Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Preparing for Easter

Well, my tummy is full after our Shrove Tuesday dinner at one of our Parish Churches. Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. When I think of what the season of Lent represents and what it means and how we are to be in a time of reflection about what Christ did for us I find myself humbled. I had the opportunity to share the Easter story with my friend over lunch today...when we were discussing the series of events she commented how terrible of a thing it was for Jesus to be killed. To that I responded, "But it's a GOOD thing! Had that not happened, we would be drowning in our own sin and not be able to have eternal life."

Christ sacrificed for us. He died for us. He has made it possible for us to have eternal life if we just accept him into our lives. That is the BEST gift we will ever receive. I don't know where I'd be in life without the love and grace of God.

I like to try to give something up during the Lent season, surely I can make a small sacrifice for 40 days especially since Jesus has sacrificed so much for me. But I also want to draw closer to Him during this time. Let's face it, giving up chocolate might be a sacrifice but it doesn't make me any closer to God! All it does is make me want chocolate more!!!

So after much prayer and thought I've decided what I'm going to do this year during Lent. God called me out of the work force (THANK YOU GOD!) to take care of my husband, children and home. So, I am limiting my computer time for the next 40 days to times only to those times when everyone is asleep and/or not home. Our computer is always on and sits in the main living area of our home. It has become such a bad habit of mine when I'm bored or not wanting to do what needs to be done. Often times because of my time spent on the computer (generally doing NOTHING productive!) I am ignoring my husband, my children, my home and this in turn separates me from God because I'm not doing to the best of my ability, what it is He has called me to do.

The second part of what I am going to do is to spend some time, hopefully each day, with The Boy and BuhBuh reading and teaching them about God and His love for each of them. I have a young children's devotional that I used when The Boy was BuhBuh's age that I have not yet taken the time to sit down and do with him. I have told The Boy to pick a book out of the Old Testament and the New Testament for us to read from together during Lent; right off the top of his head he picked Job and Revelations. (YIKES!!!!)

My prayer is that you spend some time this Lent season looking closer at your relationship with Christ and seeing where and how you can grow closer to him. Maybe it's not in giving anything up, maybe it's as simple as giving back.

Monday, February 23, 2009

A Tribute

It is with somewhat of a heavy heart that I am here to report on a sad event from the Laundry Trenches. Last Friday we said good bye to a member of the family. It was a short relationship, but we loved much, laughed hard and enjoyed every second that we were all together. BuhBuh cried out in anguish as we headed to school that day because his heart was also broken.

Here is a tribute to our lost friend.....

Oh what fun we had using you as a slide....

Then there was the night we folded The Boy up inside and flipped you upside down and pushed the two of you around the house....

You made for a great hideout for each of my boys.....

And you proved just how much of a caring, good friend you were when you allowed all three brothers to climb in at the same time....

To us you were more than just a good box....you had become a true family friend. We hope that your life after being recycled brings as much joy to someone as you brought to us in those two short weeks.

Friday, February 20, 2009

I HEART Target!!!

It use to be I couldn't leave that store without spending at least $100. BUT, since I've been a little smarter about my shopping I have not been even CLOSE to having a bill that high!!! Last weekend I went to the store with my friend and didn't buy ANYTHING! I didn't have ANY coupons with me...there was nothing I needed. YAY ME!! During a recent shopping trip I had a $20 savings with my coupons! They've had some GREAT meat deals recently too so my freezer has several choices waiting to be used.

My main reason for this post, besides to tell you about my love for Target is to tell you about a way to go and have a chance to win a $15 gift card to Target!!!! WOW! Go and visits Melissa's Bargain Blog to find out how!!! She also has all sorts of good tid bits on how to save and stretch your money. So, go check it out!!!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Love, Sweet Love

February 11th, 1995 My Sweetie and I had our first date. February 14, 1995 My Sweetie and I had our first kiss. February 15, 1995 My Sweetie and I decided to be "a couple".

This time of year is always nostalgic for me. It's the anniversary of "the beginning of our story" How perfect that it is always, and will always coincide with Valentine's Day.

We didn't do anything spectacular for Valentine's Day. The Friday before BuhBuh had his Kindergarten party and The Boy attended the Middle School dance.

