottoms, Mila has two TOPS and two bottoms!
As I said in one of my earlier posts we have family moving to our area soon, as in next week. In the meantime we have Joey's brother staying with us as he's started work at his new place. Here's a pic of the Lola butting in on uncle Mike's Facetime session with aunt Brittany and cousin Abigail. 

Up next is some quality time with the family before our precious Summer draws to an end. We have one more month so I have to make it count!

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Print! Clip! Save! Go!

I've gotten into couponing as of late. After watching Extreme Couponing I made a verbal promise "You won't ever see ME going that crazy for coupons!" Truthfully though, I haven't, but I have been saving insane amounts of money. The biggest difference between me and them:

A) I'm not charging $1200 and saving $1150.

B) I'm not buying things I'll never use just because they're cheap or free. If I don't need 14 cans of Metamucil, I'm not getting them.

C) I don't purchase coupons from clipping sites or Ebay.

In saying that, there are more things I'm doing that you don't necessarily see on Extreme Couponing, like, for instance, going to the store almost EVERYDAY. The experts are experienced enough to make one big trip and make it count. They are quicker, and more efficient. I'm going to the stores almost daily because it's been such a big learning process and figuring out how to get the best deal isn't that easy. I know after some time I'll be able to pull off one shopping day a week and not this sloppy, frantic run to the door as my printer is printing a coupon I was slow to discover.

Here is a snapshot of what I've gotten this week. The green dots indicate items that were free.

I realize this photo is fuzzy, sorry! But yes, that's 3 FREE eye shadows you see!

So you'll see why it's worth it, most of the razors alone range anywhere from $7-$10 each and they were FREE. I still received great deals on the things I did pay for like:

Revlon nail polish, on clearance for $2.06 at Target, I had a $1 coupon from Revlon, plus a $1 Revlon coupon (still available) from so I paid 6¢!

The detergent was on sale for $2.99 at Walgreen's, and I had an additional $1 off coupon

The Zantac (which I do use btw) is usually $7.59 at Target but I had a Manufacturer coupon for $5 off and a Target coupon for $2 off making these 59¢ each.

Right now I've managed to save more than I spend on my last few visits but I know that won't always be the case as some things may not go on sale or have coupons available for months. It's all good though because as long as I'm saving in one area, that opens my budget up for those things I pay regular price for.

Want to try it? Here are a few tips that you'll find on any couponing site or Google search

1. Learn to STACK your coupons. This simply means use more than one coupon per item. Most stores will accept 1 Manufacturer coupon, and 1 store coupon per item. Of course there are exceptions with certain coupons but you'll figure that as you go.

2. Learn to STACK coupons for items already on sale or clearance! If these items are already on sale, your savings increase. I find myself skipping over coupons in the circular because it's not anything I need (i.e. a 50¢ coupon for Curad bandages) but then I go to Walgreen's and find the cute $2 Curad Sesame Street bandages already on sale for 99¢ so tack the coupon on that and Mila and Lola don't have to wear mommy and daddy's boring bandages for a mere 40¢ per box.

3. Be patient. It's a learning process. I'm assuming this is just my experience as a rookie but your trips to the store will be more frequent, and for longer periods of time. The sales flyers don't always advertise everything on sale, so taking on every aisle is important to see what else is on sale or on clearance. If you have your coupon book or bider on you, it's an easy skim to see if you already have a coupon for those items. This is how I got 6¢ nail polish.

4. Stay organized. A well organized coupon binder or wallet goes a long way.

5. Clip everything (except the Metamucil, ha!) Even if you think you won't need Pepto anytime soon, why not clip it just incase? Right now if matched with another coupon I know people are getting it for less than $1.

6. Find a coupon guru to help. I frequent the Krazy Coupon Lady blog daily! Here I find what's hot and links to coupons galore.

7. Utilize your resources! Snag coupons from tear pads and blinkies from stores, subscribe to a Sunday paper, print coupons from reliable sources online. If you're reading this from my hometown, I'd STRONGLY recommend getting a Sunday subscription from the DFW as there are tons more coupons available in these papers.

8. Follow the policies, and don't be greedy! Research each stores' coupon policies, know what they do and don't accept and follow it. Don't take all of the blinkie coupons, don't tear off all of the notepad coupons, and don't clear the shelf of all the items just to resale them for a profit. Needless to say, it's tacky, and it would only be a matter of time before coupon policies tighten up to prevent this from happening.

9. Shop Early! I'm talking, the day the ads go out, Sunday is great, Monday may work too. Couponing is so popular right now that if you wait on a really great deal, it's gone by Tuesday!

10. Don't ask me for my stuff! Haha, it's not that I'm greedy, but couponing takes a lot of work! My hard earned savings aren't to fill an empty room and stockpile 40 bottles of detergent just to hand out, but I coupon to meet our needs and provide more for our precious girls. Now, if I end up eating my words and find myself with with 40 bottles of detergent, then of course I would share the wealth with family and those in need.

I feel like such a goof giving advice when I JUST began couponing but I've had a lot of time and experience already. I'm glad I got into this over summer break, otherwise I'd really be on a slow path!

Give it a try, I hope it's as good to you as it's been for us!