On Valentines Day I had a couple of meetings for Church and when I came home I found 4 handmade with love cards....one from each of my boys!! So precious. I especially LOVE that My Sweetie sat down and made one. We mostly enjoyed a relaxing day in our jammies. We gave the kids cards and a little bit of candy. The Daddy went and got us some yummy food from a local restaurant for lunch. Then for dinner we enjoyed a candle light dinner for FIVE that evening. The menu: Candy Bar Chocolate Fondue with strawberries, bananas, marshmallows and angel food cake for dipping. YUMMY!

It was a sweet day spent with the sweeties of my life. Hope you had a GREAT day with the ones you love also!!!

Monday, February 09, 2009

Rethinking my Strategy

Yesterday while Little Dude was asleep I thought I'd sneak out alone and do my CVS and Walgreen's shopping. I made my plan of attack for both stores: My coupons were all organized, I had a detailed list for each store and I knew if I were alone there would be complete concentration!!

Despite the fact that I had $13 in Extra Rewards at CVS I was still somewhat disappointed in my total OPP. My failure occurred when I deviated from the list and began wondering the store looking for what else I could get to earn MORE Extra Rewards. I was being GREEDY!!!! What I should have been doing was figuring out how I could roll over and stretch my money with the Extra Rewards that I currently had and was about to purchase. Did I get things that I am going to use??? Yes. I also used A LOT of Extra Rewards to bring down the prices and went on my merry way. But, I just think I could have done better had my greed not gotten in the way.

After that I headed to Walgreen's. I was a wee bit better there....still spent more than I had wanted and also, again deviated from the list when I saw a BOGO Walgreen's brand Tylenol. My biggest, most proud moment....3 boxes of cereal for $1.83 each!!! AND, I got a $1.50 coupon for another 3 boxes next time! YIPPIE!

For the rest of February, I"m putting a halt on health and beauty items. I'm pretty well stocked up for the time being. No sense going overboard. If I run out of something, then I'll look into replacing it. The only things I'm going to allow myself to buy at either CVS or Walgreen's the rest of the month are grocery items. My second re-think is that I"m going to purchase a $25 gift card from both CVS and Walgreen's through a Scripp program; with my purchase from each of those store 6% will go back to the program in which I purchased the cards from. I will then have $25 to stretch and use at each store for the month of March. That will force me to use my Register Rewards and Extra Rewards smarter and force me to be a little more aware of what and how much I am spending at each store. When it's gone, my shopping for the month at those stores is done.

We'll see how it goes...

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Adventures in Couponing:January wrap up February looking up!

One of my goals for the year was to be more of a coupon/sale shopper. The month of January is over and most of my purchases have been entered into the spreadsheet. I was a little taken back by our total spending for the month. Then thanks to my spreadsheet, I was able to analyze the spending a little closer. My Sweetie had a good month of commission checks so our tithe was higher. With that subtracted out, (that money is NOT ours to begin with so it shouldn't really count as an expense but I leave it for cross check purposes. I'll leave that subject for another blog post!) It looked a little better. A lot of the bills from The Boy's arm fracture came due and that was a nice chunk. I also pre-paid for My Sweetie's birthday gift, which was also a good chunk of money. I purchased some winter coats for next year at a nice low price and a couple of clothing items for myself, also at sale price. We spent WAY TOO MUCH on dining out. UGH! Total spending is total spending (except for the tithe) and I really am able to get a better sense of where things are going when I can see it on paper/my computer screen.

Food and your day to day personal items still seem to be what is killing us. So, after a lot of reading of other blogs and clipping coupons and shopping other stores and cleaning out my cupboards (so I could plan meals around things I have) just prior to my big grocery trip and PLANNING AHEAD, I was able to have a savings of $141 in JUST coupons for the month of January. Some items I bought were buy one get one free (BOGO) which helped but isn't reflected in my coupon savings. I had about a 8% savings on food and daily/household items from coupons. This number would probably be higher if I were to add in the BOGO and other sale prices, but I don't. I was happy with these numbers being that it was my first whole hearted month of trying. HOWEVER, My Sweetie always says, in the end things cost what you pay on them. My total grocery and household items spending for the month was still over what I would like it to be. I'm hoping as I get better at this, get my printer fixed so I can take advantage of a couple other coupons and get a little bit of a stockpile that MAYBE that number can begin to drop to my goal or lower.

With THAT said, it is a NEW MONTH! I have meals planned out until Feb. 13th and most of the ingredients for those meals in the house in hopes of cutting down on trips to the store which leads to more spending. I know that milk, fresh fruit and veggies are something I am going to have to buy by the end of the week so that we can get through the second week of the month.

Today I headed out and did my CVS and Walgreen's shopping. I don't have complete hang of this art and I'm not convinced that grocery items are in fact cheaper there with there "sale" price than the grocery store. Before I never paid attention to prices in the grocery store. I would have made a TERRIBLE Price is Right contestant. My theory on buying was if I needed it, buy it, if I don't then don't. My new theory is to buy what I can cheap or free and use what I have. I digress....I know what I paid today for some of my grocery items at these stores and I will cross check them when I get to the grocery store later.

At CVS today I got 3 sets of items that were BOGO. I had $5 in Extra Bucks that I applied to my total bringing my out of pocket to (OOP) to $42. I also earned $13 more in extra bucks for my next visit. YAY!

When I was at Walgreen's I was feeling a little uninspired. Until I got to the cash register!!!!! I did two different transactions and purchased the following items: (YUP! I took a picture!)

2 12-packs of Sierra Mist Free
1 12-pack Diet Cherry Pepsi,
3 Walgreen's re-usable bags,
2 eco-friendly light bulbs,
2 boxes Jiffy corn bread,
2 boxes Jiffy blueberry muffins,
4 cans of Campbell's cream of chicken soup, 4 cans Swanson's chicken broth
2 packages of 146 Valentine Stickers
2 3 packs of Scotch Brite sponges
Revlon Creme Gloss

My total OOP (after BOGO, a mail-in rebate, coupons, two separate transactions and $9 in register rewards) was $13.19!!!!! YAY ME!!!!!! :) Not too shabby of a start to the new month!!! :)

I'll try not to bombard you or bore you too much with these kind of posts....that's not what this blog is about (but a little because I'm simply just a lowly reporter here to do my job of bringing you the latest scoop from both inside and outside our Laundry Trenches!) maybe I'll just post occasionally on my progress and an occasional celebration of a good shopping day like today.

Monday, February 02, 2009

It's hard to stay mad when....

So, after our little incident at church My Sweetie and I had a meeting. Then we rushed home to get ready for friends to come over to watch the Super Bowl.

It's hard to stay mad when....

The Boy offers to take Little Dude up to his room to play so we can get things done

And when BuhBuh offers to clean all the windows in the house.

So, I guess their gifts are in service NOT in charitable giving. :)

Souper Bowl

Our Church collects every year for the Souper Bowl of caring. Even though we are a small town, there is still much need in our area that there is a food pantry located at one of our local churches. Everything we collect goes there. All month long people have been bringing in food items and donating cash. Since yesterday was the Super Bowl after Church The Boy and BuhBuh were asked to stand at the door with soup kettles to help collect additional cash. Aw, how sweet, right???


I went over to check on them and BuhBuh was putting money in the kettle. My first thought was that he was putting his own money in. Aw, how sweet, right???


He wasn't being charitable....he was returning the change in which he had STOLEN from what other people gave!!!! I think he thought I was coming over to set him straight, when I really had NO CLUE!

Then, he kept on digging into his pocket and putting MORE money that he had stolen back into the kettle. First a couple of coins, then a handful of change, then I saw some bills AND EVEN A TWENTY DOLLAR BILL!!!!!!!!!!!! Grrrrrr......

I yanked that kettle out of his hand and told him he was DONE!!!! Through his sobs he told me, "But The Boy was doing it too!!!"

I walk over to The Boy who is standing there very innocently and ask him if he had taken any money.
The Boy: Uh, not exactly??? Me: What do you MEAN no exactly? The Boy: I just pretended to take the money and put it in my pocket

YANK went his kettle for being a poor example to the little brother!!!

They received a nice little chew out from both mom and dad (at church!! EEK!) and lost video game and TV privileges for the rest of the day.

Are you KIDDING ME?!?!?!?!? Did I forget the to teach them the lesson on you probably shouldn't STEAL money from hungry people??????